Category Archives: Preventive Maintenance

Storage Shed Preventive Maintenance

After you buy or build your storage building, there will still be a little work to do from time to time. There will come a time when you will need to perform maintenance and minor repairs. This section will guide you through the basic process and offer information on setting up a preventive maintenance program that will not eat all your spare time.

Whatever material your storage building is made of, it will last longer and serve you better with preventive maintenance checks and good maintenance practices. Maintenance is the life of your storage shed.

Storage shed preventive maintenance

First and foremost, prevention is the key to any good maintenance program. This should start at the very beginning of the process. Your choice of materials will set the pace for your maintenance needs in the future. Some materials are just more durable than others, but some of the less durable materials may be needed to fit some applications. Other preventive measures would include things like avoiding tool and equipment dings, dents, and damage which can compromise the integrity of the structure.

Tools for shed maintenance

Storage shed materials

It is just hard to avoid the fact that galvanized and painted steel will outlast wood or composite sidings. It is not a sales tactic, it is just the truth. It is also true that such materials will require less maintenance over the extended life of the building than their wood and composite counter parts. These are just the facts. Knowing this to be true, makes choosing material based on ease and longevity a ‘no brainer”. However, ease and longevity are not the only factors in choosing a building or the materials used to build it.

Other factors may include, appearance, price, and local restrictions. Sometimes it may be necessary to blend an additional feature such as a shed with the home and landscape, and in such cases, wood may be the best choice. Budget restraints may make wood or composite siding the initial best choice, although the additional maintenance costs over several years will probably make the steel siding a more economical choice in the long run. Home Owners Associations seem to prefer wooden structures over metal structures, so if you have a HOA where you live, you may have little choice in the matter. Whatever the reason, wood and composite sidings will require a higher level of maintenance.

Metal storage shed preventive maintenance

Maintenance for metal sheds is simple. Once a year, or more often if you like, you should perform the following inspection and follow up:

Debris

Keep the top free of debris like tree limbs. Such things can cause a build up of organic materials that can add stress to the structure. Denting or sagging could result, and water damage could be a consequence.

Cleaning

Give the building a good cleaning to remove grime. Use a mild detergent with no abrasives.

Touch up

During the cleaning process you may have noted some scratches or dings to the siding. In such cases, let the spot dry completely, and then use a little oil based paint matching your color to touch up those spots.

Level

Check the building to be sure it is level. The first indication of this will probably be sticking doors. If the doors should become “sticky” between annual inspections, check the structure with a spirit level, and adjust it as needed.

Fasteners

Tighten or replace loose or missing screws. This will help to avoid water and wind damage. check with a nut driver and tighten as needed. The addition of a small amount of silica sealer to the threads of screws that were extremely loose may help to prevent this in the future.

Wooden storage shed preventive maintenance

Wood rot occurs only in the presence of moisture. There is no such thing as dry root, If wood is dry and rotting, water was present at some point to initiate the rot, and the rotting will stop once the moisture is removed.

Knowing this, we can understand that the most significant danger to a wood or composite structure is moisture, so preventing moisture is our main objective. This simply means, that we need to keep the wooden surfaces from being penetrated by moisture by sealing them with paint or sealer and caulk. Some woods are resistant to moisture damage, but even these will benefit from proper sealing.

Once a year, your wooden or composite structure should be:

  • Inspected
  • Leveled
  • Cleaned
  • Re-sealed

This is the best preventive maintenance possible. Special attention should be paid to any openings in the structure such as doors, windows, and vents, as these are usually the primary entrance points for rain or irrigation water, and the first places to show signs of damage. Look for discoloration around the frames of the openings, and seal with caulk or weatherstrip, whichever is needed. This should be done whether it appears to be needed or not. All joints should be re-caulked, and all surfaces should get a coat of paint or sealer. Shingles should be inspected and replaced if needed. Doing this consistently will add years of life to your wooden shed.

Vinyl storage shed preventive maintenance

All of the applicable points for wood and metal sheds should be taken into account with vinyl sheds. They should be cleaned, sealed, and leveled at least once per year.

 

 

 

Sealing Homes For Pest Prevention

Sealing Homes For Pest Prevention

Part six in our pest prevention series

Homes have holes. Lots and lots of them. To keep pests out, you need to seal these holes. Homes have vents, and while these should not be sealed, they should be made inaccessible to insects and rodents.

Sealing your home against pests

It is a necessary fact of life. You have to breathe. Stop doing it for more than a couple of minutes, and you are a goner! Your home has to breathe too, and In order to breathe, in order to allow entry for pipes and cables, in order to vent heat and harmful gases, there have to be openings in a home. This is a list of the primary openings in a home, that is the important ones that are there for a reason. There may be others, like places that have separated over years of settling, cracks, and openings that were made for repairs, or made inadvertently over the years. Check your home closely for these.

Vents

  • Attic Vents: For dissipating heat.
  • Soffit Vents: For dissipating heat.
  • Plumbing Vents: For dissipating fumes and allowing the air needed for proper function of drainage systems.
  • Range vents: For dissipating the heat and smoke from cooking.
  • Hot gas vents for ventilating the hot gases from gas hot water heaters.
  • Dryer vents for dissipating the hot air from clothes dryers.
  • Fan vents, for removing nuisance odors from bathrooms.
  • Weep holes are small vents for allowing the drainage and drying of condensate from natural heating and cooling in the walls of your home, to prevent mold.

