Hard water can be an issue in Greenwich, CT and surrounding Fairfield County towns, particularly in mid country Greenwich. As a local home maintenance company we get a lot of calls regarding clogged plumbing and other issues that range from difficult to clean tubs to fading laundry. There are several factors to consider when dealing with hard water. The following will help you determine how to manage the problem.

What is Hard Water?

Rain starts off as soft water. It becomes hard as it travels thought the ground and into water systems. Along the way it picks up minerals. Calcium and magnesium are two primary minerals that are to blame for certain plumbing issues, but hard water can also contain lime, chalk, and others deposits. 

Why is Greenwich, CT Known for Hard Water?

Mid Country Greenwich, in our experience, seems to be an area where there is a high concentration of underground minerals. Our home maintenance professionals have had a higher concentration of service visits to this particular region of the town. The geological conditions of the ground, and the fact that many in this area are on wells, are contributing factors. 

Problems Resulting from Hard Water

Mineral rich water can lead to a host of household issues. One of the most serious problems can be clogged plumbing. Mineral deposit buildup can restrict water flow. It can also clog water heaters, dishwashers and other equipment, and cause low flow in showers and sinks. 

This is not only inconvenient it can also be lead to big expenses. Appliance lifespan can be shortened, and unclogging plumbing can be a timely job. Reaching out to a residential property maintenance company before the issue gets too severe can help you save in the long run. 

When hard water settles on bathtubs, toilets and sinks it can leave visible mineral scale deposits. This film can be very hard to clean off and can be unsightly.  Other issues include dingy laundry, hard to clean hair, and skin irritation.

Heavy metal and/or bacteria can also occur in household water supplies that run on wells. Ingesting these deposits can lead to serious health problems if not dealt with. At Duffy Home Solutions our water experts can test your water as a first step to determine the condition of your water supply. 

How To Solve The Problem of Hard Water

The most common fix is to install a water softener system. The softener removes minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and manganese and replaces them with sodium ions in a process called ion exchange. Softener tanks contain negatively charged media that pulls in positive charged minerals as water passed through. The collected water that contains hard minerals is eventually flushed out of the system. 

To determine the type of system you’ll need, a property management company can bring in a water treatment professional to first analyze your water conditions. This will allow them to determine the size and type of water softener equipment to install. During the analysis process it’s always a good idea to test for bacteria and heavy metals as well. If there is an issue you’ll want to consider a water filtration system. Whole house systems can continually filter the entire water supply to the home.

How to Clean Stubborn Deposits

If you have hard water you likely have tubs, toilets and sinks with mineral deposit buildup. This residue is not easily removed.  One way to clean these areas is with vinegar. Soak a rag in white vinegar and place the rag over the affected area. Let it sit for one hour. This should loosen the minerals. You can then scrub with a sponge. 

In Conclusion

For residents of Greenwich, CT and surrounding Fairfield County towns, hard water can be a persistent issue. The good news is that it can be dealt with. To make sure you achieve the appropriate resolution have your property management service bring in a water treatment professional. They will test the water and make sure that you have the right equipment for your specific needs. 

Maintaining a home in Greenwich, CT is a year round effort involving a wide range of seasonal and yearly tasks. If you’ve moved from an apartment in New York City to Greenwich, the contrast in responsibilities can be overwhelming. Property upkeep is no less daunting for those that have owned property in the suburbs for years. Fairfield County, CT provides a range of unique maintenance challenges. Oftentimes homeowners look to home maintenance services to help stay on top of things. 

HVAC Needs

Homes in New England towns like Greenwich are constantly subject to harsh heat and cold. As a result your HVAC system is in high demand almost year round. High temperatures in the summer can require your AC to run constantly, and cold winters put strain on furnaces. Conducting yearly inspections and cleaning of your HVAC system is essential to avoiding large mechanical issues. These checkups also help keep the equipment running at peak efficiency. 

When you hire a home maintenance service, such as Duffy Home Solutions, we will schedule AC and Furnace maintenance with trusted local HVAC professionals. In fact, our home maintenance company can help maintain your entire property year round. 

Water and Waterfront Issues

Greenwich waterfront properties have a unique set of maintenance needs. High water tables can lead to basement, yard and driveway flooding. And wind and rain coming off the Long Island Sound can constantly barrage your exterior. The roof, siding, doors, driveway, and deck all wear faster as a result of these conditions. Your home maintenance service can provide regular inspections, repairs, and upkeep. Typical tasks include painting, roofing repair and replacement, wet basement repair, drainage modifications, rust remediation, etc. 

Even if your home is not located directly on the water, the Greenwich, CT climate is still a bear on home exteriors. All of the issues mentioned above typically require attention, just not as frequently. 

