My Blog

How Do You Use a Bug Zapper?

6/10/2021

How Do You Use a Bug Zapper?

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jun 10, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

To get this out there, there’s very little chance that you don’t know what a bug zapper is. There’s also at least a chance that you’ve never actually used one in real life and have just seen them used in a cartoon, movie, or TV show. Bug zappers have all but become a part of pop culture, usually indicating that a character lives in a very rural setting and more often than not comes from the poorer side of the tracks. So let’s get rid of that mental image right off the bat, because bug zappers are actually very useful tools that can make your home and yard a bit more comfortable as bugs that bite are out looking for a nibble in the heat of summer.

How Bug Zappers Work

While the “zap” in the name gives away a large part of how bug zappers work, the system is a bit more complex than just tossing out some voltage and killing wayward bugs. Inside the average bug zapper is an ultraviolet light source, which depending on the model of the zapper could be a light bulb, a fluorescent light tube or even UV LEDs. It’s this light source that attracts insects to the device, causing them to fly in between a grid of wires in hopes of reaching the light within. This is where the zap comes in; the grid contains electrified wires that provide a small shock to any insects that fly inside, killing them and causing them to drop onto a removable tray for easy cleanup.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is just a general description of how they work, of course; different models may have additional features such as scent or pheromone cartridges designed to attract specific types of insects. There also may be some differences in design between bug zappers intended for indoor use and those designed to use outside. Some small units may even be battery powered or built into the form factor of a flyswatter to make killing specific insect pests easier.

 

Placing Bug Zappers

For stationary bug zappers, there are two main types: Indoor units and outdoor units. Indoor bug zappers are typically only needed in residential homes if you have problems with bugs in certain areas (such as flies in the kitchen or flying bugs coming in through sliding doors in the summer.) If that’s the case, a bug zapper can be placed around the area where you have the largest problem or near the most obvious entry point.

Outdoor bug zappers are much more commonly used by homeowners, especially during the summer when everyone wants to spend time outdoors. The best locations to place bug zappers outdoors are typically around the edges of the area where you plan to spend time, such as the outskirts of a pool or play area, so that insects will be drawn to the zappers instead of the people within that perimeter. It can also be beneficial to place a bug zapper near outdoor tables where you’ll be serving food, just so long as it’s far enough away that wayward zapped bugs won’t fall out and land on the table. Garden hangers and shepherd’s hooks can be used to hold up the bug zapper units wherever you place them.

Bug Zapper Safety

Because bug zappers use electricity, keep in mind that you’re likely going to need extension cords to provide them with the juice they need. This means that you’ll need cords that are rated for outdoor use, as well as a grounded outdoor outlet to plug them into. It’s also important that the zappers are mounted in such a way that pets or children aren’t going to grab them; even though bug zappers don’t provide enough of a zap to be dangerous to people or pets, it could still hurt or startle them and cause them to knock the bug zapper over (which could then hit someone or become a tripping hazard.)

Using a bug zapper can be beneficial around the house, though it’s important to remember that not all bugs will be attracted to one. For other insect pests, calling in an exterminator or other pest removal pro can be a good idea. Sign up for a free HomeKeepr account today to find pest pros in your area that can help keep your home insect free and take care of whatever the bug zapper doesn’t.

HVAC Hacks for High Ceilings

6/7/2021

HVAC Hacks for High Ceilings

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jun 07, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Many people like homes with high ceilings because of the spaciousness they convey and the vertical space they provide for hangings, artwork, and a variety of other items. There are a few drawbacks to high ceilings, though, and one significant one is how difficult they can make heating and cooling your home. If you aren’t careful, those high ceilings that look so nice can result in a significant increase in your heating and cooling costs when compared to similar homes with lower ceilings. This doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to spend a lot on heating and cooling, however; there are a few things that you can do to make your HVAC system more efficient in your home even if you do have high ceilings.

