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May Newsletter

May Flowers In Bloom


Wow! May came and went quickly! Here is your May newsletter, in the nick of time. This month we touch on programmable thermostats and how to keep up on maintaining your water heater. Check our suggestions on springtime yard maintenance and 5 quick fix home remedies!


Programmable Home Thermostats

This is a crazy weather time of year. On some days it may be 20 degrees in the morning but by afternoon it's up to 75 degrees. Adjusting your home thermostat by hand can wreak havoc on your home heating costs. A programmable thermostat can adjust your home heating and cooling automatically, keeping you more comfortable for less money.

The US Department of Energy claims that the proper use of a programmable thermostat can cut your heating and cooling costs by 10%! These devices allow you to program a schedule that will change the temperature of your home, or specific areas of your home, several times per day. There are several kinds, and many are controllable remotely through mobile apps.

Learn more about programmable thermostats here>>

Hot Water Heaters

Maintenance and DIY Repairs

A hot water heater is one of those things we rarely think about until something goes wrong and it usually goes wrong when you need it most - like in the middle of a shower! There are simple things you can do to keep your water heater running at maximum efficiency and with good maintenance you can extend the life of your water heater.

Hot Water Heater Flush - approximately once a year completely empty your water heater's tank. Put a bucket under the spout and run it empty. This removes sediment and buildup that can collect in the bottom of the tank and compromise the efficiency of the heater.

Adjust the temperature to 120 degrees, or no higher than 130 degrees. These lower temperatures reduce the build-up of sediment.

Test the Pressure Relief Valve

On the upper side of the water heater is a valve with a tube running below it. This is called a "pressure relief valve." If the water tank were to over-pressurize, this valve would cut on to relieve the pressure inside the tank. If this valve is not working properly when it is needed, the hot water heater could explode if it ever became over-pressurized.

To test the operation of the pressure valve shut the cold water supply off to the water heater. Place a bucket underneath the valve to catch any water that drip from it while testing. Pull the pressure valve switch about halfway and let it go allowing it to shut off again. You should here a gurgling sound or slight rush of air. If you did not, the pressure valve will need to be replaced. Read more about water heater repairs here>>

Check and replace the sacrificial anode rod - this rod inserted into the hot water of your tank reduces the corrosion of exposed steel inside your tank. Once the anode rod corrodes the hot water will begin corroding the inside of your water tank! Here is a link to how to replace the anode rod on your tank>>

Yard Maintenance

The curb appeal of your home definitely adds to its value. Make sure your house looks presentable and cared for. Nobody's going to pay top dollar for a house with a scrubby lawn, no landscaping and debris everywhere. It's getting to be late spring already so the grass is growing in earnest, flowers are blooming, and foliage is coming in. Keeping your yard in tip-top shape is easy if you take a few small steps every week.

First - to get ready for the season make sure your lawn mower is in good repair. Get a lawn mower tune up at your local hardware store. Get new spark plugs, fresh gas, and sharpened mowing blades. Lawn mowers can be a substantial investment so keep yours in good repair to make it last longer.

Aerate your lawn - Aerating takes out small plugs of lawn and dirt so that water, fertilizer and oxygen can reach the grass roots. There are lawn aerating tools that you can push, jab or tow with a riding mower - there are even aerating shoes you can use!

Pick up debris - after windstorms, even after trash day - garbage, branches, sticks and other stuff that messes up your home's presentation is easy to manage if you take care of it right away and don't let it pile up.

Herbicides - to keep down the dandelions and weeds. If it's early enough in the season you can look for a pre-emergent herbicide which will kill crabgrass and other weeds before they take root.

Check for Weakened trees

Inspect trees for broken branches. If the limb is high up, hire a licensed arborist. If you can reach it from the ground, take it down using the three-cut technique, which prevents bark from tearing and creating an open wound on the trunk:

Make the first cut 1 to 2 feet from the branch collar, sawing a quarter way through the bottom of the branch.

Make the second cut 3 inches farther out from the first, sawing all the way through the branch.

Make the final cut just beyond the branch collar, sawing from the top down.

Check trunks for signs of "sun scalding," which typically affects the south and the southwest sides of smooth-barked trees, such as maples. Inspect for roots poking through the soil, a possible sign that the tree is starting to list. If you had heavy snowfall in winter, look for bending branches. Make a mental note and check that they bounce back and produce leaves in the spring.

5 Super Easy Fixes for Common Problems


Stinky Garbage Disposal

With the disposal turned OFF, push 2 cups of ice into the disposal. Turn on the water and the disposal motor. When the ice is gone, turn off the disposal again and pour 1/2 C of baking soda and 1 C of vinegar. Let it fizz a moment, then rinse it away with hot water. Finally, push a few citrus rinds in the disposal then run it again.

Rust Around Stainless Steel Sinks

If you have rust stains in your stainless steel sink or on any of your stainless steel appliances here is a quick easy fix. Mix vinegar into a couple tablespoons of baking soda to make a paste. Spread the paste onto the stain and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Scrub it away with warm water and a scrub pad. If it doesn’t work the first time try again but let the paste sit longer.

Hardwood Floor Scrapes

Scrapes and wear on your hardwood floors is natural and part of the appeal of hardwood floors but for the excessive scratches or gouges you need a spot fix. Basic surface scratches can be concealed with stain markers that match the color of your floor. But for deeper scratches try paste wax that matches the color of your floor. Rub into the scrap, and polish off the excess.

Fingerprints on Stainless Steel

If you want a fingerprint-free stainless steel for more than 2 minutes, try car wax. A gentle car wax over your stainless steel appliances can keep away fingerprints longer than a simple wipe with window cleaner.

Squeaky Doors

Of course a quick spray with WD-40 will stop a squeaky door. But maybe you’re looking for a more natural, less toxic solution, or maybe you need it fixed now and you’re out of WD-40. Try using petroleum jelly, soap, or cooking oil. Remove the pin from the door hinge, coat in one of these lubricants, and replace the pin. No more squeak!

For Fun

Create your summer reading list with these silly book titles:
The Dogs' Dinner by Nora Bone
The Cliff Tragedy by Eileen Dover
French Windows by Pattie O'Dors
Forestry by Teresa Green
Olympic Games by Arthur Letics
How to Make Honey by B. Keeper
Easy Money by Robyn Banks
Gunfire by R. Tillery
Long Walk by Miss D. Buss

Holidays in May

May 1 - May Day and National Day of Prayer
May 5 - Cinco de Mayo
May 11 - Mother's Day
May 12 - Nurses Day
May 13 - Buddha's Birthday
May 15 - International Day of the Family
May 22 - International day for Biological Diversity
May 26 - Memorial Day
May 31 - World No Tobacco Day

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