Routine Home Maintenance Tips and Savings - V2

Do-It-Yourself: 11 Vital Tips You Should Use to Save Money This Summer

Don't make the same mistakes that millions of homeowners do every year.

Part of owning a home comes with big responsibilities but in the end are well worth it. So if you're about to even think about skipping these routine tasks you might as well be throwing money down the drain replacing the vital items that keep your home running like new.

💡 You Should Do These 11 Items Immediately, especially if your home is older than 7 years as you might be well overdue for these critical keypoints of upkeep

1. Dominate Your Neighbors Lawn - While Saving Water

Keeping your grass green all year long and using less water is a dream come true. We will share some watering tips directly from the source to help you get the best looking lawn at the best price.

Aerate Your Lawn: It's recommended you aerate your lawn at least yearly. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn. The main reason for aerating is to alleviate soil compaction.

Water Before 10 A.M. Watering before 10 A.M is the best time to water your lawn according to Scotts Lawn Care Guide. We used to own a landscaping company and we followed the same rules, if you must water in the evening 4 to 6 PM would be ideal.

Deep Water: A deep water is healthier for the lawn - simply because it forces the roots to grow deep. 3 times per week will get an inch of water on your lawn, and 30 minutes 3 times per week will get 1 ½” down. Bear in mind that during extreme heat, you will need to water more, due to evaporation and heat stress on the grass. Water deeply 2-3 times per week, rather than daily.

Grass-cycle” your grass clippings. Grasscycling involves letting your lawn reuse the grass clippings created by mowing. Leave the grass clipping behind from your mower. We have found that doing this every other mowing works best and gives a good balance to keep your lawn looking better than your neighbors

How to make your grass look greener:

After turf grass selection, fertilization is the most important factor in growing a dark-green lawn. To encourage green growth, choose a lawn fertilizer with a high percentage of nitrogen and a low percentage of phosphorous.


There you go! Simple tips with a little DIY and love and you're on your way

2. How to Cut Your Biggest Housing Cost This Year: Your Mortgage (Without Making Extra Payments)

Like most of us if you pay all your bills on time there are actually perks and benefis available. If you're a homeowner and you haven't missed and recent Mortgage payments you may actually benefit with this:

Still unknown to many is a brilliant Government Program called the Freddie Mac Enhanced Relief Refinance Program (FMERR) that could benefit millions of Americans and reduce their payments by as much as $3,252 per year! You could bet the banks aren't too thrilled about losing all that profit and might secretly hope homeowners don't find out before time runs out.

So while the banks happily wait for this program to end, the Government is making a final push and urging homeowners to take advantage. This program is currently active but could be shut down at any given time in 2019. But the good news is that once you're in, you're in. If lowering your payments, paying off your mortgage faster, and even taking some cash out would help you, it's vital you act now and see if you could qualify for FMERR or a better rate in today's marketplace. URGENT: So many homeowners could still benefit today, but sadly, many perceive FMERR to be too good to be true. Remember, FMERR is a free program and there's absolutely NO COST to see if you qualify. See if you qualify now before it's gone >>>  

Click Here to See If You Qualify

How Do I Check My Eligibility? ✅Step 1: Click your state on the map to check your eligibility for free  

✅Step 2: Select Your State:

Every homeowner is free to check their eligibility. Keep in mind that homeowners with a 600+ credit score and a mortgage balance under $698,000 are more likely to qualify for a reduction  

Deadlines for this program have not been announced, however homeowners are encouraged to check their eligibility as soon as possible

3. Make Your Home a "Smart Home"

✅Tip 1: Update your thermostat to a smart thermostat or program your existing one to work on your schedule. Never turn your thermostat all the way off unless you are gone for multiple days. It's actually more efficient to raise or lower the temperature as needed plus or minus 5 degrees. It actually uses more energy if your home for example has to go fro 88 to 74, instead it's better to make minor adjustments.

Tip 2: Add More Insulation: Most older homes might be insulated by a different grade, material or code. Most new builds actually will line the the insulation against the vaulted peak for better insulation. If your home is older than 10 years it might be a good idea to check, cost savings can be noticed through the entire home just by adding or updating your insulation.