Improve Air Circulation

One big thing that you can do is to get the air in your home moving by using ceiling fans or other types of fans. Even though the fans won’t heat or cool the air on their own, they do move the hot or cold air around to provide a more comfortable environment overall. This can be especially important during the hottest parts of summer and the coldest parts of winter, as in both instances fans keep hot air from collecting up high and cool air from staying too low for you to really enjoy.

A whole-house fan can help in this regard as well, especially in the heat of summer. This type of fan will remove the hottest air from your home, which keeps your attic from heating up the rest of the house or trapping warm air. Once the days start cooling down, the fan can then be shut off and insulated to keep warm air from escaping.

 

Make Use of the System Fan

Most people keep their HVAC system on automatic, which uses the system fan to circulate air while the air conditioning or heater is on and then shuts it off afterward. Just like with ceilings fans, though, the system fan can help to circulate air even when the unit isn’t actively heating or cooling the air. This circulation helps to eliminate stagnant, still air that can seem uncomfortable regardless of the temperature you’re shooting for.

Turning on the system fan can be useful throughout the year, but it’s especially useful during the summer when it’s coolest near the floors. HVAC registers at the floor level will move that cool air higher into your home. The added air circulation also provides some benefit in winter too, helping to get heat out from around the high ceilings and down into the rest of the house. During the milder spring and fall, you can enjoy the added air circulation if you wish or simply switch the fan back to auto.

Consider Your HVAC System

If your HVAC system can’t keep up even with additional air circulation, it may be that your unit is too exposed outdoors or simply isn’t powerful enough to fully heat and cool your home. If possible, your HVAC unit should be in the shade for at least part of the day to keep its components as cool as possible even during the heat of summer. Installing a shade or awning over the unit can be one way to accomplish this, just so long as you don’t use large supports or side pieces that could restrict airflow. If the unit is too small, though, there’s not much that you can do other than installing supplementary air conditioning or heating solutions or upgrading the whole system.

If you’re not sure whether you need an HVAC upgrade, HomeKeepr can help with this. You can connect with HVAC pros in your area who will help you determine whether your unit is the right size for your home and who can provide the maintenance necessary to keep it running smoothly all year long. Best of all, you can sign up with HomeKeepr for free.

How Much Paint Do I Need?

6/3/2021

How Much Paint Do I Need?

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

Jun 03, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Paint, paint, glorious paint! It’s one of the least expensive materials you can buy for your house that delivers one of the biggest visual punches. It also fixes a myriad of problems. Got a tired exterior? Paint. The interior of your home feels like it’s closing in on you? Paint. Bought a couch that you love, but clashes with everything else? PAINT.

In all seriousness, paint is a great way to brighten, enliven, and give your home a serious face lift – inside and out. But once you’ve picked a color, what comes next? How do you choose the right paint and actually buy the right amount for your project?

Choosing Your Perfect Paint

Choosing paint can be overwhelming. There are always a variety of grades and characteristics to choose among, leaving a lot of people very confused and frustrated. Here are a few things to watch out for when picking your paint:

  • Composition. There are other options for paint, but for most homeowners, the biggest choice is between latex and oil. Latex paint offers easy clean-up, but can be slightly soft when fully cured, making it a poor choice for high traffic areas. On the other hand, oil is far more difficult to clean up, but will pretty much go over anything and harden much better to handle years and years of abuse.
  • Sheen. Your walls are your own, and only you can decide just how shiny they should be. When you’re choosing your paint sheen, it might feel like a no-brainer to go with the shiniest paint out there, but take a moment and consider that glossy paint shows a lot of sins, and few houses are really perfect. So if your walls or other surfaces are less than perfect, the flaws could stand out badly. On the other hand, something like eggshell hides a lot of sins, but can be extremely difficult to clean, should it get dirty.
  • Durability. Paint is paint is paint, right? Sadly, not even remotely. There are paints that start around $20 a gallon and there are paints that could be four times as much. Both are priced the way they are because of different characteristics they possess, but durability is a huge factor in the pricing. Cheap paint is just that: cheap. It’s generally not meant to last very long, which will leave you having to redo it again soon. On the other hand, top of the line paint is likely impregnated with UV-resistant materials, weather resistant chemicals, and other fancy stuff to keep your paint looking good for longer.
  • Coats to Coverage. Most paints will tell you how many coats it’ll take to cover your wall (generally assuming you’ve properly primed first). This is really important information when it comes to figuring out how much paint you need. One coat coverage from a $50 gallon of paint is often still cheaper than three coat coverage from a $20 gallon.

