Page |0 Warranty Policy Dear New Home Owner, As you settle onto your new Palo Verde Home, small warranty items may arise as with any new home. We are here to offer you the best possible servie. In order to do so, any concerns or warranty items must be submitted in writing to Palo Verde Homes Warranty Division at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also submit any concerns via fax to 915-584-9091. This will enable us to offer solutions to your needs in a timely manner. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW PALO VERDE HOME! Page |1 CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW HOME! A little time spent with this homeowner’s manual today can help you maintain your home’s built-in quality for many more tomorrows. Please read it carefully so that you will be in the best possible position to preserve your investment. Pride in your home does pay off! Because we at Palo Verde Homes firmly believe that an informed homeowner is a happy homeowner, we have gone to considerable effort to prepare this homeowner’s manual. Its goals are to: · · · · · Help you maximize your enjoyment of your new home Aid you in preserving and enhancing its value Provide many home usage and maintenance tips Enable you to become an informed homeowner Keep all of your home-related paperwork in one convenient place As you probably already have noted, this manual has been divided into several sections, in addition to this introductory section. Your new home comes with a limited warranty administered by, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty. This warranty booklet explains in detail the types of warranty coverage, the warranty rights and responsibilities You, the home owner and Palo Verde Homes have, 2-10 HBW’s role as administrator, and what You need to do if You have a problem that is covered by this warranty. We hope that you will keep and use this manual as long as you own your Palo Verde home. Thank you! Page |2 Homeowner Orientation Your homeowner orientation is an introduction to your new home and its many features. This meeting goes beyond the traditional walk-through to include a detailed demonstration of your new home and review any pertinent information. The home orientation will be scheduled at the same time as the walk through. Scheduling We schedule the orientation and walk through with you as your home nears completion. Appointments are available Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. We meet at your new home. The orientation occurs a few days before closing. Expect your orientation to take approximately one to two hours. Orientation Forms A copy of the orientation from will be provided to you to be inserted at the end of this section. In addition, the suggestions that follow will help you derive the greatest benefit from your orientation. Preparation It will be necessary for you to call and schedule a gas meter before our orientation. We need the gas meter installed in order to turn on your water heater, range, furnace, etc. Allow enough time. We expect the orientation to take one to two hours. You will derive maximum benefit in the orientation by arranging your schedule so that you can use a full amount of time allotted. If you have questions about home maintenance or the limited warranty coverage, make note of them to bring up at the orientation. Past experience has shown that the orientation is most beneficial when buyers are able to focus all their attention on their new home and the information we present. Although we appreciate that friends and relatives are eager to see your new home, it would be best if they visit at another time. We suggest children and pets not accompany you at this time. If a real estate agent has helped you with your purchase, he or she is not required to attend. If you would like to have a friend or real estate agent view the home with you, we encourage you to do this before our scheduled orientation. Acceptance In addition to introducing you to your new home, the orientation is also an opportunity for you and Palo Verde Homes to confirm that the home meets the quality standards shown in our model homes and that we have completed all selections and changes. We note details that need attention on the orientation forms. Page |3 Cosmetic surface damage caused during construction is readily noticeable during the orientation. Such damage can also occur during the move-in process or through daily activities. Therefore, after we correct any items noted during the orientation, repair of cosmetic surface damages is your responsibility. This includes paint touch-up. Our limited warranty excludes cosmetic damage to items such as: · · · · · · · · · Sinks, tubs, and plumbing fixtures Countertops and cabinet(s) and cabinet doors Light fixtures, mirrors and glass Windows and screens Tile, carpet, hardwood, and resilient flooring Doors, trim, and hardware Paint and drywall Finish on appliances Shutters Completion of Items Palo Verde Homes takes responsibility for resolving any items noted. We will complete most items before you move-in. If work needs to be performed in your new home after your move-in, construction personnel are available for appointments Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Under normal circumstances, you can expect us to resolve all items within 7 working days. We will inform you of any delays caused by back-ordered materials. Please note that we will correct only those items listed. Palo Verde Homes will not honor verbal commitments of any kind. Future Service Palo Verde Homes responds to warranty items according to the terms and conditions of the limited warranty agreement. At your homeowner orientation you will be made aware of and will receive the following: · · The manufacturer’s literature for the Range, Dishwasher and other consumer products Copy of completed orientation form. Page |4 Note to Home Buyer: Insert orientation/walk-though form here. Page |5 Closing on Your Home Palo Verde Homes recognizes that timing is vitally important in planning your move and locking in your loan. Once construction reaches a point at which weather and other factors are unlikely to affect completion of your home, we can begin to offer an estimated closing date. This occurs 45 days before closing. As your home progresses, we can begin to offer a more accurate date and time. Until then, many factors can influence the schedule: · · · Weather can delay getting the foundation in and can affect framing, roofing, and exterior finish. Material shortages and labor strikes may also affect the construction schedule. If you are delayed in responding to a request from your lender, this can affect work progress. Date of Closing The closing, or settlement, takes place at least 48 hours after your orientation. We set this appointment with at least three days notice. Typically, the closing process takes from 45 minutes to an hour. Location of Closing Once your home is two weeks from completion, we will begin to arrange your closing appointment at the title company. We confirm the location with you when we set the appointment. Closing Documents At closing, the documents necessary to convey your new home to you and to close the loan from the Mortgage Company will be executed and delivered. In addition to these standard items, the Title Company, and Palo Verde Homes may require other documents to be signed. The principal documents typically include the following: · · · · · HUD Settlement Statement-This statement is a summary of all costs associated with the purchase of your home including your sales price, down payment, deposited earnest money, closing fees, etc. General Warranty Deed- The general warranty deed conveys the home and lot to you subject only to permitted exceptions. This does not apply if you already own the lot. Title Commitment- At closing, we will deliver to you a standard form for an Affiliated Land Title Association (ALTA) owner’s title insurance commitment to insure salable title of your home to you in the amount of the purchase price, subject to the permitted title exceptions that any questions with your title company. Within 60 days after the closing, the title company mails a standard ALTA owner’s title insurance policy, insuring you the title to your home in accordance with the commitment you received at closing. Keep the title insurance policy with your other valuable papers. Palo Verde Homes Limited Warranty- We provide a copy of the limited warranty in this manual for your review. Please read it thoroughly. Promissory Note- The promissory note is from you, payable to the lender in the principal Page |6 · amount of the loan, plus interest. One-twelfth of your annual taxes and Homeowner’s insurance will be added to the principal and interest payment to determine your total monthly payment. Please note that APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is not the same as the mortgage rate. Deed of Trust- This encumbers your home as security for repayment of the promissory note. Closing Expenses Certain customary items in connection with the property will be prorated to the date of closing such as prepaid expenses or reserves required by your lender and homeowners association if applicable. Prorations of general real property taxes and assessments will be based on the current year’s taxes and assessments or, if they are unavailable, on the taxes and assessments for the prior year. Bottom Line The exact and final dollar figure that you are required to have for the purpose of closing your new home transaction are only available from the title company. This final figure is available on the actual closing date. Although a reasonable closing estimate may be determined before the date of closing, the proration of several items included is affected by the closing date and cannot be calculated until that date is known. Please understand exact figures can only be given by the title company. All other figures are estimates only. Preparation Plan to bring a certified check, made out to the Title Company, to the closing table. In your planning, be sure to allow time to arrange for and obtain these funds. In addition, please keep the following items in mind: · · · · Documents- The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) provides you with many protections. Under this law, you can review the settlement page that lists costs you are paying at closing one day before the closing appointment. Although these documents are not negotiable and thousands of homebuyers have signed them, you should read and understand them. Insurance- You need to provide proof of a homeowner’s policy from your insurance company. Your insurance agent should know exactly what is needed. We suggest you arrange for this at least three weeks before the expected closing date. Palo Verde Homes or Lender Issues- The Title Company is not authorized to negotiate or make representations on behalf of any of the parties involved in the closing. Therefore, please discuss any questions, agreements, or other details directly with us or your lender prior to the closing day. Utilities- Palo Verde Homes will have utility service removed from its name three days after closing. You will need to notify all applicable utility companies of your move so that service is provided in your name. We suggest that you contact these companies well ahead of time to avoid any interruption in service. Utility company phone numbers are provided on the next page to assist you in making these arrangements. Page |7 Helpful Phone Numbers El Paso Police Department Poison Center Fire Department Driver’s License Motor Vehicle Registration Time Warner Cable El Paso Electric Co Lower Valley Water District El Paso Water Utilities Texas Gas Service AT & T / SBC El Paso Disposal The El Paso Times Garbage Collection Time & Weather Clint School District Canutillo School District El Paso School District Socorro School District Ysleta School District Central Appraisal District City Tax Office City Zoning El Paso Irrigation District 564-7000 800-222-1222 771-1000 834-7622 598-3487 772-4422 543-5711 859-4186 594-5500 680-7200 821-8100 772-7495 546-6100 541-4000 533-7744 926-4000 877-7400 782-1550 937-0000 434-0000 780-2000 541-4054 541-4567 859-4186 Page |8 Caring for your Home Palo Verde Homes has constructed your home with quality materials and the labor of experienced craftsmen following all applicable building codes. Before using any material, it must meet industry specifications for quality and durability. All work is done under our supervision and inspected by appropriate agencies during various stages to obtain the best possible result for your investment. A home is one of the last hand-built products left in the world. Once we have assembled the natural and manufactured materials, the components interact with each other and the environment. Although quality materials and workmanship have been used in your home, this does not mean that no care or maintenance is required. A home, like an automobile, requires care and attention from day one. General homeowner maintenance is essential to providing a quality home for a lifetime. Homeowner Use and Maintenance Guidelines We are proud of the homes we build and the neighborhoods in which we build them. We strive to create long lasting value. This cannot be achieved unless you, as the homeowner, properly maintain your home and all of its components. Periodic maintenance is necessary because of normal wear and tear, the inherent characteristics of the materials used in your home, and normal service required by the mechanical systems. Natural fluctuations in temperature and humidity also affect your home. Many times a minor adjustment or repair that is done in a timely manner prevents a more serious, time consuming, and sometimes-costly repair later. Note that neglect of routine maintenance can void applicable limited warranty coverage on all or part of your home. By caring for your new home attentively, you ensure your enjoyment of it for years. The attention provided by each homeowner contributes significantly to the overall desirability of the community. We recognize that it is impossible to anticipate and describe every attention needed for good home care, but we have covered many important details. The subjects covered include a list of components used in the homes we build, listed in alphabetical order. Each topic includes suggestions for use and maintenance followed by Palo Verde Homes’ limited warranty guidelines. This manual may discuss some components that are not present in your home. Please take time to read the literature provided by the manufacturers of consumer products and other items in your home. The information contained in that material is not repeated here. Although much of the information may be