March To-Dos for Your Home

The weather has finally been warming up (can we get a “hallelujah”?)! With sunshine and blue skies, it’s beginning to be nice enough to put on those work boots and do some much needed inspecting around the home. Below is a list from houseopedia.com with some things to consider doing around your home now that the weather is thawing out.

  • Inspect the roof. Check for damage from ice and wind. Look for loose shingles and flashing. Check behind chimneys where shingles meet flashing. Inspect the gutters, especially where they attach to fascia boards. Reattach any gutters that may have pulled loose under the weight of ice.
  • Inspect the attic. Look at the underside of the roof decking, checking for signs of water seepage. Ice can get into cracked shingles, expand and cause a leak upon melting. Replace shingles and backing, if necessary.
  • Foundation drainage. Before spring rains, check the slope of soil from the house foundation. Build up any areas where soil has eroded. Use small river rock mixed with the soil to better hold it in place.
  • Clean fireplace. Shovel out ashes and log remnants, then use a hand broom and vacuum to remove the fine dust. Close the damper. If you have a gas log set, consider shutting off the pilot for the spring and summer to save on gas usage.
  • Prep garden tools. Sharpen shovels, hoes and pick axes. Gas up the lawn mower and weed eater and give them a trial run. Take the insulating covers off the faucets and move hoses into place.
  • Gardening goals. In March or April, depending on your climate, it’s time to start thinking about a spring and summer garden. Clear raised planting beds of debris, and turn soil. Start seedlings inside. Do not plant until after last frost date in your area.
  • Relocate firewood. If you have left over wood, move it several yards away from the house. During the spring, a wood pile attracts creatures such as termites, carpenter ants, skunks and possums.
  • Power wash siding and decks. Over the winter prolonged moisture may create mold and moss on decks and house siding. Rent a power wash machine and give them a good cleaning.
  • Clean windows. Winter weather leaves dingy windows. Let the sun in with a good cleaning.
  • Provide nutrients for your landscape. Depending on your climate zone, March or April is the time to apply fertilizer and weed control. Consult local gardening experts.

Prescott’s March Calendar of Events!

Spring is nearly here, which means events in Prescott are going to start happening a lot more frequently! We say, bring on the sunshine and festivities! Here is your calendar of events happening in Prescott this month, brought to you by our friends over at Lawyer’s Title.

How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Home

Although here in Prescott we’re still having some cooler weather, pretty soon things are going to start heating up! With warmer temperatures comes that beautiful weather we’re all looking forward to, however, it also brings along other things with it.

That’s right, it’s almost snake season again, not to mention bugs too, but for now we’ll focus on our slithering friends.

In Arizona, now is about the time where snakes are going to start coming out of their homes again. It’s not so much about the time of year for them as it is the right temperature, and if you didn’t know, we have plenty of species of snakes to go around. Rattlesnakes, bull snakes, gopher snakes, king snakes, and the list could go on. So, with so many snakes soon to be out and about, how do we keep them away from our homes?

Well, while we’re in real estate and have some knowledge on all things Prescott, it’s probably best to ask the experts on this one. That being said, we turn to Rattlesnake Solutions, whom you can follow on Facebook.  They have all the knowledge on snakes in Arizona.

Here is their latest in-depth article about How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Home.

Giving Your Deck a Facelift

As we come to the end of January, the shorter winter days are behind us. Gradually getting more sun with each passing day, Spring will be here before we know it – hallelujah! With Spring comes birds chirping, blooming flowers and green trees, and warmer weather that invites you to come and enjoy the outdoors with those you love.

After a snowy, grim winter though, thinking about having others over to your home and possibly starting up that grill that’s been sitting since summer makes you take a harder look at that outdoor hosting space. How is it looking? Specifically, how is your deck doing? Hanging out with your family or hosting friends on your old, dingy deck is not very appealing.

Lucky for you, refreshing it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Try your hand at the makeover ideas below:

Depending on the shape it’s in, sometimes all your deck needs is a little love. If it’s still fairly new, your deck might just need a deep cleaning and a new coat of sealant. There is a multitude of deck finishing and cleaning solutions on the market to choose from to achieve this. However, if it’s more worn down, the rejuvenation process may be a bit longer, including searching for larger repairs, tightening any hardware, giving it a good cleaning, applying a stain, sealant, and paint, and more.

Add lighting. Ambient lighting can completely transform your outside space into a relaxing, cozy oasis. Consider adding solar lights that don’t require a plugin or battery replacement. The lights turn on automatically when the sun sets, making your deck come alive. You can also consider paper lanterns, rope lights, mason jar lamps, or small twinkle lights, depending on the style and mood you’d like to set.

Build a privacy screen. Privacy screens come in all styles, shapes, and sizes. Consider purchasing and installing bamboo fencing or lattice panels for a quick and easy solution. Or, if you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can build a wooden frame and grow climbing plants or vines or stretch outdoor fabric in between. Whichever route you end up choosing, make sure you get the most out of your efforts by evaluating all lines sight before building.

Don’t exactly have the money to do some much needed repairs to your deck and home? Here are some options to consider:

Home Equity. Getting a home equity line of credit allows you to borrow money against the value of your home. You receive usually up to 80 percent of your home’s value, minus the amount of your loan.

Retirement Funds. Homeowners can consider pulling money from a 401K or IRA account, even though they aren’t specifically meant to cover a home renovation. This option might incur additional penalties or tax payments, but may be worth it when making improvements that will benefit them financially in the long run.

Maintaining your Heating and Cooling Systems

Living in Prescott with a climate where we often use both our air conditioning and heat in the winter and summer months, we need to make sure we’re taking good care of these systems in order to make them last long and work to the best of their abilities (no one wants a broken heating system in the middle of the night in the dead of winter, or an air conditioning system breaking down when it’s 100 degrees outside).

Because of this, it’s a good idea to hire an HVAC company to inspect and do maintenance on your systems about twice a year. They’ll do things like inspect and clean the wiring and mechanisms of the air conditioner and furnace, as well as other maintenance tasks that are a bit more challenging for the average homeowner.

However, aside from bringing in a professional, there are even more things you can do as a homeowner throughout the year to prolong the life and increase the efficiency of your systems. While some of these things you should do immediately, other tasks only need to be done seasonally or even just once a year.

Here are 10 things to do to maintain your systems well:

  1. Buy a better filter if you haven’t already.The new high-efficiency pleated filters have an electrostatic charge that work like a magnet to grab the tiniest particles — even those that carry bacteria.
  2. Replace the filter at least every 90 days.But check it monthly. If it looks dark and clogged, go ahead and change it. If you have pets, you’ll probably need to change every month.
  3. Make sure there’s at least two feet of clearancearound outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.
  4. Remove debris,such as leaves, pollen, and twigs weekly during spring, summer, and fall from top and sides of outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps. Don’t allow the lawn mower to discharge grass clippings onto the unit.
  5. Monthly, inspect insulation on refrigerant linesleading into house. Replace if missing or damaged.
  6. Make sure unit is level.Annually, ensure that outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps are on firm and level ground or pads.
  7. Stave off clogs.Annually, pour a cup of bleach mixed with water down the air-conditioner condensate drain to prevent buildup of mold and algae, which can cause a clog.
  8. Shut off the water supply to the furnace humidifierin summer. In fall (or when you anticipate turning on the heat), replace the humidifier wick filter, set the humidistat to between 35% and 40% relative humidity, and turn on the water supply.
  9. Never close more than 20% of a home’s registersto avoid placing unnecessary strain on the HVAC system.
  10. Replace the battery in your home’s carbon monoxide detector annually.