FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION

 

The Spinell Homes team is here to guide you through the building process and set you up for successful homeownership into the future. If you have questions about your new home please check here for answers, if you do not find the information you are looking for please contact us.         

 

 

Q: Are concrete cracks warrantied?

A: Concrete by nature is prone to minor cracks and is considered a common occurrence. Minor cracking is normal and should be expected due to shrinkage, settlement and expansion and contraction of the concrete. It is recommended to fill cracks with a flexible concrete sealant based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Cracks that are over 3/16” wide are warrantied for the first year and should be submitted in writing to the warranty department. 

Q: Will drywall cracks and/or nail pops be repaired? 

A: Minor drywall cracks, corner-bead cracks, and nail pops on interior walls and ceilings are caused by home settlement and drying of wood framing materials. Spinell Homes offers a one-time repair of any drywall settlement cracks in excess of 1/8” in width and all nail pops during the first year. Spinell Homes asks that the Homeowner hold these repairs until the 11th month warranty. 

Q: Why do I have a draft under my exterior door? 

A: This is caused by settling and compression of the weather stripping. Many exterior doors are equipped with adjustable thresholds that can easily be adjusted. To adjust, simply remove the screw covers on the threshold and tighten screws (clockwise) to raise the threshold or loosen screws (counterclockwise) to lower the threshold. 

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Q: Why is there a smell coming from my drain?

A: The most common culprit of a foul odor are the various plumbing drains in your home that have a U-shaped trap that prevents sewer odors from re-entering your home. They do this by trapping a small amount of water in the line that blocks the sewer gasses. If you have a plumbing fixture or floor drain that is rarely used, run a small amount of water in to the line every month to maintain the water level in the trap. You should also check under sinks and around any plumbing fixture monthly to verify that a leak has not occurred. A small leak, left unchecked, can cause major damage to cabinets and flooring as well as allow the growth of mold. Due to extreme cold weather plumbing vent pipes can frost over causing sewer gas to back up. Suggested repair is to run hot water for an extended amount of time to help thaw the frost. 

Q: Why is my garage drain not working? 

A: The drain may not be functioning because the plumbing test cap was not removed. To remove it, lift the drain cover and use a screw driver to puncture the tin plastic plug. You will also want to remove any debris from the drain area to speed slow draining

Q: Why are my garage and exterior outlets not working?

A: Your home is equipped with circuit breakers (located at the main electrical panel) to prevent damage to the wiring during an overload. The most common cause of an overload is having too many appliances plugged into a single circuit. To reset a tripped breaker, locate the breaker of the tripped circuit. It will be the one that is set between the on and off position. Flip the breaker completely to the off position and then flip it to the on position. Your home is also equipped with GFCI or GFI circuits that are located near a water source such as in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, and on the exterior of the home. Each circuit will have at least one outlet with a test breaker that serves all the outlets on that circuit. To test, press the T or test button, there should be a click as the circuit trips off. To reset, press the R or reset button until another click is heard. When a GFCI circuit has tripped, it can most often be reset at one of these outlets. If the outlet was not tripped, check the circuit breaker in the main electrical panel. 

Q: Why does my vacuum cleaner consistently trip my bedroom electrical breaker? 

A: Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) are installed according to the National Electric Code in bedrooms and other specified areas in your home to help protect circuits against electrical fires caused by faulty cords and appliances. AFCIs are sensitive devices and Homeowners may occasionally experience “nuisance” tripping. The most common causes of nuisance tripping are damaged cords or plugs on lamps, small appliances or other devices. Some newer vacuum cleaners and exercise equipment may not work on AFCI-protected circuits.

Q: The water pressure at my kitchen faucet seems to be dropping. Should I call the plumber for service? 

A: Before calling the plumber, unscrew the faucet aerator and check for debris in the aerator screen. Also check to make sure the water shutoff valves for the faucet are fully open underneath the sink.

Q: Why does my fireplace smell and its brand new? 

