With summer winding down, it’s time to prep your home for the changing season ahead. I know what you’re thinking: It’s still summer, and you’re being a buzzkill! Why worry now about what you can do next month? Well, as it turns out, some home maintenance tasks are best tackled in August, before temperatures start dipping.
Trying to save money? Home maintenance is so much more affordable than emergency repairs. Here are five routine maintenance projects that can help prevent unexpected costs and save you money year round.
- Clear out gutters
Water from clogged gutters can overflow and leak into your home. Heavy, ice-packed gutters can tear away from your house in the winter. Grab a ladder, gloves and hose and clear them out while the weather is still warm.
- Re-caulk windows
Drafty windows and doors can suck money right out of your budget from high energy bills. Check the caulk and weatherproofing strips around doors and windows to make sure they’re not dried and crumbling. If they are, they’re easy (and cheap) to replace.
- Clean the fireplaces
Have your chimney professionally inspected and potentially cleaned annually to prevent creosote, a flammable byproduct of wood burning, from building up. It can create a fire hazard and elevate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Before each use, make sure your damper closes tightly and clear remaining ashes from the bottom of your fireplace.
- Check your filters
Clogged furnace and air conditioning filters not only make your HVAC system less efficient, they also can spread unhealthy pollutants and allergies in your home. Dark and mucky filters should be replaced. You don’t even need tools.
- Flush the water heater
Neglected water heaters have a way of getting back at you when you least expect it (and that way is usually soggy and expensive.) Clear out sediment particles that collect over time by regularly flushing out water through the drain valve.
Looking for your own home you can maintain or considering a move? Contact me; I’ll be happy to help!
Your relationship with your home is one that will hopefully last a long time, so it pays to learn its most intimate details. And not to be weird, but we really do mean intimate: what turns it on (or off), what makes it hot (or cold), and its delicate inner workings.
Because, after all, your home takes care of you—it keeps you warm, safe, well-fed—so it has every right to act a little high-maintenance and demand some TLC in return. Neglect your house, and there could be hell to pay later in the form of floods, electrical outages, and worse.
So as a sort of how-deep-is-your-love kind of test, ask yourself if you know these five things about your home—and if not, maybe you should go find out.
Whether you’re preparing for an open house or simply trying to freshen up your home, try these suggestions for getting rid of odors from seven commonly smelly items.
- Trash cans
After rinsing out a stinky garbage can with soap and water, stash a few scented laundry dryer sheets at the bottom to absorb odor.
An old (clean) sock stuffed with coffee grounds can absorb the musty smell in your freezer. Coffee socks can also help de-mustify stale closets. Tie one to a hanger.
- Litter Box
Extremely porous activated charcoal is a big-time odor absorber. Pet stores sell versions made especially for pet odors. Keep it near the litter box.
When your carpet smells icky, try sprinkling baking soda. Let it sit for half an hour, then vacuum it up.
Who wants to use a dishwasher that never smells quite clean? Pour white vinegar into a dishwasher safe cup and stick it in the top rack. Run the machine through its cycle. Though your kitchen will smell like vinegar for a bit, the inside of your dishwasher will soon be odor-free.
If a dehumidifier doesn’t help, try adding a dozen drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle of water and blasting the basement with this natural fungicide.
Clear out smell by wiping down the wall with hydrogen peroxide.
Making sure your home smells fresh is just one of the critical things to do before an open house. I’ll be happy to suggest other important steps; contact me today!
As the days grow chillier, rodents have even more reason to try to move into your home. They don’t just gnaw holes into walls and floors and destroy wiring, they can also bring in germs and disease. Follow these tips to help keep them out.
1. Prevention is the best defense
Don’t keep favorite rodent hangouts like trash cans, firewood and piles of junk close to your home.
2. Fill the gaps
Find out where the buggers have been getting in and stuff the holes with steel wool or aluminum foil – both stand up against mouse teeth. Make sure to seal up both the inside and outside of your home.
3. Someone “hoo” can help
Put up an owl box in your yard to attract owls, who snack on mice.
4. Use Scent
Certain smells convince critters you have an army of predators guarding your house. Try sprinkling ammonia (smells like predator urine), used kitty litter or snake poop. (Yes, you can buy Python Poo online for $15) around your yard.
5. Minty fresh defense
Douse cotton balls with 100 percent peppermint oil and put them in the back of cabinets, behind the fridge and other places mice hang out. Replace the cotton balls at least once a month.
6. Dryer sheets
Mice loathe the smell of fabric softener sheets. Leave one or two in their favorite spots.
7. Adopt a hunter
Your local animal shelter is sure to have a cat who would help with critter removal in exchange for a good home.
8. Ultrasonic power
Ultrasonic rodent repellers drive mice away with sound waves. The sound bothers cats and dogs, too, so don’t use them if you have furry family members.
Ready to market your home now that the mice are gone? Contact me; I’ll be happy to help!
You may still be picking your final tomatoes and enjoying the last flower blooms but it’s time to take care for those pre-winter tasks that will help make next year’s yard and garden even more lovely. Here’s a list to hit before the snow starts falling.
- Take care of those bald spots
Overseeding bald spots in the fall is like Rogaine for your lawn. Autumn’s a good time for aerating, too.
- Leave ornamental grass alone
Don’t cut back the tops of ornamental grasses before early spring. The top growth helps insulate the root, keeping the source of next year’s growth nice and snug.
- Empty the tank
Store your mower with an empty tank over the winter. Have a bit of gas left? Mow over the leaves on your lawn for a natural mulch.
- Speaking of mulch…
Mulching in fall can be even more beneficial for plants than doing it in spring. Spreading two to three inches of mulch around trees and shrubs helps protect roots from frost and helps retain moisture during cold, dry winter months.
- Maintain your hose and pipes
Drain your hoses and store them in the basement, shed or garage. Blow out your sprinkler system. Drain your water features. Stash watering cans, especially galvanized steel cans, indoors. Water left over the winter can freeze, expand and damage them all.
- Put the tools to bed
Before storing your garden tools for the winter, clean them off and, if needed, sharpen them. Rub a bit of linseed oil into wooden handles to prevent cracking. When it’s time to pull them out in the spring, you’ll be ready to go.
A well-kept yard can increase the value of your home. Find out more ways to enhance your investment by contacting me, your Realtor!
It’s been a freakin’ long day at work and you just want to get home and relax on your deck. But nooooooo, it’s already dark outside and that chill in the air is telling you it’s time to pull out your parka. OK, inside it is. But then it hits you: Indoors feels more like a dank cave than a welcoming oasis. Depressing.
You don’t have to succumb to the winter blahs. Just implement a few of these ideas, and you’ll be warm and comfy inside until winter’s worst blows over.