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Winter Prep Guide: Your home

DECEMBER

  • Check for leaky fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms. Replace washers or cartridges if necessary.
  • Inspect caulking around sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
  • Make sure the door seals on your refrigerator are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, the latch may need to be adjusted or the seal may need to be replaced. Clean the coils (at least twice a year if you have pets).
  • Check and clean the dryer vent, air conditioner, stove hood, and bathroom fans. Inspect exterior hoods for insect infestations and bird nests. (Make sure the vent is free from snow during and after major storms.)
  • Protect your home from frozen pipes by sealing air leaks and insulating rim joists with spray foam and ridged insulation.
  • Locate and mark the shut-offs for the heating, electrical, and plumbing systems.
  • Check the electrical panel for rust or water marks. All breakers should be turned off and on to ensure none have seized. Is the panel warm to the touch, or does it smell like burned insulation? Call an electrician. All circuits should be labeled.
  • Test all ground fault-circuit interrupters monthly and have a licensed electrician review the whole system every 10 years.
  • Clean vents and radiators of debris. Vacuum radiator fins.
  • Exercise your generator monthly. Keep the tank full and the fuel fresh with a stabilizer. (Make sure you always operate your generator outside at least 5 feet away from the house and facing away from doors, windows, and vents.)

 

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Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist

fall cleaning chore checklist

It’s Autumn. Pumpkins glow in golden fields. Shorter days, crisp mornings signal winter’s approach.

Can the holidays be far behind?

Use Autumn’s brisk and breezy days to conquer deep-cleaning chores for a clean and comfortable winter home, and to wrap up summer’s outdoor lifestyle.

Our Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist will help you prepare home and hearth for the coming of winter:

Outside The House

Summer’s come and gone–and left its mark on outside the house.

Time to come inside for winter! Outside the house tend to these autumn chores:

  • Clean and store patio furniture, umbrellas, children’s summer toys.
  • Touch up paint on trim, railings and decks. Use a wire brush to remove flaking paint; prime bare wood first.
  • Check caulk around windows and doors. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations to re-caulk if needed.
  • Inspect external doors and garage doors. Do they close tightly? Install weather-stripping, door thresholds if needed.
  • Wash exterior windows.
  • Drain and store garden hoses. Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. In hard-freeze areas, have sprinkler systems blown free of water.
  • Check gutters and downspouts. Clear of debris if necessary. In cold-weather areas, consider installing heating cable to prevent ice dams.
  • Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.

The Inside Story:

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Autumn’s the time for “spring cleaning”! With winter coming, it makes sense to tuck the family into a freshly-cleaned home via fall cleaning.

Deep clean now to take advantage of good weather and to welcome approaching holidays with a clean and comfortable home.

To learn how to clean efficiently, check out the Clean House Guide for more information on cleaning fast and furious.

  • Focus on public rooms: living room, family room, entryway, guest bath.
  • Clean from top to bottom. Vacuum drapes and window treatments. Clean window sills and window wells. Vacuum baseboards andcorners.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture, or have professionally cleaned if needed. Move furniture and vacuum beneath and behind it.
  • Wash interior windows.
  • Turn mattresses front-to-back and end-to-end to equalize wear.
  • Launder or clean all bedding: mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets, comforters. Tuck the family into a warm and cozy winter bed.
  • Schedule professional carpet cleaning early this month! Warm October afternoons speed carpet drying. Carpet cleaning firms get busy by the end of October, so schedule now for best service.
  • Prepare the kitchen for holiday cooking. Clean and organized kitchen cabinets, paying particular attention to baking supplies, pans and equipment.
  • Clear kitchen counters of all appliances not used within the last week. Clear counters look cleaner–and provide more room for holiday cooking.
  • Pull refrigerator away from the wall, and vacuum the condenser coils. For bottom-mounted coils, use a long, narrow brush to clean coils of dust and debris.
  • Wash light-diffusing bowls from light fixtures.
  • Inspect each appliance. Does it need supplies? Stock up on softener salt now, and avoid staggering over icy sidewalks with heavy bags.
  • Check and empty the central vacuum’s collection area.
  • Clean electronic air cleaner elements monthly for most efficient operation. Wash them in an empty dishwasher (consult manual for specific product recommendations).
  • Clean or replace humidifier elements before the heating season begins.
  • Inspect washer hoses for bulges, cracks or splits. Replace them every other year.
  • Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for built-up lint, debris or birds’ nests! Make sure the exterior vent door closes tightly when not in use.
  • Schedule fall furnace inspections now. Don’t wait for the first cold night!
  • Buy a winter’s supply of furnace filters. Change filters monthly for maximum energy savings and indoor comfort. When the right filter is on hand, it’s an easy job!
  • Drain sediment from hot water heaters.
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September is a Time of Transition

Clean Your Gutters Like a Boss

Are your gutters looking like a neglected Chia Pet? You’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips to get your gutters back in action, and keep you safe while you work.

Why should you clean your gutters?

Cleaning your gutters prevents them from:

• Falling—
leaves and debris can add a lot of heavy weight after piling up

• Rotting and discoloration—water spills and mildew can cause damage

• Cracking the foundation of the house—
water spills can seep into the house’s foundation, causing it to crack

• Ice-damming—
the water inside your gutters can freeze when it gets backed up, preventing water from draining off the roof

• Flooding—
Water can spill over the gutter sides or down toward the foundation/basement

How often should you clean your gutters?

You should clean your gutters at least twice a year. Make sure to avoid getting that ladder out on rainy days.
What will you need to clean your gutters?

                                    • A sturdy ladder

                                        • Buckets for collecting gutter debris

                                  • A gutter scoop

                                         • A scrubbing brush

• Gloves
(we recommend suede material)

• Garden hose

How to do it:

While standing on your ladder, scoop out the leaves and debris from your gutters and place them into a bucket. Next, use a garden hose to wash out the gutters toward the drain outlet. If there is dirt stuck to your gutters, use a scrubbing brush to remove it.

Flush any leftover debris down the drainpipes using a garden hose. If the pipes are clogged and preventing water from draining, you may need to use a plumber’s auger (snake).
Don’t forget to check for leaks—there could be holes in the pipes and cracks in the caulking.

Remember: Safety

It’s important that you take the proper safety precautions when cleaning your gutters.

Watch out for power lines and make sure there aren’t any cables on your roof. If there is a damaged cable, call a licensed professional to come and fix it.

Have someone hold your ladder while you clean your gutters for extra stabilization.

We highly recommend that you clean your gutters from a ladder instead of the roof. It’s safer and easier to move around.

Lighten the Mood

Why would you want to light a path to your front door? There are plenty of reasons!

• Outdoor lighting adds to the curb appeal and value of your home, according to top Realtors®.

• It improves safety for visitors or family by making it easy to see where they are walking.

• A well-lit walkway increases security for your home.

Celebrate Halloween by installing outdoor lighting today for both safety and aesthetics. When it comes to outdoor lighting, remember two things:

Conserve energy. Compact fluorescent bulbs save energy and produce a bright light that lasts a long time. Timers are another way to save energy—your lights will go off even if you forget to flip the switch.

Less is more. 
It can be easy to get carried away and overdo it in the lighting department. Make sure your safety and security needs are met, highlight a couple of key focal points and just use soft mood lighting elsewhere. No matter how beautiful your fixtures, too much light is annoying.

Credit: Homeowner Newsletter

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, and represents food, family and moments of sharing and professing gratitude.
- Sarah Moore

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