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Hurricane Preparedness

Source: Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Preparedness

As we are preparing for a major storm in Florida, and as we did last year this time. This is a blog for some preparedness ideas.  Additionally, if you want to know more about roughing it out go to,  https://www.pascoremodel.com/blog.html for more information about utilities and safety.  If you have any questions, feel free to call us anytime at 352-322-2700.

As the storms are going to be arriving in the Gulf Area and the Coast on the Atlantic. We wanted to share with our followers some easy tips and helpful reminders. This blog is not to alarm anybody and the weather can change to where some places in Florida may receive a sprinkle of rain and others 5 inches. So, lets begin as you ride the storm out.

Take a walk around the perimeter of the home. Bring in the lawn chairs or stow them securely. If there are items for the pool or the grill is on wheels. You may want to secure them as well. Then take a peek at your gutters and tree branches. If you see debris in them it maybe a good time to remove it. Some flooding can be caused by drainage systems backing up. If you notice any tree limbs that are brushing against the home. Take time to trim them back at-least 18 inches. And finally as a small tip, on items around the home. Make sure that all outdoor receptacles are covered. Lastly, do not park your car under trees, if you can help it.

Now for what we like to call for the preparedness storm box. First remember when you loose power you have no wifi and tv unless you have a back up generator. So, you may wanna consider a few items to get you thru the storm if you loose power for a couple of hours. For example. Batteries, 2 sets, for 2 flash lights. Candles to be placed in dark rooms like bathrooms. Have a few cases of bottle water. If you are on a well pump. The commode will not flush properly after you loose power. May need to consider a couple of coolers with ice. Depending on how long you loose power. (Normally the food in the refrig is good for few hours.) Then you want to consider charging up any batteries such as for drills or other tools. Now lets go into comfort zone. This may seem funny. But if you have gas or charcoal grills this is your cooking device. Make sure you have plenty on hand. Nothing wrong with a steak as you are watching the storm. Then grab some chips and games. The simple pleasures of keeping your mind occupied will help.

The forecast for the Gulf Coast of Florida is undetermined at this time. So I hope all is well to everyone. Make sure you have on hand all important telephone numbers. And not just speed dial on your phone. Educate yourself with government services such as shelters, hospitals, fire and police stations and their contact information. Make sure your family knows where to go if you get separated and don’t forget about our four legged family either. Have cats and dogs near you and their crates ready to go if you need to evacuate. If you need us or have questions, feel free to call us anytime. 352-322-2700. If you receive hail and wind damage and your insurance company needs inspections completed, please remember we are certified in Hail & Wind Damage Assessments. We service the Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Hernando County areas immediately.

Fall Maintenance

First, we like to wish everyone a Happy and Safe Labor Day Holiday. Now this weeks blog is about fall maintenance. Just like a lot  of us we are glad the high temperatures and high humidity with rain season is tapering off. The leaves are going to be changing and chillier temperatures at night. Additionally, fall means that time of the year to put a bit more attention on some maintenance for the time of the year. So lets begin with this weeks blog is about Fall Maintenance.

When we are getting in the fall the windows will start to open more, the ceiling fans will be on lower speeds, the yard maybe getting new mulch, and of course our gutters will be clogged from the falling leaves. For some of us on busy schedules we will have landscapers and our favorite contractor taking care of certain outside items. With the kids back in school, now maybe the time to think about a small remodel to the dining room because of the upcoming holidays. Then you have the systems that never get thought of. Below is a list of fall maintenance items that you may wanna check and keep in mind for the upcoming months.

For example. The beginning of every month you want to change the air filter on the furnace. But whens the last time you had the fan on the blower cleaned and the drip pan cleaned out. The ceiling fans with the dust should be cleaned on the tops along with cleaning the baseboards in the home. {Dust mites contribute to allergies} The exterior near the base of the home a lot of landscaping needs to be attained to, like the mulch turning and sloped toward the yard and not the home. With the heat and the rain, you may start to see small cracks in the pavement or driveway, and they should be filled. But the biggest ones to consider are the windows and gutters. Window balances typically fail about every 2-3 years. One reason is they will constantly be in use but during summer they sit and the oil or grease on the balances will collect dirt. The window tracks will be full of dirt from the yard debris. And with the gutters. Yes, leaves falling collecting on the roof in the valleys and in the gutters. This is your biggest yet. Clogged gutters and leaves gathering in the valleys is a main contribute to moisture intrusion. Having proper gutters attached and down spouts secured will assist to divert the water as needed away from the home. And for those who have sump pumps, make sure the battery back up is charged and the discharge lines are free of debris.