Tip 3: Clean your AC Units. It's important to have your units serviced yearly and at the very least clean the units yourself. To clean your units you'll want to make sure the system is off and breaker powering that unit is also off for added safety, you'll then remove the front panel using a drill, from there you can use a hose to spray off the front panel away from all electrical components. If you see any lint or debris build up be sure to remove. Units that are excessively dirty have to work harder, won't last as long as also won't be as efficient

✅ Tip 4: If you're planning on painting the exterior and live in a hot or humid state you might consider a lighter color scheme as it will reflect more light & heat

4. Remove Tough Stains With WD-40 & Other Household Products.

WD-40 Can work wonders on bathtub stoppers. Sometimes stoppers get stuck due to hard water build-up, rust and can even squeak overtime. Spraying WD-40 can help loosen and restore many movable parts (even in the bathroom) but it's used go beyond that:

Tough build up and stains around the tub, toilet and even kitchen areas can be a nightmare. Sometimes household cleaners aren't tough enough. 

You can use WD-40 directly on buildup and tough stains/toilet rings. This is our recipe for the ultimate cleaning solution:

1 Part WD-40 1 Part Lemon Juice 1 Part Hyrdogen Peroxide 

Mix the 3 ingredients together in a plastic spray bottle using equal parts. This will create an ultimate cleaning product that is almost guaranteed to remove tough stains around the home, especially stains that have been sitting for a while (such as infamous toilet rings)

Other common household items and there main benefits:

1. Hydrogen Peroxide: Great for removing stains from clothes, especially wine and blood  

2. Lemon Juice: The acid can eat away at tough stains in the oven and microwave, refer to our solution above for even better results.

3. Baking Soda: Baking soda is perfect for whitening, especially around mold build up in the tub and toilets. You can use a brush to scrub a mixture of baking soda & Vinegar, allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes for best results which will help whiten and remove discoloration as well

4. Vinegar: Vinegar as a standalone is great for hard water spots, especially on shower heads, glass and tubs

One Thing to Avoid Out of Pocket Costs for Repairs

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Most people are stunned when they see just how much it cost to replace an AC Unit or heating system, in fact the cost can easily exceed $8,000 (and that's on the low end). If you're not prepared for those costs its highly recommended you have a good home warranty, not all home warranties are equal - we have found that Choice Home Warranty offers the best options and you get the first month free. They also have excellent consumer reviews which is why we are recommending them.

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5. Use Colored Dye to Check for Toilet Leaks

Water leaking from your toilet tank will not only cost you money when it comes to your utility bill, but it can also cause water damage to your bathroom floor and premature wear of your toilet’s internal workings.  

💡 Pro Tip: To check if your tank is leaking use red food coloring in the water tank, check an hour later. If it's Pink or a lighter color than you originally- you have a bad flapper.  

If you find that your toilet is leaking from the tank to the bowl, the flapper needs to be replaced. 

How to change your toilets flapper:

✅ Step 1: Shut off the water supply to your toilet - Turn off the valve located direct behind the toilet.

✅ Step 2: Remove the tank lid and flush the toilet in order to empty the tank.

✅ Step 3: Use a towel or sponge to mop out any excess water left in the tank. Remove the flush chain from the lever, and then slide the old flapper up off the overflow tube. Slide the new flapper in place over the overflow tube, reconnect the chain, and turn the water supply back on.

Faucets:

Faucets in bathrooms typically leak due to warn out washers.You can remove the old washer and take it to any hardware store to match it up. 

💡Pro Tip: Always make sure to turn off the water supply when working with water 

Other items you might need: Teflon Tape (White tape which is great for many plumbing related issues)

6. Clean Out Your Dryer Lint Vent

Washer:

You should regulary inspect your hose lines, lines should be snuggly screwed in and have teflon tape around the threads for best results. You can use a crescent wrench for best results.

💡Did you know?: Most leaks from the washer are from loose hose lines

Dryer:

It's important to clean your lint traps (at least every 6 months).  

