Fall Maintenance

Exterior Fixes
• Regularly clean gutters and downspouts. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.

• Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Use caulk to fill the holes or completely replace the wood.

• Inspect your roof, or hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it’s time to replace the entire roof. Also, check the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. If you have any leaks or gaps, heavy snow and ice will find its way in.

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The change in temperature and humidity and normal wear and tear can cause window seals to crack and shrink. Check your windows and doors inside and out for leaks and drafts. Caulk cracks or install weather stripping around windows and doors, including the garage door. Replace screens with storm windows and clean them if needed

• To prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, if not; the water can freeze up and damage the pipes.

• Wrap water pipes that run along exterior walls with heating tape. It will save energy and prevent them from freezing.

 

 

System Maintenance
• Clean and replace filters in your furnace or heating system. Contact a licensed heating contractor to inspect and service your gas heater or furnace to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Check the attic to make sure the insulation is installed properly. The vapor barrier on insulation should face down toward the living space. If it is installed incorrectly (with the vapor barrier facing up) then the insulation will trap moisture causing possible water problems. Cut slits in the vapor barrier to allow moisture to escape.

Fall Garden Maintenance
• Fall is the perfect time to divide or move perennials. Remove dead annuals and mulch hardy perennials. Annuals typically die when temperatures drop below freezing. But perennials often appear as though they too have bitten the bullet. That’s because their top growth dies back, although in most cases the root ball is hardy enough to survive even extreme temperatures, especially if it’s covered with a layer of mulch.

• Trim dead branches out the trees to prevent them from coming down and causing damage in a winter storm.

• Rake up the thick layers of leaves that settle on lawn surfaces. Large leaves in particular, especially when they get wet, can compact to the point where they suffocate the grass below and lead to all kinds of insect and disease problems. So it’s a good idea to routinely rake or blow them off the lawn or, better yet, use a mulching mower to shred them into fine pieces.

• Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn; it will allow moisture and nutrients to get into the roots. When you’re done, spread fertilizer then grass seed.

• This will be the ideal time to sow cool-season grasses such as fescue and rye – it will give them the opportunity to germinate and develop a good root system before freezing temperatures arrive. It’s also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turf grasses have the ability to store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.

 

Check For Pests
• Pests love attics because they are full of nice warm insulation for nesting, and they offer easy access to the rest of the house. With gable vents that lead into the attic it is a good idea to install a screen behind them to keep those critters out.

• Even after closing off those entryways, pests can still find a way in. The first place to check for any unwanted guests is under the kitchen cupboards and appliances.

 

Safety Checks
• Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and put in fresh batteries. These are very important detectors to have in a home. A smoke alarm can save lives in a house fire. A carbon monoxide detector can also save lives if a home has oil or gas-burning appliances, like a furnace or water heater. 

• Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless byproduct of burning oil or natural gas, and it can be deadly. For just a few dollars, a carbon monoxide detector will sound an alarm if the levels get too high.

• Always install carbon monoxide detectors according to manufacturer’s instructions. Generally they should be installed near each potential source of carbon monoxide, and within ear shot of the living and sleeping areas.

• Have your wood-burning fireplace inspected, cleaned and repaired to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Gutter Cleaning

What
Gutters need to be cleared of leaves and debris that may have accumulated in order to function properly.
Why
Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your roof, siding, and foundation. These repairs can be extremely expensive.
How
Many homeowners opt into a service contract with a gutter cleaning company that schedules twice a year. We recommend these plans because they are typically affordable and there is potential danger involved with accessing the gutters on many homes. Generally these specialists will get up on a ladder and check & clear the gutters & downspouts of debris. Clearing them can often be challenging due to baked on foliage (spring) or frozen leaves (winter) attached to the insides of the channels, so if you are doing this yourself, make sure you have a good ladder and a spotter helping you out. Water is generally run through the system after the channels are cleared. Make sure that all of your downspouts are extended away from the foundation at the ground level. Often, it may be necessary to regrade your soil in some spots so that all water is directed away from your home.

