Seven Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Home

Frozen Water Connection
It is getting cold outside so now is the time to make sure you take steps to prevent frozen pipes in your home. Pipes usually break when there is constant freezing and expansion which causes water pressure changes. Here are seven tips to follow to prevent frozen pipes in your home:

1–Water Supply
Turn off the water supply to external spigots and leave the outdoor spigot open during the winter. Ice forming in a closed spigot can cause interior pipes to freeze even if the interior space is heated. 

2–Keep Heat in Your Home
If you are planning on traveling for a few days, you can lower your heat, but be sure to keep sink cabinet doors open so pipes do not freeze. Keep the heat at 55 degrees F. or higher. Pay attention to unheated interior spaces (basements, attics, garages).

3–Wrap Exposed Pipes
If you have exposed pipes, wrap them with insulation.

4–Caulk and Seal
Caulk and seal any holes in exterior walls or foundations that are near water pipes. Check the outside wall where television, cable and telephone wires enter the home.

5–Close Your Garage Door
Keep garage doors closed if water supply lines are located there.

6–Winterize Your Home Professionally
If you are planning an extended vacation during colder months, be sure to have your home professionally winterized by a plumber. You will need to keep the heat on in your home. The temperature should be no lower than 55 degrees F.

7–Open Cabinet Doors
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate near the plumbing.

See more about preventing frozen water pipes here.

Need help with getting your home winterized? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services and they can connect you to plumbers or other vendors who can professionally insulate your home.

Simple Tricks to Fix Your Home’s Appliances

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It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare – you have a pot over the stove and turn the switch to find your burner won’t light. It’s the same idea with your refrigerator. No one wants to swing open the doors for a snack to see that their food is warm and spoiled. While your first reaction may be to panic and assume your machine has conked out for good, don’t lose hope so soon. According to The Family Handyman magazine, more than one-fourth of repair calls are resolved with a flip of a circuit breaker or push of a button.

Before you settle on the idea that your home appliance needs to be professionally repaired on replaced entirely, try these easy fixes to see if they bring your system back to life.

Refrigerator
If your fridge has stopped working efficiently, it may not be broken, but simply asking for a little tender love and care. Check the coils to see if they’re clogged with dust or pet fur. The Family Handyman explained that service technicians find this is the issue for 50 percent of their service calls. Locate the coils – either behind the grille on the bottom of the appliance or on the back of your fridge – and use a brush or vacuum to clean them. After a few hours, your fridge will turn back on if this was the problem.

Gas stove
Are you known for making a mess while cooking? This may be the problem if your gas stove has stopped lighting. Leftover food built up around the igniter can prevent it from working, so it’s important to clean any spills. It’s also essential that the ceramic seal strike plate is placed properly over the burner.

If a simple fix won’t work, request a technician to take care of the issue through your HMS home warranty plan. If a simple fix won’t work, request a technician to take care of the issue through your HMS home warranty plan.

Electric range
Try turning the burner off and removing it from its socket if your electric stove won’t heat up. Plug it back in to see if it turns your stove back on. If you notice that it feels loose, pull it out again and very carefully bend the prongs outward to make it fit tighter. The loose connection may have been interfering with your system’s ability to function properly.

Dryer
If you open your dryer after each cycle to find wet or damp clothes, this may be because you have a clogged lint filter. Even if you regularly clean it out, dryer sheets can leave an invisible film that causes the thermostat to turn off the heat before the cycle is complete. Remove your filter and clean it with hot water and laundry detergent using a course kitchen brush to see if this is the issue.

While these easy solutions may work on some of your appliances, every once in a while you’ll run into a problem you can’t fix on your own. This is why renewing your HMS home warranty plan is important. You’ll save big on repair and replacement costs when your home appliances break down due to frequent use.

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 Warranty 101: Heating Season

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A home is an expensive purchase, and the need to spend extra on a heating system repair as temperatures drop can come as unwelcome news.

As a home buyer adjusts to life in a new house, unexpected repair costs can be a significant financial blow, which is why a home warranty helps to protect a household budget. A home warranty will insulate homeowners from having to cover the cost of appliances or systems that have broken down due to usual wear and tear. Home sellers may also purchase a warranty for protection while their homes are on the market. The policy will serve to make the home a better buy for people in search of a new house.

As winter nears, one especially important item covered by a home warranty is the heating system. An HMS warranty, for example, covers the mechanical parts and components of a hot water or steam heating system. Additionally, it covers those pieces of a centrally ducted forced air gas, electric or oil heating system or even electric baseboard units if that is the primary source of heat in the home.

