Tuesday, November 3, 2015

10 Spring Home Maintenance Tips

(originally posted April, 2015)

FINALLY!  It seems old man winter has loosened his grip and it’s time to make sure your home is prepared for those April showers, along with the heat and humidity that soon follow.

Some tips for preparing for the long awaited spring and summer seasons:

1. Before the first mow, make sure to sharpen the cutting blade and change the engine oil in your lawn mower.

2. Repair any exterior paint that is cracked or peeling.  Paint provides a protective barrier, so make sure your home is protected!

3. Power wash outside surfaces such as decks, fences and driveways.  Inspect the surfaces for damage and repair if necessary.

4. You know you want to open those windows, so make the most out of the fresh air and beautiful views by cleaning not only your windows, but also your screens!  Gently scrub with soapy water and inspect for any holes in your screen. Getting the gunk off of your screens helps improve air flow and your views. Patch any hole larger than a dime that can allow insects through.  Save an old screen for patching other screens later.

5. While we’re talking windows, make sure to check the caulk or seals around your windows and repair or replace as needed by scraping off the old and re-caulking.  This can help with A/C bills as well as prevent water damage to your home.

6. Clean or replace your HVAC filters.  Dirty filters make your system work less efficiently, increasing cost and wear and tear to your unit.

7. Clean your gutters. It’s important that all the water from those April showers is directed away from your foundation and roof.

8. Drain your water heater to remove sediment that builds up in the tank.  This can reduce your electric bill and prolong the life of your water heater.

9. Trim overgrown hedges, trees and vines to help prevent mold and mildew growth as well as to help keep pests away.  A good rule of thumb is to keep branches at least 7 ft. from your house.

10. Check your foundation.  If you see any cracks, you’ll want to call in a professional.  Foundation cracks can’t simply be caulked.

For help with your next home remodel project, contact us.  We are happy to help!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spring Home Maintenance Tips

(Originally posted March 2014)

Spring is ALMOST here.  The first robins have been spotted, daylight savings time is upon us and the first of the early spring flowers are starting to poke up out of the ground.  With each new month, there are different home maintenance tasks you can perform to keep your home in tip top shape.  Spend a little time each month doing different home maintenance tasks and you’ll save a lot of money in the future.

1. First things first, when you change your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

2. Test your water heater. Bad valves can cause major problems so open the pressure and temperature relief valve and allow some water to flow out. If little or no water flows out or it doesn't shut off, replace it.

3. Prepare for those April showers by making sure your sump pump works.  This is easy to do by simply pouring some water into the pump silo to raise the float.  If the motor doesn’t turn on, you have a problem.

4. Inspect grout and caulk around tubs, showers and sinks.  If you spot mildew, clean the grout with a mildew removing household cleaner.  If you can’t remove the stain, remove the caulk and replace it with a mildew resistant type.

5. Remove pop up drain plugs and drain traps under sinks and give them a thorough cleaning.

Check back regularly for more home maintenance tips, design trends and ideas.  As always, feel free to contact us if we can provide any assistance with your home building or remodeling needs.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Preparing Your Home for Extreme Cold

(originally posted 1/6/14) on samsbrothers.net)

I am about to type the most redundant statement of the day, "It's COLD!"  It's not just your normal January cold; it's an extreme, frozen tundra kind of cold.  Is your home prepared to handle it?  One of the most common problems with this excessive cold is frozen pipes. Do you know what to do if your pipes freeze or even worse, freeze and burst?  The best thing you can do is be prepared.  Make sure any exposed pipes are covered with insulation, plastic or newspaper.  In addition, confirm that you know where your home's main water valve is located.  Check the line coming into your house to ensure that it isn't rusted or blocked by debris preventing you from turning the valve in case a pipe does burst.   

If you haven't had the opportunity to prepare your pipes, leave your faucets on a slow 
drip during the coldest temperatures to help prevent freezing.  You can also open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to pipes under sinks that aren't insulated.  In addition, make sure you know  how to shut off the main water line to your house.  You can find simple, step by step instructions with pictures, here.  Make sure to leave water faucets turned on when you shut your main valve off.

