Archive for the ‘Home Maintenance’ Category

Practical Summer Home Maintenance Tips To Complete Before Fall

Saturday, July 30th, 2022

Woman doing summer home maintenance tips.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure couldn’t be more true when it comes to home maintenance tips. Unfortunately, summer seems to be flying by quickly, and before you know it, we will be inundated with pumpkin-spiced everything!

When you spend the time handling home maintenance properly, you can save money on expensive repairs and extend the longevity of appliances and essential components of your home. 

Regular home maintenance may not prevent things from happening to your home, but it allows you to evaluate and plan for necessary replacement costs in advance. An emergency may cost you a lot for repairs, and your homeowner’s insurance coverage may not include it. To learn more about homeowners’ insurance coverage, you can read this previous blog post.

While the weather remains warm, it is an optimal time to do some outside evaluation of your home. 

Let’s look at some home maintenance tips to address on the outside of your home:

Gutters

A properly functioning gutter system should allow water to flow correctly and exit the downspouts, ideally 5 feet away from the home. Visually inspect the system for signs of wear, damage, or leakage. An easy way to check without standing out in a rain shower is to spray water on the roof and watch how it flows from the house. A blockage may need attention if you witness an overflow in any of the gutters. If you are considering adding gutter guards, now is an excellent time for installation before the leaves begin to fall. Even with gutter guards, mud and debris can build up in the gutters causing issues over time. Recommendations are that gutters be cleaned twice a year, even with gutter guards installed. This article describes the different types of gutter guards and how to clean gutters.

Roof

As a homeowner, you should visually inspect your roof periodically. A pair of binoculars will allow you to look closely at the roof for missing or loose shingles and potential flashing or ridge vent issues. You can also check your roof from the inside in your attic. Look for signs of moisture, discoloration, or mold. These are indicators that there may be water penetration through the roof that a professional roofer should address. While in the attic, check the insulation to see if it is adequate.

Paint

Check your exterior paint to determine if it is time for a fresh coat. Paint can help protect your home from winter leaks. Peeling and chipping paint expose wood elements to wrought. It is essential to paint exterior surfaces when the heat and humidity are lower. The beginning or end of summer is usually a better time to tackle exterior painting for proper coverage and curing. Spending the extra time to prepare the surfaces properly will help extend the life of your painted surfaces. Professionals estimate that a well-painted exterior surface should be good for up to 10 years.

Windows

Check window caulking to ensure they are correctly sealed. While checking the windows, a thorough cleaning is in order. The recommended method is to clean frames first where dirt accumulates. Then, remove the screens, and rinse and dry them. Clean the window and replace the screens when finished.

Decks

Inspecting your deck annually is a good safety habit to adopt. It is crucial if you have an elevated deck. The first thing to check for is mold, mildew, screw pops, and loose boards. Next, check where the deck meets the house for a solid connection. Also, check that handrails and railings are firmly secured. Finally, thoroughly clean the deck frequently. A proper seal will help to extend the life of your deck. Sprinkle water onto your deck; if it beads up, the seal coat is good; if it doesn’t, it is time to reseal it.

Grill

Deep clean your grill at least once per season by cleaning grates of any debris and burned grease. Another good practice is to turn burners on high and let them run with the lid closed to burn off any built-up grease periodically throughout the summer.

Mold

Check your home’s siding for any mold growth throughout the summer. It is more likely to occur in home areas that receive little sunshine. Clean the area with a mold solution or diluted chlorine. Be sure to test for colorfastness before washing with any mold-killing solution.

Gardens

Maintain plants to prevent overgrowth near air conditioners and sidewalks.  Periodic weeding is needed to maintain the appearance and keep plants healthy. 

These home maintenance tips will help to protect your home from unwanted emergency repairs and keep your home looking good. 

There are also areas of the interior of your home to maintain during the summer months. 

Refrigerators

In the summer, refrigerators may need more energy to cool. Keep the coils clean by vacuuming or gently wiping dust away. Check door gaskets for cracks or tears and wash with soap and water. Remember to replace the water and ice filters if you have them.

Sink Disposals

Sink disposals can become smelly and clogged. Ways of cleaning out your kitchen disposal vary from ice cubes to borax. Find the method you prefer, and be sure to clean the disposal to eliminate odors periodically.

Range Hood

The filter of your range hood or over the stove microwave vent needs cleaning to remove built-up grease and grime. You can soak the filter or run it through your dishwasher. Once removed, you can also gently clean the fan blades inside.

Dryer Vents

Keeping dryer vents clean will prevent fires. In addition, a clogged dryer vent can also damage your dryer. A proper ventilation system should include an exterior vent following building codes. You can hire a professional cleaner to do the job thoroughly. Depending on how long or hard it is to reach the vents, you may be able to do it yourself.

Bathroom Fans

Your bathroom fan removes moisture from the bathroom and keeps it from recirculating in your HVAC system. However, it can become clogged with dust and dirt because it draws moisture. Turn off the power to the fan, remove the cover to clean, and gently clean the blades inside.

Ceiling Fans

The blades of a ceiling fan collect dirt and dust. Therefore, periodically clean the fan blades. Keeping fan blades clean is especially important if you or a family member suffer from allergies or asthma. There are many products on the market that make this project easy. 

