Archive for ‘For Homeowners’

October 23, 2014

9 Old House Features We Were Wrong to Abandon

We were probably right to abandon many hallmarks of yesterday’s home, but maybe we should reconsider these 9 once-popular features for their practicality.

 

Dutch Doors

doubledutchSource: http://goo.gl/nKoPQZ

Popular with the 18th-century Dutch settlers of New York and New Jersey. Dutchdoors are split horizontally in the middle; open just the top to keep out animals while letting in light and air. Making your own is straightforward. Saw any wood door in half, then attach each half to the door frame with two hinges apiece. A simple sliding bolt joins the top and bottom as a single, solid panel.

 


Sleeping Porches

sleeping-porch-r-xSource: http://goo.gl/IiZGG5

Sleeping porches became popular in the 20th century, when they were advocated by health professionals who believed that the fresh air they provided bolstered immune systems. Such porches were already popular in the South and West, where sleeping outdoors was cooler and more comfortable.

 

Transom Windows

transom

Source: http://goo.gl/UPfils

Transom windows are those panels of glass you see above doors in older homes, especially those built in the Mission or Arts and Crafts styles. They admitted natural light to front hallways and interior rooms before the advent of electricity, and circulated air even when doors were closed for privacy. Transoms serve both purposes just as well today, and of course, the if they are crafted with stained glass they are a timeless beauty.

 

Laundry Chute

laundrychute

Source: http://goo.gl/0ObMKZ

If your bedroom is two floors up from the washer and dryer, you might want to resurrect another nearly forgotten feature of older homes: the laundry chute. If you’d like to construct your own, to ensure that your clothes are funneled smoothly, weld sheet metal together to create a ramp, or use lengths of extra-large PVC pipe to form a tube that ends in your laundry room. No matter your approach, adding a laundry chute injects low-tech convenience into one of life’s never-ending chores.

 

Intercoms

intercomSource: http://goo.gl/18XeC7

Intercom systems may remind you of The Brady Bunch, but these 1970s-era devices can be useful even if you don’t have six kids, a dog, and an Alice. Systems consist of a base station and several remote modules, and the newest intercoms are capable piping music throughout your home. If you’d prefer to avoid any hard wiring, opt instead for a phone system with built-in intercom functionality.

 

Pocket Shutters

pocket shuttersSource: http://goo.gl/Vt78v4

Northeast homes of the 18th and 19th century had walls of exceptional thickness (as they were often made of brick), providing a deep window jamb whose embrasures, or pockets, could contain an entire interior shutter. It’s high time these clever architectural details made a comeback, because interior shutters provide not only privacy, but also insulation or shade when the elements really start to bear down.

 

Phone Nook

phone-nook-xSource: http://goo.gl/EJZQLV

Back when telephones were large and unwieldy, homes often had a special nook to accommodate the bulky devices. Although the size of these cumbersome antiques is what necessitated their having their own hole in the wall, designating a dedicated space for a telephone doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, even today. After all, most of us spend the last five minutes before leaving the house screaming, “Where’s my cell phone?!”

 

Claw-Foot Tubs

tub

They’re lovely to look at and provide a deeper soak than most modern tubs. So if you have enough space in your bathroom, consider adding the luxury of a claw-foot tub to your life. Or, get whimsical and put one outside in your garden or on a patio so you can bathe under the stars. You can find many claw foots inexpensively at salvage yards that, with a little TLC (and maybe some porcelain paint) will look as good as new. Or rather, old.

 

Rumford Fireplace

rumfordSource: http://goo.gl/MmLnKh

Henry David Thoreau once counted his Rumford fireplace as a modern convenience that was often overlooked by his contemporaries. Common in the early to mid-1800’s Rumford fireplaces are tall and not very deep, which allows them to reflect most of the heat generated by burning wood back into the room. With escalating fuel costs, this old design is becoming popular again as way to save some real money in the modern era.