A: When lit for the first time, the appliance will emit an odor for a few hours. This is a normal temporary condition caused by the “burn in” of paints and lubricants used in the manufacturing process. Note extended periods of non-operation the appliance may emit a slight order for a few hours. This is caused by dust particles in the heat exchanger burning off. 

Q: Why is the pilot light on my fireplace always on? 

A: Gas fireplaces are designed to consistently have the pilot light on to have warm air exiting thru the vent to keep the cold air from coming in through the vent and into the house. 

Q: Why do my hardwood/laminate floors sometimes make a creaking noise when I walk on them? 

A: Much like any product containing wood used in the construction of your new home, hardwood or laminate floors will expand and contract according to the humidity level in your home. Controlling humidity levels according to the manufacturer’s recommendations will help control the dimensional stability of the flooring. 

Q: What products should I use to clean my new laminate floors? 

A: Sweep or vacuum your floor regularly since built-up grit can damage the surface of the laminate. The vacuum head must be a brush or felt type. Be certain the wheels of the vacuum are clean and do not damage the finish. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar head. Remove spills promptly using a soft cloth and cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer. NEVER wet-mop, damp-mop, or clean your floor with water or other products. This can severely damage the flooring and damage resulting from these actions will not be covered under warranty. Do not use floor cleaning machines or steam cleaners. 

Q: How do I care for my vinyl floor? 

A: Vinyl floors can be vacuumed, swept or wiped down with a cloth. If liquid is spilled on the vinyl, wipe it up quickly to prevent staining and loosening of the vinyl from the floor. Dirt and mud should be swept up. Never use harsh cleaners such as turpentine, kerosene, or alcohol on your vinyl. High heels and other small pointed or sharp objects can dent or even cut your vinyl floor. Most manufacturers of flooring have specific care and maintenance products for their flooring. In some cases, if these products are not used it may affect the warranty of the flooring. 

Q: What is the best way to maintain my new carpet?

A: Frequent vacuuming and spot treatment of stains as soon as they occur. 

Q: Why is my carpet shedding? 

A: Your home’s carpet will have a certain amount of shedding for the first few months after installation. This is a normal occurrence and should be vacuumed regularly to remove the loose fibers. As a general rule you cannot over vacuum your carpet. Note: Do not shampoo your carpet more than twice a year as it may void the manufacturer warranty. 

Q: Do I need to seal the grout at my ceramic tile? 

A: Water can penetrate grout seams and joints and can damage materials adjacent to and underneath the tile. In order to help prevent water penetration and grout staining, apply a silicone-based sealer after you move-in and periodically thereafter according to the manufacturer recommendations. 

Q: What temperature should my unit heater be set at? 

A: The garage unit heater should be kept at 55 degrees (at least) during the winter months to prevent freezing pipes. Always remember to shut your garage door! 

Q: What do I do if my garbage disposal jams? 

A: If your garbage disposal jams, be sure to turn the disposal off and disconnect the power supply or shut off the main circuit breaker. Next, manually free the blades from the obstruction. Some disposals have been equipped with a disposal wrench that can be used for this purpose. The insertion point for the disposal wrench is located at the center of the bottom of the garbage disposal. Once the blades are free, press the reset button and test the unit. Always run cool water into the unit when in use. 

Q: How do I shut the gas off to my home? 

A: The gas meter to your home is located on the exterior side of your home. The shut-off valve for the gas supply to your home is located here. To shut off the gas in an emergency simply turn the valve ¼ turn so the valve crosses the line. Whenever the gas has been shut off some gas appliances may need to be relit when the gas supply is returned. All gas appliances should be checked for proper operation when the gas is returned. We recommend this be done by a licensed professional. 

Q: What temperature should the hot water heater be set at? 

A: Water temperature is set between 130°F and 140°F from the manufacturer, as required by code. While lower settings reduce utility operating costs, bear in mind that dishwashers, which have their own heating element, do not sanitize properly with settings below 132°F. 

Q: Does my water heater require maintenance? 

