How to Prepare Your Home For a Remodel

Settling into this New Year means starting new home renovation projects, whether they are big or small everyone seems inspired by this new beginning to finally conquer these projects. We’ve decided to come up with some tips to help those renovating homeowners to help make this project a successful one!


Learn from Others

One of the best ways to get inspiration and to avoid pitfalls is to follow the experiences of other homeowners. A number of web sites offer online chronicles of home improvement projects, along with reply forms, message boards, and chat rooms that let you ask questions and get feedback. Also, try chatting with employees at your local hardware stores while you are doing your research on the supplies you’ll need for your project. Many times, they’ve heard a horror story or two and can give you some helpful advice.

Think Ahead

Planning ahead can make or break your do-it-yourself project/renovation or even a bigger project that requires a contractor. Try to address as many details as you can before starting your project. Ask tons of questions before demolition even begins, so you thoroughly understand what you are getting yourself into. Although you may dream of having a spacious new addition, the project may not make sense if you plan to sell your house in a few years. Moreover, your own family’s needs may be very different in a few years. Will the plans you draw today fit your future?

Prepare Yourself and Your People

There is a season for everything, and some seasons are better than others for major remodeling projects. For most exterior house projects, such as painting or deck-building, temperate seasons such as late spring, summer, and early fall are best. For roofing projects, the middle of the summer provides the longest stretch of dry weather. Interior projects can be done at any time of year, as they are independent of the weather, but these are only ideals. Contractors and tradesmen often extend those seasons as far as possible, because, like most people, they cannot afford to shut down their businesses due to inclement weather. As a result, they have workarounds that allow them to roof far into the fall or paint in the winter.

Arranging Your Schedule

Do not expect to rearrange your work schedule or curtail local leisure activities due to your remodeling project. If you are working with a contractor, they usually work around your local schedule. Remember, they are receiving a hefty commission. So, meeting you at the job site after work or during your lunch break is what they do. However, if this is a do-it-yourself project you may need to sit down beforehand and give yourself a reasonable timeline to complete your project but don’t cancel all of your plans or put off spending time with friends and family. Putting off your social life can cause a project to become more difficult or give the impression it is taking longer to complete than planned. Balance your time between the project and your daily lives.

Neighbor and Community Relations

If you live in a single-family detached home, you probably are not legally obligated to seek approval from your neighbors for your project. Remodeling projects that touch the property line, like fences, are an exception. If you live in a condominium, you may need to seek approval from the board for remodeling projects within your walls. It is almost certain that you will need approval for projects that involve common (shared) walls or your home’s own interior walls. As a goodwill gesture, though, you should talk to your adjacent neighbors, informing them of your upcoming plans.

 

In Case Your Project Requires a Contractor or Outside Assistance: Prepare Your Home

How Much Should You Do Yourself?

Some homeowners believe that they should not have to lift a finger prior to their upcoming project. Others jump in wholeheartedly by “helping out” the workmen prior to or during the project. What should you do? In general, it is unwise to do absolutely nothing prior to your remodel. Some prep work, such as clearing out rooms, is involved, and it is only to your benefit to do this yourself. Unless you have made prior arrangements with your contractor, you should not do any work during the course of the remodeling project. Contractors dislike it when clients change things around at night or on weekends when the workmen are not around, as this impedes the workflow.

3 Things You Absolutely Must Do

  • Move Fragile and Precious Items: China, photos, artwork, electronics, and all other items that you do not want to get broken or dusty should be moved by you out of the work area and into safe zones (see below).
  • Clear Rooms of Large Items: What about the big stuff, like sofas, cabinets, large rugs? If you are capable, the best-case scenario is for you to remove these items from the work zone and seal them tightly in plastic sheeting. If you are not capable, speak to the contractor about this. For a nominal fee, the contractor may agree to have some of the workers perform this task for you.
  • Keep Your Items Safe from Theft or Misplacement: Whether located in the work area or not, any items of monetary value – jewelry, cash, precious metals, even some prescription drugs – should be removed from the home and placed in a safe deposit box. If you have a home safe, store them there. You don’t want to play the blame game with your contractor or their workers, especially if it turns out your child misplaced something.

