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By crossroadsp2443513, Nov 9 2017 08:35PM

Strong winds and rotted roots can potentially lead to a tree falling over on your house. Perhaps you’ve seen it happen to your neighbor’s house or maybe have had a tree that barely missed the roof of your house. It’s not one of those things you want to really think about but it’s always good to know the steps you can take should your home fall prey to this type of damage. While older and diseased trees are more vulnerable to extreme weather and heavy winds, even strong, healthy trees can give out under these conditions. Fallen trees are actually one of the main causes of roof damage, according to the National Storm Damage Center, costing over $1 billion in property damage each year. From tree removal to roof repair, here’s what you’ll need to know.

1. Immediately evacuate your house.

If you don’t already have one, be sure to have an evacuation plan so that everyone in your house knows how to exit quickly and safely. Having a bag of emergency supplies, including copies of important documents, cash, car keys, and other important items, can ensure that you have everything you need to leave your home.

2. Call 911.

Even if the fallen tree or branch may seem small enough for you and your family members to attempt to remove, it’s best to wait for professional tree removers. It may be tempting for some to climb onto your roof, but it is dangerous work. If rain was involved, it can make roofs slippery, and climbing on your roof puts you at risk of falling. Also, because a tree or branch landing on your roof can threaten its structural integrity, it can increase the danger that it may collapse. You don’t want to be on that roof when that happens.

Once you and your family have evacuated to a safe location, call emergency services and report what happened. They will advise you further on what to do; it is likely they may send out a fire crew or public utility representative to ensure your home is safe, including checking that there is no danger of fire or electrical problems and checking power lines and connections.

3. Contact your insurance company.

Most home insurance policies will cover at least some damage caused by debris, including the cost of removing the tree that has fallen. However, your recovery could be affected if the damage is partly a result of negligence on the part of the homeowner. If a healthy tree on your property is knocked down, your insurance company will likely cover some or the entire cost. However, if an old, rotten tree falls or loses limbs, your recovery may be reduced if it finds that you had prior knowledge of it and could have prevented the damage.

After you report the damage to your insurance company, they will inform you on how to proceed. They may recommend or send out a roofer to quickly cover exposed areas or board up broken windows to prevent potential water damage. As soon as it’s safe to, take photos of the damage. Be careful while capturing different angles of your home, including close ups and long shots. Have the photos ready to show your insurance company.

4. Call your reputable, local roofing contractor.

Make sure you research a reputable company to repair your roof. Tree removal companies or those that offer this service may be available for 24-hour service, so the cleanup process can begin immediately. This may initially mean temporary repairs such as placing tarps over exposed areas, reinforcing parts of the roof that incurred structural damage and cleaning up water that may have made its way inside your home.

5. Make sure to leave your home safe and secure.

If the tree has caused significant damage to your home and will take time to repair, you may have to make other temporary living arrangements. So make sure your doors and windows are locked, and secure anything valuable in case your home is broken into while repairs are underway.

Your family’s safety is the main priority and although you’ll need to patient while repairs are being made, we recommend you let the professionals handle the situation for you so they can get your home ready for you to be able to move back in.

Call Crossroads Property Services at 706-352-5678.

Resources:

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/what-to-do-when-a-tree-falls-on-your-house/

https://www.resolvebylowes.com/guidance/storm/a-tree-fell-on-my-house-what-happens-now/115001588587

By crossroadsp2443513, Oct 4 2017 08:26PM

There’s no better time than early fall to start preparing your home for the coldest months of the year. Taking these steps will require some of your time but it’ll be worth all that you’ll be saving on your utility bills. So, let’s get right to it.

1. Winterize your A/C

Winter what? It’s just a fancy way of getting something ready for winter. All you must do is drain all hoses and air conditioner pipes completely – making sure you don't have excess water in your equipment. If your A/C unit has a water shutoff valve, turn that off.

Also, be sure hoses are drained and stored away neatly. Seal any water leaks you see and remove window A/C units to avoid cold drafts from entering your home during winter.