For a through cleaning of the ducts leading from the dryer to the outside of the home we recommend using/purchasing a wire brush lint cleaner from your local hardware store 

Step 1: Unlplug your dryer, disconnect the dryer hose and use the wire brush lint tool to remove lint stuck farther than 6 inches in - Some individuals use a household vacuum to remove lint, for a thorough cleaning you'll definitely want to use the tool (recommended)

Step 2: Rotate the wire brush inward as far as you can. As you pull back rotate clockwise or counterclockwise and slowly pull back to remove lint trapped along the way. 

Step 3: Repeat the process using the tool at least twice for best results. If you are getting an excess amount of lint you can repeat the process again

Upkeep: Clean lint screen prevent fires, but it will also increase the life of the dryer. Physically remove the lint from the screen between each load of laundry. Also, be sure to remove fabric softener residue by washing the screen with warm water and dish detergent once per week.  

 

7. You Could Get Your Home Remodel & Improvements Costs up to $57,720 - Here is How:

The average cost of a kitchen remodel and home improvements has gone up significantly. However qualified homeowners could get up to $57,720 this May to help cover home improvements and other expenses Middle-class homeowners benefit the most for these programs in the form of a cash out payment to use towards home improvements and expenses. Homeowners can check their eligiblity here

American homeowners across the country are learning about a 2019 mortgage incentive that allows qualified homeowners to receive as much as $57,200 in a cash out payment as early as this month.  

The current administration introduced the home improvement incentive to provide what some are calling, "The greatest homeowner benefit of our time." As such, these government-backed programs are gaining tremendous popularity as qualified homeowners are claiming big checks to use for home improvements, to pay off credit card debt, or to use for other expenses.  

Banks, however, are not too fond of these new programs as they could also allow qualified homeowners to reduce their mortgage by as much as $3,120/year!  

» Homeowners Check Your Eligibility Here  

While the expiration date for the home improvement incentive has not yet been announced, it could be shut down at any moment. So While banks patiently wait for the programs to expire, it is important that homeowners check their eligibility while they still can.  

It only takes about 60 seconds to find out how much you may qualify to receive through a cash out refinance. 

Check Your Eligibility Here  >>

8. Fix Cracked Window Caulking - (Check Annually)

Outside air entering the home is inevitable. In climate sensitive locations the temperatures quickly rising and decreasing due to seasons can case expansion around window edges, over time caulking starts to crack, more frequently under hard conditions. Check twice there is a good chance that it's happening around your home and it's an easy fix that can extend the life of your windows and keep your home just a sliver more energy efficient.  

✅ Use Caulking for Window Seals: We recommend checking the seals of your windows, it's normal for caulking to crack over time (even as often as every 2-3 years) depending on the quality of the caulking and job done. You'll want to use a caulking that is water resistant (silicone).

Lights:

💡 Replace incasdescent bulbs with LED. If you can't do the entire home do areas that are most commonly used such as the kitchen/living areas. LED bulbs last many years and consume about 1/8th of the energy of older bulbs.

Doors:

Check the seals around entry ways (espeically the front door). Most door seals are black and line the framing of the door, commonly these seals can wear down or even tear over time. You can buy a seal strip for less than $8 at the hardware store.

Attic:

This is our favorite one. If you have a pitched roof we recommend using spray foam for the attic to coat the interior slopes of the pitched roof. This eliminates the usual heat pocket, almost all newer build homes use this and the energy savings can be very noticeable espeically in very hot locations.

💡 If your home is older we highly advise adding extra insulation to your home, this will easily make the most noticable difference in cost

Use ceiling fans/stand up fans to increase air flow 

While a fan won't make the room cooler technically speaking it will increase the airflow of the existing temperature of the room which can significantly make you feel cooler.

💡Pro Tip: Caulking will be your best friend when it comes to making proper seals around the home. Always examine any openings into the home and patch them appropriately.


9. Flush Your Water Heater 

Don't get frustrated - You go to take a shower one day and notice there is no hot water.  

Regular upkeep can extend the life of your water heater and keep everything running efficiently cost wise too!  

