Home maintenance calendar

Welcome to the New Year!  We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are excited about what 2015 will bring to you and yours!

Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to take better care of your home?  If so, we have a list to help you throughout the year.  Broken down by month, here are some chores to take care of as you work towards keeping your home safe, energy efficient and in good working order:

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January: Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.  Are your fire extinguishers in working order (do you know where they are?).  Review warranties and maintenance requirements on major appliances.

 

February: Check your home for signs of water damage and mold.  Inspect windows for incomplete seals and condensation.   Don’t forget areas that may not get as much foot traffic, like you attic and basement.  Neglect to these parts of your home may result in costly damage that could easily be remedied by early detection.

 

March: Check your roof!  How did it weather the winter wind and rain?  Check for lose or cracked shingles as these will only be further damaged by the sunny weather on the way.  Inspect flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and the chimney for damage as well.

 

April: Take a look around outside, what can be taken care of to de-clutter and freshen up your yard?  Throw away damaged flower pots and find new plants that will brighten your outdoor spaces.  Gather all the yard debris (fallen branches, leaves…) left over from the winter to prepare your lawn for a great spring and summer!

 

May: You guessed it, time for spring cleaning!  Whether you have hardwood, carpet or both, give your floors a bit of extra attention this month.  Now would be a great time to clean your windows, both inside and out and let all that lovely sunshine into your nice, freshly cleaned home!

 

June: Time to power wash your house, deck or patio!  The rain and weather from the winter and spring may have left your property dirty or mossy.  Take some time to address all the little nooks and crannies, your property will look great!

 

July: Summer is a great time to address areas of your home that may be costing you during the winter months. Perform an energy audit of your home by seeking out gaps around doors or windows where heat may be escaping your home.  These issues are more easily addressed in the summer months, your winter budget will thank you!

 

August: Make sure other creatures aren’t trying to invade your home!  Look for evidence of mice or rats by checking your home for droppings or nests.  These types of pests may also be indicated by holes and gnaw marks or an unusual odor in your home.  Check for signs of termites around your home as well.  Indicators of these pests include: hollow sounding wood in floors, walls or furniture, sagging wood, or frass (termite dropping).  Should you find signs of these pests, contact a professional to address the issue.

 

September:  Prepare for cooler weather by inspecting and, or cleaning your fire place.  Hire an inspector to ensure your fire place and chimney is in clean and working order.  It’s a good idea to have this inspection done once a year.

 

October: With leaves beginning to fall, it’s important to make sure gutters and downspouts are clear.  Clean your gutters of leaves and debris and inspect them for damage to ensure they are functioning properly.

 

November: With the temperatures starting to drop, now is a good time to inspect outdoor stairs and railings.  Railings that are broken or weak should be replaced to prevent slips on icy or wet steps.

 

December: Replace the filters in your heating and cooling systems.  During peak seasons of use, these should be changed monthly.

 

What would you add to this list?

 

10 Holiday Accidents to Avoid this Season!

It’s the most dangerous time of the year!  Well, maybe not the most dangerous, but with all the festivities and fun, accidents are common around the holiday season. To help guide you through these treacherous months, here is a list of the most common accidents and how to avoid them.

 

  1. Hypothermia – Playing in the snow can be a blast but it can lead to serious injury if you get too cold. Wear plenty of layers, making sure to cover extremities.  If you are working up a sweat shoveling snow, change out base layers to keep sweat from cooling against your skin.  Children should come inside frequently to warm up when playing in cold weather.
  2. Food borne illness – At gatherings and parties, food can easily sit out for several hours. All perishable dips and meats should be monitored to make sure they are still safe for consumption.
  3. Falling while decorating – Make sure to use a sound latter while hanging decorations and work with a buddy. Don’t lift boxes that are too heavy and avoid twisting and reaching too far to put that last ornament on the tree.
  4. Space heaters – As always, allow a 3 foot radius around all heat sources to prevent fires.
  5. Christmas tree fires – Keep your Christmas tree well watered and turn off all lights when the tree is unattended.
  6. Injury due to carrying luggage – All heavy luggages should be equipped with wheels to avoid back and shoulder strain from carrying bags. Use a cart when available.
  7. Children and animals ingesting plants or decoration – mistletoe, holly berry, poinsettias, and amaryllis can be toxic if eaten. Make sure to keep them out the reach of children and animals.
  8. Alcohol related accidents – According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol related accidents are 2 to 3 times more likely to occur during the holiday season. Never drive while intoxicated and when hosting an event make sure that all parties have a designated driver.  Consume alcohol responsibly.
  9. Electrocution – String lights safely and carefully keeping in mind moisture and overloading your circuit.
  10. Stress and depression – While this time of year can be full of joy and love, it can also be very stressful. If the holidays leave you feeling depleted and depressed, try shaking up your holiday plans and focusing on the positive aspects of the season.  Volunteer your time or go on a family hike around the holidays to refresh your mood.

 

We hope you have a lovely holiday season!

The Kennedy Christmas Tree

The Kennedy Christmas Tree

Space Heater Safety

Brrrr, it’s cold out there! In efforts to stay warm many of us are cozying up to space heater and other heat sources that if used improperly could present a potential hazard. “In 2011 alone, around 18,000 fires involved stationary or portable space heaters, killing over 300 people, and injuring over 1,100 more, according to National Fire Prevention Association.” If used improperly or without inspection, portable heating devices can cause a fire and or injury. Take note of these tips to make sure you are using these devices safely!

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  • As a general rule for all heat sources (fire places, space heaters, and stoves) make sure that your heater has at least 3 feet of clearance from anything that could potentially cause a fire. This can include clothing, papers, rugs or bedding. Make sure that small children observe this 3 foot radius as well.