New Year’s Resolutions For Your Home

A new year means New Year’s resolutions and more often than not they are usually more personal. But, why not make some New Year’s resolutions for your home? Don’t wait until spring cleaning to think about your home, start now and use springtime as a revival in case you fall off the resolution wagon. Some of the following resolutions are quick and simple, some of these resolutions (if planned out properly) can last throughout the entire year. Take some time at the beginning of January and plan out how to incorporate these resolutions throughout your 2018.

 

Streamline your stuff.

One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter. Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. All that clutter also makes your house look dated and dirty. This year resolve to go room-by-room, one room a month, clearing anything that you don’t use, wear or love, and donate it to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in!

 

Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean.

Daily: Dishes go in the dishwasher every night – no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet. Bring everything back to its assigned place.

Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips:

– Keep all of your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths – in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.

– Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors).

– Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.

For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties: One of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle.

 

Do a safety audit of your home.

You probably know that you’re supposed to check your smoke alarms on January 1 every year, but the new year is a great time to do other safety checks as well. In addition to a smoke detector, you should install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor with a gas appliance or working fireplace. Check every electric cord for fraying — yes, every single one — and then recycle those fire hazards. Go around your home and check all access points and make sure their locks work properly. If you don’t have a security system start doing some research. Lastly, if you haven’t already, test your home for radon.

 

Review and Renew Your Homeowners Insurance.

A lot of homeowners roll over their insurance year to year, but if you haven’t reviewed your policy in a while, you might be missing out on some money-saving opportunities. Shop around and get quotes to see what rates are competitive in the current market and if you’re paying more, see if your current company will match the lowest quote. If you have a stand-alone policy, think about bundling your auto and homeowner’s insurance with one company. Insurance companies will often offer discounts for customers who hold multiple policies. If you’ve made any major improvements to your home that could impact the insurability of your house (like clearing trees, installing a high-tech security system or adding storm reinforcements), let your agent know. Improvements can often lower your premiums.

 

Plan for emergencies.

Natural disasters and social disruptions are unwanted, but they happen. To be ready, you actually need to prepare. Do you have a family evacuation plan? Emergency supplies? Go to ready.gov for a ton of ideas on prevention and disaster preparedness.

Tips to Create a Home Inventory for Insurance

5 Tips for Making a Household Inventory List for Insurance

With Christmas behind us and tons of pricy new appliances, jewelry, and technology to keep the kids busy its time to take a minute and make sure you are up to date and prepared in case something bad happens. If a fire engulfed your house tonight and destroyed your home including all the new Christmas goodies, how would you claim them in order to be reimbursed to get new ones? Many people wait far too long to add these new valuables to their insurance plan. A list is a much better way to catalog your belongings than trying to remember everything you own after something traumatic has happened. However, grabbing a pen and paper to write down every single item is a daunting task, at best. There is a middle ground, though. Here are a few tips for creating an inventory without getting overwhelmed.

Your standard home insurance policy will not cover the entire inventory of your house (or at least not the full value of certain possessions) so you may wish to add specific, more expensive, items to your coverage. Here are a few key items to keep in mind while deciding what to ensure: jewelry, artwork, electronics, collectibles, equipment.

1. Don’t try to do it all in one shot
If you try to make a household inventory list in one shot, you’ll get overwhelmed and give up. Instead, go room by room. You could even subdivide rooms and make your bedroom and your bedroom closet two different entries.

2. Give yourself a deadline
A deadline is just another way of saying you have a goal. Give yourself one week to complete the inventory. Try to do at least a little every day. Ten minutes working on your list is better than not working on it at all.

3. Organize receipts
Keep copies of the receipt in your home inventory file or safe deposit box. Having discernable proof that you purchased the item gives the insurer an exact amount the item is worth.