Permitting

If you’re planning to remodel or build a pool or addition in Greenwich, CT you’ll want to first consider the permitting requirements. They can be complicated. The home maintenance professionals at Duffy Home Solutions provide full renovation services. We are highly experienced with area regulations and can navigate the entire permitting and building process. 

Building in Greenwich comes with some unique challenges. Oftentimes builders encounter issues such as ledge, high water tables, wetlands, footprint restrictions, etc. Having a professional on your side that knows the local permitting process can help make the project run faster and smoother. 

Maintaining a Second Home 

Many properties in Greenwich, CT are second homes for full time Manhattan residents. Having a maintenance company to help with sustained upkeep is critical in this case. Larger tasks may include yard and garden maintenance, plowing, pool cleaning, and repairs. Smaller tasks can include opening and closing the house, dusting, light bulb replacement, etc. When you have a trusted maintenance professional on your side you’ll feel confident that things will be well cared for, and that the home will be in perfect condition when you arrive. 

In conclusion, keeping up with maintenance in Fairfield County, CT can be a challenge, but support from a Greenwich home maintenance company can make all the difference. At Duffy Home Solutions we provide year round maintenance support for virtually any task, large or small. We manage and schedule trades as needed, all of which are experienced, local professionals. And you’ll have one point of contact for issues and questions. Your primary contact will also be responsible for letting trades into the house when needed. The end result is peace of mind and more time to enjoy your property.

22
Jul
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN HIRING A HANDYMAN AND PROPERTY MAINTENANCE COMPANY

If you’re ready to call in a pro to help with regularly maintaining your Greenwich, CT area property there are several things to consider to ensure you’ll get the most out of the relationship. Home maintenance companies can help with small projects that can be managed by a handyman or they can bring in pros year round to service and maintain every part of the home. By going this rout you have one point of contact for plumbing, HVAC, roofing, plowing, landscaping and all other trades. At Duffy Home Solutions we handle everything from changing light bulbs to installing a new home theater system.

Understanding the Process

Before you hire a residential maintenance company be prepared with questions so that you have a firm grasp on what to expect. The following questions will help:

How do you charge?

You’ll want to know how you’ll be billed. Ask if the fees will be based on an hourly rate or per project. A good home maintenance company will typically bill monthly for general upkeep based on an agreed upon list of tasks. Ask ahead of time, however, how billing will work for projects that come up beyond the scope of the monthly or yearly program.  

What Are My Payment Options?

Make sure to get an understanding of what form of payment is accepted. This can effect how you plan to manage your money. You may want to know if your maintenance company accepts credit cards, if they accept large installations up front, and/or what time of the month invoices will arrive and are due. 

What are the Qualifications of Your Subcontractors?

The people that work under your contractors are just as important as the contractors themselves. Ask about subcontractor qualification and experience. Duffy Home Solutions only hires trusted, experienced, skilled labor to handle client work. Fly by night operations or moonlighters should be avoided. 

How Do I Provide Entry to My Home and Who Do I Come to With Issues & Questions?

You’ll want to have one point of contact for all work to be done. At Duffy Home Solutions we provide a single source for communication. This individual will be the only person with key access to the home. At your discretion they allow trades to gain entry to the house and outbuildings when work needs to be completed. If you have any issues or questions at any time you can contact your maintenance rep for resolution. 

What is your Experience With Obtaining Permits?

Permits are required for a range of different projects. You may want to build a new pool house or install a new HVAC system. Applying for and obtaining permits in Greenwich, CT and the surrounding area requires knowledge of the local system, regulations and experience in the range of fields. Be sure that your property maintenance company has knowledge of the permitting process in your area.

Preparation

When hiring a reputable handyman and property maintenance company you’ll be getting experienced professionals across the entire line of trades. To ensure this is that case you’ll want to prepare before hiring. Check licensing and insurance paperwork. Don’t chase the lowest price – oftentimes you get what you pay for. Ask for references from clients that have used the service in the past. And discuss how they plan to resolve any issues that may arise. 

Additional preparation prior to meeting your home maintenance professional should include creating a list of short and long-term projects as well as ongoing tasks that you’ll want help with. Consider the tasks for each season as you create the list and take a walk around your property to identify the areas that you would like help with. With the right help you’ll have more time to focus on the things that are most important to you.

25
Jun
HOW RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CAN HELP YOU MANAGE ALL OF YOUR HOME REPAIR & UPKEEP NEEDS

The concept of residential property maintenance is relatively new in the Greenwich, CT area. Homeowners are realizing the value of having one point of contact for all upkeep and repairs. Experienced property maintenance companies, like Duffy Home Solutions, can handle virtually any job around the house, from changing light bulbs to installing and maintaining HVAC systems. They do so by employing trusted professionals across the full range of trades. 