 

Doing the Paint Math

As far as how to calculate your paint needs, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re definitely going to have some loss to waste, so your calculations are really more like estimates. Painting isn’t a precise science; it’s more of an art, and how much paint ends up being used is influenced by your tools and techniques, as well as the paint and walls themselves.

To calculate your paint needs, simply multiply your surface height by its length, in feet. So, if you’re painting a 10 foot by 20 foot wall, you’d need coverage for 200 square feet. Check the paint you’re interested in to see how many feet the bucket should cover and in how many coats. A lot of paint gallons cover approximately 250 square feet, which would be great for your first coat on this wall.

If you need two or more coats, you’ll need two or more times that much paint. It’s better to round up than down, since you’re almost certainly going to find spots you want to touch-up later. Plus, if your paint is custom tinted, you’re going to get a much better match if it’s all done together. Even in the age of computerized paint mixing, you can still end up with a day when the machine is feeling a bit off.

Not Ready for Painting and Math?

Absolutely not a problem. This is why so many people trust their HomeKeepr communities to provide recommendations for the very best painters in their area. Just log in to search for the services you need, and you’re done. All you need to do from there is pick your colors!

How Big is Your Ceiling Fan?

5/27/2021

How Big is Your Ceiling Fan?

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

May 27, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

As the heat of summer approaches, having ways to stay cool at home is especially important. Installing new air conditioners or HVAC units can be expensive and may add significantly to your ongoing cooling costs as well. In many cases, a major cooling system upgrade isn’t even needed; simple things like the right curtains and ceiling fans in your rooms can go a long way towards keeping things cool even in the heat of summer. You just need to make sure that you’ve got the right fan for the space you’ve installed it in.

How Big Your Fan Should Be

To get the most out of a ceiling fan, it’s important that you choose a fan that is the right size for the room it’s going to be used in. If you’re underwhelmed by the effect that a ceiling fan has in one of your rooms, most of the time the problem is that the fan is simply too small for the space that you have it installed in. To make sure that you get the right fan for your rooms, it’s important that you know each room’s square footage; you can calculate this by measuring the length of the room, measuring its width, and then multiplying those numbers together.

Once you know the square footage you can figure out what size of a fan you need. If you have a smaller room that’s less than 144 square feet, you can get away with a fan with a diameter as small as 42 inches and not have any problems with it. If it’s more than that but less than 255 square feet, increase the size slightly to around 44 inches or so. If you’re trying to cool a room larger than 255 square feet, you’ll likely need to jump to a 52-inch fan to get the job done. Depending on the space, you may even have to install more than one fan (this is common in rooms larger than 300 square feet).

Positioning a Ceiling Fan

In most cases, ceiling fans are placed in the center of a room. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however, and there may be situations where you’re better off placing the fan elsewhere. If airflow is blocked by something near the center of the room, you’ll want your ceiling fan to be placed where it can take advantage of the better airflow.
Another frequently overlooked issue with positioning a ceiling fan is choosing the vertical height of the fan. For ceilings that are lower than 8 feet, ceiling fans are typically mounted right to the ceiling itself. For 9-foot and taller ceilings, however, downrods are used in conjunction with ceiling mounts to ensure that the fan is in the optimal position for cooling. Most downrods that homeowners will encounter are around 12 or 18 inches long, but those with A-frame houses or otherwise very tall ceilings may need downrods that are 24 or 36 inches or possibly even longer.

