A Fall Checklist of 10 Things You Have To Do Before Winter Sets In

It’s quite a chilly fall day in the Greenbrier Valley! Over the weekend, we welcomed the Fall season. Love it or hate it, it’s here! The weather and time of year got us thinking about preparing for cooler temperatures. So, we have found a great checklist and wanted to share it with you. It’s time to tackle a few simple chores that’ll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring.

This fall checklist helps:

#1 Clean and Stow Your Mower

If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

garden grass meadow green

#2 Remove Garden Hoses From Faucets

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.

While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

#3 Drain Your Sprinkler System

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

  1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.
  2. Shut off the automatic controller.
  3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
  4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.

#4 Seal Air Leaks

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around  your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

#5 De-Gunk Your Gutters

Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.

Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.

#6 Eyeball Your Roof

If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.

Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

Image result for roof shingles

Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.

A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.

#7 Direct Your Drainage

Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.

#8 Check Your Furnace

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.

An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.

Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.

#9 Prune Plants

Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.

#10 Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over

Image result for chimneyTo make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.

Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.

You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.

Article Adapted from House Logic


We hope you found these tips helpful and enjoy this new season we’re welcoming!
Happy Fall!

As always, for any real estate needs contact us! We’re ready to serve you!

Greenbrier Real Estate Service
http://www.greenbrierrealestateservice.com
304.645.2255

Gregory Allman, Brokerfall-checklist-maintenance-standard_bdc024bc38b7143c1fc5a68511c36f55_860x1195_q85

 

7 Super-Easy Cleaning Recipes for the Most Awesome-Smelling Home

Essential oils are the key to these sweet-smelling (and highly effective!) homemade cleaners.

“What’s that smell?” That question could go either way when potential buyers enter a home for a home tour. If you’re trying to sell your home, you most definitely don’t want a foul odor to turn away a buyer. Take a look at some of these great all natural ways to clean your home and fill it with soothing smells rather than harsh chemical smells as you clean for your next showing or open house!

If you get light-headed just reading the ingredients on your cleaning products, take heart: There’s another way.

These make-in-minutes, super-cheap recipes create potions that use sweet-smelling essential oils that won’t fumigate your home, while having superpowers to fight grime and bacteria.

And much like a food recipe you may try, you can modify the oils to suit your own olfactory senses.

Citrusy All-Purpose Cleaner

tray of orange fruits

  • 15 drops of essential oil of lemon
  • 5 drops essential oil of sweet orange
  • 5 drops essential oil of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups filtered water

Funnel all these ingredients into a spray bottle, seal, and gently shake. There’ll be a battle of odors here, with the acidic vinegar likely winning out against the sweet-smelling oils, but don’t let this deter you.

The vinegar scent disappears quickly, but that citrusy, herby zing lingers on. And these oils aren’t just there for their scent alone. Lemon oil is a natural disinfectant, orange oil busts grease, and rosemary oil has some antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

Lemon-Scented Window Cleaner

  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 10 drops essential oil of lemon

Mix all these ingredients in dark glass spray bottle (it’ll protect the oils from breaking down).

Spray on any glass surface and polish in with a microfiber cloth. You’ll have sparkling panes and mirrors in no time, and that wondrous essential oil of lemon will kill off the bacteria left behind by mucky fingerprints.

Eucalyptus Toilet Bowl Cleaner

person wearing pair of yellow rubber gloves

  • 25 drops essential oil of eucalyptus
  • 1/3 cup Castile soap
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1-1/3 cups baking soda

Fill a squeeze bottle with the water, baking soda, and eucalyptus oil.

Seal the bottle and shake. Next, add the Castile soap. Shake again. Squeeze around the bowl. Leave for 15 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush, flush, and you’re done.

Aside from having a deliciously fresh aroma, eucalyptus is a natural germicide.

Lavender-Thyme Dish Cleaner

  • 20 drops essential oil of lavender
  • 10 drops essential oil of thyme
  • 5 drops of essential oil of tea tree
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup liquid Castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

This one does require some stovetop time: Bring the water to a boil, then mix in the oils. (Thyme and tea tree goes to war on salmonella while emitting a pleasant aroma along with lavender.) Add the rest of the ingredients slowly. After that, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once cooled, pour into a squeeze bottle. Shake gently before using.

Peppermint-Lavender Floor Cleaner

tray on coffee table

  • 5 drops essential oil of peppermint
  • 5 drops essential oil of lavender
  • 5 drops of essential oil of tea tree
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Pour the vinegar into a bucket, fill that bucket up with hot water and add the oils.

Works on stone, tile, and wooden floors. Not only is peppermint oil anti-bacterial, many believe it can deter mice and other pests.

Tea tree oil is antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal. Not only is lavender oil antibacterial, too, but its aroma also has soothing properties that can calm your whole household.

Lavender Linen Spray

white textile

  • 6 drops of essential oil of lavender
  • 2 tablespoons witch hazel
  • Filtered water

Fill a spray bottle with the witch hazel and lavender. Shake, top off with water, shake again, and then spray away.

 

Cinnamon and Sandalwood Air Freshener

  • 10 drops essential oil of cinnamon
  • 10 drops oil of sandalwood
  • 1 cup filtered water

A spritz of this subtle-but-effective scent erases stinks in seconds. Fill a spray bottle with the water and the oils. Cinnamon scent boosts brain power and sandalwood is calming — perfect for a hardworking, stressed out home!

Essential oils do mix, so if any of the scents in these recipes don’t appeal, play around with other oils. Just keep the quantities the same. For example, if you switched sandalwood for orange oil in this air freshener, stick to the 10 drops specified in the recipe.

Article adapted from HouseLogic-Anna Tobin


Greenbrier Valley Upcoming Events

September 8, 2018 10a.m. – 4 p.m. White Sulphur Springs own Freshwater Folk Festival
The Freshwater Folk Festival is a celebration of our nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources. The 2018 festival will feature great music, food, dance, crafts, fun and educational activities.


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304.645.2255