Avoiding Moisture Problems in the Home

There are many hidden sources of moisture in your home that can lead to serious problems, such as mold. To keep moisture levels in check, consider these tips:

  • Bathrooms are an obvious source of moisture build-up. Contractor and TV personality Mike Holmes recommends keeping the fan going for at least half an hour after a shower.
  • Check regularly for water infiltration around window and door sills, as well as other intakes into the home, such as dryer vents and cable wiring.
  • Determine the humidity level in your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it should be 30-60%. (Keep in mind that humidity may vary greatly from room to room.)
  • Regularly inspect caulking around sinks, tubs and showers. Even a tiny break can cause water to leak gradually into the wall or floor, causing damage you may not notice for months.
  • Clean up wet spills as soon as possible. Be particularly careful with hardwood floors, as water can seep through and become trapped.
  • Repair leaking faucets and pipes immediately. Even a small drip can add significant moisture inside a vanity or kitchen cupboard.

Being mindful of moisture today can help you avoid potentially high repair bills later on.

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
317-506-0039

Clean or Replace Air Filters and Fan Screens

It’s a good idea to clean or replace your home’s air filters and screens at least once a year to help keep your indoor environment safe from mold, dust mites and other allergens.

But don’t stop at your heating, ventilation and cooling/air-conditioning systems. Think of all the other filters and screens that need cleaning, such as those in humidifiers, range hoods, bathroom fans, and windows. Unfortunately, homeowners often neglect to clean or replace their range hood filters. This can lead to a thick buildup of greasy residue that could easily compromise the important function of removing cooking gases, odors and humidity from the stovetop area. The result can be unhealthy air trapped in your kitchen, not to mention an accumulation of a thin film on your walls, ceilings and countertops.

Likewise, bathroom fans and window screens can trap layers of dust over time that will hinder the free flow of air to and from the rooms you want to be well ventilated.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

Give Outdoor Furniture a Facelift

As the summer stretches on, and your patio furnishings start to show the signs of use, you may want to try these simple ways of restoring them to their original luster.

Before trying any of these techniques, always test in an inconspicuous area first. 

For vinyl cushions and fabrics without specific instructions for upkeep, try a mixture of water and mild detergent with an “oxicleansing” additive for stains. Avoid chlorine bleach that can corrode stitching and cause discoloration. Rinse thoroughly and dry without direct sunlight.

Furniture frames require specific care, depending on the material. Wicker should be vacuumed and/or brushed before a gentle washing and rinsing with a garden hose (not a power washer). Aluminum frames will keep their appearance longer if you apply and buff a coating of car wax after wiping clean and drying. Natural woods fare well when scrubbed with commercial oil soap (not detergent), and can retain their integrity longer with a weather-resistant stain or urethane treatment. To help your outdoor furniture last from season to season, invest in weather-resistant slip covers.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

BBQ Maintenance that Can Save Your Life

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 160 people are injured each year in BBQ mishaps. That doesn’t sound like a lot considering the number of people who flip burgers on their backyard grills each year. But, you certainly don’t want to be one of those who get injured!

The best way to prevent fire and injury is maintenance. Remarkably, few people are even aware that BBQ maintenance is necessary. It is.

Every summer, experts say you should clean out the venturi tubes. Those are the little metal pipes that carry propane or natural gas. Pipe cleaners work well, although hardware stores also carry specialized tools for this purpose. The goal is to clean out any built-up dirt and debris. Don’t be surprised if you find spider webs inside a venturi tube!

Your BBQ grills should also be cleaned with soap and water each year. Just scraping them before barbequing isn’t enough. Fat and oils from cooking can build up on grills and harden. If you’re getting a lot of flare-ups, this may be the cause.

Finally, make sure nuts and bolts are tightened regularly, and replace any rusty hardware. Regular use, heat and weather can loosen or weaken bolts, particularly on the frame. Several fires each year are caused by BBQs tipping over or collapsing.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Everything?

When you suffer damage to your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. And, most do a good job of doing just that.

Still, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. For example, you don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room.

Pay particular attention to coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased.

Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or would you rather only insure for the actual cash value?

Having the right insurance policy gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

Whole-Home Security Systems Continue to Evolve

Until recently, even the latest home security system could become obsolete overnight. But, newer whole-home integration systems are much more compatible with interchangeable parts and innovative add-ons.

As a result, it’s now possible to have a multi-faceted security system that watches over many of the functions and activities in and around your home. For example, you can organize and control your home’s exterior cameras, motion detectors, door locks, window coverings, lighting, entertainment, appliances and HVAC with one system.

If you’re buying an entirely new system, there are many established and emerging brands available, so consider their functions, cost, convenience and reliability. But, if you want the whole-home system to manage existing utilities and appliances, things can become challenging. You will need to ensure that your specific devices can communicate with your new hub, which means you need to identify the protocol under which they can share information. Because their compatibility is not certain, it’s advisable to identify the make and model of your existing equipment and check for compatibility before you purchase a new security hub or system.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

DIY Projects You Can Do at Home

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DIY Projects You Can Do at Home

During the last several weeks, you may have noticed some things around your home that need some attention. You may have even tackled a few projects. Need ideas? Here are a few DIY projects that can easily be done and will make a difference in your space.