Source: bobvilla.com
October 20, 2014

Shut the Front Door

 

What is the first thing a visitor sees when they visit and the last thing they see when they leave? Your front door and entryway of course! First impressions count. Therefore if you are hosting a dinner, having family over for the holidays, etc, you should take some time to spruce up your entryway. Here are a few quick, cheap and super simple tips to achieve instant results!

 

DIY_Paint_Front_Door_1

 

 

1.) Wash it down

It is surprising how much grime and dirt builds up on your front door. You will want to grab a sponge and wipe it down with warm and soapy water. If you have a door with older paint, make sure you use a soft sponge and wipe it clean carefully to make sure you don’t accidentally take some of the paint off.

 

 

 

Paint-your-Front-Door2.) Roll on the paint

After you have washed your front door, you may be left unsatisfied. If it seems something is missing and washing the door hasn’t done the trick, it is time roll up your sleeves and go to the paint store. Take your significant other, family member or friend to the paint store and pick out a nice new color or polish for your front door. Since this is a DIY project make sure you give yourself enough time to do it properly. This project could be timely; sanding, primer and two coats of paint.

 

 

 

funny-doormat-2

 

3.) “Welcome”

Perhaps your home is not as welcoming as it could be. If you have an old front door mat that is worn by both age and more shoes than you remember then it is time to find yourself a new one. A new mat can make all the difference in the world.

 

 

 

pretty-fall-porch-decor-ideas-49

 

 

 

4.) Character

Add some color and pzazz to your front door. Transform your doorway into a bright welcoming entryway. This can be done with seasonal decorations, plants, or anything you see fit. You could even choose something hearty that looks good throughout the year and doesn’t require much maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

5.) Knock, knock

Who’s there? Go to your local hardware store and pick yourself out a door knocker. It is a nice alternative to a doorbell and when someone knocks you will actually be able to hear it. Adding a door knocker will create a design-savvy point of interest which you are more than welcome to take all the credit for.

doorknocker

 

 

 

October 16, 2014

To Move or Improve?

 

remodeling

 

 

 

Are you considering renovating your existing home or starting completely over by moving? If you ask around, you’ll receive mixed opinions, but the ultimate decision is up to you (and perhaps your significant other). But how will you come to a decision? What criteria should you use to make a rational decision on whether to stay and renovate or pack up and move on?

 

 

Here’s some criteria to help you decide:

 

1.) How do you feel about your neighborhood?paper home

  • Is it a place you enjoy?
  • How well do you get along with your neighbors?
  • Would you miss your neighborhood community
  • Are you and your children happy with the local school district?
  • Is your neighborhood a good fit for you (and your family)?
  • You can always fix a house, but you can’t fix your neighborhood

 

 

2.) Is there an intangible quality to your house?

  • While not every house has significance beyond simply providing shelter, many do. Whether it is the age, design or historical quality, a home that has significance shouldn’t be subjected to the wrecking ball. Expanding, renovating and adapting homes of such value are sure ways to keep the significance alive for years to come.

 

 

 

3.) Does renovating make sense financially?moeny

  • There are a handful of factors to consider when it comes to the question of ‘How much will renovating cost?’. If you are renovating, there are going to be other costs. For example an associated cost could be temporary living quarters while your house is under construction.
  • However it can also cost money is you stay and you are in the way. Some contractors may charge more where clients stay because there will have to be additional cleanup on a daily basis, a rush for certain mechanical work (i.e. plumbing, electric), and even something as simple as socializing with the onsite homeowners (wasting time on the clock).
  • If you are planning on moving, there will be associated costs with purchasing your new home as well. Costs will include: realtor fees, decorating the new home, moving truck costs…..etc.
  • Determining whether to stay or move requires you to evaluate all the costs on both spectrums before making a decision.
  • This decision is best to determine with a contractor. If you have never been to a house that is under-going a remodel, you should so you can understand how much of your home/life will be affected by what you have planned.

 

 

4.) Does your existing house have a sturdy foundation?

