Browsing Category: "House and Home"

The Seasons Are Changing – Make Sure Your Home’s Prepared

The effects of climate change mean we’ve just lived through the hottest August ever recorded. But summer’s soon coming to a close, weather will get colder, and leaves will soon crowd your yard as it transitions into fall. What’s more is winter isn’t too far off, and with such a hot summer, you can expect things to get extra cold by December.

You don’t just need to prepare yourself for the colder months. Your house and garden should also be well-maintained for the fall and winter seasons. There are a lot of home maintenance jobs that become particularly important during the second half of the year. You’ll likely have to work harder for the next couple of seasons since weather conditions are much harsher.

[Photo courtesy of tpsdave/pixabay.com]

The best time to start work is right now before the season changes. Preparing your home is advance is the smartest idea. Your home should be ready for when the wind gets stronger, and the leaves start to fall. Your home should be kept warm and protected from the elements. Here are some useful tips for preparing your home for fall and winter.

Keep Your Home Warm

While the weather is hot, open windows and breezy fans are a must to keep cool. But as the season changes, you’ll definitely want to protect your house from the cold drafts and increase in rainfall. Some people make use of electric heaters to warm their home up, but the most efficient way to do it is using an HVAC system.

For a lot of people, the same system that provides air conditioning around the house can also keep them warm. These systems are prone to problems, though. It’s important you get your HVAC system checked. Professional services can help you with HVAC maintenance, for example, you can learn about Academy Air.

Your heating system isn’t the only thing you should concern yourself with. You should keep your home insulated from the outside. Caulking any cracks or gaps in the construction of your house will prevent drafts. You will also want to ensure windows are double-glazed if they aren’t already. These are jobs many home maintenance companies can handle. Not only will they keep you warm, but they also go towards raising the value of your home.

There are plenty of other ways to keep your home warm when the weather gets cold. Things like halogen light bulbs and heavy curtains can give a room extra heat. We’re set for a cold fall and a freezing winter, so make sure you’re prepared!

Unclog Gutters

[Photo courtesy of Eric Schmuttenmaer/flickr.com]

While your gutter system may not be much of a concern during the summer, it becomes particularly important after. Gutters can quickly become clogged up with leaves and debris in the fall. Make sure to clean your gutter and downspout regularly. This will help to circumvent rain properly.

Although you can call a handyman to do this, it’s possible to handle yourself. You can use a ladder and a plastic scoop to remove any debris. Another method is to use a high-pressure hose to clear it out. Using a hose is also useful for cleaning out your drainpipe of any obstructions.

There are other measures which can help improve rain flow through gutters. You may want to look into tips for cleaning and repairing gutters. Make sure they’re well-prepared before the leaves start falling in October.

Roof Maintenance

Much like your gutters, your roof is another part of your house that can quickly become covered in leaves and debris. Debris from the roof can fall and contribute to clogging up gutters, so it’s best to clear them out. Algae can also accumulate on roofs. You can remove it using a scrub brush and algae cleaner.

September is also a perfect time for roof maintenance. You’ll want to check for any cracks or loose shingles and sort them out to stop the cold coming in from above your house. A lot of roof maintenance work is best left to a professional. You may want to call on the services of a roofer or handyman to make sure the top of your house is well maintained.

Prepare Your Garden

[Photo courtesy of donwhite84/pixabay.com]

Your garden has probably seen plenty of usage over the warmer months, but this is likely to change as the weather gets colder. Due to the harsher weather conditions, you’ll want to make sure your garden is well prepared for fall and winter.

If you have a pool or hot tub, it’ll become increasingly hard to keep them clean from autumn leaves. If you plan to keep using your pool, you’ll need to skim it daily to clean out leaves, dirt, and other falling debris. However, the best idea may be to drain them and use an efficient plastic cover to prevent them getting clogged up.

Garden furniture can also get damaged from falling leaves, rain, hail, and snow. The chances are, you’ll be using your garden tables, chairs, and loveseats less often. The best idea is to put them away in a shed or garage if they’re small enough. If not, you might want to cover them with a plastic sheet.

Changing temperatures and weather conditions can also mean your lawn needs a different approach. Lawn care services can help you with keeping your garden healthy over these months. However, it can also be the best time to do more work in your garden. Some flowers and plants are easier to grow during these months. Check out BHG’s fall lawn care secrets for getting the most out of your garden during the autumn season.

Mow the lawn and give your plants and hedges a trim before the season changes. It’s also worth investing in a leaf blower at this time. A leaf blower is one of the most useful tools you can have during fall and winter. It can be used to remove leaves from the gutter, your car, your garden, and pretty much anywhere else. There are also some lesser known uses to have more fun with your leaf blower, so it’s well worth getting one.

