This past Thursday, our Senior Community Manager, Kari Ross, attended the Community Associations Institute (CAI-MN) education session “WHAT TO DO BEFORE WINTER STRIKES!” The session focused on ways for community managers and homeowners to prepare for Minnesota’s frigid winter season and presented tips to prevent and deal with pipes freezing.
PREVENTION TIPS FROM ALL WAYS DRAINS
Guest speaker Justin Moe of All Ways Drains provided these prevention tips:
• Stop cold air from coming in where the pipes are located.
• Insulate as necessary, taking care to insulate the room and not the pipes.
If you fear a risk of pipes freezing, leave a small trickle of water running from one of your faucets. Fun fact: Hot water freezes faster than cold water. Running the water is cheaper than a frozen pipe and emergency plumber bill!
Are you a snowbird or taking a trip? Keep your kitchen cabinet doors open as that also allows heat inside your cupboards.
Winters with lots of snow are better than those with less snowfall, as snow provides a nice blanket of insulation on the ground for underground pipes.
Finally, it’s always good idea to keep garage doors shut as it’s common for pipes to run under garage floors. Leaving your garage door open for just 10 minutes on a very cold day can cause water to start freezing.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PIPES FREEZE
• First, turn the water off.
• Turn the faucet on to allow somewhere for the water to drain out once thawed.
• Heat the area where the pipe is frozen but do not risk fire!
• Hair dryers are better than heat guns.
• Call a professional.
If your pipes freeze and burst, it is important to call a professional immediately. Water can cause damage in a very short period of time. In addition, check with your individual insurance provider about your insurance limits for “sewer backup.” According to Paul Davis Restoration, the minimum average cost for sewer backup is about $10,000.
Gaughan Companies offers expert, comprehensive community and association management services, including facilities maintenance with 24-hour emergency service, routine inspections, and preventative maintenance plans. Contact us to learn how we can help ensure the safety, longevity, and appeal of your property and community.
Every year, Gaughan Companies hosts an annual team building event for all of its employees. This year, we took a day during the week to go to Big Thrill Factory in Oakdale with the whole company.
After an address from the company president, Patrick Gaughan, the attendees ate lunch and gathered into smaller groups in order to connect one-on-one with their coworkers. Our staff is growing, and with many of them at locations throughout the Twin Cities, it is important for us to take the time for these team building activities.
We participated in activities like go karts, laser tag, a ropes course, indoor zip line, and other events, like the Gaughan Jeopardy game. The atmosphere was filled with good spirits and friendly competition!
We appreciate our employees and all that they do for our company and our community. We are blessed to have a wonderful group to work with!
This week, our team hosted a booth at the Dunwoody College of Technology Construction Sciences Career Fair. We were able to meet students from many different majors and converse with college faculty and staff.
We enjoy attending the Dunwoody Career Fair ever year. Hearing about the students’ future goals is so exciting! We are proud of everyone for working so hard toward those goals. We wish you all the luck on your future endeavors!
Do you have a water leak in your home? Is water dripping from your light fixtures or smoke detectors? If it is, one reason for this can be condensation.
As warm, moist air from inside the home rises up and comes in contact with a cold surface (like the underside of the roof deck), the air cools and moisture condenses out because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air. That condensation forms a layer of frost on the cold surface.
When this frost builds up for weeks at a time and is followed by a warm day or two, it can melt all at once. Then, water will start running down the walls, out the bathroom and kitchen fans, through recessed light, out of door frames, etc.
People often jump to the conclusion that it’s a leak, even though it’s not raining and there isn’t too much snow to melt. But, what they are seeing is water that was already inside their home in the form of water vapor.
The best thing one can do to help this issue is control indoor winter humidity levels. If it’s 0°F outside, it’s best to maintain a humidity level of 20-25%.
WCCO recently released a story on this topic, too. Read more: http://cbsloc.al/2D6KxKi
When the temperature outside is less then 10 degrees, run the bathroom vents during a shower or bath, and leave it run for 10 minutes afterwards. This will keep the warm, moist air from freezing onto the inside of the vent. Also, recommended humidity levels in a home during the winter should be 35 to 40%.
