Alan Bernau Jr

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8 Essential Spring Tools for Every Homeowner

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Mar 22, 2017

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If you're like me, you probably have a growing list of things to do as the spring season gets under way. Most of these tasks involve yard work or tending to the garden. Today, there a variety of tools that can make springtime tasks a lot easier. Here are some of my top picks.

Eight Essential Spring Tools for Homeowners

  1. A Wheelbarrow Organizer. This item can simplify your planting duties this spring and summer. The organizer fits into one end of your wheelbarrow. There is a space for small garden tools such as trowels and spades as well as a compartment with a lid for your keys, cell phone, or wallet. Also, it has a place for large tools such as a rake, shovels, and a broom. With this organizer, the days of running back to your shed for a forgotten tool are over!
  2. A Clog-Resistant Rake. Do you have to stop raking your yard every few minutes to clear wet leaves, sticks, twigs, and other debris out of your rake? The dual-tine design of this essential tool allows you to rake your yard or garden without the aggravation of a clogged rake.
  3. A Leaf Shredder. A leaf shredder is an essential tool, especially if you want to add leaves to your compost pile or garden. Simply dump leaves into the shredder and empty the bag of shredded leaves onto your compost pile or over your garden. Shredded leaves are much easier to spread, so you can put them exactly where you want them.
  4. A Hedge Trimmer. This tool is invaluable if you have hedges all around your property or home. You can choose an electric, battery or gas-powered hedge trimmer to help you cut your hedges evenly and efficiently this spring. I suggest you get some protective goggles to wear when you use your hedge trimmer: You never know when a small stick or twig is going to fly out at you as you work.
  5. A New Hose Nozzle. If you have a hose nozzle that sprays just one way, it's time to trade up. Get an adjustable nozzle that gives you the choice of shower, soaker, fan, sprinkle, and more. Set the nozzle one way to water plants and another way to spray dried mud off of your driveway.
  6. Plant Covers. Get some plant covers to protect your sensitive flowers and plants from damage due to an unexpected late frost. Plant covers made of all-purpose fabric can keep the cold out and warmth in.
  7. A Dig and Pry Tool. A dig and pry tool can be used to remove stubborn roots from a garden or make your way down through stony, packed soil. This essential tool has a long, sturdy handle that can help you get rocks and large stones out of your garden.
  8. A Lightweight Hose. A lightweight garden hose is an essential tool for many springtime chores. Use it to water your lawn, water the garden, and clean your walkways. I would venture to say that you aren't going to miss dragging an older, weighty garden hose around your property.

I hope these tools make the work you do around your property a little bit easier this spring! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: spring homeowner tools

Upgrade Your Curb Appeal Today

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Mar 10, 2017

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'A Gazebo can help make a Lovely Addition to Any Yard, Patio or Pool'

The arrival of spring brings with it a sense of renewal, don't you think? This renewal can encompass many things, including our homes. There are a few simple things you can do in the span of a day that can really boost the curb appeal of your home. Checkout some of my favorite refreshing spring home ideas!

Update the Look of Your House Numbers

Have you had the same house numbers on your home for as long as you can remember? Since you moved in? If the house numbers tacked up beside your front door or nailed to a post in your yard are beginning to fade or rust, it's time for a change! One idea is to display your house numbers in a frame dangling by a ribbon from the top of your front door. Or, find a free printable stencil online featuring large numbers in an interesting font. Use the stencil to paint the numbers onto your front door. Be sure to choose a color that shows up well against the background color of your door.

Paint or Replace Your Mailbox

Maybe your mailbox has seen its best days. If so, shop for a mailbox in a new design. Mailboxes are available at many big box and home improvement stores. If you have a traditional tunnel top mailbox, replace it with a square-shaped one. Or, get one that looks like a house with an A-frame roof! Maybe you can even design your own mini replica of your home. If you like the design of your current mailbox, don't replace it; paint it or dress it up with an applique. Just make sure your mailperson can still read the numbers.

Refresh Your Collection of Outdoor Plants

Putting new plants out on your front porch or front step is an easy way to increase your curb appeal. Place a beautiful young fern in a decorative pot or hang it in a basket near your front door. Or, place a coleus in a basket planter on your front stoop. The change and growth of plants give constant renewal to the appearance of the front entrance to your home.