Some specific components covered include:

  • Accessible ductwork from the unit to the register or grill attachment.
  • Igniter and pilot assemblies.
  • Blower fan motors and fan blades.
  • Internal system controls, wiring, relays, motors and switches.
  • Heat exchangers.
  • Heating elements.
  • Burners and controls.

Additionally, HMS offers a Premier Upgrade Package (not available for Seller warranties). This option covers additional components not normally included in a home warranty. Components covered under the PUP option include:

  • Disposal of equipment.
  • Electrical modifications.
  • Permits.
  • Code upgrades.

Depending on the package selected, an extra $500 or $1,000 will be put toward typically excluded non-covered charges resulting from the repair or replacement of a covered item, such as a home’s heating system.

Not only do home warranties protect a homeowner’s budget, but it also opens the door to a large network of pre-screened and licensed service technicians to diagnose, repair or replace the heating system. As a result, homeowners can rest easy knowing they are covered this winter.

Brought to you by our preferred Partner, 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.

Best Outdoor DIY Projects for August

August
The end of summer is almost here, but that doesn’t mean it is time to pack up and head indoors. Quite the opposite, actually. Late August, September and even October can have some fantastic backyard weather days.

If you want to capitalize on the last days of summer, then you may want to spruce up your yard. Here are four great outdoor DIY projects to try, whether you live in the city or the sticks:

  1. DIY bug repellent
    One fantastic, affordable DIY project to chase pests away is a homemade citronella candle. Simply add a few drops of citronella essential oil which can be found in health food stores or online to your candle wax and add your wick. As an alternative, you can create a makeshift torch out of an old wine bottle. Always keep safety a priority, of course.
  2. DIY bird feeders
    Before the birds head to warmer weather for the winter, you can attract a few to your yard. Old bottles can be reused as bird feeders by drilling a small hole on the side near the bottom, and then gluing it to an old plate. This creates your classic bird feeder look, just add the seed. You can upgrade the feeder, too, by hanging it from the neck of the bottle on a nearby tree. More ideas for bird feeders are here, here and here.
  3. DIY movie theater
    If you have an old projector sitting around, you can easily use it to create an outdoor movie theater. The hard part is the screen, which can be accomplished with some old, white sheets. You can hang the sheet in your yard, but make sure to anchor the corners so the wind doesn’t get a hold of it. Then, all you need are a few friends, a good movie and popcorn. Get more inspiration here, herehere and here.
  4. DIY outdoor lights
    Ever wanted to add fantastic mood lighting to your yard? DIY mason-jar lights may be the answer. You will need mason jars, a few LED garden lights and a small battery – lithium coin cells work well. Connect the LED light to the battery and tape the assembly to the mason jar’s lid. Then, strategically place the jars around your yard. More ideas are here, here and here.

With these tips in hand, you’ll be all set to enjoy that last month of summer before it is time to start preparing for fall.

Brought to you by our preferred Partner, 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.

March Maintenance

MarchMaintenance
It’s hard to believe that spring is only a few weeks away. Winter seems to have intentions of over-staying its welcome. While the snow still covers the ground (and hopefully starts melting away) there are a few projects you can get started to get a head start on spring maintenance.

Let’s start inside…
Jump Start Your Spring Cleaning
A good dusting or vacuuming of ceiling fans, tops of cabinets and draperies will have you ready to throw open the windows and welcome in the warm spring air.

Organize a Closet (or two!)
Personally, I tend to make a mess by pulling everything out before organizing. If you also go with the “deep clean” method, throw a coat of paint up in the closet for a fresh start. Closets can often become catch-alls, but they can be even more useful with a couple organized shelves or practical intention. Here a couple  creative closet ideas!

Makeover Project
Select a piece of furniture, unused nook or neglected space and give it a new look or purpose. In the case of furniture, I like to pick a piece that has been hidden away or unused for sometime and think of some way to give it new life. You don’t have to break the bank and there are plenty ideas on sites like Pinterest, if you don’t have something in mind.

Start Your Garden… Indoors!
Growing your own vegetables, herbs or flowers from seed can be a very inexpensive and rewarding way to garden. If you are new to this process, here are some helpful hints for beginners.

Outside (Brrrrr… maybe wait until some of the snow melts!)
Walk Around
Take an observant stroll around your house and take note of anything that looks ‘off’. Areas to focus on are roofing, siding, foundation (especially where it meets the ground and other building materials), and weather stripping around doors, windows and garage doors. Look for any tears, cracks, missing or otherwise ‘disturbed’ materials. It’s always a good idea to take care of any issues on your home’s exterior, so they don’t creep inside and create even bigger problems.