Even with contracted snow removal service, we still experience freeze/thaw cycles that can wreak havoc on our sidewalks and driveways. But there are steps you can take to avoid a fall.
1) Walk slowly and carefully.
2) Ever heard of the Minnesota shuffle? Take small steps.
3) Keep both hands free to allow for better balance or use of handrails.
4) Step out of vehicles, don’t jump.
5) Walk as flat-footed as possible.
6) Wear appropriate footwear for conditions.
If you do fall, you may be able to reduce any injury by;
1) Rolling with the fall. Relax as much as possible.
2) Don’t protect what you’re carrying! Protect yourself and toss anything if you need to break your fall.
Spring is finally here! Here are a few reminders that might be helpful in your spring cleaning.
- Pull out the refrigerator, clean up the back, and vacuum under to remove any dust and food particles that have accumulated.
- If you have an older fridge, be careful around any uncovered coils in the back or beneath!
- For the stove, pull it out, clean behind it, underneath and on the sides. I suggest using a kitchen cleaner, like 409 or Lysol Antibacterial, to remove any grease that has fallen down the sides.
- Check all electric and/or gas connections for the stove and oven.
We know spring cleaning isn’t always fun, but I hope these tips help the process go a little smoother!
Now that warm weather is approaching, it’ll soon be time to turn on the air conditioner. Here are a few tips on air conditioner care so you can keep your A/C in top working condition.
- Replace the pleated air filter every 3 months.
- Remove any sticks, leaves, grass, etc. from the condenser unit located outside. Debris on the outside of the unit will drastically affect performance. (I recommend an annual cleaning by an HVAC technician.)
- To clean the outside of the unit, use a little car polish on the box; that will shine it up. On the inside of the unit, a water hose and coil cleaner are used to clean the condenser coil.
- Do not cover the condenser with a cover or tarp in the off season. This will hold in moisture.
- Indoors, check the evaporator drain line to make sure it isn’t plugged. This removes condensation from the air handler, and it must be kept clear.
- It is a good idea to change the thermostat batteries at the start of every cooling season.
These are just a few things you can do to help your air conditioner run efficiently this season.
It’s that special time of year in Minnesota when the sun starts to shine a little brighter, a little longer and a little warmer. Spring is here! While everyone is enjoying the weather, many are also anxious to get their home ready for summer. While spring cleaning the inside of your house is good, spring cleaning the outside is equally as important.
On the outside of your house, remove all of your holiday decorations and lights as the weather permits. One of the best components of an association is the feel of a close and well-kept community. If it applies, a good outdoor spring cleaning might include washing all exterior windows to get rid of any dirt on the outside and cleaning cobwebs off of light fixtures. Lastly, to prepare for the coming summer weather and activities, clean up the grill, wipe off all outdoor furniture, and prep the garden by tilling.
With summer around the corner, people are more likely to entertain inside, too. Now is a great time to scrub all walls and baseboards to give each room a fresh feel. Replace water and air vent filters in order to get rid of what has built up over the last year. In the same way, it’s important to clean out all faucets and showerheads of rust and calcium deposits with a water and vinegar solution. Also, remove lint from the dryer vent inside and outside. This is one good prevention against residential fires. Most importantly, test all of your smoke alarms.
Although the snow can be beautiful, Minnesota winters can cause a lot of damage to a property. Avoid downspout problems through upkeep of all gutters and downspouts. It will minimize the negative effects of winter on a property’s outside drainage system.
Here are a few upkeep tips:
- Twice a year do routine inspections of roof-to-ground downspouts.
- Inspect general operation; clean out sticks and debris stuck in downspouts.
- Check straps. Are they still secured to the wall? Are screws missing?
- Are they damaged to a point that a new full or partial downspout is required?
- Get these repaired or replaced as soon as possible to avoid other associated problems.