familiar to you, some points may differ significantly from homes you have had in the past. If any user’s manuals are lost, misplaced or simply not provided to you at closing they can be obtained online on most major manufacturer’s websites. A keyword search using the manufacturer name and model located on your consumer products should yield the desired literature. We make every effort to keep our information current and accurate. However, if any detail in our discussion conflicts with the manufacturer’s recommendations, you should follow the manufacturer recommendation. Activate specific manufacturer’s warranties by completing and mailing any registration cards included with their materials. In some cases, manufacturer warranties may extend beyond the first year and it is in your best interests to be apprised of such coverage. Page |9 Palo Verde Homes Limited Warranty Guidelines While we strive to build a defect-free home, we are realistic enough to know that we may make mistakes or that something in the home may not perform as intended. When either occurs, we will make necessary corrections. In support of this commitment, Palo Verde Homes provides you with limited warranty. The purpose is to let you know what our quality standard is for the typical concerns that can come up in a new home. The NAHB Residential Construction Performance Guidelines describe our standards for each item and what we will do to remedy items that do not meet applicable standards. Our criteria for qualifying warranty repairs are based on typical industry practices in our region and meet or exceed those practices for the components of your home. However, we reserve the right to exceed these guidelines if common sense or individual circumstances dictate, without being obligate to exceed all guidelines to a similar degree for all homeowners. You will receive the limited warranty document at or soon after your closing. We include a sample copy at the end of this section for you review. Please read through this information, as well as the service procedures discussed on the following pages. If you have any questions regarding the standards or procedures, contact our office. Our warranty service system is designed to accept written reports of nonemergency items. This provides you with the maximum protection and allows us to operate efficiently, thereby providing faster service to all homeowners. Emergency reports are the only reports accepted by phone. Reporting Procedures All service requests must be submitted in writing. This includes email. Thirty- Day Report In order for our service program to operate at maximum efficiency and for your own convenience, we suggest that you wait 30 days before submitting any warranty list excluding “impact” items. This allows you sufficient time to become settled in your new home and to thoroughly examine and utilize all components. Items that affect the day-to-day functionality of your home can be reported earlier. Emergency Service As defined by the limited warranty, emergency includes situations such as: · · Total loss of heat when the outside temperature is below 45 degrees F. (Check with utilities to insure that there is not an outage in your area.) Total loss of electricity. (Check with the utility company before reporting this circumstance to Palo Verde Homes or electrician.) P a g e | 10 · · · Total loss of water. (Check with the water department to be certain the problem is not a general outage in the area.) Plumbing leak that requires the entire water supply to be shut off. Gas leak. (Contact your utility company or plumber if the leak is at the furnace or water heater supply lines.) During business hours call Palo Verde Homes Office: 915-584-9090 or email concern to email@example.com Kitchen Appliance Warranties The manufacturers of kitchen appliances will work directly with you if any repairs are needed for these products. Customer service phone numbers are listed in the use and care materials for each appliance. Be prepared to provide the model and serial number of the item and the closing date of your home. Appliance warranties are generally for one year; refer to the literature provided by the manufacturer for the complete information. Service Processing Procedures You can help us to serve you better by providing complete information, including: · · Name, address, and phone numbers where you can be reached during business hours. A complete description of the problem, for example, “guest bath cold water line leaks under the sink,” rather than “plumbing problem.” When we receive a warranty service request, we may contact you for an inspection appointment. Warranty inspection appointments are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. We inspect the items listed in your written request to confirm warranty coverage and determine the appropriate action required. Generally reported items fall into one of three categories: · · · Trade Contractor Item Palo Verde (In-House) Item Home Maintenance Item If a trade contractor or an in-house employee is required to complete repairs, we issue a warranty work order and we will contact you to schedule the work. Warranty work appointments are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. We intend to complete warranty work orders within 7 working days of the inspection unless you are unavailable for access. If a back-ordered part or similar circumstance causes a delay, we will let you know. If the item is home maintenance, we will review the maintenance steps with you and offer whatever informational assistance we can. Palo Verde Homes does not provide routine home maintenance. P a g e | 11 Covered only at time of Walk-through Inspection Please be advised that some items are easily damaged during move-in. While Palo Verde Homes makes no express warranties, we will not be responsible for any damage that is not noted in writing at the time of your Homeowner’s walk through. This statement refers to the following items: 1) Chipped, cracked, or scratched tubs, sinks and toilets 2) Scratched window glass and mirrors 3) Missing, torn, or damaged screens 4) Gouged or torn vinyl 5) Stained carpeting 6) Scratched or chipped countertops 7) Scratched, dented, or damaged appliances 8) Chipped, damaged or missing light fixtures 9) Interior touch up painting 10) Scratched, chipped or cracked tile 11) Electrical fixtures 12) Wall & ceiling finishes 13) Countertops 14) Concrete Walks/Drives 15) Cabinets 16) Hardware 17) Shutters P a g e | 12 Reporting Warranty Items The many details of warranty coverage can be confusing. We hope this chart will make reporting items easier. If you do not know whom to contact, call our office and we will guide you. Appliances Contact the manufacturer directly with model and serial number, closing date, and description of problem. Emergency See Emergency Subcontractor List Emergency items are as follows: · · · · · Non-emergency Total loss of heat when the outside temperature is below 45 degrees F. Total loss of electricity. (Check with the utility company before reporting this circumstance to Palo Verde Home or electrician.) Total loss of water. (Check with the water department to be certain the problem is not a general outage in the area.) Plumbing leak that requires the entire water supply to be shut off. Gas leak. (Contact your utility company or plumber if the leak is at the furnace or water heater supply lines.) Fax or E-mail your written list of items to our office: you can find service request forms in this manual. Fax: 915-584-9091 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Storm damage or other natural disasters Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent immediately. Contain damage as much as possible without endangering yourself. In extreme situations, photograph the damage. Hours Office: M-F 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Inspection Appts: M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Work Appointments: M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Questions? Fax: 915-584-9091 E-mail: email@example.com P a g e | 13 Palo Verde Homes Emergency Subcontractor List Electrical Velasco Brothers Electric 915-204-1240 Mechanical G + C Mechanical 575-824-4077 or 915-892-5735 (Pablo) Plumbing VJE Plumbing 915-691-6787 Water heater Double R Plumbing 915- 252- 9888 P a g e | 14 Caring for your Home Palo Verde Homes has constructed your home with quality materials and the labor of experienced craftsmen following applicable building codes. Before using any material, it must meet industry specifications for quality and durability. All work is done under our supervision and inspected by appropriate agencies during various stages to obtain the best possible result for your investment. A home is one of the last hand-built products left in the world. Once we have assembled the natural and manufactured materials, the components interact with each other and the environment. Although quality materials and workmanship have been used in your home, this does not mean that no care of maintenance is required. A home, like an automobile, requires care and attention from day one. General homeowner maintenance is essential to providing a quality home for a lifetime. Homeowner Use and Maintenance Guidelines We are proud of the homes we build and the neighborhoods in which we build. We strive to create long-lasting value. This cannot be achieved unless you, as the homeowner, properly maintain your home and all of its components. Periodic maintenance is necessary because of normal wear and tear, the inherent characteristics of the materials used in your home, and normal service required by the mechanical systems. Natural fluctuations in temperature and humidity also affect your home. Many times a minor adjustment or repair that is done in a timely manner prevents a more serious, time consuming, and sometimes-costly repair later. Note that neglect of routine maintenance can void applicable limited warranty coverage on all or part of your home. By caring for your new home attentively, you ensure your enjoyment of it for years. The attention provided by each homeowner contributes significantly to the overall desirability of the community. We recognize that it is impossible to anticipate and describe every attention needed for good home care, but we have covered many important details. The subjects covered include a list of components used in the homes we build, listed in alphabetical order. Each topic includes suggestions for use and maintenance followed by Palo Verde Homes’ limited warranty guidelines. This manual may discuss some components that are not present in your home. Please take time to read the literature provided by the manufacturers of consumer products and other items in your home. The information contained in that material is not repeated here. Although much of the information may be familiar to you, some points may differ significantly from homes you have had in the past. If any user’s manuals are lost, misplaced or simply not provided to you at closing they can be obtained online on most major manufacturer’s websites. A keyword search using the manufacturer name and model located on your consumer products should yield the desired literature. Manufacturer’s warranty and user manuals can be found online. We make every effort to keep our information current and accurate. However, if any detail in our P a g e | 15 discussion conflicts with the manufacturer’s recommendations, you should follow the manufacturer recommendation. Activate specific manufacturer’s warranties by completing and mailing any registration cards included with their materials. In some cases, manufacturer warranties may extend beyond the first year and it is in your best interests to be aware of such coverage. Settling Into Your Home One of the first things you should do after moving into your new home is to take a precautionary step to avoid being locked out of the house should you lose or forget a key. So you don’t have to force a door or break a window, place an extra key in a small zip-lock plastic bag and bury it someplace where you can readily locate it. You probably will want to hang window coverings or pictures almost immediately. Use toggle bolts or reinforced screws for hanging drapes, heavy pictures, or mirrors on drywall. You can also insert nails or screws into the studs. To help you locate the studs behind your drywall, buy a stud finder at your local hardware store. Small pictures may be hung by using a fine nail and picture hangers. Do not use adhesive hangers, which may lift off the wall surface when removed. Your new home complies in full with the rigid building codes of El Paso County and is constructed to high quality standards. However, a new home requires a careful “breaking-in”, particularly during the early months of occupancy. A properly broken-in home will serve you and others who may follow you for many years. Most building materials are subject to expansion and contraction, due to changes in temperature and humidity. This is especially true of concrete and drywall. Because of this expansion – as well as the natural shrinkage which takes place when building materials set and dry out- it is inevitable that some minor cracks may appear in foundations, walks, driveways, the exterior entry, garage floors, stucco, and drywall. These are natural occurrences, which are beyond any builder’s control. The strength of the materials involved is no way impaired. The structural lumber in your house – the trusses, joists, studs, rafters, and other framing members – has been selected in sizes and grades which provide a safety factor beyond what is necessary to carry the intended loads. Shrinkage is inevitable in all wood, especially in our dry western climate. This framing shrinkage explains why some moldings and trim around doors, windows, and baseboards sometimes show irregularities. Shrinkage can cause woodwork joints to open, doors to warp, or cracks to appear in drywall- particularly around door and window openings. To a degree, this shrinkage can be minimized by keeping the heat at 70 degrees or less at all times during the first year. Following this rule will provide a more uniform drying out process. Don’t overheat a new home during the drying period because this may cause excessive shrinking of framing lumber and other materials. Begin with as little heat as possible and increase it gradually. During the first rainy season, high humidity may cause wood doors to expand. This expansion could make them stick. See the section on doors for suggested remedies. It is best to wait approximately one year before writing Palo Verde Homes, unless the problem is so severe that it requires immediate correction. P a g e | 16 Know Your Home Immediately after you move in to your new