As always, feel free to contact us if we can help with any winter preparation or emergency repairs, we're happy to help!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fall Home Maintenance Tips - Preparing to keep warm

Originally posted on www.samsbrothers.net on August 27, 2013

Can you believe it's already time to start preparing for fall?  Fall home maintenance is an important step to prevent any unpleasant surprises during the cold of winter.

A few items to make sure you check are:

1.  The chimney - Make sure to inspect your chimney annually for creosote build up. Creosote accumulates in your chimney and can cause a disastrous fire, even if you don't use your fireplace frequently.

2.  Inspect your furnace - Have your furnace inspected each fall by a professional, before the heating season begins.

3.  Furnace filter - make sure your filter is clean.  A clogged filter makes it harder to keep your house warm, increasing your utility bill.  In addition, a dirty filter can't trap all the dust in your air, thereby increasing the amount of time you have to spend dusting your furniture!

If you have any questions about fall home maintenance, you can trust the professionals at Sams Brothers, Inc.  Contact us, we'd be happy to help!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Helpful Tips for Your Holiday Guests

Planning on having guests stay over during the holidays?  We all want our guests to enjoy their stay, so here are some tips to help make their stay even better!

Create an “In case you forgot” basket to keep in the guest room, stash easily forgotten necessities such as:

- A toothbrush  - Mouthwash
- Toothpaste - Disposable razors
- Soap - Floss
- Shampoo
- Pain Reliever
- Lotion
- Makeup removing wipes

If you can’t entertain or be the tour guide for your guests the entire time they are visiting,  include in this basket a local map, brochures for local attractions, a calendar of local events, etc. so your guests can have all the information they need to get out and about on their own if they need or want to.

Create a shelf in your pantry just for your guests and show them where it is. This way, they can help themselves to often needed items whenever they like without feeling guilty or like they need to ask permission.  Keep on your guest shelf items such as:

- Coffee - Chocolates
- Tea - Nuts
- Sugar/sweeteners - Trail Mix
- Honey - Crackers
- Fruit - If they brought a pet, pet treats

Keep the guest room simple and free of collectibles/knick knacks so that it’s easier to clean in preparation for company. If you store your collection of 500 miniature snow globes in the guest room, that’s a lot of cleaning to be done prior to your guests arriving. When cleaning in preparation, spend the most time on the guest bedroom and bath.  Your guests aren’t going to rummage through your bedroom closet, inspect under the sofa or do the white glove test on your furniture, so don’t stress about getting these areas sparkling.  Speed clean those areas and focus more on the areas your guests will be using.  

Most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff, just enjoy the time with your company.  We at Sams Brothers would like to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.  

For help with your next home remodel project, contact us.  We are happy to help!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Summer Home Maintenance Tips

(Originally posted July 2013)

Now that we are in the "Dog Days" of summer with high levels of heat and humidity, it's important to think about what effects the weather has on your home.  More specifically, the interior of your home.

Interior humidity can promote rot, attract pests (such as ants, dust mites, termites and cockroaches) and produce mold growth.  It's best to run air conditioning and/or a dehumidifier in the summer to reduce these risks. However, if you aren't able to do these things, there are other options to reduce the humidity level in your home/

Make sure you use the ventilation fans in your home.  You should have one in each bathroom, over the stove and in your attic.  In addition, ceiling fans or box fans can help bring down humidity levels.

If you have area rugs and are able to, store them during the summer.  Carpets reduce air quality and trap moisture.

Stay tuned for more home maintenance tips and home remodeling trends. As always, feel free to contact us if we can help with any of your building or remodeling needs.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Home Maintenance Tip - Attic fans

Don't forget to check your attic fan to make sure it is in proper running order. While checking your attic fan operation, also check your roof mounted turbine vent.  Help keep those Christmas decorations from melting! As always, feel free to contact us if we can help with any building or remodeling needs, we're happy to help!