5 Things You Should Know About Your New Home

We love our homes (or, hopefully we do). After all, houses provide us shelter, they keep us safe and warm and dry, and all they ask in return is a little upkeep. So even if you’re not happy with your current house, you should still love it just a little. Think of the old Crosby, Stills & Nash song: Love the One You’re With.

So what’s the best way to love your home? Get to know it a little better, because at some point, no matter what you do, your house will throw a little tantrum, and it pays to know right now how to calm it down. Learn these five things about your house, and it’ll be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Source: Ename974
  1. Know where the main water shut off valve is located. This is a must, because water damage is a killer of homes, and shutting off your water at the first sign of a leak is a smart way to go. Your water valve is usually located low to the ground and outside, but it may be in a closet or crawlspace.
  2. Where is your circuit box? Is it labeled correctly? If this has the proper labels (and you can find it!) you may save yourself big money by not having to call an electrician for every little problem.
  3. How do you change a thermocouple? Also, what the heck is a thermocouple? This handy little device shuts off the gas in your furnace if your pilot light goes out, meaning it quite literally can save your life. If your furnace doesn’t stay lit, it’s most likely a problem with your thermocouple. 

    Source: Lake Appliance Repair
  4. How often do all your filters have to be changed? So many appliances come with filters these days: refrigerators, HVAC units, ice makers, etc… Check how often each needs to be replaced and mark them down on your calendar. It could save you repair money down the road – and keep you healthier.
  5. Does your home have a sump pump? Sump pumps remove water from underground spaces like basements, keeping the area dry and free of mold. They’re standard in areas where flooding is a problem, and maintaining them is pretty easy. Keep the lines unclogged and ensure the float unit (like the one in your gas tank) can bob freely.

8 Things You Must Do Before Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into your new home doesn’t just mean packing and unpacking. Now that you’ve got everything packed and ready, we’ve prepared an easy checklist to make your new home and neighborhood feel even more homey.

  1. First things first, change the locks. We don’t mean to make you paranoid, but think about it… how many people could actually have a key to your home? Sure you could save a few bucks and just get the place re-keyed, but if you’re going to go through the trouble you might as well get a facelift in on the hardware. 

    Source: Today’s Homeowner
  2. New house means lots to learn. Any clue where the water and gas shut-off valve is? Or the electrical box in case you blow a fuse? Getting the scoop on your new place not only helps to give you the lay of the land, the awareness will come in handy in case of emergency.
  3. Say hi! Now is a great time to meet the neighbors. For all you know you or your kid’s new bestie is just a few doors down. If nothing else you’ll get all the insider tips on the neighborhood like where to get the best coffee and what route to take with the least traffic.
  4. Clean that carpet! You really have no clue who or what might have happened to the carpet. Looks can be deceiving. A good carpet cleaning can not only help to extend the life of the carpet, it also helps to improve air quality and remove pesky allergens. 

    Source: Killeen Carpet Cleaning
  5. If the carpet cleaning got you thinking, don’t forget to wipe down cabinets and drawers. Especially in the kitchen! A previous tenants breadcrumbs are not your treasure.
  6. Install new batteries in all fire alarms. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that fire alarm batteries get changed twice a year. Chances are now that you’re moving in you have no clue when the task was last completed, so save yourself the potential 3am warning alarm and change them now. 

    Source: Vivint Support
  7. If you won’t be using all the rooms right away, consider having them sealed off. Sealing them off can help to lower your heating and cooling costs, while you recuperate from all those moving expenses.
  8. Being the new kid in town is hard. If you find yourself in a pickle and need help finding a sitter, dog walker or even just trying to figure out which Thai takeout is the best, check out Nextdoor.

Why Your Home Needs a High-Efficiency Washing Machine

We all want to go green for the planet, but only if it’s worth our while. These days, so many energy-efficient products are pitched to us that we want to make sure that what we’re buying is built to last and really helps the environment. So is it really worth it to get an HE (High-Efficiency) Washer unit? How much does it really save you?

Source: GE Appliances

It turns out that these machines, which came on the market roughly 20 years ago, really do help their owners save money, about $210/year in electricity! This is good for the planet as well, because chances are that electricity isn’t 100% green-produced. The washers use less water, and squeeze clothes more than they spin them, which is a gentler and more efficient way of removing water from clothes. They also have bigger tubs, so you end up running fewer loads of laundry per week.

So how long does it take for these wonder machines to pay for themselves? They’re more expensive than your standard washer, roughly $200-$400 more for comparable models. Comparing energy savings and loan size, manufacturers say you should make your money back in about six years, which is good news because washers should last their owners about ten years total. Those last four years, owners are basically profiting from their larger purchase.