4. Take pictures
Take multiple photos of each room. Open drawers and photograph your silverware, the utility drawer, maybe by walking through the house with a video camera from time to time, so that in the event of, say, a disastrous fire, you’ll have a record of what you lost.

5. Be detailed
The more detail you can offer your insurance agent the better. Pictures and receipts as stated above are a good place to start. Look for the items the serial number or item identification number. Note any previous scratches, damages, or personal engravings so you can prove the item is yours in case it is ever found again.

3 Apps for Creating Your
Household Inventory List

You can use pen and paper, of course. Just make sure you store your list in a safety deposit box or at a relative’s home. These apps work just as well and you can access them from anywhere: Sortly, Encircle, and Own’it

How to Keep Your Home Safe While You’re On holiday

Here are some tips to keep your home secure this holiday season:

  1. Get a house sitter or a friend to check on your house regularly and remove any flyers left on your doorstep or bring in the garbage cans.
  2. Pause mail and newspaper deliveries. Upon request, the post office will hold mail for up to 30 days.
  3. Be careful what you share on social media. You may want to avoid announcing you’re going on vacation and resist sharing your travel photos while you’re away. Also, let your kids know that they also shouldn’t post on social media about the house being empty. (That’s a tough one…)
  4. Don’t leave a message on your voicemail saying you’re out of town.
  5. Check with your local police department to see if they have a vacation home check program. Officers will drive by periodically and check for strange cars or anything suspicious, and call you if anything is wrong.
  6. Let your neighbors know you’ll be out of town and give them a phone number to contact you in an emergency.
  7. Use light timers to turn lights on and off and possibly the radio or TV. It’s very convenient to be able to control your lights and electronics from anywhere in the world, and you can do this in several ways. The most basic are analog timers that you can plug a lamp or appliance into. They are cheap and reliable, but not very flexible. A step up is individual electronic versions that are Wi-Fi enabled. These let you control a lamp or appliance from your smartphone. Simple versions can be found for as little as $25.
  8. Mow your lawn before you leave or schedule someone to mow it while you’re away. If the leaves are falling, arrange to have someone rake for you.
  9. Don’t leave a GPS in your car at the airport. It can show thieves where you live and they’ll know you’re out of town.
  10. Use a monitored home alarm system. You may want to contact them ahead of time to let them know you will be out of town.
  11. Take a look at your house from the outside to see if any valuables are visible.
  12. Install deadbolts on your doors.
  13. If you have sliding doors or windows, make them more difficult to break into by placing a metal rod in the sliding track.
  14. Disable your automatic garage door opener by unplugging the power.
  15. Don’t hide a key outside. If you have to store spare keys to give access to a friend to check on your house while you’re gone, you can use a Portable Key Safe.
  16. If your garage has windows, use window coverings or have your windows tinted so thieves don’t see your car is missing and/or see other valuables.
  17. Consider using a remote app to turn on/off lights, alarm systems etc. at different times of the day. You may want to use camera enabled software to really keep an eye on your home while you’re away.
  18. Turn the ringer volume down on any phones so burglars can’t hear them ring while outside.
  19. Don’t leave ladders or tools accessible that would make a thief’s job easier.
  20. Keep your blinds or window shades in the same position you normally would.
  21. Ensure trees, bushes or shrubs are trimmed back from windows and doors so that they don’t block visibility.
  22. Make sure you don’t have an alarm clock set to go off automatically.
  23. Use a home safe that is attached to the floor or a built-in shelf and keep it away from the master bedroom or closet.
  24. Use motion-sensor lights near the garage, backyard, front door, and any other dark areas.
  25. Engrave your driver’s license number into your television, computers and other electronics. Also, you may want to take photos of your valuables and record model and serial numbers and store those off-site.
  26. One other thing you shouldn’t do is advertise an empty house with your luggage tags. When you put your home address on those luggage tags, you’re letting everyone know where there’s an empty home. That’s an open invitation for a bad guy to burglarize it while you’re gone. The risk may be low, but it’s not zero

Preventing Freezing Pipes

Fridgid winter temperatures can freeze vulnerable pipes inside and outside your home. Frozen pipes are one of the biggest property damage risks when the temperature drops. When water freezes inside a pipe, it expands and can burst pipes and cause extensive damage. There are three main reasons why pipes freeze:

  1. Drastic drops in temperature
  2. Poorly insulated pipes
  3. Thermostat set too low

Preventing Your Pipes From Freezing

Inspect – Look for leaks, rust, cracks, and other evidence of damage. If any areas are damaged, replace them with new products.