home, you should locate the main shutoffs for gas, water and electricity, the ground fault interceptor (GFI/GFCI) outlets, and many other important items. All of these items were pointed out to you during your homeowner orientation, but it’s a good idea to review their locations so you can find them quickly in an emergency. You should take a few minutes to document the location of any of the following important items: · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Gas meter service and shut-offs Electric meter panel GFI/GFCI outlets Water shut off valves, meter and regulator (optional) Smoke detector(s) Telephone, Alarm and Cable TV services Drain clean-outs (including sewer) Air conditioning refrigerant line Air conditioning fuse disconnect Door bell chime Door bell chime transformer Dryer vent Ice maker hook-up Hose bibs Thermostat(s) Irrigation timer, valve and cut off valve (optional) Fireplace, Grill, Water Heater gas shut off valve(s) (optional) P a g e | 17 Maintenance Suggestions Your Palo Verde Home has been built with the best available materials and workmanship. Its wellplanned design includes modern conveniences to provide you and your family with many years of pleasant and comfortable living. This section was prepared to help you maintain and add value to your new home, to increase your enjoyment of it, and contains valuable information on taking care of the “little things” that occasionally need to be done in any home. Read it…Study it…by heeding our advice to perform routine maintenance work, you will not only avoid most major repair problems, you will save yourself a lot of money. There are literally thousands of component parts in your new Palo Verde Home. Many materials are from natural products. As in the case of the automobile, a little care and common sense used during the “breaking-in” period will assure more satisfaction and joy in the end. A general knowledge of the materials used in the construction of your home will enable you to more fully understand the matters of shrinkage, expansion and contraction - - all of which are to be expected in any new home. Since you have a foundation, steps and walk of poured concrete, remember that concrete expands with summer heat and contracts with winter cold. Due to this expansion and contraction, as well as to the natural shrinkage that takes place in concrete when it obtains its final set, cracks may appear. These cracks will not affect the foundation’s structural strength in any way; nor will they impair the structural integrity of your home. The structural lumber used in your home has been designed with sizes and lengths to provide a safety factor beyond what is necessary. The shrinkage of the wood sometimes causes the joints in the woodwork to open, doors to warp, and cracks to appear in drywall - - especially at corners. You may also hear popping sounds. This shrinkage is inevitable. It can be minimized by keeping the house interior at a reasonable temperature even when you are away. When you had your final walk-through prior to close of escrow, various literature left in the home for your reference was pointed out. These papers should be kept in this binder along with the other information for the care and upkeep of your new home. This information covers all of the appliances, water heater, heating, air-conditioning and smoke alarms. We have listed in each relative section, easy care instructions for items in your new Palo Verde home. Enjoy your Palo Verde home. It is planned to bring you great comfort and pleasure. As a valuable investment, this home deserves your care and consideration. In return, you will receive greater satisfaction and a greater return on your investment. P a g e | 18 Exterior Walls Stucco Walls Stucco has been successfully used in the southwest for hundreds of years as a popular building material. It has seen improvements over the years with the development of standards by the manufacturers association that has improved its performance. The nature of stucco is such that cracks are inevitable. Should one of the exterior walls be struck a sharp blow, a hairline crack may develop; however, it is just in the insulation, not structural. Other hairline cracks are best left alone until it is time to paint because of the inherent difficulty in matching colors. When it is time to paint, cracks can be repaired easily with the stucco repair compounds available at most hardware stores. Cracking is normally caused by the expansion and contraction of the wall system. Concrete, plaster, drywall, ceramic tile, stucco, masonry, and other rigid materials are subject to hairline cracks due to normal expansion, contraction, and settlement. Therefore, we will only assume responsibility to repair these items if reported to us in writing, and only if caused by defective materials or workmanship for a period of one year from close of escrow or date of occupancy, whichever occurs first. Synthetic stucco is resurfaced/ repainted by a special process and material. Wood Surfaces A certain amount of splitting or cracking – called “weather-checking” – is expected on wood exposed to weather. These cracks can be filled with wood dough or exterior caulking compound prior to repainting or staining. Caulking Caulking is not warranted. Time or weather will tend to shrink caulking or dry it out so it no longer provides a good seal, especially where it has been applied to joints, (i.e.., wall and/or ceiling around fireplace, between metal edge of windows and ceramic sills, wood to masonry, etc.). Regular inspection of caulking around windows, doors, and elsewhere will help avoid leaks and reduce heat loss in winter and cooling loss in summer. If you discover dry or brittle caulking in danger of falling out, remove it and replace it. Caulking compounds and dispenser guns are available at hardware stores. As a matter of routine maintenance it is wise to check the caulking and make repairs where necessary. Painting The total beauty of your home, as well as its value, can be protected best by regularly repainting exterior surfaces. Expect the sun and weather to fade exterior paint. Adverse weather conditions can also cause exterior paint to flake or peel in spots because of our area’s low humidity. P a g e | 19 Normally, “dry” lumber received locally contains about 17 % moisture. Local average air moisture is about 10%. This means that a substantial amount of moisture in the lumber will escape the first year. In wood fascia and trim, oils and moisture tend to come out at cuts, joints, and where the grain surfaces. In pine trim, moisture generally surfaces through the grain. As this oil/moisture leaves the wood, the paint or stain is loosened and leaves bare spots. Wood shrinking because of moisture loss may also cause flaking or peeling. In addition, wood trim can develop minor cracks and grain may rise as it ages and dries, especially during the first year. Raised grain can cause the paint to peel. None of these occurrences are due to defects in materials or workmanship. Further, wind sometimes can cause damage in a severe storm. Inspect your house after such a storm. Before repainting exterior woodwork, nails should be reset (pounded below the surface, using a hammer and nail setting tool) and puttied. Blistered or peeling paint should be wire-brushed or scraped with a putty knife, sanded, and spotted with primer. Remember that exterior paint can change color rather quickly and it may be difficult to get the perfect match. It is best to paint complete areas. Beware of so-called bargain paints. It is much less costly to repaint regularly with quality paint than to be faced with the expense and labor of scraping unsightly cracked and peeling paint. Changes in temperature and humidity cause all building materials to expand and contract. Dissimilar materials expand or contract at different rates. This movement results in separation between materials, particularly dissimilar ones. You will see the effects in small cracks in in drywall and paint, especially where moldings meet drywall, at mitered corners and where tile grout meets tub or sink. While this can alarm an uninformed homeowner, it is normal. Shrinkage of the wood members of your home is inevitable and occurs in every new home. Although this is most noticeable during the first year, it may continue beyond that time. In most cases, caulk and paint are all that you need to conceal this minor evidence of a natural phenomenon. Even though properly installed, caulking shrinks and cracks. Maintenance of caulking is your responsibility. P a g e | 20 Windows Windows are designed to provide many years of trouble-free service. Palo Verde Homes uses high quality windows, but they are subject to temperature extremes on both sides. Some air and dust normally will infiltrate around windows, especially prior to the installation of landscaping in the surrounding area. All window frames have one or more weep holes along the bottom to allow water to seep out to the exterior ledge. Make certain these holes are left open so water can drain out. If they become plugged, water will collect on the ledge inside the glass and may overflow into the house. Keep all window sill channels and sliding glass door tracks free from dirt and debris by vacuuming them periodically to prevent damage to the rollers. The weep holes in the window frames must be kept free of dirt for proper drainage. Window/Mirrors/Glass Doors Screens- These items are not covered by any warranty after original buyers acceptance for scratches or any type of damage with the exception of sealed dual pane glass, which has a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty. Palo Verde Homes will make repairs when the problem is due to defective materials or workmanship, but not when caused by a lack of maintenance or neglect by the homeowner. Storm damage and glass breakage are specifically excluded from service and should be reported to the homeowner’s insurance agency. Your home’s aluminum-framed windows are self-weather stripped and selected to minimize maintenance. Most sliding windows, whether horizontal or vertical, are designed for a 10 lb. pull. If sticking occurs or excessive pressure is needed to open or close a window, use a silicone lubricant which is available in spray cans at most hardware stores. Oil is not recommended because it attracts dust and lint. Cleaning Clean aluminum metal surfaces with warm, clear water. Do not use powdered cleaner. After each cleaning, apply a silicone lubricant. Clean glass as needed with vinegar and water, a commercial glass cleaner, or the product recommended by the window manufacturer. Condensation Condensation on interior surfaces of the window and frame is the result of high humidity within the home and low outside temperatures. Your family’s lifestyle controls the humidity level within your home. Window frames may form ice when exterior temperatures are at or below the freezing point for extended periods of time. We recommend that you dry condensation off of the inside of window frames to avoid damage to adjacent surfaces including sheetrock, wood work and caulking. P a g e | 21 Doors Passage Doors Certain doors in your home are made of wood and they may shrink. The wood in both exterior and interior passage doors must season. Don’t make hasty adjustments on new doors since the condensation and humidity of a new home will affect them only temporarily. Occasional slight sticking is normal and even desirable for a weather tight fit. Be sure to keep the paint finish in good repair, repaint doors regularly. When your doors were installed, all joints were tight and firm, but over time they may expand and contract. During our rains even interior doors may swell and stick. If the sticking is minor, try applying either a paste wax, light coat of paraffin or candle wax to the sticking surface. Be sure all screws are tight. Exterior doors are especially affected because of temperature extremes from one side to the other. To eliminate minor sticking, try paraffin, candle wax, or commercial dry lubricant sticks. If sticking persists, tighten hinge screws with a screwdriver. If the door still sticks, wrap a piece of sandpaper around a block of wood and sand those edges that stick. Planning is a drastic solution. Do it carefully and cautiously or the door may refuse to close properly in drier weather. When the doors closes to your satisfaction after sanding or planning, seal the raw wood with matching paint or varnish to reduce the chance of swelling or warping later. The tops and bottoms of exterior doors should be sealed or painted. Warped doors are the result of too much moisture. Should a door ever warp, the best remedy is to take if off and dry it thoroughly in the sun. If a door is badly warped and won’t straighten, prop up each end and apply weight to the bulged center section and leave it for two to three days. Doors are not guaranteed against warping, only against excessive warping as set by the Association of Manufacturers. Since door hinges move, they require occasional lubrication. Gently pry the hinge pin loose, lubricate it with a graphite-based paste or powder and replace the pin. Oil can be used, but it is not recommended because it attracts dust and can drip onto carpeting, woodwork, and floors. Your home has secure, brand-name locks built to give years of trouble-free service. If occasional sticking occurs, exterior locks can be easily freed with lubricants sold in most hardware stores. Locks may require adjustment of the strike plate on the door jam. Two remedies are suggested. One is to remove the strike plate and carefully file the latch opening. The other is to move the strike plate by moving the screws into new positions. We will make minor repairs to such items as doors sticking, cabinet drawer adjustments only if submitted to us in writing during the 90 day period following the close of escrow or the date of occupancy, whichever occurs first. After 90 days, these items are considered to be part of the normal maintenance responsibility of the Homeowner. P a g e | 22 Exterior Stained Doors To ensure longer life for your exterior wood doors, plan to refinish them at least once a year. Stained exterior doors with clear finishes tend to weather faster than painted doors. Treat the finish with a wood preserver every three to six months to preserve the varnish and prevent the door from drying and cracking. Reseal stained exterior doors whenever the finish begins cracking. Shrinkage Use putty, filler, or latex caulk to fill any minor separations that develop at mitered joints in door trim. Follow with painting. Panels of wood doors shrink and expand in response to changes in temperature and humidity. Touching up the paint or stain on unfinished exposed areas is your home