  • Not every house is an ideal candidate for a renovation. While there might be a good reason to renovate an old historic barn that is full of family memories, a 20 year old house with a collapsing foundation or other significant defects would not be a good candidate. Therefore make sure you asses (either yourself or professionally), the bones of your house to see if the base of your home is structurally solid.

 

zoning5.) Are the new zoning restrictions going to affect your renovation plans?

  • Depending on the age of your house, the zoning restrictions may have been different during the time it was built.
  • While the house you currently reside in may fit you perfectly (due to the previous lenient restrictions), a new house in its place might not.
  • You should evaluate height/distance to property lines, yard dimensions…..etc., to see if saving the existing structure of the house is worth your while.

 

 

 

6.) Are you willing to have patience and fun with a renovation project…..even when it is not going well?

moneypit

  • Whether you are remolding or even building a custom home, you will have to make numerous decisions. Some of the major decisions include: size, budget and time frame. While some of the other decisions come down to minor details but are extremely important to the whole aesthetic and feel.
  • Make sure you keep your sense of humor. If you are considering renovating, you should watch The Money Pit. The dialogue is filled with classic lines, such as “two weeks” as the stock answer to the question about when the project will be finished. Just remember that renovations may not go as smoothly as planned, but that it’ll be all right in the end. So do your homework, trust in the professionals you’ve hired and enjoy the ride.

 

 

October 13, 2014

PA Festivals in October

Here are a few fun fall events going on this upcoming weekend to embrace the autumn spirit!

pumpkinsSource: Tumblr halloween+harvest

 

 

 

apple fest

Apple Fest in Chambersburg

  • When: Saturday October 18th 9am – 4pm
  • Where: Main Street and Lincoln Way, Chambersburg, PA (Franklin County)
  • This is an annual event held the third Saturday of October. A family free event  that celebrates the main crop of South Central PA, with over 100 art, craft and food vendors along Main Street. It creates an excellent venue for holiday shopping and good food. Live entertainment at the Courthouse Plaza adds to the festive atmosphere. Apple related products, services and contests are featured for this family-friendly fall festival.

 

 

 

 

Fall Fun Fest 

  • When: Saturday October 18th 10am – 5pm
  • Where: York, PA
  • Set aside this day to enjoy a trip to the pumpkin patch and orchard to gather your pumpkins, apples and smiles! With a large selection of fall decorations, crafts fresh food and bakery sweets you and your family will be sure to have a wonderful day. The event includes; pick-your-own-pumpkin patch; corn maze; pumpkin painting; wagon rides; straw bale jungle gym; corn boxes; antique apple cider press demonstrations; face painting and much more.

 

 

howard

 

Howard Fire Company Fall Punpkin’ Chunkin’

  • When: Saturday October 18th 10am – 5pm
  • Where: Howard, PA
  • On the one side this festival is like many others, with a wide variety of delicious foods, fun activities , homemade crafts, there is a little bit of something for everyone. On the other hand, medieval weaponry fires ballistic pumpkins hundreds of yards into a lake. At the Punpkin’ Chunkin’ Festival it should be obvious what the big draw is. Large chunkin’ trebuchets are designed and brought in specifically to hurl pumpkins with great force and greater accuracy. Those teams who excel in the best feats of endurance and power take home the prize. Despite being the namesake of the festival, punkin’ chunkin’ isn’t the only thing to do at the festival….for more information click here.

 

 

 

Stonehedge Gardens Fall Festival

  • When: October 19th 12-6pm
  • Where: Tamaqua, PA Schuylkill County
  • Art, Music, Workshops and Celebrations
  • A fall festival stuffed with unique and exciting events. There will be traditional fall activities like garden tours, pumpkin decorating and a scarecrow display. Vendors will be selling their homemade products and there will be drumming circles and fire-performers. Bring the whole family and have a great experience.