Clean The Chimney

If your home has a fireplace, you’ll probably be making much more use of it once summer ends. Be careful, though. Over time, chimneys can become clogged with debris and chemicals. Failing to clear these out can result in toxic emissions and even chimney fires in worse cases.

Cleaning a chimney isn’t a job you should handle yourself. It’s best to schedule a cleaning from a handyman or a dedicated chimney cleaner to get your home ready for winter and fall. If you use a wood burning fireplace, now is also the best time to stock up on firewood to make use of throughout the rest of the year.

Winter Preparation

While the autumn season can bring on some colder weather, things will get even worse in the winter. You should prepare in advance for the inevitable lower temperatures and snowfall.

If you don’t already have them, it’s worth getting a snow shovel and scraper. These will help you clean out your driveway and remove snow from your car on those snowy winter mornings. Having a cover for your car can also help. A lot of people hate having to do this every morning, which is why one person found a way to clear snow in the laziest way imaginable.

A lot of the work you carry out for the fall will benefit you all the way through winter. However, as temperatures start to get even colder, you may want to put extra work into keeping warm. An electric blanket is a good way of keeping your bed warm and cozy during the winter. A cheaper solution is to take a hot water bottle to bed. Winter is also the best time to stock up on hot chocolate, and you may also want to buy a thermos flask so you can keep your coffee warm on the way to work.

Interior Decorating

[Photo courtesy of newhouse/pixabay.com]

Right now is also the best time to redecorate your house with some winter interior decorating ideas. You may want to use brighter lighting and warmer colors to counteract the winter darkness. Decorations like candles are also great to have around the house during the colder months.

Redecorating now is also a good way to start energy-proofing your house. You can look into some energy saving ideas to cut down your bills in advance.

Make sure your home is warm, comfy, and looking good for the fall and winter. There’s plenty of decoration you can do yourself. However, you may also want to consider using an interior decorating service to rehaul your home completely.

Reassess Your Home Insurance And Energy Plan

Home insurance becomes particularly important as winter approaches. The worsening weather conditions lead to a greater risk of property damage. Pipes can get frozen, and hailstorms and high winds can damage your home exterior.

Because of this, it’s best to reassess your home insurance before the winter comes. Websites like Credio can help you compare home insurance companies. You should also check your energy bill. The chances are you’ll be using much more gas and electricity as temperatures cool down. Make sure you’re getting the best cover for what you pay.

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Why Household Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Problems around the house are a little like flies at times. A certain amount you can ignore, especially if they’re small and quiet. But the bigger they are and the more of them there are, the worse. And before too long, because you ignored the little ones, there are a lot of big ones, and they’re doing real damage. As tempting as it may be just to say “it’s not a real issue” or “I’ll get that looked at – soon”, it’s a bad idea.

The fact is that problems are usually easier to solve than we build them up to be. Would you rather be under the sink fixing a pipe or sitting watching TV? Probably the latter, but considering it takes next to no time to do the work there’s no reason to cancel the great binge-watch. A fifteen-minute postponement won’t ruin the whole thing. And you won’t have to worry about an inevitable kitchen flood, which is always good.

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Image by Daren

Of course, there are going to be some problems around the home that you won’t be able to fix. It’s useful to have the wisdom to know the difference between the two. It’s also wise to bear in mind that stopping it getting to the point where repairs are needed is the best course altogether. Yes, it’s boring. But it takes so much less time and money.

The truth is, repairing even minor issues in your home can be a time suck and can cost more than you would like. Yes, you can replace your faucets yourself – and at some point, might do so just for a change. But if you keep them in good condition on an ongoing basis, you won’t be forced into it.

Those basic bits of housekeeping will save you a lot of time and money, but annoyingly they can be things you just wouldn’t consider in the basic run of housework. If you’re not sure what you should be doing then these details from Assured Comfort are a handy reference. If you really want to save time then it’s always going to be better to, say, stop food from being washed down the sink. That way you don’t have to ask yourself whether to call a plumber for the blocked pipe or do it yourself.

The same goes for issues anywhere in your home, not just within the plumbing. Major electrical issues such as frayed wires and regular fuse blow-outs are likely to need some intervention. A trained electrician will know precisely what to do and do it safely. However, a blown fuse in a plug can typically be easily replaced by hand, and you should change light bulbs on a semi-regular basis.

