Five Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Summer

Cleaning Gutters Filled With Leaves & SticksWith Memorial Day almost here – giving way to the fast-approaching summer – homeowners are encouraged to make preparations necessary to ensure their homes are ready for the hot weather.

Here are five tips to make sure your home will be in the best shape possible for the upcoming warmer months:

1) Air Conditioning Check and Maintenance
Whether your home has a central air conditioning system or window units, you need to make sure they’re in good shape. After all, if you’re going to get many hours of use for the next several months. Be sure to check and replace air filters on all units.

2) Clean Fans Thoroughly
If your home has ceiling or box fans, you’ll need to clean the blades. (Dust builds up on them if they were not used throughout the fall and winter.)

3) Check the Attic and Basement
Thank to spring rain, a lot of moisture can build up in your home. This can cause problems on your roof and foundation. Carefully inspect these spaces for any sign of dampness.

4) Maintain the Yard and Yard Tools
A big part of summer is tending to your lawn, garden and trees, and having your yard tools in good order is a must. A freshly tuned-up lawnmower will make mowing a breeze. After a long winter, yard tools may need to be cleaned and sharpened.

5) Keep Gutters Clear
While April showers have already given way to May flowers, you’re certainly not out of the woods yet when it comes to heavy summer rain storms. While you likely cleared out the gutters already (before winter began), giving them another check now is a good idea. This can help you identify potential issues, including leaks.

Need help with your pre-summer home maintenance? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend vetted home-service vendors to you.

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

 

Four Home DIY Projects for Spring

RoofIf you’re already doing spring cleaning, it might be wise to get out the toolbox and do some home improvement projects as well. A little maintenance can go a long way after the tough winter months.

Here are four crucial tips to making sure your home will recover from winter:

1) Fix the Roof
There’s probably no part of your home that takes as much of a beating every winter as the roof, according to BobVila.com. After all, it not only deals with snow, sleet and rain, but also harsh winds, cold weather, water runoff and bearing the weight of snow and ice that builds up over the course of a few months.

With that in mind, it’s quite common for shingles or tiles to crack, loosen or fall off during the winter. When the spring thaw hits, going up there once it’s safe and checking everything carefully will give you an idea of how much repair work you have to do.

2) Look for Leaks, Fissures and Cracks
Along similar lines to inspecting your roof, it can also be a good idea to look over your home’s interior and exterior for any signs of wear and tear from the winter. Missing shingles can be a sign of leaks into the attic, so checking inside is always wise if there’s obvious damage on the roof. The same is true of checking along windows and exterior doorways for any fissures, which can be fixed with caulk more often than not.

It’s also smart to check your home’s foundation for any cracks or holes that might have formed, and fill them with an appropriate patching substance as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

3) Check the Deck and Siding
While you may not realize it, painted, stained or even sealed decks can really get a lot of muck and grime built up on them throughout the winter. That’s also the case with siding, whether wooden or vinyl. Usually, turning a pressure washer on them can help unlock their real beauty once again, and renting this kind of equipment shouldn’t carry too big of a price tag.

4) Examine the Gutters
Finally, if your home has gutters, now is the time to check them out. They might have taken a bit of damage (especially if there was ice buildup) or clogged with tree debris over the winter.

Of course, no one knows your house better than you do, so if there’s an issue that seems to crop up consistently every year, working on ways to permanently address it is always the smartest way to start your home DIY efforts. Otherwise, just doing routine checks and maintenance to make sure everything is as it should be will help you avoid bigger problems down the road.

Need some help with your home-related projects? If you do not feel comfortable climbing your roof or tackling other home-maintenance details, be sure to contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend vetted, home-related services and vendors to you!

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.

 

Prepare Your Home to Sell Now for the Spring Market!

Many people wait to place their home on the market for sale once spring rolls around. Selling your home isn’t a decision to be taken lightly and requires preparation that should begin as early as possible. Here are some tips to get your home “market ready” just in time for spring:

The Basics
The first thing for home-sale prep work is a careful assessment. Is there any chipped paint, worn-out carpet, or other things you might choose to live with but could be a potential turnoff to a would-be buyer? Rooms should be cleaned thoroughly and repairs made. For the exterior of your house it is extremely important to boost curbside appeal.

De-cluttering every room of your home is a key point of action. Remove family mementos and repaint rooms to more neutral colors. Your goal is to have your home appeal to wide variety of home buyers. When they visit your spring open house you want them to picture themselves living there.

Getting it Right
It’s important for homeowners to make sure everything in the house works as it should. For example, if there has been an issue with the stove’s pilot light malfunctioning it’s important to get that fixed. The same is true of testing garage door openers, sinks, toilets, garbage disposals, exhaust fans and other home appliances.

