Posts Tagged Home Maintenance

Tips for Cleaning Your Chimney

???????????????????????????????????????????????

If you have a functioning fireplace, it is important to maintain it in order for it to operate properly.  If you neglect your chimney, it will gather a lot of trash and tar that can impact the efficiency of your fireplace and even create a fire hazard in your home.   Each year, there are more than 45,000 chimney fires in America that cause about $125 million in damaged property and an average of 30 deaths.

Cleaning your chimney is one of the most important things you can do to keep your fireplace clean and safe. Chimney repair can be expensive and quite troublesome to do, but fortunately  there are several ways you can clean it yourself.

1. One of the easiest ways to clean your chimney is from the roof. Wear pair of sturdy shoes with grippy rubber soles and bring a brush and tarp or drop cloth. Stand on your roof and use the brush to clean the interior walls of the chimney.  Just remember to close off the opening to the fireplace first in order to prevent soot and dirt from falling down and covering your carpets and furniture.

2. If you are planning to clean the flue, you can easily get rid of the ashes by using a flat fireplace shovel to remove stubborn ashes and a high pressure vacuum cleaner to remove dust. Make sure that the ashes do not accumulate more than two inches at any given time.

3. Make sure you have a good chimney cap to prevent moisture from the elements from seeping into the chimney.  That can cause the tiles to dissolve and allow corrosive elements from the exhaust to mix and weaken the liner. If you don’t have a chimney cap, purchase one with screen mesh that has a lifetime warranty. The screen mesh will prevent animals from getting in your chimney and also keep sparks from reaching the roof.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Front Porch Design Ideas

Front Porch Design Ideas

An attractive front porch can add remarkable value to your home. It creates a lovely view of your neighborhood and gives your home a distinctive look. The design of your porch depends on your aesthetic preferences and the materials available in your area. The durability of the materials that you use is an important factor to consider, especially if you live in a constantly changing climate. Your porch should also be comfortable for you and for your whole family to enjoy.

Since the design of your front porch is like a huge welcome sign, it has to be well-planned. Think of your porch as an outdoor room. Combine garden decor with comfy seating and nice lighting. A plant lamp is perfect for the outdoors and can work with a potted plant or a hanging basket. Putting up a mirror outside your house can reflect the beautiful trees and flowers around you. Just make sure that it is secure enough to prevent wind from blowing it.

Think of the ages of the people in your home. If you have mostly older adults, you might consider adding bentwood rockers and relaxing hammocks. If you have teenagers, they love to bounce up from papa-san chairs and bean bag fixture.

Painting your decor is a great way to create a unified look for your front porch. Always remember to use high-quality spray paint and take time to wipe and clean everything thoroughly before coloring. By simply coordinating the colors of your front porch, you will be surprised by the transformation.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

, , ,

Leave a comment

Preparing Your Home for the Winter

Sweet winter home

The winter months can be a huge pain if you and your home are not ready. Snow, freezing temperatures, and longer nights can cause you to worry if you failed to prepare your home in time for winter. That is why it is important to make sure that everything is winterized ahead of time, so you, your family, and your home can enjoy the coming months without any risks.

To help you make your home ready for winter, here are a few useful tips you should follow:

  • Know where your pipes are, so you can easily shut off your water if needed. This will prevent your pipes from freezing when snow comes. If you don’t know how to protect your pipes, they can burst and cause major damage to your home. Ask your plumber for help if you don’t know where your pipes are or how to turn them off.
  • Prepare your heating system. Winter weather can hit quickly, so you want to be sure your heating system is functioning properly, so it will be ready when it’s time to turn it on.   Also be sure your furnaces and chimneys are clear.
  • Check for branches above your roof and trim them down. This will prevent weak branches from falling on your roof and causing damage due to the weight of snow, ice, and wind.
  • Clean your gutters and drain pipes. Remove dead leaves, branches, and other debris that may clog the waterway. This will ensure that melting snow and ice can freely flow down the drainpipes and not clog up your roof.
  • Check for leaks inside the house and block them. Leaks can easily let the cold outdoor wind in and the cozy and warm indoor air out. This will cause your heater to have to work harder in order to maintain a warm atmosphere, which can be expensive.  Seal leaks and cracks in doorways and windows ahead of time to be sure your house is well-insulated.
  • Install storm windows. Replace your window screens with storm windows to add an additional layer of protection and insulation.

