Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Fall Home Checklist

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Beautiful, brisk fall is here which means winter is right around the corner. Autumn is the perfect time to get your home and yard prepped for the colder months ahead.  Take advantage of the mild weather this season and use these maintenance tasks to ensure you and your household are ready before the snow falls.

Inspect and clean out gutters and downspouts– Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs.  After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

Seal any gaps or cracks around doors or windows with caulking or weather stripping– Sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive and most important of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Drain all outdoor faucets and irrigation systems– Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage. Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

Have a professional inspect your furnace– Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.

Check fireplaces for soot build-up and/or hire a chimney sweep to do an inspection– To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney. Have your fireplace flue cleaned by a professional to remove creosote buildup.

Click here for a full checklist you can printFall Maintenance Checklist.
For more fall maintenance suggestions follow these links for Houselogic and HomeAdvisor.

Turn Your Smart Phone into a Home Security System

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Hunziker Quick Tip

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Stay Cool This Summer!CeilingFan

Make sure your ceiling fans rotate in the correct direction to cool you in summer.

Most fans are reversible: One direction pushes air down, creating a nice summer breeze; the other direction sucks air up, helping you distribute heat in winter. There’s normally a switch on the motor to change the fan’s direction.

Is your fan turning in the right direction for summer?

  • Stand beneath the running fan, and if you feel a cooling breeze, it’s turning correctly.
  • If not, change directions, usually by flicking a switch on the fan’s base.

Typically, it’s counterclockwise or left for summer and clockwise for winter, but the best method is to follow the steps above.

Funny note: We read on Yahoo! that one clever person used bubbles to see which direction his fan was blowing.

Hunziker Community Shred Day!

Friday, April 26th, 2013

ShredDay2013Blog

Join us for the Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS Annual Shred Day! We encourage anyone in the community to bring up to 5 boxes of shreddable items to our offices. We will have a truck from Secure Shred Solutions at our Ankeny office, 1255 N. Ankeny Blvd., on Friday, April 26 from 11am – 1pm and on Saturday, April 27 from 9am – 11am at our Ames office, 105 South 16th St. Kick off your spring cleaning by clearing out all of those old tax documents, confidential papers & any other paperwork that you shouldn’t throw out in the trash.

With so much emphasis being put on security both in terms of our identity and our finances it is important to ensure that every effort is made to make the identity thief’s job as difficult as possible. One way of doing this is to shred all documents that may contain information about you or members of your family which may allow the identity thief to build up a picture of either you as an individual or any other member of your family.

 

Tips for Better Indoor Air Quality

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Believe it or not, it is almost time for spring cleaning in Iowa! It may not be warm enough to open the windows and air out your home for a few weeks, though. So here are a few places you might clean to reduce the allergens and dust in your home.

Read the Post from Lowes: Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Photo courtesy of Lowes

Kitchen Trends for 2013

Monday, February 4th, 2013

From houselogic

“If you’re looking to remodel your kitchen, we’ve got good news and bad news.

First, the good stuff. According to trend experts Lita Dirks and Dominick Tringali, you don’t have to shell out major cash to add space. Instead, look to expand what you already have. Vault your ceiling, add windows, squeeze in clever storage ideas. Make the space work harder, not bigger.

Plus, relax. Casual kitchens are trending, with doo-dads and gee-gaws (think elaborate trim and vent hoods that look like medieval castles) going away, and simpler, sleeker designs coming on strong…”

Fast fix for a countertop scratch from the 99 cent store

Friday, November 9th, 2012

If you’ve ever had a scuff mark on a colored countertop, you know that it sadly becomes the room’s focal point. But we found the right supplies to save you any embarrassment.

Supplies:

  • Crayons, 99 cents
  • Spatula knife, 99 cents
  • A microwave-safe bowl, 99 cents (If you have one you’re willing to sacrifice to melt crayons, you just saved another 99 cents.)

Total: $2.97. $3.96 if you throw in a weak lemonade-type drink.

What you do:

  • Pick the Crayon whose color comes closest to matching your countertop. Peel off the paper and place it in the bowl.
  • Pop the crayon and bowl in the microwave.
  • Pour the hot, melted crayon onto the scuff mark and work it into the indentation with the spatula knife.
  • Scrape off the excess with the spatula knife.

The Crayon mixture will harden and dry quickly, erasing your countertop flaw.

What other inexpensive home fixes have you found or tried? What minor home repair job have you neglected because of lack of time?

 
 
Used with permission: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/repair-tips/99-cent-store-solution-1-scuffed-countertops/#ixzz2BlapKj4L

Gutter Cleaning Coupon

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Keeping your gutters clean is one of the most important things you can do to prevent water from getting into your basement and to prevent ice dams from forming that can back up water under your roof shingles.

The Ames Tribune published the following coupon for gutter cleaning. If you use this contractor, we would appreciate it if you would tell us what you think about their service!

Ames Tribune Coupon

Photo credit: http://arborlife.blogspot.com/2012/09/cleaning-gutters-in-fall.html

MidAmerican Energy Empower U in Ankeny

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Interested in energy issues? MidAmerican Energy is hosting several seminars around the state, including one in Ankeny on Monday, October 22nd from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be served.

Topics include:

Rates
Future Electric Generation

Energy Policy
Budgeting/Planning

View details

 

Household Hazards: Are your cleaning products safe?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

When looking for safety risks in the home, many people look for tripping hazards, faulty electrical connections, or chipping lead-based paint. But less commonly identified is contamination from dangerous chemicals purchased by the homeowners.

Forbes recently ran a story on a new online Guide to Healthy Cleaning Products. The website grades the safety of cleaning products by name and brand. Produced by the Environmental Working Group, the site is similar to their Skin Deep database, which ranks the hazard level of personal care products and cosmetics.

Read the article from Forbes.

By Tabitha Shea Zesch, Relocation Director