Open and close every window and door and make sure they don’t stick, creak or otherwise present a troublesome function that might frustrate a potential buyer.
Make sure any aspect of the heating and cooling system – regardless of season – is in good working order to help expedite the real estate sales process.

With today’s high-demand seller’s market, there’s a perception that homes “sell themselves.” However, if you want to get through the sales process (with hopefully multiple bids and a quick turnaround), doing all the little things can help ensure your home is in top-tip shape and will help make things go more smoothly. Work with your real estate professional to help identify the areas that could pose the biggest issues and address them in the best way possible.

Need more ideas? Look at some of our past blog articles for home staging and  selling quickly.

If you need assistance with home-related tasks to get your home ready to sell, contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can assist by putting you in contact with vetted home-related vendors.

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.

Home-Maintenance Items to Check On as Winter Arrives

Winter officially begins on December 21, and now is the time for homeowners to perform one last check around their houses before cold and snowy weather sets in. Your home check will help keep everyone safe and warm inside as well as can save you money for utilities and repairs.

Water Pipes
Perhaps the biggest financial risk homes face during the winter is a pipe burst, according to Consumer Reports. When that happens, water can spill into the walls and cause quite a bit of damage long before a problem is even detected. It’s a very good idea for homeowners to assess where they stand with their water pipes.

Pipes that run along the outside of a home or along the ceiling in the basement and are uninsulated could be at risk. Wrapping them in an inexpensive specialized material or even just towels can help protect them.

It’s also a good idea to keep your home at 65 degrees F. or more to avoid large temperature fluctuations that could cause a pipe to burst. Know where your home’s water shutoff is located so you can quickly shut off water in an emergency.

Other Insulations
When insulating pipes, it’s also important for homeowners to make sure they aren’t losing too much heat in their homes from uninsulated attics or other spaces. Since heat rises you may lose a lot more heated air than expected through ceilings. When attics are properly insulated along floors they not only help with heat savings, but its warmth also prevents potential (and undetected) ice dams from forming on the roof.

Up on the Roof
When thinking about your roof, it’s a good idea to make sure all the shingles are in good shape and all gutters are cleared of fallen leaves and other debris that can lead to backups and potential ice dams. A quick trip up a ladder might be all it takes to identify problem areas before they become major issues.

Homeowners should also go around the exterior of their homes and look for any cracks and holes along the edges of window frames and doorways. If you find cracks, be sure to fill them with caulk which will help keep the heated air inside the home. While any individual crack or hole is going to be small, some experts estimate that the collective area of all of them across an entire house can amount to the size of an open window.

Need help with the winter upkeep of your home? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend vetted service providers to you.

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.

Test Your Home-Heating System Now!

ThermostatAs the weather gets colder, homeowners need to make sure home-heating systems are ready for the rigors of another winter. There are plenty of ways they can do that – some by themselves, or with professionals involved – but getting it done before the truly cold weather settles in is a must for any house.

The first thing to do when attempting to test a home-heating system is to head down to the furnace and check out your air filters. Experts recommend this should be done once a month and if they’re looking particularly dirty, the filters should be swapped out. (The absolute maximum time between replacing the filters is, in most cases, going to be no longer than three months.)

Other DIY Efforts
It’s a good idea to test the thermostat – especially older models – to make sure it can be easily adjusted to whatever temperature is necessary. Own an older thermostat? Consider installing a “smart” thermostat to give even more responsive control over the home’s temperature.

Homeowners should inspect outside-facing doors and windows carefully for any cracks or fissures. If found – and given many homes have enough small cracks to add up to the size of an open window – patching them can be a great way to increase home-heating efficiency.

When to Call in a Pro
Most people don’t have a lot of experience in dealing with heating systems themselves, and in certain situations it might be a bit dangerous to tackle repairs or maintenance, even with the help of an online guide or how-to video. When a job seems particularly daunting, it’s wise to simply call in an HVAC expert.

This may feel like a less cost-effective option, however, you must consider the trade-off between that initial cost versus having both the initial problem and the mistakes repaired. That comes in addition to the obvious safety risks with fixing a furnace with little experience or know-how. It’s also worth considering that, for new homes with potential heating problems, there may be some fixes that end up voiding the furnace’s warranty, which can be even more costly.

Need a Recommendation for Servicing Your Furnace?
Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend vetted HVAC professionals to you.

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.

Seven Tips to Prepare your Home for Winter

Fall is the best time to take advantage of the weather to winterize your home. A handful of quick and easy projects can help avoid serious issues and potentially even save money. Here are seven tips for getting your property ready for the snow and sleet, whipping winds and frigid temperatures that come with winter:

1) Start with the Heat
Perhaps the easiest way to prepare a home for winter is to look at the furnace and make sure it’s in good working order, according to Popular Mechanics. We recommend hiring a professional to review your heating system yearly.