HVAC Filters

Checking your filters monthly is a good practice. Recommendations are to replace filters annually to optimize your system. Dirty filters can damage your unit or make it work harder, increasing your utility usage.

It is hard to think about interior home maintenance tips in the summer when we want to be outside enjoying ourselves. You may want to save these for a rainy day, but making the time to handle these tasks will pay off in the long run.

An excellent general home maintenance tip is to keep a checklist of the items you need to do for the season. Then, you can refer to this list and check off the tasks as you complete them. Of course, you will need to refine your checklist yearly.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate, if you are considering buying or selling a home. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help many home buyers and sellers through the entire process. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]
Charles D'Allesandro

Check Out These Home & Safety Tips For An Enjoyable Summer

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

Well maintained home followed home & safety tips.

Prepare for an enjoyable summer by following these home & safety tips before you begin celebrating. The term ‘safety first’ became popular through the 20th-century movement to reduce workplace hazards and has been used since 1910 in the United States.

The concept of ‘safety first’ has been with us since then. And I think it is a wise way to approach our homes and summer activities.

It is that time for cookouts, bonfires, outdoor activities, and the lazy, hazy days of summer. But before you start enjoying those favorites, start with preparation for the fun ahead!

Home Maintenance

The best place to start our discussion about home & safety tips is with our home maintenance. Summer’s high temperatures and storms can take a toll on our homes. So begin by thoroughly checking your home to determine any overdue maintenance issues.

Some items that you should check around your home include:

  1. Security

Burglary rates are higher in the summer. Therefore, taking the time to check that locks, doors, and security systems are functioning properly will be time well spent. 

  1. Garage

Clean and declutter your garage. The ability to pull your car into your garage during an expected storm could prevent hail or wind damage to your vehicle.

  1. Weatherstripping and caulking

We don’t often consider the advantages of weatherstripping and caulking in the summer. However, checking and making necessary repairs can help prevent bugs from entering the home and keep your home cooler, lowering your cooling expenses. 

  1. Sump Pump

If your home has a sump pump, take some time to ensure it is fully functioning. Heavy rain can cause a water backup in your home. A functioning sump pump will remove excess water from the home’s interior and lessen the risk of mold growth.

  1. Exterminate 

Seal up any cracks in walls, and find a safe insect repellent to prevent future damage from insects.

  1. Home tech

Smart home technologies allow us to use light timers, motion detection lights, smart doorbells, cameras, and other security measures to keep our homes safe from intrusions.

  1. Tree and Shrub Maintenance

Trim any overhanging branches to prevent damage to your home. In addition, you should trim large shrubs back to prevent intruders from having a hiding place.

  1. Children

Check your home for potential hazards like pesticides, cleaning supplies, electrical wires, etc. Make sure all dangerous chemicals are not within reach. 

  1. Safety equipment

Be sure to have a fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, and emergency contact information accessible.

Fire and Grilling Safety

Whether cooking on the grill or enjoying an evening fire, remember there is a danger if not handled properly.

  1. Flammable materials 

Keep a clear zone of 10 feet of the grill or fire pit for flammable materials.

  1. Supervise

Don’t leave fires or grills unattended. Be sure to extinguish any fire before going in for the night thoroughly.

  1. Children and Pets

Keeping children and pets at least 3 feet from the fire is advisable.

Pool Safety

Relaxing poolside is a summertime favorite. However, precautions can prevent accidents in home pools and hot tubs.

  1. Swimming Lesson

Teach children how to swim and be comfortable around water. Provide water wings or swim vests to new or insecure swimmers. Supervising children in or near the pool is the best safety measure.

  1. Fencing and Gates

Your municipality may have fencing requirements. Even if they do not, installing a gate and fence can protect household members. In addition, consider installing an alarm on the gate or backdoor, so you are alerted when someone opens it.

  1. Safety equipment

Keep a floatation device, pole, and first-aid kit available poolside in case of emergencies. Also, consider having sunscreen available to reapply while swimming.

  1. CPR Certification

Maintaining CPR knowledge can be beneficial in an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the techniques to help someone who may be drowning or in distress. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross to help.

Personal Safety

Add personal safety to your list of home & safety tips for summer. Take care of yourself and others by paying attention to risks brought on by the summer weather. Understanding how to prevent weather-related harm will ensure an enjoyable summer.

  1. Hydration

Drink plenty of fluids. Water is the best choice, but you can also consider sports drinks, tea, coconut water, and fruit juice. Avoid soda, beer, wine, and hard liquor for hydration. If you are under a doctor’s care, ask your doctor for the best practices for your condition.

  1. Body Temperature

Air-conditioned areas are best to help maintain a safe body temperature when the temperatures are high. Locate a cooling center in the community if you do not have air conditioning in your home during high heat warnings. Avoid sitting in a car or leaving children or pets in the car. If you have to be outdoors, take breaks from the heat when possible. Use a cool shower or bath to cool down. 

  1. Protection

Wear sunscreen, hats with a wide brim, and lightweight, light-colored clothing outdoors. Avoid strenuous or high-energy activity during the high heat of the day.

  1. Heat Exhaustion

Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion. Muscle pain, cramps, spasms, heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, confusion, rapid pulse, and fainting can all be warning signs.

Weather

Proper weather preparedness is encouraged by the National Weather Service year-round. However, summer weather can turn dangerous quickly and is a big part of our summer home & safety tips.

