August 29, 2013
One of the reasons that associations have to engage the services of lake maintenance companies for stormwater retention areas is to help control the noxious weeds that are a threat to all of Florida Waterways. The Top 10 noxious weed invaders according to the St. John’s River Water Management District are:
- Water hyacinth
- Water lettuce
- Chinese tallow
- Japanese and Old World climbing ferns
- Cogon grass
- Brazilian pepper
- Tropical soda apple
- Torpedo grass
- Air potato
Just like the non native pythons that are a problem in the Everglades, noxious weeds can cause an environmental change in your stormwater system. There are very few companies that offer manual extraction of these invasive species so it’s best to manage them in the beginning. If you notice a clump of weeds gathering at the waters edge, notify the manager or the lake maintenance company.
Also, is you live along the lake and your property has a “stormwater retention easement” indicated on your property survey, make sure you do not fence or block access to the retention area. There are a limited number of these easements around a retention area. If it becomes necessary to obtain access to the retention area, you could be forced to remove the fence to allow access.
If you have brought your boat home from a creek, river or lake that has these noxious plants, they could have hitched a ride. When you wash your boat and flush the engine, these weeds flow out onto your driveway or yard. You, in turn, hose the driveway off into the street where it ends up in the stormwater system the next time it rains. Its a never ending cycle but you can do your part by not flushing your wash material into the street.
Photos courtesy of University of Florida IFS Extension Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
August 22, 2013
We talked recently about some things to consider when remodeling your condominium. The list didn’t end there so here are some more things to consider when remodeling your condo.
The location of the construction dumpster should be an important factor. Keeping it closer to your building (for multi-building complexes) helps out your contractor. But the Board of Directors will have the final say so just keep that in the back of your head. You will not be able to have your construction dumpster located in front of your building in premium parking spots. Coordinate with your contractor where to place the dumpster, don’t just leave it to the driver.
The timing of your remodel should be considered also. If you have planned to remodel your unit over a major holiday weekend, such as 4th of July, plan on having your dumpster removed for a week. The dumpsters, depending on how large or how they were dropped, can take up five parking spots. For most ocean front condominiums, that’s five needed spaces.
While elevators are very convenient method for transporting materials and equipment, condo elevators are not freight elevators. Instruct your contractor to abide by all weight limitations for the elevator car. Overloading elevator cars will damage the elevator system and if its found that your contractor overloaded a car or caused damage, you could be responsible. Of note, everyone is watching and nothing much will be missed.
Some advanced planning in terms of the overall impact your remodeling will have on your neighbors and the association as a whole will make the whole thing run much smoother.
August 19, 2013
Remodeling in your high rise condominium demands a certain amount of forethought. Hiring a contractor to lay new tile, switch out appliances and make drywall repairs might seem like a simple task. However, there are things to consider when performing construction or maintenance work within your unit.
Check in with the management company
Check in with your condominium management to see if there are guidelines to interior unit construction. For the most part, what you do within your unit is your concern. However, there could be guidelines the association would like you to follow in regards to tile floors/underlayment and hours of construction.
One of the most important things to remember when undertaking a remodel of your unit is your unit is just one of several in your building or complex. Not only do you have to tolerate a construction crew interrupting your daily life, your neighbors and fellow unit owners have to tolerate it to a degree as well. Workers that are loud, obnoxious and scream orders across the parking lot are an unpleasant nuisance to deal with, for both you and your neighbors. Make sure your contractor understands that poor behavior by his/her workers will not be tolerated.
The work to be done
One of the more unpleasant tasks associated with unit remodeling is the removal of a tile floor. The most efficient way to do this is with a pneumatic (air) chisel. Otherwise, the process could take days with a conventional hammer and chisel. While it speeds up the process considerably, it is extremely loud and will reverberate through the entire building and complex. When your contractor tells you he plans to remove the tile floor, tell your contractor that he can’t start the process until 10 am. Your remodeling guidelines from the association manager might say that work can commence between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm but take into consideration the family underneath you that just spent $3000 renting an oceanfront condominium for a week. An ounce of consideration can go a long way.
These are just a few tips to consider when embarking on your condo remodel project. There’s more to come so stay tuned.
August 12, 2013
One of the causes that contribute to household fires is an obstructed dryer vent. Even in high rise condominiums, this can be a possible ignition source and cause significant damage.
Over time, lint waste from your dryer will accumulate in the duct (the long flexible aluminum tubing that carries warm air to the outside) and eventually become obstructed. Signs that your dryer vent or duct is obstructed would be clothes taking longer than usual to dry or towels that take a long time to dry or both. That warm moist air continues to accumulate more lint and before you know it your vent is completely obstructed.
For homeowners, this is a relatively inexpensive fix that you can do yourself. Unplug your dryer (safety first), slide the dryer forward so that you can access the exhaust tubing. Disconnect your tubing from the outside vent and if possible, from the backside of the dryer. Reach through the tubing to extract all of the accumulated lint. Watch for bugs and other pests.
For townhome and condominium owners, this might not be such an easy process. However, you can do your part. First, be aware of how long your clothes and towels take to dry. If it takes longer than usual, ask the association manager who is responsible for cleaning the vents from your interior walls to the exterior vent. This could be an association expense or you could be personally responsible. If it’s the association’s responsibility, the maintenance person should be able to run a vent cleaner through the duct work and push the lint through the vent on the outside of the building. Or he or she can extract it back trough the tubing. If cleaning the duct is your responsibility and you know that your arm will not reach the exterior dryer vent, consider purchasing a dryer vent cleaner such as this one (available at any home improvement store). The cordless drill is not included but if you’re a do it yourselfer type, you may have one already. Connect the lint cleaner to the end of a cordless drill, run it through the duct work and you’re finished.
Simple precautions can go a long may in preventing fires.