Making Your Home Hazard-Free

We work so hard making savings towards owning a home such that when we buy the home, we forget to make it a haven. It is important to take note of unsafe conditions within the home and repair them in time before a hazard strikes. For instance, it takes one fire to realize that you should have replaced that smoke detector that broke a few years back. The most common accidents in the home include falls, poisoning, fires, choking, and drowning. It is important to take care of broken fixtures around the home that will lead to such accidents.

 

Falls

Doctors’ worldwide report having treated majority of injuries from falls making it one of the most common household hazards within the home. Falls arise from having slippery floors, scattered toys, and slippery stairs. Falls cause potentially risky injuries to the brain, bones and the spine. It is important to minimize falling risks by stabilizing the staircases by having handrails installed. Ensure adequate lighting to prevent one missing a step. Secure the bathroom by having proper drainage of water to prevent water slipping out causing wet floors. Install non-slip stickers on the bathroom floor to prevent slipping on wet floors. Have a secure storage place for children toys to avoid adults tripping on toys that are lying around the home. Clear clutter in the outdoors that may cause injuries to children as they play outdoors.

 

Poisoning

Majority of house maintenance and cleaning supplies pose poisoning hazards to your family. Always store medications out of children’s reach. Secure paints, chemicals, and detergents in areas away from the foods. Have latches and locks on doors of storage cabinets or rooms containing hazardous personal products such as soaps, hair products, and body products and ensure to dispose of correctly their empty containers after use.

 

Fires

Fires cause devastating damage to your home including the loss of life to both humans and their pets. It is necessary to install some fixtures that will help prevent a fire becoming uncontrollable. Ensure that all electrical wires are unfrayed and unplug electrical appliances when not in use. Avoid overloading electrical outlets by plugging the right appliance in the right outlet. Have a fire alarm and smoke detector installed in your home and change the batteries regularly. Also, consider having a fire extinguisher installed in the home especially near the kitchen and regularly check that it is in good working condition.

 

Choking

Research indicates that chocking is the fourth largest cause of accidental deaths. Chocking is scary, and therefore one should arm themselves with information about chocking to keep the family safe. Keep your home safe by inspecting children’s small toys to avoid swallowing. Cut up foods into small pieces that can be easily chewed by children and ensure to supervise the kids during playtime.

 

Drowning

There are rising cases of deaths through drowning in the bathtubs. Keep buckets locked up after use. Always close the toilet lid and never leave the child unsupervised during swimming and bathing.  

Fourth of July Safety Tips

shutterstock_140378605The Fourth of July is this weekend, and many families are finalizing their plans. No matter what your activity, be sure to take precautions to ensure your holiday is happy and safe.

Grills

  • Always read the grill’s instruction manual, no matter how simple you may think operation is. If you’ve lost it, most manufacturers have digital versions available on their website.

  • Be wary of the grill’s location. In Charlotte, grills cannot be used on balconies or within 10 feet of multi-family residences. Similar precautions should be taken near single family and townhomes as even flameless high temperatures can melt vinyl siding and smoke can cause other damage (including to your lungs!). Also be mindful of where people will be sitting and children will be playing. Your manual will most likely have a minimum distance.

  • Before lighting, do a safety check of the grill. Ensure it is free of grease that can cause flare ups, that gas flow is unobstructed, and so on.

  • Be prepared – Have a fire extinguisher or at the very least, a garden hose on hand. Never leave the grill unattended.

Pools

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or near the water. In addition, teach your children water safety and how to swim.

  • Always have a phone handy in case of emergency.

  • Learn CPR and pool rescue procedures.

  • Ensure all pool equipment is operating properly and is in compliance – including safety drain covers.

Fireworks

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, and always have an adult supervise older children. Don’t forget that sparklers can cause burns as well!

  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose on hand in case of mishaps.

  • Never place your body above a firework when lighting a fuse, and don’t aim fireworks at another person, animals, landscaping, or structures.

