June Home Maintenance Tips

June is here! Here is a short home repair checklist to help you avoid expensive repairs later and keep your home safe and efficient.

  • Tighten Loose Screws & Nails on Porches & Fences – Wood expands and contracts with changing temperatures and weather.  Boards will loosen and warp if not maintained.  To ensure your porch or fence lasts, tighten screws and hammer protruding nails carefully to make sure you don’t cause the wood to crack by over tightening.
  • Test & Adjust Gates – The bottom boards can break and gates can sag as they get older.  Boards may need to be replaced and sagging can be fixed by adding diagonal cross bars of woven metal or wood to straighten.  Gates can also sag if they do not have enough hinges.  To save money, many fences are built with 2’ x 3’s instead of 2’ x 4’s and 2 or 3 hinges are used instead of 4.  If a sagging gate has less than 4 hinges, adding hinges will prevent future sagging.
  • Clean & Seal Fence and Porch Area – Do this once each year to extend fence and porch life.  Make sure that once you use one kind of product for this that you continue to only use the same type product every year in the future to prevent any incompatibility problems.
  • Fill Up All Sinks & Check Drains for Leaks – Visually check for leaks and check drain speed by filling up sinks and watching how fast they drain.  If you’ve noticed water build up in the sink, while using it, it’s at least partially clogged.  Use a natural product like Bio-Clean to unclog your drainpipes.
  • Change Furnace Air Filters – Filter out allergens and keep your furnace running efficiently by changing your air filters.  We recommend microbial type filters. Change monthly or as recommended by manufacturer.
  • Test All Smoke or CO Detectors Push the button on the unit to check it – a few minutes doing this each month could save your family’s life in a fire.
  • Have Air Ducts Cleaned Every Other Year – It’s important to make sure the service you choose uses equipment that sucks and scrapes anything inside the ducts out to their truck or at least outside your house.  Make sure to use a service that provides video of the before and after and that any seams that need to be patched are patched with metal tape, not fabric.

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.

12 Steps To “Going Green” In Your Home

go green at homeIt’s easy to talk a good game about going green, but not always as easy to walk that talk.  But here, with the assistance Dan Fritschen, the owner of remodelormove.com and a practiced hand at implementing reasonable ways to be greener at home, is a list of easy-to-implement practices and products for reducing your home’s carbon footprint:

  1. Don’t rebuild or remodel from scratch without considering re-purposing what you already have on hand.  Remember to weigh disposal costs and landfill burden.  In the case of cabinets, for example, re-face, don’t replace.  When possible, use other’s cast-offs.  Check out www.freecycle.org to find everything from free cabinets to windows to light fixtures.
  2. Choose sustainable or recycled materials when updating floors.  Farmed oak, bamboo and cork all offer greener, comparatively affordable flooring choices.  Tiles made of ground-up discarded porcelain sinks and toilets also look better than you’d think.
  3. Use Low-VOC paints. These have fewer volatile organic compounds and are easier on the planet.  Also, you won’t get a paint headache while using them.
  4. Opt for green sheets. Linens made of organic cottons are usually pesticide-free.
  5. Save water with every flush. This is an oldy-but-a-goody, and well worth remembering.  If you don’t have a low-flow toilet, then put a brick in your toilet tank.
  6. Consider motion-sensitive lights or put outdoor lights on timers.  Even better, install solar lights outside.  These soak up the sun’s rays all day and give them back at night.
  7. Put dimmers on light switches. For every ten percent you dim the light, you save the same amount in electricity and you double the life of the bulb.  If you dim by 50 percent, you cut your lighting bill in half and extend the bulb’s life five times.
  8. Switch disposable for reusable. Use cloth instead of paper towels and napkins, and washable plastic containers instead of disposable plastic bags for lunch.
  9. Be a borrower and a lender. If you’re going to need a tool or a piece of equipment only once or temporarily, borrow or rent it.
  10. Look for Energy-Star rated appliances. They save on energy bills and are easier on the environment.
  11. Buy antiques or secondhand furniture. The world has enough stuff.  Let’s fix it up and pass it around.

When it Comes to Windows and Doors, Play it Safe!

