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Master the Art of Foundation Care: A Homeowner’s Guide to Controlled Watering

By Commercial Inspections, Residential Inspections

Welcome to the exciting world of foundation care! Okay, maybe it’s not that thrilling, but taking care of your home’s foundation is crucial. Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s essential for every homeowner: a controlled watering program. Trust us, your foundation will thank you!

Why Should You Care About Your Foundation?

Imagine your home’s foundation as its backbone. Just like how we need a sturdy spine to stand tall, your house needs a solid foundation to stay upright and safe. The trick to a happy foundation lies in understanding expansive soils, which are just like sponges. They swell up when they absorb water and shrink when they dry out. This constant expanding and contracting can make your house move up and down like a seesaw. Not fun, right?

If this movement isn’t too extreme, it might not be a big deal. But if your house starts playing trampoline, you could end up with cracks and other issues. Luckily, you can prevent this with a simple controlled watering program.

The Magic of Controlled Watering

So, what’s the big secret? It’s all about keeping the soil moisture under your house consistent. Here’s how you can master this magic trick:

  1. Perfect Placement: Start with a soaker hose, placing it one to two feet away from the edge of your foundation. This helps the water seep evenly into the soil. Pro tip: Don’t snuggle the hose up against the foundation—it needs a bit of breathing room!
  2. Even Soaking: When soil dries out, it cracks. Water can then travel through these cracks and gather at the bottom of the foundation, making the soil lose its strength. Keep the soil evenly moist to avoid this problem.
  3. Seasonal Adjustments: Just like your wardrobe changes with the seasons, your watering habits should too. During the hot, dry summer months, you might need to water your foundation daily. Trees and shrubs around your home can drink up a lot of water, so make sure they aren’t stealing it all from your foundation. In the cooler, wetter seasons, scale back watering to prevent waterlogging.

Why Bother?

You might be thinking, “Do I really need to worry about this?” The answer is a resounding yes! Keeping your foundation in tip-top shape can save you from costly repairs down the line. Plus, a stable foundation means fewer worries about cracks and structural issues.

Think of it as an investment in your home’s future. A little effort now can pay off big time later.

Watering Wisely

Here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Summer Lovin’: When the weather is hot and dry, water your foundation every day if needed. Make sure the moisture reaches deep into the soil, not just the surface.
  • Winter Chill: In the colder months, reduce your watering frequency. The soil doesn’t need as much water, and you want to avoid any risk of water accumulating and weakening your foundation.
  • Best position for this hose: 20 to 24 inches away from the side of your building. You should never try to water a foundation directly. If cracks have already formed, the water will flow through them, collecting under the grade beam. This is the thickest part of the foundation, providing most of the load support. Once the soil underneath is saturated, it loses some of its load-bearing capacity. This can cause your foundation to shift more, making the problem worse. Moving the hose further away guarantees the water will percolate through the surrounding soil, spreading out expansion.

Balancing the benefits of a stable foundation against a slightly higher water bill is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Your home’s foundation will be rock solid, and you’ll sleep better knowing you’ve done everything to keep it that way.

If you’ve got questions or need more tips, ARIEL Inspection is here to help. We’re your go-to experts for all things foundation-related, and we’re always ready to lend a hand.

Stay tuned for more handy homeowner tips and tricks. Your foundation will thank you, and so will your future self!

Happy watering! Contact us for any inspection needs.

Commercial Inspection for Triple Net Lease Properties

By Commercial Inspections, Uncategorized

Understanding Triple Net Lease Maintenance Responsibilities

In a triple-net lease (NNN), tenants bear the responsibility for property maintenance, making it crucial to stay proactive about upkeep. Without timely preventative maintenance, the costs associated with repairing or replacing building systems and components can escalate significantly. The key to minimizing these expenses is understanding the condition of the property throughout the entire lease term.

Executive Overview of Our Inspection Services

ARIEL Inspection & Engineering provides thorough, periodic visual inspections designed to keep you informed about the state of your property. Our detailed inspection reports will help you anticipate maintenance needs, necessary repairs, and potential replacements. This foresight enables you to plan and budget effectively, avoiding unexpected expenses and maintaining the value of your investment.

