Repair


Roof Replacement

What about that roof! Irving and other areas of the metroplex had a major hail storm on Tuesday night. My roof is a total loss as are many others in the area. Please advise your clients to be careful when selecting a roofing company. Here are the things to be aware of:

  1. Are they local? If not, how do they handle warranty issues?
  2. How long is their leak warranty? Yes, there are two warranties on a roof. One from the shingle manufacturer which covers the shingles only. No labor/installation. Two, provided by the installer can range from 1 to 5 years and should cover leaks/installation issues for any reason other than acts of God.
  3. Do they have references? And, how long have those people been clients? If they just put the roof on, the reference isn’t worth much.
  4. When do they want to do the work? If immediately, be careful, we are at the beginning of the hail season. You don’t want to have two claims and pay two deductibles in the same year. Temporary repairs can be made that will last a month or two. That is what I have done at my house.
A roof replacement is one of the most expensive repairs you can make. And, your roof is your first line of defense to protect the rest of your house. Don’t make a snap decision due to fear of an immediate leak. You may have worse to deal with in the future. Also, remember, a roof replacement requires a city permit in most cities. Check with your city’s building inspections department if the roofer you are talking with says you don’t need a permit.

SIDE NOTE: Water Heater Vent Stacks and Roof Replacement

Today I was at the second house that had a roof replaced last year and had a disconnected water heater vent stack. If you have had your roof replaced it is very important to check your water heater vent stack to confirm it was not dislodged or disconnected during the roofing process. It is very easy to fix but has the potential of allowing carbon monoxide into your living space if left disconnected.

 


Stay Cool With Your HVAC Service

Spring is almost here and that means summer and summer heat is close behind. One of the most important tasks for your home is to get your HVAC serviced. Ideally, you should have it done twice per per year.

A few things to remember about HVACs and service:
1. No one can service your system for $29, $39, $49, etc. If they are offering a small up front charge, they will most likely make it with repairs.

2. Repairs! If the repair they are calling for during service is over $100, GET A SECOND OPINION! A dishonest HVAC tech can make your system “appear” to need a repair when it doesn’t.

3. Use a company you know or has been referred. In most cases good companies get all the business they can handle from referrals. Other than good companies have to use other means to get business.

4. In most cases it is not cost effective to upgrade your system. There are exceptions, especially if you can get a grant from the power company.

5. If your house was built in the late 70’s or 80’s you may have duct issues. Check your attic to see if you have duct work covered in gray vinyl. And, is the breaking and coming off the insulation surrounding the pipe. If so, you need to get your duct work replaced. Yes, it will save you money both in energy and in wear on your system.

And remember, you are always welcome to call us for service or with questions.

 


GFCI vs AFCI

There seems to be much confusion between GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt) and AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupt). I am going to attempt to explain the difference in the two:

GFCI is protection for electrical outlets in wet locations. bathrooms, kitchen counter-tops, garage, exterior, etc. These outlets are designed to shut down or “trip” if there is a short to ground. Meaning, if you are taking a bath while using a blow dryer and drop said blow dryer in the bath water the GFCI should shut down the circuit to protect you from being electrocuted. Remember, electricity always tries to get to the ground. If you are between the electricity and the ground, you will get shocked. Most times GFCI protection is provided at the actual outlet, or up stream from a standard outlet. Sometimes it is done at the breaker in the panel box.

AFCI is protection of an entire circuit, always in the panel box, that prevents an electrical “arc.” Arcs happen when there is a short in the wiring or the appliance plugged into it. One of the most common examples is an extension cord run under a throw rug that slowly wears out allowing the protective plastic coating to fail and the two wires touch or “short” which causes sparks which catch the throw rug on fire, etc. NOTE: NEVER NEVER NEVER place cords under rugs, mattresses or anywhere where friction could damage the insulation.

Since an AFCI protected circuit must be isolated, it can be costly to install this type protection in an older home due to the use of “shared neutral” home run. More information here: http://static.schneider-electric.us/…/Ar…/0760DB0203R902.pdf

 


 

Hail Season and Roofs

We are getting into hail season and wanted to give you some things to think about. In most cases hail damage to composition shingles, the kind on most houses, does not result in an immediate or even long term leak. This may not be the case with concrete, tile or other type roof covering. Damage to skylights, flashing and plumbing vent boots may result in leaks.

When considering your options after a hail event, think about the hail season. Is it early in the season, could there be another hail event? A roof does not necessarily need to be replaced “immediately” unless there are issues beyond the roof cover. It might be prudent to wait until the hail season is past. A few years ago, we replaced a roof twice in three months due to multiple hail events. The owner ended up paying their deductible twice. And, in today’s world, that can be real money. If you have a contractor saying you are going to have leaks and have to get your roof replaced now. Ask for specifics about the potential leaks, is it flashing, skylight, roof cover, etc. Is a temporary fix, patch, possible? Consider a second opinion.

Recently, my personal home was hit by small hail. I had multiple roofers come by and tell me I had “major” damage and needed my roof replaced. I had been on my roof. I knew I had only minor granule loss and nothing that was even close to a leak threat. Just for fun, I called my roofing subcontractor and ask him to come by and check it. He said, no need, the hail was not big enough to cause anything but minor granule loss! Why pay the deductible when you don’t have to spend it!

There was a recent change in the code allowing one overlay, technical term for putting a new layer of shingles on one old layer. This may safe some money. But, what about the next hail event. Will your insurance company pay to have two layers removed? It would be best to check with them before you agree to an overlay.

Finally, if you have to replace your roof, consider a class 4, impact resistant, shingle. Most insurance companies give a discount for a class 4 roof. Yes, they are more expensive. No, your insurance company won’t pay for the upgrade. However, one deductible from one hail event will pay the difference. And, if it does have to be replaced, insurance pays for a new class 4.

 


 

Anti-Siphon for Dishwasher Drain

Customer Question: What is the purpose of the anti-siphon or high loop on my dishwasher drain line?

The anti-siphon/high loop is in place to prevent the dirty water, food particles and general junk put down the garbage disposal from going into your dishwasher. Yes, without one, you could be washing your dishes in bad water from the disposal.

 


 

Water Coming Through Your Ceiling?

If you find you have a leak/water coming through your ceiling. Immediately get a bucket then poke a hole in the ceiling with a screw driver to let the water drain from the top of the sheet-rock. It is easier to repair a small hole than a full ceiling collapse.

 


 

Lawn Watering

With summer coming I would like to discuss sprinkler systems and timing. All to often I am at houses where the home owner thinks they need to water let’s just say excessively. By not letting your soil dry, grass roots are very shallow. Shallow roots require more water. And, your grass does not last between waterings. Most importantly, grass can stand dry better than many weeds. Therefore, limiting water can actually help control weeds. Here is a great website with more detail. Also, over watering is actually BAD for your foundation. So, read up on watering and practice good water management. You will have a better lawn, protect your house and save on your water bill!

SIDE NOTE: Sprinkler System Rain/Freeze Sensor

Irving City Sprinkler System change: As of January 2011, the city of Irving is requiring all residential and commercial sprinkler system owners to have a fully functional rain/freeze sensor. We have confirmed that is applies to all systems regardless of age. However, at this time, enforcement will be based on registered complaints of a system running while it is raining or during freezing weather.