Fire Safety

If you haFire Safetyve small children in your home, make sure one window in each child’s bedroom is easily opened. Children have a tendency to try and open windows instead of breaking them to escape a fire. They are afraid to break windows, because subconsciously they know they will get in trouble, even if they won’t actually.  Children often die in fires for that very reason.

Have a plan in case of fire, which includes a meeting place in front of the house to be sure everyone is out of the house.

We recommend each home have at least one fire extinguisher.

Tree Limbs

Tree Limb DamageBefore the roofs get so hot they fry our bottoms, it’s time to get up there and trim the limbs back 4 to 5 feet that are touching or almost touching our roof.  Gouges in the shingles are obvious, but the simple brushing of the shingles by the leaves will brush away granules and thereby lead to premature failure in the affected shingles.  Please be careful, if you do it yourself.  The older we get the less we bounce.


Rain Gutters

Rain Gutters2


If your home has drainage problems and you do not have rain gutters, you should consider installing them. This can help correct or even prevent foundation issues.

If you DO have gutters and you allow these gutters to become clogged or broken you can cause more damage than good. We know that cleaning leaves out of gutters is hardly anyone’s favorite pastime, so we suggest that you install a wire frame netting across the top.

Chimney Caps

Chimney CapA cracked cap allows water to penetrate the chimney causing premature deterioration.  The purpose of a chimney cap is to prevent water from penetrating the top of a masonry chimney. The chimney cap should not be confused with the rain caps which sometimes cover the tops of chimney flues to prevent rain water from running down the flues. A chimney cap is usually constructed of concrete; however, some are stone or metal. A good quality cap normally overhangs the sides of the chimney at least one inch to provide some protection for the chimney from water which is dripping off the cap.
In many cases, a proper cap is not provided. Bricklayers often put a thin coat of mortar over the top of the chimney (exclusive of the flues, of course). With time, this thin layer of mortar cracks and eventually becomes loose. The rate of deterioration to the top of the chimney which does not have a cap depends largely upon the type of masonry used to build the chimney and the quality of the mortar.


Checking Your Roof 



After a storm you should always check your roof for missing shingles, missing rain caps on furnace and water heater vent stacks, and natural gas appliances that require vents. You don’t necessarily have to climb on your roof to check these out; using binoculars works just as well and is much safer. Make a habit of looking up at your roof whenever you approach your house, either from the front or back yards. This way you will notice immediately if something is wrong.

Furnaces are expensive and a missing rain cap on the vent stack can shorten the life of the heat exchanger by more than half. Note that not all pipes sticking up on your roof need rain caps, some of them are plumbing vent pipes.

We encourage you to look at your roof as you are driving up to your house, since you can get a good view of the roof that way.

Foundation Maintenance

FoundationThis has been a very dry winter in the Central Texas Area.  The strength of the foundation, particularly east of IH35, is directly dependent on the moisture content of the soil.  You can easily check this with a screwdriver.  About 12 inches from the foundation push a long screwdriver down into the ground.  If the soil is moist you can tell it … if It’s dry you can tell that too.  Your goal is to keep the moisture content as evenly as possible year round.  Remember,  fluxuation in the moisture content is the major contributor to movement of the foundation.

Leaking Garbage Disposal

Gabrage Disposal Pic

It is not that uncommon over time for a garbage disposal to start leaking water under your sink.  Fortunately, this is not a hard fix.  The leak can only come from three areas; the sink flange (very top of the disposal), where the waste drain line meets the disposal and where the dishwasher hooks up.

For a leak at the sink flange you will want to unhook the garbage disposal which consists of loosening three screws then rotating the unit counter-clockwise a half-turn.  The unit will slip right off and then you just need to remove a snap ring (stick a flat head screw driver in and pop it off) then you can pop the sink flange right out which is sealed to the sink with plumber’s putty.  Clean off all of the old plumber’s putty from the sink flange and the sink; also make sure nothing is bent so that the sink flange can sit flush with the sink.  Roll some plumber’s putty and make a ring on the sink where the sink flange will sit, then put the sink flange back in place and add pressure.  The excess putty will ooze out up top and underneath the sink, clean that away and put everything back together.

For the other two leaks, make sure that all screws and clamps are tight.  If they still leak you might need a new hose (only for dishwasher) or pipe.  There should be a gasket where the waste drain line hooks up, so make sure that is there as well.