Check your heat tape

Check your heat Tape-Preventative Maintenance pays off!

The heat tape (or cable) on your home is designed to protect the water lines from freezing during winter months.  Do not run the risk of water pipes freezing when temperatures plummet.  A properly functioning heat tape (or cable) is the best way to protect your pipes. The average lifespan of a heat tape is 5-7 years, but it is important that you check your heat tape each fall to be sure it is functioning properly.  Now is the time to get prepared for the upcoming cold weather!

This can help prevent major damage to your home later!

In order to check whether the heat tape (or cable) is functioning, you should open the access panel in the skirting.


heat tape

Do not attach the heat cable to the gas line of your home. If you are unsure which is which, contact a professional!


  1. First, be sure the unit is plugged in and the GCFI does not need to be reset. The pipe should be slightly warm to the touch.
  2. Be sure the existing one is not overlapped or at a 90-degree angle anywhere on the pipes. This is a fire hazard.  Certain types of heat tapes state, they can be overlapped.  We still do not recommend doing so.
  3. Examine for frays, cracks or rust. If any type of deteriorating condition is found it must be replaced.
  4. Check pipes for any leaks. A pipe that has leaked can cause a short, creating a possible fire hazard.  Pay special attention to pipe joints for any moisture.

If replacement is necessary, we recommend using a heat cable.  This self-regulatory heating element can be used on plastic or copper pipe SAFELY!  It will sense the amount of heat needed to keep the pipe warm and adjust the heat output as needed.  The heating cables are cut to custom lengths, so it is necessary to take careful measurement of any water lines. The heat cable should be installed on one side of the pipe.  It is NOT necessary to spiral it around the pipe.   After attaching it to the water line, we recommend an IMCO lock pipe insulation to be added over the heat cable and pipe.  By properly insulating the water line it will stop condensation from forming on the pipe and damaging the heat cable.  This additional insulation should be slightly loose fitting.  This creates an air gap between the insulation and the pipe.  The air gap fills with warmer air and helps to distribute warmth to the pipe more evenly.

If you are uncomfortable making this repair, contact our office for a referral.

Coyote Sightings

The presence of coyotes in the Bartlett area is becoming increasingly more common.  While a coyote is a nocturnal animal they will take advantage of searching and hunting during the day if a food source is available.  If a coyote does not display fear of humans during an encounter, someone has most likely been providing it food.  This could be an unintentional act done by leaving attractants in the yard.  Coyotes are often attracted to:

  • Pet food
  • Pet waste
  • Small pets left unattended outside or off-leash
  • Garbage bins that are accessible
  • Bird feeders or food provided to ducks and geese
  • Fruit fallen from trees

Most coyotes will avoid people, but your pet piques their interest!  A large dog may be viewed as a threat.   A small dog or cat can be mistaken for a potential meal.  For the safety of your pets it is urgent that you watch your pets, keep cats indoors and never leave small dogs unsupervised outside or off-leash.  

What to do if you meet a coyote.

  1. Leash your pet.  Pick up and carry small dogs.
    • maintain control of your dog.
  2. Stand tall and maintain eye contact.
    • Do not turn your back on a coyote and do NOT run.
  3. Haze the coyote until it runs away.
    • Raise your arms and wave (it makes you seem larger), yell, shake a noisemaker, throw rocks or sticks in their direction (do not try to hit them)  and stomp your feet.

A coyote’s breeding and pupping season are from February until July.  It is important not to haze them during this time, as they are more defensive.  If you happen to meet a coyote during their breeding season, it is important to stand tall, do not turn your back on it (even if it means walking backward) and keep eye contact.  






Importance of installing the correct hot water heater

Purchasing a new hot water heater can be intimidating.  Which one do you choose?  There are so many options on the market today.  But the ONLY approved gas hot water heater (electric units are exempt from this) for a manufactured home in our community is a:

Direct Vent Sealed Combustion Hot Water Heater

What is the difference between a direct vent and an atmospheric unit? 

For small confined spaces a direct vent hot water heater is recommended.  They do not use any air from the tiny area in which they are located, which is usually a closet.   All air is drawn from the outside from a combustion air vent located at the bottom of the unit and then discharged through a SEALED chimney.