Add Exterior Lighting

LED solar path lights can give an instant lift to the look of your home's exterior. One of the best things about these lights is they are available in all sorts of designs and sizes. Throughout the day these lights soak up the sun's rays, then pop on when the sun goes down. Also, there are LED solar lights you can display on your porch railing or hang from a wall bracket near your front door.

Add a Birdbath to Your Yard

A stone or ceramic birdbath is an attractive addition to a front yard. You can get a traditional birdbath in a pedestal and circular bowl style. Or, you may want to go with a bowl in the shape of a leaf or lily pad. Some birdbaths have fun design details such as a small frog or sparrow sitting on one edge of the bowl. You can get as imaginative as you want when choosing a birdbath to adorn your front yard. I think planting some tulips or pansies around your birdbath makes it look all the more appealing.

Sometimes just a small change here and there can boost your curb appeal to the next level. Thanks for reading! -Alan

Turning Your Shed Into A Bonus Room

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sun, Mar 5, 2017

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When you think of a storage shed, you may picture rakes, shovels, brooms, buckets, and maybe even a wheelbarrow inside the structure. Maybe you envision a shed with a riding lawnmower parked in one corner or a stack of plastic bins full of books, papers, or other items. But your shed can be a lot more than just a storage area. It can be a bonus room! Checkout some ideas for transforming your backyard shed into a bonus room.

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A Retreat

Whether you call it a man cave, a she shed, or a retreat, your shed can be the perfect getaway spot when you need some relaxation time. After sweeping the dust out of your shed, put down a colorful area rug. You'll be surprised at how much a simple rug can transform the look of your shed. Next, put your favorite easy chair into the shed. Hanging plants, framed prints, throw pillows, and a radio are other items that can make your shed comfier. The secret to decorating your retreat is to put all of your favorite things there so you'll feel right at ease the moment you open the door.

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A Children's Playhouse

An unused shed makes a great setting for a children's playhouse. Your children or grandchildren can put posters on the walls and bring in a few beanbag chairs to sit on. A gathering of colorful milk crates can serve as the perfect table for games, reading, or playing music. I suggest getting a little cabinet where the kids can put their favorite snacks, such as crackers, chips, raisins, etc. Be sure to keep the snacks in sealed sandwich bags or small plastic containers to prevent bugs from getting at them. The best thing about a shed playhouse is that you can keep an eye on your little ones while they're having a good time.

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A Guest Room

An unused shed can be transformed into an informal guest room. Put down a thick area rug so your guest can walk around the shed barefoot. Try to find a bed that is appropriate for the dimensions of your shed. A daybed could be used as a bed at night and a sofa during the day. Put up a mirror featuring an ornate frame as well as some artwork to help beautify the walls of your shed. Throw a soft comforter and pillows on the bed and your guests will feel cozy in your bonus room!

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A Pub

Making your shed into a pub doesn't mean you have to serve alcohol. You can serve any refreshments you want. A miniature refrigerator would be a great investment for your shed-turned-pub. Try stringing some LED lights around the windows of your shed to make your mini-parties more inviting. Get a CD player and put it in one corner of your shed so you can enjoy some music while you're serving soda, punch, and other refreshments to your friends. Get a few folding chairs, and use an old crate for a table. Your new pub is sure to be the hit of the neighborhood!

Use your imagination and get to work transforming your shed into a fabulous bonus room. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: turn shed into bonus room

7 DIY Home Improvement Projects That You Can Tackle In A Weekend

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Feb 27, 2017

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'Organize your garage to help find things faster and keep it neater'

Some home improvement projects take weeks or even months to plan and complete. Other DIY projects are simple and can be done in a single weekend. Here are seven DIY ideas for home improvement projects that can be done in just a couple of days.

