Be smart about your house
May 13, 2008
Most Utahns are familiar with the need to get homes ready to endure the ice and snow of winter, but some property managers say fewer people in Park City and Deer Valley properly transition their homes, condos and apartments for warmer weather.
Good housekeep in spring reduces the risk of roofs leaking and mold festering while people may be out of town during the mud season.
Linda Stice of Alpine Ski Properties, as well as others property managers, say homeowners should follow a few simple tips to reduce energy costs and add years to their homes.
Here’s a brief checklist of spring cleaning chores to consider:
To drain or not to drain the hot tub
not keeping water in unused Jacuzzis during the off season, owners save on maintenance and service fees and water bills, property managers say. "If you’re not going to use the hot tub, it makes sense to take the water out," said Stice, who has spent 25 years caring for rental and non-rental properties in Deer Valley, Park City, Promontory and other places in Summit County.
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Stice said draining water can help save money, but she encouraged owners to first check with the manufacturer before removing water. Draining water from some tubs makes the enamel more susceptible to cracking. "The rubber sealing can dry out," she said.
In addition, turning off jets and motors for months at a time can lead to electrical problems later in the year. "They like to run," Stice said.
Don’t turn water heater to vacation mode
Tepid water is a breeding ground for bacteria. Stice said keeping water at high temperatures reduces the risk of mold.
Check for leaks in storage areas
"We see huge problems every year with roof leaks," Chris Pedersen, of Park City Lodging, said. The warmer months are a good time to do repair work on a damaged roof, re-shingle or hire an electrician or roofer to install commercial-grade heat tape if a home doesn’t already have it. "You can buy heat tape at hardware stores," Pedersen said. "But that’s really not going to cut it in Park City."
Keith Bird of Utah Disaster Kleanup, a Salt Lake City based company that focuses on refurbishing and recovering damaged property, said storage sheds are particularly susceptible to damaging leaks in spring. "People don’t frequent storage areas," he said. "And only three or four months later do they find the entire shed covered in mold."
Bird said mold removal ranks among the most expensive clean-up tasks.
Pedersen added that it helps to have someone check on the home during the off season if owners plan on being out of town in the spring. "It’s preventative to have someone in the unit," he said. "I’m able to catch problems before they cause damage."
Other chores for spring checklist
Turn off clothes washer hoses and water softeners
Change furnace filters
Use florescent light bulbs wherever possible
Unplug appliances, including refrigerator
Close fireplace dampers to reduce energy loss
Check for leaking faucets and running toilets before leaving home