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

DIY Home Projects for Spring

花火8As winter comes to an end, homeowners can still accomplish some quick and easy indoor DIY jobs inside their home before turning attention to lawn care. Here are some improvement ideas to work on now:

Simple Steps to Take
There are a few simple DIY fixes homeowners can make on their own. Swapping out air filters on your heating and air system, clearing debris built up around a central air unit outdoors are easy to undertake without much trouble.

De-Clutter
When it comes to more cosmetic features of a home, it’s a good idea to start in rooms where clutter has built up over the course of winter. Stow all coats, mittens, boots and hats out of the way. The same goes for the snow shovels and sleds.

Paint
Another DIY project would be to repaint a wall or two. Fresh paint can make a room look like new and costs very little to do. The dryer and cooler winter air is perfect for drying paint. You’ll need to keep a window open for ventilation!

Kitchen Touch Ups
If you feel more adventurous, consider installing a new backsplash in your kitchen or swap out the hardware on cabinets.

Bathroom Ideas
Bathroom storage can be made even better with new shelving. If your bathroom fixtures have seen better days, consider installing new ones. Re-grout the tile in your bath for a fresh look. A new bath mat is an easy way to spruce up the floor.

Insulate
Adding insulation to your home not only will help lower utility bills, but will also help to make your home more comfortable. Don’t forget to seal windows and doors with caulk or weatherstripping. And, if you haven’t done so already, consider installing a programmable thermostat.

Need more inspiration? This Old House has 100 DIY Upgrades for under $100!

And if DIY is not in the books for you, contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of service vendors who can help with your spring home projects.

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.

 

Protect Your Home in Winter!

Frozen Water ConnectionJanuary and February are busy months for insurance adjusters in the northern parts of the country because wind, water and snow can all do serious damage to a home. Fortunately, homeowners can prepare their properties for these issues and spot potential warning signs before they turn into bigger problems.

Perhaps the most important aspect of insulating a home from major damage over the course of the winter is to make sure pipes won’t freeze, according to the City of Cleveland Division of Water. At a minimum, when pipes freeze, they can disrupt a home’s water supply, but more seriously, they can burst and spray a lot of water all over the floor in a short amount of time. The resulting water damage can take quite a while and cost a lot to clean up.

Where to Begin
With such a risk in mind, homeowners should make sure they are able to identify any uninsulated pipes that may be in their basements and attics, under sinks or running along outside walls. Homeowners should also properly insulate pipes either with spray-on insulation or tubes of fiberglass that are available at just about any major hardware store for relatively low costs.

In addition, homeowners would also be wise to make sure any issues that allow cold air into their homes at all, such as cracks along the outside of doors and windows or open air vents, are properly sealed up. As an added bonus this will save a bit on heating costs over the course of the winter.

Another issue to keep in mind with heating is that if a home’s temperature dips below 55 degrees (especially if the heat goes out), it’s probably wise to open all faucets and leave them running on a drip. The constant flow of water can keep pipes from freezing even in frigid conditions.

Turning Attentions Outside
Many of the things that can damage a home during winter originate outside the home, according to Top Reveal. For instance, older trees that get weighed down with snow and ice can pose a threat. If they fall over in the wrong direction, they could crash onto a car, garage, home or other structures on the property, causing significant damage and representing a safety risk. It might be wise for owners to trim ominous branches or cut a weaker tree down altogether.

Furthermore, it’s vital for homeowners to make sure gutters and other drainage areas are clear of debris because backups can cause water damage to a home or yard, and the cleanup can be costly. In addition, owners should keep a close eye on any icicles that form outside a home and steer clear of any areas where they may fall.

A little common sense and vigilance is key to any home safety issue, but during winter in particular, staying on guard should be a homeowner’s top priority. With this in mind, it might be wise to invest in a home warranty plan, which can help insulate homeowners from some of the costs associated with repairs in the event of a winter accident.

Need help with insurance or a home-service activity? Contact Sibcy Cline Insurance Servcies for a competitive quote for home owners and auto insurance. Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for any home-related service or vendor need.

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.

Save Money on Your Electric Bill at Home

Are you looking to save money (and energy) with electric consumption in your home?Here are some tips to consider:

Filters and Cracks
Be sure to clean out air filters to allow the filtration into your home to run smoothly and not overwork the air or heating systems. Check your home for window and doorway cracks or leaks.

Appliances
Old appliances are energy hogs. Think about upgrading to new, more energy-efficient appliances that are Energy Star rated.

Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans help keep air circulating in your home which means less work on your heating and air systems.

Unplug 
Keep appliances unplugged while you are not at home including the coffee maker, toaster and stand mixer. Consider also unplugging the television, computer and printer. If this becomes a time-consuming task, think about using surge protectors that automatically cut power when not being used.

Insulation
A well-insulated home allows you to preserve air filtration and prevents your home from leaking cool or warm air.

Energy Audit
Have a professional audit conducted on your home to check out inefficiencies.