Paint an Accent Wall in Your Living Room

Paint is one of the cheapest, easiest ways to transform the look of your home. If you’ve been dying to try a bold color in your living room but don’t want to commit to anything drastic, an accent wall can let you experiment.

If you’re looking for inspiration, Classic Blue is Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year and considered a great shade to match with virtually any kind of decor, whether you prefer a modern, classic or rustic look. You can also simply choose whatever color you’re already using as an accent and go bold. Since this is such an easy project to do (or re-do), there’s no reason to fear; if you hate it, you can simply paint over it again.

Create a Gallery Space for Your Art

Now that you’ve got a fantastic accent wall going, why not use it to highlight your favorite artwork? Grab a bunch of old frames and paint them the same neutral color (black or white or brown, depending on the remainder of your walls) and group several together in one spot. Since mirrored walls are also popular, you may want to gather several mirrors and intersperse them among the artwork for a creative combo.

Don’t be concerned about sizes or styles. Part of the goal is to create some visual interest that keeps rewarding people as they continue to look at your choices. The only rule is to hang what you love since this is your space. Don’t have enough spare art sitting around? Put your kids to work with crayons or fingerpaint and frame the results!

Fix Those Screen Doors

Screen doors get pretty neglected, especially over the cold winter months when they’re sitting in storage or otherwise ignored. Now that the weather’s getting nice, however, you don’t want those tattered screens to stop you from opening the door and letting in the spring air.

This requires a minimum of tools (you’ll probably only need a Phillips-head screwdriver, an awl and something that you can use to trim the replacement screen) and strength to accomplish. If you’ve never fixed a screen door before, don’t feel intimidated — there are plenty of videos available that will walk you through the steps needed to re-screen a door.

Add Some “Smart” Features

If you’ve been meaning to explore some “smart” additions to your home, now is the time to do it. You can easily order home automation components through the mail that will work with your existing technology, and most upgrades are inexpensive and easy to self-install.

Some fan-favorites that you may want to explore include:

• A smart thermostat: These programmable devices can connect to a voice-assistant like Alexis or your smartphone — or you can set them and forget them at will. Either way, they’re bound to keep your home more comfortable and keep your utility bills more tightly controlled.

• Smart lights: Imagine being able to adjust your lights without getting out of bed, or knowing that you can turn your lights on and off remotely for security even when you aren’t home.

• Smart locks: Never worry about losing your key (or having the kids lose theirs) again. A smart lock combined with a security camera is one of the best-loved security features of modern times.

The best part about putting your energy and money into wireless technology and smart home features is that you really get a return on your investment. Voice-controlled home technology is in hot demand among most consumers. The vast majority of homebuyers already appreciate smart home products and consider them an important feature when they’re searching for their next residence.

Add Some Decorative Storage Space

Shelving is one of the best ways you can both increase your home’s storage space and add decorative elements. All it takes to put up some nice shelves are some sturdy brackets, screws and a few heavy boards — or you can invest in a few pre-made shelves.

Either way, consider adding a touch of color to the shelves, especially if you are putting them in the same room where you’ve already added an accent wall. That will help tie the look of your room together (and still be easy to change if you decide you want to go with another shade down the line).

Once you have your shelves where you like them, try adding a mix of functional and decorative items to the shelf until you have a combination that’s both pleasing and useful. Pairing books with your favorite hanging vine or a cool piece of metal art, for example, can create a cozy look.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

 

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How to Quickly Improve Indoor Air Quality

There are many reasons why the air quality in your home may not be at its best. A faulty furnace or an aged carpet are just two potential culprits. Until you get those issues addressed, how can you make your indoor air healthier – today?

Here are some ideas:

Check the furnace filter. This is one of the most overlooked maintenance items in the home. Any furnace repair person can tell you stories about filters they’ve seen caked in dust. Make sure those aren’t yours. Air passes through those filters before circulating throughout your home. Replacing a filter takes less than five minutes.

Clean the drains. Drains are a surprisingly common source of odor in the home. Most people only clean them when they’re clogged, but they should be flushed thoroughly with a good-quality cleaner at least once a season.

Turn on the bathroom fan. Not only do bathroom fans remove odor, they also reduce moisture build-up. About 50% of air pollutants originate from some type of moisture. Mold is the worst of these pollutants. Professionals recommend you keep your bathroom fan on for at least 30 minutes after a shower.

Clean your doormat. Even if your doormat doesn’t smell, it can be a source of air pollutants. When people wipe their shoes, they transfer outside ground pollutants from their shoes to your mat.

Of course, you can always open a window. That’s the most popular and easiest way to freshen the air, and it works.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

Healthy Lighting for Your Home

Recently, researchers discovered that the lighting in your home can have a much greater impact on your health and well-being than originally thought. Better lighting can boost your energy, help you sleep better, and even enhance healing.

So, it pays to make sure the lighting in your home has a positive impact on the health of your family.

Start by enhancing sources of natural light, such as windows and skylights. Study each room of your home and replace as much of the artificial light as possible with sunlight. For example, reposition a favorite reading chair next to a window.

Consider dimming the lighting in your home during the evenings. If your home is very bright when it’s dark outside, it can affect your body’s natural rhythms, resulting in disturbed sleep.

Avoid over-lighting, which is common in rooms where there are few windows. Over time, excessive light can cause headaches and even mood changes. Lighting that is sufficient to see everything clearly is all you need.

Shawna O’Brien
shawna.obrien@talktotucker.com
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group