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Irrigation Systems

Ok, here is the anticipated blog about irrigation systems. Now some folks that have snow are probably shaking there heads. But in the warm south its getting warmer and people are already cutting their grass, me. So lets begin.

When we have an irrigation system installed at our homes there is a lot to consider from planning to maintenance of the systems. What we want to talk about is the heads, the pump, and also some facts about the maintenance.  When we are having our systems come on, you will see one zone come on for about 3-5 minutes. Depending on the type of pump, will determine how many heads will be per zone. Older systems are 1-2 heads and newer can be up to 5. But you never want to have more than one zone come on at a time.

The heads are your main maintenance items. Dirt, lawn mowers and animals can be a contributor to why these items some times do goofy things. For example, its best to maybe have a donut around the head so the lawn guy does not run over them. Its best to have them clean every so often. Especially the directional head types. If they can not spray then its defeating the purpose of the head.  Now on a different note, many irrigation contractors place the heads near equipment, (the hvac unit) and even though it may be a directional head some are not. This will cause the unit to prematurely fail.  I always recommend the heads to be about 3-5 feet away from the units.

Next we have the pump. The pump can be in the ground or above depending upon the system. However, you do not want the box that houses the pump above ground. The pump connects to the manifold which controls the system. You will see the system is light gauge wiring and wire nuts. The wire nuts are not the typical ones you buy a bag for $3.00 at the local store. They are water proof. They have silicone in them to protect the wires. Make sure that you have these. Most systems fail because of improper materials.

And lastly, the brain of the system. The timer or some call the clock. The clock will control the zones from the mainifold. The clock will also allow you to turn on a zone buy it self. For example, if you just planted a new bush or flowers and want to water them after planting. You can also program the time you want to come on. For many, the times are usually 5 am and 8 pm. Just before and after the sun.

So, I hope this may explain a bit of the irrigation system and few maintenance items. If you have any questions feel free to contact us anytime.  352-322-2700 or                      www. emeraldinspectionservice.com

 

Appliance Inspections

via Appliance Inspections

Appliance Inspections

#Appliance, #Inspection, #Bartow, #Land O Lakes, # Sumterville, #Clearwater, #Range, #Outdoor, #Kitchen

Good morning everyone..  This is a blog that I put out once or twice a year.

When we are starting to prepare for cooking our meals we really don’t give much thought about the oven (s) but when we are preparing a special meal like cooking for Valentines day or St. Patricks Day and Easter then we need to give some extra attention to this. And I want to share some points that also should be thought of.

On a general inspection we inspect all the appliances for operation and the systems as well. However, we do not inspect the oven for temperature. And that is where I like to start. The oven is quite simple. You have conventional and convection.  If you have the traditional style convention oven and its electric first thing is to make sure the elements are in tact. Test the oven to make sure the broiler works and oven element. Make sure the bottom of the oven is clean.  And additionally, get a small thermometer and check the temperatures. Set the oven for 425 and check with the thermometer. Every range from your temperature setting should be +/- 5 degrees. More then that then you may wanna think about an appliance technician. Now, if you have a convection oven. Make sure the fan is working with the other parts I just mentioned.

And now you may say what about the oven if its natural gas or propane. Good question, the biggest thing with them is the burner and pilots. Now days ovens have electric ignition. You still need to clean the pilot holes and burner for the ovens. Plus check the temperatures as well.

If you have an outdoor kitchen with propane tank, make sure you have a spare bottle. Never want to be cooking your favorite steak on a grill and poof. No more fire. Additionally, some bottles will leak. Its always best to make sure all the fittings are tight, the hoses are not kinked and again the burners are cleaned.

Now when we get called for an appliance inspection we will do this plus more. We inspect the washer hoses and dryer vent. We additionally, make sure the units are working normally. Then we inspect the garage door for proper operation. If there are trash compactors and garbage disposals we inspect them too. And lastly the HVAC units.