Seven DIY Home Improvement Projects to Do on a Weekend

  1. Put in New Bathroom Tile. If the bathroom in your master bedroom or guest room needs a refreshed look, you may want to install a new tile floor. Putting down tile takes some planning, but is a relatively easy process especially if you use peel and stick tile. Peel and stick tile is available in all types of patterns and designs, so your bathroom can take on a whole new style in just a couple of days and without a complete and time-consuming overhaul!
  2. Paint the Front Entryway. Does your entryway need a lift? If the walls are beige, white or another neutral color, try painting them in a pastel. A pastel blue or green would be an appealing sight as you arrive home from work or school each day. If you have baseboards in your entryway, be sure to give them a fresh coat of white paint to complete the picture.
  3. Make a Brick Border Around a Tree. Do you have a favorite tree in your yard? If so, make a brick border to put around it. As a finishing touch, put a layer of mulch inside the brick border. This looks great and puts some distance between the tree and your lawnmower.
  4. Paint the Fence. If you have a white fence around your yard, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint. A white fence that is dusty or marked with stains can take away from and dull the curb-appeal of your property. However, a coat of bright white paint will immediately highlight your home and everything around it.
  5. Change the Handles on the Kitchen Cabinets. Putting on different handles may seem like a small thing to do, but it can transform the look of your cabinets. There are so many handles, knobs and pulls to choose from you're sure to end up with the perfect design. Brushed nickel, bronze, glass, and brushed brass are a just a few of the choices. Just for fun, I suggest you choose a cabinet handle style that is opposite from the one you have now. Your guests will wonder if you got new cabinets!
  6. Put Up a Tire Swing in the Backyard. This weekend DIY project is sure to please the young kids in your life. If you have a large tree with sturdy branches you can hang up an old tire for the little ones to use as a swing. Try it out for yourself and remember what you've been missing of those lovely sunny days outside.
  7. Add Some Organization to the Garage. Organizing your garage makes it look neater and allows you to find what you want, when you want it. Install a pegboard on a wall of your garage for storing your tools, nails, screws and more. You can label the containers to make it all the more organized. Create a special, labeled bin for your old cloths and rags to use for dirty jobs. Also, try making a screwdriver storage unit so you have all your screwdrivers stored safely and close at hand.

I hope these seven suggestions get you thinking about even more quick and creative DIY project ideas for your home. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: diy home improvement projects

How to Prevent Mold In Your Home

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Feb 14, 2017

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The growth of mold inside a home can cause members of a family to experience allergies, breathing problems, headaches, and more. Mold needs a warm, moist environment to grow. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent mold growth in your home.

Clean Wet Areas Right Away

Since moisture is a requirement for mold growth, drying wet spots can keep it from getting a foothold in your home. For instance, if you see water leaking in through a window and pooling on the sill, dry the spot right away. Then, take steps to seal the window with caulk or another product to prevent water from coming in. If you have a leaky pipe beneath a bathroom sink, it's important to turn off the water and dry the wet area. Then, you can fix the leak to prevent more water from ending up on the floor of your bathroom cabinet.

Maintain Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation can prevent mold growth in many areas of the home. For instance, running a fan in your bathroom after someone takes a shower causes the air to circulate, drying moisture on tile, walls, and floors. Also, check to make sure that the vent attached to your clothes dryer is clear and moving moist air out of your home. Sometimes, it's necessary to get your dryer vent cleaned due to a buildup of lint, dust, and other debris that can block the moist air from leaving your home. Turn on the fan above your stove when boiling water or otherwise using the burners. On warm days, open a window or patio door to allow air to circulate throughout your home!

Use Mold-Resistant Products

Put some mold-resistant items in your home. For example, if you're putting down new carpeting, look for a brand that is mildew-resistant. Mold-resistant drywall is also available. Check the label on the next can of paint you buy to see if it is mold-resistant. There are many cleaning products for bathroom tile and kitchen floors that have ingredients in them that help fight mold.

Check for Proper Drainage Outside Your Home

Any moisture in a basement is an invitation for mold growth. If your basement tends to flood during big storms, you may need to create a new system of drainage in your yard that moves rainwater away from your basement. Also, repairing or replacing leaky gutters can help to efficiently direct rain or melting snow away from your home.

Check the Humidity

A humid atmosphere in your home can prompt mold growth. Running a dehumidifier can help with this problem. But don't let that moisture go to waste. I suggest you use the water collected by the dehumidifier to water your vegetable or flower garden. Installing a ceiling fan in a strategic place can increase air circulation through your home and help reduce the moisture levels.

Habits That Can Prevent Mold

One simple habit that can prevent mold growth is to leave your washer lid open after taking out a load of wet clothing. This allows the air to circulate in your washer and dry it. After showering, use a towel to dry the tile to discourage the growth of mold, and hang your wet towels outside to air-dry.

Taking a few steps to prevent mold growth can contribute to the overall health of your family. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: prevent mold in home

What You Should Know Before Finishing Your Basement

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Feb 3, 2017

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The above picture of a metal building from Alan's Factory Outlet was from a customer that finished the structure.  Another option to think about would be to finish your basement.

