Archive for the ‘Prepare your Brooklyn home for winter’ Category

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]

Fall is in the Air: Prepare for Winter Now

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
Prepare for winter

Winter is on its way! Prepare for winter now and enjoy those long winter’s naps in comfort.

Summer’s come and almost gone. Fall has arrived, although not officially. That will happen September 22, 2016. The days are getting shorter and the mornings are turning crisp. Winter is on its way! Prepare for winter now and enjoy those long winter’s naps in comfort.

Prepare for winter outside your Brooklyn home

It’s time to wrap up summer’s outdoor lifestyle and prepare hearth and home for the beginning of the long cold spell.

  • Clean, cover and store patio furniture, umbrellas, decorations and toys.
  • Paint the trim, railings and decks or touch them up if that’s all they need. Remove flaking paint with a wire brush and prime bare wood before you paint.
  • Check around windows and doors. Re-caulk if needed.
  • Install weather-stripping and thresholds if external doors and garage doors need it in order to close tightly.
  • Wash windows, inside and out.
  • Drain and store garden hoses. Frost-proof spigots with a faucet insulator and blow the sprinkler system lines free of water.
  • Power wash gutters and downspouts. Consider installing heating cable to prevent ice dams.
  • Inspect and clean chimneys and flues.
  • Repair your roof. Check your roof for curling, loose or missing shingles.
  • Prepare your deck for winter. Sand splinters, repair damaged boards and reseal to protect it from rain and/or snowfall.
  • Switch out your screen doors for a storm door. Clean and repair screens prior to storing.

Prepare for winter inside your Brooklyn home

Fall means it is time for the “second spring cleaning.” It makes good sense to clean and store all things summer before you retreat to the warmth inside your Brooklyn home. Besides, the holidays are coming (and you may decide it’s time to sell after the winter thaw).

  • Start with the rooms where most of the household activity happens. Focus on one room and clean it from top to bottom. Vacuum or wash curtains and window treatments. Clean window sills and window wells. Vacuum and wipe down baseboards and corners.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture, or clean it professionally. Move each piece of furniture and vacuum underneath and behind each piece. Don’t forget to vacuum underneath the couch and chair cushions!
  • If you haven’t already washed the windows inside and out as mentioned above, now’s the time for that chore.
  • Turn mattresses front-to-back and end-to-end to even out their wear and tear.
  • Wash or clean all bedding: mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets, comforters.
  • Make an appointment to have your carpets cleaned professionally. Do this early in September so that the remaining warm afternoons can help the carpet dry speedily. Carpet cleaners tend to get busy by the end of October.
  • Clean and organize kitchen cabinets.
  • Clear kitchen counters of all appliances. Store heavy appliances down low.
  • Vacuum refrigerator condenser coils of dust and debris. While the refrigerator is pulled out from the wall, clean the sides of the refrigerator, the sides of the cupboards on each side of it, the wall behind it and of course, the floor and baseboards.
  • Wash light fixture bowls from light fixtures and fans. Clean ceiling fans. Change the direction of your ceiling fans. In the spring and summer, your blades work best turning counter-clockwise. In the fall and winter, the blades work best turning clockwise.
  • Clean and store floor fans and box fans.
  • Stock up on water softener salt.
  • Do you have a central vacuum? Empty the collection area.
  • Clean electronic air cleaner elements. This should be done monthly for cost-effective efficiency.
  • Inspect your humidifier. Clean or replace elements before it is needed.
  • Inspect washer hoses for bulges, cracks, splits and a collection of “crud.” They should be replaced every other year.
  • Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for lint build-up and debris to eliminate a fire hazard in your home. Does the exterior vent door close tightly when the dryer isn’t being used?
  • Schedule furnace inspections now. Schedule an annual checkup for your furnace in the fall, September 22 – December 21. Don’t wait for frigid temperatures to arrive!
  • Buy six furnace filters and change them monthly for maximum efficiency, savings and comfort.
  • Drain the sediment from your hot water heater.

Prepare for winter or the sale of your Brooklyn home now. Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9700 ext. 206 or email [email protected] for a FREE consultation on how to get your home ready for what’s coming.

3 Steps to Winterize the Outside of your Brooklyn Home

Sunday, November 15th, 2015
Winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home

Winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home before freezing temps arrive this winter.

In my last blog post, How to Easily Winterize the Inside of your Brooklyn Home, I shared a checklist to help you prepare the inside of your Brooklyn home for winter. Here are 3 steps to winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home:

First, check the roof

If you feel comfortable inspecting the roof yourself, put on a pair of shoes with non-skid soles. Make sure they are tied securely. Quickly check the following:

  • Check for missing or damaged shingles. Hire someone to replace any missing or damaged shingles you find.
  • If you have a chimney, check for leaks in the flashing around it. Check for possible leaks around all projections on your roof. Hire someone to repair every leak as soon as possible.
  • Clean and free gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris. Wet leaves allowed to remain in the gutters over winter add a hefty amount of weight and volume when they get wet and freeze. This will increase the risk of damage to gutters and downspouts significantly.