So we hope this helps and gotcha thinking before your next big meal prep. If you have any questions anytime feel free to call us at 352-322-2700 or look us up at: http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com   We can perform this type of inspection in the Tampa, Lakeland, Tarpon Springs and Brooksville Florida areas. Thank You.

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Concrete Cracks

We were on an inspection last week and part of the inspection is about concrete cracks in the driveway, sidewalks and other concrete areas on the exterior of the home.  A lot of times the cracks go unnoticed and are forgotten about. And we do our due diligence by reporting them. But this time it struck me odd. And the realtor almost broke her ankle due to the cracking in the driveway. So I wanted to take this time about the cracks and why they are a so a must to repair. So lets begin.

Normally when we see cracks there is either 3 different causes. Your typical settling and aging cracks of the concrete. These are those tiny hair line cracks that you will notice in the garage, the driveway, sidewalk or porch. Sometimes they appear around the decking of the pool. They are not major but they should not be overlooked. Over time these cracks will seperate more. This is the time to have them repaired and be done.

Then we have the type of concrete cracks that over time have been ignored. The concrete has gotten moisture intrusion and with hot and cold temperatures the cracks have separated more then a 1/4″ gap.  This usually happens after a freeze or winter. Still a moderate easy fix. But anyone who wears any type of heal will catch the heal in the gap and is definitely a safety hazard. When we see this, it is noted as well but more of a safety hazard instead of monitor. Now this separating of the crack should not had happen overnight. Its over time. Remember it starts out as a tiny hairline then grows to a 1/4-1/2″ gap.

And lastly we have the omg style cracking. This is usually occured when some type of structural or mechanical elements fail. For example water lines under the slab. Or you may have an area that ground erosion has started to occur. This is a bit more serious. The concrete may have lifted or settled and sometimes be intact. (tree roots sometimes do this) There is a cure to fix this but it will be more costly then the simple hair line crack.

So in closing remember every few months while doing exterior maintenance on the home, walk and check the concrete around your home. Unless you specifically look for something you may not see it.  To learn more about this feel free to look us up at; http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or better yet give us a call. 352-322-2700. We perform concrete scanning and all concrete is noted on our inspections such as annual home maintenance, general inspection, and 11 month warranty inspection. The areas are the Gulf Coast, Central Florida, Brooksville, Tampa, Polk City, and Webster areas are just some of the areas. Thank You.

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Pool Maintenance

You probably saw the title and thought he does not have enough coffee. Yes in some parts the pools are closed and people are under their covers. However, here in sunny Florida we are still using ours. ( I know 10 days of winter) The main reason behind this blog is not to keep the pool guy employed. But its to make you aware of some things to take care of before we are back in the water. So lets begin.

There is three major components when it comes to any pool.  If you have an above ground pool or in ground pool with a small spa.  The first is the pump. The pump is the brain. And if the pump fails then the pool will get cloudy and eventually black. The pump area has your controls to back wash, clean etc. You have a filter either cartridge, sand or  diatomaceous earth.  And you may have a heater  that is powered by solar or gas. And your control panel. (Little trick, if the panel is not illuminated, check the fuse or may have a battery, this will save you a ton of money.) This entire area is mostly where you want to keep up on your preventive maintenance. For example, the pump constantly runs. If it is noisy it could be the bearings. Some are sealed and some not. But question is when is the last time the ball bearings where lubricated.. Check the ground and bonding wires. Very crucial.  And check the piping and other valves. Is the area free of dirt and debris. No leaks even the slightest will cause failure. And never place plastic covers over the equipment.

Now that was one element of the pool system.  The other two not so intense. You have the pool flooring and walls. Some have tile some don’t. This area needs to be maintained too. Walls need to be cleaned. Tile need to be re-grouted. Skimmers cleaned out and the pool floor is where the algae sticks too. Cleaning the areas will make you use less chemicals so you are not pouring money into it. The lights I save leave alone. If the bulb fails its probably 5 yrs old. If it fails shortly after you replace it. Then you may have an electrical issue.

