Each Rob Rice Home is built with superior construction and products, but maintaining that high quality over the years requires regular home maintenance.
Here are the top tips to winterize your home from the folks that partner with the area’s Best of South Sound builder to build Rob Rice Homes. The tips require little more than walking around and observing your roof, paint and landscaping. The fixes are simple, affordable and can prevent serious damage.
Tip #1 – Disconnect your hoses
The number one thing Eric Davis tells homeowners is to disconnect their hoses before winter hits. He should know, because he is the building superintendent at our communities of Kensington in Lacey and The Villages at South Hill in Puyallup.
It is so important that Eric reminds everyone in the final ‘walk out’ of their home to disconnect their hoses for winter. “But, every year people still forget to do it and we get calls in the spring.”
Eric explains that when homeowners leave their hoses connected, the water can freeze and break the hose bib and that leaves the potential for freezing back in the water line. “If there is water in the line it is the only way the freeze plug – a safety feature inside of the hose – can break.”
“People try to wash their cars in the spring and the water runs down their walls and they wonder why,” says Eric. “We ask them if they left their hose connected and it is always “yes”.
Tip #2 – Inspect your roof
“When you change your clocks, inspect and clean your roof, blow it off and clean your gutters,” says Glen Paine, co-owner of Legends Roofing Company that sets the roof on each Rob Rice Home. “Look for damage or clogs in the roof valleys or around skylights. Check your protrusions—your vents and your plumbing pipe flashings for any problems.”
Glen says that Rob Rice uses an architectural 30-year shingle that will last on a home 25 to 30 years with proper maintenance. Glen recommends cleaning off the roof in the spring and fall.
“If you are cleaning off your roof regularly with a hose—and, please don’t use a pressure washer!—it keeps moss from growing. My house is 12 years old and I clean it off once a year and I have no signs of moss. After a heavy rain and wind storm I look it over and check my gutters.”
If moss becomes a problem, Glen recommends Lily Miller’s “Moss Off” with a pump sprayer.
Tip #3 – Fertilize in the fall
“If you are looking to fertilize one time a year, fall is the time to do it,” says Ernie Unroe, co-owner of Pacific West Landscaping that does all the lawns and expansive landscaping for Rob Rice Homes. “You want to find something that is lower in nitrogen, a fertilizer that promotes root growth for your lawn.”
Ernie explains that of the three numbers that represent fertilizers, the first number is nitrogen. “The second two numbers should be higher in your fall fertilizer.”
The fall, he explains, is not the time to promote top growth.
“Nitrogen produces the top growth. If there is too much top growth and you get a hard freeze, it is destroyed. When you strengthen the root system to be heartier through the winter, it will give the lawn a much bigger boost for the spring.”
Ernie says late October or early November is a good time for fall fertilizer.
Tip #4 – Protect your heating system
“Keep your heating system operating at its peak performance through regular maintenance—once a year—by a qualified and factory trained company,” says Matt Jones, construction project manager for Sunset Air, the local company that installs energy efficient HVAC systems in Rob Rice Homes.
Matt says that there are simple things homeowners can do themselves that are vitally important to the overall health of their system.
“The simplest way to help your system operate efficiently is to regularly change or clean the filters (if washable). The build up of dust particulate in the filter can be harmful to a system. The clogged filter restricts airflow, which makes the furnace work harder to move the air throughout the house. The stress on the furnace can lead to failures of mechanical parts down the road. Not only does it hinder the performance and longevity of the equipment, but it also hinders the indoor air quality and potential comfort in the home.”
Tip #5 – Check your paint & wash your house
“Make sure there is no peeling or cracking paint on your home because if water gets in there and freezes it makes it worse,” Larry Hanson Imperial Printing LLC who has been using superior paint products on Rob Rice Homes for more than 30 years. “It can even make the wood crack. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.”
Larry explains the simple process to correct any problems before they cause more damage.
“Scrape the paint off, caulk the cracks and fix the paint. If water gets in cracks and the wood gets wet from behind, the wood can curl up.”
Larry provides another simple tip to protect your home’s paint job.
“You also need to wash the dirt off of the house once or twice a year. People never wash their houses. Dirt eats away at the paint because the dust and the air move over them. A dirty home can develop mildew too.”
Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013 and 2014. He has built more than 3000 homes over the last 30 years. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.