Why Choose ARIEL Inspections?

  • Unbiased Assessments: As an independent third-party inspection firm, we deliver impartial evaluations that you can trust, ensuring that your decisions are based on accurate information.
  • Comprehensive Reports: Our detailed inspection reports provide a clear picture of the property’s condition, highlighting areas that require attention. Our inspections are compliant with CCPIA comSOP and with ASTM 15E-2018 Standards.
  • Preventative Maintenance Guidance: We identify issues early, allowing you to address them before they become costly problems.
  • Tailored Scheduling: We offer flexible inspection schedules to suit your needs, ensuring timely assessments that align with your maintenance plans.

By partnering with ARIEL, you can maintain the integrity of your property, safeguard your investment, and ensure the smooth operation of your leased premises.

Contact Us

Contact ARIEL for a free consultation to arrange your periodic inspections or keep our information on hand for future reference. We’re here to help you stay ahead of maintenance issues and manage your property with confidence.

ARIEL Inspections providing 3N tenants and owners with confidence and peace of mind. Call (972) 400-5800, or email: drew@ARIELhi.com

Thinking of a New Roof – Inspectors Recommend Ridge Vents

By Commercial Inspections, Residential Inspections, Uncategorized

Roof ridge vents offer several advantages over power vents or fixed vents for residential homes:

Passive Ventilation: Ridge vents operate passively, relying on natural convection currents to draw hot air out of the attic space. This means they don’t require any electricity to function, unlike power vents which rely on motors. This can lead to energy savings and reduced utility costs.

Uniform Ventilation: Ridge vents run along the length of the roof’s peak, providing continuous ventilation across the entire attic space. This helps to ensure more uniform airflow compared to individual fixed vents, which may be unevenly distributed or less effective in certain areas of the attic.

Aesthetic Appeal: Ridge vents are often designed to blend in with the roofline, making them less obtrusive and more visually appealing compared to power vents, which typically protrude from the roof and may detract from the home’s appearance.

Weather Resistance: Ridge vents are generally more weather-resistant than other types of vents, as they are installed along the highest point of the roof and are less susceptible to wind-driven rain or snow infiltration compared to roof-mounted power vents.

Quiet Operation: Since ridge vents operate passively, they produce minimal noise compared to power vents, which can be quite loud when the motor is running. This can contribute to a quieter and more comfortable living environment.

Low Maintenance: Ridge vents typically require minimal maintenance once installed properly. Unlike power vents, which have moving parts that can wear out or require periodic servicing, ridge vents simply provide a continuous opening for ventilation without the need for regular upkeep.

Effective Heat Dissipation: By venting hot air out through the highest point of the roof, ridge vents help to dissipate heat buildup more effectively, reducing the temperature inside the attic space. This can help prolong the lifespan of roofing materials and prevent moisture-related issues such as mold and mildew growth.

Overall, roof ridge vents offer a cost-effective, low-maintenance solution for attic ventilation that provides consistent airflow and contributes to improved energy efficiency and indoor comfort in residential homes.

Call ARIEL Inspection & Engineering for an independent consultation.

Trusted Medical Building Inspections in the DFW Metroplex

By Commercial Inspections, Uncategorized

Expertise, reliability, and comprehensive approach of our medical building inspection services in the DFW Metroplex.

There are several compelling reasons for conducting a commercial building inspection for a doctor’s clinic building:

  1. Safety Assurance: Ensuring the safety of patients, staff, and visitors is paramount in a medical facility. A commercial building inspection identifies any structural issues, fire hazards, or other safety concerns that could jeopardize safety.
  2. Regulatory Compliance: Medical facilities are subject to various regulations and codes governing building safety, accessibility, and health standards. A thorough inspection ensures compliance with these regulations, reducing the risk of penalties or legal liabilities.
  3. Risk Mitigation: Identifying potential risks and hazards early can help mitigate liability risks for the clinic. From electrical hazards to slip and fall risks, a commercial building inspection helps identify and address potential liabilities.
  4. Protecting Investments: A doctor’s clinic building is a significant investment. Regular inspections help protect this investment by identifying maintenance issues early, preventing costly repairs or replacements down the line.
  5. Optimizing Operational Efficiency: An inspection can identify inefficiencies in the building’s systems, such as HVAC, plumbing, or energy usage. Addressing these issues can lead to cost savings and improved operational efficiency for the clinic.
  6. Maintaining Reputation: A well-maintained and safe clinic reflects positively on the reputation of the healthcare provider. Regular inspections demonstrate a commitment to patient safety and quality care, enhancing the clinic’s reputation in the community.
  7. Tenant Satisfaction: If the clinic operates within a larger commercial building with multiple tenants, ensuring the safety and functionality of the building benefits all occupants. A commercial building inspection helps maintain tenant satisfaction and retention.
  8. Facilitating Transactions: Whether buying, selling, or leasing the property, a commercial building inspection provides valuable information for all parties involved. It helps buyers make informed decisions and ensures transparency in transactions.

Overall, a commercial building inspection for your doctor’s clinic building is essential for safeguarding the well-being of his patients and staff, ensuring regulatory compliance, protecting investments, and maintaining operational efficiency and reputation.

Ariel Inspections is one of the best medical building inspectors in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Contact us today to get your inspection scheduled.

Creating Inclusive Pickleball Courts: ADA Compliance for HOA and Public Facilities

By Commercial Inspections, Uncategorized

Pickleball has gained immense popularity in recent years, drawing players of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re a homeowner association (HOA) developing a community court or a public facility catering to pickleball enthusiasts, ensuring accessibility is paramount. Embracing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines not only promotes inclusivity but also aligns with local building codes, creating a welcoming space for everyone.

Inclusivity and Health Benefits:

Pickleball stands out not only for its simplicity and affordability but also for the inclusive environment it fosters. This sport encourages not only physical activity but also social interaction, making it a healthy and enjoyable choice for players of all backgrounds. The sport’s adaptability allows for individual improvement, the development of fundamentals, and the enhancement of technique, creating endless opportunities for personal growth.

The Importance of Inclusivity for ADA Individuals:

What makes pickleball truly exceptional is its commitment to inclusivity. The ease of learning and playing the game, coupled with its social nature, makes it a perfect avenue for individuals with varying physical abilities. The sport’s adaptability caters to the needs of those seeking a less strenuous environment, making it an ideal choice for those with different abilities. The pickleball community is open, welcoming, and embraces diversity, ensuring that everyone, including ADA individuals, can participate and thrive in this engaging sport

Why ADA Compliance Matters:

The ADA sets forth comprehensive guidelines to make facilities accessible for individuals with disabilities. When it comes to indoor pickleball courts, adopting these standards ensures that everyone, regardless of their physical abilities, can enjoy the game. From accessible parking spaces to clear pathways, ADA compliance enhances the overall user experience, promoting inclusivity and community engagement.

HOA Responsibilities:

For HOAs developing pickleball courts within residential communities, adherence to ADA guidelines is not just a legal requirement but also a commitment to fostering a sense of community for all residents. Designated accessible parking spaces, wheelchair-friendly paths, and inclusive seating arrangements demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity, creating a space where everyone can participate in the joy of pickleball.

Public Facilities and Local Building Codes:

Public pickleball courts face a similar imperative to comply with ADA guidelines, but local building codes also play a crucial role. These codes are designed to ensure the safety and accessibility of structures within a community. Local building codes must align with ADA requirements, and facility developers should work closely with regulatory bodies to guarantee full compliance. This collaboration ensures that every aspect of the facility, from court layout to restroom accessibility, meets the highest standards of inclusivity and safety.

Navigating the Requirements:

Creating an ADA-compliant pickleball facility involves meticulous attention to detail. The facility’s entrance, pathways, court layout, seating, restrooms, signage, lighting, and communication features must all be designed with accessibility in mind. Engaging with professionals who specialize in ADA compliance during the planning and construction phases can streamline the process and guarantee that every requirement is met.

The Ripple Effect of Inclusivity:

An ADA-compliant pickleball court not only fulfills legal obligations but also contributes to a more vibrant and connected community. Inclusivity fosters a sense of belonging, bringing people together to enjoy a shared passion for the game. Whether within an HOA or a public facility, adopting these standards ensures that everyone, regardless of physical ability, can participate and create lasting memories on the pickleball court.