  1. Air quality

Summer air quality can cause a risk to older adults, children, and people with heart or lung disease. Stay inside if possible. Limit the amount of time spent outdoors to essential activities. Limit the use of cars, gas-powered lawn mowers, and other vehicles during this time. Do not burn during an air quality alert.

  1. Beach

Waves and currents can be affected by the weather. Before heading to the beach, check weather reports, tide, and conditions. Check the beach area for warnings. Familiarize yourself with the location of life stations on the beach.

  1. Drought

Lack of precipitation for an extended period and high heat can cause a drought. Dry conditions can lead to brush fires or wildfires. Comply with all burning restrictions and other directives during this time.

  1. Flood

Floods can occur anytime during the year. Learn what to do before, during, and after a flood to increase the chances of survival for you and your family and protect your property. Also, familiarize yourself with what to do if you are driving and hit a flooded road.

  1. Heat

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States. It is particularly hard on young children, older adults, people with medical conditions, and pregnant women. 

  1. Hurricanes

Hurricanes and tropical storms can be devastating. Storm surges, heavy rain, damaging winds, tornadoes, high surf, and rip currents can all result from such a storm. Learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your property before a storm approaches your area. Proper preparation is the key.

  1. Severe Thunderstorms

Hail, wind gusts, and lightning can wreak havoc on property and personal safety. Be cautious and take cover.

Having fun in the sun is one of the greatest joys. I hope these home & safety tips help you have a wonderful, safe summer experience.

If you’d like some tips on transforming your outdoor space, check out this past blog post.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I help sellers and buyers achieve their real estate goals. Reach me by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or email at [email protected]

Can You Create A Stress-Free Kitchen Update On A Budget?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Man working on a kitchen update on a budget.

Many Brooklyn homeowners consider making a kitchen update on a budget. Thinking through the entire process before you begin the work can help create a stress-free experience for you.

The first step is to develop your budget and stick to it. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How much do I want to spend?
  2. How long do I plan on staying in this home?
  3. What finishes are typical for this neighborhood?

These are essential questions to consider when you are working through your planning process. Don’t spend more than you can afford. The time you plan to live in this home will help you determine how much to spend and what types of finishes you want. If you are only staying in the house for a couple of years, you do not want to over-improve the kitchen by adding finishes that are not typical for the neighborhood. You may not get a return if the finishes are too upscale, or you may take longer to sell if they are lower than typical.

You will find that it is easy to go over budget when you remodel a kitchen. Thorough planning and budgeting will help you avoid the stress of overspending. It is a good idea to budget for any contingencies. Unforeseen expenses often occur.

Next, you will want to gather ideas.

You can gather some incredible ideas through internet searches, Pinterest, and visiting local building supply stores. Estimate the cost of each element you are considering. See if there are less expensive alternatives that will give you the same look. In a budget breakdown, HGTV suggests the percentage of your budget you should spend on:

  • Cabinets – 35%
  • Labor – 20%
  • Appliances – 20%
  • Windows – 10%
  • Fixtures – 5%
  • Fittings – 3%
  • Other – 7%

Keep these guidelines in mind as you make decisions on the design and materials of your kitchen update on a budget.

Before you set everything in motion, consider these points.

DIY or Contractor

With the popularity of home improvement shows, it may be tempting to do it yourself. However, if you are not skilled, you should budget for a professional contractor. Finding a reliable contractor requires some research. The best place to start is with family and friends who may have previously finished a kitchen update. Check references, and try to visit a job they recently completed. If the contractor has a good reputation, you may need to wait to get on their calendar. However, it is often a worthwhile wait.

Space and Layout

If your budget is tight, you may not be able to add additional space to your kitchen or change the layout. Adding space to a kitchen may require tearing down a wall which can be costly. If the change in layout requires relocating plumbing or electrical, you will need to account for extra in your budget.

Schedule

When you want to start the project may be determined by when you need the project complete. If you want it finished by a particular date, you will need to work backward to calculate the best time to start the project. If you plan on hosting any significant events at your home, proper planning can eliminate the stress of meeting deadlines.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation in a kitchen serves several purposes. First and foremost is your comfort. A ventilation system will keep your kitchen from getting too hot. It will also help you to eliminate cooking odors that permeate the home. Ventilation helps keep your smoke detectors from being set off by smoke and steam. Pay careful attention to how you can achieve good ventilation in your kitchen using an exhaust fan such as a hood.

Temporary Kitchen

While your kitchen is under construction, you may need to set up a temporary kitchen to prepare quick meals and snacks. Your time estimate may determine how extensive a setup you need. Going out to eat or getting take out for a few days may not be a problem, but you may want to be able to cook some simple meals as your timeframe extends. 

When you plan a kitchen update on a budget, you want to be sure to incorporate ideas that will help your home sell.

If you are not planning on moving right away, you can enjoy selections that may not necessarily appeal to a broad range of homebuyers. However, if you think there is even a remote possibility of moving within 2 – 3 years, I would recommend selections with a broad range of popularity. Check out other homes in your neighborhood that have recently sold, and take a good look at the kitchens. What sorts of finishes seem to be ordinary?

Some simple ideas that are appealing to a broad range of people are:

Kitchen Island

It may be a wise investment if you have the space for an island, especially with seating. The additional counter space is appealing, along with the extra seating. In addition, the ability to have family or guests sit in the kitchen while you are preparing meals keeps you involved in the interactions and creates some great memories.

