John Colby
Colby Realty | 978-249-5871 | [email protected]

Posted by John Colby on 10/10/2021

While your property may be well insulated, there are a few things you can do to elevate your home’s winter efficiency. By following these suggestions, you can save money on your energy bills, protect your home from the elements and keep your home warm all winter long. 

Check the Fireplace

Your fireplace is a prime location for birds to call home. However, the nests they create can be a serious hazard and safety concern. During an annual inspection, a professional can look, remove any issues and effectively clean the space. It’s essential to have your fireplace and chimney cleaned before starting your first fire of the year. Also, be sure to sweep up any debris or ash that accumulates after the cleaning process.

Add Weatherproofing

Whether you install storm doors and windows or add weatherstripping, weatherproofing tasks can make a vast difference. These help to prevent cold air from entering your home, while also reducing the amount of heat that escapes from your home. Weatherproofing not only keeps your family more comfortable, but this improved insulation also leads to lower energy bills.

Clear Out Gutters

Dirty, clogged gutters present a serious fire hazard and can lead to inefficient storm drainage. Cleaning your gutters should be an annual maintenance task before the cooler weather arrives.

If you would rather not worry about this maintenance, you can install gutter guards. Typically made of stainless steel or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), these products prevent leaves, pine needles and other debris from getting stuck in your gutters. While these must be brushed off occasionally to ensure effectiveness, the cleaning process is much easier compared to gutters without guards.

Protect Those Pipes

Bursting pipes is a common situation that homeowners deal with. Not only can this result in costly damages, but dealing with an emergency repair in the heart of winter can be stressful. Luckily, there are some easy winterizing tips to prevent this problem. From sealing up openings to adding insulation, there are various ways to keep these pipes flowing correctly.

Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

If you want to maintain a comfortable home temperature while keeping the bills down, consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat. These products allow you to customize the indoor environment, leading to less energy consumption and more personalized heating comfort. To help you save even more, drop the temperature on your thermostat when you’re sleeping or away from home. The Department of Energy suggests setting the temperature to 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re not inside your property.

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Posted by John Colby on 10/20/2019

Once you are a homeowner, you now are responsible for all the maintenance on your property. How often and what time of year to do any of those maintenance or repairs can be a mystery if you have never owned a detached single-family home before. Creating a schedule for all those things that you need to check on around the property and inside your home may be helpful. Keeping a repair/maintenance journal to track projects can give you peace of mind. This schedule, or journal, can be a simple handwritten notebook or spreadsheet saved on your computer.

Keeping up the Outside 

Your roof, siding, and fences take on all the year-round weather; visually inspect each of them at least once a year. According to NAHB, the National Association of Home Builders, your roof should be examined by a qualified roofer once every three years. Keeping any landscaping from rubbing up against the siding and cleaning the siding once a year helps to prolong the life of the materials. Fences in good working order secure your property and maintain curb appeal. Gutters and your downspouts need to be kept clear to work properly; so, they may require more frequent inspections during the year to ensure they are functioning well. In-ground sprinkler systems can experience cracked water lines in hard freezes. Sprinklers can also get damaged by lawn mowers or weed trimmers so test the system before winter set in and at the beginning of the watering season to ensure the system is in good repair. Larger trees and shrubs that are vulnerable to damaging property in inclement weather conditions so, keeping them healthy and trimmed can prevent possible damage. 

Keeping up the Inside

Furnace, air ducts, dryer vents, these all need to have regular inspections and maintenance done. The interior items can be checked on anytime during the year but having a consistent routine increases the chance those checks get completed. Checking the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a month is good but, actually testing them is better. Have an annual chimney checkup from a professional to give you the all clear for those fireplaces. Larger appliances may need occasional checkups to keep them running efficiently. Keeping the mechanics of your home at optimal operating condition will not only provide for the longevity of that appliance but save you money on your utility bills.

Posted by John Colby on 7/30/2017

You know there are certain household items that need to be replaced regularly. But just how regularly is where things might start to get fuzzy. Especially those big tickets items that need to be replaced on a yearly span rather than months or days. Keep reading to discover how often you need to replace items around the home. Pillows. You want to replace the pillows in your home every couple of years. You’ve probably heard by now that up to a third of a regularly used pillow’s weight can be attributed to dust and dead skin cells. You may not, however, made the connection that a dust filled pillow equals dust mites. While dust mites do not carry communicable diseases, they do pose as an allergy and/or asthma irritant. HVAC filters. During the summer and winter months when your system is working longer hours to maintain your home’s temperatures you will want to change your filters each month. Meanwhile, in the spring and fall, you can do so less frequently, changing it around the three-month mark. Changing your filter regularly will keep your system running efficiently and save you money on energy costs in the long run. Fire extinguisher. You have a fire extinguisher in your home, right? If you don’t I suggest you run out and get one right away. Fire extinguishers can be replaced every ten years, however, they do need to be tested monthly and inspected regularly. Toilet brush. This is one not many homeowners think of, if ever. However, it advisable to replace your toilet brush every six months with regular cleanings in between. As you can image, toilet brushes are host to all kinds of germs and bacteria you don’t want to hang around your home. Toothbrushes. If your family stays on top of their recommended regular teeth cleanings every three months this point shouldn’t be an issue. However, it is one worth mentioning. Your family’s toothbrushes should be replaced every three months as they can develop bacteria that lead to gingivitis and/or tooth decay. And isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid when we brush our teeth? Smoke detectors. It is best practice to proactively replace the batteries in your smoke detector twice a year. With that said it is a good idea to also replace the smoke detector itself every ten years to ensure you have an up to date model. Throughout those ten years, however, you should be regularly testing your alarms. If you have recently moved to a new home and are unsure of how old your smoke alarm system is it is a good idea to plan on replacing them in the near future. Hopefully, you already regularly maintain these items. However, if you can’t remember the last time you have replaced any of the items mentioned you should consider making a plan to invest in some replacements. Making a spreadsheet in your home binder or setting up alerts on your virtual calendar will help you stay on top of the regular maintenance your household items require.

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