These are just some of the many items that should be addressed as we are about to change seasons. Being here in Land O Lakes, Florida we are leaving rain season and will be enjoying the fall too. So we hope this may help. If you have any questions feel free to call us anytime. We can perform and provide a fall maintenance check list for you. Contact us at 352-437-5300 or look us up at; www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

 

Roof Inspections

We have had a few phone calls from seniors about inspecting their roofs. Now we do a roof certification for insurance purposes, but this was more for their own personal knowledge.  A lot of companies feel that during any type of inspection they just don’t need to walk the roofs. Can’t explain it but to me on any inspection the inspector should get up there. Lets think about it. Inspect roof, inspector not inspecting roof for roof inspection. So lets begin about what we did to handle our client.

While talking to the client and the concern he stated to me that their is companies that are using other companies with drones. {Great, little machine, doing human work} But the operator is not a trained inspector.  The machine will not be able to tell soft spots on the roof and then they will say call a roofer. This is purely bs.. So our office stated we will do a small report and match the drone company report. This was kinda curious for us as downsizing the reports we do. Upon completion the owner of his home got a report and was noted that some warranty repairs needed to be corrected. This then turned into other neighbors near by with the same concern.

Once we were done, our reporting was then sent over to other roofing contractors. So for a short blog this week. Lets think about the next time you need service. Call a company that stands by their reputation and will share to clients why its better to have inspectors with contractor experience then a machine with none.

Thank you again everyone for following our blog and if you need this type of service or others in the Tampa, Clearwater, Hudson and Lakeland Florida areas feel free to call us anytime. . 352-322-2700

Pool Maintenance

Well we are all in the middle of summer. A lot of us enjoying the pool with family and friends. The night time cook outs with the kids and just soaking up the sun. Some of us enjoy the pool all year long. While some of us have the use of the pool til September. While we are on inspections we perform the pool inspection for clients. But that unknown fact of maintenance is more important for life long time of the systems. So I wanted to share with you some basic tips to keep the pool dude away and save you some money. So lets begin.

First its important to maintain the pool water area at all times with the right chlorine or salt balance. Too much or too little will affect the water and your skin. If we get a heavy rain for few days it is best to shock the water. This kills off the algae. And yes you have the leaves that we all hate, but they have to be skimmed daily too. But there is a bit more too it then just that. For example, the coping and tile. These areas will receive the abuse from the sun, the water and just usage. It is a good idea to check to make sure the grout is in tact, the coping sealant is not shrinking or ruffled and no loose tiles. This is also easy maintenance items that a home owner can do or the pool dude.

Now lets get into the pump area. It may seem like its a maze but really it isn’t. The time clock if it is analog you want to make sure that the stops are on tightly. That the weather cover is in tact and that the clock is set properly. Nothing like having the pump come on at 3 am.  And here is the mystery math about how long to run the pump. You should run it 1 hour per 10 degrees of outside temperature. So for example if its 90 degrees you should run the pump 9 hours.

Of course we will be gladly to assist you with this or contact your local pool maintenance company. We inspect pools as a primary service in the Clearwater, Ocala, Tampa and Lakeland Florida areas. We will go to other communities as well. http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

Thank You.

Door Knob Hardware — Emerald Inspection Service, LLC

I wanted to share with you something that came across us on an inspection about a week ago.

via Door Knob Hardware — Emerald Inspection Service, LLC

Door Knob Hardware

I wanted to share with you something that came across us on an inspection about a week ago. Its about the door knob and a bit of preventive maintenance. So, lets begin.