Lawn Prep
March is a good time to clean up the mess winter has left behind. Pick up broken branches and tree debris. Rake leftover leaves. You can also start application of organic herbicides to prevent weeds. Of course, we’ll all have to wait until we can actually see our lawns again.

Clean the Windows
Inside and out. Use the hose to rinse off screens. Improve your view of the spring flowers and green grass.

Spring is right around the corner and you’ll want to spend as much time outside as possible, so use the last weeks of winter to tidy everything up inside.

Do Not Turn Off Home Buyers with these Home Design Trends

Plans_PaintChips
Your home should reflect who you are and your personality. But, if you are planning on selling your house, your home decor also needs to appeal to the masses. Here are some popular home trends that should be avoided:

Bold Paint
If your favorite color is purple or another bold color, that is great. Use this color in easy-to-remove accent pillows or accessories. Do not use such bold colors on your walls. Buyers prefer neutral walls and may not want to bother repainting them.

Wallpaper
Wallpaper with graphic patterns is to personal taste. What you may like may not appeal to others. Instead of using wallpaper, consider painting that accent wall in a neutral color.

Unique Lighting
Sometimes light fixtures can resemble works of art and are selected based upon personal taste. Lighting that is more demure and provides great light is a safer choice.

Finishes
Gold fixtures look outdated. If your home has a lot of gold, consider changing to brushed nickel – which looks more in style to current tastes.

Garages
A garage is for parking cars. If you use your garage for other purposes, change it back.

Bedrooms
A bedroom that cannot be easily converted back into a bedroom should be converted back when you are selling your home.

English Garden
If your landscaping resembles a large, lush English garden, potential buyers may not want to maintain such an overly landscaped property.

Pool and Hot Tubs
Some people will view a pool or hot tub as a benefit and others will look at them as headaches.

Need help with making home decor decisions that will be buyer friendly? Contact your real estate agent for an opinion. That person looks at homes every day and will have a good feel for buyers’ likes and dislikes.

How to Maintain Your Refrigerator in Your Home

Kitchen
Maintaining a refrigerator may seem like a job for the professionals, but there are actually a lot of things that you can do to help ensure that your appliance has a long and useful life. While you may not be mechanically savvy enough to get under the hood and fix more serious problems, you can absolutely handle routine maintenance tasks without much trouble.

Regularly putting in a few minutes with your fridge will help to keep your bills down, your refrigerator running and your food cold.

Vacuum the condenser coils
Refrigerators work by using a heat pump to expel heat through a condenser coil. This part of the pump is usually known as the “warm reservoir.” In order to function properly, this coil must be clear of anything that impedes its ability to expel heat. Unfortunately, it is also a dust magnet.

This means that every few months, you should take the time to pull your refrigerator away from the wall, unplug the appliance and vacuum the dust that collects around the condenser coil. Typically this coil is located at the bottom of the back side of your fridge. If you haven’t cleaned this coil in a while, be prepared to clean out more dust than you have ever seen.

When you’re done, your fridge should work more efficiently, meaning that it draws less electricity, keeps food at a more stable temperature and lasts longer.

Check the seals
Another important maintenance task that many homeowners neglect is checking the seals around the refrigerator door. These seals break down over time or lose their magnetism, meaning that they no longer are as effective at keeping the heat out and cold in.

To check on your seals, take a piece of paper or dollar bill and close it in your refrigerator door. With the door closed, attempt to pull the bill out. If you encounter little to no resistance, you should probably get new seals. If you do encounter normal resistance, try this test on your freezer door and in a few places around your refrigerator door to make sure.

Test the temperature
It is important to know whether your refrigerator’s thermostat is accurate, as many fall out of alignment after several years. To test, look at the temperatures that your refrigerator and freezer are set to. If your dial doesn’t include a numeric degree, consult your manual. Typically, your refrigerator should be in the low 40s and your freezer should be between 0 degrees Fahrenheit and 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

To test that your refrigerator’s thermostat is accurate, place a thermometer in a glass of water, place the glass in the fridge and wait one hour. If the numbers don’t match, your thermostat is off.

If you are concerned about the long-term well being of your refrigerator, or any other household appliance, consider purchasing a home warranty. An HMS® Home Warranty protects you from the high cost of repairing or replacing major systems and appliances in your home.

Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services if you are in need of a quote for a new refrigerator or service for one.

Blog article courtesy of: HMS Home Warranty. HMS Home Warranty is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click http://www.hmsnational.com.