A Home Maintenance Checklist for Every Season

A Home Maintenance Checklist for Every Season

Being a homeowner is a big responsibility, but by properly maintaining your home throughout the year you can keep tasks more manageable, spread out expenses, preserve property value and avoid costly repairs. Keep your home in prime condition by following these seasonal home maintenance checklists.

Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

While cold and unpredictable weather makes it difficult to tackle major home maintenance projects, these steps can help ensure your home is winter ready.

  1. Water pipes can freeze during harsh temperatures, causing serious damage. Protect your home with these tips.
  2. Heavy snowfall followed by a period of freezing temperatures can cause ice dams to form on your roof. Prevent them with these steps.
  3. Ensure outdoor steps and handrails are secure.
  4. Make sure your attic and basement are properly insulated to eliminate drafts and cut energy costs.
  5. Cover your central-air conditioner or remove window units.
  6. Invest in a good dehumidifier to keep mold and dust mites at bay.
  7. Ensure outdoor holiday light displays have tight connections and are labeled for outdoor use only.
  8. Check the basement for water leaks during thaws.
  9. Take steps to winterize your car and lawnmower.
  10. Before a snowstorm, stock up on sidewalk salt, drinking water, nonperishable foods and canned goods. Restock your car first aid kit.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

In addition to your regular spring cleaning, take these steps to maintain your home after the ground has thawed.

  1. Protect your home from heavy rainstorms and high winds. Inspect your roof and chimney for damaged shingles and leaks after severe weather events.
  2. To keep insects and pests out, inspect the screens on your window and doors. Repair or replace as needed.
  3. Reseal outdoor woodwork including your deck and fence to prevent wood from splitting, graying or cracking.
  4. Deep clean your home’s exterior, including windows and siding.
  5. Check for cracks and water pools in your driveway and walkways. Repair as needed.
  6. Inspect your sprinkler heads and test the irrigation system.
  7. Service your air conditioning system before summer.
  8. Maintain and fertilize your lawn.
  9. Spray for mosquitoes and other pests.
  10. Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the expiration dates on your fire extinguishers.

Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

While spending a sunny weekend doing yardwork probably isn’t at the top of your summer bucket list, keeping up on these chores can help prepare your home for the extreme heat ahead.

  1. Weak or dying trees and branches could fall, potentially causing serious injury or damaging your or your neighbors’ property. Prevent a costly insurance claim by removing them.
  2. An overgrown lawn can lead to infestations, damage the health of existing plants and reduce curb appeal. Keep on top of routine landscaping.
  3. Treat your pool and replace the filters. Check the filter basket and chemical levels weekly, and scrub the sides monthly.
  4. Foundation cracks can allow groundwater, insects and radon gas to enter your home. Inspect and repair as needed.
  5. To increase efficiency, clean your air-conditioning filters at least once a month.
  6. Clean your dryer vent to increase efficiency and prevent home fires.
  7. To protect your home from the elements and improve curb appeal, repair and repaint chipped, cracked or faded exterior paint.
  8. Deep clean your grill by removing buildup from the grates and wiping down the exterior. If you have a gas grill, check the fuel line for gas leaks.
  9. Keep children safe by inspecting outdoor play equipment. Reinforce, reseal or repaint as needed.
  10. Sweep and wash your deck. Check for loose nails and rotting boards.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

This is the time to prep your home for winter before the start of shorter days and inclement weather.

  1. To prevent pipes from bursting when the temperature drops, turn off exterior faucets. Drain and disconnect garden hoses and store them indoors.
  2. To help keep ice dams from forming in the winter, regularly clean gutters and downspouts to keep them clear from leaves and debris.
  3. Keep your yard healthy and beautiful by aerating your lawn and pruning shrubs and trees.
  4. Rake regularly, but keep some leaf cover under trees and shrubs, providing mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  5. To prevent drafts and cut energy costs, check and replace caulking and weather stripping on windows and doors.
  6. Have chimneys, fireplaces and vents inspected and cleaned or repaired, and follow these safety tips.
  7. Keep your family safe and reduce energy costs by scheduling a furnace tune-up.
  8. Store your outdoor furniture in a garage or shed. If you don’t have the space, invest in a waterproof furniture cover.
  9. Service your snow blower and purchase fuel.
  10. Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Although much of this upkeep can be done on your own, more complicated tasks may be better left to a qualified professional for safety’s sake.

