Tree Maintenance: A SoCal Thanksgiving Tradition

Basket of vegetables with radishes, tomatoes, and carrots.At this time of year, many of us are anticipating the celebration of Thanksgiving.  It’s a rich American holiday where family and friends gather in gratitude for the harvest at a bountiful feast honoring all that is good in life.  It’s a time when many are grateful for simple things, such as our homes and gardens with trees, flowers and even a few late season vegetables and herbs such as parley or sage that always contribute to this savory holiday meal.

It’s also the time of year when our beautiful gardens are now ready for a well-deserved rest in Southern California, including those stately sycamore trees with their falling gold and orange leaves that provided us with welcome shady green relief during our hot summer days.  As you’re raking up those leafy old friends and trimming back your perennial shrubs, it’s also time to look up at the tree branches and consider pruning trees that might have grown a little too large or are too close to our homes for comfort.… Continue Reading Tree Maintenance: A SoCal Thanksgiving Tradition

Smoke Alarm ITM: Why You Need One

It’s mid-October and it’s time to think about Smoke Alarm ITM.  “What’s that,” you ask?

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reminds us every year that smoke alarm inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) are the responsibility of every homeowner, as well as those owning or managing rental units and commercial properties.  Fire fighters will tell you nothing is more tragic than the loss of life in the fall or winter due to a candle lit fire and nonworking smoke alarms.… Continue Reading Smoke Alarm ITM: Why You Need One

Take Care of Your Ceiling Sprinklers and Water Heater, And They’ll Take Care of You When You Need It Most

Empty Living Room with No Furniture and Wooden Floors and FireplaceDepending on the design of your home and how clever your decorator has been, you might be surprised to know that your home has an automatic ceiling fire sprinkler system.  The newest systems are flush mount and can be difficult to spot if your decorator has placed other eye catching decor nearby such as ceiling fan lights, can lighting, painted murals or track lighting.

Automatic ceiling fire sprinkler systems also can be industrial looking in loft apartments or condominiums where the grid layout of pipes and heads are fully exposed on purpose and easy to see.  Sometimes, decorators will try to soften the look by painting the pipes to match the ceiling color.  No matter what type of home, these safety systems have one thing in common:  They need to be flushed about once year to keep them in working order.… Continue Reading Take Care of Your Ceiling Sprinklers and Water Heater, And They’ll Take Care of You When You Need It Most

Emergency Roof Repair: From “Oh No” . . . To “Ho, Ho, Ho!” 

If there’s any good news when you’re facing an unexpected roof repair, we’re coming into the best time of year to make roof repairs.  A beautiful new roof or a well-maintained or repaired roof not only keeps you warm and dry, it adds value to any home. There are several reasons why late spring to early summer is the best time of year to complete a roofing project

First, the likelihood of rain starts to diminish in May and June in Southern California and the rest of the West as we head into June and July.  So, now is the time to get started whether you need minor patching or when bigger areas need replacement or if you need a whole new roof for that vacation, fixer or rental property.… Continue Reading Emergency Roof Repair: From “Oh No” . . . To “Ho, Ho, Ho!” 

Learning the Sounds of Home Fire Safety

If your life or a loved one’s life depended on it, can you tell the difference between the sounds a home smoke alarm makes when there’s a real fire versus a low battery notification?  Are you sure?  Your lives might depend on the right answer.

The National Fire Prevention Association’s (NFPA) members want you to:  “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety”.  It’s important that everyone in the home (parents, kids, seniors) learn the different sounds that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make.… Continue Reading Learning the Sounds of Home Fire Safety

Property Inspections—Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Can a tennis ball really give you home-buying insight? Normally, when people are looking for properties to purchase, they worry about the roof or the walls or the plumbing or the appliances or the heating/ac system, but not many realize that inspecting the foundation is critical to the building’s structural integrity.

… Continue Reading Property Inspections—Keep Your Eye on the Ball

June Maintenance: Drainage Assessments

Hint: Water Always Flows Downhill …

Assessing drainage conditions around properties and how to improve them are both simple and at times complicated. Simple because everyone knows that water flows downhill; so you start out knowing generally what direction it is likely to go. Far more complicated, however, are designing commercial or residential property lot drainage systems based on technical analyses of how much water flow to expect, where it will go and what needs to be done to prevent damage. At Helfrich Associates, we are most often called in when drainage conditions have been long neglected and/or when there is real damage to property and structures. In Southern California with our abundant sunshine, it is tempting to put off addressing drainage problems until after our relatively short, but sometimes intense rainy season. Those fast-moving thunderstorms in August or that first gentle rain in the fall disappears and then nothing happens until January or February when the bulk of our seasonal rain arrives (sometimes in buckets).… Continue Reading June Maintenance: Drainage Assessments

Red Tag Alert: View for Days Comes With a Price

The ocean and canyon view

We were asked several years ago to consult on a “view” property in Malibu, California, that had been red-tagged (deemed unsafe for occupancy) due to earth movement and undermining of the house by a landslide that had occurred during the winter rains of 2004/2005. The client contacted us in May, 2015, after he purchased the property.… Continue Reading Red Tag Alert: View for Days Comes With a Price

How COVID-19 Affects Our Service

We want to reach out to our clients and let you know that Helfrich-Associates is keeping a close watch on the current COVID19 situation. We are part of the construction industry and believe we are, therefore, exempt from the stay at home recommendations that are currently in effect in California.
However, we are taking all necessary precautions to keep ourselves and our clients safe during this time. We are practicing social/physical distance in our interactions with clients and co-workers. When we meet with you we will keep a 6 foot distance which ensures no physical touch. We are carrying hand sanitizers with us for further protection.
We are available for site inspections and field work so your project will not be delayed.
Our business is set up with Consultants working out of their homes. We are all connected online so plan and report preparation will not be interrupted.
We are here to serve you during this time and want you to feel comfortable that we are taking all necessary precautions to protect everyone’s health.

Trees: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate

What do you do when the tree you love is causing damage to your building?
On one of our recent projects, we visited an apartment building complex where one unit had visible damage caused by tree roots. The adjacent unit had no damage.

However, upon further examination we discovered damage to the sidewalks, and it became obvious that tree roots are growing underneath the foundations. We observed a 23-feet-section of the exterior wall that has been lifted several inches.… Continue Reading Trees: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate