21 Mar 2018

For the Homeowner: Annual Maintenance Checklist

Most of us would rather not have to deal with home maintenance, but the reality is that homeownership is a year-round, full-time job. I’ve compiled a list of key home maintenance items to consider year round. Take care of them before they cost you big.

Spring Maintenance

No Winter lasts forever, and no Spring skips its turn. There’s no better feeling than feeling a springtime sun after a long winter. But when Spring comes around, its time to give both the inside and outside a once-over.

The Yard

Your first order of business should be to check on your yard. Give it a good raking to clear any leaves that lasted the winter, and lay down a thin layer of mulch to prevent any unsightly weeds from popping up. Spring is also a great time to reseed your lawn and eliminate any dead patches left behind from the wintertime.

It’s time to store the snowblower and break out the lawnmower. Remember that most hardware stores (Lowe’s) offer tune-ups for your lawn equipment. We recommend that you set your mower to the highest mode possible. Cutting your lawn too short can expose the grass’ roots and damage the yard.

The Trees

Earlier this year, we went through an unbelievable two days of high-speed winds. What we didn’t count on is the wind finding a few dead tree limbs and breaking them right off. Luckily none of them hit the house, but we did come home to find two giant branches laying across our driveway. A contractor or an arborist can run an inspection of your property and recommend which trees are healthy and which trees need to be trimmed.

The House

Be sure to take a thorough look at the outside of your home. Check the chimney for cracks or signs of failing flashing, inspect the roof for missing, bent or broken shingles and check the foundation for cracks or water pooling. Remember that catching maintenance problems early can prevent costly repairs later.

The Gutters

This is the thing that no one likes to do, but it’s important to ensure that your gutters are clean and draining water away from the house properly.

The Siding

Check for signs of peeling paint on the house. If you have vinyl siding or brick, you may want to consider a pressure washer to clear away any unsightly mold. Finally, check around the bottom of the house for weeds growing up and under the siding.

The Irrigation System

Now that winter is over, it’s time to pressurize your irrigation system and get your yard back in order. Be sure to contact your local contractor to get your irrigation system back up and running.

The Pool

If you own a pool, now is the time to prepare it. You’ll need to treat the water, change the filters and inspect the equipment before getting in the pool. Consider hiring a professional to safely take care of the pool for you. This could cost you an average of $250, but we think its better than any potential medical costs or the costs of repairing damaged equipment.

HVAC Systems

Call your local HVAC professionals to clean and service your compressor and system. The inspection can check for signs of damage or the need to recharge your system. Trust us, get this taken care of before the hot summer days and the HVAC techs are all booked for weeks.

Plumbing

Check your basement or crawlspace for any signs of water leaks, water damage or pipes in need of maintenance.

Pest Control

If you’re noticing ants, bees, snakes, raccoons, skunks, mice or an excess of squirrels or birds, be sure to contact your local pest control professionals. A lot of costly problems can be circumvented early by realizing that there is a potential for a problem.

Summer Maintenance

It’s been said about summer: if you’re not barefoot, then you’re overdressed. Be sure to keep up with summertime chores and you’ll have a home and yard that’s inviting and relaxing.

The Garden

It’s time to dig up weeds and plant your fruits and veggies. Set a routine to water plants and contact your local contractors to ensure your irrigation system is still in check. Remember that during hot summer days, your plants will need more water than in the spring.

HVAC Systems

If you took care of the tune-up in the spring, your system should be raring to go in the summer. Remember to regularly change your air filters on the intake, inside the home. This one maintenance tip can prevent a lot of unnecessary repairs later on.

Fall Maintenance

If each season is a painting, Fall is a mosaic of them all. There isn’t a giant honey-do list during autumn, but don’t let the beautiful weather let you fall behind.

The Grounds

After Spring, the second best time to plant shrubs and trees is early Fall. If you decide to do planting during the autumn months, be sure that they’re getting enough water. If you’re trying to keep your lawn well manicured, remember to remove the leaves as often as possible.

The Gutters

Speaking of leaves, make sure your gutters are clean and undamaged.