maintenance responsibility. P a g e | 23 Garage and Overhead Door Opener Homeowner Use and Maintenance Guidelines Since the garage door is a large, moving object, periodic maintenance is necessary. Every six months apply a 30-weight automobile oil or similar lubricant to all moving parts: track, rollers, hinges, pulleys, and springs. At the same time, check to see that all hardware is tight and operating as intended without binding or scraping. Avoid over lubrication to prevent drips on vehicles or the concrete floor. Lock If the lock become stiff, apply a silicone or graphite lubricant. Do not use oil on a lock, as it will stiffen in winter and make the lock difficult to operate. Never engage the garage door lock if you have an automatic garage door opener as this may cause damage to the opener and/or door. Opener To prevent damage to a garage door opener, be sure the door is completely unlocked and the ropepull had been removed before using the operator. If you have an opener installed after closing on your home, we suggest that you order it form the company that provided and installed the garage door to assure uninterrupted warranty coverage. Be familiar with the steps for manual operation of the door in the event of a power failure. If Palo Verde Homes installed a door opener as one of your selections, during orientation we demonstrate the electric eye that provides a safety stop in the event someone crosses through the opening while the overhead door is in motion. Use care not to place tools or other stored items where they interfere with the function of the electric eye. Note: If a door will not remain closed and opens upon reaching the closing surface chances are that the door sensors are not lined up. Painting Repaint the garage door when you repaint your home, or more often if needed to maintain a satisfactory appearance. Safety Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and reliable operation. Do not allow anyone except the operator near the door when it is in motion. Keep hands and fingers away from all parts of the door except the handle. Do not allow children to play with or around the door. For your safety, after the expiration of the one-year warranty, have any needed adjustments made by a qualified specialist. The garage door springs are under a considerable amount of tension and require special tools and knowledge for accurate safe servicing. Have the door inspected by a professional garage door technician after any significant impact to the door. P a g e | 24 Mirrored Wardrobe Doors and Vanity Mirrors A number of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” should be observed when cleaning mirrored wardrobe doors – or any other mirrors. Do use one of these three types of recommended mirror cleaners: · A weak (5-10%) solution of methyl, ethyl, or rubbing alcohol in water. Windex, Solox, or other household glass cleaners are of this type. · Weak household ammonia water solutions – provided they do not contain alkali, which many do. · Weak (5%) household vinegar solutions – if the odor is not objectionable. Do use a clean, soft rag or paper towel to clean mirrors. Do protect the mirror by applying cleaner to the cloth, rather than the mirror. Wipe the edges clean and dry off any excess solution. Don’t use heavy- duty harsh commercial cleaning solutions on mirrors. Most of them contain the three A’s, abrasive, alkali, and acids, which are harmful to mirrors. Don’t use dirty or gritty rags, knives, scrapers, emery cloth or other abrasive materials for cleaning. Don’t abuse the critical edges. Most mirror failures are at the edges – where excess solutions attack the backing at its most vulnerable point. Sliding Glass Doors Sliding glass patio doors should receive the same care given to aluminum windows. Be sure that there are no foreign objects in the track to impede operation. The rollers will deteriorate if the tracks are not kept clean and clear. Paraffin is a good lubricant for these tracks. Most patio doors have screws on the bottom frame corners for adjusting door travel. Framed Mirrors The frame portion of these types of mirrors should be cleaned with furniture polish and dried immediately if water is splashed on to the surface. P a g e | 25 Roofs, Gutters, Vents Because the climate in West Texas is much hotter, the sun much more intense, and our summer season much longer than almost any other part of the country, roof maintenance is critical in order to extend the life of your roof. It is recommended (and beneficial) to do timely roof maintenance. A roof inspection should be done at least once a year, and any routine maintenance should be done at that time. Concrete Tile Roofs Your concrete tile roof adds beauty to your home while protecting it. This type of roof is less susceptible to breakage than ordinary tile roofs, and its life can be prolonged if you avoid walking on it. If you must walk on it, use extreme care. Only a licensed roofer should be allowed on your roof. Annually check the seal around the standpipes and vents. Seal when and where necessary. Built up Roofs (“Flat” Roof Areas) Proper care by you should be exercised so that you do not void that warranty. If for any reason you are on the roof, stay away from the flashing, vents or corners where stepping could break a proper seal. If a leak does appear, take action quickly. If it is repaired as soon as the roofing material has dried after the rain, the cost will be far less than if the job is postponed. Many of the roofs built in the southwest, and especially in West Texas, are built-up composition roofs. Most of the water on this type of roof should drain, but do not be concerned if some puddles do remain near the downspouts. This is not uncommon and should evaporate within 48 hours. After your warranty expires, a periodic check by a professional roofer, and reapplying the roof coating every three (3) years is recommended to help preserve the full use of the roof. If a leak does appear after warranty, you may be able to seal it yourself, temporarily, but we suggest you have a licensed roofer inspect it also. Vents Vents and louvers are required by building codes because wood in enclosed areas needs ventilation to prevent dry rot. Occasionally, depending on the force and direction of the wind, rain may infiltrate through attic vents causing spotting on a ceiling below. A sheet of plastic can be installed over the insulation in front of such vents to protect ceilings from driving rain. When placing this plastic, be cautious not to displace insulation or step off wood joists onto the drywall ceiling. Your garage may have vents to allow exhaust fumes from your car to escape. Do not block these vents! Gutters and Scuppers Keep gutters and scuppers (downspouts) free and clear of debris to avoid blockage and damming of water on your roof. P a g e | 26 Concrete Surfaces The concrete used around your new home was mixed to industry standards, applied by professionals and should last indefinitely. Small cracks and minor surface variations are inevitable, even though expansion joints have been provided to relieve internal stress. Normal cracks do no reduce concrete’s serviceability. Concrete foundations, walks and drives may develop cracks or flaking. Any cracks less than the width of a dime will not be patched unless they are under ceramic, wood or vinyl floors. Cracks greater than the width of a dime can be filled; however a mismatch of coloring should be expected. No resurfacing will be done to cover any color differences. Concrete driveways are not designed to withstand heavy trucks, especially moving vans or concrete trucks (should you have a concrete patio poured). To protect your driveway, do not allow heavy vehicles on it. NOTE: Your home was constructed with a post-tension foundation. There are several tensioned cables running through your slab. Never jack hammer or break the foundation unless done by a licensed civil engineer as cutting one of these cables could be dangerous causing serious injury or damage. P a g e | 27 Patio/Landscaping/Drainage Your Palo Verde home may have a large patio area. Chances are that you will want to install some hard- surface material and some landscaping. The hard surface material could be a wood deck or a concrete or brick patio floor. Be sure that he hard-surface drains water away from the foundation. Failure to maintain adequate drainage can result in foundation damage and void your structural warranty. Prior to the installation of any walls, fences, patio extensions, outdoor barbecues, etc., we suggest that you check with El Paso Development Services. Be sure that you comply with their requirements, and with those of your Homeowners Association (if applicable). The grading and drainage of each home site has been certified to be in accordance with local grading ordinances specifically designed to provide proper drainage and water control. Be sure that your landscaper and/or pool and spa contractors maintain correct drainage. Any modifications of the grading or drainage system will be made at your own risk. We wish to advise you not to change the finish grade around your home. Frequently, landscaping is done that changes the established drainage pattern. This, in time, could result in damage to your property or to that of your neighbor. When preparing your flower beds and yards for shrubs and lawns, please keep in mind that water must never saturate the soil around the foundation of the house. This is very important. Palo Verde Homes does not warranty Landscaping at any time and under no circumstances. Landscape is the responsibility of the home owner. You are responsible for watering and maintaining the plants installed in your landscaping. If present, you are responsible for adjusting flow rates and timer(s) to your plants, shrubs, trees and grass. Note: It is the homeowner’s responsibility to insulate any backflow valves, exposed irrigation piping or irrigation valves especially during winter months. Doing so will prevent freezing and cracking of water lines. We recommend shutting irrigation timers off when a freeze is imminent. P a g e | 28 Interior Walls Your home has two types of interior walls: bearing and non-bearing. Non- bearing walls can be altered without fear of structural damage, but bearing walls must be altered carefully to avoid reducing their bearing capacity. Changes to bearing walls should be made only by a licensed engineer, architect or contractor. Care of drywall is your maintenance responsibility. Gypsum wallboard walls should last a very long time without any significant maintenance. To correct almost any damage done to the drywall use a spackling compound. Apply it in thin coats and blend the texture to match the surrounding area before painting. If cracks appear around windows and doors or in corners, rest assured that they are not related to a structural problem. Such cracks can be easily repaired by filling with spackling compound or caulk, which are available at paint and hardware stores. Smooth the filled crack with fine sandpaper and blend the texture to match the surrounding wall, and then repaint the entire surface. Sometimes normal shrinkage will cause nails to pop out from the wall surface. Popped nails do not alter the strength of the wall and should be left alone until time to repaint. To correct a nail pop, reset the nail using a hammer and nail set and cover it with spackle. Apply two or three thin coats of spackle and blend the texture to match the surrounding wall before painting. Indentations caused by sharp objects can be filled with spackle in the same manner. High quality paints, varnish, and lacquers have been used in your home. However varnished and lacquered surfaces are not warranted. Painted walls and woodwork should give you long service if properly cared for. Generally, latex paints are used throughout the interior of the house. The kitchen and bathroom walls, ceilings and woodwork are gloss latex. Paint will retain its beauty longer if you follow the suggestions of professional painters. One of their most important recommendations is to avoid washing newly painted surfaces for at least three months to allow the paint to set fully. After that, avoid strong chemical or abrasive cleaners, either of which may cause permanent paint damage. To wash painted walls, use this method: 1. If you are not sure about the paint’s wash ability, try washing it in an inconspicuous place, like a closet or behind a piece of furniture. 2. Make very rich suds of mild non-detergent soap in tepid water. 3. Gather only suds on a slightly damp sponge and lightly apply the suds to the painted surface. Do not rub! 4. Let the suds stand on the painted surface for about one minute or until you think the moisture has had time to penetrate the dirt. 5. Remove the suds with a clean sponge that has been wrung very dry. Painted interior walls are not “scrub proof”. Scrubbing or the application of harsh cleaners will remove paint. We will only make repairs when the problem is the result of improper original application, or of faulty material. It must be noted, however, the paint changes color as it seasons and we cannot P a g e | 29 guarantee a perfect color match when touch-ups are made after the original application. Painting When paint touch-up is required, remember that all paints change colors as they age, making a perfect color match very difficult to achieve. Sometimes, paint touch-ups are visible under certain lighting conditions. Regular repainting is the best approach to achieving the look and finish you desire. You probably will wish to repaint your kitchen and bathroom more frequently because they receive harder wear and more frequent exposure to damaging steam and condensation. Always buy the best quality paints you can afford. Bargain paints do not hold up, seldom cover well, and age prematurely. Remember, the cost of paint is insignificant, compared to the value of the labor used in applying it. Do not put acrylic or latex paint over enamel or varnish, since it will not adhere. Use a washable paint in the bathroom, kitchen or utility area. Before you paint, be sure to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Clean surface Repair minor cracks and imperfections with spackle Reset nail pops in the drywall, spackle, and sand smooth Sand enameled or varnished surfaces Be sure the surface is dry before painting Follow the paint manufacturer’s directions Wallpaper You may wish to wallpaper one or more rooms because of the way today’s wallpapers add spice to your home. If you do not have much paper-hanging experience, seek advice from your local wallpaper store. And, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not attempt to wash the average “washable” wallpaper with water. Even though most wallpaper is marked “washable”, it should be cleaned only with wallpaper cleaner, which can be purchased at any store selling wallpaper. Some spots can be removed with an art gum eraser. Grease seldom is successfully taken off the average wallpaper because grease stains are permanent. P a g e | 30 Carpet PLEASE NOTE: NO CARPET IS ABSOLUTELY STAIN PROOF. SOME CARPETS HAVE STAIN RESISTANT TREATMENTS TO IMPROVE YOUR ABILITY TO CLEAN UP STAINS, NOT PREVENT STAINS. CARPETS WITH SOIL RESISTANT TREATMENTS REDUCE THE RATE OF SOILING BUT, THESE ALSO REQUIRE REGULAR CARE AND MAINTENANCE. Vacuuming The most important step in caring for your carpet is vacuuming. Vacuum thoroughly and frequently, particularly in high traffic areas. Bear in mind that walking on soiled carpet permits the soil particles to work their way below the surface of the pile where they were they are far more difficult to remove. Frequent vacuuming removes soil particles from the surface before this happens. For rooms with light traffic, vacuum the traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. Those areas with heavier traffic require that the traffic lanes be vacuumed daily and the entire area twice weekly. Up to three passes of the machine will suffice for light soiling, but five to seven passes may be necessary for heavily soiled areas. Vacuum Cleaner Recommendations: 1. Carpet manufacturers recommend the use of vacuums with a rotating brush or beater/brush bar which agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens soil for the vacuum to remove. 