Additionally, you should swap out old air filters at this time of year. Why change them regularly? Fresh filters will not only make the heating system run more efficiently (which can save a lot of money), but also improve overall air quality in your home.

2) Look for Drafts
A critical aspect of keeping a home well-heated when winter weather arrives is making sure the whole house is as efficient as possible. It’s important to confirm there are no parts of the home where heated air is leaking out. Some home experts note that all the little cracks, fissures and holes around doors and windows in an average house can add up quickly, becoming equal to the size of an open window. Inspect every window for fissures that can be easily patched with caulk or other sealants.

3) Take Care of the Water
Many homes have water lines that run outside of them to spigots on the side of the house or into lawn sprinkler systems. Shut off water access to these water spigots and then flush them out so they’re completely empty to help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

If basements aren’t kept at warmer temperatures or some plumbing runs along the outside of the house, it’s important to properly insulate any pipes in those places to reduce the risk of rupturing or bursting.

4) Up on the Roof
The average homeowner might not put a ton of thought into the condition of the roof simply because there is not an occasion to get a good look at it. Now is the time to get out the ladder and inspect it, because things like missing tiles and damaged shingles can become big problems. When snow piles up on a roof on top of a damaged or missing protective material, the weight and the wetness can combine to cause leaks and even collapses in some extreme cases.

Fall is also the time to clean out gutters so nothing gets clogged during winter months. Ice dams can build up quickly and create some potentially serious water damage that compromises the integrity of that part of the roof.

5) Invest in a New Thermostat
For those with older homes, now is a good time to install a new, advanced thermostat that’s programmable (and possibly Internet enabled). These devices give homeowners a lot of control over their home’s temperature on an ongoing basis. Homes can be programmed to turn down the heat when no one is home – during the school or work day – while maintaining a safe level for the plumbing system. This reduces heating bills and doesn’t strain the furnace. This will save a lot of money in utility bills.

6) Bring it Inside
Homeowners should store lawn furniture and other items to keep them in good shape for upcoming warmer months. Portable generators, grills and lawn equipment shouldn’t be left to the elements and need to be stored safely in the garage, shed or basement.

7) The Fireplace
For anyone with a fireplace, it’s a good idea to make sure it is free of debris for winter. The residue from having too many fires can build up in the chimney or there may be problems from animals nesting there. These issues could lead to some backup of smoke or fire.

Need Assistance with your fall home projects?
Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for assistance with your home-related projects. They can recommend vetted local service vendors to you.

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

 

 

Quick and Easy Home-Maintenance Tips

DIY construction toolsA properly functioning house can save homeowners a lot of headaches and money. Not all home repairs have to be complicated with a little know-how. A bit of online research and some elbow grease is more than enough to tackle many issues that can arise. And, there are many home repair and maintenance jobs that can be accomplished in less than an hour with minimal investment

Just like any other kind of home DIY project, home owners should take all due caution when picking up these tasks, investing in the right safety equipment and tools, and proceeding carefully to ensure everything is done safely.

Quick Fixes
If you have a garbage disposal that is not working properly or has smelly odors, simply disconnect it from the power source. Usually it’s a matter of taking it apart and cleaning it out thoroughly.

If you have growing stains on your home’s ceilings, there are a number of products that will cover up stains and reinforce those areas of potential weakness. A hardware professional will be able to recommend which will work best for specific situations. Be sure to put plastic covering and drop cloths in place so the products don’t drip.

Need a new commode in your bathroom? Replacing a toilet is another DIY project. It requires a few tools and materials.

Cut the Noise
If you have a creaky staircase or a floorboard that just won’t stop squeaking, the “know how” needed to fix it is usually minimal. All it takes is locating the joist with a stud finder and applying a small screw to the area (right through the carpet). If one doesn’t work, try adding one or two more until the floorboard is more firmly in place and not making noise. This is the kind of job can be completed in a matter of minutes.

If your kitchen cabinet doors slam unpleasantly when being closed, simply attach little rubber bumpers to their corners. If you prefer to install “soft-close” fixtures, they are a little more expensive but add a nice element to the way closing a cabinet feels. In either case both are relatively easy to install.

Wall maintenance

Other DIY Home-Maintenance Projects
There are many other projects that can be done by a DIYer, such as adding weather stripping, patching a damaged wall, etc… Go here to learn about these and even more more DIY home-maintenance tips.

If DYI is not appealing to you, be sure to contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of vetted home-related vendors and services.

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