The key to a successful property maintenance solution comes down to bringing in the right pros. It can be hard to find trusted, reliable trades. Duffy Home Solutions has been in the luxury home building and remodeling business in Greenwich for decades. As a result we’ve developed relationships with top area pros in HVAC, plumbing, roofing, electrical, pool maintenance, handyman services and many other trades. Our group of talent is highly experienced and skilled so customers always know the job will be done right. 

The benefits go beyond just quality workmanship. You’ll no longer need to manage communication, estimating, and invoicing from multiple workmen. Your maintenance company representative will be a single point of contact for all billing, accountability, inquiries, and follow up. And in the event of an emergency, such as an HVAC failure while you’re away, your representative will be a single key holder that can provide access to pros when needed. 

Homeowners know it’s just a matter of time before something comes up that needs attention. Repairs are common, but homes also require standard maintenance and upkeep. The following outlines a few of the more common items that residential property maintenance companies help with.

Seasonal Upkeep & Minor Repairs

Each season in Greenwich, CT brings its own set of home maintenance tasks. Spring is a good time to address paint and staining needs, fix minor issues with roofing and masonry and start on spring cleanup, mulching and landscaping. Summer means pool maintenance and repair, lawn mowing and gardening. Fall requires leaf cleanup, chimney cleaning, and trimming of trees. And winter brings plowing and can be a good time to upgrade safety equipment such as aging smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 

Unexpected Repairs

Major mechanical system failure can be extremely stressful. Having someone reliable to properly diagnose and fix HVAC, plumbing and electrical issues can be a major weight off your shoulders. Other areas of the home that can require significant work include the chimney, large appliances, and hot water heaters. And minor issues such as garage doors and entry gates can be a major inconvenience when they go down. 

Preventative Maintenance 

To keep your systems running at peak efficiency, and to avoid premature breakdowns, furnace and AC systems should be inspected and cleaned before the start of each season. Other preventative maintenance includes refrigerator coil cleaning, inspection and repair of damaged boards, and/or roofing. Having a property maintenance service for these tasks is critical to helping prevent issues before they become major problems. 

Water Infiltration  

Wet basements and garages can be a big problem in Greenwich, CT. We get plenty of rainy days and properties close to the sound can have a high water table. The same is true for garages. Dealing with water issues requires the knowledge and skill of experienced professionals. Your property maintenance company can help you assess and fix water issues as well as help prevent future leaks. 

It can be exhausting when you consider all that goes into maintaining a home in Greenwich, CT. Hiring a residential property maintenance company can provide major relief. You’ll be assured that all of the work will be done right and you’ll have one point of contact for all of these tasks. The end result will be a well-maintained property and you’ll have time to focus on what’s important to you. 

28
May
GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR CENTRAL AC SYSTEM: HOW TO KEEP COLD AIR IN

Your central AC units use a considerable amount of energy. As the summer approaches the Greenwich, CT area it’s a good time to start thinking about how you can help keep your AC running as efficiently as possible. By doing so you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and lower your energy bills. Start by taking steps to keep cool air from escaping your home. Your residential property management company can help you with some of the more complicated steps, but homeowners can handle some of these efforts as well. 

Key Benefits of Central AC

Let’s start by considering the key benefits of central air conditioning. Greenwich, CT summers can get very hot. This can pose a safety issue for elderly folks and young children. Air conditioners also provide better air quality inside the home by circulating and filtering pollutants. In addition, furniture, expensive drapery, artwork, and area rugs can be damaged overtime by exposure to high heat and humidity. Lastly, electronics can overheat in high temperatures.  

Major Sources of Cool Air Loss

Poor insulation is a primary source of air loss. Older homes or converted spaces often have failing insulation and sometimes none at all. If you’re planning a renovation this is an excellent time to upgrade using the highest R-value material possible, such as spray-foam. Combine this with rigid foam panels on the exterior walls for a highly efficient space. And if your walls are hollow they can be insulated using blown in material. 

Windows play a significant role in air loss. Cool air from AC units can escape easily through outdated windows. Newer windows are designed with multiple glass panes. They are also sealed more effectively than older models. If you’re planning to replace windows before winter, consider the value of doing the work now to avoid the loss of cool air in the summer months. And make sure to fill any gaps that may exist around windows and doors. Window replacement is a big job that can be handled by a residential property management company.

Other areas in the house that your property management company can help with include sealing the chimney in the offseason with a special balloon. Outlets and switches can be sealed with foam gaskets. And make sure crawl spaces, vents, fans and lighting fixtures are sealed properly. 