2. Carpets with thick loop pile construction may be sensitive to brushing, rubbing, or scraping of the pile surface which may cause fuzziness and pile distortion. It is recommended that vacuums with brushes, bristle strips and/or beater bar are used, test in an inconspicuous area to make certain it will not damage the carpet. 3. Vacuums with top loading bags are preferred over bottom loading bags. This helps ensure the vacuum does not lose effectiveness as the bag fills. Replaceable paper bags do a better job of trapping extremely small particles; cloth bags often allow these particles to pass through the bag and back into the air. Bags should be checked frequently and replaced when 2/3 full. 4. Make sure the belt is in good condition and that the beater actually rotates when in contact with the carpet. Adjust the height of the vacuum cleaner by raising the beater/brush bar to the highest setting. Then lower the bar until it contacts the pile enough to vibrate the carpet slightly several inches away from the machine but not enough o cause a significant slowing of the motor. Vacuuming across the traffic pattern occasionally, rather than in the traffic direction, will help prevent matting. A good vacuum cleaner is vital to prolonging the life of your carpet. An inexpensive carpet sweeper will remove surface dirt but will not effectively remove the hidden dirt and particles embedded in the pile. Cleaning While vacuuming is sufficient to remove most dry soil, the oily soil coming from cooking vapors, air pollution, and that tracked in from outside presents a different type problem. These particles of oily soil deposited on carpet fibers can cause gradual but significant dulling of delicate pastel colors: the color isn’t lost but is hidden under the film. If this type of soil is allowed to accumulate, it literally glues P a g e | 31 the pile fiber together and begins to attract and also hold the dry soil. This is the reason cleaning is so important when dulling of the colors is first noticed. If allowed to remain too long, it becomes gummy and difficult to remove. Clean the carpet before it becomes unsightly, the cleaning chore will be easier and more successful. The “old wives’ tale” about not cleaning the carpet until absolutely necessary because it will get dirty faster is not true. Choice of the proper cleaning system is important in that some systems may leave residues which promote re-soiling and defeat the whole purpose of cleaning. The recommendations below represent the best current knowledge and should help prolong the time between cleaning. It is recommended that hot water extraction system, which research indicates, provides the best capability for cleaning. This system is commonly referred to as “steam cleaning”, although no steam is actually generated. The process consists or spraying a solution of water and detergent into the pile and recovering the water and soil with a powerful vacuum into a holding tank. This can be done from a truck mounted unit outside the homes with only the hose and wand brought inside, or where a truck mounted unit cannot reach, by a portable, self-contained system brought into the home. P a g e | 32 Hardwood Floors Today’s factory finished hardwood floors are extremely attractive and quite durable. However, climatic conditions can change the moisture content, causing swelling and/or shrinkage. Wood floors may show nicks, dents, and moisture damage caused by normal wear and tear. Any separations that may occur between hardwood floor segments can be repaired by filling and staining. To maintain the beauty of a hardwood floor, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is advisable to take several precautions with a wood floor. First, avoid too much waxing. Second, never damp mop the floor while applying a water-based wax. Third, wipe up spills immediately and remove dried spills with a slightly damp cloth. Fourth, use area rugs at room entrances to keep dirt and moisture from being tracked in. Most professional installers will recommend damp mopping with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. P a g e | 33 Electric System Like all utility system in your home, your electric system was installed to rigid specifications and inspected by the El Paso Building Services Department. Underwriters Laboratory (ULI) - approved components were used throughout. You have three-wire grounded system. Never remove the bare wire which connects to the box or device. Three-hole grounded receptacles are standard and will accept normal two-prong plugs. Switch Receptacles – In the living room, family room and bedrooms switch receptacles may operate one half of an electric outlet. Be sure switch is on and appliances (lamp) is on before you call for service. Circuit breakers are the safety valves of your home’s electrical system. Your circuit breaker panel was shown to you during your walk-through inspection. As advised earlier, recheck the location of this panel as soon as you move in. It is much easier to remedy problems if all circuit breakers are labeled. If this has not already been done, do so as soon as possible after you move in. Electrical outlets in your kitchen, all bathrooms, the garage, patio, and any outside locations, are connected to a ground fault interceptor (GFI/GFCI). This safety device is required by local and national electrical building codes. Any minor increase in the resistance in that circuit will cause the GFI/GFCI to trip the related circuit breaker, cutting off the circuit’s power. The GFI/GFCI is very sensitive and will react to a frayed appliance cord, other minor shorting, or even moisture in the outlet, check your GFI/GFCI, the related circuit breakers, and your appliances on that line. The GFI/GFCI test/reset button is on one of the outlets in the circuit and controls that circuit. If you plan to use power tools or if you have a freezer it may be advisable to have another separate circuit, not on the GFI/GFCI designated for this purpose. Circuit breakers should be checked immediately in the event of any electrical failure. All of them should be in the “On” position. If any are not, they may be reset by pushing the handle to the “Off” position until you felt the contact reset, and then move the handle to “On” position. Some breakers come from the factory with dust or oil on them and may need to be switched several times. If the breaker again flips to “Off”, this indicates a short circuit, so individually check every lamp and appliance on that circuit. If this circuit involves the kitchen, baths, or garage; check the GFI/GFCI plugs by pushing their RESET buttons. Unplug all appliances or electrical equipment on the circuit that is off, reset the breaker, and then turn on one lamp or appliance at a time until you find the circuit’s faulty component. If trouble continues, call Palo Verde Homes or an electrician. In case of complete power failure, call the power company. Do not call the electrician until you are sure that all circuit breakers and the GFI/GFCI- protected plugs are on. P a g e | 34 Plumbing Your plumbing has been installed by a professional and should only require minimum maintenance for many years, if you care for it properly. The most important item about plumbing is that every resident be familiar with the various water supply shut-off valves in your plumbing system. Shut-off valves for toilets are usually under the water chamber; those for sinks are under each sink and most important of all, the main shut-off valve is located in the garage. The two main areas in plumbing that tend to cause the most service problems are those associated with drains or with minor leaks. Warranty for drain stoppage is for 72 hours after closing if construction related. To avoid unnecessary service calls, it is important for you to understand how a drain system works and how to maintain it. Each plumbing fixture in your house has a drain trap, a P-shaped piece of pipe, designed to provide a water barrier between your home and the sewer gases. The trap holds water which prevents the airborne bacteria and odor of the sewer gas from entering the house. These traps, because of their shape, are also the point at which drains are most likely to become clogged. The cardinal rule to avoid plugging drains is never to allow grease, hair, lint, rubbish, paper, etc. down the drain. If your drain does appear to be clogged, you can try working a plunger up and down rhythmically 10-12 times in succession. If this doesn’t work, there are many approved chemicals you can purchase, but remember to follow the directions carefully. Do not use chemicals and a plunger at the same time. The standard warranty for plumbing leaks depends on two things: the area of the leak and the cause. As a general rule, those leaks which arise within the piping system, excluding freezing of pipes, and those leaks which arise within the plumbing trim, e.g. faucets, are warranted for one (1) year from your closing date. Whether or not the leak is covered under your warranty, the most important thing to remember is to evaluate where the leak is, if possible, and shut off the particular valve; or if not able to find the source of the leak, shut off the main intake valve. Faucets, like all plumbing with moving parts, are more apt to require repair than non-moving fixtures. The less needless strain you put on faucets, the less frequently the need of repair. If leaking around your faucets does appear, generally, the leak can be fixed by replacing the washer(s), which can be obtained at most hardware stores. If the leak is in the piping system and occurs within the one (1) year warranty period, contact us for warranty. Many faucets have a screened adapter (aerator) at the water outlet end. It is not uncommon for these aerators to collect small particles, especially when you first move in. It may seem as if your water pressure is “low” but this can easily be remedied. You can clean these aerators by merely unscrewing them, rinsing the debris off and replacing. This should be done periodically as a form of preventive maintenance. Palo Verde Homes warranty on stoppage extends for the first 72 hours after move-in for construction debris only. P a g e | 35 Water Heater Your home is equipped with a quality storage-type gas water heater with sensitive thermostatic controls and an electronically ignited pilot. If the electronic ignition is not working properly (e.g. the water heater pilot will not remain ignited) within the warranty period you can call (915) 494-7493 for service. You will need to provide them with your address, the serial number and model number to obtain service. Water heaters normally collect small quantities of alkali and minerals in the tank, which can shorten their life. Drain a few quarts of water out of the bottom of your heater tank each month to prevent water discoloration and to keep sediment from accumulating in the tank bottom. Heater life also will be prolonged by keeping the temperature control set no higher than 160 degrees. Higher settings create the risk of scalding burns, especially to small children. A 140 degree setting will conserve energy and probably be adequate. Higher settings also waste energy. The recommended thermostat setting for everyday use is “Normal” or “A”. If you really need exceptionally hot water, set the thermostat to “Hot” or “C”. When the need for especially hot water is satisfied, rest the thermostat to the original setting. Never turn on the gas when the heater tank is empty. Always turn off the water heater before shutting off the cold water supply. Aerators Even though your plumbing lines have been flushed to remove dirt and foreign matter, small amounts of minerals may enter the line. This is especially true in new subdivisions that are not completely built out. Aerators on the faucets strain much of this from your water. Minerals caught in these aerators may cause the faucets to drip because washers wear more rapidly when they come in contact with foreign matter. Freezing Pipes Provided the home is heated at a normal level, pipes should not freeze at temperatures above 0 degrees F. Set the heat at 65 degrees F if you are away during winter months. Keep garage doors closed to protect plumbing lines running through this area from freezing temperatures. NOTE: When temperatures at or below freezing are expected: disconnect all exterior water hoses from hose bibs, open cabinets under sinks to allow for warm air flow to pipes, drip faucets as moving water will tend to not freeze, turn off outdoor irrigation timers (if applicable) and wrap insulation (or towels) around any exposed piping. Extended Absence If you plan to be away for an extended period, you should drain your water supply lines. You may also wish to shut off the water heater. Do this by turning off the cold water supply valve on top and the gas control at the bottom. Drain the tank by running a hose from the spigot on the bottom to the outside of your home or the nearest drain. If you leave the tank full, keep the pilot on and set the temperature to its lowest or “vacation” setting. Check the manufacturer’s directions for additional hints and instructions. P a g e | 36 Leaks If a major plumbing leak occurs, the first step is to turn off the supply of water to