Residents should start preparing their homes in case of wildfire by removing anything flammable from within five feet of a home including items under decks, pine needles in gutters and more, Latham said. Then it’s time to move out to between five and 30 feet from the home, keeping grass short, and removing highly flammable shrubs and vegetation.
A sewer scope is never a bad idea, even on new construction. You never know what you’ll find. This is a crescent wrench stuck in a sewer pipe in near Wash Park, Denver, Colorado during a home inspection. I’m really curious to see if they can retrieve it with out digging it up. I hope so!
Dry air, low precipitation, little soil moisture, and fluctuating temperatures are characteristics of fall and winter in many areas of Colorado. Often there is little or no snow cover to provide soil moisture from October through March. Trees, shrubs, perennials and lawns under these conditions may be damaged if they do not receive supplemental water.
The result of long, dry periods during fall and winter is injury or death to parts of plant root systems. Affected plants may appear perfectly normal and resume growth in the spring using stored food energy. Plants may be weakened and all or parts may die in late spring or summer when temperatures rise. Weakened plants also may be subject to insect and disease problems.
Woody plants with shallow root systems require supplemental watering during extended dry fall and winter periods. These include European white and paper birches; Norway, silver, red, Rocky Mountain and hybrid maples; lindens, alders, hornbeams, dogwoods, willows, and mountain ashes. Evergreen plants that benefit include spruce, fir, arborvitae, yew, Oregon grape-holly, boxwood, and Manhattan euonymus. Woody plants also benefit from mulch to conserve soil moisture.
Herbaceous perennials and ground covers in exposed sites are more subject to winter freezing and thawing. This opens cracks in soil that expose roots to cold and drying. Winter watering combined with mulching can prevent this damage
Lawns also are prone to winter damage. Newly established lawns, whether seeded or sodded, are especially susceptible. Susceptibility increases for lawns with south or west exposures.
Water only when air temperatures are above 40 degrees F. Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night. A solid layer (persisting for more than a month) of ice on lawns can cause suffocation or result in matting of the grass.
Plants receiving reflected heat from buildings, walls and fences are more subject to damage. The low angle of winter sun makes this more likely on south or west exposures. Windy sites result in faster drying of sod and plants and require additional water. Lawns in warm exposures are prone to late winter mite damage. Water is the best treatment to prevent turf injury
Monitor weather conditions and water during extended dry periods without snow cover – one to two times per month.
Newly planted trees are most susceptible to winter drought injury. Trees generally take one year to establish for each inch of trunk diameter. For example, a two inch diameter (caliper) tree takes a minimum of two years to establish under normal conditions.
Trees obtain water best when it is allowed to soak into the soil slowly to a depth of 12 inches. Methods of watering trees include: sprinklers, deep-root fork or needle, soaker hose or soft spray wand. Apply water to many locations under the dripline and beyond if possible. If using a deep-root fork or needle, insert no deeper than 8 inches into the soil. As a general survival rule, apply 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree. For example, a two-inch diameter tree needs 20 gallons per watering. Use a ruler to measure your tree’s diameter at 6″ above ground level.
Newly planted shrubs require more water than established shrubs that have been planted for at least one year. The following recommendations assume shrubs are mulched to retain moisture. In dry winters, all shrubs benefit from winter watering from October through March. Apply 5 gallons two times per month for a newly planted shrub. Small established shrubs (less than 3 feet tall) should receive 5 gallons monthly. Large established shrubs (more than 6 feet) require 18 gallons on a monthly basis. Decrease amounts to account for precipitation. Water within the dripline of the shrub and around the base.
Herbaceous perennial establishment periods vary. Bare root plants require longer to establish than container plants. Perennials transplanted late in the fall will not establish as quickly as those planted in spring. Winter watering is advisable with late planted perennials, bare root plants, and perennials located in windy or southwest exposures.
With all the controversy surrounding lead pipes in Flint, Michigan, municipalities around the country started to question whether lead pipes are a problem in their own hometowns. Here’s how to know in Denver whether the house you’re buying or occupying has lead pipes.
Which areas of Denver might have lead pipes? Any house built in 1951 or older could have lead pipes. So you’re only going to see these in the older parts of Denver and the inner suburbs. Denver Water estimates there are 64,000 to 84,000 homes in the Denver area that might have lead pipes. Those of you who live out in the newer suburbs, breathe a sigh of relief.
Why are lead pipes a concern? Microscopic pieces of lead can slough off the interior of the pipes and find their way into drinking water. Ingested lead is toxic to the human body, particularly in children where it can affect the brain and development. Lead pipes were outlawed decades ago.