Drain – Drain water from garden hoses, swimming pools, and water sprinkler supply lines and shut off the water valves. The water inside a garden hose can freeze and back up into the spigot until it reaches your pipes. Don’t forget the secondary values as well, especially if you have an automatic outdoor watering system that may prevent you from turning off your main water valve.

Insulate – Consider installing insulators like a pipe sleeve, or heat cables onto pipes located in a crawl space, attic, or cold area of the house.

Heat Tape – Wrap heat tape around the pipe and plug into the receptacle. It’s effective in crawl spaces, garages, and where you have access to the pipe.

Re-route Pipes – If you have pipes that are outside and exposed to freezing temperatures, have a plumber re-route them to the interior of the house.

Trickle – During the extreme cold, opening both cold and hot water faucets to a trickle can help prevent frozen pipes.

Open Door – Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors. Opening the cabinet doors allows warm air to circulate. Keep garage doors closed.

Shut-off – If you leave for a winter holiday, drain water from outside pipes and shut off the water supply at the main valve.

Heated House – Keep the thermostat at a steady temperature above 55 degrees when the outside temperature is below freezing.


Thawing Frozen Pipes

Getting only a trickle of water flow? It’s probably frozen.

  1. Try to locate the section of pipe that is frozen. Using a blow dryer or a heat gun, blow hot air on the section of frozen pipe. You can also try using an electric heating pad or space heater. (Do not use a torch or open flame of any kind.)
  2. If necessary call a professional plumber.

If a pipe has already burst:

-Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve

-Leave the water faucets turned on

-Do not use electrical appliances in standing water

-Contact a professional plumber

-Contact your local Steamatic to help with the clean-up and to restore your home!  http://www.steamatic.com/locations.html

 

Tis the Season of Decorating

A house lit up with Christmas lights is a beautiful sight to behold. But stringing lights across your roof and around your home can be a real safety hazard if you’re not careful. So before you flip the switch to dazzle friends and family with your spectacular light show, take a few moments to run through a quick safety checklist with us!

Lights & Cords:

● Think back, how old are your Christmas lights? Incandescent bulbs should be replaced every 4-6 years, LED lights last a bit longer, for 7-10 years. If you aren’t sure carefully check them for cracked cords, frayed ends or loose connections.

● Modern lights have fused plugs, preventing sparks in case of a short circuit. Throw away old strands of lights that don’t have fuses and get a set of newer, safer lights.

● If bulbs have burned out, replace them right away, but make sure you use the correct wattage bulbs.

● Water and debris can get into outdoor sockets, so make sure outdoor lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet to reduce the risk of shorts and shocks.

● Keep an eye on extension cords, as they can occasionally overheat. Just touch-test the cord. If it’s hot, unplug it and use a higher wattage extension cord.

● Don’t use tacks, nails or screws to hang lights, which can pierce the cable and become electrified. Use insulated hooks instead.

● When running extension cords along the ground, make sure to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick to keep snow, water, and debris out of the connections.

● Tape down any ground-level extensions cords to prevent people from tripping over them.

● Not all lights are rated for outdoor use. Indoor lights often have thinner insulation, which can become cracked and damaged when exposed to the elements outdoors. So make sure the ones you string up on the house belong out there.

● Don’t leave Christmas lights running when you go to bed at night or when you leave the house. Not only will you save money on your energy bill but the lights are less likely to overheat and break. Buy a timer for your lights from your local grocery or hardware store.