Open Shelving

The use of open shelving is helpful to create a sense of space in a kitchen. As a result, this modern touch has become popular.

Pull Out Shelves

Cabinets and pantries that have pull-out shelves are appealing because it creates more efficient use of the space. It is also convenient to pull out the shelf to locate what you need, especially deep and lower cabinets. Corner cabinets with shelves that open out also make great use of that lost corner space.

Lighting

The use of different types of lighting can make an immense difference in the feel of the kitchen. Overhead, recessed, chandelier, task, and under-cabinet options illuminate an area differently and have specific purposes. Planning for a good mix of lighting will help make food preparation and eating meals more pleasurable.

Faucets

Like lighting, there are so many options for kitchen faucets. The price ranges vary drastically. Think of the function of your kitchen and your needs. You may not need a touchless faucet, but having a sprayer may be a necessity.

Coffee bar

Many people enjoy having a designated coffee or beverage bar in their kitchen—a space to house all the equipment and supplies you will need to prepare your favorite drink. Depending on your kitchen, a separate sink may also be an added touch you want to consider.

Appliances

You may not have the budget for top-of-the-line appliances, but updating with the best in your budget is a good idea. A home buyer would be concerned that older appliances will break or waste too much energy. Shop around to find the best deal within your budget.

Paint

A fresh coat of paint does wonders. But, again, if you are considering selling shortly, avoid bold or specific color palates with limited appeal. Neutral tones appeal to a wide range of people. 

Floors

If your floors are damaged or dated material, you should consider an update. If you have a tile floor, simply regrouting can make the floor look fresh. There are many affordable options in flooring. Research to find the best solution for your lifestyle and budget.

Cabinets

Your budget will determine whether you can replace the old cabinets with new ones. If you do not have a budget for new cabinets and your current cabinets need repairing, you can consider painting, stripping, and refinishing the wood or refacing. Using bright white paint can hide outdated cabinets and create a more modern feel. But, again, the solution for you will depend on your budget.

Average estimates for kitchen remodels include:

Low = $5,000 to $15,000

Medium = $15,000 to $30,000

High = $30,000 or more

With good planning and smart shopping, you can accomplish a stress-free kitchen update on a budget.

Caution – be careful not to over-improve for your neighborhood. For more tips, you can read my previous blog post.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I know what types of updates work to help sell a home quickly. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

How to Take Care of Your Moth Problem in 5 Ways

Sunday, August 30th, 2020
Clothes moth problem
Take care of your moth problem in these five ways.

I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to mind when you say “moth problem” is not an algebraic equation. It’s that nasty smell of mothballs. Yes? But what options do you as a homeowner have when clothes moths find their way into your stored items and munch holes in them?

This is an important question at this time of year. Fall is just around the corner. And we’ll be storing our summer wardrobes to don our fall sweaters and leather jackets. Will you find holes in your winter woolens? Is there a way to prevent holes from being munched into your comforters and down pillows? Yes!

Clothes moths are notorious for eating holes in more than clothes fibers. What they munch on includes hair, felt, and fur as well.

Getting to Know Your Moth Problem

If you’ve got one, your moth problem comes in the form of two types of clothes moths:

  • Webbing clothes moths – a solid pale colored moth with a patch of hair on its head.

Because this type of clothes moth does not fly well, it is commonly found in dark closets and storage areas.

  • Casemaking clothes moths – a bit darker than the webbing moth with dark spots on its wings

Don’t mistake clothes moths with Indian meal moths though. Indian meal moths eat herbs, nuts, flour, and other stored foods and are usually found in your pantry. And they are larger and darker in color than clothes moths and have dark brown tipped wings.     

Clothes moths are about 5 cm (1.9685 in) in size. Because they avoid the light, they are rarely seen. Female clothes moths run or hop to get around. So if you see a clothes moth flying around, it’s most likely a male.

Life Cycle of a Clothes Moth

Moth-eaten clothes

clothes moths do not feed. And most of them don’t live any longer than a month or so. This means they aren’t the pests eating holes in your stored items. It’s their larvae!

The adult clothes moth lays their eggs in the fibers stored in dark places. And when those eggs hatch, they become fabric-eating larvae.

The larvae feed on your belongings from several weeks to a couple of years, depending on environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and even the quality of your belongings.

Once full grown, they spin a silk casing and transform into an adult moth. And when they break out of their silk casing, they immediately begin laying eggs as an adult moth. Yes, more larvae, more destruction to your belongings.

5 Ways to Take Care of Your Moth Problem

So whether you’re preparing to sell your home and storing items until you move or just putting away this season’s items, preventing a moth problem is important.

Protect your materials and take care of your moth problem. Here’s how:

1. Inspect your stuff

If you want to control your clothes moth infestation, it’s recommended that you hire a licensed pest management professional to do the job. They can facilitate the process and locate the sources of your infestation.

2. Store your stuff

Clothing and fabrics should be packed tightly in a container that is well sealed, no gaps. 

3. Dispose of or dry clean your stuff

Everything that is infested should be thrown away or dry cleaned.

4. Vacuum and clean your stuff

Vacuuming and cleaning helps remove and kill larvae already present in your home. So keep a clean home, of course, and pay close attention to the quiet, dark closets and cubbies that moths prefer.

