KEEP YOUR HOUSE SMELLING GREAT (EVERY SINGLE DAY)

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Fresh Smell   Have you ever walked into someone else’s home and were overwhelmed by how incredible it smelled? Or maybe you couldn’t wait to leave because there was a not-so-great scent as soon as you entered? Often, we become so accustomed to the way our own home smells that we don’t notice if the scent is bad or good. It can be frustrating to wonder what others think about the scent of your home. If you feel like your house doesn’t always smell fresh, follow these steps to make sure that it smells amazing all the time

ELIMINATE BAD SMELLS

  • Empty garbage cans regularly
  • Clean out your refrigerator once a week
  • Sprinkle baking soda or carpet deodorizer before vacuuming
  • Open the windows when the weather is nice
  • Invest in an air purifier
  • If you have pets, brush and bathe them often
  • Get rid of old musty towels
  • Use a daily bathroom cleaner spray to prevent mildew smells
  • Pour a little drain cleaner in your sinks on a weekly basis to get rid of any unwanted scents

ADD NEW SCENTS

  • Add a few drops of essential oils on your air filters
  • Use linen spray daily
  • Burn candles
  • Use a wax melter
  • Use homemade potpourri in your crockpot
  • Place car vent clips in your air conditioner vents
  • Buy fresh plants for your home
  • Invest in good-smelling cleaning products with scents you love
  • Use an essential oil diffuser

Looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate? Let Great Lakes Home Team help you. Contact us at 440 299-5137 or greatlakeshometeam@gmail.com. Visit us at greatlakeshometeam.com to search for your dream home.

How to prevent frozen pipes and what to do if a pipe bursts


When the temperature reaches freezing, this can cause the water inside pipes to freeze. As the water freezes, it expands causing the pressure inside the pipes to increase. Frozen pipes is a minor inconvenience; a pipe that bursts is a homeowner’s nightmare.

Water lines are particularly susceptible to freezing when the temperature outside gets cold very quickly because the warmth from your heating system is unable to keep up with the demand the suddenly cold temperatures bring. Homes in more temperate climates are also susceptible when the temperature dips below freezing. Because they are typically warmer, water pipes may not be insulated as well as they should be.

Preventing frozen pipes

  • Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest.
  • Seal any air leaks near the pipes.
  • If there are water supply lines in your garage, keep the garage doors closed.
  • Always remember to drain, disconnect and store garden hoses.
  • Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs.
  • Open the cabinet doors in kitchen and bathroom – this lets warmer air circulate around the plumbing.
  • Maintain thermostat at 55 degrees or higher when you are out of town.
  • If you get a cold snap, turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls allowing a small trickle of water to run during the night.
  • Identify the locations of shutoff valves so that you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible when a pipe bursts.

If pipes freeze:

  • Thaw a frozen pipe using a good hair dryer. However, avoid using a hair dryer around standing water.
  • Heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around the pipe.
  • When thawing a pipe, start nearer to the faucet and work your way back.
  • Turn on the faucet so water can drip out as the ice melts.
  • If you have one frozen pipe, chances are that you may have more. Check all other faucets in your home.

If pipes burst:

  • Shut off the water at the main valve.
  • Take precautions to avoid electrical shock from being in or near standing water.
  • If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
  • Call a plumber.
  • Take inventory of any damaged property.
  • Contact your insurance agent to help you locate an emergency water mitigation specialist who can dry out the damaged area quickly.

Looking to buy a home or sell your home, visit my RE/MAX website for a home search or great information.

Unusual things that your homeowner’s insurance may cover

Insurance is one of those things you have to buy and hope you never use. Homeowner’s insurance is no different.

If you’re like most homeowners, you never take the time to read the fine print of the policy. This could be costly. There’s a good chance that your loss may be covered. Even something that you think “There’s no way it will be covered.” It just may.

Here are some of those things…

Accidental damage or injury

Most people know that their homeowner’s policy will cover injury or damage that occurs in the home, but many don’t know that your policy can cover things that occur, even outside the realm of your home.

Student property

When your kids go away to college and live in dorms, they’re going to take most of their stuff with them, naturally. Your homeowner’s policy may protect their expensive gadgets such as phones, tablets and computers when they go.

Collections

If you have a really extensive (and expensive) collection, you may have to get additional coverage. But if you have a collection of pigs that people gave you because you’re from Arkansas and lose those mementos in a fire, they should be covered.

Expensive cooking ingredients

If you’re a foodie, you may have ingredients in your kitchen that are both unusual and pricy. The internet makes it possible to buy things like truffles, saffron, cheese, and imported olive oil. If you’re a foodie, make sure to save your receipts, just in case.

