Double the Lifespan of Your Home Appliances

Taking care of your home appliances is a lot like taking care of your vehicle. Both are expensive, and if they aren’t maintained properly you’ll find yourself pouring money into repairs that could have otherwise been avoided. Today we’ll cover five common missteps when it comes to up-keeping your household appliances and show you how to plan ahead to save on repairs.

  1. Clean refrigerator condenser coils or fans
    Just like changing the oil in your car, the best approach to maintaining your appliances is by keeping a schedule.  The coils or fans beneath your refrigerator aren’t something you probably look at often. But they can get covered in household lint and dirt, which will shorten the life of your unit. We recommend cleaning them twice a year (mark it on your calendar!) or, if you’re a pet owner, check the coils every couple months–all that fur your dog loses in the spring will end up clinging to your refrigerator coils. Be sure to check your manual on the best way to clean your refrigerator.
  2. Avoid your oven’s self-clean feature
    Many modern ovens offer what seems like a saving grace–a “self-clean” feature. Imagine never again having to reach into the depths of a grease splattered oven. The catch? This popular function can also damage your oven or blow fuses. Plus it’ll probably set off your smoke detector in the process. Our best advice? Baking soda and vinegar–consider it today’s arm workout and scrub.
  3. Rinse dishwasher filters
    Many modern dishwashers in the USA crush food debris before draining them to avoid clogging your fixtures. This comes at the cost of being much louder than filter-based dishwashers. If your dishwasher has a filter ideally you should clean it at least as often your refrigerator, but if you start to notice a smell from the washer when it’s clean you know it’s time to rinse out the filter.
  4. Empty your dryer lint trap after each use
    When your dryer can’t move air efficiently it can’t dry efficiently. Running a dryer with a full lint trap places undue stress on the dryer, shortening its lifespan. The best way to remember this one is to make a habit out of cleaning it immediately when you open the dryer door. If you plan to clean the lint trap after you fold your clothes you may forget as you leave to put away your clothes.
  5. Don’t overload your washing machine
    We’ve all had nightmares of coming home to a soapy lake in our basement. Overfilling your washing machine usually won’t cause it to overflow. But it can damage or break the machine. Mind the size of your load when you fill the machine and save those king sized comforters for the laundromat. A good rule of thumb for load sizes: a small load fills a 1/3 of the machine, medium fills 1/2, and a large load fills 3/4.Keep these five cleaning tips in mind and you could end up saving hundreds on your home appliances.

Houseplants You Can’t Kill

Plants bring life to all living spaces. If you don’t have a green thumb you may have had bad luck with a plant or two. Here are some healthy, hard-to-kill, houseplants that thrive in spite of you:

Sempervivum: This succulent known as Hen & Chicks loves a sunny window, but requires little attention. They need to be watered regularly during the spring and summer, but only once a month the rest of the year.

Dracaena marginata: Commonly known as Dragon Tree, requires watering before the soil dries out completely,however, avoid the pot sitting in excess water. Ideally, this plant thrives in relatively bright light.

Sansevieria: This plant, also known as Mother-in-Law’s tongue is an indestructible houseplant. It enjoys bright light and prefers the soil to dry out before watering.

Ficus: The tree variety is also known as Rubber Plant, and the trailing variety is commonly called Creeping Fig. These plants like humidity and bright light. Water and mist regularly throughout the summer, reduce water during the winter. Ficus appreciate being move outside during the summer, be sure to avoid direct sunlight.

Chamaedorea: Known as Parlor Palm, has been used as an indoor plant successfully for years because of it tolerance of lower light levels and drier air. This palm prefers bright, filtered sunlight, with a northern exposure. Even moisture is ideal, however err on the side of slightly too dry rather than over watering.

Always check with your pediatrician and veterinarian before introducing a new plant into your home as many can be toxic.

 

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Easy Steps You Can Take Today To Help Sell Your Home

1. Stage your home. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are staged sell on average 78% faster than the competition. Staging is more about creating a mood than moving furniture around. Staging makes a house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, more inviting and best of all makes buyers want to buy it.

2. Don’t forget the outside.
Stage the exterior of your home too. Fresh paint, updated landscaping and welcoming lawn furniture will help will a quick sale. Buyers often look for an outdoor space that they can enjoy with friends and family.

3. Make your home available.
Homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. Try to accommodate as many appointments to view your home as possible. In today’s market, there are many vacant properties that can be shown anytime. Restrictive time frames, appointments that have to be set far advance will usually result in a buyer crossing your place off the list.

4. Get real about pricing.
Try to be the best deal on the market. Homes that are priced correctly will sell quicker and get a higher sale price than those that have sat on the market. Today’s educated buyers are familiar with comparable sales in the area. They will flock to a home that looks like a great deal. Competitively priced homes get the most traffic and at times even receive multiple offers.

5. Pay attention to the competition.
Look at the price that homes that are similar in style, condition and location have sold for. Attend some open houses and honestly size up your competition. Try to look at your competition from the Buyers point of view removing all emotion you may have tied to your home. Keep constantly updated on changes in the market and try to stay ahead of the curve.