the area involved. This may mean shutting off the water to the entire home. Then contract the appropriate contractor. (Note: Remember that your home is equipped with water shut off valves in the garage as well as a main shut off at the curb/water meter). Low Pressure Occasional cleaning of the aerators on your faucets (normally every three to four months) will allow proper flow of water. The water department and location within the city controls the overall water pressure. Outside Faucets Outside faucets are freeze-proof, but in order for this feature to be effective, you must remove hoses during cold weather, even if the faucet is located in your garage. If a hose is left attached, the water that remains in the hose can freeze and expand back into the pipe, causing a break in the line. Repair of a broken line that feeds an exterior faucet is a maintenance item. Note that Palo Verde Homes does not warrant spigots against freezing. P a g e | 37 Heating/Air Conditioning Heating Your heating system is among the most modern manufactured today and should give you many, many years of comfort with a minimum of attention. We recommend you read the manufacturer owner’s manual for the proper maintenance and use instructions. The system was installed in accordance with local building codes and the engineering design for your particular floor plan. Adequacy of the system is determined by its ability to establish a temperature of 70 degrees as measured in the center of the room, five feet above the floor. Your heating system controls are precisely manufactured to exacting tolerances and engineered for long years of carefree service. However, sometimes they need adjustment to keep them in peak condition. Should adjustments be needed, call a trained professional or the original heating contractor. See the subcontractor table for contact information. Your furnace is equipped with safety controls in case of failure. Your home’s cleanliness is enhanced by an efficient filter built into your furnace. You were shown its location during your walk-through. Since it is designed to collect dust and dirt, it must be replaced at regular intervals to maintain its efficiency. If hobbies, such as woodworking, create abnormal amounts of dust, you may find it wise to replace filters as often as once a month. A clogged filter can slow air flow and cause cold spots in your home. This is one of the most frequently overlooked details of furnace care. To maintain peak efficiency, check your filter weekly for the first two months because it may clog more frequently as it removes accumulated construction dust and loose carpet fibers. Replacement is not difficult, but it may involve removing sheet-metal screws. New filters are widely available. Make sure you check the size, which is usually printed along the filter/frame edge. For convenience, buy filters by the box, usually a half dozen or dozen. Once you have lived in your new home for some time, filter changes are recommended every 4-6 weeks. The exact placement of heat ducts and resisters may vary slightly from their positions in the models. Heat outlets (registers) and return air intakes function best when unobstructed. Do not block them with furniture, rugs and draperies. Experiment with the adjustable registers in your home to establish the best heat flow for your lifestyle. Generally, heat can be diminished in seldom-used or interior rooms. However, this is a very individual matter and you will need to balance the system for your family’s comfort. The furnace will automatically turn on if the room temperature drops below the thermostat setting. A point to remember is that, contrary to common belief, setting heating controls high does not make a furnace heat faster. Expansion or contraction of metal duct-work typically will result in some ticking or popping sounds, it is not possible to eliminate these sounds. P a g e | 38 If the furnace will not turn on, here are the basic test steps to take before calling for service: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Read the instruction manual for you unit. Set the thermostat above room temperature. Check to see that the thermostat selector is on “Heat”. See if any circuit breakers are tripped to “off”. If they are, try switching them several times. Examine the filters to verify that they aren’t clogged. Look over the bottom cover on the furnace. It holds in a button similar to the button on a clothes dryer. The furnace fan will not operate if the button is not held in and make sure the cover is firmly in place. 7) Determine whether the pilot light is burning. If the pilot is out, follow instructions ignition. If the ignition is not working properly, you’ll need to call your heating contractor. 8) Be certain that the fuel line to the burner is open by turning the gas valve to “On”. This is the last step in lighting the pilot and is frequently overlooked. 9) If the furnace was recently turned off there is normally a five minute “reset” period that one must wait for before the unit will turn on again. If you go through this list with no success, call your heating contractor. However, if he makes a service call to repair one of the items there will be a service charge. Charges will also apply if you are past your one year warranty. Have a trial run every fall to test the furnace. If service is needed, it is much less inconvenient to discover it before the heating season gets underway. Heating and Energy The energy shortages we have experienced are a matter of critical concern to the entire nation. Your house has been insulated to the latest standards of energy conservation. To save energy and money, keep the heat setting as low as you can. You can help keep your heating costs down by following these guidelines: · · · · · Set your thermostat between 68-72 degrees for heating and leave it there. Constantly changing the thermostat wastes energy. Turn the thermostat down when you go away – especially for a week or more. Close register and doors in rooms not normally used. Hot air rises and cold air falls. So, in fall and winter, close some upstairs registers and open all your downstairs registers. Check the filter in your heating system at least three times a year. If it’s dirty, change it. The filter should be checked more often if there is a lot of traffic in and out of the house. Your heating system has been sized to the heating load, to assure that your house can be heated and maintained at a comfortable temperature. Learn everything you can about the system installed in your home - - how it operates and functions at maximum efficiency. If, after studying the instructions manual, you have additional questions, the heating contractor should be able to assist you. P a g e | 39 Filters Some warm air furnaces have built-in filters, usually found close to the furnace, where the cooled air returns from the rooms. These filters remove dirt and dust from the air. For efficient heating they should be replaced at the beginning and in the middle of each heating season. In some areas, more frequent changing is desirable. See the instruction booklet for you heating system for more specific directions. Air Conditioning To fully and efficiently utilize your air conditioning system, you must understand that it is a total, whole-house system. The air conditioner is the mechanism in your home which produces cool air. The air conditioning system involves everything inside your home, including drapes and windows. It is a closed system, which means that the interior air is continually recycled and cooled until the desired air temperature is reached. Warm outside air disrupts the system and makes the air conditioner work harder. Therefore, you must keep all windows closed. Heat from the sun that comes through uncovered windows is intense enough to overcome the cooling effect of the air conditioning unit. It is recommended that window dressings be closed on windows exposed to the sun. Timing is important in the operation of an air conditioning system. Unlike a light bulb- which provides instant service when you flip a switch – the air conditioning unit only begins a process when it comes on. For example, if you come home at 5:30 p.m. on a day when the temperature has reached 90 degrees then set your thermostat to 78 degrees; it will take a long time to reach this temperature. All day long, the sun has been heating the entire house; the walls, the carpet, the furniture and the air. At 5:30, the air conditioner starts cooling the air, but the walls, carpet and furniture release heat counteracting this cooling. Instead, you should set the air conditioning at a moderate temperature in the morning while the house is cooler, allowing the unit to maintain the cooler temperature through the day counteracting the heat penetration. This setting then may be lowered lightly when you arrive home. The results will be much better. An air conditioning system should be capable of maintaining a temperature differential of 15 degrees below the outside temperature, measured at the center of a room at a height five feet above the floor. Temperature settings below 78 degrees are often possible, but are not promised by the manufacturer. Setting the thermostat at 60 degrees will not cool the home faster, and can result in the unit “freezing” up and not performing at all. Extended use under such conditions can damage the unit. Never turn the thermostat below 70 degrees when the air conditioner is on. To prolong the life of your air conditioning system and increase your comfort, set the thermostat at 76 degrees in the summer and forget it. To increase system’s efficiency and conserve fuel, close windows and doors tightly, turn off unused lights and heat-producing appliances, and close draperies on windows that receive direct sunlight. P a g e | 40 Before the air conditioning season arrives, do a test run to make sure your air conditioner is on and working properly. If it is not, call your service person before his busy season arrives. As you change from heating to cooling, it may be necessary to adjust the balance of air distributed throughout your home. This can be done by adjusting dampers on registers; you may want to close some downstairs registers and open all your upstairs registers. In many homes, you will find it advantageous to adjust your registers to maximize air flow to the most frequently occupied parts of the home. The maintenance suggested for your furnace should be followed for your air conditioner. In addition, the manufacturer’s owner’s manual specifies maintenance for the condenser unit. This should be reviewed and followed. Your system will work best if you make sure the outside condenser unit’s air intake and exhaust fan are clear of debris. Clean away debris, leaves, grass, piled up sand or anything that might impede the flow of air around the grille. You may save needless expense by following this checklist before calling for emergency air conditioning service: 1. Check the thermostat setting and the thermometer. The thermostat setting must be below the temperature on the thermometer for the unit to operate. 2. Verify that the thermostat selector is on “Cool”. 3. Look at the main electrical switch, which should be “On”. Work it several times, since it might have dirt on the contacts. 4. Determine that all of the circuit breakers are “On”. Remember to work them several times. 5. Inspect filters to verify that they’re not clogged. 6. Are the primary and secondary condensation drains open? If not, the unit can freeze up. 7. Make sure that the air flow through the outside condenser unit is not blocked. If your air conditioner is not operating properly after checking all of the above, call the service number in this manual. In the heating and air conditioning industry, lack of air conditioning service is not considered an emergency. Problems will be handled by the air conditioning service firm as quickly as possible, in the order received. In summer, this may mean a wait of up to a week. Since the outside temperature must be 70 degrees or higher for Freon to be added to the system, this service job has to be done in warmer weather. Your air conditioning system has been equipped with replaceable filters. Filters should be replaced at least three times during the cooling season. The first filter should be replaced after 30 days of continuous use. More frequent filter replacement is recommended after you first move in due to possible dust/ debris from your homes construction. It is important to maintain the air conditioners outside compressor in a level position. If it settles during the warranty period, Palo Verde Homes will level it. After that, the homeowner must keep it level. P a g e | 41 Evaporative Cooling Before using you cooler for the season, make sure the pads are in new condition. Replace them if they are damaged or covered with calcium. The water pan should be wiped clean so the pump can work at full capacity without blockage. The hoses should be checked inside the cooler to make sure they are all connected to and from any fittings. After the cooling season has ended, the water should be drained from the cooler to prevent rusting out of the water pan and the water supply line should be turned off to prevent freezing. Upon winterizing, we recommend covering your cooler unit shield it from the elements. For proper air flow and function of evaporative cooling it is recommended that a window (bathroom for security purposes) be kept slightly open. Helpful Hints on Air Conditioning Draw shades on windows exposed to the sun. Sun shining through exposed windows adds needless heat to the house. The cooling unit then has to contend with this stored heat as well as the normal cooling load. Keep all windows and doors closed. During the cooling excessive amounts of outside air add an extra burden to the cooling system and waste electricity. Normal door opening and closing allows sufficient air leakage to change all the air in the house about six times a day and is ample for ordinary ventilation needs. Don’t turn cooling system off. Part time cooling is usually poor economy. If the air conditioner is left off during morning hours, the house has a chance to soak up heat from the sun. Your air conditioner has little reserve capacity for handling this extra load of stored heat. You actually save money by leaving your air conditioner on all the time, as the thermostat will turn the system on only when cooling is needed. Keep air conditioner blower on continuously. The blower gives refreshing air movement and evens temperatures throughout the entire house. The air is constantly circulated through the filter, thus removing dust, lint and certain pollen from the air you breathe. However, let the fan cycle with the compressor in high humidity weather. Avoid