💡Pro Tip: Water heaters should be flushed yearly for best results

Here is how you do it:

✅ Step 1: Make sure you water heater thermostat is off as well as turning off the gas line or electricity to the unit

✅ Step 2: Turn cold water supply off

✅ Step 3: Turn on a hot water tap in a nearby sink or tub

✅ Step 4: Connect a garden host to the drainage spigot and you can drain the entire tank.

✅ Step 5: Once drained you can turn the cold water supply back on.

Super simple! You can save a lot doing it yourself, if you're still not sure we recommend hiring a certified professional.



10. Replace Your AC Filters (Cheaper is Better)

When it comes to air filters using cheap fiberglass filters is actually preferred as opposed to more expensive HEPA filters for two reasons: First, replacing the more expensive filters often isn’t cost-effective. Second, the fiberglass filters actually allow for more air to flow into your climate-controlled unit, reducing the amount of energy needed to effectively heat or cool your home.

You should aim to replace the filters every 30 days for best results.

11. Check for Roof Damage

Routine maintainence for your roof is key. You can extend the life and save on big costs that can come from a bad roof - of course that doesn't mean your roof will last forever, however regular maintaince we suggest will definitely improve the life

✅ Tip 1: Regularly remove debris from the roof such as branches, leaves and other loose debris - this should esepcially be done after seasons or storms

✅ Tip 2: Moss and mold removal: Gently spray a roof moss remover and cleaner on affected areas. Follow the specific cleaner’s instructions to wait for the solution to do its work and then gently brush away the moss and mold with a soft bristled broom and wide handheld brush.

✅ Tip 3: Aim to replace shingles or tiles on your roof as needed or check annually. You can also use a roof tar to fix patches or problem areas on the roof. Problem areas can typically be identified as bald spots, areas that sink in or look suspect. If you have multiple problem areas you may want to consider replacing the roof or hire a roofing professional for an inspection

✅ Tip 4: Clean the Gutters: Healthy gutters make a world of difference for shingle longevity. If your gutters are backed up with leaves and dirt, water cannot properly drain from the roof. The moisture wicks underneath the shingles and damages the foundation of the roof. Asphalt shingles are more prone to moisture damage on their undersides. Moisture-damaged shingles begin to swell and curl, decreasing their effectiveness at preventing leaks. Clean your gutters to prevent problems.

12. Maintain Your Sump Pump

At the least, you should check on and maintain your sump pump once a year. However, because the sump pump is so critical to a well-functioning home, try to check that it is working several times throughout the year.

Here's some Tips:

1. All sump pumps are dependent on a GFCI electrical connection. Sometimes GFCI will trip so this is the first and most common thing to look for

2. Vibrations can cause sump pumps to tilt to the side. Make sure that the sump pump is upright and that its float ball moves freely. 

3. Does the sump pump actually pump water? The best way to find out is to pour water into the sump pit *as shown in the above image* You will need to pour a generous amount to cause the pump to turn on. After the pump activates, stay around to verify that the water is actually discharged.

If the sump pump does not turn on the water level might be too low - try adding water

If the pump is not turning off check the switch to make sure its working properly, if not it may need to be replaced

Sump pumps should be replaced every 10 years. If the motor goes out it's probably going to be more cost effective to replace it. Most manafacture warranties on sump pumps range between 2 to 5 years

✅Check the water softener and replenish salt if necessary. Check for leaks as well

✅Clean faucet aerators and showerheads to remove mineral deposits - You can use vinegar to remove hard water build up on shower heads

✅Inspect outside drains, outflow areas where water exits for debris or clogging.  

✅Inspect tub and sink drains for debris; unclog.  

✅Test smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and all ground-fault circuit interrupters.  

✅Inspect electrical cords for wear.  

✅Vacuum heat registers and heat vents.  

✅Clean the garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes, then flushing with hot water and baking soda.

✅ Use Gov. Programs to reduce your mortgage payments: See if you qualify for up to $3,120 off your mortgage annually 

✅ Home Improvement Program: See if your home is eligible for home improvement options