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.  

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.

27
Sep
FALL HOME MAINTENANCE TASKS

The best way to protect your home, likely your biggest investment, is through preventative maintenance. What may be only a small problem now could develop into a disaster down the road. And the time and cost of preventative care is only a fraction of what you might have to spend if you neglect it. Here’s a checklist of tasks that we recommend for every home as the Autumn season sets in.

  • Winterize air conditioning systems. Duffy Home Solutions recommends replacing filters at the end of the usage season so the older dusty filters are not compromising your system.
  • Get heating system ready for winter.  Check for leaks around windows and doors. Make sure heating vents are open and not blocked by furniture. Duffy Home Solutions makes sure their customers furnaces are serviced/inspected annually
  • Flush hot water heater and remove sediment. This prolongs the life of the heater and helps with efficiency as well.
  • Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets. Also flush hoses and store them. Winterize sprinkler systems.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Once most of the leaves have fallen, have gutters and downspouts cleaned out. Clogged gutters during rainstorms can cause water to pool and damage your roof or siding. Don’t forget any sunken window wells!
  • Get chimney cleaned. You most likely have not used it in a few months and want to make sure it is in top shape for those cozy nights at home.
  • Test sump pump.  You don’t want to wait until you need your sump pump to find out it is not working.
  • Check driveway/pavement for cracks. Make sure to have re-sealed before winter; water can freeze and expand in the cracks, causing more damage.
  • Make sure you have snow removal planned. Don’t wait until that first big snowfall to look for a snow plowing service provider!
  • Inspect, and possibly change out HVAC filters. Many experts will say to change the filters monthly, but that is not always necessary. Duffy Home Solutions has found for smaller families without pets or allergies, changing the filters every 2-3 months is sufficient. If the filter is dirty, we change it out, otherwise inspect it again next month.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home. Is any paint chipping? Is any siding damage? Are there any holes in your brick? Take a close look all around your house, and be sure to check the foundation for any cracks. Make sure there are no entry points for little critters looking to escape the cold!
  • Test smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. Another simple task; your detectors should have a reset button. If the alarm sounds, you are good to go. If not, replace batteries immediately and test again. If it still does not sound, it is possible there is simply corrosion on the battery terminal, and it won’t detect new batteries.  Clean it and try again. If it still doesn’t work, you will likely need a new detector.
  • Inspect your fire extinguisher’s. This inspection doesn’t require much: ensure it has easy access (not being blocked by a garbage can or anything else), that the gauge shows adequate pressure, and that it has no visible signs of wear and tear.
  • Clean kitchen sink disposal. Duffy Home Solutions finds the best all-around solution seems to be vinegar ice cubes. Put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze, then run the ice cubes through the disposal. It freshens it, but as a bonus, ice sharpens the blades.  This is a helpful task to do at the change of each season.
  • Clean range hood filters.   Your indoor kitchen will be used a lot more over the long winter evenings. Duffy Home Solutions suggests simply using a degreaser from an auto parts store mixed with hot water. Let the filter sit for a few minutes, rinse it off, and you’re good to go.
  • Run water and flush toilets in unused spaces. This mostly applies to guest bathrooms, or any other sinks/water sources you don’t use on a regular basis. The idea is to prevent grime or any other kind of build up. Regularly running a little bit of water through will prevent this.
  • Check water softener, add salt if needed. For homes with wells, you shouldn’t need to add salt every month, but better to check anyway, as it only takes about 5 seconds.
  • Test the pressure relief valve on your water heater. This will prevent mineral and corrosion buildup, which safeguards against leaks. It will also help your heater run more efficiently.
  • Vacuum the coils in the refrigerator. The fridge can use up to 15 percent of your home’s total power, so you want it running as efficiently as possible. Over time, the coils get dirty and your fridge requires more juice. You can save up to $100 a year by doing this, and it’s not at all a difficult task.
  • Check trees for interference with electric lines. Have professionally trimmed if necessary.
  • Inspect roofing for damage, leaks, etc. A simple inspection of your roof by an expert before the snow and ice arrive will give you great peace of mind this winter!

 

For assistance with these or any other home maintenance or repair tasks contact us.

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