continuously changing the thermostat setting. When you have found the temperature you prefer, it is best to leave the thermostat at the setting. Avoid “up and down” cooling by letting the thermostat control the air conditioning system. If the unit is turned off wait approximately five minutes before turning it on. Use the kitchen exhaust fan when cooking. Turning on the exhaust fan the minute you start cooking the fan removes excess heat, humidity and cooking odors. This keeps the hot air from the rest of the rest of the house and lessens the cooling load. Clean filters every three weeks and more often necessary. It is important that the filters be kept clean, as a dirty filter hinders air flow. This will impair the operation of the unit and reduce the effectiveness of the entire air conditioning system. Power interruptions or lighting storms. Turn the unit off until the electrical service has been restored or lighting ceases. P a g e | 42 Fireplace Your fireplace can be a pleasurable addition to your home and an excellent way to create a warm, cozy atmosphere. However, it was not intended to be the sole heat source in the home. If used improperly, it can easily result in much heat loss and many dollars wasted. To help prevent that, consider a number of facts and suggestions. Using the fireplace should be looked upon as a luxury, adding much to the atmosphere and just a little to the heat in a home. Only about 15% of the heat produced by a fire is radiated into the house, so 85% goes up the chimney! In addition, the fire draws warm air from the house for combustion. Another big heat loss can come from leaving the damper open. We recommend closing the damper (if applicable) when you are finished enjoying it. At the very least, use glass doors to prevent heated air from being drawn up the chimney until the damper can be closed. However, do not close the glass doors over a roaring fire, especially if you are burning hardwood, such as oak or hickory because the heat could break the glass. Also, when closing the doors over a burning fire, open the mesh screens first. This prevents excessive heat transfer from the mesh to the glass, which might become warped or discolored. Before using the fireplace, equip it with a grate and check to be sure the damper is open and it draws properly. To do this, light a newspaper on the grate and see if the smoke is carried up the chimney. This will warm the air in the flue, creating a better draft to start a fire. Do not build a fire directly on the fireplace brick or surface – use a grate. Do not burn trash or rubbish in the fireplace. Also, do not overheat your fireplace, since that could cause cracking or scorching of materials surrounding the opening. Never start a fire unless the damper is open. Use either a grate or andirons to hold the logs. Use a well fitted screen. NEVER USE GASOLINE, KEROSENE OR CHARCOAL (Charcoal emits carbon monoxide and is deadly) TO START A FIRE. DO NOT USE GREEN OR WET WOOD. Gas Fireplace If your home has a gas (non-wood burning) fireplace use the switch, normally installed on the wall to the side of the unit, to ignite it. Most gas units are equipped with a pilot igniter, normally behind a grill located at the bottom of the unit. These are similar to use as pilot igniters on a gas grill. Remember to turn the pilot to the off position if you have gas service interrupted or if you plan on not using the fireplace for an extended period of time. Some units such as the vent-less fireplace emit carbon monoxide so use of these units must be closely monitored. Gas fireplaces must never be used to burn wood or trash. Only manufacturer approved and supplied faux logs/rocks can be burned. P a g e | 43 Kitchen Appliances Palo Verde Homes has equipped your home with top quality appliances. All are covered by detailed factory warranties. Study the various instruction booklets and follow the instructions before operating the appliances to ensure their long life and to make maximum use of all features. It is important that all warranty cards be filled out and mailed to the manufacturers as soon as you move in. You may wish to keep your appliance booklets in a kitchen drawer, handy for reference, rather than in the binder. Insure that you remove all packaging and materials from all appliances before Occasionally, an appliance may not turn on. Your fist step should be to check that the appliance is plugged in and that the circuit breakers are “ON”. Any breakers found tripped to “OFF” should be flipped to “ON” several times, especially when they have not been used previously, then left “ON”. If the appliance still does not work, try resetting the GFI/GFCI outlets. When cleaning your cook top, avoid getting moisture near your electronic ignition, since that can short out the unit, causing frequent clicking of the igniter. Normally the moisture will slowly dry out and the clicks will become more widely spaced before stopping. If a problem arises with one of your appliances call the customer service numbers (can be found online) for each manufacturer and be prepared to supply: · · · The date of purchase (closing or move-in date, whichever occurred first) The serial and model numbers (found on a metal plate on the side or bottom of the appliance and also listed on your Products Information Form) A precise description of the problem Many times a service request for an inoperative appliance is made simply because the unit is not plugged in, or because it is not receiving an electrical current. Please don’t forget that in some cases electrical outlets may require that a nearby switch be flipped on before your appliance will work. Cabinets Your fine custom made kitchen cabinets will give you many, many years of satisfaction and pleasure. Because they are product of nature, they should be expected to have noticeable variations in wood grain and color. Stained woods used in cabinets, doors, wood trim and millwork all have variations in wood grain and color which are inherent characteristics that cannot be controlled and which are excluded from the warranty. These cabinets have an attractive finish, which should be treated as fine furniture. Wipe off grease splatters immediately. Be careful to keep water off the wood cabinets because excessive water will cause the wood to crack and the finish to peel. Most furniture polishes may be used on your cabinets. Follow container instructions. When selecting a wax, use a small area as a test before buying large quantities. Avoid naphtha or benzene-based waxes which might create a milky look. Also, paste waxes may obscure the wood grain through wax build-up. P a g e | 44 Should hinges, catches, or drawer glides become sluggish with use, a small amount of silicone lubricant will improve their action. Corian/Formica/Marble Countertops & Vanity Tops Both the formica (laminate) and marble tops are easy care products. DO NOT clean with an abrasive cleanser as it will scratch and dull the finish. Tile Countertops Tile is a tough material which resists scratches and hard knocks and won’t crack under normal usage. Tile countertops normally are not harmed by boiling water, alcohol, fruit acids, and household chemicals. They are resistant to moderate heat – but use a pad under hot cooking utensils from your oven or range – rather than putting them directly on the countertop. Don’t use the countertop as an ironing board, ashtray, or cutting board. The beauty of your ceramic tile countertops can be maintained by washing with mild dish washing detergent and warm water, then rinsing and drying. Do not use abrasive cleansers. Palo Verde Homes cannot be responsible for color variations in tile or grout or discontinued colors or patterns in tile or grout. Granite Countertops Granite is a beautiful naturally occurring stone that is mined from the earth. Variations in color, veining, spotting, and speckling should be expected. Additionally, inherent cracks or pitting may be experienced. These are all normal characteristics that granite exhibits. Granite is very resistant to spill absorption but we still recommend cleaning up spills that may occur as quickly as possible. Granite is resistant to moderate heat but use a hot pad before directly placing any hot item (e.g. pot, pan, utensil, etc.) on the surface. Avoid standing on any granite surfaces as the weight may cause cracking of the material. Using mild soap and water is a good way to clean a granite surface. Furniture polish is also a suggested cleaning supply though we do recommend testing it on an inconspicuous area before committing. Grout Your grout is NOT sealed. You may consider sealing with a silicone sealer to limit stains from spills. It is strongly recommended that soon after you move in you use silicone sealer to seal your grout against dust, dirt, and stains and to help retain your tile’s like-new luster. Also, at the end of the first year, check your grout for gaps that often develop and fill any that you find. Commercial quality grout and sealers can be purchased in hardware stores. Soil build-up in gout lines between tiles should be removed with a bristle brush (toothbrush), and a mild scouring powder. Sink Porcelain enamel can be damaged by a sharp blow from a heavy object. It also can be scratched. Use only liquid cleansers, since abrasive cleansers may gradually dull the high sheen of the surface. If paint is splattered onto the porcelain enamel during redecorating, it should be wiped immediately. If P a g e | 45 some paint spots are dry before being noticed, use a recommended solvent. Range Hood Grease build- up in your range hood can present a potential fire hazard. Avoid the problem by cleaning both hood filters regularly with mild dish washing detergent, drying thoroughly, and reinstalling the filters. The exhaust fan in your range hood is designed to evacuate odors, smoke, and moisture produced by cooking. Regular cleaning and inspection will help keep it on top working order. After cleaning is completed, lubricate the fan with light household oil. It is best to do this at least twice a year. P a g e | 46 Baths Fiberglass Tubs and Showers Given proper care, the smooth, shiny surface of you fiberglass tub and shower will remain beautiful and easy to clean indefinitely. Fiberglass tubs and showers possess a natural resilience and will not chip as readily as porcelain enamel. But, equal care should be given to these man- made materials. Do not, under any circumstances, use abrasive cleansers or razor blades on these surfaces because they will cause certain damage. If the surface becomes dulled by an abrasive cleaner or the harsh treatment, rub the dull area with a good automotive cleaner or rubbing compound, and then wax it. Porcelain Tubs and Sinks The delicate beauty and gloss of porcelain sinks are easily maintained by observing a basic rule: never use abrasive cleansers, which scratch through the glass-like surfaces quickly. Liquid dish washing detergents on a moist cloth are preferred. Although porcelain is durable, be careful not to drop heavy articles on it, which might cause chipping. Should chipping occur, porcelain repair services are available. Synthetic (Cultured) Marble Tops Synthetic marble bathroom tops are easy to keep clean and far more resistant than natural marble to alcohol, good, acids, common household liquids, and boiling water. Again, harsh abrasives should be avoided. Soap and water or common cleaning solvents should eliminate most stubborn stains. You can use a soft-scrub cleanser. Liquid waxes will retain the high luster, but avoid paste waxes which may cause yellowing. Be careful not to drop heavy or sharp objects or synthetic marble to avoid scratching or chipping, just as with natural marble. Toilet Your toilet will perform faithfully if kept in adjustment. An improperly adjusted float can cause a toilet to run too much, wasting water, or providing too little water for proper flushing. If your toilet is not operating properly, remove the tank top lid carefully and look for the source of the problem. You may need to free the float from binding. If your toilet is equipped with a float arm and you need to adjust the float assembly, bend the arm very carefully until the proper water level and shut off are achieved. Palo Verde Homes cannot accept responsibility for the failure of any plumbing fixtures resulting from a homeowner’s improper use. Never dispose any non-soluble or bulky matter, such as diapers or sanitary napkins, down your toilet. Such wastes should be discarded with other rubbish rather than through sewer lines. If a toilet stoppage occurs, call a plumber immediately. Fittings Your plumbing fittings – chrome faucets, handles, pipes, etc., are designed to stay new-looking indefinitely with minimum of care. Avoid abrasive cleansers. Clean with a soft damp cloth and dish wash washing detergent or glass cleaner, followed by a brisk polish with a clean, soft and dry cloth. P a g e | 47 Caulking and Silicone It is a good idea to check the caulking around your bathtub or sink at the end of the first year. Fill in any gaps that may have developed. Thereafter, check the caulking every six months or so. When it appears dried out or cracked, remove and replace it. Caulking material can be purchased in applicator tubes or disposable caulking guns at your local hardware store. We also recommend checking and replacing silicone on all corners of your showers and tubs. This will eliminate the possibility of water seepage through any cracked tile grout in these areas. P a g e | 48 Ventilation Homes today are built more tightly than ever. This saves energy dollars but creates a potential concern. Condensation, cooking odors, indoor pollutants, radon, and carbon monoxide may all accumulate. We provide mechanical and passive methods for ventilating homes. Your attention to ventilation is important to health and safety. Building codes require attic and crawl space tents to minimize accumulation of moisture. Attic ventilation occurs through vents in the soffit (the underside of overhangs) or on gable ends. Driving rain or snow sometimes enters the attic through these vents. Do not cover them to prevent this. Instead, cover the insulation in front of the vent. When you do this, precipitation that blows in safely evaporates and ventilation can still occur. Homes with crawl spaces usually include several vents. Open crawl space vents for summer months and close them for winter months, pulling insulation over them. Failure to close these vents and replace insulation may result in plumbing lines freezing in the crawl space. This occurrence is not covered by your warranty. Your daily habits can help keep your home well ventilated: Ø Do not cover or interfere in any way with the fresh air supply to your furnace. Ø Run the bath fans when bathrooms