De clutter inside and out What you see as rooms full of keepsakes and a yard full of treasures, a buyer may see as clutter. Clutter can sabotage your sale by preventing a buyer from seeing your home as their own. It's easier to identify and manage with help from an unbiased friend, neighbour, or agent.
Clean, clean, clean As you prepare your home for the market, it's important to do a deep-down cleaning--just like grandma used to do. Buyers see every piece of dirt as an imperfection. A soiled baseboard, smudged light fixture, or grungy dishwasher can reduce your chances of a quick sale. Consider hiring a cleaning professional.
Paint your walls Rethink your interior walls. Consider a fresh coat of pale taupe to brighten your living room. Try pale shades of blue in your dining room or kitchen. Light blue and blue-gray can be a soothing addition to your bedroom. Avoid white-whites or deep reds. They can be home buyer turn-offs.
Lighten and brighten Remove heavy winter drapes. Redo your windows with minimalist treatments such as blinds or shades. Install LED lighting for more illumination.
Clean your exterior Clean away winter grime with a whole-house powerwash. If your paint is worn or peeling, schedule a paint job when the weather warms. White shows off your home's exterior features. Greige (gray & beige) is popular. Paint your front door blue for a decorative, inviting accent.
Maintain your gutters Your gutters have had several months to fill up with leaves, twigs, and dirt. To prevent clogging, clean away the debris with a gutter scoop or a small rake. Rinse away the remaining debris and check for gutter and downspout leaks with a water hose.
Inspect your roof Check your roof for problems caused by winter weather. Look for damaged or missing tiles or shingles. Check flashing, vents, and pipes for proper position and seal. If you're uncertain what to look for or you can't handle heights, call a roofer for an inspection.
Freshen your landscaping If your grass is still brown, the Lawncare Checklist recommends you avoid mowing, aeration, and maintenance until it's green. It's okay to gently rake away the winter's accumulated debris. Your yard will look neater and sunlight will get through to green-up your grass.
Clean and maintain sidewalks and driveways Inspect, clean, and repair sidewalk and driveway chips, cracks, and potholes caused by winter weather. Areas of disrepair can diminish your home's curb appeal and cause a safety hazard for visiting home buyers.
Clean your windows Dirty windows might seem like a little thing, but buyers will notice streaks, smudges, and fingerprints. Clean windows add a hint of shine to your exterior and allow more light to enter your home.
If you're like most people, you probably don't give your furnace much thought as long as it's keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But in order to keep it working to its optimal performance - and help prevent a possible malfunction - you need to either change or clean your furnace filter on a regular basis.
How a furnace works
A traditional forced-air furnace draws air in via return ducts, warms it over a heat exchanger then, with the help of a blower fan, pushes the heated air through a series of ducts that branch off into rooms throughout your home. The furnace runs until the temperature inside reaches your desired thermostat setting. (If you have whole home air conditioning the process is similar with the air being cooled in the summer by an outdoor compressor unit and a series of coils inside your furnace).
What a furnace filter does
The main purpose of a furnace filter is to protect the blower fan from all the dust, hair and other gunk the return duct pulls in. While it will also help the quality of your inside air (as it is removing contaminants from being recirculated), its job is not to actually clean your air as many people believe.
A MERV rating between eight and 11 is adequate for most homes. To be safe, you should check if your furnace manufacturer has a maximum MERV rating your model of furnace can use.
The most common type of furnace filter is the disposable pleated kind. These come in a range of standard sizes and ratings. Pleated filters are constructed out of paper and polyester and do a good job at filtering most household particles and allergens. The price of these filters varies from a couple of dollars all the way into the $30 - $40 range depending on the brand, size and rating of the filter. Pleated filters should be checked monthly for blockages and replaced on average every 90 days.
Disposable fibreglass filters are the cheapest filter on the market. They have an almost spider web appearance and are most often blue in colour. They come in many standard sizes, but are generally more flimsy and have lower ratings than pleated filters. Due to their inferior quality, disposable fibreglass filters should be checked and replaced more frequently than pleated filters.
Permanent reusable filters (also referred to as washable filters) are constructed with either a solid aluminum or plastic frame and are more efficient than a disposable filter. These filters can be vacuumed off and cleaned with water. They come in a range of sizes and ratings, and while more costly to purchase, they last an average of 5 years if maintained with a proper cleaning at least every 90 days.