Your Guide to September

Looking for things to do this September? Mark your calendars, because this month’s theme is all about giving back, and there’s no shortage of opportunities to get involved.

September 7 — National Food Bank Day

Did you know 41 million people in the U.S. struggle with hunger? Chances are, you know someone — a neighbor, a coworker, a classmate — who faces hunger every day. Food banks across the country play a pivotal role in providing meals to families in need, and they rely on people like you and me to help. On National Food Bank Day, do your part to help close the food gap in your community by donating food, time, or money to your local food bank. Visit FeedingAmerica.org to find a food bank near you.

 

 

 

September 11 — Patriot Day 

 

One of the best ways we can honor the victims, survivors, and responders of the 9/11 attacks is by sharing kindness and spreading hope to those around us. On this National Day of Service and Remembrance, join with your fellow Americans to pay it forward by taking part in a volunteer activity. Head to NationalService.gov to discover how you can get involved.

 

 

 

September 16 — National Working Parents Day

 

Along with meetings, deadlines, and navigating career growth, working parents are also tasked with being home chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, boo-boo fixer, and much more. Every day, these unsung heroes go above and beyond to provide for their families, and it goes without saying that they deserve a little recognition. Think of ways you can lighten the load for the working parents in your life, and if you’re one of them, give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work you do!

 

 

 

September 17 — Constitution Day and Citizenship Day 

 

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day commemorates the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and recognizes all people who were born as or have become American citizens. Think you could pass the test to become a naturalized citizen today? Take the civics practice test to check your knowledge of U.S. government and history.

 

 

 

September 22 — National Public Lands Day/First Day of Fall

 

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or not, we all benefit when our natural resources and public lands remain safe, resilient, and cared for. National Public Lands Day is the perfect opportunity to connect with your community through environmental stewardship, and it just so happens to fall on the first day of autumn! With activities such as trail refurbishing, tree planting, and trash removal, you can help keep our recreational areas, wildlife refuges, and national parks thriving for years to come. Find a volunteer opportunity  at neefusa.org.

Furnace Maintenance

What
Annual furnace maintenance is mandatory for ensuring its optimal working condition.

 

Why
A poorly maintained and/or inefficient furnace could be costing you huge amounts of money and could prove to be a safety risk.

 
How
We highly recommend that annual service be completed by a certified HVAC or other heating specialist. Some of the main things they should do in this annual service include but are not limited to the following: 1- Replacing the furnace’s air filter 2- Cleaning its burners 3- Clearing vent lines 4- Checking for any small leaks 5- Cleaning its exterior 6- Monitoring its efficiency and performance

 
Now is the time to do it before cold weather is upon us!

Home Maintenance Reminders

Show your dryer some love

Most people know to clean the lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping that filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards.

It is also good practice to regularly, but at least twice a year, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen.

 

What 
Dryers require regular simple maintenance to keep working safely & efficiently.

 

Why 
To avoid potential fire hazards and having to do costly repairs to your appliances.

 

How 
It goes without saying that you should clean your lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping the filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards. It is also a good practice to regularly, but at least twice a year, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen. You can generally use a vacuum cleaner’s flat attachment to reach down in the housing to suck out anything that has accumulated in there. Finally, you should be cleaning out your dryer’s exhaust duct using a dryer duct cleaning brush (it’s a stiff bristled circular brush with a flexible handle that you can buy at most hardware stores) at least twice a year. The exhaust duct vents your dryers exhaust to the outside of your house and can become a fire hazard if not kept clear. Consider doing this more often (say monthly) if you do heavy amounts of laundry on a consistent basis. Many service providers sell regular service plans to handle this for you, so consider signing up for one.

Your Guide to June

 

Happy June! Are you ready for some summer fun?

Make this June one for the books with the following ideas for a fun-filled month.

