Summer is still several months away and you may be experiencing the winter blues, but just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stay home. Why not take a short trip out of town to boost your spirits? There are plenty of places close by that will offer respite from the routine for a weekend — or longer if you wish. Continue reading
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Now that those holiday decorations are put away, it’s time to perform your winter house maintenance checkup. Performing a yearly winter home maintenance check-up can help prevent costly repair bills, make your home safer and lower energy bills. No one wants to be stuck without heat during frigid temperatures due to a faulty furnace. The following winter maintenance check-up guidelines can help you prepare your home for the cold winter months. Continue reading
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Why does the heat pump always wait until it’s -12 degrees outside to die on you? It’s not just your fantastic luck. The harsh conditions of winter weather can be tough on your home. Keeping up with routine maintenance can ensure you don’t wind up with a home repair emergency on your hands in the middle of a cold snap. Here are some suggestions to keep your house running smoothly.
- Change your furnace filters – It’s not an exciting job, but if you want heat to flow freely throughout your home, you want to put it at the top of your winter to-do list. Clogged filters can cost you extra money on your heat bill each month and over-tax your system causing it to break.
- Winterize your water lines and air conditioning unit – Avoid frozen pipes by draining any hoses and air conditioner pipes. Make sure there isn’t water pooled in your air conditioner. Turn off water to all pipes that connect to the outside of your house.
- Seal up your home to avoid drafts – If you have leaky doors or windows, you might as well open them up and throw cash out into the yard. Drafts cost you a lot of additional money in energy bills and your heat is just rising up into the atmosphere. A draft can give your thermostat a false reading, causing your heat to run more than it needs to. Escaping warmth can also cause you to crank up the temperature, costing you more to heat your home. Air leaks are simple to fix. You can winterize your windows with an inexpensive kit from any home improvement store.
- Install energy efficient windows and doors – If you have a little more money to invest, energy efficient windows and doors can save you money on your heating bill and your taxes. There are federal tax credits available for upgrading to energy efficient windows and doors.
- Tune up your heater – Preempt an emergency visit from your friendly HVAC tech by being proactive. Get your heater a tune up before you’re in the midst of the coldest months. Many HVAC companies offer free annual system checks if you schedule early in the season, before they get overwhelmed with emergency repair calls.
- Clear out dead tree limbs – During winter storms and harsh winds, dead tree limbs falling can cause major damage to your home and threaten your safety. Tree branches that are obviously dead, dangling or just overhanging your home or vehicle should be trimmed prior to the harsh winter weather to avoid an accident later in the season.
- Get your chimney cleaned – If you’re lucky enough to have a cozy fireplace to enjoy, make sure that it’s safe for your family by having it cleaned regularly. A clogged chimney is a major hazard to your health and safety. Animals also enjoy building their homes in chimneys, so you want to make sure there are no additional occupants in your chimney before lighting that first fire of the year.
Keeping your home well-maintained during the winter will not only keep you warm and cozy, you will protect your investment so that when the time is right to sell, you’re ready. If you’re in the market to sell your home (or purchase a new one), contact us today!
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Just like we winterize our cars with new tires, a tune up and oil change, our homes need a winter tune up, too. Our homes are the largest investments we make, and keeping them in top shape keeps us comfy and our investment safe. Below are a few suggestions to keep your house warm and winter safe.
- Rev up your HVAC. Call your local HVAC professional to inspect your furnace or heat pump. The pro will check your system to make sure it is clean and in good repair, as well as monitor for carbon monoxide leakage. A quick tune-up can bring your furnace back up to manufacturer-rated efficiency.
- Reverse your ceiling fans. Check any ceiling fans in your home to see if they are rotation reversible. Running the fan blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat produces a downdraft that recirculates the heated air rising to the ceiling. You might be able to keep the heat turned down a couple of notches and save on your heating bill!
- Hit the roof. Damaged or loose shingles can happen in the winter months letting in leaks from storms or melting ice and snow. If you are not one for heights, try using a pair of binoculars to scan the roof. Don’t forget to check the flashing seals around vents and chimneys, too.
- Drain the main. Undrained exterior water pipes and lawn watering systems can freeze, causing cracked and burst pipes as ice expands. If your home is more than 10 years old, you may not have frost-proof faucets. Check with your water department or lawn sprinkler company to make sure the job is done right.
- Stock the essentials. Double check your cold-weather essentials regularly. Ice melt and other essentials can disappear quickly if the winter is a long one.
- Focus on insulation. Most insulation can be installed year around. Check with your local weatherization company or hardware store to see about getting your attic or basement insulation as soon as possible. Think of the savings on your heating bill!
- Check for fire safety. Make sure your fire extinguishers are charged to their full capacity, and double check the batteries in your smoke detectors. This is especially important if you have a fireplace in your home and around Christmas time.
- Clean those chimneys. Chimney fires account for 30 percent of home heating fires a year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Even if you are super-efficient about your fall chimney sweeping, be sure to check your chimney and vents are clean and in good repair regularly during the winter months. Santa won’t be the only one who will appreciate it!
My hope for everyone is to have a safe and warm winter. I am sure there are a dozen more tune-ups out there any homeowner can think of to add to their list. If you would like to stop in and give me your ideas, or if you are looking for a cozy new home this winter contact Jacobson Realty and Home Staging to get the conversation started.
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