Source: YouTube

If you do get one of these washers, make sure you purchase HE detergent to get the most efficiency from your washer. It produces few suds and works optimally with the rinsing method of the dryer. Also keep in mind that you should also always run a full load, and use the cold water setting. And finally, check with your utility company – they may offer an environmental rebate to encourage you to go green and offset some of those initial costs!

New Ideas For Your Fireplace (Even If You Don’t Have One!)

Nothing says winter like curling up by a fireplace. Unless of course you’re terrified of an open flame in your home, in which that full winter cozy effect never seem to come. Well cheer up because you don’t need a raging fire in a brick box to make the season seem bright.  We’ve got some stylish ideas for your home’s hot spot and even some DIY fireplace inspiration in case you don’t have one.

  1. Let’s start with the faux fireplace. Fake it till you make it! Well then kick your but into craft gear to make sure you’ve got the perfect place to hang your stockings in time for the holidays. Not the crafting type? Don’t worry, you can still chalk it up!

    IMAGE SOURCE: A BEAUTIFUL MESS
    IMAGE SOURCE: THE PROPER BLOG
    IMAGE SOURCE: APARTMENT THERAPY

     

  2. Get your cozy on. Stock your fireplace full of baskets filled with blankets, throw pillows and a sweater or two. Top it all off with a lush rug and bam, you’ve got a new storage spot and a fireplace that will keep you warm sans flame.

    IMAGE SOURCE: COCO KELLEY

     

  3. Utilize an unused fireplace for storage. Coffee table space comes at a serious premium, so go ahead and add some stacks of your beloved magazines to your fireplace. Or, if your kitchen is home to a fireplace, use it to hold cookbooks and tools. 

    IMAGE SOURCE: MANGO & SALT

     

    IMAGE SOURCE: AT HOME IN LOVE


  4. Keep it colorful! Take that dark fireplace and liven it up with some pops of color. Paint the fireplace itself, or go a little more subtle by painting the ends of logs. Either way, that fireplace is bound to pop!

IMAGE SOURCE: BKLYN BRIDE

IMAGE SOURCE: STYLE BY EMILY HENDERSON

Easy Shower Cleaning Tips

We hate to break it to you, but your shower is probably pretty gross. Hard water and product build up don’t make that humid mess of a shower any less messy. We’re sure it’s not entirely your fault, cleaning a shower is a bit of a pain! No matter what the commercials say, those scrubbing bubbles don’t always cut it. So consider this your quick and easy guide to cleaning up where you clean up.

IMAGE SOURCE: BATHROOM CLEANING SUPPLIES

You’re going to need to start with supplies

  1. Get a good tile and tub cleaner. The harder the cleaner works, the less work you’ll have to do. Just make sure the cleaning product is safe for whatever material your shower tile and tub are made of.
  2. Find the a good quality sponge, don’t cheap out on this one or it might crap out on you. You’re going to want something double sided, but non abrasive. You’re going to have bigger problems than just a dirty shower if you scratch the crap out of it.
  3. It’s also a good idea to have a microfiber drying cloth, squeegee and some baking soda to make sure all your hard cleaning work doesn’t go to waste, of course if you have glass doors on your shower, you might want to get your hands on some white vinegar too.

IMAGE SOURCE: ALIEXPRESS

Let the cleaning commence!

  1. Take all of your stuff out of the shower. Shampoo, out!  Conditioner out!
  2. Put that tile and tub cleaner to work. Start by spray down the tile portion of the shower and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. After the cleaning product has sat for a while, break out that sponge and get to scrubbing. Try starting at one side of the shower and making your way to the other to make sure you don’t miss a spot.
  4. If you have any tough to clean spots, sprinkle some of that baking soda on the sponge and get to work with that elbow grease.
  5. Now that the walls are clean, time to move to the tub. Spray it down with the cleaner and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then let the scrubbing begin!
  6. Time to rinse! This part is way easier with a removable shower head. Take the shower head and start by spray down the walls of the shower, top to bottom, moving from one side to the other like you did with the scrubbing part. If you don’t have a removable shower, then you can run the water, fill up a jug you have handy and poor it down the walls to rinse them off.
  7. Once everything is rinsed, bust on that squeegee and get all the extra water off the walls and tub. Follow the squeegee with the microfiber cloth to make sure everything is dry.

IMAGE SOURCE: PINTEREST

Now, let’s get you in a routine of regularly cleaning your shower. For reals the more often you clean it, the less messy it will be. The longer you let your shower go, the dirtier it will be, and the dirtier it is, the longer it takes to clean. Crazy,  right?