Second, winterize your sprinkler system

  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Purge the sprinkler lines by blowing compressed air through the lines.

Winterize your sprinkler system now if freezing temps are in your forecast, but hiring someone to do this for you by the end of October is ideal. How to Winterize a Sprinkler System

Third, prepare your yard to winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home

  • Prepare your landscape for winter. Even if you have a small patch of grass, a garden plot, shrubs or deciduous trees, you should prepare them for winter. This link shows How to Winterize Your Landscape on much a larger scale, but the basics can be applied to your Brooklyn home’s landscape and container gardens.
  • Drain the gas from your lawn mower. “Rake” leaves until the lawn mower runs out of gas completely, and you’ll accomplish two items on your winterize to-do list at the same time.
  • Drain water fountains and unplug the pumps for them.
  • Seal the deck with a fresh coat of sealer before winter.
  • Cover patio furniture.

Did you winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home yet? If so, you will be able to rest easy knowing the outside of your Brooklyn home is ready for winter’s freezing temps.

Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected] for more information about how to winterize the outside of your Brooklyn home.


How to Easily Winterize the Inside of your Brooklyn Home

Friday, October 30th, 2015
winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home

Winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home this fall.

Fall’s glorious colors, cooler temperatures and delicious comfort foods make the season a favorite among many. But winter’s coming. Enjoy fall’s unique and endearing offerings, but don’t forget to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home for the upcoming and not-so-endearing season. Get it ready to withstand winter’s freezing temperatures before they arrive. You’ll save yourself a lot of worry and expense.

This checklist will help you winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home.

Home heating system

  1. Checking your Brooklyn home’s heating system by the end of October is ideal. Follow these steps to check if it is working properly:
  • Turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees.
  • Listen for the furnace to turn on. Warm air should start warming up your home in just a few minutes.
  • Turn the thermostat back down to its normal setting if the heating system is working properly.

If it is not working properly, take a look at this gas furnace troubleshooting guide. You may be able to fix it yourself. If not, call a qualified service technician.

  1. Choose to have the furnace checked by a service technician for seasonal maintenance or do it yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, refer to this seasonal furnace maintenance guide to make sure your furnace is running efficiently and safely.
  1. Replace the air filter with a new one. During cold winter months, filters should be checked monthly. Replacing the air filter is easy to do.
  1. Make sure your propane tank or oil furnace is full of fuel to heat your home.
  1. Clear heating vents of debris like dust, bugs, home construction leftovers, mold, toys, food, etc. Yes, you’d be amazed at all that is in your heating vents!
  1. Test for carbon monoxide leaks in your home. Carbon monoxide test badges or alarms are inexpensive to purchase. They can easily detect whether or not this silent killer is in your home.

Home cooling system

  1. The condensing unit of your cooling system needs to be cleaned of dirt and debris. Spray the fan blades and condensing coils with the highest hose pressure you have.
  1. Protect your condensing unit from damage in the winter season. Wet leaves and debris contribute to rusting and freezing of your unit’s internal components. Use a breathable, waterproof cover to protect and extend the life and efficiency of your unit.
  1. If you have window air conditioners, remove and store them for the winter. If they are not removable, use a breathable, waterproof cover as described above.

Chimney and fireplace or wood burning stove

  1. Clear the chimney of nests.
  1. Check the flue to make sure it opens and closes completely. Is it able to be locked in either position?
  1. Make sure the chimney will draw up the 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 a professional in to clean the chimney of obstruction – creosote, ash and debris.
  • How long has it been since you had your chimney cleaned? If the answer is, “Not in a very long time,” or “Never,” call a professional chimney sweep.
  • Inspect the fire brick 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 fire brick.


  1. Insulate exposed pipes

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, follow with insulation. Burst pipes can cause extensive damage making this home repair one of the most expensive.

  1. Eliminate the possibility of exterior pipe bursts
  • Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets inside your Brooklyn home.
  • Drain the water from exterior faucets, also known as hose bibbs or sill-cocks by opening up the exterior faucet. Consider covering hose bibbs with an insulated cover. Always disconnect your garden hoses from the sill-cocks or outside faucets. If you store your garden hoses outside, drain them, too.

If you are leaving town for several months, winter, spring, summer or fall, drain your whole home’s plumbing system. You will avoid costly damage to the inside of your Brooklyn home while no one is home. See how to drain your home’s plumbing system here.

Easy insulation tips to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home

  1. Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating blanket. You can buy an insulating blanket at the hardware store.
  1. Insulate exterior outlets and switch plates with an inexpensive foam sealing gasket.
  1. Cut a piece of fiberglass insulation to stuff into the fireplace behind the glass doors to block cold air coming that comes down the chimney. Remove the insulation when you use the fireplace.
  1. Save money on your heating bill. Reduce cold air leaks around doors and windows with weatherstripping. Drafty doors and windows raise your heating bill as much as poor insulation in the walls and ceiling do.

So, if you haven’t already started to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home, put down that pumpkin spice latte. Check your Brooklyn home’s heating system right away. Then move through this checklist to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home, and save yourself a lot of worry and expense.

Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected] for more information about how to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home this fall.