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Spring Storm Safety

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

In Central Texas, April brings beautiful wildflowers…plus the threat of severe storms. As warmer weather moves in across the region, look out for these weather events that can make a serious impact on your home, property, and personal safety:

Hail

As though we haven’t experienced enough frozen precipitation in 2021, hail has already made a huge impact across Central Texas (particularly in last week’s storm that hit Burnet, Travis, and Williamson Counties hard with baseball-sized stones).

Although you can’t stop the sky from falling, there are a few things preventative measures you can take to prepare yourself for a hailstorm:

  1. Check your insurance. Many home and auto insurance policies cover hail damage. In order to expedite your quote and repair experience, make sure you’re covered before a storm hits.
  2. Have your roof inspected. As your home’s frontline of defense for falling objects, the roof will take the brunt force in a hailstorm. By having your roof inspected before a storm hits, you can be aware of its condition and any problem areas that may lead to more severe damage.
  3. Clean your gutters to remove excess water and debris that can make a serious mess if blocked.
  4. Trim overhanging limbs that could damage your home, vehicles, or other property if knocked down in a storm.
  5. Cover outdoor furniture and plants when severe weather is imminent.

Remember to stay indoors or seek shelter in a hailstorm. Once the storm passes, assess any damage and get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim.

Lightning

While it may sound like the stuff of suburban folklore, lightning strikes are real and dangerous. The National Weather Service estimates that 49 people are killed and hundreds more severely injured by lightning strikes each year. Here are a few things you can do to help ensure your personal safety:

  1. Listen for the roar. When you hear thunder, lightning may be close enough to strike. Find a safe, enclosed space and stay inside for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.
  2. Lightning can travel through plumbing, metal, electrical systems, and concrete walls and floors that have metal reinforcement. The key here is that while staying indoors offers one layer of protection, you need to stay away from windows, water, electrical devices, and concrete. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention estimates that one third of annual strikes each year happen indoors.

Tornadoes

Perhaps the most ominous of Central Texas’ weather threats, tornadoes can be fierce and unpredictable. That’s why developing a storm safety plan well in advance can help save precious time and potentially your life.

Here are a few highlights as you begin to develop your plan:

  1. Know where to go. Evacuate a mobile home or other temporary structure. Find the innermost room on the lowest level of a building or home preferably without windows.
  2. Gather supplies. While many storms pass quickly, sometimes a chain of storms can leave you up all night trying to brace for the worst. Be ready with portable chargers, water, essential medication, small food supplies, and a list of emergency numbers in case you cannot access your cell phone.

Pro Tip: We like to keep pet harnesses and leashes with the stash so we can shelter in place with our furry family members in the event of an emergency.

  • Cover your body. If a tornado hits, cover yourself with anything you can from a mattress to a table or blanket. If possible, put sturdy shoes on to protect your feet from debris in the aftermath.

While we love homes, nothing is more important than your personal safety. Develop a storm safety plan early this season to protect yourself and your loved ones, and then take appropriate measures to secure your possessions. Stay tuned to local weather and stay aware of watches and warnings that can help direct your actions.

If your home does incur damage during a storm this spring, get in touch with the home inspection company you can trust. We’ve been telling it like it is across Central Texas since 2003 and we aren’t about to stop now! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more home maintenance and safety tips.

Stay Cool, Central Texas!

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Podcast, Seasonal Home Maintenance, Uncategorized | No Comments

Well Austin, it didn’t take long for things to heat up! Before we know it, summer will be upon us and long days of sunshine and radiating heat will send us indoors for relief while memories of the 2021 cold snap become a distant (and potentially fond) memory.

Before you put your home’s cooling system to the test this spring and summer, let’s review a few things every homeowner needs to know about heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) filters. Tune in for the latest episode of “Under the Roof with Randy Barfield” as Randy, Ashley, and Mary discuss the virtues of clean air (and Torchy’s Tacos!).

If you’re looking for a few quick, handy tips, here’s what you need to know:

  • Air filters truly are the heart and soul of your home’s AC system. Air filters purify the air you breathe, leaving behind an array of dust and contaminants in their folds. Because the air runs more in the summertime, filters fill up faster. Be sure to change these monthly to keep cool, clean air flowing.

Bonus: If you are looking to sell your home this summer, your inspector will definitely check those filters, so it pays to keep them clean.

