Spring Into Spring Cleaning

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Here’s advice about getting your home sparkling clean and organized for Spring from our readers and the folks at Bissell. These ideas will freshen your rooms so they sparkle and shine shedding all signs of being closed up for the winter. Don’t plan to tackle these ten steps all at one time. Figure on spending a few hours at a time and before you know it you’ll be starting the new season with a squeaky clean home.

It starts with making a plan to create a cleaning checklist that outlines tasks for every room. As you move from room to room, you’ll feel encouraged and motivated as you check items off your list.

Before you begin, go through each room and closet and declutter, donate or toss what you’re no longer using.

  1. Create an Enjoyable Work Environment. Turn on the radio, make a playlist of upbeat music to keep you energized through your cleaning routine or select an audiobook to keep your brain engaged while you clean.
  2. Open the Windows. When the weather permits let fresh air into the home and reduce the smell of cleaning supplies.
  3. Go from High to Low. Clean from the upstairs down and from top to bottom in a room. Dust and wash down surfaces before moving to vacuuming or mopping. This way, you won’t drop dust or crumbs on an already clean floor.
  4. Find Your Vacuum’s Extension Tool. Use it to clean hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, behind and under furniture, baseboards, window blinds, ceiling corners, and light fixtures.
  5. Clean Appliances. Wash the dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and washing machine inside and out, including knobs and buttons. Also, wash or replace filters and other parts as needed.
  6. Spot Clean Well-used Surfaces. Remove handprints on doors and handles of kitchen cabinets, room doors and exterior doors.
  7. Clean the Windows. Before washing the glass, wipe away dirt in the sill and channels.
  8. Clean the Floors. Wash all the floors and vacuum rugs and carpeting.

For more advice click here for our database of HOME HINTS & TIPS from our readers at www.diyornot.com.

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April Home To Do List

A007 At this time of year it’s a good idea to take some time to make inspections and clean and maintain some of the well used systems of your home. Take a look at these 11 chores and make your own list of what needs to be done to make your home clean and fresh and ready for warmer weather.

* Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
* Change batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke alarms
* Clean out and organize the attic
* Clean and inspect gutters and downspouts
* Inspect the siding and foundation for damage from pests, cracks or weather
* Inspect insulation for gaps and remove vent covers
* Inspect heat pump or air conditioning unit and clear debris
* Clean out fireplace and wood stove and have chimney and flue cleaned
* Tune up gas grill, lawn mower and other power equipment
* Turn on outdoor water spigots
* Apply pre-emergent on lawns to curb growth of weeds

If you’re considering any lawn and home improvement jobs visit us at www.diyornot.com and find the cost of doing it yourself compared with the cost of hiring a contractor.

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Choices in Attic Flooring

An unfinished attic offers additional storage space especially for seldom used or must-save household items. With access to the attic in place, consider finishing the space to accommodate all that stuff with flooring panels or decking material and turn unused space into a well organized storage area.

First, consider the construction of the house. If your house was built with roof trusses forget about using the space for additional storage because it was designed to support the roof, not weaken it with more weight.
If the roof is supported by ceiling joists built to support the ceiling in the rooms below, not necessarily a heavy load in the attic, talk to a contractor or building engineer to appraise the attic space to decide if it’s a candidate for flooring.

Before you begin consider the challenge of working in the small, low confines of an attic, which is not a trivial concern when you realize you’ll be working on your knees most of the time. (Wear knee pads!)

Flooring panels made of wood or composite wood are one choice installed by securing them to the floor joists. These can be 4×8 plywood sheets which are cut and trimmed to maneuver up and into the tight confines of an attic. For instructions go to The Plywood.com.

Decking material squares are lightweight and comes in sizes of 16-inch and 24-inch designed to be installed directly to the top of floor joists. Attic Deck Panels at Improvements catalog are rigid panels that fit together and are secured with screws. Another choice is a material that you slide and lock slats together, roll them out and lock in place www.lockandrollin.com.

You’ll find several attic flooring solutions by typing “attic deck panels” in any search engine.

Find the cost of hundreds of improvement jobs and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor at www.diyornot.com.

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Considering a Metal Roof

Gene and Katie Hamilton

The Metal Roofing Alliance is a not-for-profit organization that informs homeowners about the benefits of a metal roof. If you’re in need of a new roof, here are some things to consider.

This is especially important if you plan to stay in your home for the long term because an investment in improvements and renovations that will stay the test of time and build equity are a priority.

The roof over your head is such an improvement. While it may not be the sexiest purchase, a new roof is critical for basic maintenance and future resale value when the time comes. But you don’t want re-roofing to be on the renovation list again in five years, so it’s important to evaluate durability and longevity when seeking a new roof.