Once you prepare your home for the coming winter months, you can then sit back and relax in front of the fireplace with a nice hot cup of chocolate in hand.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

, , ,

Leave a comment

7 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Room

7 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Room

When you have a room that is surrounded by trees and large plants, a room that has only one window, or a room whose only window is located above eye level, it can make the room feel dark and gloomy.

This situation is every decorator’s challenge, but it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with a dark, dull room. Here are few tips to help you lighten up your space:

  1. Add a light-colored area rug. Materials with lighter colors reflect more light.  It will also draw your  eyes from darker areas of the room and make the overall space feel more expansive.
  2. Install light fixtures. Install light fixtures that screw into the wall or ceiling, as they have the advantage of operating from wall switches and provide light from above, thus filling more of the room. They also don’t take up floor or table space, which helps reduce the feeling of clutter.
  3. Replace existing bulbs with higher light intensity. CFLs, or Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, have a lower wattage, but higher light output. Experiment with the subtle color variations of bulbs.
  4. Add mirrors. Mirrors have the ability to make a room look larger than it really is. Consider placing a floor-to-ceiling mirror at the end of your room. You can also use vanity mirrors and free standing mirrors to reflect whatever light is available.
  5. Reduce visual clutter. This will make the space feel more expansive because clutter naturally makes a room feel more closed in and dark. Remove items that do not belong to the room and place them in a different part of the house.
  6. Choose light-colored flooring and paint for the ceiling. A light-colored ceiling will give the illusion of height because it will draw your eye up.  You can choose light wood tones for your floors, like natural maple or cherry, which will contribute to a lighter visual throughout the entire room.
  7. Add greenery. Potted plants can add a bright and lively air to a room. Opt for plants that flourish in limited sunlight, such as ferns, snake plants, and flowering bromeliads.

There are always ways to add personality to any room without undergoing major changes.  Try these tips in your dark room and watch as it begins to feel lighter and more cheery.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

, , ,

Leave a comment

Home Windows Buying Guide

Home Windows Buying Guide

There are many options available today when it comes to purchasing windows  Some are designed more for aesthetic appear, while others are geared toward energy efficiency.  That is why it is important to know the differences between windows before you make a purchase.

This is a guide to different window options and what you should consider before buying them:

  1. Energy efficiency. There are two energy-efficiency measurements to consider when buying windows. The U-factor and R-value. The U-factor measures how well a window conducts heat.  The lower the number rating, the better. If you opt for double-pane windows, choose something that has a rating of 0.3 or lower.  Triple-pane models are even more efficient, starting with ratings as low as 0.15. Low U-factor windows are best during the summer because they keep your home cooler. On the other hand, the R-value measures a window’s insulating properties. The higher the rating, the better. Choose an R-value of at least 3 to 5. R-value keeps your home warmer during the winter.
  2. A reasonable budget. If large number of windows and money are involved, you need to set a budget and stick to it. This will help you focus on window options and features within your price range. It is advisable that you not settle for subpar home windows in order to stay within your budget. Instead, opt for high-quality replacement windows that will increase your home’s future resale value, even if it means purchasing fewer windows up front and buying more over time.
  3. Vinyl windows. Vinyl windows have a higher market rate than any other windows combined because they combine low cost with durability, reliability, and energy performance. Vinyl is a good insulator and tough and solid enough that the sash is hollow, which generates air-filled chambers with insulating capabilities.
  4. Betweenpane gas. Whether you choose dual or triple-pane windows, make sure they are manufactured with argon or krypton gas between the panes, as that will maximize their energy efficiency.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Top Handyman Skills Homeowners Should Have

Top Handyman Skills Homeowners Should Have

Homeownership can be as easy as buying a move-in-ready home and settling in. But, what happens when the power goes out or there is fire in the kitchen?  What will you do if you have plumbing problems or your door lock breaks?