● When you put your lights back into storage after the holidays, make sure to put them in a well-sealed container to prevent possible water damage and to block hungry rodents looking to turn the cords into lunch.

Tree Tips:

There are 200 Christmas tree fires and 6 related deaths each year, and   $14.8 million in direct property damage annually according to the NFPA. Here are some tips to keep your Christmas Tree as safe as possible this year!

● First and foremost, make sure you buy a fresh tree with vibrant green needles that don’t break or crunch under your touch. If you tend to buy your tree immediately after (or before) Thanksgiving, you risk the chance of your tree drying out before it’s time to open presents on Christmas Day. Routinely check your tree to make sure it’s still fresh. Brownish needles mean the tree is dried out and more prone to catch fire.

● Help your tree along by providing it with plenty of water throughout the season. Keeping it hydrated will vastly reduce the chance of it catching fire.

● Don’t place your tree too close to a heat source, such as a fireplace or heater, and be sure to place lit candles far away from the branches. Four to six feet is a good distance to keep your tree from any heat source!

● And lastly, be sure to check that all of your fire detectors are working and have a fire extinguisher charged and ready in an easily accessible location.

 

And remember Steamatic is here for you and your family 24/7, we know that disasters don’t take holidays. Find your local Steamatic at http://www.steamatic.com/locations.html

Preventing Kitchen Fires During Thanksgiving!

Not only is the holiday season an opportunity to show gratitude, spend time with family, and enjoy the cooler weather, it is for getting to indulge in all of your favorite foods, or in some cases side dishes. Especially during Thanksgiving, all the best side dishes make their way from recipe books onto the dining table and into our bellies. Every year some new dish is seen on Facebook or liked on Instagram and you think “that looks so delicious, that’s what I’ll make for Thanksgiving this year!” Regardless of whether or not those “as seen on Facebook” recipes work out, your kitchen is going to be getting a lot of use this holiday season and it is best to be prepared for the worst.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. With this in mind, we want to make sure families are prepared for the worst-case scenario. A kitchen can turn into a chaotic and an unsafe place as we not only deal with hot surfaces but also boil liquids and work with sharp knives, harmful utensils, and machinery. One has to be careful about aspects like electrical and grease fires, scalding, food safety and preparation, cleanliness, handling hot items like water, hot pans, etc., electrical safety, handling small appliances and childproofing your kitchen.

Tips to keep your kitchen safe:

  • Make sure that children and animals are not spending too much time in the kitchen. Of course, we want our kids to learn how to make the family recipes, however, having children in the kitchen requires more of your attention to be taken away from some potentially harmful pots and pans. Always have one adult per child while cooking with your family.
  • Ensure that all the wires, cords and plugs of your appliances are not frayed and have 3-prong grounded connections. Avoid using extension cords and instead, use a junction box with built-in GFI (ground fault interrupters). This will help during a power shortage and also avoids water/electrical shock accidents. With that being said, avoid overloading electrical outlets, when you are done using an appliance unplug it from the wall. That way it isn’t consuming energy, as well as cannot accidentally be turned on to cause an accident.
  • This tip is more common sense but does bring up some good points to remember. Turn the handles of pots and pans inward so you do not knock them off and spill boiling contents. Keep the loose clothes, long sleeves, and long hair away from hot burners along with dish towels and pot holders. Avoid loose-fitting clothing. Do not store combustible items on the stove (eg. potholders, hand towels etc.). And don’t forget once you’ve finished cooking, always make sure that all oven and stove dials are turned off.
  • There are constant distractions, especially with the extra family running through the house. Ensure that you never leave food unattended when cooking. Simply walking into the family room to get updates on the football game is long enough for a dish to burn and catch fire.
  • Make sure that you keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen (but not near the stove or the heater). Also keep other flammable objects like mosquito repellents, cockroach repellents, and others away from the stove, as keeping them close to the fire can lead to an explosion. Keep all emergency numbers close to you.

