Tuesday, January 7, 2014 6:15:00 PM
Performing basic maintenance for the plumbing systems in your home can go a long way to preventing bigger issues from erupting. Here are eight DIY maintenance tips that can help minimize the number of trips to your house from your plumber, particularly if your home has experienced plumbing problems in the past.
Fix leaks and clogs immediately. Plumbing issues like these can quickly turn simple repairs into expensive ones and/or lead to water damage and unhealthy mold or mildew buildup.
Use non-toxic drain cleaners. A solution of baking soda and vinegar can clear most minor drain clogs.
Keep drains object-free. Install properly fitting drain screens and sink stoppers to prevent food, hair, and other things that can stop up pipes from going down the drain.
Learn what your disposal can eat. Not everything can be chewed up by the kitchen disposal. Check your manufacturer’s manual for specifics, but as a general rule, never put cooking grease, coffee grinds, egg shells, pasta or rice in your disposal.
Plunger buy the right tools. Be sure you have a plumber’s wrench in your toolbox as well as a sturdy plunger.
Know locations for all shut-off valves. Your home’s washing machine, sink, toilet, and water heater all have shut-off valves. Know where they are as well as your home’s main water shut-off valve and any outside clean-outs.
Prepare for the season. Before winter, inspect the insulation around the pipes under your house, in the basement, and in the garage. Proper insulation helps keep your pipes from freezing and bursting.
Schedule regular plumbing checkups. Consult with your plumber about a schedule for the routine maintenance needs for your home’s HVAC system and water heater. Also schedule a snake of your sewer lines via your home’s clean-out at least every two years to keep pipes free of clogs and buildup.
Remember: your home’s plumbing has a tell. When you spot one of its tics, like a leaky faucet, water on the floor around a dishwasher or refrigerator, or mildew around a sink, shower, or tub, don’t hesitate to act. It’s a sign that you have some maintenance to do.
Friday, January 2, 2015 6:20:00 PM
Many people think the holiday season is the worst time to sell your home, but home sellers have several advantages to selling in the winter. If you live in an area where the market is hot, the time of the year may matter less than you think. Check with your real estate agent to see how long for-sale homes near you are sitting on the market.
Because many homeowners do not want to list their home in the winter, you’ll have less competition. In addition, buyers who are looking tend to be more serious and motivated. And surprisingly, some studies show that homes actually seems to sell quicker, and at a slightly higher price in the winter.
Here are a few tips for selling in the winter:
Decorate, but don’t overdo it. Avoid decorations tied to a specific religion or belief. Don’t crowd your home with distracting decorations. Opt instead for more general fall and winter decorations such as garlands and lights.
Price your home to sell. This is a good idea no matter what time of year, but price is especially important if you are a motivated winter seller.
Take good photos. In the winter buyers are much more likely to start their search by browsing listings on the Internet. Try and get some pictures of your home before the trees go bare and the grass is dormant, or find some flattering summer or spring pictures of your home and yard.
Keep up with the yard maintenance. Remember, your yard is a crucial part of your home’s first impression.
Add light. Buyers love light bright rooms, which can be a challenge with short winter days. Turn on all of the lights for showings, and consider adding floor lamps or table lamps, or using brighter bulbs to show your home at its best.
Make it cozy. A warm house is a cozy house, so make sure you keep your thermostat set appropriately for daytime showings. If you have a gas fireplace, turning it on can also be a nice touch.
Get your home in tip-top shape. Consider having your furnace/HVAC system and roof inspected. Clean gutters, change filters, and perform other winter maintenance.
Be flexible. Winter is a busy time for everyone, and everything from personal commitments to unexpected storms can interfere with showings and open houses.
Remember, someone will always be looking to buy a home.