A: Small amounts of scale deposits will collect and settle to the bottom of the water tank. Remove this residue by periodically draining the tank. For electric water heaters, shut off the power first using the appropriate circuit breaker in the electrical panel box. Then open the valve at the bottom of the water heater, allowing a quart or two of residue to drain out until the water runs clear. If you live in a hard-water region, a water softener will reduce the need for more frequent draining. Do not completely drain an electric water tank without first shutting off the water heater circuit breaker. Otherwise, the heating element will burn out. For gas water heaters, it is recommended to have the unit periodically evaluated by a professional contractor. 

Q: Why is the top floor of my home warmer than the lower floors? 

A: Hot air rises, causing upper floors to be somewhat warmer than lower floors. This can be minimized with seasonal balancing of air flow by adjusting air dampers and/or individual room air supply registers. Partially opening and closing dampers and registers will release and restrict more air flow, respectively, and force more or less conditioned air to other areas of the home. You may also increase circulation by ensuring furnace filters are clean and utilizing ceiling fans. Closing blinds and drapes to deflect afternoon sunlight will also help to minimize increases in interior temperature. 

Q: Can I schedule warranty service work on the weekends or evenings?

A: In an effort to provide the most cost effective service to all of our customers, warranty service requests must be scheduled during normal business hours Monday thru Friday. 

Q: What is considered an emergency? 

A: Some warranty items are considered an emergency. Most emergencies are either electrical, plumbing or heating related and are normally handled by the appropriate contractor or utility company. The names and service telephone numbers of these important people are listed on the Emergency Contact list. Before calling for help with an emergency, please review the appropriate electrical, heating, or plumbing section in your Homeowner Warranty & Standards Agreement to determine if the problem can be resolved simply.

Q: How do I know if something is covered by my warranty?

A: Warranties are provided through Spinell Homes and product manufacturers. Your Warranty & Standards Agreement will explain what items in your home are warranted and the extent and duration of the coverage.

Q: I will not be home for the repairs. Can someone else let you in to do the work? 

A: Spinell Homes requires access to the home by a responsible adult 18 years of age or older. Spinell Homes personnel and contractors will not perform any work if minors are present unaccompanied by an adult. If no one is able to be present, Spinell Homes may use the lockbox located by the front door with the Homeowner’s permission. 

Q: Why is my yard not flat? 

A: Spinell Homes grades your yard to allow storm water to flow away from your foundation to prevent potential water damage.

Q: I have settlement around my home.

A: We will fill settled areas affecting proper drainage in excess of 6 inches, one time only during the warranty period. You will be responsible for the removal and replacement of landscaping. 

Q: When does my warranty period start? 

A: Your warranty period starts on the Effective Date, which is the date of the transfer of title or date of occupancy by the first Homeowner, whichever occurs first. 

Q: How often should I repaint my home? 

A: Wood trim, non-vinyl siding, and eaves all have painted surfaces. Many things effect how often you will paint your home. Some dark colors are more affected by sun exposure and may need recoating more often than lighter colors. Some areas of your home receive more exposure to sunlight and the elements than the rest of your home. Depending on the harshness of the climate where you live, peeling and cracking paint can occur more frequently than in other areas. This is the first sign that a home needs to be repainted. Peeling and cracking paint can allow moisture and other harmful elements to penetrate the wood framing and foundation of your home. It is wise to inspect your home often for these tell-tale signs. 

Q: How do I care for my windows? 

A: Your windows do not require a great deal of care; however, you should vacuum the window tracks once a year to keep them clean of dirt and debris. Also, periodically check to make sure that the weep holes on the bottom exterior of your windows are clear to allow water to drain from the window. Failure to keep these clear could cause water to enter into your home. Also, seals around window trim should be sealed and maintained yearly as needed. 

Q: I have a fog between the panes of glass on my window. 

A: You have a seal failure between the panels of glass. Typically, this type of glass failure is covered by the manufacturer of the window. You should contact the manufacturer for replacement. 

Q: Why do I have ice build-up on the interior of my windows?