 

 

Yorktoberfest ytf_logo_new

  • When: October 25th-26th 12pm – 5pm
  • Where: York Fairgrounds in York, PA
  • Hosted by the Sons of the American Legion, Yorktoberfest has been growing insanely in terms of size and fan base since it began in 2011. With a large selection of brews, wines and vendors the appeal is at once immediate and obvious. Yorktoberfest is a good-time festival . Nearly fifty craft brews are represented, all from state and regional breweries. Everyone from PA’s Troegs to Dogfishhead to the local favorites, Liquid Hero Brewery, are represented at the festival. There will also be nearly a dozen wineries from across the area showcased with a wide selection of red, whites and seasonals. Make sure you come hungry because there will be plenty of food vendors, fifty to be exact. Attendance for this event is severely limited and totally worth it. Be sure to get tickets (to consume alcohol) asap. All proceeds go to charity programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 9, 2014

Maryland Ranks on Top 100 Best Places to Live

 

Livability.com recently came out with their second annual ranking for the Top 100 Best Places to Live 2015; small to mid-sized cities in the United States.  Some new places made list, some moved up or down and some continue to score well. Over 2,000 cities were ranked, so every city on the list is in the top 5% of livable communities in the United States. The criteria for ranking was based on 8 categories; amenities, demographics, economy, education, health care, housing, social & civic capital, and transportation. Of the 100 cities, 5 are located in Maryland; #19  Rockville, MD; #32 Frederick, MD; #42  Towson, MD;  #64 North Bethesda, MD; #72 Silver Spring, MD.


#19 City of Rockville, Maryland

map_of_rockville_md
-Rockville is located in Montgomery County, MD. Rockville has a population of 60,960, and a median home price is $481,700.

-There are 34 elementary schools in Rockville which are primarily served by Montgomery County Public School District. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public schools have the option of choosing from 44 private schools.

-Since Rockville is a great place to live, it also means it is a great place to work. The economy in Rockville is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary, and Regional Managing Offices industry. This city is also a great entrepreneurship community.

-Rockville residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of the 24 counties within the State of Maryland.

 

 

#32 City of Frederick, Maryland
frederick- Frederick is located in Frederick County, MD. Frederick has a population of 65,171, and a median home price of $255,600.

- There are 40 elementary schools in Frederick which are primarily served by Frederick County Public School District. Parents who are
looking for an alternative have the choice of 26 private schools to choose from.

- The economy in Frederick is led by the Commercial Banking industry. This city is also a great entrepreneurship community.

- Frederick residents are part of Frederick County, which ranks 3rd for health outcomes and 3rd for health factors out of the 24 counties within the state of Maryland.

 

 

#42 City of Towson, Marylandmap_of_towson_md
-Towson is located in Baltimore County, Maryland. Frederick has a population of 55,811, and a median home price of $339,400.

- There are 31 elementary schools in Towson, which is primarily served by Baltimore County Public School District. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public schools have the option of choosing from 52 private schools. After high school, the University of Towson is a great choice for college.

- Towson residents have access to 69 acute care hospitals within 60 miles. Towson residents rank 14th for health outcomes and 12th for health factors out of the 24 counties within the state of Maryland.

 


#64 City of North Bethesda, Maryland

-North Bethesda is located in Montgomery County, MD. North Bethesda has a population of 42,894, and a median home price of $494,200.

- There are 28 elementary schools in North Bethesda. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public school have the choice of 54 private schools to choose from as well.

-The economy of North Bethesda is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary and Regional Managing Offices Industry. There are 116,634 business establishments in North Bethesda with fewer than 10 employees, which is a good indicator of the entrepreneurship community.

- North Bethesda residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of 24 counties within the State of Maryland.

 


#72 Silver Spring, Maryland
silver spring
-Silver Spring, Maryland is located in Montgomery County. Silver Spring has a population of 74, 476, and a median home price of $453,900.

-There are 35 elementary schools in Silver Spring and 49 private schools.

- The economy of Silver Spring is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary and Regional Managing Offices Industry. There are 116,634 business establishments in Silver Spring with fewer than 10 employees, which is a good indicator of the entrepreneurship community.

- Silver Spring residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of 24 counties within the State of Maryland. Residents have access to 61 acute care hospitals within 60 miles of Silver Spring.

