Home Stewards residential services fall into two categories. For homeowners and property managers wishing to keep up with maintenance and have routine inspections and services provided we offer the Home Stewardship Program. For homes that have fallen in disrepair or just need tuning up beyond the Home Stewardship Checklists, we offer Special Project management and execution to help bring the home up to snuff.
Home Stewardship Program
Subscription-Based Home Maintenance & Service
Our Home Stewardship Program is a custom package of services specifically tailored to sustainably maintain your home’s condition, efficiency and repair costs. The Home Stewardship Program combines the services of inspectors, specialty contractors, technicians and more into a single efficient service, conveniently delivered in quarterly appointments, with help available 24/7, 365 days a year.
With quarterly visits and seasonal maintenance checklists we help keep your home in tip-top shape. No more stuck doors, loose handles, blown lightbulbs or surprise fire alarm chirps when the batteries fade. No more worrying about if you changed the air and water filters, or cleaned the gutters before the winter rains. We help you more fully enjoy your home.
The Home Stewardship Program Includes:
- P250+ Point Annual Service Plan
- PQuarterly Service Appointments
- PBuilt-In Regular Inspections
- POptional Healthy Home Protection by Healthy Building Science
- PRecommended Action Plan
HOME STEWARDSHIP is founded on principles of sustainability via home upkeep. Our technicians are STEWARDS of your home, your community and our planet. We believe that providing proper maintenance services for our existing inventory of properties is a very powerful act of environmental conservation. Preserving the existing environment that we have already paid so dearly for in capital, natural resources and energy is not only the responsible thing to do, but is also a highly sustainable act. Homes that operate efficiently use less water and energy. Well-maintained homes last longer and require fewer repairs meaning less raw materials and energy are needed for replacement parts. Additionally, homes in good condition are safer and far more enjoyable to live in.
Healthy Building Science Home Protection
The ultimate preventative maintenance program would be incomplete without the support of expert inspection of health hazards such as mold, mildew, lead and asbestos. Our inspectors are trained to identify these common contaminants and call call them out early if a problem arises.
For Home Stewardship & Healthy Building Science Clients
Improving your home should be fun and enjoyable, but the management of even a small project is often overwhelming for homeowners. Assembling and directing the right players can become frustrating, time consuming, and risky. We can help you evaluate the feasibility of a proposed project, then screen, organize and manage a team of proven professionals, contractors, architects, and product vendors to see it through. We specialize in addressing deferred maintenance and common items found during healthy building inspections.
We are experts at identifying deferred maintenance. Unfortunately, by the time Healthy Building Science gets called in to address an odor, mold, lead or asbestos issue, the cost of deferred maintenance is far greater than just fixing the original problem. The loose door, shaky duct, small leak, or pealing paint have become much bigger issues involving considerably more money and attention than would have been required if the home was well kept.
Our crew is especially adept at addressing common residential deferred maintenance issues such as touch-up paint and caulking, cleaning gutters and downspouts, installing french drains, cleaning out crawlspaces and installing vapor barriers, air sealing and keeping critters out of the home, replacing an appliance or two, overseeing installations of new HVAC and ductwork, etc. These are the most common things we encounter during our work as industrial hygienists, and therefore we are very good at addressing this scope of work.
If there is a larger remodel or ground-up project we would be happy to learn more and see if it’s a good fit for Home Stewardship. We are experienced working as an Owner’s Rep choosing the right design-build team, project managing all phases of construction, and delivering a superior end product. But we have our niche and not every project is a good fit.
Many homes have insufficient site drainage. This may present itself as a damp crawlspace or a standing pool of water along the foundation, or it could lead to warping floor boards and even mold growth. Good site drainage accounts for the three primary sources surrounding your home: rooftop & downspouts, surface flow from uphill, and subterranean water such as a spring. French drains, culverts, natural berms, retention basins and sump pumps provide solutions for 90% of site water problems. If there are pools around your home or if your crawlspace has standing water or a bad smell, you are likely one of many in need of improved site drainage.
There are four important variables in every crawlspace: debris, pests, ventilation & moisture. Often times during construction or remodeling projects labor crews leave debris under a home. It is also common for unaware homeowners to store materials in this damp space and for insulation to fall from floor joists and come to rest on the crawlspace floor. Regrettably these materials provide food for microbes such as mold, and harborage for larger pests such as mice and rats. Evidence of pests in crawlspaces is very common. A comprehensive pest inspection and abatement plan will include sealing penetrations to the crawlspace and removing any pests that are already present. Ventilation in a crawlspace can be provided naturally or via electric fans. Insufficient ventilation can aggravate moisture and odor issues. Moisture in crawlspaces may be addressed by improved site drainage or adding more vents, and it often involves installing a heavy duty vapor barrier (reinforced plastic sheet) over the soil floor. We routinely help our clients clean out debris, eliminate pests, improve ventilation, and professionally install vapor barriers in crawlspaces.
Cramped and cluttered attics discourage thorough inspections and provide good hiding spots for critters. Ensuring your attic is clean and easily accessible helps ensure you find evidence of animals or leaks more quickly – which can save money in the long run. Attic ventilation and air-sealing reduce the risk of condensation and minimize heat loss (energy cost) during the winter.