A: Ice build-up on windows is caused by high humidity in the home and improper air movement to the window pane. Regulate the home’s humidity to proper levels and raise blinds off the window sill to let air circulate to avoid condensation along the glass. 

Q: What do I do in the event of a plumbing leak?

A: If a plumbing leak is discovered in your home immediately shut off the water supply to the affected area. Individual shut off valves at the fixture will isolate that location and allow the rest of the plumbing system in the home to be used. If the leak cannot be isolated in this manner shut off the main water supply to the home. If the leak is covered under your Spinell Homes warranty, notify Spinell Homes using the procedures outlined in your warranty manual. If the leak is not under warranty, call a licensed plumbing contractor to correct the problem. 

Q: Why do gaps form at caulked areas such as the stairs and around wood trim? 

A: Spinell Homes uses wood trim moldings. Separation of some wood moldings is normal and caused by home settlement and expansion and contraction of building materials due to changes in humidity. Maintain these areas by periodically re-caulking with a latex caulk.

Q: What do I do about cracks in the grout of my shower? 

A: Cracks in the grout/caulk are considered normal due to settlement of the home. It is important to keep these areas sealed with a good latex caulk. Inspect your shower frequently, and re-caulk as needed. 

SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR FAQs

Q: What is covered by the Major Structural Warranty? 

A: The Major Structural Warranty covers only Load-Bearing Components of your new home.

Load Bearing Components are:

  1. Roof framing members (rafters and trusses)
  2. Floor framing members (joists and trusses)
  3. Bearing walls
  4. Columns
  5. Girders
  6. Load-bearing beams
  7. Foundation systems and footings

Examples of Non-Load-Bearing Components, damage to which does not constitute a Major Structural Defect are:

  1. Non-load-bearing partitions and walls
  2. Drywall cracking
  3. Floor covering; sub-floor materials; or wall covering material
  4. Brick, stucco, decorative cementitious finish, stone, or veneer
  5. Any type of exterior siding
  6. Roof shingles, sheathing and tar paper
  7. Heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems
  8. Appliances, fixtures, or items of equipment
  9. Doors, windows, trim, cabinets, hardware, insulation, paint, and stains
  10. Concrete floors in attached garages and basements that are built separately from foundation walls or other structural elements of the home 

Q: Why are my smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors chirping?

A: The detectors in your home operate using power from your home’s electrical system. In addition, each detector has a battery backup to supply power to the detector during a power outage. The detectors should be tested every six months using the test button and the batteries replaced at that time. If replacing the battery does stop the chirping use compressed air or vacuum cleaner to clear dust particles from the sensors. 

Q: Can I use salt to melt snow and ice on the exterior concrete?

A: No. Salt and other de-icing chemicals will severely damage exterior concrete surfaces and cause pitting and spalling. These chemicals may be tracked in by your vehicle’s tires or accumulate in your vehicle’s undercarriage. Remove snow and ice promptly from the concrete surfaces. If a thin layer of ice cannot be removed we recommend the use of sand or cat litter to provide safe traction. 

Q: Is it okay to use “in the tank” toilet cleaners? 

A: You should use regular type toilet bowl cleaners and not those that are placed in the tank. They have chemicals that react to the rubber valves and gaskets in the tank and may cause a leak. Any consequential damages caused by these leaks are not covered under your warranty. 

Q: Is there something wrong with the flow in my toilet? 

A: Your toilets are the low flow variety that are mandated by federal law. These toilets use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush and thereby greatly reduce your water consumption.

Q: How do I request warranty service? 

A: Hold all non-emergency service requests until the 11th month. All warranties must be submitted in writing to Spinell Homes either via fax, e-mail, through the website, or regular US Mail. Emergency calls are accepted via phone call to Spinell Homes during normal business hours. After requesting emergency service via phone a homeowner must also follow-up in writing to their local office. For after-hours emergencies please contact the proper contractor shown on the Emergency Contact list provided to you at the final walk-thru.