 

 

 

Maryland is a great state to live in. Whether you are looking to relocate from another state or simply move to another town/city, our Real Estate Professionals at Homesale Realty are here to assist you every step of the way.

 

 

 

October 6, 2014

Energy; Use less to save more this season

EnergyEfficiency

 

You can save big money by changing your energy habits. Today, most things we use are run by electricity, but have we become over-dependent? What are the alternatives? If you haven’t already, conduct an energy assessment to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.

Here are a handful of tips to revise your energy habits that can pay big dividends, month after month.

 

 

 


Source: phillippebuilders.com


Electronics and Appliances
Did you know that 75% of the power used by home electronics is consumed while they are off?

  • Plug electronics into a power strip, and remember to turn the strip off when not in use to save energy costs.
  • Avoid energy vampires. Even when appliances/electronics are turned off (those that are plugged in), they are in “standby” mode, which still uses energy to power features such as clock displays.
  • Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified TVs. They are up to 30% more efficient than noncertified models.
  • Unplug battery chargers when batteries are fully charged or aren’t in use.

 

Old Appliances
Older appliances may still do the job, but were not designed with today’s energy efficiency. At an unexpected, intoasterovenconvenient time, a refrigerator or other appliance may need costly repair or replacement.

  • Use microwaves and toaster ovens to cook or warm leftovers, less energy is used in comparison to a conventional oven.
  • If you have a second fridge located in the garage or utility room, it is time to pull the plug. There are numerous places you can call to pick it up for a small recycling fee.
  • Keep you refrigerator temperature between 30-42°F. If you have a power-save switch, turn it on.
  • If your refrigerator is from the 90’s, you may want to consider purchasing a new energy efficient model to lower operating costs.
  • Dust your fridge. Check the coils behind the refrigerator and use coil vacuums or dusters to clean it off and keep costs down.
  • Keep your freezer full – it uses les energy than an empty one. For maximum savings, consider filling your freezer with gallon containers of water.
  • Set your dishwasher on economy mode, to use less water and electricity.

 

Cover Drafty Windows

  • Use a heavy duty, clear plastic sheet or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Install tight-fitting insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
  • Or you could install storm windows for those brutal winter months. These windows can help reduce heat loss by 25-50%

 

Find and Seal Leaks

  • Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  • Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

 


Lightingcflbulb

  • Replace standard bulbs with CFLs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs, and give off the same amount of light.
  • Choose outdoor CFLs for outdoor lighting; they last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs.
  • Replace halogen light bulbs. They can get extremely hot and become a fire hazard.
  • Use motion-detector lights for all your outdoor lighting; they are convenient and efficient.
  • Select light-colored or opaque lamp shades and place lamps in corners so they reflect light from two walls.

 

Heatingheating

  • Schedule service for your heating system.
  • Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed
  • Cover all bare floors; carpeting or rugs add heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
  • Raise the temperature slowly to keep your bill lower. Quickly raising your heat pump’s temperature activates the heat strip, which uses a large amount of energy.
  • Your thermostat should be set to 68-70 degrees during the day in the winter months, and 65-68 degrees at night to keep your home comfortable and save on heating costs.
  • Limit your use of portable heaters. Even though they are useful for “spot” heating, running a 1,500-watt heater all day can be pricey.
  • Although the warm months are coming to an end, you can still utilize the sun. Leave window shades/blinds up during the day.

 

Lower Your Water Heating Costs

  • Water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home.
  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). It will save you money while keeping water hot enough for showers and cleaning dishes.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Check your hot water pipes for leaks, which can drain energy savings.
  • Take shorter showers to cut down on hot water costs.
  • If you have an older water heater, get an insulation wrap to help your old water heater heat more effectively.

 

Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplacefire

  • Keep warm air in your house and cold air out with proper chimney maintainance.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter, it allows warms air to go right up the chimney.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly, approximately 1 inch, and close doors leading into the room.
  • Lower the thermostat setting somewhere in between 50°-55°F.
  • If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
  • Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
  • Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.