Have you ever dreamed of relaxing in a comfortable, finished basement? Maybe you'd like to create a getaway spot you can get to in a matter of seconds. If so, there are a few things to consider before getting down to work on your basement refinishing project.

Make a Floor Plan

You don't have to be an architect to sit down and draw up a simple floor plan for your finished basement. Do you want a snack area or an area reserved just for a particularly large item, such as a pool table? Do you want to set up a home theater? If so, you won't need as much lighting in that segment of the basement. What sort of décor do you want? Answering these questions along with others allows you to end up with the finished basement of your dreams!

Conduct a Moisture Test

A basement with a moisture problem is not a good place for your favorite easy chair, television, and other valuable possessions. So before refinishing your basement, it's a good idea to conduct a moisture test. Take a two-foot-square piece of plastic sheeting and tape it to the basement floor. Tape another piece to a wall in your basement. After two weeks, check the condition of the plastic sheeting. If condensation has formed beneath the sheeting, then your basement foundation is unsealed. Alternatively, if there are drops of water on the surface of the plastic sheeting, then the basement air is too humid. Once you know more about the atmosphere of your basement, you can take steps to make it more accommodating.

Check With Your Local Municipality

Before you start work on your basement, you should check to see if you need any permits from your local municipality. You may need permission for construction, electrical, or other types of work you do in your basement. Chances are good that you will have to draw up an official plan of what you intend to do so it can be put on record.

Put in an Additional Sump Pump

An overworked sump pump can allow water to flood into your attractive finished basement. An additional sump pump also can serve as a backup in case the other fails. This is a precaution that protects you against costly damage of the items in your basement. Also, be sure to have battery power for your sump pump in case your electricity goes off.

Put in Insulation

Installing insulation in your basement is one way to maintain the warmth while keeping out the cold. In addition to helping to keep the space at a comfortable temperature, insulation with a vapor barrier can block out moisture. Do you have a lot of traffic noise around the outside of your home? Quality insulation can help to keep out some of the noise, too, so you can relax in peace.

Choose Your Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important elements of a finished basement. A well-lit space is more inviting to friends and family. Recessed lighting is a popular choice for basements because it takes up very little room. If you have a drop ceiling, this sort of lighting is especially convenient to install.

Create a Warm Atmosphere

Baseboard heating is an ideal option for a finished basement. This system gives you a steady supply of warm air that rises and flows through the room. I like the idea of baseboard heating because it fits into the space in a seamless way.

Enjoy your relaxing new basement, and thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: Finishing Your Basement

A Garage Door For Your Personality

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jan 30, 2017

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Does the appearance of a garage door say something about its owner's personality? Some garage door designs are simple, while others are complicated. Some are colorful, while others are monochromatic. The good news is that there are plenty of designs and colors to choose from. Which garage door best reflects your personality?

Castilian

The Castilian-style door is divided in half and made up of equally sized, long, thin panels. One thicker panel runs crosswise over each side. In addition, there are two horizontal panels on each half of the door. This is a design that looks ordinary but has a bit of a twist. It can complement a home with unique details and flourishes in its façade. If you are someone who likes to occasionally change up the routine, then this may be the door style for you!

Charleston

The Charleston garage door is divided in half with six rectangular windows at the top of each section. Three evenly spaced, recessed rectangular panels are featured beneath the windows. The small windows on this door can provide you with plenty of privacy. If you have small windows on your front door or elsewhere on the façade of your home, you may want to select this design. A person who likes balance and logic in all things is likely to appreciate this style.

Franciscan

The Franciscan door has a straightforward, plain design. This door is divided in half with three rectangular windows at the top that are equal in size. Beneath those windows are two large rectangular panels that run vertically down the length of the door. If you have a home with an ornate design, you may want to go with this simple door to balance out the overall picture. Someone with an organized, no-nonsense personality would likely be happy with this style.

Queen Anne

The Queen Anne garage door has small windows at the top that cascade down to the edge of the frame. The middle section of the door is filled with equally sized long, thin, raised panels. The bottom of the door displays two smaller sections of those same panels. Just think of a home with a white picket fence and a white Queen Anne-style garage door: I think that would make a great picture, don't you? One drawback of this door is that the windows are small and may not let much sunlight into your garage. But if you like elegant simplicity, then this style may be your best bet!

