Many homeowners will be planning and performing routine maintenance on the interior and exterior of their property. As the years go by and our community gets older, our homes require more routine maintenance than when they were new.
Please remember it is the individual homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the outside of their home and the WHHOA is there to help. Westchester Property Management can provide technical information, approved replacements and guidelines, and a list of licensed and insured professionals to get the job done. In addition, you can visit our web site www.watchhilltimes.com under Neighborhood Sponsors for a list of professionals who have done work in our community.
Please be aware that the Town of Greenburgh requires a licensed and insured professional to do any electrical and plumbing work in your home, and in some cases a permit with the building department will be required. You can get more information at www.greenburghny.com. Select “Departments” then “Building Department” and you will see all of the regulations and guidelines
Outside maintenance, repair, or any changes must be consistent with surrounding homes, must comply with the standards specified by the HOA, and must be submitted to the Board of Directors c/o Westchester Property Management in writing for their approval before the work is started. Any exterior alterations without prior Board approval will incur an instant irrevocable $25 fine per occurrence. The Homeowner will need to complete the necessary paperwork and receive Board approval for the alteration. If the exterior alteration is not compliant with the standards specified by the HOA, the Board has the right to demand that the exterior alteration be undone and levy a $250 fine. The Board will determine a reasonable timeframe on a case-by-case basis for corrective action to be taken. If not corrected within that timeframe, there will be an additional $25 per day fine until corrective action is made. While the WHHOA tries to be reasonable, if corrections are not made after repeated notifications, action will be taken up to and including putting a lien on your home. If in doubt as to what is allowed, please contact the WPM for advice.
In order to maintain the attractive appearance of Watch Hill, periodically we will require that all units are power washed. If your unit was recently done, in order to keep the outside of your unit looking fresh and clean, rinse it with your garden hose each year. Some units depending on their orientation to the sun such as north facing sides, will experience mold growth on the siding and will need to be cleaned each year. You can have a professional do the washing or use some of the new spray products that connect to your hose such as Mold Armor which can be purchased in Home Depot. Always rinse from the top down standing on solid ground and never from the top of a ladder. If the HOA determines that your unit needs power washing, you will have two (2) weeks to get the job done to avoid fines so it’s best to inspect your home early in the season so you can line up a professional to do the work. There are several power washing companies in the area and while the HOA doesn’t endorse any one service provider, Guillermo Gamboa on 914-202-5934 has done work in our complex for many years and is familiar with our units.
Most of the lawns are looking great and as per the By-laws it is the homeowners responsibility to make sure they are maintained and mowed once a week to keep a look consistent with the other lawns in the development. Lawn maintenance of both the front yard and back area of their unit. This includes watering, fertilizing, weed control, pest control, tree care and mowing. You can choose to contract this out or do it yourself. All landscaping improvements or changes must be submitted to the Board of Directors c/o Westchester Property Management for their written approval. Planting on common areas by individual homeowners is prohibited without the written consent of the Board. Planters/Baskets may not be hung from tree branches due to the potential harm to the tree limb. Do not blow leaves onto another Owner’s property. The Town of Greenburgh Noise Ordinance ends at 8 am; therefore, the use of electric- or gas-powered equipment is not permitted until after that time. You can get more information about the Town of Greenburgh Noise Ordinance at www.greenburghny.com.
Clothes Dryer Maintenance
One of the most important maintenance items to do that is often overlooked is to have your clothes dryer duct and vent professionally cleaned once every two years. It doesn’t cost much to have the work done by a licensed professional. This maintenance will save you energy costs and most of all, prevent vent fires!
You may have noticed the paint on your fireplace vent on the outside of your house is peeling. This can easily be corrected by repainting it with high temperature paint that is used to restore the finish on barbeque stoves. You can apply the paint using a brush or spray. If you use spray, be sure to mask off the area around the vent and have paint thinner handy to wipe up spills or overspray. Painting the screws will make them blend in with the finish improving the appearance of the vent.
Over the years, the curb trees on the private lots have not been consistently cared for. Some are overgrown and this past summer there were many diseased plums that were not treated. Curb trees are located in that location because they add to “curb appeal.” They need to be uniformly pruned and treated for disease in order for the entire curb line to have a quality look. Proper care of those trees can only enhance the beauty and value of the property. It is for this reason that the Board has approved a program with Bartlett Tree Experts to provide winter pruning for all of the curb trees and an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) for all of the trees along the curbs whether they are HOA owned or privately owned. This program will not cost you anything more as it has already been incorporated into the budget. Please remember that the HOA Bylaws do give the Board the right to go onto private Lots if the Lots, including the trees, are not being cared for properly. Instead, the Board hopes you will see this as a value-added enhancement of services.