 

We hope that these tips are helpful. If you have your own energy saving tips, please feel free to share your knowledge. Stay warm, save money and conserve energy.

September 29, 2014

Cleaning Projects

Cleaning ProjectsView in Piktochart

http://goo.gl/0bs627

September 22, 2014

Short Sale: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

 

A short sale occurs when a property is sold at a price less than the amount the homeowner owes on the mortgage, and the homeowner’s mortgage lender(s) agrees to the “short” payoff. A lender may accept a short sale with the property worth less than the balance of the mortgage if: the borrower is no longer financially capable to make the monthly loan payment, does not have enough money to pay back the full balance of loan and needs to move out of the property.

Purchasing a home on a short sale can be beneficial to the buyer and seller. A home seller avoids foreclosure and the consequences that go along with a foreclosure, which will allow for an easier transition into more affordable housing. A buyer avoids the risk of buying a foreclosed property and receives a fair market value on the home.

 

If you are considering purchasing a short sale home, take precaution and make sure you avoid these 5 common mistakes:

 

1.) Ignoring property problems

green carpet

Short sellers are motivated to sell and repair their credit, so they will most likely fill out a property condition disclosure form. However, there is the possibility that the seller may not have thoroughly followed through on essential maintenance to the roof, furnace, air conditioner, hot water heater, etc. Also, since the seller is in a bit of a financial bind, it is most likely the home has not seen a cosmetic face lift for a number of  years.

 

 

 

2.) Skipping the home inspection

approved

As the potential buyer, you should make time to tag along on the home inspection of the short sale home. This is the time where the house is open for all criticism and questions. By drawing attention to questionable items/problems within the house, you may be able drop the price of thehome due to renovations. Also do not forget to ask about repair estimates when an inspector records a problem because homeowners typically underestimate the true cost of renovations.

If you are interested in purchasing a short sale home, you may want to consider doing an inspection on the property before you make an offer. A preoffer inspection allows potential buyers to walk away and find a better investment.

 

3.) Ignoring legal and insurance information

A typical disclosure statement would specify if a house was in a flood plain or had an unpermitted renovations. Bank-owned properties often sell “as is” without disclosure, buyers need to do extra research on the home’s status. Make sure that all renovations have been permitted and approved.

 

4.) Leaving too little time for closing

Short sale homebuyers need to be aware that the sale won’t necessarily close as quickly as it would for a traditional home. The seller’s lender must grant approval of the short sale price. Sometimes legal troubles can influence closing. For example, a buyer could wait months on a bank-owned property while the bank continually pushes back the close date due to unresolved liens.

 

5.) Having your mind set on a bad home

Consider the house’s condition, inspection, price and value dispassionately. Now ask yourself these three common sense questions.thinking-man

 

  • If you were to buy this property, could you afford to rent it out for as much as, or less than, your mortgage payment?
  • What if the home’s value drops another 20% percent, will you still feel confident in your purchase?
  • How much money are you willing to invest into the property (if necessary)?

Some homebuyers do not want to listen to inspectors because they believe it is their house already and they love it, even if there is a slope in the floor or cracks on the basement walls.

 

In the end, if you are in the market for a new home and are considering a short sale home, avoid the five mistakes above. Remember your Homesale Agent is here to guide you through the process by providing you with thorough information and keeping your best interest at the top of their priorities.

 

September 18, 2014

Freshening Up for Fall

With the season beginning to change, you may want to refresh the interior of your house. Refreshing may mean some light cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, new air fresheners, etc. However, you may want to consider some places within your house that you probablly have been neglecting to clean.