Valley Forge

The most unique thing about the Valley Forge design is its curved window at the top of the door. This stands out from the simple design of the remainder of the door. The middle section of the window is divided into three parts, while the side sections are divided into two smaller windows. Four long panels run beneath the side windows, while several long, thin panels run beneath the middle window section. The Valley Forge is an ideal choice if you have a rounded window in your front door design or rounded windows on the façade of your home. The small, high windows on this door would give you privacy while letting some sunshine into the structure. If you're someone who leads an ordered life but also enjoys a bit of whimsy, then this door would flow nicely with your personality.

Victorian

A Victorian-style garage door is divided down the middle into two sections. Each section has a large window with a gently slanting design. The large windows are divided into eight smaller windows. The door below each window is divided into two rows of four panels that are all equal in size. A Victorian garage door complements a home with the same type of even, symmetrical design features. Also, the high, small windows provide you with some privacy. However, if you're looking for a door with a strikingly interesting design, this is not the style for you. If you make a lot of to-do lists and crave order in your life, then this garage door would be a perfect reflection of your personality.

Next time you're shopping for a garage door, try choosing one that says something about you! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: garage door personality

A Quick Guide For Identifying Common Lawn Pests

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Jan 10, 2017

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Alan's Factory Outlet metal carports can help protect your car from ice, hail and falling branches.  How well protected is your yard from pests?

There are many types of pests that can invade your yard. It's easy to tell when a neighborhood dog has been digging holes around your fence: You can sometimes identify the guilty canine by the dried mud on its nose and ears. But what if you see damage to your lawn but never spot the perpetrator? Here are some tips on how to identify lawn pests without ever seeing them in person. Enjoy!

Grubs

Patches of wilting grass around your lawn can be a sign that you have an invasion of grubs. After the grass wilts, the turf begins to turn brown. If you lift a piece of this brown turf, you'll find that it has a sponge-like texture. You may even be able to see a few grubs underneath the turf. An increase in crows and other birds on your lawn can be another indicator of a grub problem, since many birds feed on grubs.

Moles

Moles live in tunnels that go a couple of feet underground, but that doesn't mean your lawn is off limits. As a mole tunnels beneath your lawn, it moves the loose ground toward the surface, creating piles of dirt that look like mini-volcanoes. These piles can sometimes measure a foot across! This can turn a simple walk through your yard into a treacherous journey. Look out for mole tunnels near sidewalks and driveways.

Rabbits

Where there is one rabbit, there are many. Some signs of rabbits include chewed plant leaves and vegetables missing from your garden. Also, they leave piles of round droppings wherever they go. Rabbits like to come out early in the morning as well as in the early evening, so keep your eyes open for a visit. I suggest you plant some items in your garden or yard that are distasteful to rabbits, such as yarrow, lavender, or black-eyed Susans.

Japanese Beetles

One Japanese beetle in your yard is no problem. But these insects travel in groups. Finding plants with numerous chew holes in the leaves is one sign that you have Japanese beetles. And a large, hungry group of them can leave skeletal plants in their wake.

Cutworms

If you think you have cutworms around your lawn, look for wilting plants and plants chewed through near the bottom of the stem. These pests feed on young plants and only come out at night. A group of cutworms can make their way through a large gathering of plants in a relatively short amount of time.

Squirrels

If you think that squirrels limit their activities to the treetops, think again. Some squirrels take on pest-like behavior by digging holes in a lawn to bury nuts. They are also known to dig holes in potted plants kept outdoors. Small holes in the lawn or your garden are signs that you've had a visit from a squirrel. You may even find a nut buried in the soil of the potted plant you keep on the patio!

Once you identify the pests, you can start figuring out what you can do to dissuade them from establishing permanent residence in your yard. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: common lawn pests

Caring For Houseplants During Winter

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Jan 4, 2017

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Here is an inside view of Alan's Factory Outlet 40' wide metal buildings.  You could even put a houseplant inside one of the metal garages to help make it feel like home.

Do you have any houseplants? Perhaps you have a favorite Boston fern or a tall aloe vera plant in your home. Though many houseplants are low-maintenance, there are a few things you can do to help them thrive despite the changes that come with the winter months.

