Take Care of these DIY Home Projects Before Summer Ends

Ceiling fanHomeowners often run out of free time once summer ends, so now may be a good time to complete a number of do-it-yourself home projects. Here are our suggestions:

Ceiling Fans
One task many homeowners might not realize is helpful all year long is installing ceiling fans, specifically those that rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise. Installing them now, while the weather is still hot, can significantly reduce cooling costs.

Because hot air rises, a ceiling fan that runs clockwise will pull cooler air up from the floor and redistribute it from the top of the room. This can have the effect of cooling a room by as much as 10 degrees in the summer, without the use of an air conditioner. Likewise, a ceiling fan running counterclockwise in the winter will push more of the hot air coming out of heating vents and radiators back toward the floor.

Your Home’s Exterior
Great summer weather for most folks won’t last and it’s always a great idea to ensure your home is completely prepared for fall and winter. Pressure-washing pathways, decks and siding is a great way to beautify your home in just a few hours, without the need to repaint or repave. Renting a pressure washer for the day will usually cost less than $100 from a local hardware store.

Taking the time to clean out gutters and repair them before leaves start to fall and potentially clog the drainage. Getting this done ahead of the winter months, when melting snow and ice can create major problems if left unaddressed, is vital.

The Right Approach
Now might also be the time to make sure you have the proper guidelines to actually do the DIY jobs you set out to do. For example, using a power washer is a great way to keep a home looking beautiful, but if operated incorrectly, this tool can be dangerous both to the user and the property. Study up on how to use your tools properly and have the right safety equipment on hand.

Likewise, when cleaning out gutters, having another person there to hold the ladder is a minimum safety measure that should be undertaken.

Furthermore, there are some home improvement jobs that should not be undertaken by inexperienced homeowners under just about any circumstances, and a little research can go a long way toward determining what’s a reasonable project to DIY and what’s better left to the pros.

Need help with your project? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of vetted home-service professionals!

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

 

Tips to Save on Cooling Costs at Your Home

Air conditioning programmingWith hot weather gripping most of the country, many homeowners are cranking up their home air-conditioning and this can be costly and expensive. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to bring cooling costs down as the summer heat continues. Here are a few tips to save money while staying cool:

Install Ceiling Fans
It may seem counterproductive to add even more electric appliances in an attempt to reduce power consumption, but a ceiling fan provides a good alternative to air conditioning as well as can assist your AC unit. A ceiling fan can help reduce the temperature in a room by as much as 10 degrees by pulling hot air away from inhabitants and constantly circulating it. Using it on its own may help on days that aren’t too hot, but using it in concert with an air conditioner set on low can make the AC work less hard.

As a bonus, ceiling fans that are able to spin both clockwise and counterclockwise can also help reduce heating bills in the winter. This is because as hot air rises, running the fan in the opposite direction helps redistribute it back down to the floor of a room.

Go Higher
It’s a good idea to turn the AC temperature setting up a few more degrees than normal to reduce costs as well. People usually won’t notice the difference between 68 and 72 degrees, but for every degree higher it goes, cooling costs are reduced by as much as nine percent.

Keep the Sunshine Out
Many homeowners may want to let the sun into their homes to make their living spaces bright, but doing so can increase costs significantly. The greenhouse effect applies to all types of glass, so letting in sunlight heats up a room. And even if it’s only just by a few degrees, the cost can add up, especially for homes that receive direct sunlight throughout the day. Instead, it’s smart to keep the blinds closed at this time of year.

Check Under the Hood
Whether a home has a central air conditioning system or relies on a number of window units, it’s important to make sure these devices are running properly. Checking air filters as well as clearing out any nearby debris will help ensure the AC runs as efficiently as possible.

For homes with older units, it might simply be a better idea to replace them with newer and more efficient options. As with installing ceiling fans, that will require some up-front investment, but the cost benefits will really add up over time.

Start Programming
For homes with a central AC system, it’s also a good idea to invest in a smart programmable thermostat. Most people know it’s not efficient to run the AC all day – especially when they’re not home – but may forget to leave it running when away at work.