While we were on an inspection in Lutz, Florida we noticed that the door knobs to the home was not engaging the key freely for the front door. Yes, we check the keys as part of the inspection process. When we further continued we noticed that the key was slightly bent and that the lock was aged.  So after documenting that the front door lock and key should be repaired or replaced the locksmith shows up.

The locksmith was there to replace all the exterior door locks do to the property being bank owned. When he was there I asked about any tips on the lock hardware. He basically told me that one, the locks should be lubricated about once every 4 months or so because of the pins and springs in the lock. This is what causes the locks to be tuff to enter the key. Additionally, it was stated that the keys that you get made at the big box stores are a different metal gauge then from the locksmith. Also, the locks with the combination keypad the batteries should be replaced every 6 months.

So from our expert we have now included recommendations and comments about lock hardware in our reports. Its funny that we have a simple device and yet never think that it too needs a bit of preventive maintenance.

In closing I personally want to thank everyone for the continuous support and followers from our blog. It was just about 4 years ago I had decided to follow thru for the training for home inspections. And glad I have.  So for more information about lock hardware or any other type of inspections that we perform in the Tampa, Brooksville, Lakeland or Clearwater Florida area, feel free to go to http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call 352-322-2700. And lastly I would like to wish everyone a Very Happy July 4th Holiday.

happy-4th-of-july-2

 

 

Mobile Home Inspections

Source: Mobile Home Inspections

Mobile Home Inspections

Well I know its been a while since our last blog. Some family travel and work. So today I wanted to blog about Mobile Home Inspections. And the key point that should be known if you plan on buying one. So lets begin.

A mobile home inspection is similar to a regular home inspection. There are some differences though. For example, they do not have a foundation, they sit on blocks. They normally have a heat pump or an air conditioner with auxiliary heat. And a lot of times the piping for the plumbing maybe PEX instead of CPVC.  Now I am going to get into abit of technical below of what is good and bad and should be upgraded.

Mobile homes have straps to hold the home down incase of bad storms, especially in Florida. The concrete block should be in a shoe or resting on a plate. Older homes will not. The biggest key to the blocks is making shore they do not crack. If cracking is involved in the block then there is some kind of movement. The HVAC system hardly ever has an air handler unit. Its normally one unit outside. Its very important to keep these maintained. The heater part is 3 coils like a toaster with a small fan. The air conditioner part has coils and need to be cleaned to improve air flow.  And now the piping. Years ago manufactures where using polyethylene style pipe. The fittings were faulty and would blow apart. Now not all gray pipe is this style. A newer system has come out and is PEX. The key component to this is making sure the fittings are proper.

Additionally, for a mobile home you may want to consider adding a salt treatment for the water and probably some kind of purification system.  Your roof if it is metal you will want to keep clean and remove debris. You want your inspector to inspect the crawl space fully! And lastly the major difference between a mobile home and a slab style home is the data tag. This is the vin number of the home or side. If it is a double, you have 2. Key reference point to any mobile home inspection.

For more information about mobile home inspections or any other type, feel free to call our office anytime at 352-322-2700. Look us up on the web at www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

We will glad to perform this type of inspection and several others in Mulberry, Hernando, Clearwater and Land O Lakes Florida anytime. Thank You.

crawlspce

 

Quarterly Home Maintenance

This weeks blog is about home maintenance when the seasons are about to change. Four times a year there should be certain items that we do for our home to maintain and maybe just check on a few things that we normally forget about. So lets begin.

As we are trying to get out of winter and into spring there are some items that should be checked, changed and maybe repaired. For instance. Most of the country was in a deep freeze. Now is the time to check your windows and screens. Making sure that the window balances or cranks are working. Maybe they need a bit of lubricant. Check the screens. They maybe need to be re-screened. This is an example of a few things.  But below is a more detailed list for you.

Monthly

  • Inspect, and possibly change out HVAC filters. Many experts will say to change the filters monthly, but that’s not always necessary. For smaller families without pets or allergies, you’ll likely be okay changing the filters every 2-3 months. If the filter is dirty, change it out, otherwise inspect it again next month. I’ve also been told by handymen to go with cheaper filters and replace them more often versus going with the expensive filters.
  • Clean kitchen sink disposal. There are a bunch of ways to do this, but the handiest and 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. You’re welcome.
  • Clean range hood filters. If you’ve never thought of doing this, you’re in for a real “treat” when you get that filter off the hood to clean it for the first time.
  • Inspect your fire extinguisher(s). We’ll assume you have and know how to use an extinguisher. 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.

