Tag Archives: spring maintenance

Making Efficient Use of Your Air Conditioner

If you cool your home or apartment with an air conditioning unit, here are a few tips that will help you make more efficient use of the appliance, resulting in lower energy costs and more efficient disbursement of the cool air.

 Don’t make the mistake of buying a bigger unit with the impression that bigger will automatically be better.  In fact, a room air conditioner that is too big for the area it is supposed to control will perform less efficiently.  Cooling units work better if they are operated for longer periods of time than if they are switched on and off continuously.  In fact, longer run times allow air conditioners to better control the room temperature.


 Change your air filter.  Dealing with indoor air quality most effectively means filtering or cleaning all the air in your home.

 Don’t try to offset your home’s temperature by drastically lowering your thermostat.  The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. 

 Using an interior fan in conjunction with your air condition will spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing the energy usage levels.

 Avoid placing lamps or television sets near your air conditioning thermostat, as it will sense the heat produced by these appliances, leading the unit to run longer than necessary, and at lower efficiency.

 If you have access to the part of the air conditioning unit that is placed outdoors, consider planting trees or shrubs to shade it, but be careful not to block the airflow.  A unit operating in the shade uses as much as ten percent less electricity than one operating in the direct sun.


Effective Tips for Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is usually viewed as one of the most dreaded tasks people must undertake each year.  It’s a time to air out your home, get rid of old, unwanted items, and to reorganize those things you still plan to use.  By taking a few minutes to put together a “prep list,” you can organize your plan and in the process, make it seem less daunting.

Here are some items, some obvious, some not so, to help you welcome spring and warmer temperatures into your home:

  • Wash your windows, inside and out.
  • Vacuum or wash the draperies and other window treatments.
  • Wash blankets, throw rugs and bed covers.  This is a more time-consuming than difficult process, and you will be better served by setting aside the appropriate block of time to do all of this in one burst of activity.
  • Check all downspouts and clean them accordingly to reduce the likelihood of clogs and other problems.
  • Arrange to have your air conditioning system inspected.  Spring is the best time to do this, because the hot weather has not yet taken hold.  Also, check and clean air filters and vents.
  • Check and replace smoke detector batteries.  This should be done every six months, so setting up a timetable that has you doing this regularly every spring and fall will help to establish a consistent routine.
  • Drain any sediment from your hot water heater to keep it in top working condition.
  • Use a small foam paintbrush to clean small spaces between cabinets or under appliances.  These are those easily-overlooked areas where dust and cobwebs can accumulate undetected for lengthy periods of time.

Just this short list will make an impressive difference in the freshness and cleanliness of your home and set you on the right course for enjoying those longer days and pleasant, warm evenings.

Tips for Cleaning Out Your Closet

Here’s an interesting statistic:  Women tend to wear only 25 percent of their wardrobes, and men wear 85 percent of the clothes in their closets.  Now, relate that to the amount of time a person may stand in front of that closet each morning, wondering why they have nothing to wear.  It’s the rare individual who couldn’t benefit from taking time to clear his/her schedule in order to reorganize their closet, and at the same time, clear their mind.  Getting rid of clothing is one of the hardest things for professionals to do because our clothes hold memories.  But it’s important to overcome the urge to hold to something that we simply aren’t going to wear again.#1 Tip: Edit your wardrobe

Go through your closet and try everything on. Yes – everything. Stand in front of a full length mirror and be objective. Ask yourself questions like: Do I love it?  Is it too big or too tight? Does the color of the item flatter my complexion? Does the style flatter my body type? If I wear something else will I look better?

When that piece of clothing hangs in our professional wardrobe and we can’t fit into it anymore it creates a negative effect that is psychologically and emotionally detrimental. Purge it from the closet and either give it to a charitable organization or send it to a consignment shop.  If it really has sentimental value, then take a photo of it to keep before you give it away. At the very least, store it in a separate closet in a sealed garment bag. But get it out of the everyday closet where it is just cluttering up your life.

