• Home Maintenance

    Breathing Easier in Your Home

    Maintaining indoor air quality is an extremely important but often overlooked component of a living happily in your home. By and large it’s an invisible problem, but the costs can really add up— from high energy bills to creeping health issues. Many homes have become so energy efficient that they’re also good at trapping dust and other pollutants. Appropriate ventilation is an important aspect of indoor air quality. This includes venting bathrooms, kitchens, and fireplaces directly outside. It’s also vital to try and store industrial chemicals such as pesticides, paints, and harsh cleaners outside of the habitable areas of the home. Alarms are also a useful way to keep an…

  • Home Maintenance

    Dealing with Scratched Hardwood Floors

    Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners, but they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes. Hiding scratches: If you’ve got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like…

  • Home Maintenance

    5 Secret Weapons for DIY Success

    Is there a home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store? There are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just…

  • Home Maintenance

    Save on Your Heating Costs this Winter

    The laws of thermodynamics can be expensive. When the big winter weather arrives, the heat can leach from your home through a variety of obvious and unexpected ways, resulting in high heating bills. Wouldn’t you rather put that money into holiday shopping or upgrades for your house? The most obvious culprits are in plain sight: Doors and windows. The weatherstripping around doors shouldn’t admit any light, and when it comes to windows, you’ll want to look for holes in the caulking. You could even upgrade your windows to double-pane, or go with storm windows to improve insulation. But the less obvious and less dramatic options are available to you, too.…

  • Home Maintenance

    Identifying Common Household Water Leaks

    Did you know it’s not uncommon for more than 20% of homes to have one unidentified water leak? Sometimes these leaks go on for years, completely unnoticed because home owners inherit small leaks, assuming their water bill is normal. Other times, small water leaks are overlooked because owners assume the overall impact to their utilities is relatively small. But the truth is small leaks can add up hugely over time. Periodic inspection for leaks can help plug this problem at the source. Here are some ways to identify and address typical leaks: Track your water bill over time. Most water bills will show your history for several months, if not…

  • Home Maintenance

    3 important areas to focus on when winterizing your home

    (BPT) – From the holidays to cold-weather fun like ice skating and skiing, winter promises its share of good times. Preparing your home for winter’s weather extremes can help ensure that you get the maximum enjoyment out of the season, while protecting your home’s vital systems and indoor comfort. “Winter weather can take a toll on homes, so it’s important to take steps to protect systems like HVAC and plumbing before cold weather arrives,” says Emily Lewicki, brand manager with Luxaire(R). “Properly winterizing your home can help keep it more comfortable, prevent damage from cold and ice, improve efficiency and help reduce heating bills.” Lewicki recommends vital winterization steps to…

  • Home Maintenance

    Making Your Home “Age-in-Place” Friendly

    If you love your home and plan to live it in through your retirement years, you’ll want to be sure it’s safe for you as you face some of those little challenges aging presents. Assess your home and see if there are any changes you may need to make. Doing so will not only reduce the risk of injury, but it will also give your loved one’s peace-of-mind, especially if you live alone. Here’s what you’ll want to inspect as you consider aging in place: Bathroom handrails. Next to the toilet and tub are top choices. Not only are they there for moments of instability, but they can help you…

  • Home Maintenance,  Spring

    Spring cleaning: 6 areas to repair, replace and refresh

    (BPT) – Spring is one of the most popular times of year to clean up your home inside and out, make renovations and take steps to ensure it operates efficiently for the rest of the year. But after the long winter months, the list of projects can pile up. This year, focus on six key areas to repair, replace and refresh around your house now – to avoid spending more time and money later. 1. Repair your roof and gutters. Inspect the roof to check for loose or cracked shingles. Also, be sure to look at indoor ceilings for any signs of water leakage and get started on repairs before…

  • Home Maintenance,  Winter

    How to Prevent Burst Pipes in Winter

    Live in an area where extreme cold is likely during the winter months? Don’t risk thousands of dollars in plumbing repairs… take the time to protect your pipes from bursting. When water freezes in your pipes, the ice expands, adding to the overall pressure in your home’s plumbing. When this force builds, it can cause pipes to split. In addition to plumbing repairs, you might find yourself on the hook for flooding damage, too. The pipes most at risk? Those exposed to the lowest temperatures, of course. This includes plumbing on the exterior of the home, in exterior walls, and exposed pipes in those unheated zones of your home. Did…

  • Home Maintenance

    Housing Components Don’t Last Forever

      Many aspects of a home last little more than a decade. Home buyers should be especially vigilant about inspecting these household components because they have a relatively short lifespan, says the National Association of Home Builders. Aluminum roof coating: 3-7 years Enameled steel sinks: 5-7 years Security systems: 5-10 years Carpet: 8-10 years Smoke detectors: fewer than 10 years Faucets: 10-15 years Garage door openers:10-15 years Air conditioners: 10-15 years Asphalt: 12-15 years Termite-proofing during construction: 12 years   Source: Bankrate.com, Marcie Geffner (01/22/2010) Photo ©Teresa Butler 2010. All rights reserved.