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A November Checklist for your Home, Lawn and Garden

With shorter days and the the first real snowfall around the corner, it’s the right time to finish last-minute projects around the house before winter sets in.

INSIDE 

  1. CHECK VENTS:  Close vents in unheated basement area, but keep attic vents open.        Replace rusted or damaged pipes from gas water heaters and your dryer.
  2. ADJUST THERMOSTATS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY. If you have multiple thermostats in    your home for different zones, set temperatures for the way you use the rooms: bedrooms     cooler, baths and sitting areas warmer.  PREVENT THE OVERLOAD OF ELECTRICAL CIRCUITS.Make certain electrical cords aren’t covered by rugs or heavy curtains; they can overheat and cause a fire.
Thermostat

Honeywell Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat

 

 

 

 

 

Outside

  1. CLEAR PATHWAYS AND STOOPS TO MAKE SNOW SHOVELING EASIER. Make sure there is ready access to your woodpile, gas and oil tanks, and garbage cans.
  2. CLEAN GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS. But wait until most of the leaves have dropped. You may want to invest in a gutter scoop.
  3. INSPECT SUPPORTS, RAILINGS, AND STAIRS. A flimsy handrail might give way when someone slipping on ice or snow grabs it suddenly. Check that footings under support posts are secure and haven’t shifted due to water infiltration, settling, or frost.
  4. Take winter linens out of storage and launder. Dry clean garments packed in mothballs to remove the camphor odor. Toss out herbal repellants, as they lose their potency over time.

Your garden’s not ready to snooze just yet

Bulbs

If you haven’t put them in the ground already, hop to it. This is actually a great time to get bulbs, because they’re often 50% off or more as companies move their stock out. Use a bulb planter to speed the process (remember to sprinkle some bulb food in the bottom of the hole) and go to town across the garden. Bulbs look best in massed plantings, so think about that as you plan things out.

Be aware that some bulbs, like daffodils and iris, aren’t very interesting to gophers, and can in fact make a great protective ring around tender plants like young apple trees. Others, such as tulips, are a gopher’s delight, and need to be planted in cages and containers or you won’t see them come spring.

Clean Up Beds and Borders

All those dead plants? Yeah, it’s really time to make those go away now. Trim away dead foliage, uproot weeds, compost the leavings, and cultivate the beds to leave them smooth and even for next year. You can work in some mulch and compost to condition the soil, if you like. In mild climates, try planting overwintering flowers and crops, like mums and kale. In cooler reaches, well, all that ugly soil will be covered by snow soon!

Drain and Insulate Hoses, Standpipes, and Other Fixtures

With frost comes broken pipes, unless you act ahead of time. Drain all your outdoor water fixtures and cut their water supply so they won’t fill up. Put hoses in storage, and insulate your standpipes to prevent cracking and ice damage in the winter. When your neighbors are tearing their hair out and calling an emergency plumber over broken pipes, you can continue lounging in front of the heater.

Leaf Management

Still have a leaf problem? Not surprising — many trees are just starting to turn across the country. Set aside 30 minutes or so each week for leaf control.

Black & Decker LeafHog 12 Amp High Performance 240 mph Blower/Vacuum LH4500

 

For the Birds

Make sure your bird feeders are full for your avian visitors. They’ll appreciate seeds and suet during the cold winter months. Don’t be surprised if you see squirrels as well, looking for things to snack on. If you start noticing mice and rats, consider hiring a cat — but in the short term, you’ll want to try elevating the bird feeder and installing a tray to catch fallen seeds so they don’t end up on the ground.

Have fun working on your Checklist and when you are taking a break enjoy a Hot Beverage.

Winter is fast approaching… Are you ready for those High Energy Bills?

Today you can choose from a new generation of pellet-burning appliances, like a pellet stove, that are cleaner burning, more efficient, and powerful enough to heat many average-sized, modern homes. Pellet fuel appliances burn small pellets that measure 3/8 to 1 inch in length.

CHOOSING AND INSTALLING PELLET-BURNING APPLIANCES

When choosing a pellet-burning appliance, it’s important to select one that’s properly sized for the space to be heated. When an appliance is too big, residents tend to burn fires at a low smolder to avoid overheating, which wastes fuel and is one of the biggest causes of air pollution. An under-sized unit will not provide sufficient heat. You should discuss your heating needs with a reputable dealer. A good rule-of-thumb is that a stove rated at 60,000 British Thermal Units (BTU) can heat a 2,000-square-foot home, while a stove rated at 42,000 BTU can heat a 1,300-square-foot space.

Pellett Stove

 

Pellets may be an economical and environmentally sound heating fuel choice.

Pellet fuel appliances are more convenient to operate than ordinary wood stoves or fireplaces, and some have much higher combustion and heating efficiencies. As a consequence of this, they produce very little air pollution. In fact, pellet stoves are the cleanest solid fuel, residential heating appliance. Pellet stoves that are certified by the EPA are likely to be in the 70% to 83% efficiency range. Pellet stoves have heating capacities that range between 8,000 and 90,000 BTU per hour. They are suitable for homes as well as apartments or condominiums.

Pellet appliances usually require refueling only once a day. However, because the fuel is compressed, the bagged pellets can be difficult to lift.  Some models use bulk-filled storage systems and are fully automatic.