There is only one roofing material that will last 50 years or more. Metal. The life cycle cost of a metal roof is very attractive for most homes, a metal roof is a permanent choice, and will never have to be replaced, saving the costly tear off and replacement common with temporary solutions such as asphalt, slate or wood shakes.

New survey results from McGraw-Hill Construction and Analytics show metal roofing has made a significant climb in the residential roofing marketing, now comprising 11% of the residential retrofit market. According to 61% of surveyed homeowners, one of the biggest reasons they choose metal is due to the longevity.

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of hundreds of improvement projects and decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor.

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Still Fighting a Drafty House – Home Upgrades to Keep Warm

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According to the U. S. Department of Energy, the typical family spends almost $1,300 a year on their home’s utility bill. You can lower your energy bill by 10% to 50% with simple and inexpensive improvements that button up your house to keep cold air out and warm air inside.

First, try these no cost improvements. Rearrange furniture so it doesn’t cover the cold air returns in the floor so heated air can flow freely. In sunny side rooms open draperies and raise shades to let Mother Nature heat the space and close them at night. Use a heavy window shade or drapery to keep cold air out in north-facing rooms. And when you’re not using a fireplace, close the damper. Feel cold air coming from electrical outlets or receptacles on exterior walls? Remove the plate covers and insert an inexpensive foam switch and wallplate sealer that cuts down the draft.

Inspect the condition of weatherstripping and replace material if it’s old and worn. Look at exterior doors, windows, on a door or access panel to an unheated attic, crawl space or attached garage.

Look at the thresholds of all exterior doors. The gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold should be tightly sealed with a gasket in the threshold or on the bottom of the door. If you can see light or feel a draft replace the gasket.

At the first sign of cold weather install storm windows or replace screens with storm panels in combination storm doors and windows.

To seal a drafty old window try this quick-fix. Get an inexpensive interior storm window kit, which has enough plastic sheeting and double-faced tape to cover the average size window. Apply the tape around the window, press the plastic film in place and use a hair dryer to shrink the film for a clear, tight fit.

If the loose fill insulation in your attic isn’t 12 inches deep add rolls of poly-wrapped fiberglass insulation. Cut the rolls to size with a heavy scissors and lay the pieces on top of the existing insulation.

Use a foam sealant to fill the gaps and cracks around joints in the siding, electrical outlets and water spigots on the exterior of you house. And replace old caulk around window frames with a cartridge of good quality caulk.

The Alliance to Save Energy says you can expect to save about 3 percent on your winter heating bill for each degree you lower your thermostat. Install a programmable thermostat and set it to automatically lower the heat at night and when no one is home and raise it in the morning or before the family returns home.

Have an annual tune up by a heating professional for an oil fired unit and at least every other year for a gas fired unit. Remember to clean or replace air filters in a forced air system once a month so it runs efficiently. And if you plan to replace windows, a furnace, heat pump or appliances look for the Energy Star label on the product to assure you it meets energy efficiency standards.

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to find the cost of hundreds of improvements and compare doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.

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Flipping Houses – Stronger Than Ever

Gene and Katie Hamilton

A house or condo is “flipped” if it’s sold for the second time within a 12-month period. Home flips in 2016 accounted for almost 7 percent of all single family home and condos sales during the year, up from 5.5 percent in 2015. This information comes from the recently released 2016 Home Flipping Report by Attom Data Solutions, which shows that 193,009 single family homes and condos were flipped.

Home flipping was hot in 2016, fueled by low inventory of homes in sellable or rentable condition along with a flood of capital both foreign and domestic, searching for the returns and stability available with U.S. real estate, said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

Investors in search of flipping returns are increasingly willing to move to secondary and tertiary housing markets and neighborhoods with older, smaller properties that are available at a deeper discount,” Blomquist continued. “Given that many of these markets are more affordable, we are also seeing a higher share of the flipped homes sold to FHA buyers, with that share reaching a four-year high of 19.6 percent in 2016.”

Where is all of this happening? Follow this link: https://public.tableau.com/profile/darenjblomquist#!/vizhome/HottestHomeFlippingZipsin2016/Dashboard1

 

 

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Keep Your House Working – March Checklist

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    These 9 items concentrate on making sure the systems of your home are in good working order and keeping them in that condition. Inside jobs involve getting rid of things you don’t use and cleaning and freshening things that you do. If weather permits you can go outdoors and prim and trim tree branches that may have fallen and prune away any dead or broken limbs.

    • Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
    • Flush vinegar through clothes washer to remove soap scum
    • Unclutter clothes closet
    • Clean out refrigerator
    • Clean and organize bathroom cabinet, drawers and closet
    • Check batteries in emergency flashlights
    • Lubricate, test and clean sump pump in basement or crawl space
    • Clean, oil and sharpen lawn tools
    • Prune dead and broken tree limbs

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of hundreds of improvement projects and decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor.

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