Regular AC Servicing 

It’s essential to have your AC units serviced every year. Doing so will extend the life of your equipment, help avoid larger breakdowns in the future, and keep the system running at peak efficiency. Yearly inspection and tune-up servicing will include calibrating the thermostat, cleaning or replacing filters, cleaning blower components and condenser coils, monitoring refrigerant pressure, and more. Always have your property management company bring in a licensed HVAC professional for this task. 

Additional Tricks for Keeping Cool Air Inside The Home

Summer heat comes pouring in through windows and glass doors. Consider closing blinds or curtains in rooms that are infrequently used. And do the same in spaces with large windows when the home is unoccupied for long periods of time. 

The position of your thermostat can actually cause your HVAC to work unnecessarily. If there are hot air pockets around the thermostat it may cause your AC to turn on sooner than it should. These air pockets can be caused by gaps around outlets, doors, or windows that are located close to the thermostat. This is one more reason to get these spaces filled. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are things that some homeowners do with their central AC units that should be avoided. For example you should never turn your thermostat down extremely low in hopes that it will cool the house quicker. The equipment will work at the same speed regardless of the temperature setting. You’ll end up bringing the temperature down too low and wasting energy. 

Another thing to avoid is using outdated technology, such as thermostats. Programmable thermostats allow you to set the unit to turn on and off automatically depending on the time of day. This will help avoid leaving the AC running by accident when you’re not in the house. And learning thermostats automatically adjust the temperature based on your behaviors. 

Central AC is must-have during Fairfield County, CT summers. Getting the most out of your equipment starts by taking steps to help them run efficiently. Bring in a residential property management company to help you with some or all of the steps discussed here. And then sit back and enjoy the cool air. 

15
Apr
How Delaying Property Management Tasks Can Lead To Big Costs Down The Line

Dealing with property management projects can be time consuming and costly. Waiting them out, however, can lead to even larger jobs with higher costs. In and around the Greenwich, CT area the ever-changing weather constantly tests our homes. Fairfield County, CT climates bring heavy rains, heat, cold, snow, ice, and wind. These elements put strain on your HVAC system, erode roofing and siding, etc. Keeping up with maintenance can save you in the long run, whether you do the work yourself or employ a residential property management company. The following projects require attention before they lead to bigger issues. 

Frozen Pipes

You may have had frozen pipe issues in the past that were fixed by simply thawing them with a hair dryer. Some, however, don’t get so lucky and the pipes burst. Frozen water inside of plumbing causes water pressure to build up behind the blockage. That pressure can split the pipe. When this happens rooms can flood, leading to major cleanup and repair costs. 

To avoid this issue make sure that all susceptible plumbing is properly insulated or moved to a different space. Water pipes that run along outside walls are more apt to freeze. Adding rigid foam insulation behind these pipes and/or wrapping the pipe in heating tape is a good preventative measure. And it’s always a good idea to raise the thermostat a bit when long cold spells set in.

HVAC Maintenance 

Regularly maintaining your heating and air conditioning systems is one of the most important maintenance steps to take as a homeowner. Doing so will help you avoid more costly breakdowns later. This type of work typically requires the skill and experience of a residential property management company. Their HVAC professionals are licensed to conduct regular maintenance as well as any repairs. 

Furnaces should be inspected and cleaned once per year in later summer of early fall. Central air conditioning units should be inspected yearly in late winter or early spring. Regular maintenance of HVAC systems can reduce the risk of major, costly breakdowns by as much as 95 percent. In addition it can help extend the life of your equipment and keep the systems running more efficiently. Furthermore, regular maintenance is required by some manufacturers to ensure the equipment remains under warranty. 

Paint and Stain

It’s easy to put house painting or deck staining off. These are big jobs that often come with a hefty price tag. Delaying, however, can lead to a more costly job down the line. And it doesn’t take long for issues to creep up. When paint is peeling or chipping the wood will be exposed. Water can quickly cause rot on siding, decking and trim. 

Keep an eye on your painted and stained surfaces. Although a full paint job may not always be required, it’s best to clean, sand and paint sections that have considerable peeling or fading. For a larger painting project you may want to talk to a property management company. A thorough job completed by a professional should last for several years. 

Damp Basements

If your basement has a musty smell, or you can visibly see water entering the space, it’s best to act fast. Taking care of the issue right away will help you avoid mold and rot. Water can destroy insulation, trim, plaster and sheetrock, flooring, subflooring, and floor joists. To help pinpoint the issue, your home maintenance service should conduct a thorough inspection of the basement interior as well as the property surrounding the foundation. 

