Your 4th of July Safety Guide!

Are you ready for this 4th of July weekend?  While the burn ban is still in effect for the Portland area, the ban on legal fireworks has been lifted.  That being said it is important to note how hot and dry the weather has been lately and to take the necessary precautions when celebrating the 4th of July this year.  We want you to have the best holiday ever, so here are a few tips to keep you, your family and your property safe this weekend:

Fire work safety:

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  • Light fireworks off a safe distance from your home, vehicle or any other structures; at least 25 feet.
  • Always light fireworks off a concrete surface or board, never directly off  the ground or near grass.
  • Have a bucket of water handy to completely extinguish all spent fireworks.  Have a fire extinguish nearby just in case a spark should catch.

Home safety

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  • Is your lawn bone dry from the heat wave?  Dry grass can catch fire very quickly, so make sure the grass and soil is damp before the festivities commence!  Water your lawn, mulch and shrubs continuously from now until the 4th.
  • Trim bushes to make sure they are not touching your house.  Should a spark cause a fire, you want to eliminate an easy path from your yard to your home.  Remove yard debris that may have gathered in window wells or around the edges of your property.
  • Remove leaves and pine needles from gutters; this would be a very easy place for a fire to start.  Spray down roof as much as possible.

 

Pet safety

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  • This can be a scary time for your furry friends!  Keep your pets indoors and comfortable as much as possible; if left outdoors your dog might panic and attempt to escape!
  • Once confined to a room in the house, leave the TV or music playing to calm your pet.  The continuous noise will make the sound of fireworks let startling.
  • An anxious dog can be destructive.  Give your pup an outlet for that nervous energy by providing him with appropriate, brain stimulating items to keep him occupied, like a Kong or frozen treat.

Stay safe and have fun this weekend!

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?

 

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.

Protect your property from wind damage

storm-843732_1280While October was sunny and beautiful, it looks like a fall storm is headed our way!  Storms with high winds have the potential to cause extensive damage to your home and property. By taking a few precautions before a storm hits some of the hazards presented by the weather can be avoided.

 

Insurance – Review your home insurance policy to make sure it covers weather hazards common to your area.  Knowing your policy well before a storm hits is crucial to understanding what will be covered.

Landscaping – Make sure trees and limbs aren’t within reach of landing on your home or car should they fall.  Secure lighter items (such as garbage and recycling bins) so they are not potential hazards in strong wind.

Roofing – How is your roof doing?  Knowing the condition of your roof will inform you if you need to inspect it before a storm in coming.  If you are putting in a new roof, make sure everything is up to date with recommended practices.

Doors and windows – Any weakness in your doors or windows will be revealed in a big wind storm.  Properly secure all doors, including the garage door.  Storm shutters can help to protect more fragile or older windows.

Power outages – Wind storms have the potential to knock out power for hours and possibly days.  Have flash lights and batteries at the ready and read our previous post  on ways to prepare for a power outage.

After the storm – Thoroughly inspect your home and property for damage, especially broken glass and roof damage.  Examine the area around your home for downed trees, misplaced debris and other damages.

 

If you experience any storm damage, Kennedy Restoration is always here to expertly assist you in any and all repairs.

6 Tips to a Healthy Roof

As summer comes to a close and fall quickly approaches, it’s hard to think that we have limited days of sunshine like the ones we are currently experiencing. Soon enough the rain will return and that will not be the time to crawl on the roof to assess leaks and damage!  Take advantage of these beautiful, sunny days to inspect your roof and make sure it’s ready for the fall and winter.

  1. Check flashing around chimneys and roof penetrations – flashing is your primary defense against leaks!
  2.  Inspect the roof for damage. Concentrate on areas that water may potentially penetrate: gaps, holes, nails or other damage. In most roof systems the damaged areas can be removed and repaired.
  3. Clean the moss from your roof. Moss damage will shorten the life of your roof by up to one half. Add a Zink strip along the ridge of the roof. Zink is a natural moss inhibitor and will help retard moss growth.
  4. Check the rubber boots around vent pipes. Rubber boots dry up in the hot sun which causes them to crack and leek.
  5. Inspect roof vents – make sure that roof vents are not blocked.  Improper venting can lead to condensation build up, which can lead to mold and water damage.  Make sure you have adequate ventilation for the cubic volume of your attic space or roof system.
  6. If you are concerned about the condition of your roof, it may be time to call in the professionals.  Most roofing companies will do a roof inspection for about $150.00. If there are repairs needed they will credit that amount toward the repair.

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Finally, clean your gutters –your roof and gutters work together to keep your home dry. Gutters should be cleaned out twice a year.  As the leaves begin to fall, make sure they are not piling up on the roof or backing up your gutters.  As you clean out your gutters, inspect them for damage: rust, holes, leaking seams and build up.  If they are beyond repair, it may be time to replace them.