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6 Easy Ways to Boost Curb Appeal

6 Easy Ways to Boost Curb Appeal

The exterior of the home counts big for creating first impressions. Indeed, 99 percent of real estate pros say that curb appeal is a critical factor in attracting a buyer, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2016 Remodeling Impact: Outdoor Features survey.

Get more ideas: Amp Up Curb Appeal

Here are a few things you can do to enhance the curb appeal to your listing:

1. Paint colorful flowers.

Adding colorful flowers, like yellows or pinks, to your landscaping can be the pop of color needed to attract buyers. Visit the local nursery or garden center to learn which varieties are the most hardy for where you live.

2. Freshen up the mailbox.

The mailbox counts too in adding curb appeal. Consider a new mailbox, or try to save the old one with a fresh coat of paint. Add new numbers to the box to spruce it up too.

3. Pressure wash.

Driveways can develop oil stains and a deck can show some wear and tear. To remove pesky stains, power wash the deck and driveway to get them clean.

4. Add lighting to walkways.

Beckon buyers to the front door by adding lighting to the path to the door. This will also create a clean border along your walkway. Select solar-powered LED outdoor lights, which don’t require any wiring, to brighten up the exterior pathways.

5. Revisit the front door.

Invest in a new door if the current one is looking too old and dingy. A fresh coat of paint may help improve an existing one, if a new door isn’t in the budget. Consider a new color, like red. Also, replace the hardware, like the doorbell and locks, to give the front door a fresh new look.

6. Repaint the shutters.

Painting the entire house may not be in the budget, but sellers can still make a big impact to the exterior by painting just the shutters. They might even want to consider changing up the color to boost their curb appeal.

View more curb appeal tips and photos at Cheatsheet.com.

Source: “Foolproof Upgrades That Will Instantly Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal,” Cheetsheet.com (Sept. 26, 2017)

Save Energy and Tax Dollars Too! New Federal Tax Incentives for Energy-Efficiency Home Improvements

I received this from NJ Gas and thought I’d pass this information on.
Save Energy and Tax Dollars Too!
New Federal Tax Incentives for Energy-Efficiency
Home Improvements

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed a stimulus bill, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, that made significant changes to the energy-efficiency tax credits. Tax credits that were previously effective for 2009 have been extended to 2010 and raised from 10 percent to 30 percent. The maximum credit was also raised from $500 to $1500 for the two years (2009-2010).*

Home improvements eligible under this act include:
Replacement windows and doors
High-efficiency heating and cooling systems
High-efficiency water heaters
Biomass stoves
There are also tax credits for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, windmills and fuel cells at 30 percent of the cost, without any upper limit. Click here for details and complete eligibility requirements.

So as spring approaches, remember those energy-saving home improvement projects can not only lower your energy bills and help conserve our natural resources, but also save you valuable tax dollars.

Tax credits for builders of new energy-efficient homes and designers of energy-efficient commercial buildings were also extended. Click here and scroll down to view the details.

*Additional incentives are available through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program.

3 Universal Truths about The Perfect Hue

What does your favorite color say about you? 3 Universal Truths about picking paint.
Color is the leasr expensive way to transform living space. A well chosen color can either calm the room or invigorate the space.

There is NO such thing as bad color! There are only likes and dislikes. Color is like spice to food adding zest.
Cool hues such as blue, violet and green are calming and relaxing. Pick these colors for reading rooms, bedrooms and rooms for contemplation.
Warmer hues such as red, yello and orange are energetci, playful colors. Use these in dining rooms, living rooms, working areas and kitchens.
Keep in mind the intensity of the color can invert the color’s effect. While a pastel blue can be quiet and relaxing, bright turquoise can be loud an stimulating.

Never let color guidelines limit choices. If Red is your favorite color, then go ahead drench your bedroom with it. The payoff is that the mood boost you’ll get will compensate it’s limited calming effect. Don’t shy away from mixing colors , just make sure they complement one another when going from room to room or the colors are carried in any form in the other rooms. For example if your dining room is red and adjacent is your living room have something red in the living, a lamp shade, pillow, piece of furniture and if your living room is blue then have something carried over in the dining that may have something blue such as drapes, tablecloth etc. When you prefer neutrals be sure to accent them with burnt orange, black, brown, red, green or gold so as to avoid monotony.

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