With a wireless-enabled smart thermostat, you control your home’s temperature from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Get an Expert Opinion
It might be wise to have an efficiency audit on your home. Trained professionals check to make sure there are no issues with the structure of the home hat would lead to inefficient operation of an HVAC system.

These audits can identify even the tiniest cracks in seals around doors and windows or in a home’s foundation that, if patched, can dramatically boost a home’s ability to keep cool air in and hot air out. Some estimates show a typical home may have enough of these little cracks and holes to add up to the equivalent space of leaving a window open 24/7. Sealing them up is often as simple as applying a bit of caulk other sealants.

Be Smart About Food Prep
Many homeowners love to cook, but doing this activity during the summer isn’t always a good idea. Running the stove can really heat up a kitchen and that’s going to make the air conditioner work overtime to keep a desired temperature. Instead, prepare foods that don’t need to be prepared in the oven or stove.

When you did need to turn on the oven,  it’s a good idea to only use it at night, when the temperature is lower.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

 

Paint Your Front Door Black? Statistics Say Yes!

Front Door with square glass windows.I have been contemplating purchasing a new front door for over two years. My current  all-glass door will one day be replaced with a solid front door with small windows at the top. What has held me back from ordering this door for so long? Deciding what color it should be!

Initially I was drawn towards a light, mossy green color. I thought it would look fresh and a nice contrast to the all-white facade of my cottage-style home. However, the type of door I wanted to order was not available in that particular hue. My options at that time were: (one) order a door, paint it mossy green myself and then deal with paint upkeep in the future; or (two) select a standard color that promised no future touch-ups. I did not order a door. Instead, I contemplated.

Yellow was the next color up for consideration. This was a standard color per my door catalog, but I was not sure if this was the perfect color for my house. Since I was on the fence about making a color selection, I did next what 175 million other people worldwide do: I created a Pinterest board. It’s called “Front Doors” and was supposed to give me much needed inspiration. I pinned and pinned, and then pinned some more. I still did not take action on selecting a door color.

I recently read an article about front doors from Money Magazine. It suggested by painting a front door “black”, a home’s value could increase up to $6,271 when selling. (That information definitely caught my attention.) The article said a black door “…gives buyers the impression that your home is a serious, stately and safe choice…”

Hmmmm. Would my home be instantly worth $6,000 more? Probably not, but black might be a nice color to consider. Should I take the plunge and have a black front door? I am still on that fence. What do you think?

Need help in selecting a new front door or painting one? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put you in touch with proven service vendors.

 

 

7 of the Best Home Improvements that Pay Off when Selling

Seven best home improvements that pay offThinking of making updates to your home? Here is a list of projects that add value to your home from the National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact Report:

1. Wood Floors
If you have existing hardwood floors covered by carpet, it might be a good idea to refinish them. Costs may be around $3,000 but you should recover 100% of that cost when selling.

If you are installing new hardwood flooring, the cost could be around $5,500 and you should be able to net $5,000 back.

2. Insulation
When you insulate your home, you not only benefit from lower utility bills, but you should be able to recover $1,600 of a $2,100 investment.

3. HVAC
Replacing your HVAC system is expensive ($7,500+). You should expect to recover 67% of that money back as well as enjoy the savings from a new, energy-efficient system.

4. Garage Door
A new garage door not only makes your home’s appearance look better, but you should be able to recover 87% of its cost. (The average cost is $2,300.)

5. Siding
Siding is another expensive item. It can cost $18,000 or more. When completed, your home will not only have a long-lasting exterior, but you should be able to recover 83% of its cost when you sell.

6. Deck, Porch or Patio Addition
A 16×20 wood deck costs around $11,000. You should be able to recoup $10,000 or 90%. Outdoors rooms are very popular and make living more enjoyable.