Air sealing got its start in energy efficiency, but it has since also proven a very effective technique for improving air quality. We regularly air seal electrical, plumbing and HVAC penetrations in walls, ceilings and the crawlspace/floor connection. Air-sealing has the benefit of maintaining more conditioned air in the home (energy efficiency) and reducing drafts (thermal comfort), minimizing the amount of transfer of pollutants from the crawlspace and wall cavities into the occupied area of your home, and providing some level of fire risk reduction. If you’re building from scratch there are easy methods of air-sealing, and retrofit solutions have greatly improved in the last ten years. This work isn’t rocket-science, but it does require knowing the right material for each situation and paying attention to detail during installation.
Between Covid and wildfires, Californians are now thinking about air quality every day. Through our partnership with Healthy Building Science, we have tested thousands of homes throughout the Bay Area, and we have seen just about every sort of problem and solution known. We bring this expertise to every project and help you select the best approach to air filtration given your unique home, budget, and health requirements. Sometimes this is simply installing plug-in HEPA filters, other times it may involve a significant HVAC upgrade to accommodate HEPA and VOC filters (e.g., zeolite, activated carbon, potassium permanganate). And if you want before and after testing to commission the new systems and verify their performance, our Industrial Hygiene division stands at the ready for all your air quality inspection and testing needs.
Most of our clients care about their health a little more than the average homeowner. Water quality in the Bay Area is generally pretty good, but it can vary from city to city, block to block, and house to house. We facilitate water quality testing to establish a baseline and work with your to determine the best water purification system for your needs. This may involve a whole-house system, under-the-sink Reverse Osmosis (RO), or point of use filters at sinks and showers. We help specify and install water filtration systems.
Most homes do not have enough ventilation. This is especially true for bedrooms during the winter months when windows and doors are kept closed. Through data monitoring studies we know that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) accumulates significantly within most homes when they are occupied. Mechanical ventilation solutions include constant exhaust fans (negative pressurization) and Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) for balanced ventilation. HRVs are code in new buildings, but still available as a retrofit solution on existing buildings. HRVs bring in filtered outside air (usually to bedrooms and offices), exhaust stale indoor air (usually from bathrooms and halls), and help preserve your heating energy through a heat exchanger. If you’re sensitive to temperature swings or have seasonal allergies and are forced to close the windows, Heat Recovery Ventilation is probably right for your home.
Weatherizing & Winterizing
Cracks and gaps in your home and around windows and doors let in more than just cold air, they also introduce outdoor air contaminants like mold spores, pollen, and smoke from wildfires into your home. Installing weather stripping, speciality air-sealing tapes, foam gaskets, and low-VOC caulking and sealants help tighten up your house. These are “low-hanging fruit” when it comes to home improvements, because it’s a relatively easy and cost effective solution with significant payoffs.
Keeping your gutters clean reduces the likelihood of overflow and water damage, reduces fire risk from embers landing on leaf debris, eliminates standing water where mosquitoes may breed, and prolongs the life of your gutter system. Keeping your gutters is another no-brainer. However, the number one most common home injury resulting in a hospital visit is falling off a ladder. So homeowners who go on their own roof or try to climb ladders are literally putting their lives at risk. Hire a pro for this task. The value is obvious.
Appliance Installation & Servicing
Every appliance in your home has recommended maintenance tasks and schedules. From your kitchen (i.e., fridge, garbage disposal, dish washer, oven, range, range hood, etc.) to your mechanical closet (i.e., air conditioner, furnace, water heater, boiler, etc.) there are dozens of appliances in every home that rarely get the maintenance they deserve. Deferred maintenance can lead to strange noises, bad odors, and shortened life of any appliance. Through our proactive home maintenance program we touch all these appliances at least once a year. We also help select and install new appliances as necessary.
After a flood or fire event your home is a mess. It’s important things are remediated as quickly as possible to minimize further damages. Our Industrial Hygiene Department can help oversee necessary remediation and abatement services, but when it comes to rebuilding we’ve got you covered. This services often includes replacing flooring, insulation, drywall and painting, but sometimes involves full remodeling services and replacing exterior walls, roofs, cabinets, etc.
Home Hardening (Fire Proofing)
Fire scientists have a learned a lot in recent years – and homeowners have learned the hard way. Investing in fire-smart solutions around the home is another low-hanging fruit. It is another layer of insurance to protect your number one asset, and possibly your family. Metal gutter guards, specialty fire-safe vent screens, air-sealing larger gaps, reducing fire ladders in the landscape and creating defensible space around your home are proven ways of reducing the risk of devastating fires. We provide a home hardening assessment and share a detailed estimate for all the recommendations. You will feel good taking any steps to protect your home – and the first step is calling us for an assessment.
In addition to many specialties we have developed because of our decade-long connection to Healthy Building Science, we do offer traditional remodeling services such as new kitchens and baths, replacing decks, landscape installations, new driveways, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), etc. When times are busy we prioritize Stewardship clients for any Special Projects (General Contracting).
San Rafael, CA 94901