I remember my dad used to run the water for a few seconds before taking a drink and I always wondered why. He was born in 1929, and I think he had been taught to clear the pipes of lead buildup before pouring himself a glass!
Which pipes in the house are we worried about? The pipes of concern are the water supply pipes. These are the ones that carry potable drinkable water to the kitchen and bath fixtures inside the house.
How to identify lead pipes. You’ll see lead supply piping in the basement ceiling or beneath the floor in the crawlspace. Lead water supply pipes will be roughly an inch in diameter and they are grey in color. Lead is a soft metal so if you scrape it with a knife-edge you can gouge it or shave a little off. Fittings that connect pipes together have a bulbous appearance with no threads.
Don’t confuse lead with galvanized steel. Lead is different that galvanized steel, which you’re much more likely to see because it’s a much more common material. Galvanized steel is harder, you won’t be able to scrape it, and the fittings are threaded. Galvanized pipes are not a health concern, but it’s an obsolete material that is prone to corrosion and leaking, particularly at the joints. If your house has a lot of galvanized piping it’s probably time for an upgrade to modern piping as well.
Supply pipes vs. drain pipes. Some old drain pipes are made of lead but these aren’t a concern because they carry waste water out of the house. Waste lines can be differentiated because they are much larger in diameter, roughly 2 inches to 4 inches across. Often you’ll see these under the floor at bathtubs, toilets, and kitchen sinks.
How common are lead water pipes in Denver? Two answers. 1. In my experience as a home inspector, lead supply pipes inside the house are rare, though we do see them occasionally on home inspections in Denver. Usually someone has identified them already and had them removed. 2. However, the underground service line sending the water from the city main to your individual house has a higher likelihood of being lead. The reason lead still might be present is that it’s buried pipe, so homeowners and their plumbers may not be aware of it. Also replacing a service line is costly so it’s less likely to have been done. Your only hope of visually identifying the pipe material is to find the short piece that enters the house upstream of the main house shutoff valve. This will be at the front of the house in the basement or in the crawlspace. But here’s the rub, often that short piece connecting the main house valve to the service line is not lead, but the pipe buried in the yard upstream of it is lead. You might have a lead service and not be able to see it. So, now what?
My home inspector will find it, right? Part of the home inspector’s professional standard of practice is to identify the service main material and the interior supply piping material. So we’re often able to catch it and report it. However, a home inspection is a visual exercise, the home inspector can only report what he or she can see. Pipes running under floors, through walls, or under the ground cannot be seen. Then how can a homeowner or homebuyer ensure safety for their family relative to lead pipes?
Enter Denver Water. Denver Water has a new lead pipe replacement program in place. Over the next 15 years, they will be systematically identifying and replacing lead service lines, at their expense. In the meanwhile, they may have sent you a pitcher-type water filter you can use for drinking water while you’re waiting for them to catch up to your house. I’ve seen these pitchers in several houses recently. If you want to know if your house has a lead service line, they have database mapping system where you can query your address. Link here. Note, this program does not cover piping inside the house. Indoor piping replacement is on the homeowner.
I have to wait 15 years to be safe? Not at all. If you don’t want to wait for what could be a decade or more for Denver Water to reach your house, you can have your service line replaced by your own plumber and Denver Water will partially reimburse you. The current rate is $3,800. Use water filtration systems in the meanwhile.
What should a Realtor tell homebuyers? First check the age of the house. If it was built after 1951, you’re in the clear. Second, ask your home inspector, he or she may be able to see lead piping in the house, but not in all cases and not for buried pipes. As a precaution, always search the Denver Water database for more information.
Questions? As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to me by responding to this post or emailing me at email@example.com.
Home repair cost guide for items commonly found on home inspections in Denver, Colorado.
In the interest of keeping Realtors, buyers, and sellers safe on home inspections, Call2Inspect continues to be cautious and alert relative to COVID 19. As always our inspectors are washing hands, wearing face masks, gloves, and shoe covers, disinfecting tools, and practicing 6-foot distancing. These measures will protect home buyers and sellers, Realtors, and our own staff.
Buyers and Realtors
Sellers please vacate the home for the duration of the home inspection. Inspectors will no longer be able to enter homes where home sellers or tenants are present.
There’s Light at the End of the Tunnel
We understand these can be trying times for buyers and sellers and we wanted to let you know that we are doing everything we can to respect all parties and subject properties relative to hygiene procedures. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility. These are temporary measures for the next few weeks, I think we all see light at the end of the tunnel!