Tag Archives: maintenance

10 ways to winterize your home

     Mr. Winter is upon us!  It’s important to protect your home from the harsh weather that winter can bring.  Here are 10 easy ways to help you stay warm and cozy while the weather outside is frightful.

1.  Get those leaves out of the gutter.

Clogged gutters can cause water to backup and not drain properly.  When winter temperatures freeze water that is stuck in you gutters, it could leak into the house once it starts to melt.

2.  Check for air leaks around the house.

Hold your hand in front of baseboards, power outlets, light switches, etc. to feel for any cold air that might be seeping in.  If so, go to your local hardware store to find different types of insulation to stop each leak.

3.  The more insulation, the merrier.

How old is your insulation?  When is the last time you took a look at it to see if it is still snug against your home, or sagging and separating away from it?  Insulation should be firm and snug against your home.  It isn’t the most inexpensive maintenance to do, but if done correctly can save you a lot of money on energy bills.

4.  While your at it, make sure your air ducts aren’t headed south for the winter.

Air ducts that are exposed to cold air, have tears, or aren’t properly connected can be costing you money.

5.  Before you fire up the furnace, check it out.

Make sure it works before you need it most.  Now is the time to make sure your heat doesn’t give out…not when there’s snow on the ground.  Also, dirty filters decrease the efficiency of your furnace and can pose a possible fire risk.

6.  Give your windows some special treatment.

Of course, making sure your windows are updated and well insulated is key.  However, if you can’t afford to run out and buy new windows, there are other ways to help insulate your windows.  Make sure they are well caulked around the edges, add weather striping, etc.  There are also inexpensive kits that come with plastic sheets to winterize your windows like this one:  http://www.lowes.com/pd_61805-1410-V73/9_4294929691__?productId=3112149&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

7.  Make sure that chimney is ready for Santa.

Annual inspections can be life savers.  If you have a wood stove, chimney sweeps are always a good idea.

8.  Speaking of fire…fire the alarm!

Now is a wonderful time to check those fire alarms and smoke detectors to make sure their batteries are still working.

9.  Get those fans moving in the right direction.

Make sure your fans are switched to circulate air for the winter, instead of blowing air as they do in the summer.

10.  Turn off the water.

Make sure your outdoor hoses are turned off and drained so that the water doesn’t freeze and burst them.

You can read more on these tips in the article that posted these wonderful gems of knowledge:  http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=13107899

 

 

Sources:

Information:  http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=13107899

Picture: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/26/greathomesanddestinations/26your.html?_r=0

First-Time Home Buyer? Don’t Forget the Maintenance

Buying your first home is filled with excitement, anticipation, and plenty of tasks to keep you busy.

While it’s always fun to shop for, design, and create your own space, be careful that it doesn’t completely overshadow the not-so-fun parts, like the maintenance and upkeep you will need over the years. If you’re accustomed to renting, the price tag for your first major repair as a homeowner could come as a shock. Inevitably, appliances fail, pipes leak, and roofs fade. So make sure your bank account is ready when you need a handyman fast.

home repair

A popular rule of thumb says to set aside about 1% of your home’s cost for maintenance each year. For example, if you paid $240,000 for your house, plan to spend about $2,400 a year (or $200 a month) on maintenance, repairs, and general upkeep. That number will vary depending on the age and condition of the house and whether any items are covered by warranties, but, chances are, it won’t be much less on average.

You can try to keep the costs under control by making minor repairs yourself. With plenty of how-to videos on YouTube and great websites for homeowners, small stuff shouldn’t make you sweat. But unless you can replace an entire HVAC system or rewire electrical systems, you will need an expert at some point.

Consider setting aside a small amout each month to soften the blow when something major goes haywire. If you just bought your $240,000 house, try setting aside $200 a month in a separate account for home maintenance. Because the plumber won’t care that you spent all your spare cash on new furniture; he won’t work without being paid.