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Homeowner Tips


Straight from the Experts

Need some home maintenance tips? Sometimes it’s the simple things like fixing a leaky faucet or cleaning out your gutters… and sometimes it’s more complex fixes such as air conditioner maintenance or garage door repairs. Whatever the job, chances are we have a helpful article with handy tips to keep your home in tip-top shape all year round!

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Often the only difference between carpet that looks new and carpet that looks old is dirt. Study dry soil under a microscope and you'll see that dirt is composed of particles with razor sharp edges. These edges wreak havoc on carpet fibers. So if you want to save thousands of dollars and triple your carpet's life, get rid of the dirt. But don't "sweep it under the rug." Try these time-proven methods instead.

Vacuum well and often

Vacuum

Vacuum well and often

When dirt is the enemy a vacuum is your best friend. The best models use dual motors—one for the suction, the other powers the beater bar. Look for good filtration and a brush height adjustment that suits your carpet. Experts recommend that you vacuum at least twice a week, sometimes more often in high traffic areas.

 

The two main culprits are right under your feet

Day in and day out, nothing brings more dirt into your home than shoes. One solution is to keep a mat outside the door for brushing off some of the dirt and grime from your soles. Another great idea is to remove your shoes at the door and wear some "indoor-only" slippers around the house.

The two main culprits are right under your feet

Welcome matt

 

Become a traffic cop

traffic cop

Become a traffic cop

Heavily used sections of carpeting will show the most wear over time. This is where area rugs and runners can help. Place them in front of and under heavily used furniture. And speaking of furniture, try redefining traffic patterns by rearranging it occasionally. Because heavy furniture can leave permanent indentations in your carpet, you should always use furniture glides.

 

Avoid direct sunlight and clean stains immediately

Like your skin, carpet ages faster when it is exposed to UV rays. The more you can protect it from direct sunlight by closing blinds and drapes, the longer it will last. As for stains, they're easier to remove the sooner you attack them. Start by applying liquid or dry carpet cleaner with a lint-free cloth and blot, never rub. Let the area dry and remove the residue with a plastic scraper. Then, you guessed it, it's time to vacuum.

Avoid direct sunlight and clean stains immediately

Cleaning up carpet stains

 

Ceiling fans help keep your home comfortable year-round. They circulate cool air during the summer and push warm air down to you from the ceiling in the winter. Of course, the best way to keep your ceiling fan healthy is with a little preventive care and maintenance.

Everybody loves a ceiling fan…until they quit on you

Repairing a Ceiling Fan

Everybody loves a ceiling fan…until they quit on you

Caution

Please remember to turn off the ceiling fan and allow it to come to a complete stop before going near it. Otherwise the spinning fan blades will wreak havoc on your knuckles and your head.

Dust is the enemy

As you may have noticed, dust finds ceiling fans very attractive. It gathers on the blades and accumulates around the motor, which can reduce a fan’s useful life. That’s why you should dust your ceiling fan at least every two months.

Your vacuum is your friend

With its hose and brush attachment, use your vacuum cleaner to remove the dust from the top and bottom surfaces of your fan blades, as well as their leading edges. Don’t forget the motor housing and any ventilation screens. If it’s not practical to use your vacuum, you can use feather dusters, too.

Wipe all surfaces with a clean, damp cloth. If your fan has them, it’s also a good idea to remove the glass light fixtures that cover the light bulbs and wash them with soap and water. Hold the glass fixture securely with one hand while loosening the thumb screws at its base. When you replace them, make sure to tighten all the screws firmly by hand. But don’t over tighten them because you can break the glass.

Are you hearing noises? You might have a loose screw

There are a lot of screws in a ceiling fan and when any one of them becomes loose, it can turn your silent friend into a noisy nuisance. That’s why it’s a good idea to go over the whole fan and make sure all the screws are snug. Aside from the noise, loose screws can damage your fan – and in some cases, your body. And, that would not be cool.

Many features can give away the age of your kitchen, and these are often simple things that can be easily updated to improve the overall look of the room. With a handful of simple changes you can easily update an outdated kitchen without spending a great deal of money in the process. Consider the following simple kitchen decorating tips and tricks when it comes time to update your outdated kitchen! More than likely these simple updates can be completed in a weekend…

Hardware Changes

Dancing in socks on a hardwood floor

Hardware Changes

Caution

When stepping into a kitchen, one of the first features to give away the age of the space is the hardware on the cabinets. This is a very easy fix, and cabinet hardware comes in all price ranges to meet every budget and style preference. If the cabinets are in otherwise good shape they will look completely new and entirely different, and all for the cost of new handles and knobs.

Update Colors

In addition to updating one of the most expensive features of a kitchen with new hardware and baskets, you can update wall colors with a coat or two of new paint. Wall color is one of the least expensive ways to update an outdated kitchen, and it’s an ideal fix for those decorating on a budget. Get rid of that outdated olive green or 70s gold and update with a trendy new color!

Update Colors

Traffic Patterns

Add Woven Textures

Gum on Hardwood Floor

Add Woven Textures

Woven textures such as rugs and window treatments can also help bring an outdated kitchen into the present. Update your kitchen floor with the addition of a stylish new throw rug that is durable and machine washable. It can help hide worn flooring and give bare feet a soft and warm surface to stand upon.

Update the Faucet

Faucets aren’t cheap by any means, but when considering the price of a kitchen remodel, a new faucet is just a fraction of the price. Visit your local home improvement store and consider one of the many new styles of faucets available. If the sink is in great condition, a new faucet will make a huge difference in the look of the sink. Newer sinks usually come with the option for additional accessories, and the perforated holes are easily punched out to hold items such as soap pumps, drinking water taps and handheld sprayers.