Chill with Your Bestie

June 8 — National Best Friends Day

Friends are the family we choose. Do you have a best friend who means a lot to you? Celebrate your friendship by scheduling some time to do something you both enjoy. Whether it’s an epic outdoor adventure or an evening of drinks and good conversation, time spent with your best pal is always time well spent!

Do Something for Dad

June 17 — Father’s Day

Want to create a Father’s Day that dad will remember? This year, trade the cards and grill sets for experiences, like a day at the ball park or a weekend camping trip. Even something as simple as a quiet family dinner can make for meaningful memories that he’ll cherish for years to come.

Kick Off Summer with an Outdoor Shindig

June 21 — First Day of Summer 

It’s officially here! Give summer a proper welcome by hosting an outdoor bash with friends and family. Think backyard barbecue, luau-themed pool party, or outdoor movie night. Don’t forget the food and libations, like this Southern BBQ Chicken and Peach Iced Tea. If you haven’t planned your summer vacation yet, now is the time to start! Get inspired with these 5 Ideas for a Memorable Summer Getaway.

File Your Taxes

June 22 — Take Your Dog to Work Day®

Did you know that bringing your four-legged friends to work can actually boost morale? According to a 2016 survey, 88% of employees agreed, and 85% said it creates a better work-life balance. Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD) is a special opportunity to celebrate your love of Fido with like-minded coworkers, while bringing awareness to pet-friendly causes. Need help convincing your employer to host a TYDTWD? Pet Sitters International offers a free toolkit filled with helpful resources.

Pass on Plastic

June 28 — National Insurance Awareness Day

Raise your hand if you’ve: had a birthday in the past year, had a baby, bought a house, or you basically have anything valuable you want to protect. Sound like you? (News flash: It’s all of us.) Make sure the stuff that matters to you is properly insured. Take some time to assess your coverage and make the changes that are right for you. #Adulting

 

https://www.vibrantlivingnewsletter.com/single-post/2018/05/15/Your-Guide-to-June

 

Your Guide to May

As you’re busy juggling your spring to-dos, be sure to check out what’s happening this month … and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”
– Edwin Way Teale

May 1 — May Day/International Workers’ Day

This twofold holiday celebrates both the spring season and the rights and achievements of working people. So whether you want to spend more time in your garden or stand in solidarity with your fellow workers, there’s no wrong way to celebrate!

If you’re not familiar with this holiday, here are some fun facts to get you up to speed:

  • May Day traditions can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Celtic and Roman cultures, where they held festivals to celebrate the coming of spring.

  • The holiday took on a different meaning in the U.S. in the late 19th century, when laborers joined forces to fight for safer working conditions and an eight-hour work day.

  • The distress signal “Mayday! Mayday!” has nothing to do with May Day, but is actually an adoption of the French word m’aider, meaning “help me.”

May 4 — Star Wars Day

PYou don’t have to be in a galaxy far, far away to get in the Star WarsTM spirit on May 4th. This is a day for fans everywhere to revel in all things Star Wars. From hosting a movie marathon to cosplaying your favorite character to trying weird things like this blue milk recipe, there are a million and one ways to celebrate the beloved saga. Find more ideas at starwars.com.

May 5 — Cinco de Mayo

 

Officially a celebration of Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla, this lively holiday has become a fun and popular way to honor Mexican culture and heritage. Take part in the fiesta by heading to your nearest Cinco de Mayo festival, where you can enjoy traditional Mexican food, dance, art, and other cultural treasures.

May 13 — Mother’s Day

 

Let the moms in your life know they’re loved and appreciated, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day. Whether it’s quality time, a home-cooked meal, or a day at the spa, think of ways you can give Mom a break and make her feel extra special this Mother’s Day.

May 28 — Memorial Day 

On Memorial Day, we pause to remember those who bravely gave their lives for our freedom. Please join me in honoring the memory and sacrifice of our nation’s fallen heroes.