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Winter Is Coming...Again

Winter is Coming... Again
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As Ben Franklin once said: “In this world, nothing is certain but death and cleaning your gutters before winter to prevent ice dams”. With that, here are five fall home maintenance activities to start thinking about in the coming weeks.
The chimney man can
Check your chimney
Make sure everything is in order before the first fire of the season. "Creosote buildup causes chimney fires," says Family Handyman. "You should have your chimney professionally inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires. Don't remember the last time you had it cleaned by a pro? A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8” layer (or more) of buildup, call a chimney sweep."

Check your roof
Storms, wind, and other weather conditions over the past year could have done damage that you're not aware of. Don’t wait until the first heavy snow to find out you have a leak. If you're not comfortable on a ladder or just want a professional eye, a pro roofer will typically charge you less than $100 to check it out.

Seal it up
There are three important reasons to make sure your home is air tight: 1) Keeping moisture out; 2) Keeping critters out; 3) Keeping warm air in. Fall is when pests begin to look for places to ride out the winter, so make sure your exterior is free of gaps and holes that will allow for unwanted houseguests.

Sealing up holes and cracks can also make your home more efficient—saving you money and keeping you warm and cozy. In most cases all you need is weather stripping and caulk.

Disconnect garden hoses from faucets
As soon as the weather dips, it's time to disconnect and drain hoses. This simple task can potentially save you a lot of heartache later. “Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the pipes just inside your exterior walls,” says HouseLogic. “If freezing temps hit, that water can freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes.”

Also, make sure to drain your hoses before storing them to prevent cracking during the cold winter months.

And, of course, clean your gutters
Depending on your climate and the surrounding foliage, you may need to clean your gutters more than once throughout the fall. Your gutters are your best ally when it comes to moving moisture away from your home, so it’s critical to keep them free of obstruction.

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    Open House Saturday, May 4th 2:30 - 4:30

    PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE

    30 BETTY WELCH ROAD YORK, MAINE

    SATURDAY, MAY 4TH 2:30 - 4:30

              

    SEND YOUR BUYERS WITH YOUR BUSINESS CARD OR BRING THEM BY!

    PRETTY AS A PICTURE!

    Come take a look at this lovely Colonial boasting 3 bedrooms and 2½ baths. Relax in the charming living room and cozy up by the fireplace with woodstove insert. The dining room just off the kitchen, features pine wainscoting, built-ins, and a pretty double window allowing lots of natural light to flow through. The kitchen has a breakfast bar for informal dining. You’ll love the convenience of the first floor mud room with laundry facilities. The second floor houses the bedrooms including a master en-suite, an office with warm hardwood floors, and an oversized bonus room above the attached two-car garage for additional living space. The whole house generator takes away the worry about winter power outages. Harvey replacement windows were installed 10 ± years ago and there is a newer furnace. 1.38 beautifully landscaped acres provide a wooded, private, and peaceful setting with a huge, fenced-in back yard. The kids will love the in-ground pool and you’ll enjoy the convenience of the pool house with power.  Close to beaches, shopping & dining.

     

     

     

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      Tidying Up

      How Marie Kondo Is Fueling Our Thrifting Goals
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      Second Hand Dishes Whether or not you’ve bought into Marie Kondo’s wildly popular method of tidying up, there’s no denying that the current decluttering trend has had a significant impact on one industry in particular—thrift stores are bursting with donations.

      For the uninitiated, Marie Kondo is a Japanese “tidying consultant” who employs a method of purging items from your home that do not “spark joy.” Between her New York Times Best Seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, her KonMari method is in full effect, and what doesn’t spark joy for others, might spark joy for you. Here are some great items to look out for:

      Books
      Gently-used, vintage children’s books are common in many thrift stores. These and uniquely-colored books can be great to use in decorating.

      For the flippers out there, good-condition, used box sets like the Harry Potter series can sell for around $30 to $50 on eBay. Other popular box sets include The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, and Little House on the Prairie.

      Wood furniture
      Thrift stores are a great place to score solid wood furnishings at bargain prices. Even if you don't end up finding your vintage dream piece, items that look more “grandma” than Mad Men can be transformed with a little paint, varnish, and fresh fixtures.

      Dishes and Glassware
      Vintage dishes can be particularly valuable, so do a little research when you’re out thrifting. Glassware lovers enjoy vintage Pyrex cookware, as well as glass in different shapes and colors, so keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

      Mirrors
      Mirrors make your space feel bigger, so they are the ultimate accessories for your walls. New mirrors can be expensive, however, so you can save big bucks by finding one at a thrift store.

