Category: Maintenance

Chimney Cleaning 101

Did you know that most structure fires, fire deaths and fire injuries occur in the home? According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 357,000 reported home structure fires caused 2,470 civilian deaths per year. During the five-year period of 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 357,000 home structure fires per year. These fires caused an annual average of 2,470 civilian deaths, 12,890 civilian fire injuries, and $6.9 billion in direct property damage.

Home fire deaths occur more often in winter and between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. In 2009-2013, 28% of home structure fires and one-third of home structure fire deaths occurred in the winter months of December, January and February. Of these fires, heating equipment was the second leading cause of home fires, home fire deaths, and home fire injuries during this period. Chimney fires were the most common type of heating fire!

I’m not saying all this to scare you. I am, however, trying to warn you. We all think it’s not going to happen to us. Well, why not make sure of it? The number one way to prevent a chimney fire is by cleaning your chimney EVERY year BEFORE you use it! I know it’s dirty work but isn’t it worth it? Below is a video on how to do it yourself. It’s really not that hard. Give it a try. It could save your life!

As with anything, if you are not comfortable handling it yourself, hire a professional. Whatever route you choose, just do it!


Winter Preparation Checklist

Winter is on it’s way! Being proactive, you will lower your energy bills, increase efficiency and the lifespan of your home. Here is a checklist to make sure you keep the warmth in and Old Man Winter out!!


Windows and Doors

Check all weatherstripping and replace if necessary. Install storm windows and doors. Check for drafts and caulk where necessary. Replace any cracked or broken glass.


Trim any branches that hang over wires in case of ice storms. Clean, dry and store all patio furniture. Bring in and store any decorations that are made of glass or stone. They can crack in the cold. Drain and remove hoses. Shut off valves to the outside. Check walkways and handrails to ensure ease of shoveling and decreased chances of falling.


Winterize your lawnmower. Bring in and store any other landscaping equipment. Move shovels and snowblower to the front of the garage. Get your roof rake ready as well as an ample supply of ice melt.


Remove window air conditioners. Inspect and clean fireplace. Replace the air filter in your furnace. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Change the batteries if you haven’t in a while. Replace old thermostats with energy efficient ones. Change the position of the ceiling fans to circulate heat. Check the insulation in attics, basements and other places.


Check for any loose or damaged shingles and replace. Make sure the gutters are clean, secure and the downspouts drain far away from the house. Check the chimney flashing and seal where needed. Check all vents and openings for debris.

Now you’re ready for winter. Bring on the snow!


Is Your Snowblower Ready For Winter?

As much as we don’t want to admit it, Winter is coming! If you’re like most people, you don’t give your snowblower a second thought until the snow starts to fall and by then, it could be too late. Make sure your snowblower is ready to go with these simple steps….


  • Pull it out of the garage and give it a test start BEFORE the first snowfall
  • Put fresh fuel in it and add a fuel stabilizer
  • Check tire pressure to make sure the snowblower is sitting level
  • Check the condition of your scraper bar and replace if necessary
  • Grease all fitting as per owners manual
  • Change the oil and replace the spark plugs

If your snowblower still will not start it could be caused by a number of things. Old gas, build up on the carburetor or improper storage procedures. If you do not feel comfortable attempting your own repairs, please contact a professional.


How To Snake Your Own Drain

There is nothing worse than a clogged drain, especially in the shower. You’re standing there, trying to get clean while you play beat the clock with the rising water. Most of the time the clogs are caused by hair. If you have a woman around the house, you know what I’m saying!

Drain cleaners can only do so much. So what do you do? Call a plumber every month? Not if you know how to snake your own drain. Here is a step by step video that shows you just how easy it is to do yourself!


How to Repair your Toilet

A few years back, I had a friend who lived in an older apartment. It was a basement conversion in an older home and she was always having troubles. One in particular was toilet troubles. You see, they had an older well and there was a lot of sediment in the water so each time she flushed it would get caught in her fill valve and eventually it would stop working. Either that or she would have what was called “ghost flushing.”  This is where your toilet just flushes for no reason. Anyway, off to Home Depot I would go, pick up the parts needed and go over and fix it. Then I got smart! I taught HER how to do it. At first she thought she wouldn’t be able to do it since it looks intimidating but she finally mastered it and you can too…..

Here is a step by step video on how to diagnose your toilet troubles and also how to fix them. So let’s go!


Garage Door Problems

If you have a garage on your home, than you know what I mean. There always seems to be something that’s going on with them. While some of the issues can be serious and should be done by a professional, some of them are a simple fix.

Here’s just a few….



There are so many moving parts in a garage door. To stop noises, always make sure the wheel tracks, hinges and bearings are always well lubricated.


Springs are supposed to be tight wound to work properly. Over time, they tend to wear or even break. This one you might want to call professional. It seems simple but people get hurt this way more often than not.


Make sure the safety cables are properly installed and well maintained. These can be a life saver. If you have an older garage and you don’t have safety cables, you may want to look into them.

Track Misalignment 

Over time, the tracks can become warped, bent, etc.. This makes opening the doors next to impossible. Depending on your skill level you may be able to do this yourself. When in doubt, call someone!


Sensor issues just happen. They malfunction on your car and they malfunction on your garage doors. This is something you’ll most likely have to call someone in for.

The basic need to open and close a garage door is something that many people only think about when repairs are needed. Don’t wait for something to happen. Act now!


Summer projects

Summertime is here and the days are longer. What better time to tackle some of those home renovations. Don’t know where to begin? Here’s some ideas…

~Remodel That Old Bathroombathroom old

The average bath remodel results in a 60% investment return. It doesn’t have to be grand. Just something up to date. You could even create a new half bath by converting a spare closet with have no additon to the home.

~Install Central Air hvac

Installing central air results in greater cooling capacity and lower noise levels. Plus it’s just convenient. If you’ve ever had it, you’ll know what I mean.

~ Paint Your Housepaint cans

Invest in the value of your home and improve its curb appeal with a fresh coat of paint. Plus, this is a great time to inspect your siding for damage and repair it.

~Install New Windowswindow old

The reason is simple. Energy costs are increasing and it’s more expensive than ever to heat & cool your home. By far one of the most dramatic things you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency is to replace those old leaky windows.

~Repair/Replace Your Roofroof

The typical roof is designed to last about 20 years, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association. Maintenance can extend a roof’s life five to 10 years.Always make sure it’s in great condition and it will protect your house and help with resale.

There are so many more home maintenance projects but this should get you started. Good luck!