Joseph D. Federico's Blog
Chimney maintenance and repair is incredibly important. You need to complete certain tasks to ensure that your fireplace is working safely and effectively. There’s no better time than the off season to get these tasks in order.
Remember that you should only burn dry wood in your fireplace. Although fireplaces aren’t high on the technology spectrum, they do require some effort to keep in working order. Failure to do so can result in smoke and even a chimney fire. Soot build up can put a damper on the proper ventilation of the chimney. The soot is partly a result of creosote- a combustible, tar-like substance. It’s a natural by-product of wood that has been burned. With reduced ventilation, the creosote will cause potentially dangerous build up.
While creosote itself is not flammable, it can cause the chimney to clog and structural damage could result. It’s important to properly maintain your chimney in order to prevent dangerous oil build-up that can cause a chimney fire.
A professional can come and inspect your fireplace and chimney. They can check for damage, obstructions, build-up, or soot. The inspector will be able to determine if you need a sweep of your chimney. The inspector will be able to do the sweep on the spot in most cases. An inspection of your chimney should take place every year.
There are different levels of chimney inspections that occur. Basic inspections are a visual look at anything that could be in your chimney from soot to a bird’s nest. More complex inspections could involve taking the chimney apart and physically reconstructing the structure. This would occur after some kind of a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado. The cost of these inspections depends on how extensive they become.
You can improve your fireplace’s functioning with a few basic steps. Fist, you should only burn dry wood. Logs should be split and dried for 8-12 months. You should also burn certain types of wood especially hardwoods like hickory, oak, beech, maple and ash. These woods burn the longest. The most important thing about wood to be burned in the fireplace is that it is dry.
Burn Only Wood
It can be tempting to throw things into your fireplace to burn, but you should keep away from burning construction wood, plastics, or other things that could let off odors. Even burning paper can be dangerous because of the embers that result as the fire burns.
If you keep on top of your scheduled chimney maintenance and replace parts as needed, you’ll be able to have lovely fires all winter long with peace of mind.
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, keeping up with maintenance can be a serious challenge. But by focusing on simple maintenance tasks, you can put your best foot forward as you’re trying to improve your home and keep it lasting for many years to come.
Keep Up on Plumbing
Your plumbing system is one of the most important aspects of your home. This system deserves a high level of care. In order to ensure your pipes are running smoothly, keep the following considerations in mind:
Plumbing pipes tend to go bad because homeowners aren’t aware of what they shouldn’t put down their drains. When our drains accumulate fats and oils, clogs and other serious damage can occur. That being said, never pour fats for oils down your drains to limit the chance of any clogs.
While oils and fats are common culprits for clogs in kitchen drains, hair does the harm in the bathroom. But if you use a hair strainer for your bathroom drains, you can easily avoid these clogs.
Maintain that AC Unit
Our home’s air conditioner tends to be the most overlooked appliances in our home. That is mostly due to the fact that our units are typically hidden outside. Without proper care, you could be dealing with a broken AC unit sooner than you anticipated. Be sure to frequently inspect the condensation hose on your unit and always check the areas around your system for mold growth or leaks. It’s also important to ensure that the screen around your air conditioner is clear of debris. This debris can cause your unit to overwork, which shortens its lifespan.
Many homeowners neglect to change their air filters, which leads to many problems throughout the home. Forgetting this important maintenance task can lead to poor indoor air quality, an overworked system and an uncomfortable home. It’s vital to change your filters often. For months where your HVAC system is constantly running, you should never go more than thirty days without changing your filter.
Fix Those Drafts
Drafty windows are another huge culprit to high energy bills. That being said, you should periodically check the caulk line that holds your windows in place. If they appear cracked, dirty or weathered, then be sure to remove the damaged caulk and add a new application. For more savings, you could try to add an insulation film over your windows. This helps to save on utility bills and extends the life of your AC and heating systems.
Examine the Roof
The roof is another location that doesn’t get much attention from homeowners. However, by periodically checking your roof, you can notice damage early on before it becomes a more extreme, higher-priced repair. Be sure to inspect your roof for damaged, discolored or gravel-less shingles, and replace them if needed. This can help to prevent the need to replace the whole roof.
Although all home buyers have different tastes, expectations, and preferences, there are several things you as a home seller can do to make your home more appealing.
Three priorities worth keeping in mind are spaciousness (or, at least, the appearance of it), brightness, and cleanliness.
Whether your home is a compact cottage or a large colonial, a feeling of spaciousness will enhance its visual and psychological appeal.
Sometimes getting a second opinion can make all the difference in identifying ways to improve the look and feel of your home. As an example: If you're unsure whether a bulky piece of furniture, a huge plant, or a rarely used side table is detracting from that desired look of spaciousness, your real estate agent or an interior decorator can provide you with helpful feedback.
One common room decorating mistake that many people make is to choose a coffee table that's either too big or too small for the furniture or available space. It may seem like a small detail, but it's one of many elements that can throw off the balance and flow of a living room.
Another staging tip for home sellers is to have groups of chairs and couches face each other to create "conversation areas." That effect often helps to add warmth to a living room or family room, and makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine living there and enjoying the space with friends and family.