Pooling rainwater against the foundation is a typical cause of wet basements. This can occur when the land is not graded properly and/or effective drainage is not in place. Your property management professional will make sure that gutter downspouts are releasing away from the foundation. They will also make sure that land does not slope towards the house. If this is the case you may need to re-grade or add additional ground drains to redirect the water. 

Water Marks on Walls or Ceiling

Water in the walls or ceiling is typically a sign of a leaking roof. Another issue, however, could be siding or window leaks. A third possibility is a leaking pipe in the walls. If the water spots are constant it is likely a plumbing issue. When they are more pronounced during and/or after heavy rains then it’s probably an exterior issue. 

If you suspect an exterior issue your maintenance professional should inspect the roofing material, flashing, and gutters. It’s possible that the roofing is in good shape, but the flashing has been eroded or damage from a storm. It’s also possible that the flashing or gutters were not properly installed, which could lead to issues. 

Interior inspections should be conducted by opening up a small section of the wall or ceiling, where the water mark appears. Look for leaky plumbing, and/or follow the trail of water to identify the source of the leak.

Although it’s never fun to confront a home maintenance issue, waiting to solve the problem can make things worse. Homeowners can handle some of these maintenance tasks, but for the bigger jobs it makes sense to bring in a property management company. This way you know the job will be done the right way using the appropriate materials. And when you’re enrolled in a property management program they’ll keep an eye on your home all year long. 

25
Mar
ONGOING HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST FROM PROPERTY MAINTENANCE PROS

Keeping up with regular property maintenance can be a chore, but staying on top of it can help avoid bigger issues down the line. Our Greenwich, CT area handyman pros and trade experts put together a list of items that should be completed throughout the year. By staying on top of these items you’ll extend the life of your equipment and systems. You’ll also feel good knowing that your home is taken care of.

MONTHLY HOME MAINTENANCE 

Safety 

Fire and carbon monoxide issues, although relatively rare, are real threats to you safety and property. Stay safe by testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and inspecting fire extinguishers on a regular basis. To test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors check with the manufacturers instructions for the exact steps to take. Typically they are equipped with test buttons that are easy to operate. To inspect your fire extinguisher first check the gauges needle to ensure it indicates proper pressure. Secondly lift the extinguisher to make sure it is still full. And always make sure that it’s unobstructed. 

Check Air Vents

Obstructed air vents can lead to moisture and mold issues. Sometimes these types of problems occur out of site. To avoid issues your monthly home maintenance program should consist of a thorough inspection of gable, ridge, and other vents. Check to make sure that boxes or other items are not blocking airflow.

Inspect and Change Filters

Clogged filters can lead to poor performance and make equipment work harder by restricting proper air and water flow. This can shorten the life of some systems. Check your HVAC, range hood and water system filters to make sure they remain clean. Clean or replace them if needed per the instructions on the filter or packaging. 

SPRING HOME MAINTENANCE

Roof Inspection

Maintaining your roof is one of the most critical property maintenance tasks. A residential property management company may be required to handle this one. To ensure that the roof stays watertight, shingles and flashing should be inspected. Replace or repair missing, worn or damaged materials. Also inspect the vents on the exterior to ensure there are no issues that may restrict airflow. And make sure there are no tree limbs hanging over the roof. They can break off and cause damage. 

Gutter Cleaning & Drainage 

Remove debris from gutters and test the downspouts to make sure they are flowing properly. Inspect the gutters and replace or repair any damaged or missing parts that would affect water flow. On the ground make sure that water is flowing away from the house by inspecting the runoff areas under each gutter. Downspouts that are connected to underground drains should be attached securely at the base of the connection. And make sure that slabs on the ground under downspouts are in good condition and tilting away from the foundation. 

Air Conditioning

A professional residential property management company should service your central AC units each year. The springtime is a good time to do this. Your HVAC professional will clean the system, inspect the controls and replace or clean the filters. These inspections are critical to keeping your HVAC system running at peak efficiency and will make the equipment last longer. 

SUMMER HOME MAINTENANCE

Inspect Wood and Stone 

Rotting wood and crumbling stone and concrete can lead to safety and water issues. Inspect the siding, trim, walkways, foundation and retaining walls. Make sure there are no cracks, rot or missing pieces. If there are issues you may want to bring in a property management company to help complete the repairs. 

Cleaning and Painting 

To help avoid any rotting issues inspect stained and painted surfaces and refinish the decking, siding, trim and/or outdoor furniture if needed. It can be easy to let these projects go another year, but exposed wood can lead to rot, and that will be a bigger job down the line. 