Conclusion:

As the popularity of pickleball continues to soar, it is essential for HOAs and public facilities to prioritize ADA compliance. By embracing these guidelines, communities not only adhere to legal requirements but also create spaces that reflect a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. Working hand-in-hand with local building codes, developers can guarantee that every aspect of their indoor pickleball court aligns with the highest standards, making the game enjoyable for everyone. Ultimately, an ADA-compliant pickleball facility isn’t just a space to play; it’s a testament to the power of community and the importance of ensuring that every member can join in the fun

SURVIVING THE WINTER FREEZE OF 2021-22?

By Commercial Inspections, Residential Inspections, Uncategorized

PREVENTATIVE STEPS TO TAKE TO PROTECT YOUR HOME

Last year’s deep freeze caused issues for many of our neighbors which ranged from minor leaks to catastrophic damage.  I am sure everyone has their fingers and toes crossed that we don’t have a repeat of that weather anytime soon.  Below are some ideas to help everyone be more prepared.

Some people are saying that this is a once in a lifetime event, but I can assure you it isn’t.  While the temperatures we experienced are rare this is the 3rd time since 1988, we have seen extremely low temperatures.  The reality of the situation is that we could experience another deep freeze at any time.   An occasional low temperature is not normally an issue, but problems occur when we hit below 20 degrees F for several consecutive days.

Some neighborhoods had 3 main areas of impact

  1. Fire Sprinklers systems – these are only in the newer homes built by Perry Homes
  2. Pipes leading to outside faucets in outside walls  
  3. Waterpipes in unheated attics or garage ceilings 

There are things you can all do to reduce your risk repeat of last February 2021.

If your house is going to be vacant for an extended period, you may want to consider turning off the water to the house.  Everyone should have a water valve that allows you to do this. You can also turn water off at the meter but if you have fire sprinklers you should never turn your water off at the meter because it also turns off the water supply to the fire sprinklers.

If the water supply to the fire sprinklers is shutoff you could void your insurance coverage if there is a fire.   

Water pipes in unheated areas/ Outside hose faucets 

Typically, the heat from your living space in your house will help keep the attic warmer than the outside temperatures but there are limits. The difference is usually around 15-20 degrees in the winter, but differences can be larger during extreme cold weather.  An inexpensive remote temperature sensor/alarm can help you keep an eye on your attic temperature – this is important if you have water pipes in the attic.   Attics should be kept around 60 degrees F to avert pipes bursting.

Some of us have water regular water heater or tankless water heaters installed in the attic. The water heaters require pipes be installed in the attic to feed them water and distribute it after it is heated. If it gets cold enough the cold can impact the pipes running to the water heaters even if they are insulated.  The suggestion of opening the attic stairs and cranking up the heat to the maximum worked for everyone who did this.

For those who have water heaters in the attic opening the stairs is the easiest solution but there are other solutions too:

  • Install an electronic damper on one of your furnaces that would allow you to direct hot air from your furnace directly into the attic.  You should consult a Heating and A/C specialist about this option.
  • Seal and insulate the attic with foam – this also keeps the house cooler in the summer, but it is an expensive option
  • Set up a recirculating loop that circulates hot water through you pipes in the attic.

If your water heater is in the garage, pipes may be in the ceiling or walls of the garage that can burst if they freeze.  Pipes running to outside facets may also be located in unheated garages. A few things that can help are:

  • Be sure your garage door is insulated. This can make a big difference in both summer and winter.
  • Heat the garage in extremely cold weather.  There are electric space heaters or panel heaters you can purchase that can keep you garage warmer.  You don’t need to keep the garage as warm as the house but if you can maintain 40 degrees you should be good.  When considering a heater keep in mind that most garages are about 400 sq ft.   Use only am electric heater due to potential issues with carbon monoxide when using other heater fuels.
  • Set up a recirculating loop that circulates hot water through the water pipes

The outside faucets are typically designed so they cannot freeze but for this feature to work it is critically important that there are no hoses are attached to the outside faucets. If a hose is connected it keeps water in the pipe which negates the anti-freeze technology.  The pipes that burst leading to the faucet were not insulated very well or they were in unheated garages that got very cold.  In addition to the above there are a few more things you can do to reduce the potential for freezing.