2. Change out Furnace Filters

It's especially important to replace or clean your furnace filters once a month because filters get dirty easily. As a result, they restrict airflow and hike up a demand of energy. So, make sure to set a reminder every month. You may also consider switching to a permanent filter such as a genuine HEPA filter, which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, HEPA filters meet their standards for efficiency.

Now if your entire furnace needs to be replaced, it will cost much more up front but will save you more in the long run, especially during the heating season.

3. Lower your Water Heater

Although typically set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, lowering the temperature to 120 degrees or lower would reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent.

4. Block out Drafts

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste anywhere between 5 to 30 percent of your energy use. That’s quite a range! You don’t have to be a big DIYer as you can simply place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door or you can use any scraps of fabric and fill with sand for heft.

5. Watch that thermostat

Coffee? Check. Keys? Check. Turn down heat? Check. It's easy to forget to check the thermostat before you rush out for work, but it’s harder to forget how much money this extra effort will ultimately save you.

How much will it actually save you? Well, for every degree you lower the thermostat during the winter season, you can save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill. Perhaps you may want to think about a programmable thermostat, which are affordable and save the average family $180 a year.

6. Use a Window Insulation Kit

Believe it or not, you can spend less than $10 for a window insulation kit at your local hardware store. They are so easy to install, barely visible, and are effective at buffering against drafts.

7. Use Caulking and Weather-Stripping

Can you believe that small leaks can kill your home energy’s efficiency by 5 to 30 percent a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy? It’s definitely worth sealing up gaps with caulking and weather stripping.

Carefully examine the areas where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit, and along the foundation.

8. Increase Insulation

Insulation is by far one of the best ways to save energy and money in your home. Adding extra insulation between walls, your attic floor and basement ceiling will make a huge difference in your level of comfort too. Bonus: The federal government will reimburse you for 10 percent of the cost, up to $500 for highly efficient insulation.

9. Seal those ducts

Studies have shown that 10 to 30 percent of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from air ducts. That being said, it could be a good investment to have a professional technician test your duct system and fix any problems.

Properly sealing ducts can save the average home up to $140 annually, according to the American Solar Energy Society. You'll also have better protection against mold and dust.

10. Upgrade your furnace

You don’t have to do this every year or even every 10 years, but if your furnace is old you could save a lot of money and improve your home's value by upgrading to a new unit. If you do decide to purchase a new one, make it an Energy Star-certified furnace to save 15 to 20 percent versus standard new models. You could save over 50 percent compared with many old furnaces.

If you need or would prefer to leave it to the experts, be sure to call Crossroads Property Maintenance at 706-352-5678.

By crossroadsp2443513, Aug 18 2017 07:15PM

Thanks to YouTube, Pinterest and blogs like this, you too can DIY a few maintenance projects at your property. What we can’t vouch for is that you will not look disheveled or feel a little achy after taking on these projects. Real life maintenance work looks less like HGTV and a little more like those late-night infomercials. You know that ones? People seem to constantly spill or break things and then shake their heads and pout at the camera as it pans in on their despair. And while we can’t promise repairs will go very smoothly, we believe you may complete your work feeling a sense of pride and excitement over having saved some money in the process. If that’s not the case, perhaps you’ll just have a better appreciation for what professional maintenance repairmen do.

But before we potentially discourage any further, here are 4 home repairs you should at least know how to fix should you want to do it yourself.

1.Prep, Paint, Presto.

Since we recently wrote about this in a previous blog, we won’t get too deep into this. What you’ll need to know is that whether you’re planning to paint a whole room or cover a few nail holes, you must start by removing any fixtures or hardware that may get in the way. You really don’t want to skip over this step. Trust us on this. Then you’ll want to clean what you’re going to paint with a damp sponge or a dry cloth to avoid having streaks caused by dust or grease. Any nail holes and gouges will need to be filled with spackle. And finally, it’s time to apply paint primer to your walls.

2. Fix those creaky doors.

Is your toddler a light sleeper? Then you’ll want to fix creaky doors pronto. First thing is first. Check the door to make sure there aren't any loose hinge screws or deteriorated hinges. Tighten loose screws by first placing a door wedge on the latch end of the door to balance the weight. If the screws look fine but the door still meets resistance when it closes, try to see where the tight spots are. If a door starts sticking only during humid months or during the rainy season, it may need to be planed.

To plane the door, you'll need a special carpenter's plane which will scrape a small layer of wood off the door's edge. Draw a line along the door at the spot where it's hitting the jamb. If the tight spot is located at the top of the door or on the handle end, you can plane the door without taking it off its hinges. If the tight spot is on the hinge end or bottom of the door, tap out the hinge pins with a hammer and set the door on its side to plane it.

Sticking doors can also cause squeaks because they put extra pressure on the hinges, which can get noisy when they begin to oxidize. You might be able to get rid of the noise with a little lubricant. Cover the area under the door with a cloth before you apply oil to the hinges. After applying a few drops, open and close the door to work lubricant into the moving parts of the hinge. Give it a couple of minutes, and try opening and closing the door one more time. If there's still a squeak, apply a few more drops.

3. Re-caulk your bathroom.

Inspect your bathroom to see if you need to re-caulk the tub, shower or the wall, or between your toilet's outer rim and the floor. Caulking seals the floors and walls from moisture and glues itself in place. But since over time, caulk can discolor or deteriorate, this can leave your home vulnerable to water damage and mold.

That’s why you may have to remove the residue left from the old caulk. Otherwise the new bead won't stick. You can use a putty knife to caulk residue and once it is gone, you must clean the area with paint thinner and let it dry completely before the next step.

Using a caulking gun or standard tube caulk, cut the cone-shaped tip of the caulk cap on an angle and at a diameter that's large enough to accommodate the widest gap in your project. You can also consider using caulk strips that you simply unroll and press into place.

4.Take care of that leaky faucet.

This is one of the most common household repairs. It is definitely a nuisance that can hike up your water bill if not repaired. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average home wastes about 11,000 gallons of water every year due to leaks and drips.

If you want to stop a leaky faucet, you can start by shutting off the water to the faucet. There's usually a shutoff valve nearby. If not, you can temporarily shut off the water to the entire house, which can be found in the basement or laundry room, and turn it back on again later.

Since compression-type faucets are fairly common, we'll tell you how to replace washers on that faucet style. Unscrew the faucet handle and remove it. The screw may be hiding under a decorative metal or plastic cap, or even at the back of the handle. Then remove the packing nut using pliers. Unscrew the valve stem and remove it. Once you’ve done that, take out the screw that holds the washer in place. If the washer's been in there awhile, you may need penetrating oil to loosen the screw.

Remove the washer and examine it. If it hasn't deteriorated too much, you can use it to help you find the right replacement for it. If the washer fell apart when you removed it, you may have to check the valve-body to see the size washer you're looking for. Make sure to check the valve seat at the bottom of the valve body to determine whether the washer fits into a space with straight or angled walls. If you know your faucet make and model, you'll be able to find the right washer.

Get a replacement washer at your home improvement retailer, which carries generic washer kits that include dozens of washers in different shapes and sizes – a helpful tool for future projects. And finally you can head back home to put it back together. Just reverse the steps you took to remove the old one.

Now we could have added toilet maintenance work as a number 5 DIY project but sometimes there are certain things we think you shouldn’t bother yourselves with. Toilet repairs can be a bit of nightmare even once you get passed the fact that you’re working on a toilet.

And if you really rather just tackle two of the four projects or none of the projects we provided tips for so you can enjoy your Saturday, we are here for you. We get it. Weekends come and go way to quickly so you want to spend the time wisely. Call Crossroads Property Services at 706-352-5678.

By crossroadsp2443513, Aug 4 2017 05:34PM

Let us begin by saying that you, the landlord, are brave. As a landlord, there is one thing you probably learned rather quickly. It is a full-time job. Whether you own a single property or multiple properties, several responsibilities come in to play. These duties include finding tenants, collecting rent, and quickly responding to repair requests. Unfortunately, not all these tasks go as smoothly as one would like. That’s why as a property owner, you’ll need to figure out whether to hire a maintenance company to take that one huge item off your plate or do it yourself. It’s an important decision that requires careful consideration but here is why it may be worth hiring a maintenance company, not to be confused with a property management company which would be costlier.

The bottom line is that it reduces your day-to-day responsibilities. As the person on the other end of maintenance calls, you’re in charge of making sure repairs are fixed sooner than later. If you’re not handy, you’d have to make a call to one of your repairmen and hope one of them is available. If you are in fact a handyman, then it would make sense to solve that problem yourself. The problem with either scenario is that it takes time and effort to do these things and sometimes it’s just better to leave it to the professionals.

Will it cost more than if you did it yourself or hired a repairman? Yes. But who wants to spend a weeknight and/or Saturday working on repairs? Especially when you think about the long list of things could break, even simultaneously. Trust us, it happens.

Maintenance specialists are equipped to handle all maintenance issues including:

-HVAC system

-Electrical

-Plumbing

-Appliances

-Carpentry

-Winterizing

-Exterior caulking

-Sealing

-Carpet cleaning

-Sheetrock and carpentry repair

-Painting and pressure washing

-Boarding up

Overwhelmed after going down the list? Well, you don’t have to go it alone. If you prefer to save time, Crossroads Property Services has over 25 years of combined experience with handling an extensive array of capabilities. We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service and doing all we can to cut costs while still providing excellent work.

Call us at 706-352-5678 or visit us at www.athenspropertyservices.com

for more information.

By crossroadsp2443513, Jul 21 2017 07:09PM

If painting walls were as simple a process as just applying a coat of paint with a roller brush, everyone would do it. It’s tedious and laborious. It’s also the time you discover who your true friends are after you invite them to your painting party.

Unless it’s a party where they’d be painting on a standard-sized blank canvas while sipping on some wine and listening to some relaxing jazz tunes, you may find that everyone you invited is busy. Fortunately for you, there are businesses like ours that have professionals that have plenty of experience painting that can take care of that for you. Should you want to save some money, we’ve provided

9 steps on how to prepare for the big wall painting project.

1.Protect the furniture and flooring against splattering paint. You can either remove furniture from the room or at least move them away from the wall and cover them with old sheets.

2.Wear worn clothes. We know this may seem obvious but you’d be surprised. We’ll go even further and suggest you wear safety goggles and even gloves. It’s up to you if you want to put a shower cap on your head.

3. Dust and clean the walls. We don’t think most people dust their walls as part of their regular Saturday morning cleaning routine but this is where the exception must be made. For most surfaces, you can use a towel or a vacuum cleaner.

4.Scrape cracked or flaking paint with a paint scraper. If there are plaster bumps, make sure to use sandpaper to smooth them away.

You can use a piece of sandpaper stapled to a sanding block, but we’d recommend you borrow someone’s electric sander if you don’t own one.

5.Check that you have all your materials: primer, paint-can opener, stir sticks, roller covers, paintbrushes (one for latex paint and one for oil-based paint), paint tray, gloves, drop cloth and an extension pole for the roller.

At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if you waved the white flag and surrendered to a professional painter. No? Okay, let’s continue then.

6. Cover wall sconces and wall trim with blue painter’s tape. Now this can take a while if you want to make sure the tape is on the edge of the trim and not over some of it. Not that we are trying to discourage you from doing this on your own, but this does take time. You’ve been warned.

7.Now paint. Start in the corners of the wall and up near the ceiling with an angle brush. With a small brush, apply the paint around trim and in the corners of walls where your larger brush can't reach.

8.Do a "W" pattern to paint walls. Start in the corner of a wall and roll on a 3' by 3' "W"; then fill it in without lifting the roller. Repeat until the section is finished. This helps hide seams and any places where the roller has been lifted and put back on the wall again.

9. Try out a color on wall. You can never make a good decision based on looking at the color swatch in the store. Take it home and tape it to the wall to see how it looks.

You can test a few colors of paint on a spare piece of wood and place it against the wall. And then you’ll be near the finish line.

Are we exhausted from going through these steps? But it’s not as backbreaking as the job itself. Whatever you decide, don’t hesitate to call Crossroads Property Services at 706-352-5678.

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