5. Brush off and expose your stuff

Tackling a clothes moth problem includes periodically brushing off and exposing materials to sunlight.

Fall Maintenance or Preparing to Sell Your Home

Whether you are preparing to sell your home or getting ready for fall, taking proper care of your stored items is important. No one wants a clothes moth problem! And no one wants to throw away ruined belongings. Apply these five tips and save yourself a lot of money next year.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent and broker with over 30 years of experience, I can help you prepare your home to sell even during these challenging times.

Our office is completely shut down and committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9600 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].


Charles D'Alessandro

Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 1901

What Have You Uncovered in the Heart of Your Home?

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

You’ve been spending a lot of time at home lately, haven’t you? And I’m willing to bet it’s been rewarding to finally have the time to tackle all those projects that have been piling up. Yeah, nice. But while the whole self-isolating thing may have been great at first, stir craziness is probably starting to set in. So, if you’re still self-isolating and haven’t already tackled the TLC projects in the heart of your home, consider this. You can easily improve the atmosphere of your home in addition to your outlook with seven worthwhile DIY projects for your kitchen. And they’re surprisingly easy!

Heart of your home
Uncover the value of the heart of your home while self-isolating this spring

Uncover the Value of Home and Family in the Heart of Your Home

Traffic in your kitchen has definitely increased with staying home. Am I right? You’re cooking and creating and discovering the value of the heart of the home again.

Why not spice up your kitchen space and increase the value of your home while you’re at it?

Kitchen Project #1: Organize Your Pantry

Organizing your pantry can seem overwhelming and make you skip over that “easy” word used earlier. But it really is an easy space to organize and super rewarding, too.

  1. Start by clearing out your pantry.
  2. Next, sort like items together.
  3. Then, choose what you’d like to organize it all with – woven baskets, clear bins, lazy Susan turntables.

“You can use woven baskets, clear bins, or a combination of both,” Amato-Scotto says. “Baskets are great for snacks and chips, as those items can’t stack or stand upright on a shelf. Clear bins and containers are good for items that you use frequently, so you can view at glance how much is left.”

Shop The Container Store nearest you. Stores are temporarily closed due to COVID-19. But Contactless Curbside Pickup is available at select locations.

Kitchen Project #2: Add Some Pop with Paint

A fresh new look in the kitchen is easily accomplished with a bit of paint.

No need to paint the whole kitchen if you’re not up to that amount of work. A subtle yet contrasting applied to your kitchen island is just enough to do wonders to the look and feel of your whole kitchen.

Shop here for your perfect color inspiration before committing to a shade on your island.

Window in the heart of your home

Kitchen Project #3: Treat or “Untreat” Your Kitchen Window

Home decor trends are moving away from curtains and window coverings. So if your windows are adorned with beautiful trim, don’t cover them up. Show them off. But if the sun happens to be an issue, fabric shades in a pattern or natural woven shades are great options.

Kitchen Project #4: Add a Bit of “Glass” to Your Kitchen

I love all these easy DIY kitchen upgrades. But this one … this one speaks to me! It’s class in an instant!

 Just install glass in a couple of tired-looking old cabinet doors, and you’ve just added visual openness and a layered effect in your kitchen.

Watch Meghan Carter, host of AsktheDecorator.com, demonstrate how to install glass in cabinet doors in this video.

Kitchen Project #5: Make Your Kitchen Shine

Install a new set of pendant lights. Pendant lights add interest and highlight to your newly painted island. They’re highly functional, too.

Some pendant lights may create visual heaviness for small kitchen spaces. Clear glass pendants keep the look and feel of your kitchen sleek and, well, light.

Kitchen Project #6: Upgrade to a Dish-Drying Rack

Believe it or not, some of us are not fortunate to own a dishwasher.

So for those of us who get to hand-wash our dishes, I suggest this upgrade. Install a decorative and functional dish-drying rack above your sink. This allows your dishes to drip-dry while making your dishes look neat and orderly. And your dishes are far more accessible on a daily basis than they would be stacked in a pile on the counter. From wet and ugly to decorative and functional. Boom! Neatness, color, and pattern added to your space, just like that!

 This video will get you started on this easy upgrade.

Kitchen Project #7: Hook Up with Your Collection of Coffee Mugs

Yes, this project is super simple. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this when you weren’t self-isolating way back when. Add under-the-cabinet hooks for your coffee mugs.

This improvement adds personality and clears up space in your cabinets, too.

Focus on the Heart of Your Home

Unprecedented times such as these call for common sense, thoughtfulness, and respect for others. Be kind. This will come to an end.

And while you’re home doing the social distancing thing, put your extra time and energy into something productive. Apply some TLC to your kitchen and uncover the heart of your home.

If you’d like to make even more improvements on the heart of your home, contact me, Charles D’Alessandroyour Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. I have space-saving ideas and great resources to help you with your kitchen space.

Our office is completely shut down and committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9600 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].


Charles D'Alessandro

Charles D’Alessandro
Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent
718-253-9600 ext. 1901

Now is the Perfect Time to Winterize Your Home

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

The dog days of summer are definitely upon us. Is anyone thinking frigid, frost, snow, or winter? Probably not. But as we move into fall with its mesmerizing colors, cooler temperatures, and seasonal treats, we should be mindful that Winter. Is. Coming. And now is the perfect time to winterize your home.