 

5 Places You May Be Forgetting to Clean

 

1.) Air conditioner/heating intake vents

Out of sight, out of mind is how many people treat their vents. Your intake vents may not be visible or are purposely hidden, which allows you to “unknowingly” forget to clean them. It is important to keep your vents clean in order to reduce potential damage inside your heater/air conditioner system. Cleaning off the vents will allow for better air flow and reduce the amount of dust/dust bunnies floating around your home. To clean the vents, you can simply wipe them down, thoroughly clean them by unscrewing the vents or you can have a professional come in and clean them (if necessary).

vacuuming-vent

 

2.) Curtains

Your curtains are another place that hair and dust are able to easily accumulate. If you have medium to heavy weight curtains, you can use the upholstery brush on your vacuum to give them a quick once over.
 
 
3.) Under Your Area Rugs

Dirt, dust, allergens and pet hair all seem to gravitate underneath the rugs. You don’t want this grit and grime rubbing into your nice hardwood floors with all the foot traffic; therefore you will want to vacuum or sweep when needed.
Cat-under-the-rug

 

 

4.) Upholstered Furniture

Eating snacks and other foods that easily fall in between cushions can cause quite an accumulation of crumbs overtime. Be mindful to vacuum underneath your furniture’s cushions, and you may even find some loose change…….don’t spend it all in place.

 

 

5.) Above your cabinets

The tops of your cabinets have most likely not been cleaned for a long time. Dust and cobwebs accumulate quickly up there, so every now and again you should dust and vacuum along that top area.

 

 


 

Now that your home is looking great, your hope is to have it smell great as well. Whether you want to add an extra touch to your home because your house is on the market or you are feeling adventurous, here are a few ideas on DIY Fall Air Fresheners. These DIY recipes will put your kitchen scraps to good use while creating a really wonderful welcoming atmosphere.

 

The Scent of Fall

yum

What You’ll Need:

  • Apple peels and cores
  • Peel of one orange or one lemon (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon dried cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried allspice
  • Small saucepan
  • 4 cups water

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to the small saucepan, fill with water, and simmer over low heat. You can keep adding water as needed, which makes this pot-o-happiness smell wonderful all day.

At the end of the day, toss what’s left in the pot in your compost, or store in a zip-top baggie overnight and then boil again the next day for scenting your space, adding water as needed. After three days, the mixture should be dumped and made fresh.


Fresh and Clean (Crockpot)

fresh

What You’ll Need:

  • A few drops pf lavender essential oil
  • 2 lemons (sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Water

 

 

 

That’s just “Pine” (Crockpot)

pine

What You’ll Need: 

  • A few sprigs of fresh pine
  • A couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Water

 

 

 

Apple Cider” (Crockpot)

Screen shot 2012-11-08 at 1.46.00 PM

What You’ll Need:

  • Peels of 2 apples
  • 4-5 cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • Water

 

 

Directions for All Crockpot Recipes:

Add all the ingredients into a crock pot, fill with water, and turn on. As the water cooks away, you can keep adding more.

 

 

September 15, 2014

Preparing Your Home for Fall

The days are becoming shorter and the weather is becoming cooler; fall is right around the corner.  Now is the perfect time to get a jump start on accomplishing a few house chores before the cold weather strikes and it is too late. A lot of things are overlooked by homeowners when making the change from summer to winter. So, here is a guide on Preparing Your Home for Fall to help you remember all of the important tasks to get done to guarantee a safe and warm home for the upcoming cold weather.

 

 

Clean Out Your Gutters

gutterSource: http://www.pondarosahomes.com

It is best to put this first on your list of things to accomplish. You will want to clean out your gutters during the last few days of summer or the first few days of fall. However the most ideal time for gutter cleaning is after the last heavy rain or thunderstorm. The rain will have washed away any debris that accumulated on your roof down into the gutters. You will want to start at the opposite end of the downspout and then work your way down the gutter. Once you reach the downspout, take a hose or a bucket of water to flush out the spout. If your downspout appears to be clogged, you will want to eliminate it with a plumber’s snake. Clogged gutters are prone to rust and corrosion, can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water in the basement.  Stay ahead of the weather, have your gutters cleaned then covered with mesh guards to keep debris from returning.