  • Cover all outside faucets with foam faucet covers 
  • Install a shutoff valve on the water line that supplies the outside faucet. This should be place in a heated area because if you don’t do this the line could still freeze and the valve might not work.  If you have a cutoff valve, be sure to leave the faucet open so any water in the pipe drains out.
  • Install a pipe heating cable along water pipe leading to the outside faucet.  This is basically a heating element that runs along the pipe to keep the water above freezing. This option may require you to open your dry wall to access the pipe.

Fire Sprinkler Systems.   

These systems are more complex to deal with but there are several solutions. Last February we saw 3 types of issues.

  1. Backflow assemblies in garages ruptured because they are in unheated spaces, and many are on outside walls – this is the most common issue and causes the least damage.
  2. Pressurized drain lines burst, once again they are in outside walls in unheated spaces.
  3. Pipes in attics froze and burst, by far the most destructive.

There are a few things you can do when we have extreme weather.

  • Heat the areas where the pipes and backflow assembly are exposed to cold air.
  • Replace the water in the system with a special chemical that is designed not to freeze.  This must be done by a professional company that is licensed to maintain fire sprinkler systems. (Glycol mixtures are typical)
  • Drain the system of water.  (NOT ADVISED) This disables your fire protection. Keep in mind should your insurance coverage may be void if you have a fire and it is determined your system was disabled.  Also, this solution does not drain the water out of vertical pipes to which sprinkler heads are attached.  The water in the vertical pipes in an attic can freeze which will cause the pipe to break and fall out of the ceiling.
  • You could also just turn the water off at the backflow assembly. This could protect you from a large flood but again your fire protection is off.  If you choose this option, before you turn the water back on be sure your pressure gauges are not lower than when you shut off the water.  If the pressure drops, while the water is turned off, it usually means a pipe has ruptured.
  • Consider buying a small flat panel ceramic heater and thermal switch that you can attach to the inside of the door that encloses your backflow assembly.  This will keep the backflow assembly and valves from freezing if installed correctly.
  • Regardless of what you do, you should have the “T” tool that is made to turn off the water at your water meter or if you don’t have one you should at least know several people who do have the tool in case you need help.   These are available from local big box retail stores for around $10.

Installing water leak sensors is also a good idea.  They are inexpensive and can alert you as soon as a leak is detected.

The Backflow assemblies do have a flow sensor which can be hooked up to any alarm system. If water flows through the fire sprinkler systems for any reason it will set of the alarm even if there is no fire.

Below is a link to the panel heater I mentioned.  This can be mounted on the backflow assembly door if it is large enough. There may are other models available at different price points.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08J7Y1T2S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

The following link is for a thermal switch that will also sound and alarm and send a message to your smart phone. You can connect a heater to the device or just use it to send you temperature information.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K8MBLSQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1RUFFFCQ74BCW&psc=1

The link below is for a space heater that could be used in a garage.

https://www.amazon.com/LIFEPLUS-Adjustable-Thermostat-Overheating-Protection/dp/B08BJ7X2JF/ref=sr_1_30?crid=3FZ7EH7DA62U0&keywords=electric+garage+heater%5C&qid=1640831282&s=home-garden&sprefix=electric+garage+heater%2Cgarden%2C100&sr=1-30

Next link is for water leak detectors:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=d-link+water+sensor&gclid=Cj0KCQiAq7COBhC2ARIsANsPATGXYcTzpTA3oVGhOBfvdxs4a9Y9-joXz_dSeaZ8QPGVb8U9rHxCwroaAq1OEALw_wcB&hvadid=557163800823&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9027211&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=7711699224228224179&hvtargid=kwd-133698028131&hydadcr=14858_13352485&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_26671qe10h_e

There are many sources other than Amazon for the above items including Home Depot and Lowes.

Hope this is helpful to all and let’s hope for a winter milder than 2021.

Best,
ARIEL Inspection.