  • Know your filters. Air filters come in a variety of sizes and it’s important to know what type you need for your home. Most air filters follow the traditional one-inch disposable fiberglass forma, with measurements displayed on the packaging for ease of purchase and replacement; these need to be replaced every one to three months. Alternatively, lots of new construction homes are equipped with media filters with greater surface area and increased filtration. These filters only need to be changed once or twice a year! For more details on the types of home HVAC filters, visit This Old House.
  • Dirty filters can cause serious problems. Air filters are like your home’s referee. As a first defense, they keep dirt and contaminants from entering and circulating your home. When they become clogged, it becomes more difficult for your home’s air system to run properly. Here are the most common problems that can occur:
  1. Increased strain can put additional wear and tear on your fan motor.
  2. Reduced air will create a warmer home (read: a grumpier you).
  3. Strains on the system means it has to work harder, resulting in higher (yet easily avoidable) energy bills.
  4. For individuals with serious allergies and asthma, an inefficient air system can result in breathing complications and discomfort.

We always recommend having your cooling system inspected at the beginning of the season. Visit our Preferred Vendors for a list of companies that can help.

While these tips aren’t miracles, they can increase your cooling efficiency and by proxy reduce cooling costs. For more home maintenance tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Stay healthy, cool, and safe out there!

Goodbye Frost, Hello Spring!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Well friends, after perhaps the harshest Central Texas winter on record (certainly in my decades here), we have made it to spring. Although the vernal equinox is nearly a week away, I always set my seasonal calendar by the start of daylight saving time (quick reminder to check those clocks!), and am ready to celebrate blooming wildflowers and warmer weather, Texas style.

With our last frost (hopefully) in the rearview mirror, it’s time to set our sights on landscaping and establishing beautiful curb appeal whether you intend to list your home or are just putting down roots. First things first, clean off your gardening tools and equipment that have been in storage for a few months and get ready to put in some elbow grease. If you accept the challenge, here are a few tips to keep your lawn and garden beautiful all spring and summer, courtesy of the Central Texas Gardener:

  1. Now is the time to plant trees, shrubs, and roses. Even though we’re still recovering from winter, it won’t be long before it’s too hot for these plants to settle in. It’s also a great time to plant perennials, grasses, and herbs.
  2. If a vegetable garden is in your future, seed your tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, corn, and get the full planting guide from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
  3. Prune your shrubs, roses, and grasses, and damaged oaks. However, if you need help clearing debris or structurally trimming large sections (especially casualties from this year’s heavy ice) be sure to contact a professional arborist.
  4. Although it’s tempting, don’t fertilize your lawn quite yet. I always recommend waiting until April, though March is the perfect time to add a high nitrogen fertilizer to your citrus trees. Use that extra time this month to mulch and weed instead!

By following these tips, you can get your yard and plants in tip-top shape for spring. Enjoy your time outdoors and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more monthly home maintenance tips!

Recovering from Winter’s Wrath

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The storm has passed. Thank goodness. But in the wake of the subzero disaster that swept across Texas last month, homeowners are left with questions. Good thing Randy Barfield has answers!

Tune in for the latest episode as Randy and Ashley discuss the storm’s impact and ways you can prepare yourself and your home for future events. From generators to post-storm inspections, we cover it all from the ground up to the roof down!

Schedule Your Post Winter Storm Inspection

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I hope this message finds you warm, safe, and well as we celebrate the end of a long, record-breaking week across Texas. I encourage you to use precaution as you venture outside your home. Ice sheets and icicles that formed on many roofs and overhangs pose a new danger, while sidewalks and roadways remain slippery. Remember to only go out if you must and pay close attention to your surroundings. 

As we take a step back to assess the damage left in the wake of winter’s wrath, the Texas Department of Insurance has issued tips to help with insurance claims. From broken water pipes to downed trees and damaged roofs, we have seen it all across Texas!

Additionally, we are proud to offer a Post-Winter Storm Inspection to help homeowners and buyers identify damage caused by the storm. Contact us today at 512-350-0123 to schedule your inspection.

At Barfield Home Inspection, we care about you and your home. Remember to bundle up, stay safe, and stay well. As the sun literally and figuratively shines down on Central Texas, we can finally see the light at the end of the winter storm tunnel. Thank goodness!