How and Why You Should Winterize Your Home Now

If preparing for winter were as easy as pulling your cozy sweaters and fall decorations out of storage, this blog post would be unnecessary. But it takes planning. And planning takes time. And then it’ll be too cold to do what should have been started back in September. You know. Like hanging Christmas lights outside while it’s warm enough to do so. So, as the orange, 5-gallon Home Depot bucket says, “Let’s Do This.” There’s no time like the present.

 

Winterize Your Home Inside

Schedule Maintenance of Your HVAC System

The end of October is the ideal time to schedule maintenance for your home’s cooling and heating system. So stop what you’re doing right now and pick up the phone. Yes, stop reading and call your HVAC company. Schedule an HVAC appointment with them now so that they can prepare your system for efficiency and warmth when you need it later. And hey! They’re busy people, too. If you drag your feet on this one, folks, you may not see them before the end of October like you need to.

But if you use a window unit, remove it from the window and put it in storage for the winter. If it isn’t removable, then cover it with a breathable, waterproof cover.

Winterize your home

Change Your Filters

Replacing your air filters is easy to do. If your air

filters are dirty and clogged, your house might be costing you more money than it should be. Your HVAC system has a much harder time keeping your home at a comfortable temperature with a dirty air filter. And this will increase your heating bills and shorten the life of your system. How often you should change your filters varies depending on who you ask. But why not change your air filters monthly? Be good to your hard-working HVAC investment.

Fill Your Fuel Tank

If you happen to heat your home with propane or you use an oil furnace, make sure your propane tank or oil furnace is full of fuel. You won’t want to be without heat when it’s dangerously cold outside.

Clean the Ductwork

Your ductwork can be full of debris like dust, bugs, home construction leftovers, mold, toys, food, etc. You’d be amazed. Why not get all that stuff cleaned out before the furnace kicks on and blows even a little of that nastiness into your home?

Check for Drafts

The U.S. Department of Energy says windows are responsible for the loss of 25 to 30 percent of the energy we pay for to heat our homes. That’s a lot of money out the window! But weatherstripping is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your heating costs down and money in your pocket.

Tip:  When you have a draft issue, you need to find where it’s coming from. Close a door or window on a strip of paper. If the paper slides out easily, ta-da! You found it! Make a trip to your nearest home store and purchase weatherstripping.

Apply Insulation Where Needed

This goes for both the inside and outside of your home.

Exposed water or drain pipes in an uninsulated crawlspace, attic or outside wall are especially vulnerable to freezing. Insulate them with foam insulation at least. Wrap them with electrical heating tape first. Then follow with insulation. Burst pipes can cause extensive damage making this home repair one of the most expensive.

Buy an insulating blanket at the hardware store to insulate your hot water tank.

Outlets and switch plates on the outside of your home can be insulated with an inexpensive foam sealing gasket.

Stuffing a piece of fiberglass insulation into the fireplace behind the glass doors will block cold air that comes down the chimney and into your room. Just be sure to remove the insulation when you use the fireplace.

Change Your Batteries

Whenever you choose to change your batteries, you should do it once a year. You can choose to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices every fall, or New Year’s Day, or in the spring when you spring forward for the time change. The key here is to check them consistently once a year every year to make sure your devices are working just in case you need them.

Check Your Chimney, Fireplace, or Wood Burning Stove

Winterize your home

If your chimney hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time or perhaps never, call a professional chimney sweep. But here’s what you can do to winterize your home inside and out in regards to your fireplace or wood burning stove:

  • Clear the chimney of nests.
  • Look for leaks in the flashing around your chimney. Check for possible leaks around all the projections on your roof. If anything looks sketchy, hire someone to make repairs as soon as possible.
  • Check the flue to make sure it opens and closes completely. Can you lock it in either position?
  • Make sure the chimney draws up fire and smoke properly. Roll up several sheets of newspaper. With the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. Does the smoke rise up the chimney? If it doesn’t, call in a professional to clean the chimney. Something such as creosote, ash, or a nest is obstructing it. And that is not a good thing!
  • Inspect the firebrick in the fireplace for open mortar joints. If you find open mortar joints, have them repaired immediately! Open mortar joints can allow a fire to spread into the stud wall behind the firebrick.

Winterize Your Home Outside

Check Your Roof

Check for missing or damaged shingles. If you find any, hire someone to replace them for you.

Clean or Replace Your Gutters

And while you’re up there on the roof, check your gutters. They drain thousands of gallons of water from your roof every year, and you never give them a thought. Until they’re clogged. And a clogged drain can cost you. Wet leaves left in the gutters over the winter add a hefty amount of weight and volume when they get wet and freeze. This increases the risk of damage to gutters and downspouts significantly. So give your gutters a little TLC before you’re ankle deep in water inside your home. Clean them and check them every year. And if necessary, replace them before the first winter freeze arrives in November.

Drain Your Outdoor Faucets

This is extremely important to do before the first freeze. Open up the outside faucets and drain the water. And turn off the water supply to exterior faucets inside your home. Then disconnect all garden hoses from outside faucets, also known as hose bibbs or sill-cocks. Consider covering hose bibbs with an insulated cover.

Freezing temperatures outside freeze water and burst pipes inside. This spells damage and costly repairs.