Most pellet appliance exteriors (except glass doors) stay relatively cool while operating, reducing the risk of accidental burns. Pellet stoves burn fuel so completely that very little creosote builds up in the flue, posing less of a fire hazard.

MAINTENANCE

To keep your pellet-burning system operating efficiently and safely, you’ll need to maintain it on a regular basis.

Every year, preferably before each heating season, have a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America inspect your pellet-burning system. In addition to cleaning the chimney, a certified chimney sweep should have the knowledge to help make sure your appliance, hearth, connecting pipe, air inlets, chimney, and all other components are functioning efficiently and safely.

PelletStove2

Benefits of Pellet Stoves

Clean burning, cost-efficient heating for your home

No hassle: Among the many wood-burning stoves available, pellet stoves are the easiest to operate. You’ll typically need to load these stoves with wood pellets just once every day or two—and loading the pellets is a simple matter of pulling out the hopper and pouring the pellets in.

Smoke free: Pellet stoves don’t produce smoke. This means you’ll never have to worry about “smoking out” a room, or dealing with the subsequent dry air and unpleasant smells.

Heat safe: With a pellet stove, there’s virtually no external heat while it’s operating. You can place a pellet stove as close as one inch away from a wall, and it will pose no fire hazard. It’s the ideal heating choice for households with children and pets.

Environmental and cost advantages

Wood pellets used in pellet stoves are tightly condensed, which makes burning them a low-moisture, highly efficient process. There are less harmful gases released into the air through wood pellet burning than with regular wood-burning stoves.

In addition, wood pellets are not a primary product of the forestry industry. Rather, they are a byproduct made with recycled wood from sawmills—usually formed from compacted sawdust and wood shavings, or the unused tops of trees that are cut down for logging.

But the biggest advantage of pellet stoves is the fuel cost. You can purchase 40 pounds of wood pellets for around $3, which provides enough heat for two days or more. The typical home heating bill for fuel-heated homes is around $250 for the winter months. With a pellet stove, you’ll spend $50 a month or less to heat your home all winter.

Disadvantages of pellet stoves

There are only a few disadvantages to using pellet stoves that you should be aware of, if you’re considering investing in one for your home.

  • Wood pellets are primarily manufactured in the Pacific Northwest and a few other colder areas of the country. They can often be found in other areas and online.
  • While pellet stoves primarily burn fuel, they have internal components that need electricity to operate—though some models come with battery packs. You’ll have around 100 KWH of monthly electricity use with a pellet stove.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has banned the installation of pellet stoves in manufactured homes.
  • The initial cost of purchasing a pellet stove is a significant investment, typically $1,400 to $3,000. However, regular use of a pellet stove pays for itself, often in just a few months.

On a personal note…I used a Pellet Stove last year in a Tri-Level home and it saved us $500 month in our heating cost.  I spent $25 a week on pellets to keep our house warm. My son wore t-shirts and shorts and we were all very comfortable every day.

Follow These Steps to Avoid Basement Water Leakage

Hello, as Spring turns into Summer it is always important to think about proper home care, such as making sure all the rain from the Spring has not created leakage in your basement foundation, or if it has, stopping the leak before it can cause a costly situation.  Using these steps can help save you money and give you peace of mind that you should not suffer a costly repair bill.

Waterproof the walls internally. 

Internal waterproofing is a process in which the walls need to be removed and a process of waterproofing from the foundation, windows, and drain runs into a basement sump pump.

Sump Pump

Wayne Submersible 1/3 HP Sump Pump RSP130

SKU: 025420011

Waterproof the walls externally.

External waterproofing work is a major job because it requires removing the debris around the external wall foundation, all the way down to the foundation level.

Thompson's Water Seal

Thompsons WaterSeal Clear Multi Surface Waterproofer Gallon Low VOC

SKU: 050540662

Insulate the external walls with the external waterproofing product in at least two layers in order to have the basement completely clean.

How to Remove Oil Paint from Clothing

Craft and home improvement projects can lead to paint stains on walls, stone and clothing. The best way to avoid this is covering objects with drop cloths and wearing old clothing; however, they can sometimes be removed from fabric. Find out more about how to remove paint from clothes by reading the laundry tips below.

1.  Do not apply water to a fresh or dried oil paint stain.

2.  Buy an oil paint solvent like Distilled Turpentine at the home improvement store when you buy your paint. Keep it on hand for oil based stains.

3.  Apply the oil paint solvent to the article of clothing.

  • If you do not have a solvent, use WD-40.
  • WD-40

    WD-40 12 oz. Smart Straw Aerosol

    SKU: 007990249

4.  Rub the solvent against the stain using other clothing fabic

5.  Wipe up the solvent and stain with a clean rag.

6.  Repeat application of the solvent, if much of the stain remains.

7.  Fill a bucket with warm water. Mix with dish washing soap, which can cut the grease in the paint and solvent.

Dawn

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, Original Scent, 24 oz 22205

SKU: 001331215

8.  Soak the article of clothing for 1 hour.
9.  Launder the piece of clothing immediately.

  • If the oil solvent doesn’t effectively treat paint stains, dip a cotton ball in turpentine and apply it to the stain. Rub gently. Launder it immediately following the application.