Dog bites

You’re hosting a dinner party and the family dog gets excited with all the people around and jumps on a guest and bites her. So if medical treatment is needed, check your policy to see if you’re covered.

Interior designer fees

It’s happened before. A homeowner does a major renovation to their home and just as soon as the project is complete, disaster strikes. Your policy may cover fees you paid to the decorator, not just for the furniture and décor.

Of course, these are just a few examples of what may be covered. Make sure to read your homeowner’s insurance policy, especially the fine print. It’s a good idea to know what’s covered and what isn’t. If you do happen to incur some damage, it never hurts to contact your agent to ask.

Looking to buy a home or need information on selling a home, visit my website for more information.  RE/MAX Traditions

Creating a fire evacuation plan

Whether you have children or live alone, in a duplex or a two-story house, it’s a good idea to make a plan for how to evacuate your home.

If you work in an office building, chances are your company has a fire drill at least once a year. If you have kids, their schools have fire drills at least twice a year. Why not do the same thing at home?

With a proper plan and by practicing regularly, you increase the odds that everyone gets out safely in case of a fire in your home.

Tips for making a fire escape map

Any time you stay at a hotel, you’ve probably noticed a fire escape map on the door of the hotel room. It makes perfect sense to draw a map that shows the exits for every room in your home. It’s easy and there are plenty of options online to help you draw one up. Check out NFPA for more safety tips and advice about creating a fire escape map.

Maps should include:

  • Two escape routes for each room in the home.
  • Locations of fire extinguishers in the home.
  • Meeting place outside the home to meet in case of fire.
  • Emergency phone numbers.

After you make a fire escape map

Put the map in the bedrooms and common areas of your home, including the bathroom and kitchen.

Have a discussion with the members of the family to discuss the map and what is expected of everyone if a fire were to happen. Make sure everyone knows where to meet and the emergency phone number.

Above all, make sure to practice. If it’s your first time, do it during the day. Make sure everyone knows the escape routes for each room of the house.

A few weeks later, run through everything again at night. Why? Because most deadly fires occur at night. Knowing this fact is another good reason to make sure that your smoke detectors are installed and working properly.

Do a fire drill four times a year.

Proper planning, practicing, and making sure that everyone knows what to do can mean the difference between everyone getting out safely and a disaster that no one wants to think about.
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New Year’s resolutions for homeowners

The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one. Many people signify this fresh start with a New Year’s resolution. If you’re a homeowner, here are a few resolutions you may want to consider for your home.

Save energy

There are some simple ways to save energy (and a few bucks). Turning down your thermostat when you’re at work or sleeping is a great first step. A better option is to replace it with a programmable thermostat that will remember to do it for you.

Keep your home safe

Many people install new batteries in their smoke detectors on the day the time changes in the fall and spring. Did you forget? Make it a point to ensure that you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t have a carbon monoxide detector? They are fairly inexpensive and as easy to install as a smoke alarm. While you’re at it, check to make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order.

Help the environment

Whether your community requires it or not, recycling helps the environment and is everyone’s responsibility. Save water by repairing dripping faucets, installing low-flow showerheads, and replacing old toilets with new water saving or dual-flush models. When buying new appliances or electronic equipment, be sure they carry the federal Energy Star seal for energy efficiency.

Save money

Home maintenance projects can help you prolong the life of your home and make things more efficient, and therefore, save you money in the long run. Changing the air filter on your central air unit every month or two helps you save energy and allows your system to run more efficiently. If you still have a standard water heater, draining the tank once a year removes any sediment buildup, which can make it last longer and work more efficiently.

Making your home safe for a newborn

One of the biggest concerns you will have as a homeowner and new parent is childproofing your home. Each year, more than four million children are injured in the home. Parents can prevent many common serious childhood injuries by knowing where the dangers are and how to protect children from them.

Here are some tips to help make your home safe for your newborn.

1. Take the guesswork out of bath time

You may like to take a hot shower, but a baby doesn’t. Turn down the water heater so the temperature doesn’t go above 110.

2. Install a toilet lock

Babies are fascinated by water. Watching them playing in bathwater is one thing; hearing them splashing in toilet water is another.

3. Glass doors

Put decals on your glass doors so they are clearly visible and that no one will run into them.

4. Door knob covers

To prevent children from going into rooms they shouldn’t, you should install door-knob covers so your little one can’t open them.

5. Windows

Install window guards so that windows can’t open more than six inches

6. Near the Window

Don’t place cribs, playpens, high chairs or climbable furniture anywhere near the windows.