Yes, homeownership is wonderful, but if you don’t know some of the basic handyman skills a homeowner should possess, the experience could be more difficult than necessary. Below are the top skills any homeowner should have in order to be able to address problems inside their homes:

  • Use a fire extinguisher. Commercial buildings are required to have at least one fire extinguisher per floor. The same holds true with a private home. Your home should have at least one fire extinguisher on hand in case of fire. But, just having one isn’t enough.  You also need to know how to use it, so you can extinguish a fire if one starts.
  • Know where your main water shutoff valve is and how to shut down the main waterline. Plumbing problems are fairly common, and one of the first steps you must take is to turn off the main water line in order to prevent flooding. Usually, the main water line is located in the basement. If you don’t know how to shut down the valve, seek help from a plumber.
  • Learn how to use your tools. Have a tool kit at home with all of the tools necessary for basic repairs.  If you know how to do basic home repairs, you can save thousands of dollars by not constantly calling a professional. Understand the function of each of your tools, so you can use them appropriately.
  • Replace a door lock. What will you do if your door lock is broken and there is no one available at night to come and fix it? There is no need to compromise the safety of your family by not knowing how to replace door locks. Have an extra lock on hand just in case you ever need it.
  • Locate studs in the walls. We all need to hang something on the wall at one time or another, and finding a stud in the wall is essential for installing a strong hook. Know how you to locate a stud in the wall by tapping on solid and hollow parts of the wall. A stud can be detected when you hear a solid tap.
  • Fix a leaky faucet. Would you want to see your faucet leaking unused water each day? That would result in gallons of water being wasted. Know how to fix a leaky faucet, so you can conserve your water and maximize its use.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Tips In Maintaining A Hardwood Floor

Having a hardwood floor brings elegance and grace to your home. Once you set foot inside, you will feel an immediate atmosphere of comfortable elegance offered by the natural wood. Wood floors are a source of pride for many homeowners, and rightfully so!

However, despite the atmosphere wood floors provide, hardwood floor require upkeep and a little TLC from you. Yes, Total Loving Care. Otherwise, you will eventually see your floor in a very different light from the elegant and stylish look you had previously.

So, to save the gracefulness of your hardwood floor and give you a consistent and beautiful floor, here are some tips on how you can maintain your hardwood floor.

  • Always clean your hardwood floor! Just like our wooden furniture and other house hold essentials, your floor will need regular cleaning it to prevent dirt, stains and other detriments from accumulating and creating a bigger, perhaps unfixable, mess. Before applying any cleaning agent, always be aware of what kind of hardwood you have so you can use the appropriate cleaning solution. You can inquire at the hardware store ahead of time, or ask your contractor for advice.
  • Sweep regularly. This is in addition to the above tip. Sweeping your hardwood floor daily will keep things off of your floor and out of any cracks in the wood to prevent scratching and stains. Use only a soft broom and make sure to remove all sharp objects that are not supposed to be in the floor.
  • Never let any liquid stay on your floor! Water does not go well with wood. It is its worst enemy, so prevent damage by keeping the two separate. Clean any spills or liquids on your floor with an absorbent cloth. Do it as soon as you see liquid on your floor. If you fail to do so, it will seep inside the cracks, warp the wood and WILL damage the floor.
  • Always mop. This may sound contradictory to the above tip yet mopping your floor always will clean it thoroughly. You can use a dry damp mop so there will be no excess water to stay on the wood.
  • Protect your floor with a rug. If you have a rug or a carpet, use it. It will not only add a pleasant accent to your room but it will also protect your hardwood floor. Moreover, do not forget to vacuum your rugs and carpets so no dirt can fall on the wood.
  • Cover your floor if you plan to work. This means that if you plan to paint the wall or repair anything in the house, cover your floor. This will prevent damage, scratches or stains when you suddenly drop your paintbrush or your hammer.
  • Use foot guards on your furniture. Furniture in the house will get moved – wood is fairly easy to scratch with heavy objects such as furniture so save your floor by using a foot guard on your furniture. This way, even if you budge it a little, no mark will be left forever.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: