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Maintenance & Tips

Gutters and Downspouts

Where the water goes and how it gets there are very important factors in our beautiful Pacific Northwest. It takes some maintenance to keep things flowing away from your foundation. When water begins to overflow gutters, splash against siding, and pool against walkways and foundations, that’s when problems begin to occur. Keeping debris from drains, spillways, and gutters is key to keeping the water moving. You should inspect your gutters, downspouts, and drains twice each year; once in the fall and once in spring. This will give you the opportunity to clean out debris before and after each period of debris-causing weather. During the year be sure to notice any pooling water, splashing water, or water spilling over its intended pathways and don’t wait for your bi-annual maintenance to clear the obstructions. This will save repairs due to water intrusion and damage. Using things like gutter guards, drain grids, and grading the slope of the terrain away from your foundation will help to keep your maintenance chores to a minimum.

Roof Inspections and Maintenance

The roof over your head is one of the most important parts of your home but because of its location and difficulty to view, it tends to be neglected. Whether your roof is made of different types of shingles, tile, sheet metal, or some new high tech material, it will age, can take damage, and eventually fail. Keeping tabs on its condition is important and regular maintenance will extend the life of your roof. An annual roof inspection and maintenance plan is a must in our region due to moss growth, chimney and vent cleanings, and debris removal. Removing tree branches, leaves, pine needles, and whatever else you may find up there will reduce the moisture retention and ability for moss to take up residence on your roof. When removing debris from your roof you should also be looking for damage where big branches may have come down in a storm and created holes and such. You should also be looking at your flashing around vents, chimneys, and edges. If flashing becomes loose or dislodged, it can become an avenue for water intrusion and should be reinstalled and secured in place. The overall condition of the roof covering should also be monitored closely, especially at the edges, penetrations, ridges and valleys. When removing moss there are several types of moss removal products and application styles. After the product has been given time to kill the moss, the most important thing is to be gentle when removing it so as not to damage the roof. Aggressive scrubbing, scraping, or spraying (like with a power washer) are all things to avoid. This can damage the surface of your roof and reduce its life expectancy. A good way to remove moss is with a soft broom or leaf blower starting at the top and moving downward so as to not lift any shingles or tiles causing damage or debris to move up in between the surfaces. Doing nothing for moss removal is equally as bad as roof damage because the moss and moisture will get between the shingles or tiles, lift, and cause premature rot of the roofing and possibly the roof sheeting.

Water Heaters

Water Heaters are an essential system in the home. There are a few key things you should look at when inspecting a water heater. Take note of the power source; natural gas, propane or electric. Note its location inside or outside the home. Tank and plumbing supply-line insulation help with energy efficiency, especially if it is located in a non-heated area. If it is located in a garage, be sure it is up on an approved platform, a minimum of 18” above the garage floor. This is to prevent any flammable gasses that may be present along the floor from igniting. Despite its location it should be in a pan that is plumbed to a drain should a leak occur. Earthquake strapping will always be recommended if none are present to prevent a water line break, gas line break, or electrical break that all could cause fire or flood damage in the case of an earthquake. An expansion tank will also be recommended if one is not present to help with thermal expansion and water hammer. Gas water heaters should have a drip leg installed in the gas supply line to allow for moisture to collect rather than be introduced into the water heater which will reduce the life of the components. You should test your relief valve annually by lifting the lever and flushing the valve for a few seconds. You should also drain and flush your water heater tank annually to help extend its life by reducing the amount of sediment within the tank.


What all do you see wrong or missing with the above water heater?

The Importance of Hose Bib Insulation

With the freezing temps we have in the winter months, it is important to make sure your hose bibs are insulated and have the hoses removed. Weather you have frost free hose bibs or the old standard, I recommend covering both styles to prevent them from freezing. You can never be too safe.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

It's not often we have hard frosts in our region, but when we do there are things you can do to help prevent costly damage due to frozen pipes.