7. Replacement Windows
Ten 3×5 windows cost around $9,700. You should be able to get back 90% when selling!


Other Improvements to Consider
Although the return is not as high on these items, you may still want to consider updating a bath, the kitchen or your basement:

Bathroom
A full remodel on a bathroom is about $30,000. Your recovery on this item when selling is only 50%. However, a new bath is an important room to buyers. A minor bathroom remodel might be better for you. This cost will come in around $11,000 and the recoup rate is 102%. 

Kitchen
For a $35,000 investment expect to recover $20,000 or 57% of your cost. Again, the recoup is not as high as other projects, but home buyers do desire up-to-date kitchens.

Basement Conversion to Living Space
This project is a big one and can cost $40,000+. Expect to recover 63% when selling.

Need help with your home-improvement project? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of vetted vendors.

 

 

Local Places to Dispose of Batteries

Local Places to Dispose of Batteries

We use batteries for so many reasons in our homes: television remotes, smoke detectors, clocks and flashlights, just to name a few. In fact, three billion batteries are purchased yearly in the U.S. Imagine how that affects our landfills! Small AA or AAA batteries do not take a lot of room in a trash bag, but now may be the time to think about disposing of your batteries in an eco-friendly way.

Alkaline batteries consist of common metals and have no health or environmental health risks. They can be thrown in the trash, but since they are made of 100% recyclable materials, a better way to get rid of them is to take them to special recycler. (Your normal recyclying bin does not usually permit batteries.)

Other types of batteries can post a potential danger if left in the trash. They can contain many chemicals (lead, cadmium, zinc and lithium, etc…) By sending them to a landfill, these chemicals will seep into the ground and can be a fire concern.

Here is our list of local places to take batteries in a clear, sealable bag:

Call2Recycle – This website has a great map that helps you find nearby drop-off locations.

Lowe’s 
Some of these stores will accept batteries. Check first because not all stores offer this service.

Batteries Plus Bulbs
There are various regional locations. There is a small fee for disposing of batteries.

  • 7850 Beechmont Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45255 – 513-474-0895
  • 9810 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45251 – 513-246-4139
  • 12131 Royal Point Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio 45249 – 513-683-6300
  • 123 W. Kemper Rd., Springdale, Ohio 45246 – 513-453-4080
  • 7657 Mall Rd., Florence, KY 41042 – 859-371-2288
  • 7431 Tylersville Rd., West Chester, Ohio 45069 – 513-456-7778
  • 4887 Princeton Road, Hamilton, Ohio 45011 – 513-737-2444
  • 206 Springboro Pike, Dayton, Ohio 45449 – 937-668-8285
  • 4496 State Route 725, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305 – 937-668-8257
  • 3510 York Commons Blvd., Dayton, Ohio 45414 – 937-668-9021
  • 4496 SR 725, Bellbrook, Ohio – 937-433-9222

Apex Technology Solutions
7930 Kentucky Drive, Florence, Kentucky
859-485-4444
Small fee for disposing of batteries

Oil Express

  • Eastgate (Cincinnati): 4468 Gleneste-Withamsville Road; 513-943-1755
  • Mason (Cincinnati): 5240 Kings Mill Road (Route 741); 513-704-0041
  • Springdale (Cincinnati): 165 W. Kemper Road 513-671-8810
  • West Chester (Cincinnati): 7479 Tylers Corner Drive 513-777-8669
  • West Chester (Cincinnati): 8578 Princeton Glendale Road 5130-874-409
  • Cincinnati: 11843 Kemper Springs Drive 513-825-2660

Cohen
538 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45226; 513-321-3218
5038 Beech Street, Norwood, Ohio 45212; 513-731-7222
3120 S. Verity Parkway, Middletown, Ohio 45044; 513-425-6911
Small fee for single-use batteries
Cincinnati Region
There are other local businesses that will accept your batteries, including Pep Boys, AutoZone, Advanced Auto and Walmart. Go here for more information for map locations.

See more information about batteries (including lithium) with the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District.

Interested in places that will recycle your electronics? Cincinnati region – Look here.

Dayton Region
Montgomery County residents can drop off many items including batteries to the  Montgomery County Solid Waste and Recycling Facility at 1001 Encreate Lane, Moraine, Ohio. You must have proof of residency.

