Home Maintenance Tips for Winter Allergies

Most of us think of summertime as the season for allergies. In this latest installment of our Home Maintenance series, we have advice on reducing dust, molds, pollens and other microscopic airborne particles that wreak havoc with sinuses during winter. Windy days bring their share of dust, and it is a big job to keep on top of it, especially if your family suffers from allergies or weak sinuses.

Drink Water.

The very first thing you can do for yourself to combat the ill effects of winter allergy symptoms is to drink lots of water. If you tip down three large glasses of water first thing in the morning, you might be surprised at how much that helps alleviate allergy symptoms, completely naturally. Although the thought of pounding that much water first thing might not seem too appealing, it can’t hurt, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Now back to the remedies requiring sheer elbow-grease!

Home Maintenance for Floors, Baseboards and Molding.

Take a stiff-bristle broom and sweep everything before vacuuming, even rugs where hair and dander can get trapped. Vacuum the floors, and with the brush attachment, vacuum all the baseboards and hard to reach floor areas. Fill a bucket with warm water and vinegar or floor cleaner, and using rubber gloves and a sponge wipe all the baseboards and walls. Squeeze out the sponge until practically dry and wipe down all pictures on the wall to get rid of dust and fly droppings.

Air Purifiers and Filters.

If you live in a particularly dusty or dry area, then cleaning out air filters and purifiers should be on your home maintenance list. At least twice a year call in professional cleaners to vacuum them out. Professional HVAC maintenance personnel will also recommend the proper filtration system for your home, based on square footage, number of pets and children, and proximity to dust creating environments, like highways, construction, etc.

Other Filters.

Consider investing in a vacuum with a series of filters for maximum trapping and dust containment. You can also keep windows closed and run a home purifier continuously.

Windows.

The funny thing about windows is that you never notice them until they’re dirty! Keep windows sparkling by cleaning them on the inside, and spray television dust repellant on the glass. This home maintenance tip pays dividends as it creates a slick surface that dust won’t cling to. If you have a lot of window blinds you want to treat, you can mix a batch of your own DIY dust repellent. How cool is that?

Call All Reasons Moving at 408-240-0244 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for all your moving needs.

Home Maintenance: Painting Accent Tips

Home maintenance doesn’t just mean repairs. Sometimes we just need a change of pace, a refreshing pick-me-up. If remodeling or moving is out of the question, here are some tips for how to get a new bang out of familiar rooms for a fraction of the cost and with minimal time.

Painting Accents is Home Maintenance

In a previous post in our home maintenance series we discussed painting just one accent wall in a room. This quick, easy project can be done in a day! If you already love the paint colors in your room, try sprucing up one or all walls with these ideas.

  1. Faux painting. Using glaze paints, you can dab on layers of complementary colors with sponges or rags. This is an “adding” technique; there are also removing techniques, where you paint on a complementary color, then take some of it off by rolling old rags across the surface at random angles. Both techniques result in a marbled, faux effect that can be quite beautiful especially on an accent wall.
  2. Stenciling. Craft and hobby stores carry an assortment of stencils, stencil brushes and special stenciling paint. If you want a row of seashells as a wall border in the bathroom, or flowers around a window these are super fun do-it-yourself art projects. All you need is some masking tape to hold up the stencil while you dab in the paint.
  3. Stripes and masking. It’s easy to mask off lines, multiple lines at angles and straight-edged shapes for quick designs. Use masking tape and butcher paper to mask off the lines and shapes not to be painted.

TIP: When using masking tape, using the original (not the new) paint color and paint along the edge of the tape where the new color will meet it. No matter how hard you press, no masking tape is 100% seep-proof. By painting the original color along the edge of the tape, the original color will seep through a little. When you paint along the edge of the tape with the new color, the original paint will already have sealed off the tape edge, so the new color can’t creep underneath it.

Call All Reasons Moving at 408-240-0244 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for all your moving needs.

Home Maintenance: Quick Interior Painting Tips

Home maintenance doesn’t have to stall during the cold and rainy season. There are many things you can accomplish inside during winter. For instance, it’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room. Over the course of a weekend, you can make a big change in a room or several if it’s a smaller job.

Imagine a dining room with all cream or white walls. Want something to stand out? Try painting just one wall. An accent wall of deep forest green, or elegant burgundy could be just the backdrop you want for the crackled mirror or special painting. Painting one wall is super easy, too.

