Summer Heat Waves
The Summer Solstice is here and we are feeling it! Blistering summer-like heat has brought on excessive heat warnings and heat advisories in effect for much of Texas with no clear end in sight. With major cities across Texas breaking heat records, we want to urge all residents to stay safe in the extreme heat and try to avoid the hottest hours of the day, if you can. When temperatures reach such highs do the following:
Drink plenty of fluids
Stay in an air-conditioned room, out of the sun
Use fans to cool you off instead of turning down the A/C thermostat
Do not leave young children or pets unattended in vehicles in any circumstance
When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening if you work or spend time outside
Check on the elderly, sick and those without A/C
Additional heat safety tips from AustinTexas.gov.
Forecasters expect the early-season heat waves to be a sign of things to come, as a weather phenomenon called El Niño develops, bringing warmer air north, and as scientists warn the effects of climate change from greenhouse gas emissions will continue to drive temperatures upward, prolong drought conditions. Roughly 1,500 cities and towns in the U.S. broke daily heat records over a 30-day period ending last September, as heat waves spread throughout the U.S.
With this comes extreme strain on your HVAC system...
HVAC Expectations and Tips
There is a limit to how much your A/C can realistically cool when comparing temperature differences between inside and outside air. The systems will not cool your house to more than about 18-20 degrees below the outside temperature; especially when it is 100+ degrees outside. This is true with new systems as well as old ones because there are many factors involved such as insulation values, number of stories, shade around the unit, location of the inside unit, etc.
An A/C works by capturing the heat from inside and releasing it outside. When the air around the unit outside is unusually hot it cannot release the heat efficiently, so it will not cool as much as you want it to. There is simply a limit to the amount of heat that can be displaced when the outside temps are as extreme as what we are currently experiencing here in Austin, Texas.
Be mindful of this when submitting maintenance requests. If we end up sending someone out and it turns out the system is working fine we will have to pass the cost of that visit on to you. We do not enjoy having to inform a valued resident that they will be charged back under these circumstances so please take the above information into account when evaluating whether or not your home is cool enough.
When submitting a maintenance request, our A/C vendors are generally available the same day or the next day in some scenarios. The honest answer on the soonest availability of service is determined by their call load when the request comes in. For A/C service requests please call our office immediately and put in a work order request online. We kindly ask that you do this as soon as the issue is apparent. If after hours, you can engage the emergency line so they put things in motion, however, there is no guarantee you will get service the same day.
If your A/C is blowing warm air, not cooling down, or not turning on at all, please shut off the entire unit and notify the office immediately. The technicians can NOT work on units that are frozen, so the longer it is thawing out the better.
Here are some A/C tips and reminders to keep in mind during this record-breaking heat:
A/C filters need to be changed regularly
Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree lower increases your energy use by 6% to 8%.
Set your A/C to 85 degrees while you are away from your home for more than two hours. Turning your A/C completely off will delay your home cooling down when you return and put more stress on the system.
Leave all interior doors open to promote circulation throughout the cooled space. Do not close vents in unused rooms. This could increase pressure and cause duct leaks.
Your thermostat has two different settings. One is for the Air Conditioning/Heat. The other is for the fan with the option of Auto or On. Please leave the fan on Auto position, not On position.
Fans are a great help in circulating air to cool your home. Be sure to utilize the ceiling fans where available, and be sure your fan is set in the option to blow air down, not up. If your ceiling fan is not blowing the air down, please turn off your fan, and after the blades stop spinning move the switch on the ceiling fan base to make the blades rotate in the other direction.
Fans are only useful when someone is there to benefit from it. They can make the air feel about 4 degrees cooler, but if no one is near it then they should be left off since the motors produce heat and increase utility bills.
Did You Know - DIY Repairs (NOT Home Maintenance)
Did you know the City of Austin holds free Fix-It At Home clinics on how to fix things like shoes, bikes, guitars, sewing and non-sewing repairs? The city hosts in-person clinics and also has a youtube channel where you can access videos they’ve posted. They are also seeking repair coaches to lead future clinics or hold your own.
4th of July Holiday
From parades to fireworks, there is plenty to do around town this 4th of July! Whether you're watching fireworks, grilling or planning on attending Willis Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic, there is sure to be something fun for everyone in the great city of Austin.
Here is a link to some cool events happening near you!
Stone Oak's Holiday Hours
We have updated our company holiday calendar in an effort to give everyone here at Stone Oak more time off with their families and friends. You can find our updated holiday closing schedule on our contact page.
In observance of the Fourth of July holiday, Stone Oak's offices will be closed on Tuesday, July 4th. We hope you have an amazing holiday weekend!