  • Douse spent devices with water after they have completed burning.

  • Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket as friction can ignite them.

  • Do not light fireworks in metal or glass containers.

  • Never relight a dud.

 

Open Water & Watercrafts

  • Always wear a properly fitted lifejacket. Recreational boats must carry a lifejacket for each person on board, and children should wear one at all times.  Adults who are not strong swimmers should wear one as well.

  • Understand swimming in open water is more difficult than swimming in a pool, and advise children of the dangers of open water.

  • Open water tends to be murky – always be aware of drop-offs.

  • Stay hydrated as dehydration can cause weakness and tiredness, both dangers when swimming

  • Perform a safety inspection of your watercraft before launching it. Ensure phones and radios are operational, life jackets meet US Coast Guard regulations, and life saving devices are easily available.

  • Take a boat safety and operation course.

  • Don’t forget about the dangers of carbon monoxide on watercraft, and know the signs.

From: Maintenance Specialists

Practice Proper Ventilation

Ventilation helps alleviate problems by getting rid of excess moisture. Either spot ventilation or whole-house approaches can be effective:

Spot ventilation.  

Your kitchen and bathroom fans can effectively remove moisture from the home if they are vented outside. Make exhaust fans easy to use by wiring them to a switch or a DE humidistat. A De humidistat measures relative humidity levels and turns on the fan when needed. If you need spot ventilation in other areas, quiet, low-sane fans ducted to the outside are the best choice.

Whole-house ventilation.

You may want to install a duct system that mixes outside air with that returns to the furnace. An air-to-heat exchanger a more expensive option captures heat from the air being exhausted. It’s a good option for maintaining   comfort in homes without a central furnace.

 Don’t go overboard on moisture control

Be a savvy homeowner when it comes to moisture. Some wintertime condensation on windows is normal, even in an efficient, well-ventilated home.  Not all houses suffer from high relative humidity. In fact leaky houses can become exceedingly dry on the winter as cold, dry air flushes from the home.

Having some moisture in your home will make it more comfortable and healthy. Humidity levels between 20 percent and 40 percent are normal. Below relative humidity of about 20 percent, human health suffers because the respiratory system doesn’t operate as efficiently. Low humidity also causes static buildup, warped floors and trim, and other problems.

However, running a humidifier or putting pans of water on the stove is not a good way to solve dry air problems. This can cause moisture to migrate to other locations in your home and cause problems.

 

Consider Roof Maintenance

Did you know that as many as 35% of all roofs do not reach their life expectancy? There are many factors that can cause the life of a roof to be cut short. But there is something that you can do that will help them reach their full life span.

5 Common Causes of Roof Failure

There are 5 common causes  making up over 80% of all roof failures. Number one by far is poor workmanship. Adams Roofing Professionals participate in regular training from the manufacturer to insure the quality of our installation is what they recommend. The second leading cause of roof failure is poor design. Not all roof designs are created equal and some designs need special attention. Faulty materials and weathering is the third cause of the failure of a roof. Occasionally the materials used will be defective or react negatively with the elements. Various types of weather can also have an effect on the life of your roof. The fourth cause is trapped moisture or mechanical damage. This can be due to improper attic ventilation. Roof traffic is the final of our list of 5 common causes of roofing failure. Walking on any type of roof puts the surface at risk of damage due to the potential of compromising the materials used on your roof.

Roof Inspection

Having your roof inspected twice a year and implementing any recommended repairs can help extend the life of your roof as much as 50% longer than if you only had it looked at once you experienced a leak in your home. Documenting any maintenance done on your roof provides you with a written history of your roof and its repairs. This in turn can help you create a budget and plan for the future needs of your roof.

Advantages of Roof Maintenance

Actively maintaining your roof will extend the life expectancy of your roof. It can also minimize your roof’s life cycle costs because you are not replacing your roof before its time. Having a qualified roofing professional inspect and maintain your roof can protect all your roofing warranties – materials, labor, and workmanship.

Preventative Tips for Maintaining Your Home

We are currently in the hottest of our Summer months and as we approach Fall we will begin to experience drastic swings in evening and day time temperatures.  The hot days and cool evenings cause expansion and contraction of the soil and ours houses in general.  These extremes can cause failures in plumbing, the HVAC, caulking, weather proofing etc.   Monthly or yearly inspections of your house can help to minimize damages.

Below is a basic check list of items to look for.  To do a more thorough detailed inspection you should hire a qualified professional.  We recommend that a professional perform any repairs.  Contact your Management Company for a list of qualified approved vendors.

Plumbing:

  • Inspect the valves and drain lines feeding your sinks and toilets. Inspect the caulking around the base of your toilet.
  • Inspect your water heater.  Look for signs of mineral build up, water damage, water staining, cracks or rust.
  • Check the caulking on counter tops and shower enclosures for cracked or missing areas.
  • Check the handles on your countertop to make sure they are sealed and secure.

HVAC:

  • When not at home set your air conditioning to 78 – 80 degrees
  • Replace the filters every 3 – 6 months.  Remove the register to the furnace plenum and inspect for signs of water damage.  While the register is removed vacuum the plenum to remove house hold dirt and debris.
  • Never store items in your furnace closet. This is a fire hazard and extremely dangerous.
  • Your HVAC should be checked and serviced by an HVAC technician a minimum of once per year.

Appliances:

  • Inspect for any suspect issues.  Inspect for water staining or puddles.  Check the fittings and lines for cracks or wear.
  • Have the dryer exhaust vent cleaned once per year.

Interior:

  • Vacuum your house once a week to prevent dust and dirt build up.  If you have allergies you may need to do this more often.
  • Open the windows to vent your home.
  • Check your bathroom exhaust fans.  Are they working efficiently.  If you do not have a bathroom exhaust fan, make sure you air out the bathroom after taking a shower.  Water build up from the steam of a shower can cause damage over long periods of time.
  • Look for water staining on the baseboards and ceilings.

Exterior:

  • Have the rain gutters cleaned every fall.
  • Inspect the exterior of your house for wear.  Look for cracks or damage to the stucco.
  • Inspect the windows for damage or weathered seals.

During these inspections if your encounter mold growth use precaution and contact your management company immediately.

Four Signs That You Are Overwatering

Not all signs of too much water are this easy to spot. Brown tips but leaf is still soft and limp.

Giving your plants too much water is one of the biggest issues I see in landscapes today.  The mistake of overwatering your plants is not easy to diagnose.  In many instances too much water mimics the signs of too little water.  Below are four signs you can easily recognize to determine if you are giving your landscape too much water.

1.     Your plant is wilting but it looks like it has plenty of water

Roots are critical to plant life. They are the primary source for water, food and the intake of oxygen. The roots of the plant take up water but they also need air to breathe. Overwatering, in simple terms, drowns your plant. Oxygen fills the space between the particles of soil.  Soil that is constantly wet won’t have enough air pockets and plants will not be able to breathe by taking up oxygen with their roots.

2.    Leaves turn brown and wilt

Leaves turn brown and wilt when plants have too little and too much water.  The biggest difference is too little water will result in the leaves feeling crispy when you hold them in your hand.  Too much water and the leaves will feel soft and limp in your hand.

3.    Edema

When roots of plants absorb more water than they can use,  water pressure begins to build in the cells of the leaves. The cells will eventually  burst, killing them and forming blisters and these areas will look like lesions. Once the blisters erupt, tan, brown or white warty growths begin to form where the blisters originally were. Plus you will see indentations forming directly above the growths on the top sides of the leaves.

4.    Yellow leaves

Stunted slow growth with yellowing leaves is a symptom of overwatering.  The other sign to observe during this condition is leaf fall.  If you have yellowing leaves and old leaves as well as new leaves are falling at the same accelerated rate you are providing too much water.

