Posted By Valerie with Tucker Customer Care on Thursday, October 29, 2015 12:06:00 PM | Comment on This Post
The charming fireplace in your new home is one of the details you love most. No doubt you’re eager to enjoy its warm glow with family and friends. But before you light up the first log, it’s important to make sure that both your fireplace and chimney are in safe working order. Here are some tips to help you determine what you can do yourself and what’s best left to a pro:
Examine the Firebox Look for any cracks, gaps, or signs of wear in the lining of the firebox (the interior of the fireplace). If the lining has deteriorated to the point that the steel body beneath it is visible, you’ll need to have it professionally repaired. Otherwise, excessive heat can build up inside your fireplace and cause permanent damage, says Tom Spalding of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
Look for Telltale Smoke Stains Smoke stains can be another signal that your fireplace isn’t functioning properly. If you see stains on the ceiling, smoke could be escaping from a gap between the hearth and the firebox, warns Spalding. This is most likely because the hearth has settled — not an unusual occurrence in an older home. When this settling occurs, sparks that fall into the gap can send up smoke, “essentially acting as a secondary chimney,” Spalding says. You’ll need a mason, skilled handyman, or fireplace professional to fix this.
You may also notice smoke stains above the fireplace opening. In this case, the problem may be the flue damper, a mechanism with a hand-operated lever that helps you control the air flow into the fireplace. If the lever is damaged or caked with gunk, you may not be able to open or close the damper completely,...
Posted By Valerie with Tucker Customer Care on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 8:25:00 AM | Comment on This Post
Selling your house can be scary: It’s been your home, where you’ve lived and made memories. Chances are good it’s your most important asset and your biggest investment so far. Wrestling with the emotional heft of putting your home on the market is a difficult byproduct of real estate — but once a closing date has been set, the hard work is done. Right?
Actually, it’s not uncommon for sellers to feel pangs of regret when a buyer gets serious. If you’re feeling remorse for your soon-to-be-former home, don’t panic: You’re far from alone.
“When you’re selling a house, you’re not selling an object,” says Bill Primavera, a REALTOR® in Westchester County, N.Y., and “The Home Guru” blogger. “A house provides shelter and is probably the biggest thing we ever acquire, so it has a bigger impact on our life.”
The Origins of Seller’s Remorse Moving is one of life’s biggest stressors. According to Daryl Cioffi, a Rhode Island counselor and co-owner of Polaris Counseling & Consulting, it’s one of the biggest instigators for depression.
“There’s a lot of latent stuff that happens when change occurs,” Cioffi says. Are you feeling insecure? Are you wondering if you made the right decision? Those feelings are normal reactions to change — but when they get tangled up with the sale of your biggest investment, they can be downright terrifying.
Here are some things you can do to help you manage the emotional roller coaster that comes with selling your home:
Do the Emotional Work Beforehand Doing the emotional work before it’s time to sell is the best way to avoid regret.
Posted By Valerie with Tucker Customer Care on Monday, October 12, 2015 9:04:00 AM | Comment on This Post
Pick a Pattern
"All professional cleaners work through each room using a cleaning pattern," says president of Better Life Maids Matthew Ricketts. Generally, that means working from top to bottom, starting on the left side of the room and heading clockwise. "It can save tons of time -- no wasted steps or backtracking," Ricketts says.
Moist heat works to loosen dirt and ease cleaning. Using this principle, let your microwave do the work for you. "Put a cup of water in a glass container, and set the microwave for one minute on high," Molly Maid president Meg Roberts says. "The steam will loosen the baked-on food and make cleaning much easier."
Divide to Conquer
"Divide the work, whether you are the only one cleaning or if you can assign tasks to others," Merry Maids training specialist Debra Johnson says. Assign rooms or a few general tasks, such as dusting or vacuuming, to separate days or people. Cleaning is easier when broken into manageable chunks.
"Don't just spray and wipe," says Derek Christian, owner of My Maid Service and coauthor of The House Cleaning Technician's Manual. Spray a surface, then work on a different part of the room while the product sinks in. "Give the chemicals the time they need to make your life easier," he says.