Update the Faucet

Welcome matt

Let's face it… who really wants to discuss decorating the bathroom? It’s typically the last room to get that extra special touch of décor! Investing a few dollars in sprucing up your bathroom will give it a whole new appeal! Here are a few tips to get you started.

Paint the walls

Dancing in socks on a hardwood floor

Paint the walls

Painting bathroom walls can change the appearance of a bathroom dramatically. It’s inexpensive, and a quick and easy instant change! Make sure you use good quality paints, as good paints have the tenacity to withstand humidity.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Using large mirrors in your bathroom will make it appear bigger. Adding a wood frame around the mirror’s edges really adds class. And, just think how much better you’ll look framed!

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Traffic Patterns

Fun with curtains and towels

towels and curtains

Fun with curtains and towels

Replace your old boring bathroom curtains with bright, colorful ones. If you can’t find a shower curtain that fits the bill, then take a look at traditional window coverings. Often times you can find one to match and fit your tub. Once you’ve found just the right curtain color, add in some complementary towels.

Accessorize the bathroom

If you have extra counter space, add a small decorative lamp stacked on top of some old books for a different look. Use a low-wattage bulb to create a soothing glow. (It can take the place of a nightlight, too!) Hang a shelf over the toilet and display small family pictures, or those favorite bath time pictures of the kids to help give your bathroom personality!

There you have it… some simple, inexpensive tips to make your bathroom more attractive!

Accessorize the bathroom

Welcome matt

Few things add more to your home’s beauty – and value – than hardwood floors. That might be why hardwoods cost more than carpeting. If your wood floors have lost their luster it’s time to bring them back to life. Fortunately, that’s easier than you think.

Are rubber soles rubbing your floors the wrong way?

Dancing in socks on a hardwood floor

Are rubber soles rubbing your floors the wrong way?

Caution

While they might be comfortable on the feet, rubber-soled shoes are not so friendly to wood floors with a polyurethane coating. The good news is that light scuffs can often be rubbed out with socks. So put on your knee-highs, grab your partner and do-si-do! If the scuffs are too stubborn for your old-fashioned sock hop, try adding a little baking soda to a damp rag and gently rub it out. Be sure to wipe off the residue with a clean damp cloth and give it a little buff.

Look for those traffic patterns

Stand back and look at those areas where people tend to walk. Do they look dull compared to the low-traffic areas? If so, it’s probably due to dirt build-up. What ever you do, don’t bring out the mop and bucket. Wood floors should never be soaked with water. Instead, use a brand name cleaner designed specifically for wood floors and follow the label directions.

Look for those traffic patterns

Traffic Patterns

To get rid of gum and goo, go to the freezer

Gum on Hardwood Floor

To get rid of gum and goo, go to the freezer

Maybe the only ones who like hardwood floors more than you are chewing gum and tar. Once they’ve taken hold they can be very persistent. To outsmart them, stick some ice cubes in a plastic bag and hold it on top of the offender until it hardens. Then use a spatula or credit card to gently coax it off the surface.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of elbow grease

Want to make your life even easier? Try the following preventive measures:

  • •Dust mop and/or vacuum with a soft brush attachment.
  • •Keep your pet’s nails trimmed.
  • •Place protector pads under furniture legs.
  • •Use doormats and place rugs in high-traffic areas.

 

Now, was that so hard?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of elbow grease

Welcome matt

Are Your Washer and Dryer About to Revolt?

Avoid hazards and heartache with a little preventive maintenance

Dancing in socks on a hardwood floor

Avoid hazards and heartache with a little preventive maintenance

Did you know clothes dryers cause more than 10,000 fires every year? And, one of the most frequent insurance claims is water damage caused by a bursting washing machine hose. Here’s how to avoid trouble and keep these appliances humming happily ever after.

Check and/or replace your hoses

Supply hoses should be checked every year. If yours are plastic, replace them with braided metal hoses to eliminate the risk of bursting. The new hoses should be long enough to allow movement of the machine, usually about five feet.

Unplug the power cord; turn off the hot and cold-water valves and place towels or a bucket under the supply hoses to capture the water in them. Use adjustable pliers to loosen the hoses and remove them from the supply valves and the washing machine bibs.

Connect the new braided hoses from your machine’s threaded bibs to the water valves – making sure to match the hot- and cold-water hoses with their respective valves. Tighten the connections using the pliers, turn on the hot and cold water and check for leaks.

Check and/or replace your hoses

Traffic Patterns

Clean the trap, ductwork and vent

Gum on Hardwood Floor

Clean the trap, ductwork and vent

Clean clothes dryer lint screens after every load. Twice a year remove the lint screen and use a snorkel brush to clear any lint residue in the trap. A vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool works well, too. Detach the ductwork from the dryer exhaust and the wall vent. Then use a dryer vent brush to clean the vent by spinning it from the inside to the outside vent hood. Be careful not to create a clog by forcing it too hard and fast. Then step outside and check the vent hood to make sure it’s clean and clear.

If your old ductwork was plastic, replace it with metal because plastic is a fire hazard. Connect and seal the joints with aluminum duct tape – screws snag lint. The ends of the ductwork should fit snugly to the dryer’s exhaust and vent hood without the need for any tape.


And, that’s all it takes to avoid spending lonely nights at the local laundromat.

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