When cold weather comes to town, we begin firing up our fireplaces, digging out those leaf blowers and rakes, and preparing our homes for out-of-town guests. Right now is a great time to do some fall cleaning and get several safety-minded tasks taken care of. Not sure what needs to be done? Not to worry, we've got you covered! We asked several of our reliable experts to help us create a comprehensive checklist that will get your home ready for guests, protect your investments, and keep you safe for the holiday season.
Paula DeCuir, a Professional Organizer with Balanced & Organized (balancedandorganized.net), says:
"The holidays can be hectic, and it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by a long To Do list. To keep from getting that “everything is falling apart” feeling, take small steps to reduce the clutter and the stress that it produces. Each evening before bed, take 15 minutes to quickly go through each room to pick up the clutter. Deposit things in their “home room” – clothes and shoes to bedrooms, newspapers in the recycling container, dishes to the kitchen, etc. Then cycle back to put things away. Enlist some help and the job goes even faster. Cutting the clutter can cut your stress and keep you feeling somewhat sane during holiday rush."
Isn't that the truth? Between errands, sports, fundraisers, work, and getting dinner on the table, things can begin to feel overwhelming pretty quickly. Apply Paula's tip and you'll feel the stress roll off your shoulders!
We asked Chuck Hall of Winston's Chimney Service (winstonsservices.com) what a homeowner can do right now to prepare his or her chimney and fireplace for the upcoming season. Here's what he had to say:
"First and foremost, have your fireplace flue inspected by a CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified Chimney Sweep. The certified sweep will inspect the interior of the flue (using a video inspection camera if possible), the exterior of the chimney, and the fireplace itself. The National Fire Protection Association states that a fireplace flue shall be inspected annually for defects. Secondly, keep your wood dry and do not burn trash, wrapping paper, etc. in the fireplace."
Chuck's advice is sure to keep you toasty and safe as you fire up your hearth!
Jared McJunkin, an estimator at Maggio Roofing (maggioroofing.com), shared with us the preventative measures that should be taken to properly winterize your roof.
"The most important thing a homeowner can do to prepare his or her home for winter weather is to have a full roof inspection and gutter cleaning performed by a professional roofer. Winter weather poses unique challenges to a roof that are not experienced during the warmer months. These challenges, especially the build up of snow and ice, can expose weaknesses in any roof. Such weaknesses (e.g. missing or damaged shingles/slates, faulty flashing, or damage to flat roofing systems) will be detected by a competent roofer and can be repaired before interior water damage can occur. A properly functioning gutter system is integral to the prevention of water damage to the roof and foundation. Gutter cleaning should be a part of everyone's home maintenance regimen. This is especially true in the fall as falling leaves often mean clogged gutters and downspouts.
It is important to not that roof inspections should only be carried out by licensed and insured roofing professionals. Roofing--even an inspection--can be very dangerous work and is something that should be left to the pros."
Taking Jared's advice will give you one less thing to worry about when those winter storms decide to blow in! You'll be able to relax, drink hot cocoa, and watch movies with the family under a sturdy roof.
Bringing our attention indoors, we get a great suggestion from our favorite flooring expert. Annandale Floors Sales Manager, Karen Peffer, says that keeping your wood floors looking new is easy with just a bit of care. Annandale Floors (annandalefloors.com) is Northern Virginia’s oldest floor refinishing company.
"Fall is the perfect time to get your wood floors refreshed for company. All of last winter's grit and dirt has made its way into the pores of the wood and can create permanent damage if left untreated. Summer grass and dust, along with tiny leaf debris coming into homes this fall will need be removed. Regular or daily sweeping helps, but if you’re looking for something more thorough, Annandale Floors has a machine process that won’t just leave your floors clean and allergen free, it will also add life to the finish. If there is minor surface scratching, a new coat of finish can be applied to give the floor a nice, even sheen and protect even the most highly-trafficked areas."
We love this quick and economical solution for cleaning up worn wood floors. Adding colorful, patterned runners in hallways that get a lot of use will help protect your renewed floors as well.
Our local Real Estate Agent, Krystal Walker of Keller Williams Realty (Krystal@askawalker.com), says this is a great time of year to sell your home!
"In Fairfax County, 23% of home sales in 2014 took place in the 4th quarter. During the winter, there's less inventory to choose from and typically more serious buyers, making it a great time for homeowners to sell."
More serious buyers with less inventory means competition is lower, too. Win-win!
We hope that this checklist will help bring you peace of mind in the months to come, and we'd like to extend a warm thank you the above service providers for sharing their expertise!
Written by Emilie Kyle
Edited by Cassandra Reinhart