Commercial Handyman Services by Handy Giant provides a full range of maintenance services to our retail customers. These are services such as display installations, showroom renovations, tile replacement, showcase repair, ceiling tile replacement and painting.
As part of our integrated facility solutions we provide services that include:
Bundled facility services
Operating procedure development
Facility operations & maintenance
Central plant operations & maintenance
Building technical administration
Space planning and allocation
Building automation systems
Meeting & conference room service
Contact us to find out more about how our integrated facility solutions can help your business.
Boston Handyman’s 5 Tips for Winterizing your Summer Home
Are you’re the proud owner of a summer home or cabin? Or perhaps you intend to spend an extended period of time away from your year-round residence during the coming colder months, know how to prepare your home. Here are some key tips by your Boston Handyman to winterize your home and minimize potential damage that may be heading your way.
1. Turn off the water at the exterior source if you will be away the entire winter. Should a pipe burst during a cold spell and you have no one checking on your property for weeks or months at a time, an untold amount of water damage can result. Even just small water leaks that go unchecked will contribute substantially to your water bill. (In fact, you should look into insurance coverage options for property that sits vacant for long periods; it can well be worth the cost). Open all faucets and drain the water lines and water heater. An added tip: To prevent total water evaporation from your toilet’s trap (which can permit sewer gases to enter your home), raise the toilet’s lid and seat and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
2. Unplug electric appliances. Fire prevention. If the power to your property will remain on, unplugging devices such as a microwave, toaster and television helps avoid the risk of fire that can result from small animals gnawing on the wires, or a power surge of any kind.
3. Close fireplace flues and dampers. This is an easy thing to overlook in the rush to close up your home for the season. Properly closing off your fireplace will keep these aforementioned small animals from infesting your home, and aide in fire prevention.
4. Reduce fire hazards. Another obvious, yet easy to forget task is the removal of items that could either lead to fires or provide tinder for ones should they get started. Don’t leave behind stacks of papers. Don’t store cans of stain, paint or paint thinners, oily rags and brushes, or other combustibles. Even firewood should not be left in large quantities alongside your hearth simply for the convenience of having it ready upon your return.
5. Empty your freezer and refrigerator. Should the electricity be off for any length of time, the items will spoil and you’ll be faced with disposing of a very smelly mess upon your return. Along those same lines, any non-perishable items you leave behind should be stored in metal containers with tight lids. Even soap, sponges and candles should be locked away, as some rodents and vermin see these as a food source, as well.
Of course, these are just a few of the necessary measures for winterizing your home. Others, such as taking down screens, closing shutters or installing storm windows, are more involved, and depending on your personal skill set or availability, may require professional assistance.
Boston Handyman stands ready to assist you with these and any other repairs, as well restorations or other tasks your summer getaway—or your year-round residence—might require.
Home maintenance isn’t restricted to repairs. In fact, certain tasks–when performed regularly–may actually prevent things from breaking in the first place. But when things do go wrong (and it’s inevitable that they do), we have some backup plans that you can try before you grab the phone to call for pro. Appliances and plumbing are the most frequent offenders, but they also often can be the simplest to care for. From the gutters to the living room carpet, there’s a reliable method for keeping every part of your home clean, safe, and well maintained.
9 Quick Home Maintenance Tips
The quickest fix is to not have the problem in the first place. Here’s a checklist of items every homeowner should get to regularly.
1. Test your garage door opener monthly to ensure that it reverses when it hits an obstruction or when its sensor beam is interrupted.
2. Vacuum the clothes dryer’s exhaust duct at least once a year. If the duct is plastic, replace it (it’s a fire hazard). Rigid sheet-metal ducting is best.
3. Replace furnace filters quarterly, or as recommended by the furnace manufacturer.
4. Test all GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets monthly. Press the test button and use a voltage tester to make sure the power goes off.
5. Clean leaves and debris from the condenser of a central air conditioner seasonally.
6. Once a year, vacuum the refrigerator coils underneath the appliance.
7. Have the fireplace chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
8. Inspect window and door caulking and weather stripping yearly.
9. Replace the batteries in smoke detectors yearly. And remember, even recent hard-wired smoke detectors have backup batteries that must be replaced. If you have never checked yours, do so.
A 1/8-inch crack can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, structural damage and the immediate potential for mold.
How to Prevent and Deal With Frozen Pipes? Advice by Boston Home Services.
Why Frozen Pipes Are a Problem
Water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts extreme pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor water faucets, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.
In the US, frozen pipes cause significant damage every year, but they often can be prevented. Taking a few simple steps, even now, may save you the aggravation and expense.
There are three common causes of frozen pipes:
1. Quick drops in temperature
2. Poor insulation
3. Thermostats set too low
There are a number of preventative steps you can take to keep your pipes from freezing:
Check the insulation of pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing.
Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions.
Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
Use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature – more common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
If Your Pipes Do Freeze…
Don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean they’ve already burst. Here’s what you can do:
If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
If your house or basement is flooding, turn off the water valve and immediately call 911.
Do not touch or use electrical appliances in areas of standing water due to electrocution concerns.
Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Every year, many building fires are caused by people trying to thaw frozen pipes. All open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.
You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
Again, if your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on and call 911. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Likely places for the water turn-off valve include internal pipes running against exterior walls or where water service enters a home through the foundation.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
Common Air Conditioning and Heating Ductwork Problems. Boston Home Services
How’s my ducting?
National studies of residential duct systems indicate that many duct systems leak 40% or more. This means that 40% of cooling capacity, heating capacity, and utility dollars are going into unconditioned space. Duct leaks also cause pressure imbalances inside the home causing indoor air quality problems.
We find many duct systems to be poorly designed, installed or don’t have a improperly implemented maintenance program. A sure sign of duct problems is rooms that heat or cool unevenly. Dust streaks around supply vents are often thought to be caused by a dirty duct system. Most of the time dust streaks around supply vents are caused by leaks in the duct system between the “bucket”, the sheet rock, and the supply vent cover. A venture effect caused by the moving air sucks dirt, humidity and heat directly from the attic.
Poorly insulated points or sections of ducting can cause moisture and microbial growth to occur. Air is then circulated past the molds growing in the duct system, distributing mold spores thru out your home. Since these spores are created after the filter; even the best filtration system can’t fix this duct problem.
Proper duct design is also important in achieving and maintaining proper system operation and efficiency. Some residential homes and commercials buildings have supply air outlets placed near the interior walls of the home. This poor duct installation practice creates a need to run high duct static pressures in order to push air all the way from the interior wall to the exterior wall where the majority of the heat enters your home. This one poor duct design feature creates a host of potential problems.
An introduction into the basics of exterior property maintenance, the implications on premises safety, and some information on relevant standards to get your investigation started.
PREMISES SAFETY THROUGH EXTERIOR PROPERTY MAINTENANCE
A properly designed and effectively run maintenance program can reduce the likelihood of premises injuries, including slip, trip, and fall incidents. Maintenance programs involving regularly scheduled inspection of stairs, walkways, and other exterior elements provide early notice of developing conditions that may negatively affect the safety of building occupants and passers-by.
Preventative maintenance – based on scheduled maintenance of elements on a regular basis. This program usually runs on a set schedule. By planning the program properly, elements can remain safely in use without failure. This type of maintenance is low-frequency, seasonal and in-depth.
Unplanned maintenance – is the everyday work that is done more frequently to identify and remediate hazards. This type of maintenance is custodial in nature and identifies changing conditions. It breaks down into two basic categories:
Reactive – unplanned maintenance of a nuisance nature, requiring low levels of skill for correction. These problems are usually identified and reported by facilities users.
Emergency – unscheduled work that requires immediate action to remove problems to protect life and property.
IMPLICATIONS ON PREMISES SAFETY
A comprehensive preventative maintenance plan can protect the property owner and manager from claims due to slips, trips and falls. It is important that premises safety inspections involve staff as well as management, as staff will often be aware of the day-to-day hazards that may be present. Exterior elements, such as sidewalks, ramps, stairs, guardrails, handrails, parking lots, fences and gates must be regularly assessed in an organized and systematic way.
RELEVANT CODES AND STANDARDS
Many cases relate to falls sustained on uneven surfaces outside of buildings. The 2012 International Property Maintenance Code applies to all existing premises and constitutes minimum standards for exterior maintenance. It outlines the responsibility of owners, operators and occupants for the safe continued occupancy of existing premises. This code requires:
“All sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas shall be kept in a proper state of repair, and maintained free from hazardous conditions.”
The code also addresses maintenance of decks, porches, balconies, handrails, guardrails, gates and ramps.
Means Facility Maintenance Standards recommends inspection frequencies which are suited to identify these issues in a variety of materials. For instance, in a preventative maintenance program, the paving should be inspected semi-annually for deterioration such as frost heave, cracking, settlement and tree root growth. To identify reactive maintenance needs, these areas should also be walked frequently to identify deterioration from water, impact or other more immediate means. Stairs, ramps, guardrails, handrails and other aspects of the egress system should be inspected monthly to ensure safe exiting and movement through the property.
Boston Home Services Has Extensive Experience in Maintaining Real Estate Properties.
A rental property will not enjoy long term tenant retention and acceptable return on investment unless it is maintained properly. This involves:
preventive and ongoing maintenance;
repairs to correct problems or malfunctions; and
construction and remodel
Preventive and ongoing maintenance to rental properties requires a thorough knowledge of the property, its needs for upkeep, staffing required to accomplish the tasks and budgeting to accomplish them.
The real estate property manager must balance the costs of routine and preventive maintenance with the benefits and desired results. Line items on a property manager’s routine maintenance list might include:
cleaning of common areas;
regular service to heating and air conditioning systems;
periodic inspection of plumbing and electrical items; or
proper upkeep of wood, roofing & other building components
Repairs and corrective actions are required when things break or cease to function as intended. Sometimes the repair is of an emergency nature, such as a heating malfunction in winter, while at other times these repairs can be scheduled and done efficiently in groups. It is the responsibility of the property manager to know the difference and to serve the needs of the tenants while balancing costs. It’s also important to take care of small problems before they become large ones.
Construction and remodel are a part of facility and building maintenance. Remodel or construction of the structure might be required:
for special business requirements of a commercial tenant;
to correct obsolescence of the structure; or
to accommodate special physical needs of a tenant;
A real estate property manager can be very skilled at all the other functions of management, but if they drop the ball when it comes to facility maintenance, the property will experience a degradation of condition, loss of tenants, and declining rents.
Our technical background is a combination of experience in construction, home repairs and mechanical systems. Our property care services are used by tenants, homeowners and businesses in Boston, Metro Boston, Greater Boston and we are committed to earn your trust.
Boston Home Services services: Handyman, IKEA Furniture Assembly, Painting, Flat Screen TV Wall Mounting, Property Management, Cleaning, Gardening, Landscaping, Carpentry and more!