With these tips, we hope your kitchen comes out on top this holiday season. Steamatic wishes you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Winter holiday fires by the numbers. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Seasonal-fires/Winter-holiday-safety/Holiday-fires-by-the-numbers

https://www.commonfloor.com/guide/basic-kitchen-safety-tips-food-safety-tips-11851.html

How Do You Know When to Change Your Homes Air Filters?

Air filters, one of the few items in a home that seems so trivial, often forgotten and underappreciated. That is until your electricity bill arrives and it has spiked, or someone in your family just can’t kick that common cold. You breathe the air that is circulating in your house – if your air filters are dirty, just think about what you are breathing. The simplest fix is changing out your air filters!

Every home has an HVAC unit which stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Basically, it controls the air we breathe every day while inside our homes, kind of a big deal in hindsight. So you see it’s a two-part system, the HVAC unit as well as the air filters. Did you know that keeping your air filters clean increases the life of your HVAC unit? It can also help prevent unusual wear and tear on the unit as well. If you’ve ever bought an air filter, or even if you haven’t, there is a manufacturers recommendation on how often to change the filters inside your home…however, each home is different, and therefore should be treated differently!

When choosing how often to change your air filters there are several factors that need to be taken into account:

  • The type of filter your homes A/C system requires
  • The overall air quality of your area, if you are unsure go ahead and visit https://www.airnow.gov/ insert your zip code and see what the air quality in your area is like. The more you know the more informed your decision will be!
  • How many pets are in your home – Birds, cats, dogs, hamsters (do you have one? two?), etc.
  • The number of occupants in the house. The more people in the home the more debris that is being pushed through the filter.
  • Do any members of your family suffer seasonal allergies or have asthma? Look for a special air filter specifically designed to catch more pollen.

For your typical 1″-3″ air filters, the manufacturer specs say to change them bi-monthly, which is, in fact, a great rule of thumb.  If you have to tolerate light to moderate allergies, you may need to upgrade the air filter or change them even more regularly than original manufacturers specifications. On the other hand, if you’re in a remote area, own an infrequently occupied home (like a vacation home) or an area where there are fewer cars around, replacing your air filters each year may be quite sufficient. Why do pets matter so much? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter fast. Clearly, the air filter is just doing its job by capturing pet hair and dander, but tremendously dirty filters can cause weak HVAC performance. Did you know that having clean air filters can actually extend the life of your HVAC unit?!

In summary, something so easily forgotten is actually very important for your home, health, and wallet. Here are a few tips to help you the next time you run to your local grocery store:

  • Seldom used home or single occupant homes without pets or allergies: Change 6-12 months
  • Typical suburban home without pets: Change every 90 days
  • Add a dog or cat: Change every 60 days
  • Multiple pets or have allergies: Change every 30-45 days
  • Purchase multiple air filters at once so that you are always prepared to change your filter

Interested in having your HVAC system checked before all your holiday guests arrive? Find your local Steamatic and have them come take a look, visit http://www.steamatic.com/locations.html today!

 

Protect Your Home This Winter

Let’s be honest, once the fall season hits, most homeowners get caught up in decorating their homes for the holidays, planning festive gatherings, and shopping for the perfect gifts. However, not many of us stop and think of what kind of maintenance our beloved homes need before it has to host the next big dinner or ugly-Christmas-sweater party. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home-cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. But fires shouldn’t be your only concern, frozen pipes are one of the leading causes of home damage during the winter months. Regardless of what climate you live in, Texas heat or Minnesota snows, maintaining your home could save your thousands of dollars in repairs.

So before you start planning your upcoming dinner party go ahead and check to make sure you read the winter home maintenance checklist, so your home can handle all of the holiday festivities, and if you find something suspicious, call a professional!

