Real Estate Tips: Winterizing Your Plumbing

frozen pipe 2015
November is a great month to get started on winterizing your plumbing systems. We all know that water expands as it freezes, which can cause strain on your plumbing system. Below are a few tips/precautions you can take to help save you down the road.

1) Make sure your crawl space vents are closed up tight and add extra insulation over all openings you find.

2) If your bathroom pipes run along the exterior wall, open up the door on the vanity to allow warm air inside.

3) Remove, drain and store your garden hoses.

4) Leave your kitchen sink and/or bathroom sink at a slow drip overnight when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.

5) Leave a cabinet door open under all sinks to allow heat inside.

6) NEVER thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame! Use a hair dryer, heat lamp or space heater.

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Real Estate Tips: Preparing Your Yard for Winter

Autumn-Leaves-Blowing 2015 The weather is turning colder and the days are getting shorter which means winter is on the way. So you can pack up those gardening tools until next spring, right?…Wrong! You can save yourself some time in the yard next spring if you do a few maintenance tips now.

1) Stay on top of the falling leaves. Leaves can smother your grass and to keep your lawn looking nice either rake leaves regularly or mow. If you decide to mow, make sure you use a bag to collect the clippings & shredded leaves which you can use for your garden or landscape beds.

2) Prune rose canes back to knee height, mound the base with fresh compost (about 12 inches) and cover the rosebush with shredded leaves. This will help protect the bush & roots during the colder months.

3) Mulch landscaping beds with chopped leaves or pine needles. Again, this is extra protection and helps reduce the effects of extreme temperature changes.

4) Plant spring bulbs now and your yard will come alive next spring. Examples of spring bulbs to plant are tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinth to name a few.

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Real Estate Tips: GET WINTER‐WISE – Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather

December 22 is the first day of winter 2010/2011.    In many parts of the country, cooler weather has already begun to set in. So before you curl up with a good book or head outdoors to enjoy the snow, take time to make sure your home is ready for cold weather so it can enjoy the winter as well.
  • Inspect your heating system. Breathe easier this winter. Have an HVAC professional inspect your furnace and clean air ducts to remove dust. Then, make sure you have a good supply of furnace filters on hand and make a note to change them every month. Something as simple as changing a furnace filter can reduce heating costs by up to 5%. If you have hot‐water radiators, bleed the valves.
  • Replace old thermostats. Nearly 50% of the energy used in a typical American home is for heating and cooling. Think about replacing your thermostat with a programmable one, allowing you to keep your home a little cooler at night.
  • Ready  your chimney and fireplace. Have a wood‐burning fireplace that hasn’t been cleaned recently, hire a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. Chimneys should be capped or screened to keep birds or rodents from nesting there. Check your fireplace damper and make sure it still opens and closes properly. For brick chimneys, inspect the mortar and tuckpoint if needed.
  • Go outside & weatherize the exterior, doors and windows. Inspect the outside of your home. Look for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes and seal them. Weatherstrip around doors and gaps along the foundation helps to keep cold air out. Caulk around windows for the same reason. Switch out screens and storm windows in the fall, before it gets cold.
  • Do you need more attic insulation? Although insulating or upgrading insulation can be a big step, it is relatively easy to add insulation to most attics. A poorly insulated attic can be a major source of heat loss.  
  • Up on the roof top. Inspect your roof, gutters and downspouts. Replace roof shingles that are worn and check the flashing to make sure your roof is watertight. Clean leaves and debris from gutters and if you don’t have them already, think about installing leaf guards. Clear downspouts with a hose.
  • No more frozen pipes. You can prevent your plumbing from freezing with a few easy steps: • Drain and detach all garden hoses. • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes. • Drain air conditioner pipes. If your air conditioning system has a water shut‐off valve, turn it off. • Leave heat on while on vacation (at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit).