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Tips for your home

Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Cut back overgrown vegetation from your home's walls and fences.
  • Check for broken blinds and replace.
  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Lighten up! Get rid of one thing you no longer need.
  • Clean your dryer vent and exhaust duct.
  • Refresh landscaping by adding a layer of fresh mulch and plant brightly colored perinnial flowers.
  • Check siding for damage, pressure wash if needed, replace damaged pieces. 
  • Check deck for damage, pressure wash if needed, then stain or seal.
  • Sow grass seed.
  • Fertilize lawn.
  • Spray for weeds and bugs.
  • Clean out gutters.
  • Trim tree branches away from roof.
  • Look at roof to spot missing shingles.
  • Check ceilings inside for water stains.
  • Touch up exterior paint, especially around windows and doors.
  • Clean interior walls and baseboards.
  • Patch holes and cracks in drywall.
  • Touch up interior paint.
  • Clean interior walls and baseboards.
  • Patch holes and cracks in drywall.
  • Touch up interior paint.
  • Recaulk areas where caulk is cracked or missing.
  • Change furnace filter every month.
  • Get an AC tune up in the summer.
  • Clean and service the furnace in the fall.
  • Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide deterctors.

Dryer Maintenance

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.


How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Source: American Red Cross

Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

How to Protect Pipes From Freezing

Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:

Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.

Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.

Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.

Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be...

Cleaning Out Your Garage for Spring Time

One of the greatest things about winter is that your garage is usually left untouched and how often you take things out and put things back is limited. One of the unappealing things about spring is cleaning out your garage, putting Christmas ornaments away, etc. Unfortunately we are at the point where the former has ended and the latter has arrived. As of today the spring season has officially arrived and the weather is warming up. With the weekend quickly approaching we felt it might be useful to provide you with some great tips on cleaning out your garage.

Believe it or not there is a method to the madness of garage cleaning. It’s something most people dread when spring rolls around but is something you should definitely do; a cluttered garage will eventually lead to a cluttered home. Hopefully the tips below will make the process easier and with as little stress as possible!

Plan a weekend and strategize.

Cleaning out your garage in an efficient and effective manner takes time, so be sure to make time when you don’t have other obligations to attend to. Determine if the size of the job is something you can handle by yourself or if it’s worth calling up a friend or family member to lend a hand.

Yard sale, anyone?

A great way to eliminate a lot of the items that are taking up space in your home and garage is to host a yard sale during a weekend. Saturdays are ideal and many go out with the purpose of looking for yard sales. Hosting a yard sale is practically cleaning your garage out and earning money in the process! If you don’t have any luck try selling on eBay or an online marketplace; worst case scenario is you can give it to the Goodwill if it has little to no value.

Equip your garage with plenty of shelving and storage space.

Be sure to have space to put your items so that it’s not all sitting on the ground; the more floor space, the better. Ideally you want shelves installed...

Prepping Your Home for the Spring Weather

The spring season officially begins with the vernal equinox, which is on March 20th. It may be hard to think about the next season when Louisville is constantly facing snow days and cold weather lately but it’s important to stay ahead of the game. Whether you are prepping your house to be put on the market or you are simply adjusting to the spring season and warmer weather there are several things to keep in mind. Let’s start with the exterior of your home…

When you live in an area that experiences a good amount of snow during the winter (such as Louisville and the river valley region) you want to get your roof looked at by a contractor at least once every two years. If you haven’t gotten it looked at in a while a quick Google search for ‘roofing contractors in Louisville’ will return several professionals in the area that would love to have your business. On the other hand if you have had your roof looked at in the past year you can still do a quick check yourself. Take a walk around the perimeter of your home and check to see if you can see any loose shingles or cracks. It’s ideal to be able to actually get on top of your roof but make sure someone else is around for safety reasons.

Another aspect to keep in mind for the change in seasons is the rainfall that Louisville experiences in April and May. You will want to have your gutters looked at to ensure they are not clogged with leaves or debris so that rain water can flow smoothly. It’s also worth your time to check all of your windows to ensure water will not drip inside your home during the April showers, which includes thoroughly cleaning them.

If you are planning on starting a garden this spring it will be crucial for you to check and clean the area of your garden. This includes raking away tree limbs or debris, checking for any potential pipe leaks near your garden and inspecting your garden hose to ensure readiness come gardening time....

Home Repairs That You Shouldn't Put Off Until Later

This past Sunday marked the beginning of the fall season of 2013! While this is exciting it also marks the time where the weather permits many owners of Louisville homes from keeping up with repairs. Furthermore, many believe that certain problems in and around the house can be put off until later.

The River Valley Group has compiled a list of a few repairs that should NEVER be ignored or put off until later. There are issues that can and will arise with your home that will spiral out of control if not handled as soon as possible….these are the issues we have highlighted below.

*Any pest infestation*

While some infestations may be worse than others it’s important to find the source of infestation and terminate it early on in the process. If you notice gnats in your kitchen and figure they will go away they most likely won’t…in fact the gnats may move to other areas of the house or inside of your fridge. A simple remedy for gnats is to put vinegar into a cup, cover the cup with plastic or foil, and poke holes so that it will attract the pesky bugs.

Many also believe that if you see one or two roaches in the house a solid solution is to get rid of them and hope they stay away. Unfortunately, if you see a roach with your own eyes it’s likely a sign of overcrowding in your walls since they only tend to be visible when forced out into the open. Never hesitate to contact an exterminator or set roach traps throughout the house to play it safe.

*Any indication of leaking*

Arguably the most common problem homeowners face is something related to water, whether it is with gutters or bad pipes. This will be most prevalent when it rains in your area; pay attention to any leaking noises in the kitchen, laundry area, and bathrooms. Be sure to check the gutters at least once a season to ensure there aren’t any clogs that may be contributing...

Ways to Utilize Closet Space

It's about time to do end of the summer cleaning! The struggle of finding space for the kids swimming trunks, floaties, and toys is faced by parents all over the country. The main contributor to this problem is lack of closet space. However, it may just be a lack of efficient organization and not necessarily a space issue.

We have compiled a list of ways to utilize the space in your closet. Let us know any tips you use in your own home in the comment section below!

  • Create a system of organization

Some will organize their clothing by color or type of clothing...whatever the case may be, find something that works for you. Sometimes a source of closet chaos can be due to things being in the wrong place and not where they are supposed to be. If you create and follow a system it will dramatically lessen the clutter in your closet.

  • Install a second hanging bar in your bedroom closet

Many are accustomed to believing that you hang your clothes on the hangers in the closet and then place your shoes on the floor, always leaving an empty gap between the bottom of the hanging clothes and the floor. Depending on the height of the first bar, a second bar can be installed to fill this space. This will ensure that your clothes aren't crammed into a tight space and won't be wrinkled when you are ready to wear them!

  • Turn your closet into...a room?

There are some people that have a closet in an awkward location in their home or they just can't find a logical use for it. One suggestion could be to take the doors off and turn it into an office space. Just picture it: a nice, vibrant coat of paint on the walls, a light installed into the ceiling of the closet, an approrpiately-sized desk to take up most of the room...suddenly a room has been added to your home, increasing the value were you to ever consider selling!

  • Baby changing station, anyone?

If you have a newborn on the way you might...

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