An atmospheric water heater will get it’s air supply from the air around the unit.  There is a draft diverter (it looks like a small hood at the top) that is NOT sealed.  Small amounts of carbon monoxide are released in the home from the draft diverter.  The carbon monoxide will build up in your home, poisoning everyone in your home.  Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless  and deadly gas.  A carbon monoxide detector should be installed in your home to alert you of possible hazards.  

Direct vent sealed combustion hot water heaters are a SAFER than non-direct vent heaters.  They have access to adequate air supply at all times and vent directly back to the outside.  Whereas a non-direct unit may be unable to acquire the adequate amount of air from inside which will result in negative air pressure and quality and will cause the unit to function inefficiently.

Installing the wrong type of water heater can be dangerous. 

If you are still unsure which water heater is right for your home contact our office.


hot water heater

The difference between a direct vent sealed combustion hot water heater and an atmospheric hot water heater

The unit on the left is an approved direct vent sealed combustion hot water heater.  The unit on the right is an atmospheric hot water heater that is NOT approved.


Quality home at an affordable price

There has been a major evolution in the type and quality of manufactured housing that is available.  Did you know more than 17 million Americans reside in manufactured homes?  Manufactured housing is an affordable option for many people to purchase a home.  A new manufactured home has an average price of $65,000.00.  A site built home (in our area) of the same size, built in 1956 is currently selling for more than double.  It is easy to assume that because a manufactured home costs less than a site built home, it is somehow inferior in quality.  This is far from true.  The lower price tag has to do with cost and time efficient building methods.  The safety and energy efficiency standards are upheld and on par with site built homes.  A manufactured home is a quality home at an affordable price.

Why does a manufactured home cost less?

Manufactured homes are built under strict Federal Regulations (HUD Code).  A manufactured home builder does NOT use inferior quality materials.  However, they do purchase their materials in high volumes, which means lower costs.  The skilled craftsman build these homes in a controlled indoor environment that is not impacted by inclement weather, vandalism, theft, construction delays or unreliable contractors.   By constructing these homes on an assembly line, it leaves little room for error.   This saves time and money on building and material costs.  The builder is able to pass these saving onto the buyer, making home ownership affordable and easier to achieve.

Are manufactured home energy efficient?

Manufactured homes are built with effective insulation that is properly installed in floors, walls and roof.  This ensures an even temperature throughout the home, reduced energy use, lower utility bills and increased comfort.

  • Energy efficient windows with a protective coating are installed with improved frames.  This helps in keeping the heat in during the winter and out during the summer.  These windows help to block ultra violet sunlight that discolor carpets and furnishings.
  • Homes are tightly constructed to help reduce drafts, moisture, dust, pollen and noise.
  • The efficient heating and cooling equipment is quieter, uses less energy to operate andreduces indoor humidity.
  • Energy Star qualified products such as lighting fixtures, ventilation fans and appliances.  All energy star products save consumers money by using less energy through advanced design and construction.

Are there any design, upgrades or customized options are available?

A manufactured home has a wide array of floor plans available, square footage and amenities to meet your needs.  Each home has standard features that you would find in a site built home.  With computer aided design, buyers have the ability to customize the floor plan, interior and exterior finish.  Additional amenities and upgrades can be added such as:  additional insulation, higher roof pitch, additional windows, bay windows, cathedral or tray ceilings, recessed lighting, stainless steel appliances, walk in closets, granite counters, fireplaces, wider hallways/doorways for handicap accessibility and more!  With an impressive variety of styles, floor plans and/or upgrades the home of your dreams is in your budget.


A roof will not leak on a sunny day

The roof is one of the most forgotten features on your home.  When a leak becomes visible the damage is already done. A roof will not leak on a sunny day!   To avoid future issues, it is important to do an inspection twice a year, in the spring and fall.

The quicker a leak is found and repaired the less damage it can cause!

The water is unpredictable and will follow the path of least resistance.  Determining the true location of the actual leak can be challenging.  The source of the leak on the outside of the home rarely matches where the actual leak appears inside the home.  Whether your home has a pitched or flat roof it is important to look for the following signs on the interior and exterior of your home:

  • Sagging or bowing of the ceiling, walls, gutters, siding, etc
  • Dark spots on ceiling or walls
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Light showing through cracks

If you notice one of more of these, you more than likely have a leak.

Manufactured homes can have different types of roofing:  a flat metal roof or bowstring truss that is common in older homes and a pitched roof in newer homes.