7. Cords

Tie up the cords to blinds so that a child doesn’t get tangled up in them.

8. Shatter proof

Install safety glass in low windows and French doors so they won’t shatter if a child falls into them.

9. Eliminate shock

Be sure to fill any unused outlets with safety plugs, including outlets behind and beneath furniture that may be overlooked.

10. Set the fireplace off-limits

Be sure to surround your hearth with some kind of cushiony barrier — think couch cushions, pillows or even a store-bought barricade.

11. Baby gates

As soon as babies start crawling, the stairways in your home become an accident waiting to happen. Install a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs to prevent them from heading up, as opposed to placing it at the top, because eventually they will climb up a gate, meaning they would from an even greater height.

12. Clear stairways

Keep the stairs clear of toys and other objects that you might trip over while carrying the baby.

13. Secure furniture

Eliminate any unstable furniture that your baby can pull over. Fasten bookcases to the wall so they can’t be pulled down when they start to climb.

14. Drawers

Keeping drawers shut is important for two reasons. They offer an easy thing to climb and they can be shut on fingers.

15. Poisons

The culprits here are medications and cleaning products. Use childproof locks for your low cabinets, like underneath the sink. Move medications to the highest shelves.

16. Kitchen safety

The kitchen presents the most danger to a toddler. It is imperative that you don’t let your baby play at your feet while you are cooking, but they may still wander in when you are busy. Here are some kitchen safety tips.

  • Turn the handles of pots and pans toward the back of the stove or counter.
  • Use the back burners for cooking whenever possible.
  • Never leave a boiling pot or sizzling skillet unattended on the stove.
  • Teach your child that the oven is “hot” and not to touch it.
  • Keep plug-in appliances, such as toasters and can openers, put away where your child can’t reach them.

17. Cover your pool

If you have a pool or a hot tub, invest in a good, sturdy cover.

Remember that baby-proofing changes as your child develops new capabilities and curiosities. Get down at your baby’s level and check things out at their eye level.

Safety tips for fireplaces

If you’re in the market for a new home, no doubt you made the list of features that you want in your dream home. For many, a fireplace is one of those must haves.

Of course, there are several reasons to want a fireplace. From a practical standpoint, it is a cost-effective way to provide heat during the winter. It becomes a focal point for the gathering of friends and family, lending ambiance to the room it is in. At this time of year, it becomes a place for many homeowners to hang decorations during the holiday season.

There is, of course, a price to be paid for the warmth and memories. Every homeowner has to keep safety issues at top of mind when it comes to having a fireplace. You’ll keep your fireplace safe and operating properly and safely if you keep these safety tips in mind:

Keep it clean

Depending upon how often you use your fireplace, it is recommended that chimneys be swept at least once a year. Find a certified chimney sweep to come out in the late fall or early winter to remove soot and debris.

Check for damage

In addition to cleaning, most chimney sweeps should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks or missing mortar when they are on the roof. In addition, chimney liners should be checked for damage.

Cap the chimney

In order to keep debris, birds and small animals from entering the chimney, a cap is placed on the chimney. The cap also needs to be examined for damage when the sweep is there.

What you burn makes a difference

Hardwoods include dense woods such as oak, hickory, ash and some fruit woods. “Seasoned” implies that the wood has been split and stored to dry for at least six months. Green woods and soft woods produce a flammable by-product called creosote, which can build up in the chimney and become flammable.

Building it right

Small fires generate less smoke and less creosote build-up. Additionally, a fire that is too large or too hot can damage the chimney. Logs should be placed at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Don’t use flammable liquids to start the fire.

Use a spark guard

Even seasoned wood can crackle and pop. You can prevent embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors.

Outdoor holiday decorating safety tips for homeowners

Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect opportunity to decorate the landscape and exterior of your home for the holidays. If you plan to decorate this year, it’s important to remember that doing so presents some fire and safety hazards.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 12,500 people go to emergency rooms to be treated for injuries, such as falls, cuts, and shocks related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees. Accidents do happen; but many are preventable if we just take some time and a few precautions while decorating outside.

1. Only use lighting sets and extension cords that are specifically made for outdoor use. They’ll have the Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) label.

2. Know how many sets can be strung together. It will usually be printed somewhere on the package, on a tag on the cord itself, or on a paper within the package. Usually, it’s 3.

3. Before you start, check all light sets for fraying, aging, and heat damage and throw out sets that show any signs of damage. Always unplug lights before changing bulbs, replacing fuses or making any other repairs.

4. Always test your light sets before starting. Replacing broken and burnt-out bulbs is much easier on the ground than on a ladder or roof.