Leaf and Gutter Cleaning
The HOA has assumed responsibility for all leaf removal in October and November with an additional final clean-up when all the leaves have fallen. Complex-wide leaf and gutter cleaning will occur in late November as well. The gutter cleaning does not include leaders. In other words, only the horizontal part of the gutter system will be cleaned. All units will receive these services as part of the common charge maintenance.
If you need to re-paint your front entrance door, use Benjamin Moore Moorglo house and trim paint. Phase 1 or 2, use Chrome Green #41. Phase 3, use Gentleman’s Gray (yes it’s blue) #2062-20.
For those homeowners who have iron railings, try using a drill with a wire brush attachment to remove the rust marks on the concrete sidewalk under the railing. Once done, scrape all of the loose paint and sand rusted areas on the railing. Then apply a coat of rust primer on areas with exposed metal and two coats of a good quality oil based high gloss paint. From time to time, paint drip/lines have stained the road due to improper disposal of paint. Remember that you must air dry paint cans before disposal. Please be sure that your contractors are aware of this.
Many windows in the development have either lost their seal and are cloudy, rotting or getting drafty because of age. There are many different replacement windows available at all price ranges but overall, a good quality window such as the Harvey window, which many of the homeowners in our development have been using to replace their old windows, will perform just as well at a more affordable price point as the more expensive windows on the market. If you want to replace some or all of your windows contact Tom Carlin on 845-669-5607 or Danny Sciavillo on 914-939-7419. While the HOA doesn’t endorse any one service provider, Tom and Danny have done work in the development and are familiar with the windows.
Most of the garage doors in all Phases are not only starting to show signs of deterioration but in some cases, they have stopped working causing the homeowner to seek emergency replacement. Please be aware that the replacement door must be of the same panel design as the original. Advantage Garage Door Company, 914-592-9610, ask for Scott, knows the exact make and model of the approved garage door for your phase. Doors not conforming to the design of existing doors must be removed and replaced.
Awnings can be purchased and installed. From Durkin Awning Corporation 203-748-2142. There is a choice of motorized or manual operation. Green Stripe was picked for Phase 1 & 2 and Blue Stripe for Phase 3. While the HOA doesn’t endorse any one service provider, Durkin has done work in the development.
Homeowners are responsible for maintaining their decks to preserve them. A common misconception which leads to unnecessary work and expense is that you need to power wash your deck each year. While it is a good idea to power wash every couple of years or if the deck has been neglected or needs to be re-finished, if your deck was power washed recently, all you need to do is wash it down with a pole scrub brush using a good cleaner such as Behr Cleaner, Brightener and Conditioner. You might also want to lightly sand the floor boards and top rail surfaces for a professional result. Nothing makes a deck look almost new like a good cleaning and a coat of stain. Once you have washed down your deck, wait a day to let it dry out and then all you need to do is to give it one or two coats of stain and you are done!
We recommend an oil or water based stain variety of a neutral or LIGHT wood color such as Cabot’s Natural 3000. This color has been used by many homeowners and even with many coats, gives your deck a natural wood look that is easy to maintain year after year. Please be aware that using solid color stains are prohibited since they tend to build up with multiple coats giving your deck a painted look.
All stains wear and needs to be re-applied every two to three years. The color will darken with every subsequent application of stain which is why it is important to use a light color to begin with.
If your deck needs replacement a good choice is to replace it with one of the new composite materials such as Trex. Most of the time you will need to only replace the floor and the rails and NOT the wooden support structure which will reduce the overall cost. Please note that you will still have to use a light brown or similar color.
If you have questions concerning the color you have chosen, call Westchester Property Management first before staining your deck. It is important to reduce the variations between deck colors so that we do not give Watch Hill a “checkered” look. Some of the decks of the homes face out to the road where they are visible for everyone to see. However, even with hidden decks, solid colors are not allowed and the same guidelines apply since we want to preserve the uniformity of Watch Hill.