 

  • Move heaters out of the way of foot traffic, including the cord. A misplaced heater could pose a tripping hazard, which could also damage the cord, power outlet, or heating device.

 

  • Do not use extension cords or power strips when plugging in your space heater. A heater plugged directly into the wall poses less threat for electrical issues than one that is powered through an extension cord.

 

  • A space heater should never be plugged into the same outlet as a computer.

 

  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn off and unplug the device when you leave the room.

 

  • Don’t use a heater that has frayed wires or damaged electrical components. Compromised cords and plug ins can cause fires and should not be used until repaired.

 

  • A plug in should never be forced into an outlet, nor should it be lose. A space heater plugged in incorrectly can cause major damage. Check to ensure that the cord is never hot when you unplug the device, this is an indication that an electrical component is not working correctly.

 

Stay safe and warm this winter!

Winter Weather – were you prepared?

We had a heck of a winter storm these past few days!  While the Pacific Northwest gets plenty of wind and rain, many are not prepared for snow and ice like we experienced this past weekend.  Storms can hit suddenly without warning, so it is important to always be prepared for extreme weather conditions.  Here are a few ways to stay safe during a winter storm:

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Stay informed – The storm we recently experienced was reported on the news; make sure you are checking in with news and weather sources to stay up to date on how the weather may impact your area.  Such sources will have updates on school and road closures as well.  Make sure you have access to these outlets if your power should go out by having an emergency radio and charging phones and tablets. 

Supply kit – Make sure your emergency supply kit is well stocked should you be unable to leave your home. For a detailed outline of what your emergency kit should contain, check out our previous blog here.

Freeze prevention – Frozen pipes can potentially be a costly damage to your home should they burst.  It is a very common incident we encounter here at Kennedy Restoration, especially when temperatures begin to rise after a freeze.  Protect your pipes from freezing with these tips.

Driving – Whenever possible, do not drive in the ice or snow.  While you may be an expert driver, others on the road are not and even the best of drivers can get into serious accidents due to icy road conditions.  However, if you must leave be sure to follow these safe driving tips in the ice.  Add a few items to your emergency kit to make sure you can leave the home, including sand, kitty litter, snow shovels.  Make sure your tires are equipped for the weather and your vehicle is capable of the excursion. 

Loss of power – As we experienced here in Portland, power outages are common with the onset of snow and ice.  Frozen moisture on tree limbs weigh them down, causing them to crack and fall on power lines.  Be prepared for such outages and potential loss of heat! 

So, how did you do?  Do you feel that you were adequately prepared for the weather over the weekend, or do you have some adjustments to make to your preparedness techniques?  As always, if you experienced any damages to your home or property, Kennedy Restoration is here to help! 

Hail storm damage prevention

There’s nothing quite like a hail storm!  The pinging on the roof that turns to a dull roar then passes as quickly as it came.  Hail can be as small as a pea all the way up to as large as a grapefruit and travel at speeds up to 120mph.  Hail storms are generally brief, lasting only a few minutes and can be accompanied by wind, thunder and lightning.  Though the storm may only last a short time, it can do a lot of damage in those few minutes.  The Northwest isn’t known for extreme hail storms like those in the Midwest and South but we should still be prepared for the few hail storms we get each year.  Here are a few tips to keep your property safe in the event of a hail storm:

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Make sure your roof is up to code.  When doing repairs or re-roofing your home, have the work done by professionals or have it inspected when the work is done.  Make sure your shingles are asphalt and have a Class 4 rating under Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) 2218 standard. This rating indicates that the shingles did not crack when hit twice in the same area by a two-inch steel ball.

When a hail storm strikes, be sure to stay indoors for safety.  Close all blinds and window coverings; if a window should shatter during the store you will want to minimize the area affected by broken glass.  Stay away from skylights and glass doors until the storm has passed.

Hail has the potential to cause major damage to your vehicle.  If a hail storm is predicted in the forecast, park your car in a covered area.  If you are driving in a hail storm, pull over, preferably under the safety of a roof or over pass.  If shelter is not available, park safely and cover your face should your windshield shatter.

Know your insurance policy well!  If you have any damages contact your insurance representative immediately.

Should you experience damage to your home or property Kennedy Restoration is always here to assist you with your repairs.

Icy Driving!

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The coldest weather of the fall is set to arrive this week!  Temperatures were in the 30s last night and snow is falling in the Cascades.  Freezing fog and icy roads can lead to some pretty treacherous driving conditions; here are some tips to keep you safe out there!

When possible, simply don’t drive!  If a trip can wait until later in the morning when the roads have warmed up, postpone the errand.

If you are unfamiliar with driving in snowy or icy conditions it is best to practice your skills in an open, space clear of other drivers and pedestrians; such as a vacant parking lot.  Here, you can learn how brakes, steering and other functions perform differently when road conditions change.

Visibility is always crucial while driving.  Make sure your wiper blades are functional and your wiper fluid is full.  Use an ice scraper (not your blades) to clear your windshield before heading out on the road.  Also clear your headlights of ice and snow and make sure they are on so that others can see you on the road.

Check your tires!  Make sure you have on all weather or snow tires in the fall and winter months.  Don’t wait for the snow and ice to come around first!  Check the tread on the tires as well to access if they are too worn down for treacherous driving.

Know where to expect black ice.  Black ice occurs most commonly in the morning, where traffic is light, in shady areas and on bridges.  Should you hit black ice, do not quickly brake or swerve as this can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.

Drive slower than you would normally and be aware of your surroundings.  Other drivers may be inexperienced or reckless; be on alert for potential accidents.  Leave adequate space between your vehicle and the driver in front of you to allow time to react.

Always check your route before you leave, especially if you are traveling more than a few miles.  Conditions may change based upon elevation and temperature, be prepared for anything!

Stay safe out there!