Chimney Inspection & Cleaning

Homeowners typically have their chimney cleaned in the fall. Doing it in the summer, however, gives you a better chance of getting an appointment before the fall rush. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned once each year if used regularly. A chimney professional will inspect the firebox, liners, flue and smoke chamber to ensure there are no cracks or issues. He will also inspect the exterior to make sure the masonry and flashing is in good condition. 

FALL HOME MAINTENANCE

Heating System Inspection

Having your furnace inspected is a critical yearly maintenance task. This is one task that requires a property maintenance professional. They’ll have a licensed HVAC specialist on staff that can clean and inspect the system. Doing so will keep the equipment working at peak efficiency. It will also help to extend the life of your furnace. 

Window Replacement

If you’ve been considering replacing your windows, fall is a good time to do so before the weather turns cold. Today’s energy efficient windows are made so well that some manufacturers claim a 30 percent energy savings when replacing non-efficient types. Different manufactures and models have different performance ratings, so consult a professional to help guide you. 

Drain & Winterize Exterior Plumbing

It’s always a good idea to winterize outdoor water faucets, pipes and irrigation systems. Frozen outdoor plumbing can lead to burst pipes. To winterize start by disconnecting, draining and storing your outdoor hoses. If the faucets have a shut off valve indoors make sure to turn those off. To winterize irrigation and sprinkler lines, drain the lines and turn off the water supply to the system. 

WINTER HOME MAINTENANCE

Vacuum Refrigerator Coils

Cleaning the condenser coils on your refrigerator can help it run more efficiency. When the coils are clogged with dust and dirt they can’t release heat as efficiently. As a result the unit not only functions less efficiently, but also works harder. This can decrease the lifespan of the equipment. Coils can typically be found on the back or on the front at the bottom. Pull off the protective grate and vacuum the coils with a brush attachment. Special refrigerator coil brush attachments are also available for vacuums. 

Mind The Snow

Clearing snow doesn’t end with a plowed driveway and shoveled walkway. When storms hit you’ll want to make sure gas meters and access to oil lines are clear. When snow and ice accumulate around gas meters it can cause a dangerous buildup of gas that can leak into the home. And the oil company will need to access your lines, so make sure to keep a pathway snow and ice free. Also, keep an eye on exterior vents to make sure they are not blocked by snow and ice. 

This list covers some of the basics of home maintenance. Maintaining your home year round requires a lot of vigilance and some know how. To help ease the burden, and ensure that these tasks are being done correctly, consider hiring a residential property management company. At Duffy Home Solutions we have trained and licensed professionals in all trades on staff as well as essential handyman services. Having a trusted professional to handle these efforts will provide piece of mind for your family.  

26
Feb
The Most Expensive Home Maintenance Repairs, Their Costs, and How to Avoid Them

Homeowners know it’s a just a matter of time before the next home maintenance issue comes up. This is particularly the case in the harsh climate of Greenwich, CT and surrounding Fairfield County. Weather is constantly testing homes. There are ways, however, to prevent small problems from becoming major issues. Bringing in a residential property management company to maintain your home can help keep systems and materials in good condition, and help stave off costly repairs. To help prioritize the items that demand the most attention let’s take a look at repairs that are typically the most expensive.

Roof Repair or Replacement

Replacing an entire roof is a big, costly job, particularly if you have wood or slate roofing. You can extend the life of your roof, and avoid significant repairs, by conducting regular maintenance from a trusted residential property management company. Yearly roof inspections can uncover minor issues that have the potential to get worse down the line. For example, damaged or missing shingles and flashing should be replaced. Trees limbs hanging over the roof should be trimmed. Leaves and debris should be removed from the roof to avoid rotting. And proper ventilation, such as ridgeline, soffit and even cupola vents should be in place, and not blocked. 

Average Cost:$1,200 for a small repair and up to $75,000 for a wood roof replacement. 

Foundation Repair

Foundation issues can be caused by a number of different factors that all revolve around the levels of moisture in the soil. Some of these include poor drainage, poor grading, and/or high levels of clay in the ground. Cracks in the foundation can occur when the soil swells intermittently during heavy rains and melting snow, and then contracts during dry periods. Cracks in the foundation can lead to water infiltration and cause structural issues. These can be costly to fix. If you have an issue like this call a professional to assess the situation. Better yet have someone keep an eye on the foundation and surrounding landscape before there’s a big problem. 

Proper drainage can be maintained with yearly inspection. Your handyman should conduct a thorough cleaning of the gutters once per year. In addition downspouts should be cleared of clogs and the surrounding landscape should be monitored to ensure the grades continually slope away from the house. You should also keep an eye on pooling water. Conditions change, and if you start seeing resting water it’s time to have a professional make a change to ensure the water runs off properly. 