Each year the Board surveys the property and reports to the homeowners any potential maintenance that may affect the value or condition of their home. In addition to the age of the community and the difficult weather conditions of the past winters, many people have experienced problems with roofs and siding. Unfortunately, the life expectancy of our roofs is nearing its end. In an effort to prepare homeowners for the eventual replacement of the roof, the Board has spent a great deal of time researching the best product and the most reasonable rates for the roof replacement. In keeping with the by-laws of Watch Hill, the following information is provided to homeowners in the event that they will soon be replacing their roofs.
Without exception the asphalt shingles listed below must be used to maintain the common look and integrity of the community:
Phase 1&2: GAF Timberline 30 or Timberline Ultra Architectural style shingle, color – Slate.
Phase 3: GAF Timberline 30 or Timberline Ultra Architectural style shingle, color – Weathered Wood.
Please note that the selected asphalt shingles closely match the coloring of the existing roofs and GAF provides a lifetime warranty (meaning as long as you own your home transferrable to a 2nd owner in the 1st 20 years).
When the homeowner is ready to replace their roof their responsibilities are as follows:
Obtain agreement with their neighboring unit owner to do the work since attached units with common roofs must be done at the same time.
Obtain an estimate from a licensed and insured roofer that you have selected. Insure that the estimate specifies:
Ice & water shield for 6 ft.
Installation of Drip Edge.
New Plumbing vent flashing. Extremely important since may of the plumbing vent flashing in all Phases have a rubber boot which deteriorates over time, dryer and bathroom vents are rusting, all which cause leaks.
Please note that the following roofers have done work in Watch Hill and are offering discounted pricing on roof replacements for our community:
Green Collar Roofing – (845) 344-2029
M&M Roofing – Mickey McGee, 914-332-6128
Insure that the roofer that you have contracted with obtains the required permit from the Town of Greenburgh before the work begins. Failure to obtain a permit could result in being fined by the Town.
Complete the Watch Hill HOA Architectural Modification Application specifying the roofing contractor you have selected and fax it to Westchester Property Management Group at 914-686-3391 for approval.
Heating & Air-conditioning
Water heaters have a fixed lifespan that can vary from the length of the warranty, usually 6 to 10 years or longer. There is no real way to determine when your water heater will leak since it is dependent on usage and the environment in which it is installed. The most conservative way to deal with this dilemma is to replace your water heater after the warranty expires so that you can plan and schedule the replacement at your convenience. The alternative is to wait until it leaks and pay as much as double the price to have it replaced on an emergency basis, settling for the brand and grade of water heater the plumbing contractor has on hand at the time and deal with any water damage that occurs to your unit. It’s a good idea to look at the label on your unit to see when it was installed and what the warranty period is to determine if and when it’s time to proactively replace it avoiding a water leakage catastrophe.
Today there are a variety of water heaters available from the traditional tank to On-Demand versions. Your plumber or heating professional can review the pros and cons of each type and recommend which type is best for you. If you choose the traditional tank version, such as a Bradford White RG250T6N, 50 gallon, high efficiency, 10 year warranty unit, make sure you use a licensed plumber or HVAC professional to install it. You can also purchase a water alarm at The Home Depot for about $10.00 to place it on the floor near your water heater. If a leak occurs, the alarm will sound alerting you to the problem. Some residents in phase 3 have replaced their water heaters with tankless units and put the new heater in the laundry room to save space.
Our heating and air-conditioning systems also have a fixed lifespan that can vary from 15-20 years. Since there is no real way to determine when your system will need replacement the most conservative way to deal with this dilemma is to replace your system when it’s over 15 years old and/or when you start having trouble so that you can plan and schedule the replacement at your convenience. Since there are so many systems on the market at all price ranges, the best course of action is to contact your heating and air-conditioning professional and choose a high efficiency system either of the same brand or as close to the original as possible to minimize the cost of installation. Most homeowners have been replacing their existing systems with the new high efficiency American Standard unit since it installs in the same footprint as the original which lowers the installation costs. Also if you currently have 1 Zone heating, you should convert it to 2 Zone heating for additional comfort and efficiency. If you want to replace your Heating and Air-Conditioning system and or Hot Water Heater, contact Bill at BBK Heating & Air-conditioning on 914-774-4909. While the HOA doesn’t endorse any one service provider, Bill has done a lot of work in our development and is familiar with our hot water and heating and air-conditioning equipment.
Some residents in phase 3 have had the toilet shut off valves fail when repairing the toilet. The valve need not be replaced. The original valves did not have washers, so the stem can be replace with a stem repair kit. Brasscraft BCSR01 works but may require a new handle as well.