5. Connect sets of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into an outlet. Be careful not to overload extension cords.

6. Use hooks or insulated staples to hold lights in place. Do not use nails or tacks.

7. Never pull or tug lights to remove or disconnect them.

8. To avoid potential shocks, plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with GFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protection.

9. Make sure to observe all safety precautions for the ladder. Know the weight limit restrictions. Avoid contact with overhead power lines when setting up your ladder. Make sure that it is set on solid ground. Have someone working with you to steady the ladder as you climb up or down.

10. Keep any connections between light sets and extension cords dry by wrapping them with electrical tape or plastic.

11. Check the wire on the Christmas lights occasionally to make sure that they’re not warm to the touch.

12. Always turn off all Christmas lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. You can hook up a simple timer so you don’t have to worry about forgetting.

For more holiday decorating safety tips, check the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission website. (link to http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News-Releases/2004/CPSC-Announces-Holiday-Season-Decorating-Safety-Tips/)

Replacing the driveway: asphalt vs concrete

Whether you’re building a new home or have made the decision to replace your existing driveway, you’re going to face a decision as a homeowner: asphalt or concrete?

Although they are similar, the key differences will tell you whether you should choose asphalt or concrete. Here are the key points to consider what material your new driveway should be.

Price

Asphalt tends to be cheaper, but because it’s made of oil, when the price of oil is high, the cost of your asphalt driveway will be more. That being said, asphalt is more cost-effective than concrete, which means it could be a better choice if your driveway is very long.

Weathering

Asphalt is more desirable in areas where it gets cold because it’s less susceptible to cracking. Concrete offers advantages in warmer climates because it doesn’t get soft like asphalt does.

Longevity

Concrete driveways can last as long as 50 years when proper maintenance is performed. Asphalt, on the other hand, will typically last about 30 years.

Staining

Concrete and asphalt are both prone to staining; however, any discoloration is much less noticeable on the asphalt because it’s dark. The downside is that the oils in an asphalt driveway can be released and stick to the soles of your shoes, which can damage the carpet in your car or the rugs and furniture inside your home.

Aesthetics

Concrete comes in several decorative options. It can be stamped and can come in different colors. Asphalt comes in black.

Installation

Asphalt has the advantage over concrete. Asphalt driveways take about two days to install and you are able to drive on them the day after installation is complete. Installation of concrete driveways can take up to four days to install and you’ll have to wait 5-7 days after the installation is complete to drive on them.

A new driveway is not only functional, it increases the curb appeal of your home. When you make the decision to replace the driveway, make sure to check with the city codes administrator to determine what permits and licenses are necessary. Do your research before choosing a contractor and get several estimates before hiring one

Enrich your garden and landscape soil by making leaf mold

Building soil is important to any home gardener. One of the best ways to build soil is by creating leaf mold, which is a type of compost that uses only leaves and nothing else.

Different from composting, making leaf mold is a cold process, done primarily by fungus while composting relies on bacteria for decomposition. With composting, you’d add green material (grass clippings, manure, kitchen scraps, etc.) In addition to adding different nutrients, it also adds heat.

This process recreates the environment of the forest floor in a small space and results in a nutrient and mineral rich soil additive you can use in a number of ways.

How to make leaf mold

The other way this process differs from compost is that you can just throw the leaves in and leave them alone. You don’t have to mix or turn the compost periodically to promote decomposition.

The first thing you’ll need to do is build a wire mesh bin to hold the leaves. Put the leaves in and soak them. You can shred the leaves in order to accerlerate the process. Moisture is important to helping the leaves break down. If the bin is too dry, you can cover with a tarp to retain moisture. You can also weave slats from old window blinds into the mesh or line it with sheet plastic to help retain the moisture. If you live in a cooler climate, the process can take as long as three years. In warmer climates, it can take as little as nine months.

Over the course of a year, your leaf pile will have lost about half of its volume. Open the bin and give the leaves a stir to get some aeration. Move the bin over and start the process again. By the third year, the first pile that you created should be broken down, black and crumbly. It should smell like you’re walking in the woods after a rainstorm. It’s now ready for use and you can start a new pile on that spot.

Another method is to just store your leaves in lawn bags. Stuff the bags full of leaves and wet them down before closing the bag. Use a garden fork to poke a number of holes in the bags to let some air in. Mark the bags and put them in some out-of-the-way nook of the yard.

Leaf mold is not only organic and environmentally friendly, it is also one of the most effective ways to create the nutrient-rich soil essential for growing vegetables, flowers and shrubs.