Average Cost: $850 for a superficial crack repair to $20,000 for structural restoration

HVAC Repairs 

The average lifespan of a central air conditioning unit is roughly 12 -15 years. Furnaces last 20 years on average. With regular maintenance, however, these units have the potential to go far beyond that. It is recommended to have your HVAC system inspected, cleaned and tuned once per year. The best time to schedule your AC inspection will be in the early spring before you start heavy use. For the furnace you’ll want to get the inspection done in early fall before the heating season begins. Without proper maintenance small issues can become big issues with big price tags attached. 

Average Cost: $472 for AC, $588 for furnace repairs and approximatly $20,000 for a new furnace

Septic System Replacement

Replacing a septic system can be costly and extremely disruptive to your outdoor space. Investing in maintenance it is well worth it. When it comes to avoiding septic issues some preventative steps can be taken by the homeowner. Others require a residential property management professional that can bring in the right specialists. 

To keep your septic system functioning at peak efficiency never flush anything other than bodily waste and toilet paper. These items will break down with water and diminish with time. This goes for the kitchen sink as well – only water should go down the drain. Food particles and grease are not septic friendly. Have your home maintenance professional schedule a pumping and inspection every one to two years. This will help avoid any issues and ensure the system is functioning properly. 

Average Cost:up to $30,000 for a full septic system replacement and approximately $500 for a yearly pump out

Water Heater Replacement of Repair

Average Cost:$823 to repair and $4,500 to replace  

Water heater issues can lead to flooding and problems can occur when the unit is not maintained. Your home maintenance professional should inspect your water heater yearly. Inspections include checking your shut off valves to make sure they are not broken. In addition joints should be inspected for signs of ware. And it’s always a good idea to flush the system once or twice per year to remove sediments. Failed water heaters are one of the main causes of residential water damage. Regular maintenance can help you avoid getting to that point.

When it comes to home repairs, maintaining is always cheaper than repairing or replacing. Of course finding trusted professionals across the large selection of trades can be time consuming. And it’s hard to know whom to trust.  Using a residential property management company, like Duffy Home Solutions, is an excellent option because we have the full range of trusted pros at our fingertips. At Duffy Home Solutions we can schedule and monitor all of your regular home maintenance inspections, cleanings, and repairs, so that your property remains in peak working order. 

28
Jan
HIRING A PROFESSIONAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY FOR ROOF REPAIR OR ROOF REPLACEMENT

The weather in Connecticut can be brutal on your roof, particularly in costal towns like Greenwich. Your roof is the primary line of defense for stopping water from entering your home. Wind, rain, snow and ice slowly degrade the roofing material and flashing and at some point it will start to break down. When it comes time to repair or replace your roof, hiring the right professional is critical. Using a trusted residential property maintenance company for this job can help assure the job is done right. 

Assessing The Condition of Your Roof

Because storms can cause premature ware, a thorough roof inspection should be part of your yearly maintenance program. Hiring a residential property management company is a good first step. They’ll have experienced professionals on staff that can handle the inspection as well as any work that needs to be done. 

Your home maintenance handyman will be looking for missing or damaged shingles, flashing that is damaged or out of place, and cracked rubber vent pipe boots, among other things. They’ll also inspect the gutters to ensure that water from the roof is running away from the house. They’ll also inspect your drainage. Bent or misaligned gutters, disconnected gutter straps, and/or clogging are all issues that should be resolved. 

Hidden Signs of Roof Damage

Sometimes homeowners don’t realize there is water entering the house because the damage can’t be seen within everyday living spaces. Slow leaks can infiltrate attics, crawl spaces, and basements. Your handyman will thoroughly inspect these areas to look for mold, water stains, wet insulation, and/or rotted wood. 

Avoiding Patches And Hire A Roofing Company Professional 

Homeowners oftentimes try to solve a roofing issue with a hasty patch from workmen that are inexpensive. This process typically ends with more repairs shortly down the line and unresolved issues. Fixing a roof the right way is a process that requires knowledge and skill. This is particularly true when dealing with the complex rooflines of homes like those found in the Greenwich, CT area. 

Oftentimes it makes more sense to replace the entire roof instead of adding patch after patch. By avoiding continual issues you’ll end up saving in the long run. Costs add up when water issues become persistent. You end up paying for the new roof as well as new insulation, sheetrock, paint, and sometimes even framing.

Understanding ice Dams

An ice dam is when poor insulation in the attic allows heat to escape and melt the snow on the roof. The melting snow trickles to the edge and freezes in thick bands. When snow continues to melt, the water gets trapped behind the damns and can get pushed back under the shingles and leak into the house. 

There are multiple steps that can be taken to prevent ice dams. The first step is to make sure that your attic is properly insulated. Insulation issues can allow heat to escape and melt resting snow. Bat insulation can fall off over time, or even be removed by animals. And today’s insulation codes call for a far higher R-value than in years past.  