Ceiling Fan Installation

Installing a ceiling fan may seem like a big job, and admittedly is might not be for the weak of heart. When it comes down to it, though, the entire process is likely easier than you’re expecting. You’ll have to install a box for the fan and a brace that connects to the framing in the ceiling. Once that’s secure, you’ll need to run wiring to the fan and attach a hanger bracket. Once that’s complete all that’s left to do is assemble and hang the fan itself.

If you’re confident in your abilities but you aren’t sure if you’re THAT confident, you always have the option of hiring a pro who can get your fan taken care of in no time. Fortunately, HomeKeepr can help with that. Sign up for a free account today to connect with pros in your area that can meet your every need.

Summer Bug Control Made Simple

5/24/2021

Summer Bug Control Made Simple

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

May 24, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Summer is wonderful. The weather is lovely, and there’s so much extra daylight that you have plenty of time for all kinds of outdoor activities. It’s almost too perfect. Well, that is until summer pests come along to ruin your lovely outdoor gatherings. But don’t worry, it’s still possible to have a perfectly pleasant time without having to fight off the bugs at your picnic.

Insects are Everywhere!

It’s inevitable that you’re going to run face-first into some kind of insects if you’re spending a lot of time in your own personal outdoor oasis, but it doesn’t mean that you have to like it. Even though there are way more of them than there are of us, only a few really have serious potential to ruin a party at any given moment. Let’s take a look at keeping those bugs under control all summer.

Flies
Flies are gross. There’s no two ways about it. They hang out in the trash, and then fly by to try to grab a bit of your lunch with no regards to personal hygiene. Once adult flies are running about, they can be hard to control, so the trick is to minimize places that are hospitable for their young to grow up big and strong. Start by monitoring your trash. In the summer, hot weather makes garbage cans super attractive to flies, since trash will begin to break down quickly. Wait until the day your trash service collects your cans to take out any kind of food waste, to reduce the chance flies have to find and breed in last week’s leftovers.

Mosquitos
There’s not much worse than flies, but mosquitos definitely fall into that category. Along with flying around and being obnoxious, they feed on humans like their own personal buffets. Handling mosquitoes effectively also starts with reducing breeding habitats, such as small stagnant pools of water (even a leftover party cup with standing water can be a mosquito haven) and gutters that need to be cleaned out. For bigger or more permanent water features, start using Mosquito Dunks regularly or add fish to ponds to eliminate larval mosquitoes before they grow big enough to breed.

Wasps
There are several different kinds of wasps to be aware of in the summertime, but they have a lot in common. If you find a flying insect with a narrow waist and an interest in sweet or savory foods, you’ve almost certainly found a wasp or hornet, which belong to the same family. Start by covering your outdoor trash cans, because they’re often drawn to pungent vinegar-like smells or sweet beverages, like that tiny bit of soda in the bottom of the can. Some wasps are also interested in raw meat, so keep the meat for the grill indoors until you’re ready to cook. Scanning your outdoor area regularly for wasp nests can help reduce populations dramatically. Never try to remove a hornet nest alone, but a smaller wasp nest can be taken out with wasp spray from a distance.

Ants
Like other outdoor bugs, ants tend to take advantage of the situation. If there’s food to be had, keep it tightly covered and off the ground so as not to attract their attention. Picnic blankets can be romantic, but they’re a great way to attract ants to the party, so keep your food on a table or at lap height. And make sure you’ve applied an ant barrier around your home so they don’t try to take the party inside!

When Insects Become Serious Buzzkills…

… it’s time to look in your HomeKeepr community for pest control companies in your area. A simple recommendation from people you trust can ensure that your insect problems bug right off. Some pest control companies also handle other problems, like troublesome rodents or lizards, too, so be sure to ask if that’s an issue you’re dealing with as well.

Window Coverings Help Beat the Summer Heat

5/20/2021

Window Coverings Help Beat the Summer Heat

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

May 20, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Keeping your home cool during the hot summer months can be an expensive prospect. This is especially true if you have large windows or rooms that have multiple windows that let sunlight in. While it’s great to have natural light during the day, it can work against your AC by heating up the air in those rooms at the same time you’re pumping cool air throughout the house. This can lead to your air conditioning running almost constantly throughout the day, and in some cases may even prompt an expensive HVAC upgrade if your current unit can’t keep up with the summer heat to your liking.

There’s some good news, though: It’s likely possible to cut your cooling costs during the summer without having to spend potentially thousands of dollars on a more powerful air conditioning solution. Through the use of various types of window coverings, you can make a big difference in how much heat is added to your home through your windows. Not only does this have the potential to cut your cooling costs significantly, but it can enhance the overall style of your home as well.

Curtains and Internal Coverings

Curtains, blinds, and other internal window coverings can have a significant impact on how much heat you gain from the sun during the summer. Medium to dark-colored curtains and drapes, especially those with white backings, block sunlight and heat gain significantly and can also help to hold heat in during the cold winter months. Blinds and rolling shades also offer some protection against heat gain, though their effectiveness depends on a number of factors including color, material, and reflectiveness.

Regardless of the covering type you choose, they are typically most effective when closed on south or west-facing windows, since these are the most likely to get direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. Closing the curtains or blinds on any window receiving direct sunlight can have at least some beneficial effect, however.

Window Films

One of the big problems with using coverings such as curtains and shades to prevent heat gain during the summer is that they block light and visibility as well as heat. If you still want to be able to see through your windows and enjoy some natural sunlight while preventing heat gain, a low-E window film might be a better option to meet your needs.
Low-E films are mildly tinted plastic films that have reflective particles of metal or metal oxide in them, reflecting UV rays while still allowing for some natural light and visibility. Because the UV rays are reflected back out into the outside, they are not able to heat up the air inside of your home. While the effectiveness of low-E films can vary depending on the manufacturer, thickness of the film, and how well they are installed, it’s estimated that some low-E films can reduce summer heat gain from sunlight by as much as 70 percent or more.

Shutters and Other Upgrades

There are a variety of other upgrades you can make to your home that will also help to block UV rays and prevent unwanted heat gain during the summer. Functional shutters that can be closed during the heat of the day can make a significant difference in solar heat gain, blocking the sunlight from actually reaching your windows in the first place. Awnings installed over windows can also block some light and heat, while still allowing for some visibility. Exterior solar screens are also an option, blocking UV rays and increasing your energy efficiency while preserving some light and visibility as well.

Of course, some of these options may be a bit more than you want to tackle as a DIY project. Even installing low-E films can be tricky if you have little experience with window films or have large windows to cover. Fortunately, HomeKeepr is here to help. Sign up for a free account today and get connected with installation pros in your area that can have you fixed up and staying cool in no time.

Considering a Yard Pond?

5/17/2021

Considering a Yard Pond?

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

May 17, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Ponds are increasingly popular water features for homeowners. Having a small decorative pond in your yard can help you unwind, provide a unique ecosystem for certain animals, and just generally add some beauty to your property. With that said, it’s important to realize that installing a yard pond is a bigger task than just digging a hole and adding some water. Before diving into a pond project, it’s important that you stop to consider everything that’s involved with the installation, as well as some of the things you’ll need for upkeep once the pond is finished. This isn’t meant to discourage you, just to make you sure that you’re aware of all of this before you get too far into your planning.

Installing a Yard Pond

Yard ponds can range in size between a small 550-gallon pond to one that holds 2,000 gallons or more, so it’s important to take the time to plan exactly how large you want your pond to be. Try outlining your pond with a rope to get an idea of its dimensions, then add an extra 2 feet or so around the entire border to account for transitionary plants, rocks, and other border features. You’ll want to keep an eye on the area once you have it outlined, since most pond plants require at least six hours of sunlight or more per day to thrive.