Winter Maintenance Checklist:

Lawn:

  • Service the snow blower, bring out the snow shovels, and purchase ice melt. It’s always best to be prepared ahead of the storm.
  • Drain gasoline and oil from your lawn mower and weed eater. Wash and move to storage to add years of life to your equipment.
  • Rake away the last of fall leaves and remove foliage debris. Start a compost pile so you can enrich your soil come spring.
  • Aerate, fertilize, and reseed your lawn. Fall is the best time of year to start or revitalize your lawn for the spring season.
  • Roll up and store hoses, insulate outdoor faucets and winterize sprinkler systems – frozen water can be very destructive especially when it comes to pipes and hoses.

Exterior:

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year, preferably before its first use, creosote buildup in the flue can cause a fire. When the first cold snap comes you want to be ready to light that fire.
  • Inspect your roof and repair any loose or missing shingles, remove any branches hanging over the roof – a little work now may prevent a major repair in the future.
  • Fill any low spots that have developed in the soil near your foundation, and make sure the soil slopes away from the house to avoid water damage in your basement.
  • Wash your windows so they’re clean and sparkling for the holidays.
  • Clean your gutter and inspect your downspouts.
  • Check the caulk and weather stripping around your windows and doors and repair or replace as necessary. Simple weather stripping can prevent drafts and improve heating efficiency so you don’t waste the warmth!

Interior:

  • Have your HVAC unit serviced– you don’t want to discover a problem on the first cold night and have to pay for an emergency repair. Find your local Steamatic to receive a quote today! http://www.steamatic.com/locations.html
  • Before you start cooking fancy dinners for your family and guests thoroughly clean the inside of your oven. Pull away from the wall to remove any debris.
  • Don’t forget to reverse your ceiling fans. Changing the rotation of your ceiling fan forces rising heat down for greater energy savings.
  • Now is a good time to check your fire alarms and extinguishers, so that you are prepared for the worst. Replace batteries twice a year in detectors and replace devices every 5-10 years.
  • Change your air filters, clogged filters impact the efficiency of your heating system and can cause equipment damage you may pay for later.
  • Drain your hot water heater, sediment can clog pipes and cause problems. Plus, you can improve its efficiency by 50% with this one simple task.
  • Insulate any exposed water pipes – a frozen pipe can burst and cause a huge mess.

Now your home is ready to make those family memories of carving the Thanksgiving day turkey, watching Superbowl Sunday, and decorating holiday cookies.

 

9 Fall Maintenance Projects

During autumn it’s a great idea to take care of some fall maintenance projects. Most of these tasks typically take a few hours or less to complete and can help you get your home ready for fall!

  1. Touch Up Exterior Paint: If your paint is chipping, take a sample to have a hardware store match the paint. Then go to town on the touching up, or hire a professional to do the work.
  2. Trim Trees: Before it gets cold out, trim all your trees and shrubs. Also, remove any dead branches or tree limbs that may pose a hazard to your home in the event of a storm.
  3. Improve Porch Lighting: Make sure your porch lights are up to date and functional. If your driveway or sidewalk isn’t well lit, now would be a good time to add some lighting!
  4. Plant Fall Blooming Flowers: Consider planting some fall-blooming perennials.
  5. Wrap Up Interior Painting Projects: You can open the windows to air out your space, and the paint dries out faster as well.
  6. TuneUp and Store Your Window Air Conditioners: Now is the perfect time to do some routine maintenance on your window air conditioner before you store it for the season.
  7. Clean Your Drains: Unclogging your drains can be done at any time of the year, but you may want to consider taking care of this task now. Clearing pipes and take precautions before the cold weather sits in is best.
  8. Change Out Your Furnace Air Filter: Installing a new air filter and having peace of mind knowing your furnace is circulating clean air when you turn on the heat in a few weeks. Learn what to consider before buying a new filter at the Allstate blog.
  9. Dust Refridgerator Coils: The coils of your refrigerator have worked hard all summer to release heat from the motor, helping ensure that your refrigerator runs efficiently. When they’re clogged with dirt and dust, it may reduce their efficiency and potentially shorten the life of your refrigerator. You can find out how to clean them here at Real Simple.

Once you’re done with all these fall maintenance chores you will be ready to enjoy the cool weather and fall holidays with your family and friends.