Check your soil regularly.  Don’t be afraid to push you finger into the soil and see how moist it is an inch or two down.  If the soil is moist and you have some of the conditions above it’s an excellent sign to reduce your water.  Also, many stores sell inexpensive but accurate moisture meters.  You simply insert them in the root ball and they will tell you how much water is in the soil.  This is a simple and inexpensive tool that will take much of the guess work out of watering your landscape.  I hope these tips are helpful and please share a few of your own in the comments area below.

Four Home Maintenance Mistakes You Should Never Make

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get from fixing up your own home. Whether you’re repairing damaged molding or upgrading your kitchen to a newer look, home improvement can be very rewarding when the job is done. At MSI, maintenance is what we do every day. We’ve seen it all, from sheet rock repairs to large remodeling ventures. Here’s a list of the four most common mistakes to watch out for when you have a maintenance project in the works.

1. “I didn’t know I needed a permit for that!”

Forgetting to acquire the proper building permits can be detrimental to any project. Nothing puts the brakes on an otherwise well-planned remodel than the building inspector! Some folks try to fly under the radar, but we recommend that you always get the right permits. Any project that MSI completes is guaranteed to be done right. That includes making sure that we have all the right county permits to get the job done.

2. “He told me he was bonded and insured”

Contracting under-qualified maintenance workers could be one of the most costly mistakes on this list. Always use contractors with references, and check with the county to make sure they have all the qualifications they claim to. A little due diligence could mean the difference in a job well done and having to tear it up and start over. All of MSI’s highly trained specialists are bonded and insured for your peace of  mind.

3. “Primer? What primer?”

Taking shortcuts may seem like the easy way to get ahead, but it will cost you in the long run every time. Whether your painting your bedroom or building a deck, always make sure your work is the best it can be and don’t try to take “time-saving” shortcuts to get the job done faster. At MSI, we take pride in our work. You’re guaranteed  to receive our best work any time you need our help.

4. “Hey guys, watch this!”

No one can afford to ignore safety, especially in the maintenance field. Always take the necessary safety precautions when doing any project. MSI is dedicated to providing the best service in the area, and that includes making sure that both our client and our employees are safe.

Avoid these mistakes and you’re on your way to a successful maintenance project. As always, contact MSI whenever you need maintenance work at your home or business in the greater Charlotte area. You can rely on MSI for dependable, quality work.

HOA Maintenance Plan

The purpose of a maintenance plan is to train a board of the homeowners association and the property manager in the ways to properly maintain the common element components. Following a well prepared maintenance plan will help extend the life of the amenities and reduce costs to its members.

An effective preventive maintenance plan must meet the following five key objectives:

  1. To preserve the investment of the owners. Preventive maintenance can extend the useful life of building components, in turn, maintaining and enhancing the value of the property.
  2. Buildings operating at peak efficiency. Because preventive maintenance ensures that items are still operating as they were designed, therefore, reduce inefficiencies in operations and energy use.
  3. Prevent failures of building systems. Buildings that work seamlessly allow occupants to enjoy the property as planned. Preventive maintenance includes periodic inspections and replacement of equipment crucial to construction operations.
  4. Maintain a safe and healthy environment. Protect the physical integrity of the building, which retains a safe environment for residents.
  5. Provide cost effective maintenance. Preventive maintenance can prevent small problems from becoming major failures and costly repairs. Preventive maintenance can be handled relatively cheaply, efficiently and systematically throughout the programmed day, while large failures always happen after hours, sometimes inclusive of the top billing and equipment that must be special ordered (Murphy’s Law ).

The Maintenance Plan aims to provide clear guidance to the board and management of how and when to offer repairs to the building and land components. If consistently followed in conjunction with a properly prepared fee schedule, the components will enjoy their maximum useful life and repair costs will be held to the minimum. This is how the successful homeowners’ associations operate.