As a homeowner, you likely already have a checklist of items you need to complete before the snow falls. But, there are a few items that you may have forgotten about. Don’t let these items go unchecked or you may have unnecessary headache and expense in the future. Below are 6 tasks that should be completed but many homeowners overlook.
Note: If you do not have a checklist of home maintenance before winter, take a look at ours here!
1. Drain Gasoline and Oil From Your Yard Equipment
Mowing your lawn may be the last thing on your mind right now. But, to ensure your power equipment still runs in tip top shape next year, drain the remaining gas and oil out. If gasoline or oil sits too long it could cause changes in the chemical composition which could lead to a number of problems. Read about how gas can go bad and how to identify it here.
2. Clean Your Window Weep Holes
There are many windows that have weep holes on the exterior bottom of the frame. Their purpose is to drain any water that collects in the frame’s bottom channel. But often times they get clogged with bugs or debris of some kind which could then spill into your house. First, test the weep hole by pouring water into the track. If it doesn’t steadily drain out, there is likely a clog. If that is the case, you could spray it out with compressed air or poke a wire hanger into the hole.
3. Drain Sediment From Your Water Heater
You should drain some of the water from your water heater every year otherwise sediment will collect at the bottom. With gas powered water heaters, this will cause hot spots that will damage the tank. With electric powered heaters, it could cause the lower heating elements to fail. So draining it once yearly will not only extend the water heaters life but also save you money on your energy bills.
If your dryer vent is plugged, it could cause your dryer to run inefficiently or even cause a house fire. Before winter arrives, be sure to clean out your vent to prevent that from happening. It may not always be lint that causes the backup, there may be pests nesting or stuck exhaust hood flappers could also be the culprit. Each year, take the vent off the back of your dryer and clean it. You could get any debris out with a wet/dry vac or use a cleaning kit that can be purchased at home centers. Inspect your exhaust hood flappers to ensure they are in proper working order as well.
5. Check For High Water Pressure
High water pressure can cause issues with pipes, connections and appliances not to mention it wastes water. It is very easy to test to pressure, you just need to purchase a pressure gauge that hooks up to spigot or tub faucet. If the pressure is too high, just change the pressure reducing valve.
6. Test Sump Pump
It’s best to test you sump pump twice a year to avoid your home flooding. It is very simple to test it, you just need to dump water into the basin to make sure it’s working. And be sure your pump has a vertical float switch.
Consider adding the above tasks to your winterizing checklist to help with any possible issues that may arise over the winter season.
We all love our garbage disposal but when it breaks down, it definitely becomes a love/hate relationship. We’ve scoured the blogs and professional opinions and we have a short list of ways to keep your disposal grinding away.
- Really think about what you’re putting in there. Most food should be alright, but take note if the food is prone to absorbing water further, if its very hard or tough or if it might get really gunked up in cool water. Heavy and hard things like bones might break the mechanical parts of your disposal. Fats and oils can solidify in cold water and clog your pipes. Foods that absorb water will eventually turn into a gunked up clog.
- Cold water is best when grinding your waste up. You can absolutely use hot water at all other times, but cold water is recommended so that oils don’t melt and then solidify in the drain plug of the disposal. I personally run hot water after to push anything lingering further on down the drain.
- Clean it up! I like to use citrus peels and some dish soap to keep the disposal clean and smell free. You can put the peel and the soap in while the disposal is running and you can tell right
- Use an allen wrench to free up the disposal. Sometimes they get bound up or maybe you over did it when cleaning out the fridge. Don’t stress! Just grab an allen wrench and hand turn according to directions. Usually that will do the trick and you won’t burn out the motor! Win!
- Experts recommend keeping your disposal blades sharp by dropping some ice cubes down the disposal. It doesn’t take a long time but it does sound a little intense. Bonus feature- it’ll act as an abrasive and clean off any built up food from the blades and the housing.
- Did you know there are disposal cleaners? There are. But they are not to be confused with your standard drain cleaner- which have caustic chemicals that can/will damage your disposal’s seals and integral parts. Don’t do that. You love your disposal too much.
- Be very vigilant and cautious when you’re getting things that fall in to the deep, dark, slimy disposal. Set up a barricade, nail the kitchen door shut- do what you must do so that you don’t turn into a horror movie character and lose your pretty fingers. Please.
We are not plumbers nor are we disposal experts, mostly just parents who have had to take care of a few household maintenance issues. But if you’re looking- we do have a plumber we can recommend. These are just our real life bits of advice and some info from the pros. Please use common sense when trying to do any work on your disposal. If you think about it- its really a sink full of spinning knives… so safe.
For more information on proper use of your disposal, click here!
For a checklist to prepare your home for the colder months, click HERE!
If you have any other disposal tips or if you can think of a topic you’d like to hear about, please let us know in the comments.
Let’s Make Awesome Happen,
Everyone has an idea of their dream house. Maybe it has an elaborate built in shelf for your trading cards. Maybe there is a slide to go downstairs. While these are both awesome, they might not be part of the next owners dreams. When you are ready to invest some money into the house, consider this list of renovations that have the best return on investment (ROI).
Minor Bathroom Update
You’ll see a trend throughout the list. There is a breaking point where an investment will start to cost more than you will get back. That’s why there are lots of items that are a “minor” remodel or update. These are that happy medium ground that still makes an updated room scream that its shiny and new, but it will cost you less in the long run.
To replace tubs, tile and caulk in a bathroom might run a little over $1000 and you can expect a return rate of about 102% (at current market values).