Home Maintenance Painting Steps

What you need. Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) to clean and degrease the wall, rags, drop cloths, ladder for taller areas, a really good angled bristle brush, roller, handle with extension and paint tray. Choose top quality paint; don’t skimp on off brands. The superior color and wear will be worth it.

Prepare the wall.

Make a dilute solution of TSP and wash the walls to be painted. Don’t super saturate the wall; you want it clean and dry, not wet.

Edge in.

Most people know about this home maintenance step, but you’d be surprised at how many people try to skip it. It’s important to edge in your wall; make a 3-inch strip around all the edges of the wall with an angled brush. If you have a steady hand, instead of taping the opposing walls that won’t be painted, fill the bristles with paint and press the brush almost against the corner, allowing the paint to move off the brush just up and against the edge. Drag this line of paint carefully along, then sweep it towards the interior of the wall to be painted, until you have about a 3-inch painted border all around the wall.

If you don’t edge in first, but think you’ll edge in after you’ve rolled the walls you risk two things. One, you will be tempted to get closer to the wall’s edges with the roller than you should, creating a mess; and two, the edge between rolled in paint and edge will not be as neat and seamless as if you did it in the correct order.

Roll in.

The trick to a great roll-on paint job is not to over-saturate the roller. You want enough paint on the roller to create a solid, beautiful swathe of paint, but not drip, and not be so dry that you have to dip the roller repeatedly.

Check back for the next installment of our Home Maintenance set.

Call All Reasons Moving at 408-240-0244 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for all your moving needs.

Home Maintenance & Refrigerators

In our ongoing Home Maintenance series, we focus on items usually ignored or taken for granted. Kitchen appliances are the kind of things that we often overlook, like a car. You expect your car to start when you turn the key. You expect the food in your refrigerator to be cold when you open the door. When appliances break down it is not only disruptive, but can also be costly. A refrigerator’s worth of spoiled food can amount to hundreds of lost dollars.

Home Maintenance: Your Refrigerator

Today’s refrigerators are sometimes like mini-computers, and can even older models can have been expensive. The refrigerator is the lifeblood of a kitchen and should serve you for years and years. Here are a few home maintenance tips on the most used appliance in your kitchen.

Ice Maker

If your fridge is equipped with an ice maker, we strongly advise checking the floor regularly for standing water. Icemaker lines are notorious for leaking and a professional repairman can ensure that these lines are connected and secured over and above how the fridge arrives from the manufacturer. Investing in this service can avoid very expensive (and generally not covered by insurance) repairs.

Door and Seals

Little sticky hands are sweet and we write poetry about them, but stickiness on refrigerator door seals can lead to the rubber pulling, stretching and tearing, which ultimately will inhibit your appliance from keeping a good seal and your food cold enough to be safe. We recommend cleaning the handle, front (yes, take down all the pictures!) and the rubber seals with a sponge and baking soda or dish detergent solution. Dry thoroughly.

Shelves and Inner Walls

Don’t wait until spring to clean inside the fridge. Remove everything (starting at the top and moving down if you don’t do it all at once) and clean the grates, shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a sponge soaked in warm water and baking soda. Baking soda is gritty enough to handle hard dirt and eliminates odors.

Wipe down bottles and containers before replacing them, and don’t forget to throw out anything old or expired. Dry everything before replacing into the fridge.

Condenser Coils and Grates

The exterior condenser coils and grates located usually on the lower front of a refrigerator need to be cleaned at least yearly. Dust and dirt build-up prevent proper air circulation, which can lead to overheating and electrical trouble. Use the long nose wand of your vacuum, removing the grate cover if possible. If your refrigerator moves easily, pull it out gently and clean all around the back and behind. Check for puddles of water from leaking ice maker lines.

Check back for the next installment of our Home Maintenance set.

Call All Reasons Moving at 408-240-0244 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for all your moving needs.

Home Maintenance: Clean Bedding for Better Health

Yes, All Reasons Moving is a home moving company, and we’re so much more! Because we care holistically for our customers — not only at point of move — we post regularly on home maintenance, inside and out. Tips include how minimizing clutter saves time and money, how managing the mechanics of your home — from window runners to kitchen disposals. These not only add to the enjoyment of your home while you’re still living in it, but will also help fetch top dollar upon selling, and keeping down moving costs!