You’ll also need to have a way to get power to the pond to power any pumps or fountains that you use to circulate water, and a means to add additional water as needed if your local rainfall isn’t sufficient to counter evaporation. Other necessities include a pond liner to keep the water from simply soaking into the ground, any fish or plants that you want to add to the pond once it’s installed, and a pond net or skimmer to keep leaves, seed pods, and similar items from clogging up your pump in the spring and fall. In addition to all of that, you may also need permits or other legal documents before you can break ground, and you will likely have to have a survey to mark underground pipes and wires to avoid potential fines.

 

Yard Pond Upkeep

Once a pond is installed, there are some things you should keep in mind as part of your ongoing maintenance plan. You’ll need to check your pond every week for leaves, debris, and other things that might gunk up the works and potentially harm fish or plants, though this can be negated with a pond net during the fall or other times when a lot of potential debris is likely. Checking the water level is also important, especially during the summer. If you have cold winters, you may also need a heater or air bubbler to keep everything from freezing as well. In most cases you will only need to spend around 15 to 30 minutes a week checking on these issues, but that can vary depending on where you live.

Another thing you’ll want to consider is insects. While dragonflies and similar insects are often a welcome sight around ponds, water features like this can also be a breeding ground for mosquitoes if you aren’t careful. Making sure that the water is sufficiently circulated or adding products that are designed to prevent mosquito growth without harming fish or other animals are good ways to take care of this problem, though some of these treatments may have to be repeated multiple times per year. Certain fish may also help to keep the mosquito population under control.

Ready to Build Your Pond?

A yard pond can be a major undertaking, but it can really pay off once it’s finished. If you’re not sure where to start, it’s a good idea to consult with a landscaper or water feature installer in your area to see what will work best for your property. HomeKeepr can help you connect with the pros you need to make your pond dreams a reality; sign up for a free account today to get started.

Your HVAC Estimate Checklist

5/13/2021

Your HVAC Estimate Checklist

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

May 13, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

There’s nothing like the feeling of a rush of cool air from your air conditioning system, but what happens when that cool air turns lukewarm, or worse, won’t kick on at all? It may be time to get that ailing HVAC system replaced.

Talking to an HVAC professional about an air conditioning replacement can be intimidating. There’s a lot to know, and it’s probably not going to be cheap. But considering that a typical air conditioning unit lasts 10 to 15 years, what you invest today will help pay for itself in the longer term. That being said, it’s still important to know what to ask and the pitfalls to watch for.

Always Ask About Licensing and Insurance

Before you so much as let someone start to quote your HVAC job, ask about their licensing and insurance status. Not only will this save you a ton of time by weeding out anyone who isn’t actually a practicing professional, you’ll avoid issues that can arise if, for example, your HVAC is installed without a permit, or there’s a jobsite accident without proper coverage. HVAC installers should always be licensed according to your state and local guidelines.

Your installer should also carry the proper insurance policies. For example, a comprehensive policy will protect you should there be damage to your property as a result of a mistake made during the installation. And Workers Compensation insurance can also help by protecting you from being held liable should your HVAC workers have an accident on the job. Be aware that small shops don’t always carry Workers Compensation because of rules on who can be insured, so if your installer doesn’t carry Workers Compensation, be sure to get a liability waiver.

 

Your HVAC Estimate

As far as the estimate itself is concerned, there are several questions you should ask right up front. These questions and their answers should also be included on the estimate itself, as it serves as a sort of informal contract on the job you’re having done. Make sure you’ve hit these points:

  • What’s the brand and SEER rating of the unit that will be installed? If you’re having both your furnace and air conditioner replaced, ask about the fuel type and efficiency of the furnace, as well. If you’ve got a standard heating and air conditioning system, this is your opportunity to switch to something a bit more energy efficient, like a heat pump, so be sure to ask if there are other options that can use your existing ductwork.
  • What size is the unit that will be installed? Make sure to note the size of the unit you’re having removed and how well it worked during its service. A single like-for-like replacement unit should be the same size if the performance was good, or should be adjusted slightly depending on your actual needs. Note that you will need a matching A-coil if you change air conditioner sizes without changing your furnace, too.
  • Will you need ductwork? Ductwork can usually be reused, but as it gets older it can develop damage, come apart, or rust through, depending on the materials and conditions it’s subjected to. If any amount of ductwork is being replaced, make sure to have this noted and broken out in the estimate, because ductwork costs can add up fast. On the other hand, this is also a great time to add additional registers or cold air returns in older homes to help improve efficiency.
  • What other things will be done while they’re working? HVAC companies do more than just install heating and air conditioning units. They can remove old furnaces left behind in crawl spaces, clean your ductwork, install smart thermometers, or provide you with electrostatic filters, just to name a few. If any of this work is being done, have it included in the estimate and later ensure it was completed as promised.
  • Is there a warranty? Most importantly, make sure you have all the details on any warranties offered. Most HVAC systems will come with warranties on the individual parts, as well as a separate warranty on labor. This information can be extremely useful should your air conditioner need unexpected repairs, like a replacement control board or compressor.

How Do You Find Qualified HVAC People?

There’s no easier way to find the right person for the job than to look in your HomeKeepr community where you’ll find recommendations of HVAC pros in your area from people you know and trust.

Refresh Your Garage This Spring

5/6/2021

Refresh Your Garage This Spring

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

May 06, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

In most households, the garage serves many important purposes. It keeps your car safe from weather, theft, and other damage. It provides a storage space for your outdoor equipment and other things. In some homes it even provides a crawl space or attic access. Despite this, however, the garage is often one of the last places many homeowners think of when trying to come up with spring home improvement projects. If you think that your garage might need a little extra love this spring, here are a few things that you could do to give it a refresh.

Enhance Your Storage

One way that you can reinvigorate your garage and make it a much more useful space is to add additional storage options within it. Depending on how your garage is currently set up, this could be as simple as installing a few shelves or adding a couple of cabinets to give you somewhere to put items that might otherwise just be sitting around or cluttered together. You could even add a cabinet with a lock to give you a secure space to store chemicals or other items that you don’t want children or pets to have easy access to.

There are a few ways that you could take this a bit further if you really want some nice storage solutions, though. A pegboard can be a great addition to your garage, especially if you need a place to store tools for easy access; you can even trace around the various tools with a permanent marker or paint pen to make it obvious what goes in which space. Other storage options include a rack to hold a bicycle to keep it out of the way, corner shelves with a lazy Susan for storing small components out of the way, or under-shelf bins to hold small items like screws, nails, and other fasteners.

 

Fix Up That Floor

Your garage floor takes a lot of abuse, and over time it can really start to show. Stains, discolorations, and cracks are all common in garage floors, and over time the floor can really start to degrade. While it will probably take a while before the damage gets so bad that you have to start making major repairs, having a messed up garage floor can make you less likely to use the garage, and beyond a certain point can even affect the resale value of your home. Luckily, this is usually pretty easy to fix.

Concrete crack fillers can smooth out the surface of your garage floor, preventing further damage and giving you a uniform surface again. In many cases, these fillers can even roughly match the color of your existing garage floor so that the filled cracks aren’t overly obvious. A variety of concrete cleaners are also available to help remove stains and discoloration from the floor as well. If you want to really enhance the look of your floor while protecting it from further damage, epoxy-based sealants and floor paints provide you with a hard coat on top of the cleaned and filled concrete that will resist leaks, stains, and everyday traffic to keep your garage floor looking good for years to come.

Revive Those Garage Doors

Have your garage doors seen better days, or do you not have doors on your garage at all? Either way, installing new garage doors, or even just replacing the door opening mechanism, can give new life to your garage. Modern garage doors help to protect everything in your garage and provide a decorative enhancement to the look of your home. In many cases the openers can even be connected to smartphone apps or other smart home components to give you more control even when you’re away from the house.