Flat and bowstring truss roofs

Manufactured homes with a metal roof should last longer than a shingled one, if they are properly maintained.  In the event of a leak, it will be necessary to do an inspection.  Pay close attention to:

  • The J-rail
  • The flashing around vents, pipes and any skylights
  • The seams and roof sealant
  • Existing rumble buttons
  • Rusted or worn looking areas.

Once the location of the leak is found, the steps to repair the area are:

  1. Thoroughly clean the area by removing any dirt
  2. Coat the roof with a good quality aluminum base roof coating
  3. Cover with an asphalt glass membrane fabric to patch the parted seam
  4. Put a second layer of roof coat over the patched area

If you are unable to find the source of the leak, it will be necessary to seal the entire roof.  This should be done every 2-3 years to prevent weather, rust, leaking and enhance the curb appeal of your home.

Pitched shingled roofs

Diagnosing the location of the leak will require some detective work.  The vulnerable point may be quite far from the interior damage that has been done.  It is important to look for:

  • Raised, lifted shingles or obvious holes and cracks
  • Check ridge caps, flashings, boots around utility fixtures, plumbing vent pipe, vents, etc. Look for discoloration, corrosion, looseness or displacement of flashing.
  • Check the tar in these areas for deterioration, cracks or weakening.
  • Check areas roofing shingles intersect with flashing
  • Look for exposed nails

If it is necessary to have a shingled roof replaced it is HIGHLY recommended that a complete tear off is done.  A second layer of shingles should never be added.  The extra weight of a shingles overlay in addition to the snow load in winter can compromise the integrity of the home.

A leak will only get worse!  In most cases it will only require a modest repair to fix the leak.   It is often best to contact a contractor that is able to properly make the repairs. A good roof is essential to maintaining a safe and sturdy home.

A running toilet can be costly

A running toilet can be costly.  The average leaky toilet wastes about 200 gallons of water per day and 6,000 gallons at the end of the month!

Did you know that is enough water to fill a pool 18 foot x 11 foot and FOUR feet deep!?!

When a toilet is running it means the water is coming into the tank and not turning off.  The most common reason for this is the flush valve has worn out and is not sealing.  When this occurs the water will flow into the bowl, never completely filling it.  The easiest and fastest way to repair this issue is to replace the toilet flapper.  This part can be picked up at Home Depot or Menards for less than $20.00.  This DIY project should require less than 15 minutes of your time and could save you a lot of money!


The flapper valve is located at the bottom of the tank.  This rubber component seals the tank’s drain hole.  When you flush the toilet it pulls the handle to the flapper valve upward to release the water stored in the tank, releasing it into the bowl.  Over time the flapper can become warped, damaged or worn.  When this occurs it is important to replace it as soon as possible to prevent the toilet from constantly running, refilling or causing a water sound.

Step #1

Turn off the water to the toilet.  Flush the toilet and this will remove the water stored in the toilet tank.


Step #2

Remove the old flapper.  First unhinge the chain from the toilet handle, the pull each side or ear of the flapper to unhook it from the flush valve.


Step #3

Check the flush valve seat visually for any damage. Run your finger around the seat to determine if there are any cracks or chips in the plastic.  If there is any damage, it will be necessary to replace the flush valve.

Step #4

Put the new flapper into place and hook each ear onto the flush valve, connect the flapper chain onto the handle rod.  It may be necessary to adjust the chain.  It will need to be long enough to allow the flapper to sit firmly but not too long that it gets caught under the flapper when water is released.

Step #5

Turn the water back on and test by flushing a few times.

Welcome to Spring Lake Estates

We are located in Bartlett, Illinois, 35 miles west of Chicago. The Village of Bartlett has a Metra Commuter Train Station downtown that provides transportation to Chicago and other suburbs on the Milwaukee West line.  Our community is within minutes of several golf courses, parks, ski and snowboard lodge, a variety of dining, shopping and entertainment options for all ages and lifestyles.

Welcome to Spring Lakes Estates Blog

springSpring Lake Estates is a great community to call home!

Here at Spring Lake Estates you will find an inviting manufactured home community surrounding 35 acres of private spring fed lakes.  Our Community is comprised of all generations; young adults, seniors and families.  We offer an adult section for adults 55 and over.  Your pets are like family here, with a few simple guidelines we are a pet friendly community. Continue reading