Other possible pest openings

Power, communication, and transmission lines and pipes

  • Air Conditioning Condensate drains: Very often, these are small copper pipes through the walls of the home. These allow the removal of moisture from air conditioning units.
  • Plumbing pipe openings: Allowing plumbing into your home; In most cases today, this is done through the floor of the concrete slab, but sometimes in other areas for homes on blocks or pier and beam construction.
  • Electrical lines. To allow electricity transmission: These are most often at the upper portion of an outside wall.
  • Cable communications lines: For satellite or cable line entry: The location can vary.

A home with out some forms of ventilation would soon destroy itself. A home without electricity, plumbing and communication would not be much fun!

So, how do we accommodate all these holes in our homes, and still keep little critters out? Well, that is what this is about.

How to close the border to pests

Vents

Before central heat and air, there were devices in homes to allow for the adjustment of temperature through the use of ventilation. We still have them in most homes today where they often serve as nothing more than vestiges of the ancient past. These were known as windows. Often the doors were used for the same purpose in the summer.

How did they manage to open these ventilation devices without allowing bugs in? This was accomplished through window and door screens. Taking a lesson from the past, we might consider the use of screens over the vents. Most home builders now screen vents, but there is always a chance, and you should check yours. Sometimes some are omitted by accident. I have seen a number of cases where rodents gained entry through dryer vents, and then chewed through the vent hose to get to the cheese and crackers. Write yourself a note to periodically check these vent screens for clogging.

Protecting other potential openings for pests

Other entry routes into the home, pipes and cables, will need to be sealed using another ancient technology: Caulk. A tube of high quality caulk is one of the best tools in home pest prevention. Seal around those entries on the outside of your home. Even the very small cracks and holes. You might be surprised just how small an insect or a rodent can become when it is hungry, thirsty, hot dry, wet or cold. When you are done with the outside of your home, you are not done!

Sealing indoors for pest prevention

On the inside of your house, you should do the same thing. Give special attention to plumbing drains. Very often a box was used to to form around the bathroom piping for the plumbers to make all the connections. If this area is not filled before the walls are completed, there will be exposed soil on the inside of the wall. Most pre-treatments for termites will lower the chances of anything coming into the home through these openings, but occasionally some do. If you have easy access to these areas through a pipe chase, filling the area with mortar or some other hardening substance is a good option, if not, the first time that a repair is made to your plumbing requiring a plumber to open up the wall, you might be able to do it. Otherwise, make sure that the inside wall is sealed well.

Caulking and sealing indoors

  • Caulking around doors and windows, inside and out should be checked, and resealed if needed.
  • Door sweeps should be checked and replaced if they do not reach the floor, or do not go all the way to the edges of the door.
  • All weather-stripping around doors and windows should be checked.
  • All screen doors should be in good order with no holes. The same is true of window screens. Look for a good fit. Check the window surface to surface seals where they open, make sure the seal is tight enough that the bugs can’t crawl between.
pest points of entry

Pest entry route caulked
Caulked pest entry point

If you have followed the other guidelines in this pest prevention series, the numbers of pests trying to get into your home will be few. If you will now seal your home as described here, you will have prevented the overwhelming majority of the remaining pests from entering, and are well on your way to a pest free home. The next section is an overview with some added common sense tips for home pest prevention.

See part seven in our pest prevention series!


Preventive Maintenance Program Pest Control

Preventive Maintenance Program Pest Control

To control pests, like everything else, the best form of control is prevention. Preventive pest control provides a solid base for your entire pest control system, and, if carried out properly, will provide almost all the pest control you will need.

What to check 0utside your home

Frequency: Monthly

1. Check the outside areas of your property for weeds and brush.

2. Check for trash, rubble, and debris. These provide cover and food for insects and rodents. Remove anything found.

3. Check all containers like bird baths, pet food or pet watering bowls for stagnant water, and left over food. If you are feeding more than your pet needs, you are inviting predators to dine on your lawn. If you leave standing water, you are inviting mosquitoes to breed.

4. Check for puddles, and standing water. If you find any, be certain to make and execute plans to provide permanent drainage.

5. Check the effectiveness of your mowing program. Look for the presence of thatch. If the grass is getting a little too high between mowings, you may need to add an extra mowing day. High grass and thatch allow insects and rodents to move undetected in your lawn, and allows weeds time to mature and replant themselves. See also: Lawn Mowing Tips Mower Size Lawn Mowing Tips Mowing Frequency Lawn And Garden: Less Lawn More Garden

6. Check for tree limbs, shrubs, vines, and landscape plants touching your home. Trim them back if they are. They provide a roadway for insects to get onto, and into your house.

7. Check for holes, cracks, and poorly sealed plumbing, electrical, and communication line openings, and seal any you find with caulk or other appropriate materials.

8. Check doors and windows to be sure that screens fit tightly, that the caulking joints are in good order, and that weatherstripping and sweeps are are not letting light, and pests through.

9. After these steps have been taken, any outdoor pests remaining can be treated with the appropriate insecticides and herbicides. There should be few if any, if the above steps were taken correctly.

What to check inside your home

1. Check all entries corresponding to those outside, such as cable, plumbing, and electrical entry, and door and window frames. Make any repairs needed.

2. Make sure that the inside of your home is clean, free of clutter, and free of food crumbs.

3. Look for signs of insects and rodent entry and activity such as feces, and gnawing marks. Use traps for rodents before using rodenticides if at all possible. Use insecticides sparingly if needed, and then only according to label directions.

See also: Home Pest Control Theories and Practices and Home Mosquito Control And Prevention