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Uses for car wax, who knew?

July 21, 2017 / Posted by in Hints & Tips

Repel Dirt & Dust

Polishing your dustpan causes dirt and dust to slide right off.  Do the same for ceiling fan blades and air vents.

Fog-Free Mirrors

Prevent your bathroom mirror from fogging up after a hot shower by applying a small amount of car wax, letting it dry, and buffing with a soft dry cloth.

Shine Your Bathtub and Shower

Shower doors, shower walls, and bathtubs are notoriously difficult to get clean, and even harder to keep that way.  There’s no getting around cleaning them, but polishing them with car wax will make them shiny and help to repel mineral deposits and grime, so your cleanings will be easier and less frequent.   When the water stops beading up it’s time to reapply.  Do not apply was to the floor of the bathtub, it will be too slippery

Shiny, Spot-Free Fixtures

Rubbing car wax onto your bathroom and kitchen metal fixtures will help keep them shiny and help prevent water spots.

Tile Backsplash

If you wax the backsplash tiles behind your stove and sink, grease will wipe right off

 Lubricate and Protect Your Tools

Apply a coat of car wax to your tools to stop them from rusting.  Rubbing a little paste on the hinge of scissors will help to keep them from jamming so they’ll cut cleaner and function better.

Keep Snow From Sticking

When it’s time to clear the driveway and sidewalks after a snowstorm, apply two coats of car wax to your shovel before you begin.  This will stop snow from sticking to it.  If you use a snow blower, wax the inside of the chute.

 Prevent Metal Corrosion

Mailboxes, doorknockers, and outdoor light fixtures are all subject to tarnishing and/or corrosion

 Clean Window Frames

After cleaning the frames of your aluminum windows, polish them with car wax.  This will keep them cleaner much longer.

 Cure For Sticky Drawers, Windows, and Closet Doors

Rub a small dab of car wax onto the tracks of sliding closet doors, drawers, and windows to help them open and close more smoothly.

 Patio Furniture Protection

Apply to metal, plastic, or molded furniture to protect and add shine.

 Shine Table Tops

Car wax is good for shining your plastic and Formica tabletops.

 Gas Grills

Apply to the outside of the grill to make it easier to clean.  Be sure not to do in the hot sun.  This will protect from fingerprints, rust, and the elements.

Tips for keeping your home cool

June 20, 2017 / Posted by in Hints & Tips

Be sure your weather-stripping and caulk around all entrance doors and windows is in good condition.

Attics must be ventilated properly.  Determine whether your attic ventilation is adequate.  Reduce air conditioning needs by installing an attic fan.

Set the cooling thermostat as high as comfortable.  The higher the setting, the more energy you will save.  Install an automatic setback or programmable thermostat that starts your air conditioner shortly before you get home.

Draw blinds, shades, or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day, espe­cially on the south and west side.

You could save up to 25 percent by upgrading your air conditioner.  Make sure your central air conditioning system is the right size for the area you want to cool.

If you have central air conditioning, clean leaves and debris from around the unit.  Install your air conditioner in the shade.  Clean/replace the filter regularly.

A ceiling fan cools fast and costs less than air conditioning.

Operate your stove, oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer in the morning or evening when it’s cooler outside.  Instead of using your oven, consider cooking in a frying pan, grill, crockpot, or toaster oven.  I have a small counter top oven that I really like.  Because it is smaller, it heats faster and cooks faster.  You do have to adjust your recipes baking times.  It beats heating the large oven, especially to cook a meal for two.

Exterior Painting

May 19, 2017 / Posted by in Uncategorized

Yearly maintenance will keep the exterior of your home looking good and protected.

  • Check for blistering, blemishes, or peeling paint.
  • Inspect your caulk. Cracked or dried out caulk should be repaired right away.
  • These areas may cause moisture to enter and then you will have even more problems: soft or rotten wood, mold, or mildew.
  • Pressure wash to reveal the bad spots in paint, caulk and wood. Cleaning the exterior will also get rid of grim, mold and mildew.
  • Keep plants, shrubs, and trees away from your home. They can cause excessive moisture  and damage your siding.

When painting, the temperature must be over 50 degrees, even at night.  Here in northern Michigan, clients often get excited that their project will be finished soon, as it is getting warmer out.  Winter is gone, and Spring is here.  Even if the daytime temps are over 50, it is the nighttime temps that cause a problem.  It must be warm even at night for painting.  It is nothing to have 65 during the day, but 25-30 at night.  So have patience, your paint job will last longer when done properly.