If you store your garden hoses outside, drain them, too.

Prepare Your Fountain for Winter

Do you have a fountain in your yard? Drain it and unplug the pump for it.

Winterize your home

Purge Your Sprinkler System

Freezing temps are in your forecast, so hire someone to drain and blow out your sprinkler system. Getting this done by the end of October is ideal.

Protect Your Condensing Unit

Wet leaves and debris can rust and freeze your unit’s internal components. If you’ll cover it with a breathable, waterproof cover through the winter, you’ll protect it and extend its life and efficiency.

Bring Your Outdoor Furniture Inside

Yes, outdoor furniture is meant to be used outside. But if you want it to last longer than one or two summers, don’t put it through snowstorms. Take care of your investment. If you have the room, bring it inside. Or leave it outside with waterproof covers thrown over each piece.

Seal the Deck

Seal the deck with a fresh coat of sealer before winter.

Prepare Your Landscape

You may not have much of a lawn, but since you want to keep it looking great in the spring and summer, you need to fertilize it in the fall before winter. Grassroots are active even when it isn’t growing and needing to be mowed. Fertilizer prevents winter damage. So take care of your lawn now for a greener lawn tomorrow.

Drain the Gas from Your Lawn Mower

If you wait to “rake” leaves with your lawn mower after your deciduous trees lose their leaves, you’ll knock out two to-dos at the same time. “Rake” those leaves until your lawnmower runs out of gas completely. See?

Fix All the Cracks in Your Driveway

If you happen to have a driveway, take the time to fix any cracks that may be developing. Because if water gets into the cracks in your driveway and then freezes, it will expand making the tiny cracks even bigger. Neglect this step and many little cracks will eventually get bigger. And bigger cracks will make your concrete crumble. Again, visit your local home store and purchase some concrete crack sealer (while you’re there getting weatherstripping). Fill up every crack before the weather turns cold and rest easy.

Test Your Winter Equipment

Yes, test your snow thrower now. Fill it with gas and pull that starter cord. What good does a snow thrower do you when it won’t start to throw snow when you need it to? Been there. Done that. But if you don’t have a snow thrower, make sure you know where your snow shovel is and that it doesn’t need to be replaced. And while you’re at it, purchase an ice scraper and snow brush for each vehicle.

So, if you haven’t already started to winterize your home, inside and out, put down that pumpkin spice latte and get busy. Divide this list of to-dos by eight weeks. Then move through this checklist to winterize your home completely by the end of October before the cold winter months arrive.

Are you ready to move? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]

Is the Electrical Wiring in Your Home Up to Code?

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Electrical wiring

Maintain the safety of your Brooklyn home and family. Bring the electrical wiring in your house up to code, and start today. It’s that important!

If your Brooklyn home was built more than 35 years ago, as most were, bringing your electrical wiring up to code is worth serious consideration. Not only will you maintain the safety of your home and family, your house will meet updated building codes and national requirements for residential homes. Today’s households utilize more gadgets, devices, and appliances than ever before. And that means easily overloaded electrical systems and possible danger to families living in older homes with outdated and insufficient electrical wiring.

Indications Your Electrical Wiring is Not Up to Code

How do you as a homeowner know whether or not the electrical wiring in your home needs updating? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do the lights in your home flicker?
  • Are breakers constantly tripping or fuses frequently blowing?
  • In order to use one appliance, do you need to another appliance off?
  • Have you discovered melted electrical wiring?
  • Do you have faulty circuit breakers that don’t trip causing shocks, overheating and fire?

The issues caused by outdated electrical wiring are easily resolved with the installation of a new electrical panel.

Tell-Tale Signs Your Home is in Need of a New Electrical Panel

Just as old electrical wiring needs to be brought up to code, your electrical panel needs to be updated or replaced. Look at and listen to your panel box.

  • Do you hear crackling sounds from your panel box?
  • Is there corrosion or rust on the breakers or panel?
  • Are any of the electrical service conductors overheating?

More Signs Your Electrical Panel Needs to be Replaced

Now take a walk through your house to look for and consider the following:

  • Do any appliances run at less than full power?
  • See any two-pronged outlets? Two-pronged outlets are non-grounded.
  • Are your kitchen and bathrooms equipped with GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters)?
  • How many extension cords do you own and how often must you use them?
  • Do you need surge protectors to protect the appliances in your home?
  • Was your home built with a 60-amp electrical service? Does it still run on that 60-amp electrical service?
  • Is your electrical panel a fuse block panel or split-buss panel? A split-buss panel is an electrical panel with no main breaker.
  • If your home has a 100-amp electrical service, is it sufficient to run necessary appliances?

Other Reasons You Need a New Electrical Panel

  • Kitchen renovation
  • Home addition
  • Installation of a major appliance: HVAC system, stoves, spas, power equipment, etc
  • More outlets are needed
  • Homeowners insurance requirements have to be met
  • A 240-volt circuit is needed
  • A sub-panel needs to be added

What is an Electrical Panel?

Your electrical panel is a painted or gray metal box mounted on a wall inside your home. It is easily accessible and usually located in a utility room, laundry room, garage, basement, or closet. In rare instances, an electrical panel may be located outside the home.