I’m 100% certain that when you walk up to someones front door, you take notice of their grass or the plants growing, if their siding is dirty or if their walk is swept. Everyone does. So when buyers are shopping for homes, you want their attention to be focused on your yard. You want it to yell at them and tell them to come check out the rest of your awesome home! DIY landscaping can be cheaper than paying a professional, but it can take longer and you might accidentally find the sprinklers with your shovel like I definitely didn’t do. There is no right answer when you decide if you want to pay a pro or be a weekend warrior. There is, however a good payoff for your investments when you sell your home, like 100%-good.
Major Kitchen Remodel
If your home is like ours, the kitchen is the absolute heart of it. Maybe because we love food, but that is besides the point. Consider updating your dated appliances, cabinets from circa 1990 and the flooring. Tile is amazing, but even quality vinyl will really lift the rooms appeal. Most of our clients head straight for the kitchen to try and picture themselves slaving over the stove. You try it. Are yo able to picture plenty of work space and uncluttered counters? If not, think about pairing down some of the obstacles. The average ROI for kitchen remodeling is about 91%. Not quite as high as the other projects, but definitely one of the BIGGEST selling points.
Just like the landscaping, a fresh coat of paint or updated shutters and fresh siding can really draw people in. And since you are taking the time to improve your home, do the things that will get you the most in the long run. Current market trends predict a ROI for exterior improvements at about 95%. And let’s be honest, that particle compressed siding the color of avocados… has to go.
Now that 2018 is finally here, resolutions and goals seem to be all anyone is talking about. If one of your resolutions is to be a first-time buyer then here are a few tips to help you make that a resolution that doesn’t fall by the wayside. Maybe your resolutions don’t involve buying, maybe it is to sell your home or to build equity with your existing home or investing in your home. In any case here is an abbreviated list of some routes to consider. (Full Article)
For the first time buyers
Buying a new home is scary, but taking the first steps toward an organized and planned out purchase is half the battle. Having a structured plan and timeline gives you a set of instructions that you can follow. Near the top of the list you create should be finding a reputable and thorough realtor to take the mystery of purchasing and turn it into an understanding of the process. Regardless of when your planned purchase date is, NOW is the best time to start working on your credit. If you’re one of the majority who has room for improvement, the sooner you start working on it, the better. And speaking of now, remember that you are going to need a down payment for your purchase.
For the First time Sellers
Maybe you don’t plan to be a first-time buyer, maybe selling is on the top of your 2018 goals, then you need to start planning too! When you prepare your home to be sold, you need to make sure that you take care of all those repairs you’ve been putting off. Along with fixing, you need to start getting rid of the extra and unused stuff that has been accumulating. Personally, I don’t want to pay to ship the contents of my junk drawer or those broken things that I keep meaning to fix. Throwing away (donating, selling) is hard but once you’ve cleared out the clutter, you’ll be happy you did and it’s one less thing you need to worry about.
Trying to Add Equity
One of the most effective ways to add equity to your home is to bring your principle down. You can do this in several ways. Refinancing your home might be a good choice. Either for a shorter loan term or for a lower rate. Another way to bring down your principle is to pay more. That simple. Maybe you pay more each month or you make an extra payment. Either way you’re going to have to pay more.
Investing in Your Home
Investing in your home can be one of the more gratifying options. Most of us like to see transformations. And making your home more beautiful is always exciting. Make sure when you chose a project that you select one that has a good return of investment. It would be a good idea to do some homework and find out the most sought after home features. One type of renovation that will almost always yeild a good return of investment is increasing your home’s energy rating.
No matter what topic made your 2018 Real Estate goal list, we hope you were able to find some of this advice helpful. If you did, or have any other ideas- Reply and tell us all about them. Please don’t forget to check out the full Windermere article for any extra info.
LET’S MAKE AWESOME HAPPEN!
Washi tape is a wonderful gift from the Land of the Rising Sun. Traditionally, washi is a type of paper made from tree bark or various other plant cellulose. It is most often used for its aesthetic appeal, but does have some other applications. Since it hit the shelves, it has been a God-send to interior designers and DIY-ers alike. It is a cheap way to have all the color and fun with none of the commitment.
As a new homeowner its really exciting thinking about all of the remodeling and designing you want to do to the interior. But then there’s the anxiety of choosing a color or style. Will we like it? Is it too bold? Will it work with our furniture? Thankfully you can try out some different schemes or patterns in your home without having to worry about the work of changing it. Washi tape is a great way to test the waters and try on different ideas you might have had. Or, maybe you’re like me and you want to change your entire house every few weeks and need something that will be easy to change too.
As a renter you have probably encountered the frustration of not being able to decorate, paint and design your space to your heart’s content. Typically, landlords will require that tenants do nothing to damage or change the home in any way. Other times, renters will avoid putting holes in the walls to ensure that they get their entire deposit at the end of the lease. Both are valid reasons to want to find a temporary work around that will leave your rental feeling like home, and your landlord happy. Here ares some ways to use washi tape to incorporate some beauty in your space and leave the walls good as new when you leave.
Accent walls are a great way to add a huge pop of color to a bland room. They make a huge statement and fortunately with washi tape, they aren’t permanent.
It might not seem like a big deal, but a beautiful headboard can really make a room. While some are just part of the bed frame, others are mounted on the wall. That’s where the washi tape comes in for a damage free , bold statement.
Nurseries and Play Rooms
It seems like kids always want to have bright pink or blue or other crazy colors for their bedrooms. Washi tape allows for all sorts of color and whimsy without having to consider how many coats of white paint it will take to cover up that Frozen mural.
As if the pictures didn’t already speak for themselves. Washi tape is a great way to add a bold statement to your rooms. These murals provide great conversation pieces when placed in main areas. Just make sure if you’re doing something geometric, you have some patience and a ruler, and a ton of coffee.
Another great thing about using this tape throughout your home is that you can add small pops of color or detail that really personalize your area in a big way.
Hope you enjoyed the creative fuel as much as I have! Go forth and make Awesome Happen!