Who’s ready for fall?

Fall is right around the corner! According to our calendars the first day of Fall arrives on September 22, which means we need to get our homes ready for the upcoming cooler months. This is a great time to tackle home projects and to-do lists. So what’s on your list? Below is a reminder of some of the basic home maintenance tasks we should review at least once a year, if not more. Call a professional to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires. Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed. Check fireplace damper. Remove bird nests from chimney flues and outdoor electrical fixtures. Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris. Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters. Be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place. Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways. If you live in a region that uses portable fans and air conditions throughout your home, now is a great time to start dismantling them and storing them for the Winter. This can be done at a gradual pace, by taking down air conditioning units and fans as the temperatures outside start to cool. Start with items in the most unused rooms such as a second bedroom or office and began preparing them for the upcoming Fall season. Replace batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check fire extinguishers and review fire escape plan with your family. Clean dryer vents and exhaust vents. Tile and painted wood or concrete stairs can be slippery when wet or when a person’s shoes are wet. Resurface the treads with slip-resistant strips near the stair nosing. Test your emergency generator. Run all gas-powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone. Don’t have the time or you are unsure how to maintain and/or make the proper repairs? Call ANDY ONCALL©! Andy’s Helpful Tips Home safety is an important part of preventative home maintenance. In case of an emergency, all adults in your household should know where the following controls are located and how to turn them off: Heating fuel (gas) main shutoff Main...
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Don’t sweat summer, check out these cool tips.

June is National Home Safety Month! Home Safety Checklist The Home Safety Council dedicates the month of June “Home Safety Month” to educate and empower both families and businesses to take actions that will make homes safe Things you need to have a safe home: Deadbolt locks and heavy-duty strike plates Outdoor security lighting that is timer or motion-detector controlled Carbon monoxide alarms & smoke detectors on every level or your home Bright lights over stairs and steps and on landings Handrails on both sides of the stairs and steps Window treatments free of dangling cords if small children are present Baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, if babies or toddlers live in or visit your home Fresh Fire extinguisher A ladder for climbing instead of a stool or furniture Childproof safety latches on cabinets that contain cleaning materials Electrical outlets that are fitted with ground-fault circuit interrupters Individual shut-off valves for each gas appliance List of emergency numbers located prominently near the phone Grab bars within easy reach in each tub and shower stall Anti-scald shower/tub water controls Hot water heater set at or below 120 degrees F to prevent burns Up-to-date first-aid kit Fire-escape ladder (if bedrooms are above main levels) A fence around your pool and/or spa with a locking gate A shed with a lock for storing your lawn equipment, gasoline, pesticides, and pool and/or spa chemicals Did your home pass the test? Call ANDY ONCALL® for all your maintenance, repair, and remodeling needs. Cold weather can take a toll on any home, but here are some tips to get your home back in shape. Clean the walkway – pressure wash the walkway and replace any damaged pavers or bricks or fill concrete cracks with a masonry filler. Clean the gutters – clean leaves and debris from your gutters and look for any leaks in your gutters or downspouts the next time it rains. Clean the deck – use a deck brush or power washer plus deck-cleaning solution to remove mold, dirt, and mildew. If the finish is worn, you will want to reseal it in a few days after it has had time to dry. Repair the siding – inspect for any damaged pieces or post-winter rot, then use a nylon scrub brush or power washer plus an all-purpose cleaner to remove dirt and mold from vinyl, aluminum, or engineered wood...
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Brace yourselves, Winter is coming!

Do You Have Drafty Windows? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing drafts in a home can result in energy savings that range between 5 and 30 percent per year. Here are some quick and easy DIY fixes for drafty windows that can make a big difference in both your comfort level and your heating bills. First, you will need to identify the problem. Use a candle and slowly move it around the window frame. At any point where the flame bends or flickers use a small sticky note to mark the spot so you can come back and seal it. Solutions for every budget: Draft Snake: purchase or make a draft snake to prevent warm air from escaping or cold air from entering around window sills and under doors. Bubble Wrap: If you don’t need to open a window all winter, use bubble wrap to seal it. You can buy bubble wrap by the roll and cut it to fit any window. Use double-sided tape to keep the plastic in place. Caulk: Window caulking is one of the first lines of defense against cold air, but it can develop cracks or gaps over time. Seal small cracks by adding a new layer of caulk or by adding rope caulk, which can be molded into the cracks. If there are large gaps or cracks, remove the old caulk and replace it. Weatherstripping: Repair, replace, or add weatherstripping around windows and doors. Choose from self-stick rubber weatherstripping, sold in rolls; felt weatherstripping, sold in sheets; V-seal weather stripping, sold in both plastic and spring-metal versions; or expandable spray foam weatherstripping, sold in aerosol cans. Plastic Insulation: Apply plastic shrink film to the indoor window frame with double-sided tape, then heat the plastic with a blow dryer to shrink the film and remove wrinkles. Insulated Window Treatments: Seasonally swap out your lightweight curtains for insulating window treatments. Opt for heavy draperies or layered curtains; honeycomb shades, which trap air between layers of fabric to provide insulation; or Roman shades. Interior Storm Windows: As an alternative to storm windows, Plexiglass or clear acrylic panels can be secured with screws in the corners of the window frame. Andy’s Helpful Tips! Winter Home Maintenance Reminders: During the winter months especially, there are numerous items in your home that need to be maintained. Below is a list of the most common winter maintenance items which should be checked...
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Fall is here again!