are in use. Ø Air your house by opening windows for a time when weather permits. Proper ventilation will prevent excessive moisture from forming on the inside of the windows. This helps reduce cleaning chores considerably. P a g e | 49 Natural Problems Condensation Condensation is natural in a new home because many gallons of water were used in its construction, such as in the concrete, joint compound, caulking, paint, grout, etc. This water causes higher-thannormal humidity until the drying process is complete. Daily use of the home also creates moisture. So dampness in a new home is unavoidable and beyond a home builder’s control. This moisture often appears as condensation on a glass surface or cool pipe, and may give the false impression that you have a new leak. Condensation can be minimized by making sure all attic louvers and crawl spaces are clear of debris or insect nests. Whenever you create moisture, use exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchen and utility area. Opening windows can aid the home-drying process, but it takes time. About one year should be allowed for your home to “cure”. Do not try to speed up the process by using excessive heat because high temperatures can warp wood products and cause other types of damage. Mildew and Fungus Mildew or fungus will form on a painted surface if your home is subject to abnormally damp exposures – such as a very heavy rainfall. Mildew or fungus formation cannot be controlled by the builder. This is a homeowner maintenance item. If mildew should develop, it can be removed by using a solution consisting of 3 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and 1 ½ cups of household bleach in one gallon of water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves. Allow several days to dry before painting. Settling Settling is a natural process. All homes settle to some degree. Your home has been engineered to make this settling as even as possible. Some adjustment in lumber and framing members is normal and should be expected. If moldings show slight joints separations, fill the cracks with wood filler. Should nails work out of position, set them with a hammer and nailset, then fill the holes with wood filler or spackle. Normal settling, expansion, and contraction also may cause small interior wall cracks around doorways, archways, and at wallboard joints. It is best to wait one to two years before repairing minor cracks – until most of the settling and shrinkage is complete. The best time to fill and sand such cracks is when you repaint. P a g e | 50 Insects and Rodents Palo Verde Homes does not provide pest control services and as such does not warrant against pests and insects. Insects and rodents may enter any home at any time through open doors, unscreened louvers, etc. Professional exterminators are recommended, especially in the case of insects. Termites are a special kind of problem. Prevention is easier than eradication. Fight termite invasion by making sure the wood portions of your home do not touch the soil directly. Your grading was a minimum of 4 to 6 inches below the door sills when the home was completed. Maintain this grade, as it will help keep out insects. Painting all exposed exterior wood also will discourage termites. Your home site was treated to prevent termites before commencement of the construction process. There is a five year termite warranty from the date of treatment available on your new home. Should you ever discover a termite please contact Aggies Pest Control Service at 915-598-7758. At a later date, if materials such as rock, concrete, patios and walks, brick paving and plants are added near the foundation of your home, the chemical pre-treatment barrier could be distributed. This may result in the termite warranty being voided unless a qualified termite pre-treatment company has re-inspected and applied the necessary chemicals prior to installation. P a g e | 51 Customer Service Information Palo Verde Homes will attempt to correct all “walk-through” inspection items within five days of homeowner occupancy. Palo Verde will also correct defects due to faulty workmanship, defective materials, or major construction flaws. However, the homeowner must submit written notice during the one-year period following the close of escrow, or the date of occupancy, whichever occurs first. Certain items such as air conditioners, furnaces, kitchen appliances, plumbing fixtures and floor coverings are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty for a specified period of time. Initial start-up of heating and air conditioning equipment must be performed by our Subcontractor or the appropriate utility company. Please see the Subcontractor list provided in this manual. When calling the subcontractors for service work, please give your name, phone number, subdivision name, street number and the nature of the problem. It would be helpful to send us a copy of your service request, so we may follow up on requests made directly to the subcontractor service calls due to improper operation or maintenance of times, such as appliances, heating and cooling equipment, or plumbing fixtures will be charged by the responding subcontractor to the homeowner at normal rates. P a g e | 52 Glossary of Terms Acrylic- The synthetic plastic material that is used in finishes. It is durable and attractive. Aerator- Located at the end of the kitchen and bathroom faucets, it mixes the air with the water in order to provide a splash-free flow of water. Attic Access- The opening in the ceiling which gives access to the attic space. This is also called a scuttle hole. Baseboard- The strip of molding or trim at the bottom of walls which protects the walls from scuffs and damage. The baseboard adds an attractive finish and protects the wall from scuffs and damage from furniture or vacuum cleaners. Berm - A small ridge of soil that directs the flow of rain and irrigation water towards drains or sewers. Blacktop - An asphalt materials used for driveways, walkways and streets. Caulking- The material used as a sealant around sinks, tubs and showers. Other applications for caulking include sealing window and door frames. Circuit- The electrical system in your home is separated into individual units referred to as circuits. Depending upon the layout of your home and electrical codes in your area, each circuit may be designed for a room, an area of the home, or a single appliance. Circuit Breakers- The device used to prevent electrical overload or shorting. The circuit breaker opens the circuit when an overload or short occurs, thereby breaking the flow of electricity. Refer to the Electrical systems section of this guide for more information. CC&R’s- This is a real estate term that stands for Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. CC&R’s are the various conditions that are stated on each deed to the property. Homeowner Association rules and regulations are included in CC&R’s. Common Areas- Most neighborhoods have areas that are common property and owned by a Homeowners’ Association. These areas may include streets, parking areas, retention basins, walkways, slopes and recreational areas. They are maintained by, and their use governed by, the Homeowners’ Association. Condenser- The unit of an air conditioning system that is located outside the home. Corian- The man-made product used for counter tops in kitchens and bathrooms. It provides beauty, durability and an excellent working surface. Corian continues to be very popular, resulting in similar competitive products such as Avonite, and Swanstone, being introduced to the marketplace. Cultured Marble- The man-made product that simulates natural marble. Customer Service Department- Services or repairs that are covered by Palo Verde Homes Limited Warranty are handled by the Customer Service Department. The Customer Service Department is P a g e | 53 solely responsible for reviewing warranty claims and acting upon them. Customer Service Request- The form used by the homeowner to request service under the terms of Palo Verde Homes Limited Warranty. All such requests should be in writing and on the proper form. Only those items covered by the Limited Warranty should be listed. Drywall- The interior walls of a home are usually constructed of drywall. This material also is called gypsum board. The material is functional, and can be textured and painted to complement the style of any home. Efflorescence - The white, powdery substance that sometimes accumulates on stucco, masonry and brick. Refer to the Stucco section of this guide for more information. Emergencies- Emergencies are defined as situations in which a home and its occupants are in danger. Included are electrical problems which present the danger of shock or fire, leaking water (if you are unable to turn the water off), and complete stoppage of all drains so that water can back up and flow into the home. Refer to the Emergency section of this guide for more information. Erosion- The flow of water from irrigation systems or rain can rode landscaping and changes the drainage of the yard. Refer to landscaping, drainage and grading in the maintenance section of this guide for more information. Expansive Soil- The expansive soils in this area may be subject to significant contraction and expansion in times of rain or drought. Compacting techniques and other measures were taken during the site preparation of you lot. Avoid excessive watering and standing water in areas with expansive soils. Fiberglass- The composite material in which glass fibers are bonded in plastic matrix to add flexibility and strength. Fluorescent- The lighting fixtures that provide even, soft illumination in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas of the home using fluorescent bulbs. These fixtures are most efficient than traditional incandescent lighting. Galvanized- Steel which is covered with zinc coating to prevent rust is galvanized. GFI- The abbreviation for Ground Fault Interrupt Device. Similar to a circuit breaker, it is designed to interrupt the flow of electricity. GFIVS are usually located near bathroom sinks and tubs. Refer to the electrical Systems section of this guide for more information. Grout- The cement-like material visible between squares of ceramic tile. Gypsum Board- See Drywall. Hardware- The hinges, locks, handles and other metal attachments to doors, cabinet and drawers. Header- The relatively heavy, structural wood piece that spans open space such as doors and window frames. The header supports other structural lumber. P a g e | 54 Homeowner Maintenance- Your new home will last a lifetime if you routinely maintain the various features of your home. Some of these maintenance times have been indicated in the Limited Warranty section of this manual. This continuing maintenance is the responsibility of the owner. Homeowners’ Association- Many neighborhoods are governed by a small group of homeowners who represent the interest of all nearby homeowners. The Associate usually is formed by the builder and is turned over to the homeowners when the majority of the homes are sold. The association collects due that are to be used for proper maintenance of the common areas and to communicate with the members. Incandescent- The lighting fixtures that use traditional light bulbs are called incandescent fixtures. Incandescent lighting is used for limps. Spot lighting and exterior lighting. Joists- The structural components of second story floors and ceiling of your home are called joists. Limited Warranty- Those items warranted by Palo Verde Homes for a specific length of time. Manufacturer’s Warranty- The appliances and certain other components of a new home are covered by warranties that are supplied by the original manufacturers. These warranties are passed on to you by Palo Verde. They include components of the plumbing and electrical systems, heating and air conditioning system, water heater and other manufactured items. Masonry- The walls (including stucco), stonework, fireplace, chimney and brickwork in a home. Nail Pops- The natural expansion and contraction of wood can cause the nails that hold the wall surfaces in a place to move or poop out of place. The nails can be reset and, if necessary touch-up paint can be applied. Porcelain Enamel- The material used to manufacture your tubs and sinks may be constructed of porcelain enamel. Made of silicate paint which is fired onto steel at high temperatures, it forms a durable, smooth and shiny surface, much like glass. Post-Tension Slab- A concrete slab which is under tension from tight steel cables that run horizontally though the slab. The connectors for the cables can be seen at the expose edges of the slab. The tension from the cables strengthens the slab and prevents cracking from settling. Used when soil conditions warrant it. Return- Air Vents- The return air vents draw air back to the heating and cooling system, and are required to prevent almost airtight seals. Ridging- The filled joint in drywall which becomes visible due to natural contraction and expansion of the materials. Screed- The galvanized sheet metal trim which separates the stucco wall from the foundation. Sealant- The commercial products which are used to seal porous materials such as concrete, grout and mortar and protect them from penetration by moisture. Settling- The settling which can occur as the underlying soil gains and losses moisture in the first P a g e | 55 months and for years after a new home is built. Minor settling is normal particular in the first months after a new home is build. Sheathing- The substance that is installed as a base for shingle or tile roofs. Spackle- The putty-like material that is used to fill surface irregularities in drywall. Its most common use is to fill nail holes in walls before repainting. Studs- The mortar-like material that covers the exterior of many hoes in this area. Stucco provides excellent durability, insulation and beauty to the home and is relatively brittle, so you should avoid the sharp blows to the walls. Turn sprinklers away from stucco to prevent water stains. Swale- The swale is similar in purpose to a berm, but it is a depression in the ground. It is designed to channel rain and irrigation water away from structures and toward streets, washes, and sewer drains. Track Strips- The devices between the flooring and carpeting that are used to hold wall- to- wall carpeting in place. Thermostat- The wall-mounted device that controls the heating and air conditioning units. By cycling the heating and air conditioning units on and off, it will maintain a desired temperature in the home. Vitreous China-The small holes in walls and door and window frames that allow water to drain way. They should be kept free of dirt and debris.