Freezer and Refrigerator
A full freezer and refrigerator acts as insulation and lessens the time this appliance has
to run to stay cool inside.

Curtains and Blinds
Close curtains and blinds when it is dark out (during cooler months) to keep heat in.

Need help with your home’s efficiencies? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommended vetted service vendors!

 

 

 

 

DIY Things to Do Now to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

With winter a few months away, it’s time to prioritize any lingering home improvement do-it-yourself projects. Here are some DIY tips to follow:

Start Simple – Air Filters
One very easy and inexpensive way to make sure a home-heating system is running at peak efficiency throughout the winter is to replace air filters. They are economic to buy and easy to install. 

Energy Audit
Do you know exactly how inefficient or efficient your heating system is? Conduct an energy audit and identify potential weak points in your home, where heated air is escaping around the clock. Home experts note the collective size of all the little cracks, holes and fissures throughout a home can add up to be the size of a small window. Fortunately, once these weak points have been identified, they’re often easy to seal up. For those with a chimney, be sure it is effectively sealed up to save from losing heated air.

If you want professional help with your energy audit, contact Duke Energy here.

Learn Some Basics
Homeowners should know some of the basics related to home-heating maintenance. Even simply knowing what to look for – from identifying a filter that needs to be swapped out, pieces of insulation need to be replaced, etc. – can go a long way toward avoiding potential difficulties. Experts say heating systems should be inspected about once a month and filters should probably be replaced every three months or so during the winter.

Outdoor Items to Winterize
Clearing water from your outdoor spigot lines is something often left to professionals, but some homeowners have success doing it themselves with compressed air. 

Winterize outdoor equipment such as lawn mowers, grills, central air conditioning units and so on is also a good idea. The best advice homeowners can follow is to ensure any mechanical components left outside all winter long should be effectively winterized.

Know What Not to Do
While there are plenty of home DIY efforts that can be undertaken with relative ease and maybe a little studying, experts caution that some home-maintenance jobs should be reserved exclusively for professionals, according to Curb Appeal. When it comes to winterizing, perhaps the biggest of these DIY jobs would involve maintenance on any appliances that connect to gas lines, such as hot water heaters or stoves. The reason why is obvious: Natural gas can be very dangerous and only those certified to work with it should do so.

When a homeowner suspects a bigger problem with a heating system other than old filters or torn insulation, HVAC professionals should be called in. This isn’t the kind of job for even a handy person, simply because these systems are highly complex and can be quite difficult to fix. Repairing these systems may sometimes involve electrical issues that can be quite dangerous for those who aren’t totally aware of how to navigate them.

If you’re on the fence about whether this is the kind of job you can tackle yourself, it’s probably a better idea to err on the side of caution.

Need help with your winterizing maintenance? Contact Sibcy Cline Home 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.

How to Conserve Water at Your Home

Water.png
Water is an important resource and many homeowners use more of it than realized. It’s important to consider ways to conserve water and help to create positive environmental changes as well as cut costs.

There are many ways the average homeowner wastes water without even being aware. In fact some methods homeowners may think save on water use actually do the very opposite, according to the Charles River Watershed Association. For instance, running a dishwasher only when it’s absolutely full doesn’t keep dishes from getting clean, but it does save water quickly and easily. And for those who hand-wash their dishes it’s vital to turn off the tap in between rinsing dishes as a means of saving water. The same is true of brushing teeth and shaving.

Grass2

What about Outside the Home?
There are many ways to save water and obtain a healthier lawn simultaneously. The best time to water a lawn isn’t in the middle of the day because that leads to evaporation. Watering the lawn when the sun is just starting to rise or set will give grass the best chance to absorb as much water as possible. People also often water their lawns more than is necessary to keep the grass healthy.

There are many ways to maintain a healthy lawn and conserve water simultaneously. For example, leaving grass clippings on the lawn after cutting it will provide more shade and nutrients for the remaining grass. Also, well-fed grass results in a thicker lawn that can withstand the stress of heat and drought. Mowing grass at a higher height (3-4 inches) is another way to conserve water. Properly mowed grass allows for a deeper root system for the grass to find water and soil nutrients.

Rear view of gardener watering plants at garden

Another Way to Water Your Garden
Many homeowners often enjoy cultivating their own gardens, but it is unfortunate that water is often wasted here as well, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Instead of using a watering can or spraying hose multiple times a day, homeowners may wish to consider installing a drip-irrigation system. Not only can this save time – as it doesn’t require gardeners to physically water plants every day – but it can also reduce water costs and potentially yield better crops.

Of course, a drip-irrigation system costs money and requires time to set up, but there is a significant return on investment over time. Many modern drip systems also operate on timers that can be scheduled and beat the alternative of having to manually turn them on and off each day.

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It’s a good idea to use common sense when looking at ways to save water. Most people probably know when they have a little wiggle room to cut their shower times or find other ways to reduce consumption around the house. A little effort and consideration may very well make all the difference.

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.