Problems can arise in unattended homes. It is important that absentee owners take steps to protect their investment by hiring a licensed and insured Mann Enterprises service. This fact sheet is designed to inform homeowners of the potential problems that can occur in unattended homes. What can possibly go wrong? Anything!
Air conditioning failures are one of the more common occurrences during warm summer months.
Frequently, service calls are needed to unclog air handler drain lines. Drain pans without a float switch can over flow causing extensive damage to the interior of a home if left unattended. An air handler is capable of removing up to 15 gallons of water per day. In one week's time 105 gallons of water could enter the home.
Humidistat inaccuracy can cause the humidity levels to rise in homes, which creates an atmosphere for mold and mildew to grow. System components can be damaged by electrical surges during severe storms.
If routine maintenance is not performed on the system, units could freeze up because filters are clogged or the coils are dirty.
The most common and preventable disaster to homes is a plumbing failure. If the water is not turned off at the main shut-off valve leading to the home, it is an invitation for disaster.
Most common plumbing service calls are related to water heaters, ice maker lines, stop valves and supply lines leaking.
Multiple leak failures occur with water closets including shut off valves, tank seals, at the base, interior tank components such as the flapper not sealing properly, and cracks in the porcelain tank or base.
Copper water lines corrode; over time a tiny pinhole could cause extensive damage if unnoticed.
Occasionally leaks occur in the main water line running to the house and at backflow valves due to age, large equipment driving on the property and lightning strikes.
Garbage disposals will freeze up due to lack of use.
Water should be run in all sinks, tubs, water closets and showers to ensure water remains in the drain p-trap. Once the water evaporates it can damage plumbing pipes and also permit sewer gases and insects access to the home.
Often water main shut-off valves are turned on at the house by maintenance and pool workers who occasionally forget to turn off the valve.
If homeowners are away for any extended length of time it is recommended by LCEC and the refrigerator manufacturers to empty the appliance, turn off the ice maker, thoroughly clean the appliance, prop open the doors and turn it off either at the electrical panel or unplug the unit.
Extended power outages are a common occurrence on the island. Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than four hours. Foods in a freezer without power may stay frozen from one to three days depending on whether the appliance is full, if it is large and well-insulated and the temperature outside is moderate. Island temperatures during the summer months average around 90 degrees which is far above moderate.
If the appliance fails due to mechanical problems, food can be left to spoil inside the unit until discovered, causing damage to the appliance and flooring.
Power surges can damage electrical components of most major appliances and electronics. If not discovered, upon returning to a home, the homeowner may find that the refrigerator, stove, television or modem are not working. According to Murphy's Law this usually occurs prior to entertaining guests or family. Appliance repairs can take several weeks depending on the availability of the parts.
Rats and mice tend to be more active in non-occupied homes. Rodents cause unsanitary conditions in the home along with damaging drywall, insulation and electrical wiring. They can nest in automobile engines and often chew on wires.
Snakes and frogs can enter the home through uncovered vent stacks in the roof or dryer vents.
Woodpeckers can cause extensive damage to the exterior of a home. Often this occurs when insect activity is not controlled, and repairs can become costly.
Swimming pools can be an invitation to dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, bugs, snakes and alligators.
Bees can build hives in the walls and ceilings of homes where the exterior has not been properly sealed. Wasps or mud daubers often nest in areas near stairways, railings and in the exposed joist framing of stilt or piling homes; these hives or nests must be removed carefully.
Most lawn companies do a fine job; however, there can be occasions when their services should be monitored and double-checked.
Lawns can rapidly decline in one week's time due to improper maintenance and sprinkler system failures, often resulting in high water bills or damaged landscaping.
Possible water restrictions may dictate the amount of lawn and plant watering. Violations may result in fines or other actions.
During extended power outages, sprinkler system timers must be reset once power is restored if the batteries have been drained.
Trees should be trimmed away from the house to prevent damage to the home and also discourage insect and pest intrusion.
If pools are not properly maintained, the pool surface and equipment could be damaged. Leaks are common failures in pool equipment.
Screen cages can be damaged by foliage, high winds, reptiles, rodents, birds and golf balls.