Problems around your house can be simple or complicated. If you treat them as a minor inconvenience, then you’re not saving yourself time or money. If problems are allowed to become chronic, the time will come when they present a real threat to your and your family’s health. If that happens, then you can end up paying in much more than dollars. Taking preventative measures is a huge step towards securing safety.

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Five Things To Organize Before Moving Into A New Home

You’ve spent the past few months packing up you old home into cardboard boxes. Moving day is getting closer and closer, and the excitement of a new house is building! Don’t blow your good mood by forgetting to prepare the house you are moving into, though! A new home is essentially an empty shell, and no one wants to live in such a sparse space. Even if it is just for a few nights while you try and get sorted. So how can you move into a comfortable and livable home? Here are five things to organize before moving into a new home.

This is a photo of a light mint green old VW beetle car in front of a wodden house with a white fence in a residential area in a typical american street. There is a yucca palm tree in the lawn of the house. The sun is shining brightly.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Air Conditioning

If you are moving in the middle of summer, it is a good idea to get some air conditioning arranged in your new home before you move in. If possible, turn on the Air Conditioning the day before you move, so the air will be fresh and cool on the day. Sometimes you might not be able to get into the property before moving day. Therefore, you can’t install an efficient air conditioning system in time. So pop in a portable fan or air conditioning system on the morning of your move. This can freshen up the rooms while you bring in all your boxes.

Kitchen and Bathroom

Most of the time, you will move into a home which is already furnished with a kitchen and bathroom. However, if your home is going to be empty, one of the first things you’ll need to organize is a kitchen and bathroom installation. As with the air conditioning, it is best to try and get all this sorted before you move in. If you don’t have access to the property until moving day, try and negotiate with the previous owners. If you explain that you would like to put in a kitchen and bathroom before you move in, they are likely to understand. They may be in a similar situation themselves!

Flooring

Flooring can often be a problem when you move into old properties. Homeowners rarely update their flooring, so you may find that you want to replace the old flooring in your new home. Especially if it is made from a natural material, such as wood, as these can scuff easily. Rather than moving in all your furniture and then having to move it again when you get new floors, try and arrange new flooring for before you move in. This will be much easier for you in the long run!

New Address

Don’t wait until you have moved in to notify your bank and other important institutes of your change in address. Tell them in the run up to your move. It doesn’t take long – you can update addresses online most of the time. This is then one less job to do once you are getting settled into your new house.

Once you have got the above jobs sorted, you can start to think about the day of the big move! Once it’s all done, you will have fewer jobs and more time to make your new house a home!

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How Clean is Your House?

Is your house really untidy? Believe it or not, more people live in total chaos than you might think. Some people are so ashamed of how messy their house is, they won’t let necessary visitors past the front door. If you have kids or lots of pets, tidying up may seem a never ending task. It’s true that many of us try and give ourselves very high expectations. If you’re trying to look after a large family, there are never enough hours in the day. And what is the point of picking up all those toys when the kids are going to empty them all out again tomorrow? It can seem like an utterly thankless, and pointless task. But we all feel better when our houses are clean and tidy.

It might be unrealistic to say right, let’s get that house cleaned from top to bottom! You haven’t done it properly for some quite some time. House cleaning gurus Flylady.net always say that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Take baby steps to fixing your home. It didn’t get this way and a day, and you’re not going to have it all fixed in a day, either. These things take time. Do it properly, and form better habits.

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In the kitchen, start from the basics. Don’t start sorting out cupboards if you have a sinkful (or two) of dishes. Make sure you’ve done the fundamental tasks before you move on, or you’ll just end up in a bigger mess than you started. Start from the top and work down. There’s no point in giving yourself extra jobs to do. You’ll just be wasting time if you keep having to revisit the same areas.

If you’re a bit lazy when it comes to changing sheets, then you might want to give your mattresses a quick once over.Are the all in a good clean state? Do they have bust springs or stuffing trying to escape? Another thing you should look for is bedbugs. The bug busters at AtkinsInc.com say it’s a far more widespread problem than most people realise. These horrible beasties could be living in your mattress without you even knowing!

Deep cleaning your bathroom will give it some sparkle back. If you’ve got grotty grouting, though, it could make the whole room look past its best. Instead of laboriously removing and replacing the cement, why not use a grout pen. It’s a cinch to make your grout stand out for all the right reasons. It’s quick and easy and will fix up your smallest room in a jiffy! Check out tips on how to use them at Doityourself.com

Wipe down your walls. It’s amazing how grubby your walls can look once the bright light simply of spring comes flooding through your windows. Get a bucket of warm soapy water, dampen a cloth and give them all a good wipe. Pay attention to skirting boards and light switches too, they’re a prime breeding ground for bugs and germs.

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