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        10 Ways to Save on Utility Bills This Summer

         

        Posted on May 16 2017 - 12:52pm by Housecall

        Window sill of a house in rural

        By Rob Caiello

        Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, it’s time to start thinking about ways to save on utility bills and energy costs before you’re shocked by your first big bill this summer. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to prepare your home (and your wallet) for the summer heat without sacrificing comfort. So, before you crank up the AC, take a look at our top ways to save on utility bills this summer. Your budget will thank you!

        1. Get Your HVAC System Ready

        Is there anything worse than a broken HVAC system in the summer? The good news is you can avoid this nightmare by taking precautions and getting your HVAC ready for summer. First, you’ll want to clean or change the air filters as dirty or clogged filters force your air conditioning system to work much harder, which in turn causes more wear and tear in the long-run. You’ll also want to inspect your outdoor unit for any visible signs of damage such as warped panels, torn insulation or rust. In the colder months, small animals may nest inside the insulation so you’ll want to inspect the inside as well. Taking these steps to ensure your AC unit is working efficiently will help keep your energy bills low this summer.

        2. Clean Air Filters and Vents

        Many homeowners make the mistake of closing off vents in rooms that are not being used, but closing vents causes more pressure in the ducts causing your air conditioner to work much harder. Before you turn the AC on this summer, open all the vents and give them a nice cleaning.

        3. Keep Blinds Closed

        Did you know that keeping your blinds closed during the day can drastically reduce the heat in your home? Keeping them open causes a greenhouse like effect—sunlight and heat pour in all day and can’t get out, making your home much warmer and causing your air conditioning to work over-time, which in turn will spike up your power bill.

        4. Lower Your Utility Rates

        Do you live in a deregulated energy region? If so, you have the power to choose your energy provider and can shop around for the lowest energy rates. If you haven’t researched your options in a while, summer is the perfect time to reevaluate your current energy provider and find out if there is a cheaper rate out there. Many deregulated energy providers offer special promotions in the summer, like “free nights,” so you should definitely check out what else is out there.

        5. Time Your Thermostat

        If you want to be cost conscious this summer, you shouldn’t blast your air conditioning at all hours of the day. A lower temperature setting at night and a higher setting during the day is recommended for optimal cost savings. If you’re forgetful or aren’t always around to change it, we recommend installing a programmable thermostat that allows you to schedule your temperature changes even when you aren’t home.

        6. Switch to LED Bulbs

        While incandescent light bulbs are cheap, they use more energy and produce quite a bit of heat compared to LED bulbs. LED bulbs tend to be a little more expensive than incandescent lights, but they last longer, produce less heat and create great energy savings in the long run. So, consider making the switch the LED lights, at least in the rooms you use most, to help lower your utility bills this summer.

        7. Buy a Water Cistern

        If you don’t know, a water cistern is a device that captures rain water and stores it for you to use to water your garden or lawn, to wash your car, etc. Your water bill can get out of hand in the summer as you spend more time outdoors, so a water cistern is a great investment if you want to keep your garden and lawn green all summer long without paying for extra water use.

        8. Use Your Ceiling Fan

        In the warmer months, you should run your ceiling fans counter-clockwise. Since heat rises, the counter-clockwise motion will help pull the cold air up toward the ceiling. Running your ceiling fan efficiently will help cool your rooms, allowing you to set your thermostat to a higher temperature, ultimately reducing your power bill.

        9. Invest in Smart Power Strips

        Connecting multiple appliances to a smart power strip that can be turned off with only one flip of a switch at night when the devices aren’t being used is a quick and easy way to help reduce energy waste. When you don’t have to unplug all your devices individually, saving energy suddenly becomes much easier!

        10. Don’t Use an Irrigation Schedule

        Irrigation schedules or timers that you can set to schedule when your garden or lawn will be watered sound nice in theory, but they actually produce quite a bit of water waste. You can’t control when it rains, and you may not be home to stop your irrigation system from going off when it does. Watering manually may seem like a chore, but when you think about all the money you can save from reducing water waste, manual watering becomes more appealing.

        Don’t let the first utility bills of summer sneak up on you. Be proactive and implement our tips, we promise they’ll help you save big on your utility bills this summer!