Show Your Home a Little Love This Valentine’s Day

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

Like any good love story, the way you care for your home is a testament to its condition. This Valentine’s Day be a real sweetheart to your house and shower it with a little extra affection. Your home maintenance investment is sure to pay dividends in its longevity.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:

Texas limestone can leave you with hard water, leading to stained sinks and itchy skin. Install a water softener and maintain your salt levels regularly. Be sure to clean mineral deposits from your faucets to prevent buildup.
Winter weather (like the great storm of February 2021!) often brings heavy rains, strong winds, and even snow and ice. Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles and leaks, then contact an expert roofer from our preferred vendors list for help.
Assess your home’s air conditioning quality and consider having your system serviced before summer. Change your air filters regularly, and while you’re atop that ladder, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well!
Account for any damage left from cold weather contraction by evaluating your door and window seals, as well as locks and door handles for wear and tear. Replace or repair weather caulking where needed.
Prepare for a beautiful spring and add curb appeal by investing in landscaping and fertilizer for your lawn. Check your irrigation system and reference our preferred vendors for assistance.

In addition to prioritizing your home’s needs, show your wallet a little love by conserving water and electricity and thereby reducing utility costs. You can also save your hard-earned funds by considering DIY projects, where time and experience allows. Making routine improvements and adhering to regularly scheduled maintenance is an investment you can make in the life of your home. It will love you for it! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram  for more expert tips and advice. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Under the Roof with Randy Barfield: Exploring the 2021 Austin Real Estate Market

By | Podcast, Real Estate News | No Comments

Congratulations everyone, we made it to 2021!

As we embark on a new year, demand remains high in and around Austin, Texas, making it more important now than ever to secure your home inspection. Learn how the inspection can help buyers make an informed decision especially in a competitive market. The Barfield Home Inspection team is working hard around the clock to help ensure buyers get a thorough inspection even within tight option periods.

Tune in as Randy, Ashley, and Mary discuss the stiff competition, options for buyers, and what comes next!

2021: A Look at the Year Ahead

By | Real Estate News | No Comments

Happy New Year, everyone!

As we take time to reflect on 2020, we want to express our sincere gratitude for you – the hardworking real estate agents, home owners, and buyers who trust Barfield Home Inspection with all your home inspection needs. Last year presented us with a lot of firsts, but we made it through together and continue to celebrate Austin, Texas as one of the best places to live in the country. Cheers to that!

We kick-off every year with aspirations for the 365 days ahead. In addition to inspecting homes and partnering with real estate professionals across Central Texas, this year we celebrate the second season of our podcast, “Under the Roof with Randy Barfield.” As we begin programming, we would love your feedback! Take our quick survey to let us know what you like about the pod, and what you’d like to hear more of this year.

For now, here are a few projections for the Austin real estate market in 2021:

As always, remember to get in touch with Barfield Home Inspection team for all your inspection needs. We’re the team you can trust, and we’ve been telling it like it is since 2003. Call 512-350-0123 today and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @barfieldhomeinspection.

Here’s to a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!

Happy Holiday Decorating in 2020

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

Most of us can agree that we are looking forward to the holidays a little more than usual this year. After all, we could really use a reason to celebrate! Although yuletide festivities may look a little different than normal, it seems that many Americans have gone above and beyond in decorating their homes this season. Before you pull out the ladder, lights and tinsel, check out these tips and tricks that will help you save time, energy and help keep you and your home safe amidst all that sparkles this holiday season:

• Trim the tree. Whether you prefer a natural or artificial tree, be sure to keep it away from all heating sources in your home. Enough said.

• Keep a fire extinguisher handy. From trees to candles, to extra garland and tinsel, your home is likely filled with more décor than usual. Keep fire extinguishers in accessible locations throughout your home, and ensure everyone knows how to operate it if necessary. Most fire extinguishers operate using the following P.A.S.S. technique:
PULL the pin. This will also break the tamper seal.
AIM low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire.
NOTE: Do not touch the plastic discharge horn on CO2 extinguishers, it gets very cold and may damage skin.
SQUEEZE the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
SWEEP from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Watch the area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat steps 2-4.

• Turn all candles off before you turn in. A holiday favorite, candles provide ambient light and comforting fragrances of home. But if you’re likely to forget blowing these out on a nightly basis, turn to flameless instead.

• Whether you’re going full-on Clark Griswold or have something more tasteful in mind, you may find yourself on a ladder this month. Before you climb on board, check out Randy’s Ladder Safety Series and have someone stay at the ladder base to help stabilize and give you a hand if needed.

• Unfortunately, the most popular holiday plant, the poinsettia, can be harmful to pets and children. Be sure to keep these decorative displays out of harm’s reach.

We hope you have a wonderful time making your home warm, cozy and bright this holiday season, and that these tips go a long way to ensuring your safety in the process. For more tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

On behalf of the entire Barfield Home Inspection team, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season!