Request Winterization and Utility Activation Authorization
Effective 01/01/2013, Sentinel Field Services, Inc. (SFS) has been awarded contracts with the U.S. Dept. of HUD to provide field services to HUD-owned, residential properties located in these 13 states: AK, CA, HI, IA, MN, MT, ND, NE, OR, SD, WA, WI, WY.
Per HUD policy, properties are often required to have all utilities deactivated and, during winter months (November - March), be winterized to prevent damage to the property. However, prospective buyers or their agents may want to evaluate or inspect electrical, plumbing or other systems of a home and thus have a need to activate utilities at a property to facilitate those evaluations & inspections. After the requested buyer/agent inspections have occurred, buyers may be required to fund the cost of Re-winterizing the property to prevent damage until the sale transaction closes.
Because utilities, particularly water, have been deactivated at a property, it is essential a SFS-trained technician perform a Plumbing System Verification once water services have been reactivated. This Plumbing System Verification includes:
- an inspection of the property to determine if any damage to the plumbing system may be present
- a pressure test to verify plumbing system integrity
- re-charging the lines with water
- re-filling the water heater
- de-winterizing the property, if needed
The Plumbing System Integrity Verification and Re-winterization services cannot be performed unless authorized by SFS on behalf of HUD. Also, no utilities may be activated on any HUD-owned property without prior written permission from Sentinel Field Services, Inc. (SFS). Utilities must be activated by the potential purchaser and/or their agent and discontinued within 72 hours. Failure to obtain authorization prior to utility activation may result in cancellation of the sale and forfeiture of the earnest money deposit. If the inspection cannot be completed in the time authorized below, please e-mail SFS for an extension.
The Scope of Work for both services are as follows:
- Plumbing System Integrity Verification: Once utilities are turned on, the property will need to be inspected and pressurized in order to effectively inspect the plumbing systems and water heater. At least 24 hours prior to the de-winterization, the utilities will need to be activated, the heating unit turned on and the thermostat set to 55 degrees. With the home able to sustain temperatures above freezing, primary water valves will be opened allowing the water heater to fill and water to be accessed throughout the home. Fee: $75
- Re-Winterization Service: Before utilities can be deactivated, the property will need to be re-winterized (during the winter months) in order to prevent freeze damage to the plumbing system. The primary water system will need to be shut off at the main valve and the water heater drained. The entire plumbing system will then need to be pressurized in order to flush the system of any residual water. Antifreeze will then be poured in all drains to prevent freezing of the sewer or septic systems. Fee: $75
- Fee for both Services: $150
Per HUD guidelines, SFS is required to re-winterize the property during winter months (November - March) before the utilities are deactivated. For pre-closure inspections during the winter months, SFS will perform both the Plumbing System Verification and Re-winterization services. During the summer, only the Plumbing System Verification will be required.
In order for the Plumbing System Verification and Re-Winterization Services or "Services" to occur, ALL the utilities (gas, electric, water, etc.) must first be activated by the buyer at buyer expense 24 hours before the "Services" are performed.
Please note that the property will need to be de-winterized once ALL utilities are activated AND re-winterized before utilities are deactivated. Therefore, during winter months, buyers are required to order the Bundle of both services for $150. Individual services may not be ordered at that time.
Buyers (or their agents) must provide SFS at least 72 hours' notice before activating the utilities and buyers must make arrangements with all utility providers (gas, electric, water, etc.) for the utilities to be temporarily turned on (at buyer expense) to facilitate our rendering of the “Services”. SFS will perform the Plumbing System Verification at the property within 24 hours of utility activation and must re-winterize no less than 24 hours before deactivation. Buyers are responsible for providing adequate activation times in order to systems-check, inspect and re-winterize the property. Keep that in mind when requesting the activation and deactivation dates.
By requesting activation of these utilities, Buyers shall be responsible for the payment of any and all connection and disconnection fees and/or utility usage charges resulting from this activation request. The Buyer will be required to pay the utility company directly and not SFS for all usage fees. The fee assess by SFS covers the costs involved for performing the Plumbing System Integrity Verfication.