Furnace filters are sized by thickness (depth), height and length. The most common thickness is 1", with 4" also being a popular choice on larger systems. Height and length combinations range from 10"x10" all the way to 30"x30". The most common sizes are 14"x25", 16"x20", 16"x25", 20"x25", and 25"x25". To find out what size filter your furnace uses, remove and check the old filter (the size should be written on the frame of the filter) or refer to your furnace manual.
Replacing your filter
NOTE: To ensure your furnace doesn't kick in while you're changing your filter it's recommended you turn your furnace off while swapping out the filter.
Open the filter compartment door (this will be between the air intake and furnace itself) and slide the old filter out and properly dispose of it (it will be dusty so try to place it in a bag as quickly and gently as possible). If you have a permanent filter, vacuum it off before rinsing it thoroughly with water. Allow it to completely dry before putting it back inside your furnace.
If you haven't changed your filter in a long time and notice lots of hair or dust around the filter opening, it's highly recommend you vacuum around the outside of the furnace and inside the filter opening before replacing the filter.
Whether you're using a disposable or washable filter it will have an arrow on it showing the direction of the airflow. The arrow needs to face the furnace side of the compartment when you slide it in. This is important to ensure your filter is working properly.
Once you have your filter replaced turn your furnace back on. Check your filter monthly and clean your washable filter or replace your disposable filter every 90 days.
NOTE: If you're not comfortable cleaning or changing your own furnace filter contact an HVAC professional in your area for assistance.
Shoulder seasons are typically in the early spring or late fall, when mechanical heating or cooling is not required. We can consider this a bonus as savings can be realized on our gas or electrical bills.
In order to ensure a healthy home we also have to provide ventilation. Opening windows and providing a cross breeze may be enough to make things comfortable and maintain inexpensive ventilation, but extra ventilation may be required to keep fresh air circulating through the home.
Leaving your furnace fan in the on position all the time may increase your electrical expenses slightly, but may help circulate fresh air through the home during the shoulder seasons.
I have my fan on all the time. It provides good air circulation and added air filtration, as the household air is cycled through the filter more often.
The first thing to understand about fertilizer is the formula, which is represented by three numbers, such as the common 5-10-5. The first number represents nitrogen, which promotes lawn blade and foliage growth; the second number stands for phosphorus, which helps root growth; and the third for potassium, which promotes cell function and absorption of trace elements. But what do you fertilize? When? And with what? Let's start with your lawn.
Early in September, grass is recovering from a long hot summer and may be coming out of a drought-induced dormancy, so you'll want to give your lawn a shot of nitrogen to push blade growth. A fertilizer with a formula of 20-8-8 will get it growing again. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended rate of application. Some people treat weeds and insects at this time, but I think that unless there are signs of trouble or a history of problems, don't apply anything but fertilizer. While this September dose of fertilizer is important, an application at the end of October or early November is essential. At that time, apply a fertilizer with a formula of 13-25-12. The push of phosphorus will stimulate root growth through November and even into early December. By helping roots grow before winter sets in, you are insuring that the lawn will green-up quicker in the spring and become more resistant to disease and drought.
The most important step in preparing furniture for storage is to get it clean. Moisture and dirt left on outdoor items can cause mold or mildew to grow in the winter months. Mold can grow and spread quickly, leaving your furniture in bad shape by the time you are ready to use it again. Pieces made from wicker, wrought iron, mesh or plastic can be cleaned with a simple dish soap and water solution.
For wood furniture you can use Murphy Oil Soap and water, then rinse and let dry. If there are stains that are difficult to remove, make a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 gallon water. Use a soft brush to work on the stains, then rinse and let dry completely. Take time to work on stains now, to prevent problems in the spring.
Cushions also need to be clean and dry before you put them away for the winter. If you have cushions covered in fabric or canvas, prepare a solution of 1/2 cup Lysol and 1 gallon hot water and use a soft brush to scrub them clean. Rinse cushions thoroughly and let dry.
Furniture covers are great for additional protection from the elements, even if you are storing your pieces in a shed or garage. Covers come in a wide range of sizes and weights, depending on whether you will be storing items outside or under cover.
Take great care of your outdoor living area furniture, and you will be able to enjoy it for years to come.