Unfinished Attics are Remodeling Opportunities

May 16, 2017 / Posted by in Hints & Tips

Need more living space or storage room? If the answer is yes, look up! If you have an unfinished attic, your problem may be well on the way to being solved. Attic space already has a floor, walls, and roof, so it is an opportunity waiting to be used.

To be a good candidate for remodeling, attic space needs three important ingredients:

  • appropriate headroom
  • easy access
  • adequate floor joist support.

Headroom is of primary importance. Building codes require at least 7 1/2 feet of headroom between the peak of the roof and the floor. If you don’t have this space, you can also raise the roof (which is a project for an entirely different column—and budget.)

Another important factor is how the attic space can be accessed. Will you have to carve the space for a stairway from an existing room? Or might your best choice be a pull-down staircase? (Building codes don’t allow the use of a pull-down stair for main access) Think about the traffic patterns that will develop to and from the converted attic space.

One of the most important aspects of using your attic is the strength of the floor joists. Most ceilings are not designed with joists that can withstand the weight that a floor must handle. This means that the ceiling joists must be reinforced, which could be a complex process.

Before you begin, let’s talk about the options. While you might be able to tackle some remodeling projects yourself, attic remodeling requires greater expertise. An attic conversion can provide your home with a uniquely designed space to serve a range of functions— an extra bedroom/bath suite, guest room, office, family room, exercise room, or hobby room. Look up and you’ll never look back!

Opening your cottage or cabin

April 19, 2017 / Posted by in Hints & Tips

Exterior

  • Check your cottage’s exterior for damage, including windows, doors, the patio, deck, siding, docks, and roof.
  • Check for damage to phone, cable, and power lines.
  • Check for pests.

Interior

  • Check for pests – especially mice.
  • Check for water damage.
  • If you notice anything that needs repair, make a note.
  • List any supplies that you’ll need for the upcoming cottage season, like batteries, a first aid kit, flashlight, etc.

Cleaning Up

Inside

  • Dust everything. It saves on clean up if you cover furniture with old sheets before your leave.  Then all you have to do is take the sheets outside and shake them off.
  • Sweep or vacuum every room in your cottage.
  • Disinfect surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen.
  • Open up kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers. Wash dishes and silverware.  Check for evidence of pests, as mice and other rodents can make their way into your drawers and cabinets.
  • Before turning on the fridge, give it a thorough cleaning.
  • Wash your windows (inside and out) and clean baseboards, top of door and window trim.

Outside

  • Clean your eaves troughs and make sure the downspout is clear.
  • Power wash the deck and sidewalks. Check to see if it is necessary to give your deck or dock another coat of stain/paint for the summer.
  • Wash your outdoor furniture and cushions. Be sure they are in good condition.
  • Mow and rake the lawn. Spruce up your flowerbeds – remove dead leaves, twigs, and other debris.  Trim up trees and shrubs.

Mechanics Start-Up

  • Check your heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems for damage before turning anything on.
  • Plug in all appliances, and make sure they’re functional – go from room to room and check that all lights are working.
    • Note: if you notice a burning smell, or see any flickering lights, sparking fixtures, or damaged electrical cords, turn the power back off and address the issue before moving on.
  • Next, turn the water on – it is wise to check for leaks at this point, so that you can take care of any issues right away.
  • Finally, test your heating and/or cooling systems to make sure they are functioning properly.

Safety Check-Up

  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – replace the batteries.
  • Replace filters: water, furnace, etc.
  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is easily accessible and is properly charged.

Airing It Out

  • Open all the windows and doors to let the air circulate.
  • If you notice any musty smells, you should address these right away. Check for water damage, and its source.  Clean the mold/mildew.

How to clean mildew:   

  • Fresh air and direct exposure to sunlight will eliminate mildew. Clothing, drapes, bedding, etc. can be hung on a clothesline or placed outside.
  • Vinegar and essential oils
  • White vinegar is a safe, natural and very effective mold and mildew killer. A study by a microbiologist at Good Housekeeping found that vinegar is 90 percent effective against mold, and 99.9 percent effective against bacteria.
  • You can either soak a sponge in full-strength vinegar, or fill a spray bottle and thoroughly soak affected areas. t it sit for a few hours, and then scrub.  Add essential oils to the spray bottle to make the smell more pleasant.
  • Tea tree oil may just be the greatest natural mold and mildew killer of all. While it has a strong scent and is not nearly as cheap as vinegar, it has powerful fungus-killing abilities. You can either add two teaspoons of tea tree oil to two cups of water to spray onto affected surfaces, or add a few drops to your vinegar mildew-killing solution.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is another way to kill mildew naturally. Just apply it full-strength directly to affected surfaces, let it sit for at least ten minutes and then wipe the mildew away.

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