The last part is the decking. In ground pools will have brick along the edge with concrete. Above ground may have a deck wrapped around. This area is always forgotten. The water splashes into the bricks and sand dissipates. The wood gets wet and never power washed and resealed with a stain and sealer.  Some may have an expansion joint and this needs to be checked too. Very minor maintenance to take care of.

So as we here in Florida  may still use our pools now is the time to get that maintenance done.  Because in 8 weeks we will be in our pools more then we think. As for our friends and family in the extreme chilly winter, keep this as a reference. Because in March pool companies will start up with the cleaning and maintenance.

If you have any questions about pool maintenance or want us to inspect the pool equipment, feel free to call us anytime. 352-322-2700. Or email, info@emeraldinspectionservice.com.  We proudly do our inspections from Palm Harbor, to Hernando and from Polk City, to Leesburg Florida.

qwESHih

 

Heat Loss

This weeks blog is about the dreaded heat switch.  Our blogs this year some will have a twist with guest bloggers from the industry and few topics that haven’t been talked about before. The biggest thing is making sure our information is correct and up to date. This weeks blog is about heat loss. So, lets begin.

When it comes to heat loss we really do not think about it until the outside temperatures are cold. Cold enough for us to put the dreaded heat switch on. A lot of us will try to put extra layers on before that happens. And some just accept the fact. (me I dread the heat)

Lately you may have noticed the heat comes on and goes off. And if it is doing it more than coming on for about 15 minutes per 50 minutes you could be experiencing heat loss. Now homes will loose heat. Unless you are in a new condo or apartment you will. Doors, windows, fans will allow cold air in and heat out. This is normal and we aren’t trying to sell you a remodel.  But this will tell you how much and what to do.

What we tell customers before we do an inspection or service for this we ask them to go to the windows or door with heat off and ask them to place a match or lighter next to the area. If the flame is moving slightly you will be experiencing heat loss. We will use infrared technology to determine this.  Also, if you feel the ceiling is cold some insulation maybe needed to upgrade.

Now you maybe asking ok, what do I do. Well the minimum is put plastic on the windows. Bubble wrap is a good inexpensive way. Another is check to make sure the caulking is good. Not cracked or missing. Check the insulation in the attic. If its blown and dense, you may need to upgrade. Also you can call us to perform an energy audit, infrared test or blower door test.  And one last thing. Your thermostat. If its old, or in a spot near the door or windows, consult with an HVAC contractor.

We hope this helps with the dreaded heat button. If you have any questions, feel free to call us anytime or look us up at www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

Christmas Light Storage

Good Day and Happy New Year!

We are revamping our blog with new and up to date topics. Also we will be having guest bloggers to share some of their thoughts this year as well.  This weeks blog is about storing Christmas Lights. Probably asking huh. Read on. So lets begin.

I am sure you know how to install your Christmas Lights on the tree or the gutters. However, what about the wire of the lights it self and the receptacles and extension cords. That is what this blog is about.

When removing the lights check the wires of the lights. One small short or tear can result in shorts or other damage to the area. The wire on the lights are thin wired and can be punctured or torn easily. (quick tip. wrap the lights around a box or hanger so they don’t get tangled)

The extension cord. The cord should had been a GFCI extension cord for the outside. Before wrapping that up and placing in the garage, check the tripper. Make sure it trips. If it does not. It is defective. Trash it and make a mental note about getting a new one.

Lastly, check the receptacles inside and out. If the plug feels a bit loose or actual receptacle is loose. Try tightening with a screwdriver. If still loose. The receptacle may need to be replaced.  Still a minor task after the decorations are down.

These three steps will help you next year so its not a headache doing the decorations. Feel free to contact us anytime at, 352-322-2700 or www.emeraldinspecitonservice.com

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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

 

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