        Rob Caiello is the Vice President of Marketing over at Allconnect. Since 1998, Allconnect has simplified and expedited the purchase and setup of home utilities and services (like internet, TV, and electricity) for millions of movers relocating across the United States.

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          High-Resale Value Projects You Can Tackle In A Weekend

          RIS Media's...

          High-Resale Value Projects You Can Tackle In a Weekend

          Posted on Mar 1 2017 - 3:58pm by Megan Wild

          kitchen

          “There’s no place like home,” as the old saying goes. That’s especially true when it comes to an investment.

          You live in and love your home, but there might come a time when you have to leave it. And when that time comes, you’ll want to get as much money as you can for your property so you can move onward — and upward.

          In order to increase your abode’s value, you might think you have to put in a ton of time, effort and money, but that’s not entirely true. Instead, you can take on weekend projects over time to spruce the place up so when it’s time to sell, you have a completely updated property that’ll end up selling itself.

          Ready to get to work? Roll up your sleeves and start on one of the following five weekend projects.

          1. Repaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

          When it comes to smart investment in your home, the kitchen is one of the best places to start. Buyers expect kitchens to be updated. Stone countertops, stainless appliances and sleek flooring all make a space feel modern. Obviously, these changes require a lot of money and, sometimes, a lot of time. That’s why you can tackle it in bits and start first with your cabinets.

          Old wooden cabinets with equally dated hardware — think oak doors with shiny brass handles — don’t require a complete gut job. Instead, spend a weekend repainting them a more neutral hue. Finish the project off with new metallic knobs and pulls to complete the modernized look.

          2. Make the Eye Go up With Crown Molding

          Most homes have roughly the same ceiling heights, but there’s a little trick to make yours look bigger — crown molding. Yes, that white line at the top of your painted walls will draw eyes upward, making the room appear airier than it may very well be.

          The project is easy enough to complete, too. You might not be able to install molding throughout your entire home over a single weekend, but you can certainly tackle the project on a room-by-room basis. Again, start with the spaces likely to draw in the most moolah:

          • Kitchens
          • Bathrooms
          • Living spaces
          • Master bedrooms

          These tend to be the make-or-break rooms when it comes to a big purchase. Crown molding adds a bit of detail, a feeling of luxury that’ll certainly add to the bottom line.

          3. Boost Curb Appeal — and Backyard Bonuses

          No one will come in your home unless the first impression is stunning. Another DIY project should be a landscape overhaul of your front yard. It can be something as simple as adding a path of pavers to your front yard or sprucing up your flowerbeds with colorful blooms. All of this will catch the eye of potential buyers — and fatten up the bottom line of the offers they make.

          Another easy fix — your garage door. If it’s street-facing, it’s another area for prospective buyers to look at, and it has a great return on investment.

          You don’t have to stop with the front of your home. Especially if you live in a climate that permits lots of outdoor activity, you’ll want a backyard to match. Some may require you rent or buy tools for landscaping and other applications, but imagine the payoff with, for example, the beauty of a functioning fire pit in your backyard. Not only will you be able to enjoy it while you’re still living in your home, but potential buyers will easily be able to envision themselves sitting around a fire.

          4. Beautify the Bathrooms

          Bathrooms have a big effect on buyers. They expect clean, modern updates, just like in the kitchen. Overhauling your powder room is an easy weekend task that might require small swaps, such as a new modern light fixture over the vanity or a new vanity altogether.

          Your full bathrooms will require a bit more attention if you want them to be up to snuff. Again, look in the familiar places:

          • Lighting fixtures
          • Cabinets
          • Hardware
          • Countertops
          • Tile

          You don’t have to shell out a ton of money to have someone else re-tile a wall or backsplash in your bathroom, either, if you have the patience to demo and tile the space yourself.

          5. Out With the Really Old

          Some accents once considered fresh and fashionable now give your home a dated appearance. You probably already know what in your home screams 70s, 80s or 90s. Whatever it is should go in due course.

          The list of outdated design elements is truly endless, but some of the biggest offenders are old-school wallpaper, the floor-to-ceiling wood paneling that may or not be actual wood, and, of course, popcorn ceilings. By removing these three offenders alone — a popcorn ceiling doesn't take much effort - your home will snap right back into 2017.

          Once people start envisioning themselves living in your home, you won’t have to envision offers pouring in — they’ll start coming thanks to your hard work. You go, weekend warrior.

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