Home Winterization: Five Ways to Keep Out the Cold

From Elizabeth Eckhart of Realty Times on November 5, 2014.  

April may bring showers, but winter weather can bring all sorts of other unexpected and expensive damages to your home. Fall’s cool temperatures are a reminder that winter days are on their way – take stock of what you may need to do to prepare your home beforehand, and you’ll be ready for the onslaught of ice and snow. Here are several simple, cost-effective tasks you can do now to make the transition into the colder months easier.

  1. Clean Out Your Gutters

Once the leaves are off the trees it’s time to clean out your gutters. Poorly maintained gutters can damage the roof of your home as well the exterior. When snow and ice mix with clogged gutters, it’s a recipe for disaster, inside and out. Leaves and debris will prevent moisture from running off the roof, resulting in ice dams and water leaks. Before flurries form make sure to clear out any waste that’s accumulated, and also be sure to note any missing or broken pieces and have them repaired. Remove potentially hazardous branches, or structurally unsound trees that could pose problems under the weight of snow or in the midst of a dangerous windstorm.

  1. Have Your Heating System Checked

You don’t want to be the person waiting in the frigid cold for a repairman to come when your heater stops in the dead of winter. Instead, have an inspector come in and make sure that the system is well ventilated and running smoothly before the first cold snap hits. Inspections generally run between $70-$100. If you live in an area where winter storms consistently knock out both electricity and heat, consider investing in a small generator. Learn more about what you can do to ensure that your system is operating properly, and give yourself time to make any needed repairs before winter comes and the heating companies are overbooked.

  1. Have a Snow Preparedness Kit

It’s happened to all of us. Waking up to discover a solid two feet of fluffy white snow layering the ground, only to realize that we’ve just got one old, dull shovel to dig ourselves free. Before stores are bought out of the necessities, make sure you have everything you need in case of a blizzard: a shovel, flashlights with extra batteries, one or two bags of road salt to coat the driveway, sidewalk, and walkways, and an ice scraper or two. Keep an emergency kit in a designated spot, and when you awake and find yourself trapped in a winter wonderland, you won’t be stuck trying to come up with new and inventive ways of unearthing your car tires.

  1. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans aren’t only useful in the summer months. If your fan has a reverse switch, you can keep your home extra warm in the winter by reversing the cycle of the blades. Having the blades rotate in the opposite direction will create an updraft. Since heat rises, this pushes the hot air down and re-distributes it throughout your house. It’s especially useful for homes that have high ceilings.

  1. Caulk Doors and Windows

In the depths of winter the average home can lose nearly one third of its heat through drafty windows and doors. If the gap between your windows and doors is greater than the width of a nickel, it’s time to reapply some exterior caulk to prevent this heat from escaping. Silicone caulk is highly recommended due to its non-shrinking quality and impermeability to the harsh elements. Block drafts from coming under doors with “draft dodger” door stoppers. You can easily make your own at home. Taking these extra steps will ensure that when the temperature drops, the cold and unforgiving air will stay outside where it belongs, and save you any money you’d be spending on additional heating.

4 Reasons You Should Get to Know West Village

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1) Dining  West Village is home to many tasty culinary treats. Diners have a vast choice of foods to choose from that includes burgers, sushi, pizza, sandwiches, empanadas, and so much more! From margaritas to cupcakes, there’s something for everyone in West Village. When the weather’s nice, diners have their choice of many inviting patio spaces.

2) Shopping  West Village offers some of the finest boutique shopping in the area. Other services include a barbershop, nail salon, hair salon, tutoring, dry cleaning, a bank and even chiropractic care. Imagine getting all of your errands done in one enjoyable afternoon as you stroll the sidewalks of West Village!

3) Living  West Village is home to residents in four unique neighborhoods. 2 or 3 story townhomes and architecturally distinctive single family homes are nestled into tree lined streets. Mid-rise 1, 2 or 3 bedroom for-lease condominiums, town homes, and lofts are also available. Residents in each of West Village’s neighborhoods enjoy top of the line amenities. No matter which neighborhood you call home, Goodness Grocery is just around the corner or walk to one of West Village’s great restaurants for dinner. It’s the best of all worlds!

4) Location Located just off exit 16/Atlanta Road on I-285, West Village is close to everything Atlanta has to offer. Downtown and the airport are an easy commute. Locally, it’s close to the playgrounds at Oakdale Park and the Silver Comet Trail is easily accessible from West Village, Nearby, there’s plenty of entertainment to be found, including movie theaters at Cumberland Mall, the Cobb Energy Center and the future home of the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. History buffs enjoy exploring Vinings or the mill ruins at Heritage Park.

To learn more about the businesses, homes, and events in West Village, check out the community website: www.WestVillageSmyrna.com

 

Tips for Home Buyers with Nosy Friends and Neighbors

shutterstock_78970252If you’ve ever bought a new home, chances are you’ve been there- that awkward moment when somebody asks, “How much did you get this place for?” If you just recently purchased a new home, here are some tips from Time Inc’s Money magazine that could help get you out of answering that question directly.

Deflect the question with a joke. The writer of the Money article, Antonia Messa, suggests that recent home buyers could say something like, “How much did we pay? More than I would have liked!” You can use the joke as a “jumping-off point” for a bigger discussion about the current real estate market, bringing the attention away from your specific home and making the conversation more broad.

Present a unified front with your partner. Messa states that “some of the blame” can be shifted onto a spouse or significant other when an inquiring mind asks about the price of your home. Firmly say that you agreed with your partner not to discuss the home price, which hints that responding to the question is non-negotiable.

Be upfront. If you want to be more direct with nosier friends, neighbors, colleagues or relatives, simply respond to the question by telling the truth and stating that you just don’t feel comfortable discussing the cost of your new home. This is an authentic, honest answer that should get the message across to the inquirer.

Source: “Here’s What to Say When A Nosy Friend Asks How Much Your House Cost,” Money magazine (Oct. 14, 2014)