With so much to gain, every small step taken to keep your home fresh, clean, safe and in good repair affects all of these positive outcomes. Renters and landlords also reap tremendous benefits from regular property maintenance.

Take Small Steps.

We steer off a yearly home maintenance calendar provided for us by Kelsey Lane, Realtor with Coldwell Banker, and there are lots of additional resources online and by specific retailers and manufacturers where you can find not only great tips on more detailed maintenance, but also product recommendations. This month’s focus is on linens and bedding.

Kill Dust Mites.

The main reason to deeply clean and air out bedding, whether on your bed or stored in the closet, is to kill dust mites, spores and other allergens. Dust mites are invisible to the human eye, and over time their minuscule droppings and body parts accumulate in the weave of mattresses and pillows, so much that in 10 years a mattress’s weight could literally double from the detritus. Mites feed off human skin shed during the night, and thrive in a moist, humid environment. Studies show that mite populations increase most during hot, humid months.

Wash Sheets and Pillowcases.

The most important thing you can do is wash sheets and pillow cases at least weekly either in very hot water (most home washers don’t get hot enough due to safety regulations), or with mite-killing detergent or additives. Once everything is washed, vacuum mattresses and pillows, then encase them in allergy-barrier casings to prevent mites from making a permanent home in your bed.

Other Home Maintenance Preventions.

Mites don’t only live in bedding, however. If you or family members suffer from extreme allergies, or wake up every morning with runny eyes and stuffy noses consider removing carpeting from the house, or at least from bedrooms, or install a HEPA filter. Pet hair and dander increase the presence of dust mites, pollens and other allergens. Your home maintenance routine should include regular vacuuming and deep carpet cleaning.

Call All Reasons Moving at 408-240-0244 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for all your moving needs.

Home Maintenance: Keeping Air Filter Covers Clean and Vacuumed

In our ongoing Home Maintenance series, we want to be your trusted partners in helping you maintain your home, enjoying it to the fullest before you plan a home move. Keeping your home clean and in good repair is not only an emotional boon; it increases home value, too!

Home Maintenance: Air Ducts & Filters

This time we focus specifically on air ducts and filters. We’ve had a couple of cold snaps, and many of us are firing up our furnaces for the first time in months.

The world of microorganisms is a fascinating one, and you’d be surprised at the universe of living creatures floating through the air or nesting under your couches. Lots of pets or many people living in one household increases the amount of dander, airborne particles and the presence of other creatures. In bathrooms, where one finds the added element of moisture, bacteria levels increase due to prime environmental conditions.

Therefore, it is really important to have your furnace, air conditioning unit and air filters checked professionally at least yearly as part of your home maintenance routine. If there are young children, asthmatics, elderly, or multiple pets in the home, then you’ll need to check them more frequently. A professional Heating & Air company will check the cleanliness of air ducts, and also the condition of seals around the intake and outflow ducts. Materials can become brittle and break down over the years, preventing seals from doing their jobs properly. It is not only important to clean them, but replace them regularly. Walk around the house with a technician, and have him show you how to care for your filters in between professional duct cleanings.

Some experts recommend replacing all filters every three months, and monthly if you have at-risk family members. At the very least, go through the house and vacuum the air duct vents.

For cleaning bathroom air ducts, you may be able to remove the outer covering of the fan/heater unit filter to clean it. If it is not removable, or you don’t want to take it off, dry off any moisture completely, then use the thin nozzle fixture on your vacuum, and vacuum it out.

While you have your vacuum out and set up, go around the entire house and vacuum any other ceiling air duct covers or filters. It’s also a good opportunity to take care of ceiling corners, cobwebs, hard to reach areas under beds and large furniture.

Keeping your home well ventilated and dust-free is optimum. Of course this is easier to achieve in warm weather when it’s nice to keep your windows open. Because our windows are closed during most of the colder months, and we are running heaters a lot, we recommend a mid-winter vacuuming day to take care of all the accumulated dust, dander and fuzz. Interesting note: Did you know that most of the dust in your home is actually dead skin? Yucky, but true! Yet a 2011 survey found that shed skin reduces indoor air pollution. Go figure.

Call All Reasons Moving at 408-240-0244 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for all your moving needs.

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