 

 

Put Away Your Gardening Tools

garden-tools-cleaningSource:  http://sjcmastergardeners.wordpress.com/

Once you are finished with your gardening projects, you should properly clean your tools and store them away for winter. Thoroughly clean off all your spades, clippers, shovels, etc. and consider coating them with a thin layer of mineral oil to prevent having to replace them due to rusting over the winter months. After cleaning and coating your tools, make sure you put them in a safe spot like a garage or shed so they won’t be affected by the cold weather.

 


Check the Weather Stripping

window-weather-stripping-replacement
Source: http://beyondinteriorsdesign.com/


Gaps around door frames and windows can account for roughly 10% of your heating bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Don’t lose money by not checking for air leaks in your home. Weather-stripping is a cost-effective way to take control of your home’s heating and cooling costs. It is important to check this material periodically because it can deteriorate over time. If the weather stripping in your home appears to be questionable in certain areas, there are a few options for checking.
– Close the door or window on a piece of paper. If the paper slides easily or automatically falls, your weather stripping needs to be replaced.
– Or light a candle and trace the frame of the door or window. If the flame flickers at any spot along the frame, then there is an air leak.
You should also check for missing or damaged caulk areas around windows, door frames, and any other entry points (pipelines, electrical wiring). If there are any areas where air is leaking seal the gaps with caulk.

 

 

Driveways, Walkways and Steps

justiceconcretedrivewayrepairbefore
Source:  http://www.signature-concrete-stain.com/

When any of these concrete areas are damaged it becomes a hazard year round, but the real danger arises when the weather turns icy. Fixing this type of problem in the fall is important in preventing a minor problem now from becoming an expensive headache down the road. Look for cracks, uneven sections, loose railings, crumbling of asphalt and loose-filled pathways. The majority of the cracks you will encounter will be within the ability to do-it-yourself.


 

Inspect your Fireplace

Bert-mary-poppins
Source:  http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Bert

No matter how often you use your fireplace, it is important to check it annually for damages and hazards.

- Flue: Check your flue (chimney) for creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of burning wood. If accumulation occurs, the result poses great danger to your home.

Therefore you should consider having your chimney inspected annually. For most people, the best option is to have the entire chimney system inspected by a chimney sweep. Once you know what to look for, you can perform an inspection yourself by shining a flashlight up the flue. Look for deposits approaching 1/8inch in thickness. If you suspect any deposits, then it is highly advised to have the deposits cleaned by an experienced chimney sweep.

- Look for flue blockages: Birds love to nest at the top of an unprotected flue. A chimney cap can prevent this from happening. If you don’t have a cap, look up the flu to ensure that there are no obstructions.

- Exercise the damper: The damper is the metal plate that opens and closes the flu just above the firebox. Move it to the open and closed positions to ensure that it is working properly.

 


Check Your Smoke Alarm Batteries

A lot of local fire departments will run campaigns urging you to change your fire alarm batteries during Daylight Savings time changes. Take this into account. Always be sure to check that any alarms you have that run on batteries, or ones that are connected to your home’s electrical system to ensure that they’re working.

 

 

Change Your Heat Filters

filterSource:  http://www.timesrecordnews.com/

If your home has a forced air centralized heating system, you need to replace your air filters. Whether they have been running continuously all year, or if your heater has been turned off all summer, you need to change them regardless. They will either be dirty from running all year, or they will be stale and possibly growing mold or mildew due to inactivity. Luckily, filters are cheap and easy to replace. When you’ve decided on a time to replace your filters, set aside a day to turn on your heating system for a few hours so it can blow out all the dust that built up over the summer months. A good time to do this would be when you’re going to be away from the home for awhile so you don’t have to endure a heated house, and the smell of burnt dust, when it’s still warm outside. Once you’ve had the heating system on for a few hours or more, turn it off and let your home air out.

 

 

Preparing your home for the fall can sometimes be a tedious job, but you’ll be thankful once the winter weather arrives. Whether you just moved into your new home or are planning on selling in the near future, stay one step ahead by preventing minor problems from escalating, while also saving money.

 

 

 

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