If you haven’t worn in the past year, delete it.

If you haven’t worn a particular item within the past 12 months there is always a reason why. Maybe it doesn’t fit or you bought it at a clearance sale. Maybe somebody gave it to you as a gift. Regardless of why you don’t really like wearing it you need to delete it from your wardrobe inventory.

Is the item modern and congruent with your current brand?

You want to be on the leading edge in this new decade and dress to reflect your personal brand. Review your wardrobe and analyze each piece. Is it still modern looking? Can you add a few modern trend pieces to it and have an intentional look? Does the style, color, cut, and fabric create a visual brand image that you want to convey to your clients, prospects, or supervisor?

Does it still make you look impeccable?

Really look the items in your wardrobe over and see if they are in mint condition. Clothes do have an expiration date on them – they don’t last forever.  Scrutinize the item. Would you buy it today if you saw it in a consignment shop? If you wear clothes that have holes, spots, or pulled seams it damages your professional image – and no one can afford to let that happen today.

Does it reflect your personal style?

Advice: Make a list of anything that doesn’t resonate with you – for example, a black pantsuit. Then next time you go shopping take your list with you and focus on finding the replacement items, in newer styles that you will feel more comfortable wearing.

Closet cleaning is essential, especially nowadays. When the economy declines people think that their professional clothing requires a budget cut – when in fact your professional image, including your wardrobe, is one of your best business investments in terms of making more money over the long term. When you schedule time and take the effort to purge your wardrobe, it shows that you value how you look and present yourself each and every day. Cutting out the dead wood in your closet allows you to dress faster every morning, provides you with a list of specific items you need to replace, and it boosts your personal brand and professional image by keeping those current and fresh.


Things to Consider When Repairing or Replacing Gutters

We sometimes take those old gutters for granted. They perform an important job by providing a clear route for rain to run off of your home; that is of course if the gutter is in good condition and is not clogged by debris and leaves. Many homes still have the old sectional gutters that are produced out of pre painted steel, vinyl or painted aluminum.

The problem with these gutters is that they are formed in segments and the seams at those joints tend to leak, which of course defeats the entire purpose. In addition, they don’t typically offer the extra clog protection needed and desired in this day and age. That takes professional gutter protection system installation but the results are well worth it. Many people are frightened off because they fear the costs of gutter replacement and installation. However, the expense of doing nothing can be very costly, as well.

A great gutter system can enhance the beauty and value of your home. The most popular gutters today are seamless. These gutters are typically produced from aluminum but can also be manufactured out of pre-painted steel or copper. These gutters are actually produced on the work site while the contractor is installing the new system. This is not by any means a DIY project. Leave this one to the professional.

One of the biggest decisions you will make about your new gutters would be who to have install them. When this happens you want an independent contractor who is not bound to any particular brand or product. You want a company that offers you options, variety, and all at a fair price. You need a company that stands behind its work. Find that company and your new gutter experience will be a successful one.

In addition to the new gutter, you want to also consider a gutter protection system. There are basically three popular versions of this product available. They are the Solid Cover with side slots, the Leaf Screens or Mesh, and the Gutter Guards that snap in. If you are going to have a new gutter system installed, you might as well do it right. If you take the time to choose a good independent contractor for the job they will provide you with the guidance you need for the best possible product for you and your home.


How to Begin Planning a Patio

There are more decisions that go into planning a patio than may be obvious at the start.  For example:  How important is privacy?  What about prevailing winds?  How about your gardening interest?  Do you want a picture-book effect with borders of colorful annuals, or do you want to spend time just sitting?

Imagine your patio as outdoor living space, not just somewhere to clean mud off your shoes or for haphazard deposits of bicycles, toy and garden tools.  Today, patios are planned as extensions of livings rooms, with sliding door between, providing a physical connection and ready access.

A small patio slab is seldom satisfactory.  Plan one of adequate size even if the project must be completed over a longer period of time.  Make simple sketches on paper and work toward this goal in small steps, if necessary.

The most common type of patio construction is poured concrete.  You can also use brick or other loose aggregates, but concrete is a pretty good step-at-a-time material, because the slabs are usually poured in the form of grids and therefore can be done in stages.  Concrete is durable and fluid enough to be cast in curves and flexible in surface texture and coloring. It’s also relatively easy to maintain.  Take time to consider all the surface options and then proceed with the one that seems most attractive and suited to your intent and the style of your home. Do you plan to entertain a lot of guests?  Will you be putting your barbecuing skills to the test?

Will your patio be a do-it-yourself event, or something elaborate enough to warrant utilizing profession construction services?  Be armed with answers to all of these questions before you undertake the process.  An outside area for relaxation and entertaining can be terrifically rewarding, and therefore deserves a good deal of consideration at the start of the project.

Spring Home Improvement Projects

Spring Home Improvement Projects

Here are some helpful home improvement tips for your projects:

1) To start with your home improvements in spring, it is good idea to keep the WELCOME mat at your front door – or get a fresh, new one. This mat gives a warm invitation to your guests. And another small thing that you can do is to paint your door. Use the contrast colors for trim and your mailbox, if you like, but the colors should go together well (many paint and hardware companies give advice, so don’t be afraid to seek help).

2) Add decorative items outdoors. For example, if your guests see nice decorated pots in front of your door before you open the door for them, they will be impressed with these small touches. You can add small or big pots depending upon the space available. Note: It does not matter how small the pots are unless and until you have a particular plant or other need for them. And plastic pots on the whole will not look as good as clay pots or terra cotta.

3) Spring always comes with the basic idea of overall spring-cleaning of the home – which is great. Clean inside and up, upstairs and down – all around.

4) You can save energy by filling the gaps and holes in your home. They can increase the performance of the electric gadgets and heating / cooling systems.

5) Spring is the season of greenery. Gardens provide great decoration for your home. Lawns around the home need proper maintenance, so you should keep your yard fertilized (as this can be a very tricky matter, you want to hire help – a lawn care service for the the proper maintenance.)

Window Replacement

Window replacement gives a new style and look to your home with additional advantages like energy savings and airy ventilation within during open-window season (without hurting your arms trying to crank out old metal framed windows).

You should search for the good quality windows that will also solve any current problems; for instance, if there are water leaks in or around your windows that will damage the wood seek better seals of fittings / installation. And keep in mind that cheaper windows may not be best in long term because ultimately they may add more consumption of energy.

Window replacement is not very costly if you consider the advantages. New windows may give you convenience of easy cleaning. And if these windows are double hung models that can be tilted, it may be well worth the investment.

Some new windows are made from aluminum or vinyl. They need less scraping and no painting.

Note: It is not necessary to do all this work yourself. Many reps and manufacturers of windows offer services including delivery and installation of your windows… or you can appoint the contractor who will take care of all this work.

In summary, though you can do lot of small things, it is always better to contract experts for work like windows replacement and garden maintenance. This will save your time and energy. The results will be very nice. You will love your home more than ever before.

Bring Spring Into Your Home – Inexpensively!

Bring Spring IndoorsSpring is a time of new beginnings. Flowers and plants are blooming, the sun is shining and the weather is finally getting warmer after winter’s chill. So why not bring some of spring’s beauty into your home so you can enjoy it day after day?

Some homeowners may think they have to purchase new accessories to refresh their home for spring. Handyman Matters knows of some easy, affordable ways to bring spring into your home by ‘upcycling’ the things you already have. These simple projects are fun ways to give a new beginning to the things you have sitting in the garage or basement, while keeping them out of the land fill. It’s a win-win for both you and Mother Nature.

