The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Save On Home Ownership Costs!

Each season Mr Handyman is asked to complete repairs on some of our best customer’s homes.  Many times these repairs could have been avoided and even eliminated if the maintenance had been completed the season before.  It does not take long for minor neglect in the maintenance to turn in to a huge repair issue.  I know I may sound like a broken record to many of you that read this monthly column but the savings is so significant you should at least try it.

Here are just a few examples where the neglect of the maintenance has cost the homeowner in a huge way:
Case #1 Neglected Windows
In June 2012, a long-standing customer of Mr Handyman had us out to clean his gutters.  While there we advised him about some rot starting around a lower section of a large bank of windows.  It was estimated at the time it would cost approximately $450 to cut out the rotted wood and perform the maintenance on the rest of the window area.  The minor repair would extend the life of the windows for another 10 years or so. 

In the fall of 2013 this customer called and asked that we complete the $450 job but it had gotten a so much worse.  After inspecting the bank of windows with almost a year and a half of further deterioration it was determined the windows needed to be replaced at a cost of $3850.  

Maintenance $450       Repair $3850       Neglect cost $3400

Case #2 Pressboard Siding
In April of 1012 Mr Handyman was at a customer’s home repairing a few missing shingles.  While on the roof we noticed some minor wood rot where the chimney chase meets the roof line.  We quoted this homeowner $328 to cut out the small amount of rot, replace it with like material and cover it with a trim board.  This customer stated she needed to discuss it with her husband and would be calling us back. 

She called us back but not until the spring of 2013 and stated there was water leaking into the living room near the chimney.  It was determined that the rotted siding had gotten so bad that a hole the size of a cell phone was allowing rainwater into the home and down to the living room ceiling.  The total cost for the siding and ceiling repairs was $1785, which was not enough to meet her insurance deductible.
Maintenance $328      Repair $1785      Neglect Cost $1457               

These are just two of the many, many examples of repair costs that could have been avoided with routine maintenance.  If budget and costs keep you from having the maintenance completed where will you find the funds for the eventual repairs?  In most cases I think people forget about the maintenance or simply do not have the time or expertise to get it done. 

Sign-up to our annual maintenance program to ensure it gets done.  Gain some peace of mind.  Our motto is “Spend hundred$ now in maintenance or Thou$and$ later in repairs.”  Call 402-502-5212 for details.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Preventing Ice Dams

How Ice Dams Form
Winter is in full swing here in the plains states with more snow expected.  A few inches or more of snow can cause ICE DAMMING.  Ice damming happens when snow builds up on the lower 3 feet of roof line, above the extended eaves. What happens is the upper part of the roof starts to melt and the moisture drains down to the lower section that does not melt and gets "dammed up." Basically water pools above the ice and backs up into the home (comes through the roof). Roofs were made to drain off water, not pool water.

Extensive damage can happen in homes if ice damming occurs. Replacement of ceilings, walls and insulation can be very costly. Insurance will probably cover some of these costs but deductibles, replacement time, time off work, coordination hassles etc. will make it well worth the expense to prevent ice damming in the first place.

The most common cause of ice damning is poor insulation or poor ventilation in the attic area.  Both issues are solved at the same time when you hire a professional service company to tackle this issue for you.  There may be other factors in play like a huge amount of snow fall.  A snow rake could be used to remove the loose snow at the eaves of your house or a drift in a valley that remains way too long.    

A weaving pattern of electrical heat tape is a common fix but should only be installed as a last resort and installed by a professional service company.  To extend the life of the heat tape it should only be turned on during the periods of time snow or ice is present on the roof.  

If you are a Do-It-Yourself type of homeowner, here are a few tried and true tips for the occasional ice dam.  If you have some old panty hose laying around the house you could fill them with "Ice Melt" (must be calcium chloride, not rock salt) and lay them vertical on the ice dam. The point is to make several vertical breaks through the ice dam so melted snow has a place to drain off the roof.  

If your gutters are full of ice and overhanging with icicles, use the pantyhose trick and lay them on top of the ice along the gutter line.  The ice will eventually melt and clean up the ice dam.  These are great tips for the adventurous but the best overall method is to remove the loose snow right away.

If you have had ice dams on your roof in the past chances are you will have them again unless you took corrective measures to prevent them.  Call Mr Handyman @ 402.502.5212 before it happens again.  Mr. Handyman can help you solve this issue.