Green County residents will accept household batters (alkaline) from residents. Learn more here.

Green County Environmental Services
2145 Green Way Boulevard
Xenia, Ohio 45385
937-562-5925

Other local places in Dayton that accept batteries:

  • Advanced Auto Parts – 34 North Allison Ave., Xenia, Ohio – 937-376-4313
  • Battery Warehouse – 44100 Industrial Lane, Beavercreek, Ohio – 937-426-2525
  • Walmart and Sears Automotive Centers

 

 

Get Spring Cleaning Right in Less Time

花火8You may procrastinate when it comes to spring cleaning because it is time consuming and not always enjoyable. Here are a few useful tips to make this job less painful to complete in a short amount of time:

Kitchen
One of the biggest areas for spring cleaning is the kitchen. Cleaning a refrigerator both inside and out doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process as long as you plan ahead. Slowly remove items as they’re used – without replacing them – so that there’s less clutter to take out.

Once your fridge is decluttered it will be a lot easier to remove all of the shelves and drawers and give them a good scrub without having to spend a lot of time removing and replacing food and drink items.

Bathroom
The bathroom is another area that requires a deeper clean over a given time. For showers with grout, it may be wise to first rub the affected areas with a high-grit sandpaper to clear off the top layer, and then carefully apply bleach to those stained areas to ensure there’s no leftover mildew. Once this is done, allow some time to dry and then apply sealant.

For faucets and shower heads covered in soap scum, scrubbing with balled-up aluminum foil will clear off debris with ease, without scratching the metal.

Unexpected Places
Spring cleaning isn’t just about getting at the “problem areas.”  You need to address less-considered parts of your home as well. For instance, countertops and cabinets can get a little dirtier than people might expect and cleaning them off with a high-power cleaning product, then sealing them, can help them stay much cleaner for years to come.

Here is a tip on cleaning windows: clean them on a cloudy day. Sunlight won’t dry out cleaners when applied, making the wipe-down more effective.

Need help with your spring cleaning efforts? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put you in touch with local vendors to help get your home clean top to bottom.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

Tree Care and Maintenance Tips for Your Home’s Property

Tree Care and Maintenance Tips
Trees provide shade and can esthetically enhance the beauty of your home’s property. But, trees can also pose a safety hazard if they are not properly inspected and maintained. Here are some tree care and maintenance tips from Sibcy Cline Insurance Services to consider:

Before a Storm Hits

  • Remove any dead trees on your property
  • Enhance the health of your trees with watering, fertilization and protection from soil compaction. Healthy trees will remain firm in the wind.
  • Prune dead or broken limbs to help a tree maintain its structure. It’s also a good idea to thin our excess branches every three to five years.
  • If your tree suffers from a pest issue, it is best to treat it right away. Be careful, however, not to over-treat tree hollows. Do not remove decayed wood from hollows unless it falls away in your hands. (Cleaning hollows can cause additional internal damage.) If you can, cover the opening to hollows.

Read more about maintaining your trees here and here.

Monitor Your Tree
If your tree displays any of the following characteristics, be sure to contact a professional tree service for assistance:

  • Cracks in the trunk or major limbs
  • Signs of hollowing and decay
  • Mushrooms growing from the bark
  • Significant leaning to one side
  • Limbs in contact with power lines
  • Branches hanging over your house or garage

Will my homeowner’s insurance cover a tree toppling over?
A strong storm can make a healthy tree fall down. Your homeowner’s insurance policy coverage will depend upon: what caused the tree to fall and what kind of damage happened. Usually insurance protects your home and your property’s structures against “perils” such as wind. Your insurance will not cover damage caused by neglect or a maintenance-related problem. (If the tree was already rotten, insurance probably will not cover any damage from this tree.)

If a tree falls down but does not cause damage, your policy usually will not cover the cost of removal.

Have more insurance questions about trees? Contact Sibcy Cline Insurance Services.

Source and Video: TheTravelersCompanies