When a rain gutter/downspout and sometimes a sump pump send their discharge below grade to a pipe, it may appear that rainwater is draining into a sanitary sewer, but it really isn’t. In municipal areas with sewer systems, gutter (rainwater) discharge is normally routed into a storm sewer. This storm piping routes water to rivers and streams and is separate from the sanitary sewer system. Connecting your sump to a basement sink or floor drain sends your stormwater to sewer system, is against the rules.
Municipal systems include a sanitary sewer system that routes toilet, shower and sink water to a sewage treatment plant. The flow of storm and sanitary sewer systems would never be combined unless a really old system is in place or there are problems with the system. In the old days before good sewage treatment, homes had combined sewers – but that is not common today.
When you live out in the country, your gutters may discharge below grade and be directed underground to the side of a hill or a lower spot. Rural areas don’t have storm sewers.
Look at the curb and gutter in front of your house. If you see grates there, rainwater flows into a storm sewer system below the street. If you sump pump is connected to drain line in the wall, it is most likely storm water.
Gaps along your walkways/patios/stoops and home including where driveway meets garage should always be caulked with a polyurethane to prevent water penetration. What most people forget is the backer rod and waste their caulk, filling in large area with caulk. What is backer rod? So you filled that wide gap in the exterior trim with the best caulk you could buy, and the next year it had pulled away from one surface, leaving a large gap. Or you tried to fill a wider gap, and the caulk just fell in the hole. What went wrong? No backer rod.
Before filling a large gap with caulk, bridge the wide opening with a stiff foam backer rod. The backer rod is wide enough, so friction holds it just below the gap’s surface. The rod supports the caulk applied in an hourglass shape with a height-to-width ratio of about 1:2.
Why? Caulk needs to expand and contract as surfaces move. The hourglass shape allows the caulk to bond to only two surfaces; the narrower section easily expands and contracts with movement. Caulk should never completely fill a space. It should never be applied to three sides or an unbridgeably wide gap, or it will quickly fail. Caulk can’t expand and contract when it is pulled in three directions or when the cross-section is too thick.
You will find backer rods in larger paint and hardware stores. It is sold in lengths like rope, and it comes in various diameters. Choose a diameter that is wider than the gap to be filled, and force the rod into place with a blunt tool or putty knife.
The largest, heaviest moving object in your home is the garage door. So, it makes sense to do frequent safety checks on the door.
First, look for a safety label near the control button or the overhead door. It will tell you how to safely operate the door and test the reverse mechanism.
Second, make sure the control button is mounted at least five feet above the floor or any step. This prevents small children from playing with the door operator.
Third, never allow children to play with the door or the operator.
Next, test your operator for reverse and door balance once per month. Follow the specific instructions on your door's safety label. If you don't understand these instructions or you don't have specific instructions for your door, contact a professional door service company.
Throughout the year, check the door hardware for tightness. Consult your owner's manual for the proper lubricant, and apply it to rollers, tracks and other mechanical parts. Have the door serviced by a professional if there is any sign of problems.
Always prime when the existing surface has stains, chalking, dark colors or irregular surface conditions. Even better, purchase a high quality paint that has primer mixed in. Don’t go cheap on the paint.
When prepping your surfaces, small holes, cracks or damage, can be fixed with a paintable caulk instead of drywall mud or plaster. Paintable caulk has the advantage of expanding/contracting with temperature changes.
Primers work because it’s specially formulated with additional binders, additives and tougher pigments that cover problem areas. Some brands include Zinsser’s BIN, KILZ (by Masterchem Industries), and Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3. BIN is my favorite for most conditions because it effectively covers stains, is low-odor and dries in 45 minutes.
Primers have special qualities for special conditions, so read the labels or consult a painting professional for specific applications. For the best advice, visit a paint store that contractors use.
If your going to try it yourself, use a paintable caulk for small wall repairs and a high grade paint and primer mix. You’ll save yourself a lot of work and your results will be much better.
For a better more permanent fix, try Counter Snap Kit. This screw fastening system secures loose hardwood floorboards and stops squeaks. You drive the slotted screw through a special bracket into the hardwood and subfloor. (For dense woods, you will need to drill a small pilot hole.) Once the screw tightens the loose board, you break off the screw just below the finished wood surface. You will be left with a very small hole which you can patch with wood putty or colored filler – or just ignore.
As for carpeted floor, you best choice is to re-nail the sub-floor, when replacing the carpet.
Using a small rag or paper towel, place few drops of oil atop the tight horizontal pin joint at the hinge. The oil will be drawn into the joints, and you can catch any excessive oil with the rag by wiping the hinge. Repeat on all hinges.
Open and close the door completely a few times to distribute the oil and take one last wipe at the hinge to ensure that no oil drips on the floor. You should lubricate the hinges about every two years. I like to use the oil in a small can because it’s not messy like a spray lubricant.
Take a look in your attic. In most climates, you’ll find insulation about 12 to 15 inches thick, which provides insulation of about R38. This varies, depending on the climate, but 12 to 15 inches is a good rule of thumb.
If you don’t have that level of insulation or you don’t know where to look, seek advice from a professional. The pro will know the standards for your area and can give you good advice. Make sure the pro talks about air sealing between the heated space and the attic as part of the insulation system. Air sealing is just as important as insulation.
Set the thermostat Heat-Off-Cool switch to Heat. Check the fan switch – it should be set to Auto. Move the thermostat setting to a few degrees above room temperature. Normally the thermostat will display the room temperature, not the setting. Be sure the setting is above the room temperature, and give the furnace a few minutes to start.
If the furnace does not start, adjust the setting below the room temperature, wait a few minutes, then move the setpoint back above room temperature. This may reset the furnace’s controls so that it operates properly.
Still no heat? Change the battery. Never mind what your thermostat says. Change your battery every year! And while your at it, change your batteries in smoke detectors and Carbone Monoxide sensors. If you call for service, the first thing the tech does is change the batteries. Isn't this kinda the same as IT telling you to turn your computer off and turn it back on, when your having a problem.
Amelia's Home Inspection offers the highest quality Home Inspection services in Greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin at an affordable price. A home inspection provides an analysis of potential fire hazards, home safety and health risks to your family.