Proper ventilation is another critical part of fighting ice dams. Make sure that your attic has ridge and eve vents, and that your soffits are properly vented. This ventilation helps cool air circulate through the attic and eves. Also make sure to move any items that are blocking vents. When inspecting your eves make sure that the bath and kitchen fans do not vent into the eves. They should always vent directly outside. Homeowners can handle some of these jobs, but rerouting soffit vents and installing a ridge vent are jobs that typically require a trained professional. 

Making the investment to do the job right from the start is always a smart idea – particularly when it comes to your roof. Leaking roofs can lead to big, expensive issues. By hiring a residential property management company you’ll be assured that any roof repair or replacement job will be done right the first time.

11
Dec
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR THE HARSH FAIRFIELD COUNTY WINTER

Those of us familiar with Fairfield County, CT winters know that the season can be brutal on our homes, particularly in coastal towns like Greenwich, Westport, and Fairfield. Most of the time damage from the snow, freezing rain, ice, and cold temperatures is caused slowly, out of site. To avoid issues it’s important to prepare your house for winter before the harsh weather sets in. Some of these home maintenance tasks can be accomplished by homeowners; others are best handled by a residential property management team that provides handyman services.

Buttoning Up Your Building Envelope
When water ends up in the wrong places it can cause big problems including rot and mold. To avoid water issues from rain, sleet and melting snow and ice, you’ll want to make sure water is effectively flowing away from the house. The first line of defense is drainage. Start by cleaning your gutters, or have your handyman service do so. Remove all debris then test each downspout to make sure they are flowing, as they should. If you have basement flooding issues, or basement water problems of any kind, make sure the gutter downspouts extend at least four feet beyond the foundation.

Inspection and Repair of Your Roof
The roof is one of the most critical elements to shore up during residential winter preparation. Prepping the roof starts with a thorough inspection. You’ll want to make sure there are no loose or missing shingles, the gutters are secured to the structure and not damaged, and that the flashing is properly fastened and in good condition. If you live on a wooded lot, like many Fairfield County residents do, make sure there are no low hanging tree limbs over the house, as they may break with the weight of heavy snow and ice and cause damage to the roof. Also, check for potential signs of leaks in the roof by inspecting the attic for mold, damaged insulation, and/or water stains.

Roof inspection and repair is one step that is probably best handled by an experienced handyman service or residential property management company. They’ll be able to not only identify issues, but also make necessary home repairs. Making sure the proper steps are taken by hiring a home maintenance professional can mean the difference between a small home repair now and a major carpentry project in the future.

Standard Yearly Home Maintenance
The major mechanical systems of your home require yearly maintenance. When it comes to winter prep one of the most important systems to service will be your HVAC. Having your furnace cleaned and inspected each year is critical to keeping it in good working order, and doing so will help you avoid larger issues down the line. A trusted HVAC professional can help you here.

If you have a sump pump make sure the system is fully operational by testing the backflow valves and making sure the discharge pipe is unobstructed. If you have a radon removal system that uses a carbon filter make sure the filter is changed out if it’s due. Also, make sure that your chimney has been cleaned before using the fireplace–and carefully inspect the exterior of the chimney to ensure there are no cracks or leaks. Lastly, if you’re due for a septic cleaning it’s best to get that done before the snow piles up on the yard.

Shore up Your Plumbing
Frozen pipes can be an issue when really low temperatures set in. To help avoid pipes from freezing you’ll want to make sure they are properly insulated, and that insulation has not degraded or been removed by animals. Plumbing that runs along outside walls should receive particular attention, as they will be more exposed to the cold.

Have your water heater inspected to make sure it’s’ working properly to avoid a breakdown when you need it the most. And it’s never a bad idea to have your garbage disposal checked to ensure it doesn’t break down while your preparing your holiday meals.

Protecting Shoreline Area & Waterfront Homes
For Fairfield County residents in shoreline towns like Fairfield, Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, and Westport, certain property maintenance steps will be even more important. Shoreline areas typically see stronger winds and driving rain. As a result these residents should take special care when inspecting shingles, flashing and chimneys. They should also keep a close eye on tree limbs that are near to the house. And proper drainage will be essential for high water table areas that are more prone to basement flooding.

Undertaking thorough winter property maintenance can require a range of experienced professionals. A trusted residential property management company that provides handyman services can take the entire process off your shoulders. At Duffy Home Solutions we have a full team of trusted, experienced home maintenance pros at our fingertips to handle the entirety of your winter preparation needs, as well as your year round maintenance needs. Contact us to learn more.

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