Fall Fire Safety Tips As summer turns to fall, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory on fall fire safety tips. Some safety tips are the same regardless of the time of year, but many safety concerns are seasonal, particularly those that involve keeping your home warm. General Safety: Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors every fall and spring when changing the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. Also, verify that all fire extinguishers are fully charged and in working order when you adjust the clocks each season. Home Heating: Verify that everything you need to keep your home warm throughout fall and winter is in good working order before you experience the first cold snap of the season. Making sure your heating devices and/or systems are in good working order is an important part of learning some fall fire safety tips. Many things can go wrong with heating equipment during the spring and summer months. Family Fire Safety: Teach your kids how to respond in the event of a fire. Make sure young children know how to dial 911. Establish and practice a fire escape plan with your family that includes a designated meeting area outside the home. Practice stop, drop and roll with your children so they learn how to escape beneath a fire. Teach everyone in your family multiple ways to escape from every room in the event of a fire. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to use a fire extinguisher. There is nothing more important than the safety of your family. Everyone in your home needs to know how to behave responsibly to reduce the likelihood of experiencing a fire. However, because fires can start at any time without warning, it is also very important that the members of your household know how to react in the event of a fire. It’s a good idea to review fire prevention and safety tips with your family every fall, and several other times throughout the year. Andy’s Helpful Tips! Fall Home Maintenance Reminders: Porch and Deck Check the supports, stairs, and railings on porches and decks. Make sure the handrails can support someone slipping on snow or ice. Exterior Maintenance Check foundation for cracks and caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding, where pipes or wires enter the house, and around the windows and door frames to prevent heat from escaping. Inspect your...
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Summer is in swing!

5 Summer Home Improvement Projects As warmer weather approaches, there are many improvements you can make to your home for the summer season. From outdoor to indoor, these renovations will make your home more enjoyable this summer while also adding value. Storm Doors – Summer is known for its humid weather and thunderstorms. Protect your doors from the elements this summer by installing brand new storm doors. It’s also a great way to bring natural summer light into your home. Install Energy Efficient Windows – Does your electric bill skyrocket every summer because of air conditioning costs? By installing new energy efficient windows, you can conserve energy by keeping heat in or out of the house. Adding new windows can also add decor and style to your home. Remodel Your Bathroom – The one room everyone enters when they visit your home in the summer is the bathroom. If you’re tired of the outdated tile and style in your bathroom it’s time for a change. Improving your bathroom also adds value to your home. By remodeling this summer, your bath will be ready for the fall and upcoming holiday season. Paint a Room – Painting a room is fun and easy to do indoors by yourself or with your family. Choose a brand new color or just update the old one. By refreshing the paint in your home, you receive a 112% return on your investment. Spruce up Your Backyard – Nothing defines summer more than outdoor barbecues and campfires. Add a new patio set and fire pit to your backyard this summer or remodel your deck. The fun can last into the fall. Home Safety Checklist Deadbolt locks and heavy-duty strike plates Outdoor security lighting that is timer or motion detector controlled Carbon monoxide alarms & smoke detectors on every level or your home Window treatments free of dangling cords if small children are present Fire extinguisher Childproof safety latches on cabinets that contain cleaning materials Electrical outlets that are fitted with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI outlets) Individual shut-off valves for each gas appliance List of emergency numbers located prominently near the phone Grab bars within easy reach in each tub and shower stall Anti-scald shower/tub water controls Up-to-date first-aid kit Fire-escape ladder (if bedrooms are above main levels) Improve energy efficiency! The summer season generally means hot days and higher electricity costs, but there are ways in which we can still make our lives a little more...
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