Move Your Plants to the Best Location

Consider the location of the houseplants in your home. Make sure they are in a place where they receive an adequate amount of sunlight. Avoid putting your plants too close to a window: Windows may let in drafts that can harm the health of your plants. In addition, houseplants shouldn't be kept near a heat source, so if your houseplant is sitting next to a vent or above one, it should be moved so it doesn't dry out. Also, monitor the temperature of your home at night. Houseplants need to be kept in a room where the temperature stays between 60 and 70 degrees both day and night.

Monitor the Humidity Level

Boston ferns, aloe vera, and rex begonias are just a few examples of houseplants that thrive in a humid environment. But the air inside a home can become very dry during the winter months due to the heat produced by a furnace. One solution is to set up a portable humidifier near your plants to add some moisture to the air inside your home. Or you can put your houseplants in the bathroom and run the hot water in your shower for several minutes. Let your plants stay in the bathroom for an hour or so with the door closed. Doing this twice a week should give them the humid air they need to stay healthy.

Clean Your Plants

Keeping your plants clean can help them continue to flourish throughout the winter. Use a soft cloth, a small amount of warm water, and mild dish soap to clean the leaves of your houseplants. If you have a plant with prickly leaves, such as an African violet, try using a pipe cleaner or a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently remove the dust and dirt from both the upper and lower surface of each leaf. Cleaning your plants keeps their pores clear, allowing them to breathe and freely absorb sunlight. I suggest you put together a little kit containing a soft cloth, toothbrush, pipe cleaners, and a bottle of dish soap. That way, you're ready to clean every time your houseplants need a touch-up.

Give Your Plants the Proper Amount of Water

Most houseplants don't need as much water during the winter months as during the spring and summer. A good test to see if a plant needs water is to put your finger about two inches down into the soil. If the soil is dry at that depth, water your plant thoroughly. It's a smart idea to research how much water your specific types of houseplants need to survive during the cold weather months.

Don't forget about your houseplants this winter. Think of them as a constant reminder of the new growth you'll see this spring. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: caring for houseplants

Maintaining Your Fireplace During Winter

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Dec 28, 2016

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Run in sheds can not only be used for horses but also for equipment or a place to stack firewood to help keep it dry.

Over the years, I've noticed that a fire crackling in a fireplace has a way of drawing people into a room. The warmth of the fire combined with its familiar fragrance is a pleasant addition to a cold, snowy evening. I love to put up my feet near the fireplace and enjoy some delicious popcorn. But it's important to make sure that you maintain your fireplace so it's ready to go during the winter months. Use these tips to keep your fireplace in safe working order.

Inspect the Chimney

This is the most important maintenance tip to remember. Creosote, soot, and ashes build up on the inside of your chimney. These elements can create blockage that can lead to a fire or smoke flowing back into your home. It's a good idea to hire a professional who has the equipment to safely inspect and clean your chimney. A professional chimney cleaner will be able to find cracks and other damage. An inspection/cleaning should be done about once a year or more frequently, depending on how often you use your fireplace.

Sweep the Fireplace

It's a smart idea to clean the ashes and partially burned logs out of the fireplace every time you use it. This prevents a buildup of flammable debris in your fireplace. A set of fireplace tools including a special broom and shovel can be helpful in getting the job done in an efficient way. Be sure to vacuum any stray ashes off the hearth of your fireplace so they don't get tracked onto the carpet.

Install a Chimney Cap

Installing a chimney cap can keep leaves, sticks, and other debris out of your chimney flue. Plus, it stops rain from running into your flue and causing damage. Squirrels and birds are notorious for trying to build nests in chimneys, and a chimney cap can also deter them from trying to take up residence in your flue. Installing a chimney cap can help you simplify some of your chimney maintenance tasks this time of year.

Inspect Your Fireplace Doors

Chances are good that you have glass doors on your fireplace. Inspect the glass on your doors to find any cracks or damage. Also, open and close the doors to make sure that the hinges and latch are in proper working order. Now is the best time to make necessary repairs to your fireplace doors.

Maintain Smoke Detectors

You may already have a smoke detector near your fireplace. If so, check the batteries and test it to make sure it is working properly. If you don't have a smoke detector near your fireplace, consider installing one. This can give you extra peace of mind, especially when you aren't in the room to monitor the fire in your fireplace.

Finally, check the condition of your firewood. Take two logs and bang them together. If you hear a crack, it means they are dry and in good condition. A thudding sound means they have taken on moisture and should not be used in your fireplace.

Enjoy your fireplace this winter, and thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: maintaining fireplace

 

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