Lots of illumination, whether it's natural light or artificial light, can make your home appear more cheerful and inviting. It also reduces shadows and dark corners, which can detract from the beauty of your living space. While there is the possibility that some of your lights may be too harsh or glaring, dimmer switches can often be a quick and easy solution to that problem.
Keeping your home impeccably clean every day is one of the biggest challenges of putting your house on the market and making it available to agents for client showings. Since first impressions are one of the most important aspects of attracting a serious buyer, cleanliness should be among your main priorities. The good news is that keeping your home clean will become easier when you get into a routine. As you scramble to make sure your home is ready and presentable for the next showing, you'll find yourself becoming more and more adept at streamlining the process.
One strategy for increasing efficiency might be to get your family in the habit of cleaning up after themselves on a consistent basis. It may require a little gentle nagging now and then, but if it helps get your house sold faster, it'll be worth it! Create a cleaning checklist you can refer to when you're getting ready for a house showing to improve your efficiency. Evenly divide the work among family members, and make sure nothing important is overlooked along the way.
Sky at dusk is how Pantone describes classic blue, their 2020 color of the year. Restful and tranquil, a bold color such as classic blue gives the eye a place to rest as it travels around a space, which makes it ideal for accent items such as throw pillows, wall art or drapes. But, for the brave at heart, classic blue makes a suitable wall color for large rooms, too. And as an exterior paint, it can make your home look like a cover of Coastal Living. Classic blue evokes a nautical mood, indicative of long summer weekends by the bay, and that's never a bad thing. If you're longing to incorporate Pantone's 2020 color of the year into your home palette, here's what we suggest.
Highlight an Architectural Feature
By using classic blue to highlight a single fireplace or a column, you bring importance to that piece without overwhelming an already dark room with an even darker wall color. Architectural features include:
By painting only the most important elements in your space in classic blue, you'll help them become focal points, which is what they were always intended to be.
Paper an Accent Wall
Wallpaper is making a comeback this year, and what better way to feature classic blue than on an accent wall papered with a patterned print, like this one at Elle Decor? Bold, yet contained, classic blue patterned wallpaper is simply luxurious.
Modern wallpaper can be adhered with paste, or it may contain adhesive on the back of the paper that becomes activated in water. Peel-and-stick paper is another option that's gaining popularity. Depending upon your level of skill, hanging wallpaper may be an easy DIY project. But if you have little experience with pasting or booking, or if you don't know how to make sure the paper hangs plumb, professional installation might be a better approach.
Upholster a Chair
Classic blue upholstery fabric, like these fabrics featured in Traditional Home, is a unique way to introduce this bold color into your home decor. Whether patterned or solid, upholstered furniture brings comfort and texture to your space. Additionally, upholstering a headboard or the top of a cedar chest adds depth and personality to a bedroom.
Of course, true lovers of the rich, classic blue color always have the option of painting entire rooms or house exteriors. When done well, with an eye for design, this can be quite beautiful. Dark colors such as this work well to make large, cavernous rooms feel more cohesive. And as a home exterior, classic blue can lend nearly any style of home a beachfront feel.
Finding the house of your dreams is a process that requires a lot of clarity, diligence, and patience. While it is possible for the first house you look at to be the ideal choice, it's a lot more likely you'll have to look at a dozen or more houses before finding the one that matches your requirements and feels like home.
Whether you're searching for your first home or your tenth, your decision will primarily be based on four factors: affordability, practicality, emotional appeal, and prevailing market conditions.
Affordability is a vital element in the mix because it's difficult to enjoy a beautiful new home if you're always stressed out about whether you'll be able to make the next mortgage payment! Developing a realistic and well thought-out budget is one of the first preliminary steps involved in launching a full-fledged search for your next home. In addition to being able to cover your current expenses and the cost of mortgage payments, you'll also want to ensure that there's a cushion in your budget for things like home maintenance, repairs, improvements, HOA fees (if applicable), property taxes, school taxes, and homeowner's insurance.
As far as practicality goes, your new home should -- at the very least -- live up to your basic needs and expectations. Ideally, all systems should work properly and be in good condition. Proximity to key locations, such as your job, shopping, and essential services can also have a direct impact on your quality of life. Long commutes, cramped quarters, or being buried by an avalanche of repair bills can definitely take some of the pleasure out of home ownership!
The majority of houses you'll look at will probably need some degree of updating, decorating, or repairs, but ideally, you'll want to tackle those projects over the next couple of years, rather than the immediate future! Having an experienced home inspector do a thorough inspection of the home you're interested in will help ensure you're not buying a home riddled with flaws, headaches waiting to happen, and other problems.
Although cost and practicality are vital aspects of buying a new home, you can't (and wouldn't want to) ignore factors such as aesthetics and emotional appeal. If you can't imagine you and your family living in and enjoying a house you're considering buying, it might be time to continue your search elsewhere! The house you ultimately choose should support your lifestyle, provide sufficient space for your family to grow and thrive, and be situated in a neighborhood in which you feel comfortable and safe.
To make the most of your available time and money, find an experienced real estate agent who's responsive to your needs and knowledgeable about the local real estate market. They will help you streamline your search, find houses that meet your criteria and negotiate the best possible price on your behalf.