Fireplace

Now is a great time to get a professional to inspect the fireplace and chimney and prepare them for the winter months. Chopping your firewood now will give it time to dry out by the time it gets cold.

Windows and Doors

Make sure your windows and doors are sealed properly to prevent warm air from escaping. Caulking the doors and window frames is a simple and easy way to save money over the cooler months.

Dryer Vent

Clogged dryer vents are the cause of thousands of home fires each year. Make sure that you’re getting your dryer vents inspected and cleaned out by an HVAC specialist. These folks specialize in ductwork.

HVAC System / Boilers / Radiators / Gas

Now is the time to make sure that your heating system is tuned up, optimized and ready to heat for the winter. If you’re using a gas based system, be sure you’re topped off and ready to go.

Winter Maintenance

What good is summer warmth without winter to make you miss it? Winter is the time to hunker down and enjoy the comfort of the indoors.

Frozen Pipes

As it gets colder outside, there’s a potential of the water in your plumbing system freezing. As water freezes, it expands and can cause your pipes to explode. To prevent this, make sure that your house doesn’t drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and when the temperature is close to freezing outside, keep a faucet or two in the house dripping water.

Winterizing your Irrigation System

Contact your local irrigation system professionals to blow out any excess water from your pipes and prepare your system for winter.

Generator

If you own a backup power system, make sure that it’s fueled up and in good working condition. Check it regularly to ensure there’s no corrosion or rodent damage.

These are some of the major things that should be taken care of annually. The National Association of Home Builders conducted a study that showed how often other components of a home need to be changed. Make sure you give that good reading and keep it handy for the future.

For all of your home maintenance and contracting needs, be sure to contact G&R Contracting at 804-360-2686.

07 Mar 2018

Top 5 Ways to Prevent Damage to your Home from a Tree

Trees are beautiful, and some of the longest lasting things on earth. But they have their downsides. Falling trees and tree limbs are responsible for countless amounts of home and property damage.

Here are 5 things you can look out for to prevent it from happening to you:

1. Look out for dead trees.

It's not a matter of if the tree will fall, it's a matter of when. Dead trees are especially dangerous if located near homes or driveways where cars usually park. Keep in mind that even though insurance will usually cover the damage that a tree has on your property (or your neighbor's), it's your responsibility to make sure that the trees are maintained. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a tree is dead or if it just needs a shot of coffee. If you're noticing one of these guys in your yard, reach out to your local arborist. A tree professional can often inspect and test a tree to suggest the best course of action.

2. Keep an eye peeled for dead branches.

A tree may not need to be dead to have dead branches. A few days ago Richmond, VA experienced unbelievable winds. In addition to blowing around some debris, we lost about half of what we thought was a healthy tree. We're lucky it didn't hit anything except the yard (and barely missed the mailbox). Be sure to keep tree limbs trimmed back to prevent them from coming down on your property.

3. Keep an eye on your roof.

Tree limbs that aren't exceptionally long but are touching your home or roof can still be a major problem. As the wind blows the limbs, they can catch your shingles and begin to damage and even rip up your roof. Be sure to keep the trees around your home trimmed back. Thousands of Americans visit the hospital each year from roof and ladder-related injuries; if you aren't comfortable getting up on your roof, call a tree trimmer or arborist to take care of the job for you.

4. Notice leaning trees.

Even beautiful, healthy trees that are leaning too heavily can be concerning. Some trees have the capacity to lean in a particular direction (oak is a strong wood that often leans) but they should still be inspected thoroughly to ensure that they don't grow too large and lean too much.

5. Mushrooms at the base of your tree.

Mushrooms and conks can be signs of decomposing or rotting trees. They will often attack older trees, so it can be beneficial to get the tree and mushroom inspected. Usually, it isn't a problem, but it's always best to be safe rather than sorry.

Keep an eye out for these things. If you ever feel concerned, reach out to G&R Contracting at 804-360-2686.

** We don't actually remove trees but we can refer you to a specialist that we trust!

(804) 360-2686