Real Estate Scams on the Rise
We just want to remind you that we will never call you to ask for your bank info, social security number, or other personal information on the phone or by email. We will also never ask you to pay for anything with gift cards, cryptocurrency, etc. All of our emails will come from our domain, www.stoneoakmgmt.com, or through our software as a long string of letters/numbers from the domain @stoneoak.mailer.appfolio.us. Our property management software includes a texting service that will not match our office number, but if you try to call that number it will go directly to our main office phone line.
Please stay vigilant, maintain a healthy amount of skepticism, and contact us directly with the number on our website or our direct emails if anything looks questionable.
Nature Is Bringing Two Spectacular Shows to Central Texas
In October 2023 and April 2024, there will be two solar events that aren’t to be missed. If you’ve never witnessed a solar eclipse then you should certainly make it a point to try to catch one, if not both of these.
In October there will be an annular solar eclipse, which is where the moon is slightly smaller than the sun thus creating a “ring of fire” at the peak of the event. This link provides more info about the October event along with a map of the path. In April 2024 there will be a full solar eclipse, and here is a link to the event info and path. If you’re going to try to watch one or both of these we strongly suggest going to a location as close to the center of the path as possible to enjoy the best, and longest view. Make sure to track the weather around that time to see where the best place to go will be for clear skies. Here is another link to some info about these events, and there is a lot of info out there as Central Texas gears up for these.
Both of these events will have peak viewing near Austin as long as the weather cooperates but the path is very long for both of them if you’re in a different part of the US. Over the next several months we’ll be providing solar eclipse viewing glasses to all new tenants as part of their move-in welcome gift, and we’re making them available for pickup to our current tenants and clients. If you’re interested in getting some glasses please check in with your property manager so we can arrange for you to pick some up.
Thank you for being a resident of a Stone Oak rental property! Please don't hesitate to contact our staff if we can help with anything.
Routine Maintenance Reminders
- Maintenance Requests: We still receive a lot of maintenance requests that state something vague like "washer" or "A/C" without any other info about the actual issue. We cannot act on requests like this and will require that you provide more info, so any request like this will only delay a resolution to the issue. Make sure you provide as much info as possible in your request including pics if possible.
- Maintenance Portal: Please make a list of any items you want to submit, and then list all issues together as one request including as much info as possible and attach photos if applicable. We will then evaluate whether they should be split up or not.
- Smoke and CO Alarms: As a reminder don't ever unplug and remove smoke detectors because they are beeping. Change the batteries and if that doesn't work please notify us. We find a lot of tenants unplug them and bury them in a closet or drawer instead of replacing batteries.
- A/C Filters: Make sure to check and change every month or as required by the type of filter. If any HVAC systems in your home have a reusable filter you are still required to clean them periodically, so please make sure they are kept clean.
- Toilets: "Flushable" Wipes CANNOT be flushed. Do not put anything down the drain except water, human waste, and regular toilet paper. Food, toys, feminine products, wipes, towels, wrappers, condoms, and other objects do not break apart and go down the drain. Clogs of the plumbing system may be charged back to you, so it is best to avoid this by not putting anything down any of the drains aside from water and human waste.
- Disposal Systems: This includes using the sink disposal as a garbage chute. These appliances are not meant to dispose of large quantities of food and should only be used as a last resort after all food items are scraped off dishes into a compost bin or trash can.
- Drainage: Shower, bath, and sink drains can get clogged up over time with hair and other organic matter. Do not use Draino-type products as they are extremely acidic and will do more harm than good by damaging the pipes while usually failing to fix the drainage issue. The best way to address this is to use a disposable drain snake that can be obtained from any hardware store for a couple of dollars. Please note that if we send out a vendor for this and it turns out to be this very issue you may be charged back for the cost. Here is a video on how to use those - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOb4MJ6widg
- Emergency Maintenance: this extension should not be called unless you have an issue involving Flood, Blood, or Fire. Do not call the emergency line to follow up on existing work orders or submit a new request that is not an emergency. In case of an emergency call 911 if needed and then contact us after everyone is safe. Remember that we do not monitor emails after hours, so if you submit something considered an emergency online and do not call we may not know until the next business day.
Other Maintenance Notes:
If you'd like to inquire about, or update an existing request, submit the form at stoneoakmgmt.com/maintenance or call 512-617-6766 ext-5.
Maintenance time frames continue to be extended due to the pandemic. Please allow at least 5 business days before requesting an update from our team unless it is an emergency.
For basic DIY tips and tricks to solve some issues quickly, visit our DIY rental property maintenance page.
Your Tenant Portal & Electronic Statements
The system will generate a statement even if you're moving out, so there is no need to contact us if you receive this and are moving. All charges, including any prorated rent, will be adjusted as needed when the deposit is processed.
If you are not using the portal app that keeps you logged in please take a look at the linked flyer for more info. This can eliminate forgotten passwords, and help with easy updates/access to maintenance requests and all other account details.
AppFolio Tenant Portal Information