Window and Door SafetyBelieve it or not, windows and doors can present potential hazards in your home. According to the National Centers for Disease Control, up to one-third of home accidents can be prevented with modifications and repairs. The following are recommendations for window and door universal design elements to help ensure safety in your home:

  • Doorways and hallways should be a minimum of 36 inches wide.
  • Place doors to allow for 18 to 24 inches clearance on the door handle side to easily open and close doors.
  • Door thresholds should be no more than 1/2 inch high above the adjacent floor. If you prefer, install mini-ramps or transition wedges.
  • Door locks should be sturdy yet easy to operate. Consider keyless locking systems for maximum convenience.
  • Install a pocket door if you don’t have the floor space necessary for a hinged door.
  • Select front doors with a view panel to make it easy to see who’s arrived at your door.
  • For added privacy on sidelights and patio doors, consider options like the cordless between-the-glass blinds and shades on Pella’s Designer Series sidelight collection so that you can enjoy a view and still conveniently cover the opening at desired times.
  • Make sure windows are easy to unlock, open, close and lock, and require minimal maintenance.
  • For greater safety and convenience, select double-hung windows that tilt in for easy cleaning, or casement units that open with the maximum clearance to allow easy access to both the exterior and interior glass surfaces from inside the building.

Your home houses what is most important – your family! Keep them safe by following these helpful tips, and don’t forget, if you need assistance making these modifications and updates to your house, your local Handyman Matters is just a phone call away. 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

Replacing Window Treatments

Changing window treatments isn’t something you do all the time. It’s one of those rare home remodeling events like getting new floors or upgrading the kitchen, which usually only happens because you are either moving somewhere new or something broke apart. Maybe you have even been responsibly saving to make changes for a while and finally gathered enough funds to get it all done now. In any case, you should take some time to plan this project and make the most of your investments.

How you go about adding new window treatments will depend largely on your own situation and whether you’re moving into a new place that has bare windows or if you’re redecorating those found in your current home. Either way, and especially if you want to keep the same look that your old windows had, be sure to take photos before and after you take down the window coverings, even if they aren’t in the best shape. If you’re working with the same windows, it’s also a good idea to take the measurements of your drapes or blinds along with the actual window measurements for reference. Take the photos and measurements with you to a local window treatment or home furnishings store to find replacements more easily. You might also want to bring a sample of the fabric you’re intending to match or a cutout from a magazine that you like for inspiration.

Aside from the design and appearance there are a few other important things to consider when selecting your replacement window treatments.

Lighting

The main purpose of any window covering is to block light, but also to allow light through, and depending on the fabric or style of window treatment you choose you’ll be able to adjust the amount of natural light that comes in through the window. You also have different options depending on which part of the house you’re working on. If the room is on a side where windows are naturally covered on the outside by trees or another building or if they face away from direct sunlight, you should be able to simply use thin semi-translucent sheer drapery to cut back the glare. On the other hand, if the windows are receiving direct sunlight at any point of the day, it will be much better to use a thicker and darker colored drape instead for better room darkening and energy efficiency. This is also generally what you’ll want in your bedroom to ensure a comfortable and private sleep environment. Living rooms and kitchens tend to benefit from lighter window treatments that help illuminate the spaces, but still provide privacy. If you can afford it, the best practice is always to pair a dark heavier drape with a light sheer one behind it to have better light control.

Operation

Window shades and blinds are commonly operated by a cord and clutch, and often a continuous cord loop system, to raise and lower a shade or open blinds. However, there are other options that might be better for operating your new window treatments.

  • Cordless Control One thing you should consider very carefully regarding window treatment operation is the safety of children. Whether you have a family or are planning to have children in your home at some point, you need to be aware of the risks involved with window cords. There have been numerous accidents involving babies and young children who have become entangled in window cords and tragically strangled to death. There is a documented history of these incidents over the past 20 years and subsequent industry recalls and modifications, but the safest solution remains to use cordless window treatments. Simple curtains, sliding panels and shutters are good alternatives that don’t require any cords to operate. However, if you’re intent on having blinds or shades, these are also available with manual or wand options instead of cords.

 

  • Motorization A motorized shade system is also cordless and allows you to wirelessly control any number of shades, blinds or curtains by wall panel switch or remote. This can be a more expensive option, but the benefits of ease and convenience are great, especially when controlling multiple or large hard to reach windows. Motorized shades like any home automation component may also help add value to your property if you ever plan to sell or rent it.

 

Evaluate what will benefit each of your rooms and consider all the options available for lighting control and window covering operation. Preparing and planning for your home renovations like this will save time in the long run and ensure they will be a long lasting part of your home.