Is Your Home Watertight? 9 Tips for Preventing Water Damage

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Boise River Community, Buying Boise Homes, Home Knowledge, New Home Maintenance

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” –Lao Tzu

As nature shows us—in the dramatically formed glacial valleys and deeply carved canyons throughout the world—water carries with it life, beauty, and renewal; but also a strength more powerful than stone.

And anyone who has experienced losses to home or property due to water damage will agree: H20 is a force to be reckoned with, due to the severity of and the expenses related to such a loss.

In addition to the water damage itself, even a tiny leak means water bill spikes (a single faucet that drips once per minute wastes up to 34 gallons per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey), and potential for dangerous mold growth.

And this is a common problem. According to some estimates, 98 percent of basements in the U.S. will suffer from some type of water damage during their lifetime. (See infographic below.)

The Insurance Information Institute also cites “water damage and freezing” as the third most common cause of homeowner loss/property damage in the U.S. during a five-year period from 2009 to 2013, and claims related to “water damage and freezing” were the second most frequent to be filed with insurance companies.

Unfortunately, however, many standard home insurance (also called fire insurance) policies don’t provide coverage for damage caused by water-related events (flooding, overflowing sewer lines, etc.).* While the Treasure Valley rarely experiences widespread flooding, even localized water losses (pipe bursts, leaks, etc.) are often not covered. And flood insurance policies are often very expensive. So what’s a homeowner to do?

For starters, many types of water damage are preventable. We recommend taking the following steps to protect your home and property.

Watertight to-dos:

  • Keep an eye on your water bill. Sudden increases may indicate a water leak.
  • Seal foundation cracks.
  • Check coal shoots (in older homes) for standing water.
  • Caulk around tubs, sinks, and linoleum on bathroom and kitchen floors.
  • Put a pan under your hot water heater and outlet pipe.
  • Consider purchasing a water alarm, which is designed to detect leaks before costly water damage occurs.
  • Check the water supply line to your refrigerator for leaks. (This is a very common cause of water damage, as these leaks often go undetected for days, weeks, or longer.)
  • Consider turning off your water before going on vacation.
  • Check under your sinks regularly, running water for several minutes into each drain, then feeling the pipes beneath sinks for leaks.

*Note: We recommend contacting your licensed insurance agent to see a standard exclusion, such as flooding and infiltration due to rain/weather or even overflowing sewer lines.

Image courtesy of waterdamagedefense.com

Sincerely,

Your local Boise real estate resources

Where does your green grass go?

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Community, Community Updates, Foster Boise Communities, New Home Maintenance

Happy mowing season! I hear a lawnmower grinding away in the background as I write to inform you that the options for your grass clippings have increased.

Did you know that at the end of last mowing season, Boise introduced a grass recycling program to add to our grass clipping management options? With four hundred folks already enrolled, Republic Services is pleased that it started taking off this spring, according to a quick investigative phone call I placed.

For $7.95 a month, participants receive an extra, tan 95 gallon trash bin dedicated to clippings and leaves. They’re hauled to a Silage Pit in Ada County, instead of the landfill. The cart is dedicated specifically to grass clippings April through October, and leaves in November (that’s right –no more leave bags). December through March it serves as an extra trash bin.

The silage is tested for chemical content and safety, tarped and will be used as cattle feed. Participants in the program are asked to use only animal- and Earth-friendly products on their lawn.

While grass may not be the most water-wise investment, Boiseans love their lawns and have several choices on what to do with the waste.

Other options for grass clippings include mulching nutrient-filled grass back into the yard, or using as mulch in garden beds, offering them to your backyard chickens, and sending them to the landfill. The landfill option also is well managed.

“The Ada County Landfill employs a methane recapture system to generate electricity and provide power to thousands of local homes. The presence of yard waste and other organic material in the landfill actually facilitates the generation of gas and more electricity,” according to the web site with all the information on grass clippings http://curbit.cityofboise.org/residential/yard-waste/grass/ .

Cutting out grass clippings all together in our arid location is another option many progressive Boiseans have converted to. Xeriscapes and edible gardens don’t create grass clippings but they do put water to wise use.

I hope you’re enjoying your yard this summer, no matter how you’re managing it!

Sincerely,

Shana Moore, Your Local Boise Real Estate Professional and source of Boise housing market trends

 

 

Your Local Boise Real Estate Resource

 

 

Fall in Boise. Is Your Home Ready for What’s Next?

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Moving in Idaho, New Home Maintenance

Winter Preparation Tips

Fall brings more than pretty colors and a farewell to summer. It brings work. I’m back to blogging with reminders of the home maintenance tasks that will save you strife next spring.

Have you imported to Boise from a warmer climate (e.g. California)? Read on – some of this could be news if it’s your first winter in Idaho. For the rest of us, sorry to be the bearer of annoying reminders – it’s part of my job to help you take good care of your home and prevent future headaches.

October is time to:

  • My backyard’s canopy has shrunk! These newly trimmed trees are ready for whatever winter may bring (I hope)! Reuse with permission citing Fosterboise.com

    Blow out your automatic sprinklers. Many people skip this step with great luck for years and years in a row. The one year that luck fails, you’ll be hit with a difficult and costly charge up in spring. We sure had a cold winter last year. I recommend this for anyone who has an automatic sprinkler system.

  • Bring in the hoses. Disconnect your hoses, be sure to drain them onto your toes-es and put them in the shed, garage, basement or wherever you’ll store them for winter. Wet feet required.
  • Check out the trees. For some trees and shrubs, fall is a good time to prune or trim dead branches. Winter snow or ice often is the straw that breaks off that dead branch, and once in a while they land safely and exactly where we’d hope.
  • Prepare for rain.We’re getting down to details with this one, but our rainy season is here – how’s your water management system? Is it draining away from the house? Do you have gutter extenders you kicked aside during the summer, for easy mowing? Gutters should be cleared out after the leaves fall.

    Time to disconnect your hose from the house. Image of hose stored in old laundry tub found on Pinterest.com

  • Bring in the deck furniture. Keeping a dry deck surface also extends the deck’s life.
  • Don’t stop mowing, bagging or raking too soon. Grass still thrives with light and doesn’t want to be smothered during winter.
  • Seal cracks. Visualize either your best joke or the impact of the freezing and thawing cycle here. Also reverse your ceiling fans and sweep your chimney.
  • If you’re a landlord. Landlords can put gas heat into a “continuous service agreement” to ensure move outs don’t create a freezing house. Some landlords have to schedule salting or shoveling helpers for the winter too.

Email or call if your list contains any check boxes that involve comparing your home’s value with the latest local home values, or using winter to take on value-adding projects or prepare your house for sale.

Sincerely,


ShanaFosterMoore@gmail.com
Your Local Boise Real Estate Professional