GateHouse News Service's weekly Home Help, with tips on heating and plumbing system maintenance, open house parties and repostionable wallpaper.
Tip of the Week
When the temperatures drop, the last thing you need is for your heating or plumbing system to act up. Some basic maintenance can help to ensure your home plumbing and heating systems are functioning properly.
A regular maintenance schedule helps protect you against system or appliance failures that leave you with a crisis requiring urgent - and potentially very costly - solutions.
To help protect your home during the cold winter months, American Home Shield, one of the nation's leading providers of home warranty services, shares some tips for making sure your heating unit and plumbing system are in good condition to handle extreme temperatures:
- Check filters every month.
- Make sure floor vents are not blocked to ensure clear air flow.
- Visually inspect exhaust vent for rust, damage or deterioration.
- Be familiar with the manufacturer's maintenance recommendations for your specific unit. This information is typically available online and in your owner's guide.
- Only flush toilet paper down a toilet.
- Maintain water softener according to manufacturer's recommendations.
- Water filters and icemaker filters should be changed according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Avoid using your garbage disposal if you're on a septic system.
- Drain sediment from water heater tank according to manufacturer's recommendations.
- If you aren't familiar, locate your master valve so you can quickly turn your home's water off if a line breaks. In most homes, the valve is located near the water heater, the clothes washer, or where the water service line enters your home.
- Check the hose bibs to clothes washers to ensure they are tightly connected to minimize leaks and overuse of the system.
Taking these steps can help keep your home systems in good working order throughout the winter. But not everyone has the time or skills to do the maintenance required.
A professional preventative maintenance program can be a time- and money-saver for homeowners. Quality service providers perform a thorough check of your home's systems and appliances to help ensure they are operating efficiently.
To learn more about preventive maintenance recommendations for your home's systems and appliances, visit www.ahspm.com.
-- Family Features
Home-Selling Tip: Open house party
According to FrontDoor.com, some sellers are distinguishing their open houses from others on a saturated market by putting out wine and snacks, setting up door prize drawings, and using music to create a fun-filled mood. This can increase buzz about the house for sale, encourage more prospective buyers to stop by and ensure those who stop by will remember the house.
Did You Know ...
A recent study by researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, found that many vacuums - especially older models - suspend harmful allergen particles in the air, increasing our exposure to them. If you have an older vacuum, consider upgrading to a new one with a HEPA (High-Efficiency-Particulate-Air) filter, which releases less dirt and bacteria into the air than a standard model.
Decorating Tip: Wallpaper you can change to match your mood
Repositionable wallpaper is a decorating mainstay, says Todd Imholte, president of Murals Your Way, whose website, www.muralsyourway.com, is the top online destination for wall murals worldwide. The company's10 collections of peel-and-stick wallpaper are available in such themes as Vintage, Dots, Flower Prints and Mostly Modern, and can be removed and reused hundreds of times without losing their adhering qualities. Because the company offers color matching, customers can match their repositionable wallpaper to an existing paint color, or updated decor.
Garden Guide: Homemade plant decorations make great gifts
Colorful decorations poking up between your plants will not only add sparkle, but they can also help to identify what you have planted, like a label. This project takes one hour to complete. This is a great project for kids, with adult supervision.
clean foil containers
1. Place your design onto the base of a foil container, using a black marker. Consider a few fun ideas for your design. You could choose bugs, flowers and birds.
2. Cut around the outline of your design.
3.Press a pen onto the foil shape. This will make decorative, raised holes. Color your design with colored permanent markers. Be sure to allow enough time to let the ink dry.
GateHouse News Service