If you think that installing new doors or updating your garage door hardware is a big step to undertake on your own, HomeKeepr is here to help. Sign up for a free account today to connect to garage door installers and other home improvement pros in your area that can get this, and other jobs, done just the way that you want.

Are You Cleaning These Spots Often Enough?

5/3/2021

Are You Cleaning These Spots Often Enough?

Maura Callan Bain

BHHS Towne Realty

May 03, 2021

Maura Callan Bain

Cleaning up around the house is obviously an important task, and some areas require cleaning more often than others. There are some spots that might need a bit more attention than they’re getting, though. This is especially true for those areas that are out of sight or otherwise not as easily noticed as higher-profile and more visible areas that get cleaned on the regular. While the specifics of your cleaning and maintenance schedule will depend on your home and what you have in it, here are a few common areas for you to consider in case they’re not getting enough attention in your home.

Interior Cleaning

Most of the time when you think of cleaning in the house, you’re likely thinking of tasks like dusting, vacuuming, and other common indoor cleaning tasks. Here are a few other places to clean that might not be getting nearly as much attention as they need:

  • Washer and dryer: You should clean your washing machine every week or two, or at least once a month if it isn’t used very often. The dryer should also be cleaned at least once a month, and make sure you take a vacuum and suck out some of the lint that might build up around your lint trap.
  • Blinds: While dust on the blinds is the most obvious sign that they need to be cleaned, they also build up with grease and other dirt over time which can stick and even stain. Even if they don’t look like they need it, clean your blinds at least once a month.
  • Refrigerator: The coils on the back of your fridge need periodic cleaning, but you should also clean the grill, shelves, and other internal locations as well. This not only keeps buildup from stopping airflow, but also helps to prevent food contamination.
  • Furniture: If your furniture is upholstered, try to vacuum its surface at least once a month. This will get rid of crumbs and dirt while also cutting back on dust, dander, and other allergens that can plague you throughout the year.

These obviously aren’t the only locations that you need to hit when cleaning up around the house, but they’re some of the more easily overlooked. Other appliances and features of rooms that are frequently used might need to go on the list as well when thinking of what to clean.

Exterior Cleaning

There are a lot of areas outside that could probably use more attention than they’re getting. This can vary significantly depending on where you live and the features of your home and yard, but here are a few of the most common:

  • External HVAC components: If you have central heat and air, you’ve likely got a large exterior unit that at best only gets cleaned once or maybe twice a year. If you rely on window-mounted air conditioners, those may get even less love. Check these components at least 3 or 4 times a year if not more often and remove built-up leaves, dirt, dust, and other potential hazards that could hurt their efficiency.
  • Patios and walkways: Leaves, cut grass, and a variety of types of dirt can have a negative effect on walkways, stonework, and even wooden features like patios if left alone. They can cause unsightly stains, chips, and other decay. Clean these outdoor features at least once a month, and more often during the summer and fall when there’s a lot of mowing and falling leaves around.
  • Garage doors: There’s a good chance that you clean your garage at least a few times per year, but what about the garage doors? Not only do the tracks need to be cleaned periodically to prevent dirt or debris from clogging them up, but you also might want to add some appropriate lubricant to the rollers at least once or twice per year.
  • Gutters: If your home has gutters, you likely clean them at least once a year when the leaves are falling. What about other times, though? Falling seed pods, pollen, and even dirt and dust that washes down from your shingles can all have a negative effect on your gutters. Try to clean them at least once per season if not more often.

There are other areas that may be overlooked as well, such as bricks or siding and the outside of windows (which should be cleaned at least as often as the inside window glass is cleaned.) Stay mindful of this as you make a list of things to clean and maintain around the outside of your home.

Other Considerations

There are a lot of tasks around the home when it comes to cleaning, and some of them are things you might not even consider. To help make sure that you get everything, try hiring a professional cleaner or home maintenance pro at least a few times a year to help you tackle everything. HomeKeepr can help you find pros in your area to get the job done; just sign up for a free account today and you’ll be on your way.

Page:  of 000  |