Quarterly

  • Test smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. Another simple task; your detectors should have a “test” button. If the alarm sounds, you’re good to go. If not, replace batteries immediately and test again. If it still doesn’t sound, it’s possible there’s 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’ll likely need a new detector.
  • Test garage door auto-reverse feature. In 1993, federal law required all garage doors to have this feature after multiple child deaths. Test every month by placing a 2×4 on the ground where the door would close. It should reverse after a second or so when the door hits the wood. Also test the photo-electric sensors if you have them by placing something in front of them (not your body). If the door doesn’t immediately go back up, you have a problem.
  • 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. You shouldn’t need to add salt every month, but better to check anyway, as it only takes about 5 seconds.

Biannually

  • Test your water heater’s pressure relief valve. This will prevent mineral and corrosion buildup, which safeguards against leaks. It will also help your heater run more efficiently.
  • Give your house a deep clean. Take one Saturday every six months with your whole family, and give the whole house a proper deep clean. Appliances, windows, dusting every nook and cranny (including the basement), etc. Keeping things clean and not letting dirt/grime/dust build up over years and years will help keep your home in tip-top shape.
  • Replace batteries in smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. I’d never heard this before, actually. I just assumed you changed it out when it started giving you the low battery beeping noise. This tip was in everything we researched, however. With something as important as this, you can’t be too careful, and batteries won’t break your bank. Change ‘em out every six months.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils. I actually learned this tip from a refrigerator repairman, and our research confirmed it. 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.

Annually (Organized by Season)

Spring

Spring is a big month for home maintenance. They don’t call it “Spring Cleaning” for nothing. Especially focus on the exterior of your home as it’s just gone through winter and is preparing for summer heat, and in some parts of the country, brutal humidity.

  • Check the exterior drainage. Will rain water flow away from the house? Puddles should not stand around your home for more than 24 hours. If water stays, or moves toward your foundation, you have a few options. First, check your gutters. It could be a bad spout or a loose connection there; they may also just need cleaning. Second, you can grade the area around your home yourself with some dirt; this has worked just fine for me in the past. Third, for pavement, you can have professionals come out and raise it so it drains away from your home.
  • Clean out gutters. They’ve likely accumulated leaves from the fall and grime/sediment from the winter snows and/or rains.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home. Is any paint chipping? Is any siding damaged from winter? Are there any holes in your brick? Take a close look all around your house, and make any repairs as needed. Also be sure to check the foundation for any cracks. A good silicone/caulk can fix a lot of your problems.
  • Get your air conditioning system ready for summer; consider having it serviced. This one really depends on your individual home, and even which part of the country you live in. Some places mostly just use window air units, while other places (like my home in Colorado) use a big swamp cooler up on the roof — these are fairly basic machines where a quick internet search can help you fix any issues that come up. Also refer to the user guides for specific regular maintenance. Central air is obviously a more complex system. Getting it serviced by a professional should be around $100 or less, and it will save money and headaches down the road.
  • Repair/replace damaged window screens. You don’t want bugs making their way in because you missed a hole in a window screen. And no, duct tape doesn’t count. It can be a quick fix, but don’t leave it for long. It just looks bad.
  • Clear dead plants/shrubs from the house. This could double as a gardening tip, but if you didn’t trim trees or shrubs in the fall, do so now. Plants can weasel their way into cracks and holes on the exterior of your home, causing damage and shortened longevity. Nip that in the bud before it’s an issue. If you have decorative vines on the exterior, pay close attention.
  • Check trees for interference with electric lines. Have professionally trimmed if necessary.
  • Inspect roofing for damage, leaks, etc. Repair as needed; you may need a professional.

Summer

Summer is a great time to focus on the exterior of your home, as well as your lawn and garden. It’s also perfect for having that garage door open and utilizing the prolonged daylight to work on any manly projects you’ve had on the backburner.

