What sort of annual preventative maintenance should I consider?

Furnace Service

Having the furnace serviced once a year before the heating season provides great value as it can help to prevent maintenance issues (which are often identified in the evening, after the tenant gets home from work and will incur an after-hours service fee). An efficiently running heating system will help to lower heating costs for the tenant. An improperly running furnace can also emit deadly amounts of carbon monoxide, becoming a major safety concern. Finally, a thorough servicing can extend the life of a furnace, saving you money in the long run. Each year we contract with a local HVAC contractor and receive volume discounts for the number of properties we service.

Included in the service:

  • Check gas pressure
  • Inspect heat exchanger – clean if necessary
  • Inspect burners – pull and clean if necessary
  • Check blower wheel and motor
  • Inspect igniter or thermocouple
  • Clean flame sensor
  • Check condensate drain if equipped
  • Check furnace flue
  • Check thermostat operation
  • Check carbon monoxide level in flue

Any other required maintenance will be noted and require approval from our office before it is carried out. Any major work required will, as usual, be conveyed to you for approval.

A/C Service

The beginning of the cooling season is a great time to make sure that the air conditioning system is running effectively and efficiently. A properly serviced ac system will help lower energy bills, reduce maintenance calls and help to extend the life of the system. As part of their service they check and clean the condenser, check motor operation, check fins and blade condition. They also check Freon levels, electrical connections and the blower performance.

Gutter Cleaning

Gutters need to be cleaned in the fall because if they get plugged during the winter, ice dams can build up and cause water damage to the roof and even the interior of the home. We have seen water leaking into a house because of an ice dam. Water started leaking from the ceiling into the kitchen. Upon investigation we found a large ice dam on the roof. When we put a hand under the snow on the roof, there was a pool of water under the snow, but blocked by ice in the gutter. The water could not escape and seeped under the shingles and into the interior of the home. Cleaning the leaves from the gutters does not guarantee the home will not build ice dams. Weather conditions and how the home is heated and insulated also play a role. We have also seen down spouts “explode” from water being trapped in them, freezing, and expanding causing the seems to burst. Cleaning gutters before winter at least gives the roof and gutters a fighting chance during a hard South Dakota winter.

If you will be replacing shingles in the future, one way to protect against ice dams is to make sure your roofing contractor installs “ice dam membrane” along the bottom edge of the roof before installing new shingles. The ice dam membrane helps protect the bottom three feet of roof so water cannot find its way through the shingles and into the attic of the home. Membrane does add cost to the cost of a new roof, but will pay for itself by preventing moisture causing the roof to rot, and by preventing water damage inside the home. A second way to help prevent an ice dam is to make sure the attic is insulated well near the eves. If there is not enough insulation, heat loss from the house can cause the snow at the edge of the roof to melt and refreeze causing an ice dam.

Gutters should also be cleaned in the spring but for a different reason. Plugged gutters cause rain water to run over the gutters and run down beside the foundation which can cause water to come into the basement. In addition to cleaning gutters, make sure all down spouts are intact and unplugged. Most of the time water can be kept out of a basement by having well maintained gutters and by making sure the grading of the landscaping flows away from the foundation.

Lawn Care

With spring on its way it’s time to think about giving your lawns some attention. One of the best ways to do this is a tailored lawn care plan. We have set up an agreement with local lawn service providers for special pricing on lawn care programs which include four fertilizer and weed control applications per year. We also have the option of doing aeration and over seeding in the fall and a spring cleanup for a discounted price for those who want to take extra care of their lawns.

One of the main benefits of having a luscious green lawn is that the house will have much nicer curb appeal, attracting more tenants as well as buyers for those homeowners who want to eventually sell their property. It can also increase the home’s value, offering a sense of joy and pride to the resident. Finally, taking steps to improve the lawn’s health will help to keep the tenant happier and encourage them to take good care of the yard themselves.
Weed control and Fertilizer (price includes four applications per year) Use of Scott’s professional fertilizers formulated for the seasonal needs of the specific grass plants in your lawn. Timely applications of crabgrass prevention as well as dandelion and weed control also ensure that the nutrients provided aid only the grass in growing.

Fall Aeration and Over Seeding Core Aeration relieves soil compaction and greatly improves the flow of air, water and fertilizer to the roots.

Over seeding repairs, strengthens and revitalizes the lawn and together with aeration helps to develop a thick, green lawn.

Spring Clean Up Dethatching lawn and removal of debris allows the grass to gain the full benefit of any nutrients and moisture that it gets. Landscape cleanup is also included in this service.

Dryer Duct Cleaning

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 fires are sparked every year by clothes dryers. Lint and other debris can build up in your dryer vent, reducing air flow to the dryer, backing up dryer exhaust gases, creating a fire hazard. By cleaning the dryer vents you greatly reduce the risk of fire. For example, we purchased a home with the appliances in place. We noticed that clothes would not dry with one cycle and we always had to run the dryer for two cycles. After having the dryer vent cleaned, our clothes dried in one cycle, saving energy cost and lengthening the life of the machine.

Irrigation start up and shutdown

Properties with irrigation need attention twice per year. The irrigation start up service is designed to make sure the irrigation system is functioning properly and is set to provide the optimal amount of water to the lawn. If the irrigation system is not turned on, chances are the Resident will not turn it on and the lawn will not be watered during the summer.

While Residents like green lawns, many do not want to pay for the water to keep them green. Spending a little thought and money can go a long way to helping the tenant water the lawn. For example, upgrading your old control box to a programmable box and adding rain sensors can save a thousands of gallons of water and therefore money.

Shutting the irrigation down in the fall and blowing out the water from the lines is important to prevent the system of freezing and therefore damaging the water lines, valves, and control boxes.

We understand property management and property investments. With over thirty years’ experience in property management and more than 300 offices in the United States and Canada, we have become the largest property management franchise in North America.