Your utility company provides power to your home via your electrical panel. Power is systematically distributed throughout your home through major and minor electrical wiring which branch out from your electrical panel. Thus a properly functioning electrical panel is essential for home safety and the use of your gadgets, devices, and appliances.

Just Because You’re Living in a Newer Home Doesn’t Mean Your Electrical Panel is Safe

Fuse boxes were designed before the 1950’s. And they were built to handle only 30-60 amps of power. Our appliances today require 100-200 amps or more. This is why fuse boxes pose huge fire and electrocution safety risks. If your home uses a fuse box or any of the following electrical panels, have a new electrical panel installed immediately:

  • Federal Pacific Electric Electrical Panel
  • Zinsco Electrical Panel
  • Pushmatic Electrical Panel

Is your electrical wiring in dire need of an update? Does your Brooklyn home need a new electrical panel? Schedule an electrical inspection of your older home. Update your electrical wiring in steps, if necessary, but start today. Prevent electrical emergencies, and protect your home and family.


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]

 

When is the Best Time to Tackle Fall Home Maintenance?

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Fall home maintenance

The ideal time to prepare your home for winter is now before the cold weather arrives. Here are a dozen fall home maintenance tasks to help you get prepared in time.

September is here! For most of us, this means the end of the dog days of summer, the wearing of warm sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything! Temperatures are starting to cool off here in Brooklyn and our thoughts are turning to warm hues, the raking of leaves, and bright orange pumpkins. But before the leaves begin to fall, I encourage you to look further ahead to the cold weather that always follows autumn. Tackle fall home maintenance now and prepare your home for another cold Brooklyn winter hits.

A Dozen Fall Home Maintenance Tasks to Complete Now

Take these next two weekends to complete the following fall home maintenance tasks around your Brooklyn home. Why? It could save you from costly repairs down the road when it’s really cold outside.

  1. Clean out gutters

When leaves fall and rainy, snowy days become more frequent, it’s best to have your gutters clean and in working order. Gutters should be free of debris and clogs before winter arrives. Ideally, the best time to clean out gutters is right after the trees lose their leaves. And since we’re on the subject of gutters, have you considered installing downspout extensions? This would be a great time to install those!

  1. Clean and repair siding

Over the summer months, the siding of your Brooklyn home can get pretty dirty, grimy, and even moldy. Get a power washer and remove all that nasty stuff. And check for damage. Look for cracking, rotting, and warping that needs to be repaired before winter sets in. Inspect the caulking, too. Has it shrunk or cracked over time? If so, replace it.

  1. Check door and window seals

Before the weather turns cold, make sure windows and doors seal tightly and find the places where air may leak. You want your warm air staying inside and winter’s cold air staying outside. Where there are leaks, there is loss of energy. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal any leaks you find.

By the way, if you have double- or triple-pane windows that are frequently foggy, you probably have a failed seal.

  1. Inspect your HVAC

Before you turn on the heat, hire a quality HVAC professional to inspect your HVAC system. Don’t wait until it’s cold outside. HVAC specialists are busy when it’s hot and when it’s cold, and they are usually booked far in advance. Call them now and schedule a tuneup for your HVAC system. They will check the thermostat, blower motor, and heat exchanger to make sure they are working properly. They will also fix loose electrical connections and gas connections.

  1. Clean the chimney

If your home has a functional fireplace, clean the chimney before the temperatures fall. Soot builds up in your chimney and puts you at risk of a chimney fire. Clogged chimneys also increase the risk of carbon monoxide in the home. Be safe. Don’t enjoy a cozy fire until after the chimney has been cleaned.

  1. Check for cracks and loose paver material in walkways

Cracks and loose paver material in walkways and entryway areas should be fixed before icy weather causes an accident. Small cracks can be fixed with epoxy and don’t take long to fix. Serious cracking will require a professional.

  1. Repair leaky faucets

Repair leaky faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms, and utility room. It costs considerably less to fix leaky pipes now rather than later. A broken pipe in the winter is costly to repair and can cause a lot of property damage.

  1. Service the yard equipment

The best time to service your lawn mower and trimmer is in the fall before you put it to rest during the winter. Dirty components and old oil are harmful to your summer yard equipment. Change the oil, air and gas filters, and install new blades if needed. Don’t drain the gas tank completely though. Fill the tank with a mix of premium gasoline without ethanol and a gas preservative just before you put it in storage.

  1. Store garden hoses and turn off outdoor spigots

A hard freeze can cause hoses to burst and outdoor pipes to freeze. You won’t be using any of these things this winter, so insulate each spigot and detach and store the garden hoses. A headache avoided.

  1. Check all outdoor cords

All outdoor extension cords should be checked for potentially dangerous nicks or frays. Nicked or frayed cords should be thrown away. Extension cords in good condition should be neatly stored in the garage or basement.

  1. Clean the range hood filter

Now here’s a super easy fall home maintenance task! Just throw your range hood filter in the dishwasher. When the dishwasher stops, the filter will be as good as new.

  1. Check the toilets

To find out whether or not your toilets leak, put some food coloring in the toilet tanks. If the water in the toilet bowls changes color without flushing, your toilets are leaking. New flappers or seals will put an end to this money problem.

Want even more fall home maintenance tasks and tips? Call Charles D’Alessandro Your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email [email protected] for more great home maintenance information as well as answers to your questions about buying or selling your home in Brooklyn this fall!


Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]