Here are some tips from the professionals at Handyman Matters on how to bring the freshness of spring into your home:

Bring your flower garden indoors

A great way to perk up a home for spring is by decorating rooms where you spend the most time – like the living or family room or kitchen – with flowers. By spray painting flower pots you already own bright yellow, purple or green and grouping them into indoor “gardens,” you will give them new life, while bringing the great outdoors inside. Or, place your “new” pottery on wrought iron plant stands or pedestal tables painted in coordinating colors to add a burst of color to any room.

Winds of change

Adding color to a ceiling or oscillating fan is a great way to add a pop of color in an unexpected way. Rediscover a fan you have stored in the attic. Or find a good deal on a fan that compliments your personality at a flea market or discount store and bring it home for a facelift. Covering the fan in just one coat of inexpensive spray paint in a fresh spring color will create a conversation piece that will last throughout the year. If you’re having trouble with this project, not to worry, Handyman Matters professionals are here to help. No job is too small and they are experienced in over 1,162 different projects around your home.

Bring the outdoor patio furniture inside

Remember the old wicker chair and loveseat you picked up at Aunt Ida’s garage sale? They’re not just for outside. Throw a coat of paint on them in a bright spring color like Aqua or Green Apple and suddenly you have new seating that is perfect for your sunroom, front porch or foyer.

Restore and renew flea market finds

Flea markets are full of treasures that sometimes just need a little TLC to give them new life. Save that dingy chandelier, tarnished lamp or outdated bookcase from the trash by restoring it with a fresh coat of paint, which is sometimes all that is needed to turn garage sale or flea market finds into treasures.

Following these simple and inexpensive tips for bringing spring into your home and before you know it you’ll have splashes of sunshine, spring color and great conversation pieces throughout your home. Say goodbye to the winter blues and hello to some springtime cheer and let Handyman Matters take care of all of your home repair and improvement projects. Find a location near you!

Top 6 Home Maintenance Tips For April

By following these steps you’ll avoid expensive repairs later and keep your home safe and efficient. Please share this post with your social networks so everyone can enjoy the benefits of quality spring maintenance!

1. Clean & Adjust Ceiling Fans – For maximum comfort, ceiling fans should blow down in the summer and up in the winter. Cool air feels good blowing on you but hot air is more comfortable if directed up and then down the walls. There’s a switch on the body of the fan or near the pull chain to reverse fan direction.

2. Change Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Detector Batteries – Even if they test OK, play it safe by changing out the batteries before they die.

3. Inspect Chimney Cap & Masonry – The “cap” is the flat part at the very top of the chimney. Moisture and weather wear this down and can cause deterioration of the chimney itself. Once bricks start breaking loose it gets much more expensive to fix. The cap should be beveled so that rain flows off to the side not into the chimney. If yours is flat, build a 2’ x 4’ frame around the cap, pour cement on top and bevel so water drains off the side, not down the chimney. (see more detail at our web site).

4. Inspect Siding, Soffit & Fascia Boards – Soffit boards are the horizontal boards under the eaves and the fascia are the vertical boards the gutters are attached to. Cracks or separations can allow water penetration which can cause additional damage. Replace as needed and bevel to match nicely with the surrounding wood.

5. Inspect Gutters, Clean and Re-Attach as necessary – Look for roofing nails or pieces of shingles in the gutters, which indicate the roof may need inspecting. Check for rusting on the bottom of the gutters and to make sure the gutter extensions discharge water at least 3’ away from the house. Also, check to make sure that you are not dumping water uphill. Water too close to the foundation can cause flooding and deterioration. Clean gutters and downspouts. Logged gutters cause water to back flow into your house.

6. Check Roof for Missing Shingles, Proper Installation, and for gaps around pipes and corners – Shingles should extend ¾” past the roof decking and allow water to drip into the gutter. If yours have inadequate clearance, water will run down the fascia boards and cause rotting. To fix, either add a row of shingles around the roof or add aluminum flashing.