  • Check grout in bathrooms, kitchen, etc.; repair as needed. This will prolong the life of your tiled surfaces and just looks better.
  • Inspect plumbing for leaks, clean aerators on faucets. Go around to all your faucets and toilets and check for any small leaks. If you have poor water pressure out of a faucet, the aerator is the likely culprit and it’s an extremely easy fix.
  • Take care of any insect problems you may have. Summer is their playground. You probably won’t have to look too hard to notice any insect problems. Ants, spiders, moths, etc. are all common, and fairly easy to take care of. Keep cobwebs clear, have ant poison handy, make sure all doors are tightly closed, etc. If termites are common in your area, this handy article gives some tips on how you can do some inspection and prevention yourself.
  • Clean and repair deck/patio as needed. It generally just needs a good washing. A deck may also need re-staining. Also check for any loose boards or posts and repair as needed.
  • Clean out window wells of debris. If you have a basement, you also have window wells. All kinds of things can get down in there from leaves, to trash, to animals.
  • Check and clean dryer vent, other exhaust vents to exterior of home. While the dryer is running, check that the exhaust is coming out. It should smell nicely of fresh laundry. If there isn’t much exhaust, check for blockages as well as you can. You may need a professional. Also vacuum the lint from the hose at the dryer.
  • Clean garage. Cleaning the garage should be a summer ritual for every man. Keeping it clean and tidy will extend its life, and it often gets neglected of regular care. With all the extra dust it gets from the manly projects you’re working on, you should actually clean it even more. Once a year, however, give a thorough going-through.

Fall

Fall is an in-between season where you’re finishing up your summer home maintenance tasks as well as getting your home ready for winter. Cold, snow, and rain can do a number to a home, so you don’t want to ignore winter preparation.

  • Flush hot water heater and remove sediment. This prolongs the life of the heater and helps with efficiency as well.
  • Winterize air conditioning systems. Remove and store window units. If you have central air, cover the outside unit with a tarp or plastic sheeting and secure with bungee cords.
  • Get heating system ready for winter. Check for any leaks in windows or doors; these can cost an arm and a leg. Make sure heating vents are open and not blocked by furniture. Get furnace serviced/inspected at least every other year, preferably annually. As with the AC, this shouldn’t be a huge expense. Don’t forget about fireplaces if you have them.
  • Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets. Also flush hoses and store them. Winterize sprinkler systems as well, if you have one.
  • Get chimney cleaned, if you have one. Some folks say to do this in the spring, some say fall. Either way, just make sure it’s done once per year.
  • Test sump pump. You don’t want to wait until you need your sump pump to find out it’s 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.
  • Buy winter gear. Have sidewalk salt, good shovels, etc. ready for winter. You never know when that first snow will come!

Winter

Winter is the time to go around the interior of your home and check for any little things you may have overlooked, or perhaps noticed and said, “I’ll get to that later.” Winter is your later. If you have any interior honey-do projects, whether it be painting, building shelves, etc., now is a great time to tackle those as well.

  • Regularly check for ice dams and icicles. De-icing cables that sit at the front of
  • the roof work well. Don’t let icicles grow, as much as the kids may want you to. They’re not only a danger to people standing beneath them, but they’re incredibly heavy and can cause damage to your home. They also can cause water damage to your foundation when they  melt.
  • Test your electricity to the extent that you can. Always, always be extra careful when working with electricity. You can do a couple things on your own, though. Check that all outlets work; if they don’t, you can re-wire them on your own. Also, test your GFCI outlets. There are wildly varying opinions on how often to test this. Some say monthly, others say annually.
  • Tighten any handles, knobs, racks, etc. Go through the house and inspect anything that could have a loose screw.
  • Check all locks and deadbolts on your doors and windows. If anything doesn’t work right, replace.
  • Check caulking around showers and bathtubs; repair as needed.
  • Remove showerheads and clean sediment. This prolongs its life and helps with water pressure as well.
  • Deep clean and inspect the basement. Basements are notoriously overlooked, especially if they’re primarily just storage areas. Dust ‘em up, clean any windows, make sure there isn’t mold anywhere, etc. Give your basement a good inspection at least once a year.
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