The market hasn’t been overly friendly towards buyers in recent months; low inventory and high competition has been driving up prices making it challenging to find and purchase property.But it
10 Tips To Keep Your Home Safe And Cozy
Finally we've had some gorgeous cool mornings and Texas Fall is in full swing. Its almost time to light those fireplaces!
Want to make your home warm and cozy? Check out these TWO sets of tips from HouseLogic:
The dark days of winter can really do a number on your well-being. Shorter days trigger the blahs; freezing temps spark the sniffles. So we put together a list of ideas that’ll turn your home into a comfy haven.
Cozy and Clever Energy Savers
Here’s how to create a brighter and warmer home without using more energy or cranking up the thermostat.
1. Clean dirty light fixtures and dusty bulbs to make your home appear 30% brighter without turning on more lights.
2. Seal sneaky air leaks. It’s not just window and door leaks killing your cozy vibe. Don’t forget to plug stealthy gaps around recessed lights, electrical boxes, and wall outlets. Use a lit incense stick or scented candle to hunt down drafty spots while leaving behind a cozy scent.
3. Replace your traditional gas or wood fireplace. Why? Both suck out heated indoor air and send it up the chimney. A gel fireplace insert is an eco-friendly option that produces a burning fire without gas, wood, electricity, or even a chimney. It’s also smoke-free and emits fewer allergens than a wood fireplace; some options crackle like the real thing. A basic model costs between $100 to $210; custom models go up exponentially from there. A case of gel fuel comes with 12 cans that burn for three hours each (about $35).
Tip: Use a slow cooker to infuse your home with a warm and cozy aroma. Even better, slow cookers are more energy efficient than electric ovens, typically using less energy than a light bulb.
You’ll feel coziest in a healthy indoor environment that keeps allergies at bay and reduces your chances of getting sick.
4. Get plants. Some indoor plants, like golden pothos and gerbera daisies, are particularly adept at sucking up nasty VOCs — the vapors emitted from household cleaners, paints, and dry cleaning. And since plants increase humidity levels, they help decrease household dust.
5. Vacuum while your thermostat is set to “fan on.” This helps filter dust that gets kicked-up while cleaning. Just leave the fan on for about 15 minutes after you finish vacuuming and switch it back to “auto” afterward. HVAC blowers aren’t intended to run all the time.
6. Change your HVAC filter every couple months (monthly if you have pets) to prevent excess dust from circulating.
Tip: Combat superbugs with copper. If you’re planning to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom fixtures, consider classic and homey-looking copper or a copper alloy like brass. A three-hospital study in 2011 found that bacteria can only survive on copper for a few minutes, but germs can live on stainless steel for weeks.
Lack of natural light can trigger a mean case of the winter doldrums — or worse, mood-altering seasonal affective disorder. Maximize daylight and make rooms feel warmer by adding the following to your yearly fall maintenance checklist.
7. Make your windows pane-fully clear. Clean glass not only lets more natural light into your home, it’s a feel-good task, according to a survey by the American Clean Institute. When ACI asked consumers what clean surfaces make them happy, “gleaming windows” made the top five above a “spotless sink.”
8. Ditch your window screens in the fall and winter. They trap dirt and can make your home appear darker inside and out. It’s a good curb appeal booster, too.
9. Add an interior window to a room next to a sun-drenched space to take advantage of natural light.
Tip: Paint chilly rooms, especially north-facing walls that don’t typically get sunlight, in reds, oranges, or yellows — cozy colors that can actually help the room feel warmer, according to a Michigan State University study.
FIREPLACE SAFETY TIPS!!
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, which can cause smoke to leak out of the fireplace. Again, a professional can determine if the mechanism can be fixed or if it needs replacing.
Is the Grate Too Large?
When it comes to your fireplace grate, bigger isn’t necessarily better. According to the CSIA, a metal grate used to hold burning firewood should be no more than two-thirds the size of your fireplace opening. An oversized grate may tempt you to pile on too much wood, and the resulting flames can dangerously overheat your fireplace. If your grate is too large, replace it with a smaller one that’s more appropriate for your needs.
Check Your Chimney
You may not want to climb up on your roof to peer into the chimney. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Getting your chimney inspected is one of the most important steps you can take before using your fireplace.
“The biggest mistake homeowners make is to simply assume that their chimney is in working order,” says Spalding. In fact, that kind of guesswork helps to account for an average of 22,700 chimney fires annually between 2010 and 2012, according to the CSIA.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends an annual inspection of your chimney by a qualified professional. You can expect to pay between $100 and $300 for the service, depending on your location. The findings can clarify whether your chimney needs cleaning or repair.
Last But Not Least
Once the fireplace and chimney in your new home are in tiptop shape, you’re almost ready to build your first crackling fire. Before you do, remember a couple of safety tips: Always know where your fire extinguisher is, and make sure it’s fully charged and ready to use (the CSIA recommends a 5-pound model with a flexible hose). Remember to always open the flue before you start a fire. Close it when not in use to save energy. Finally, make sure you’ve stocked up on enough seasoned firewood to enjoy your new fireplace whenever the mood strikes.
Looking for a home that has a fireplace?? Search San Antonio Homes for Sale with Fireplaces HERE!
With over 20 years experience in the Real Estate industry, I realized success at a very high level and have gained a wealth of knowledge along the way. Today, my passion is training and developin....