5 Early Autumn Home Maintenance Tips

Autumn is comingIf you’re like me, you love Summer! And, although I will go kicking and screaming all the way into fall, truth is…this is one of my most favorite times of the year!

For some, it might be too early to talk about the changing of the season but like it or not, Autumn means getting the old Homestead ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store for us.

Aside from the usual chores of raking the leaves and all that, this is a great time of the year to get some much needed items checked off the maintenance list before it gets too cold and rainy.

Here are 5 Early Autumn Home Maintenance Tips to get your home ready for…not Summer!

  1. Get the furnace and the gas fireplace tuned up – This is the perfect time to get your furnace serviced and replace the old filters. Also, if you use a gas (or wood burning) fireplace for your heat, make sure the chimney and all the serviceable parts are working. It becomes very expensive getting your heating source worked on when it gets cold. 
  2. Clean out those gutters and – The most dreaded chore for most of us…getting all that muck and ick out of the gutters. Although we had the hottest and driest Summer on record, the last few weeks have shown us that Mother Nature still likes to remind us we are a wet and windy climate. Don’t get caught with a clogged downspout or clumps of gunk and leaves when the next rainstorm hits.
  3. Prep your outdoor living area – We all enjoy our patio and deck but we also need to get things ready so when those area become only a memory of our summer BBQ’s and gatherings, we make the effort to put the tables, chairs and our old friend, the BBQ away so they don’t have to deal with the harshness of the elements. 
  4. Trim back tree branches – For those who have trees near their home, take a good look at their condition. The long hot summer may have been more for them than they could take. With our recent wind storm…and certainly more to follow…making sure you’re not a casualty of a falling limb or worse is an absolute must!
  5. Secure any other outdoor items – Don’t be that person chasing down a garbage can lid or your parasol down the street. We tend to forget about those things until it becomes a race to get them out of the neighbors yard. Look around your yard to see what was set up for Summer fun that can be easily picked up by the wind or ruined by the rain and bring it in for safe storage.

I’m sure you have more that needs to be done before old man Winter takes his rightful place in our little corner of the world. I hope you had a wonderful Summer and look forward to a great Autumn coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate

5 Smart Tips to Winterize Your Home

Yep, it’s that time of the year again…time to think about what it takes to winterize your home.

Winterize your home“You can’t get too much Winter in the Winter.”

– Robert Frost

Maybe it’s our tempered climate…perhaps it’s the infrequency of really cold weather, whatever the case may be, the inevitable burst water pipes and spike in your heating bill seems to always catch many homeowners off guard.

Every year you hear reports of situations that many homeowners can easily avoid with just a few smart and easy fixes. None are overly expensive but the recourse to ignoring the grip old man winter can have on us here in the Pacific Northwest can be!

Making sure you and your home is ready for whatever winter brings requires us all to make sure we take care of a few key items. Winterizing your home not only takes just a few dollars…it also makes a lot of cents!


Here are 5 easy ways to insure you winterize your home this year.

Furnace Inspection –

This is the most costly of all the winter issues to deal with. It’s not if but WHEN will your furnace need to be replaced. So, if you think yours in on it’s last leg, don’t wait until December to replace it!

Of course, there are a few really smart tips to make sure your working furnace remains working and in good running order.

  • Clean your ducts and have your furnace tuned up every year.
  • Have plenty of furnace filters and change them monthly.
  • Look into switching your old thermostat for a programmable thermostat so it’s not needing to work so hard.

Get your Fireplace and Chimney cleaned – 

If you heat your home with your fireplace, be sure you take care of the chimney to remove all the creosote built up and be certain to clean the top of your chimney to make sure any critters that call this home are safe and out of the way.

Other smart tips to make sure you stay toasty this Winter.

  • Make sure you use seasoned firewood. Also, do let it get wet and keep it away from the exterior of your home.
  • Be certain the fireplace damper is properly opening and closing.
  • If you live in a old house that has a brick and mortar chimney, have a professional check for cracks and have the tuck points looked at.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors –

Seems like a no non-sense move but you hear the stories every year of someone getting poisoning or worse simply because of Carbon Monoxide.

  • Have a carbon monoxide and smoke detector in every room. HINT: install a carbon monoxide detector next to your furnace and water heater
  • Have plenty of batteries on hand and change both the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when daylight savings ends.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher on hand…just in case.

Prevent Plumbing Freezes –

Hands down the biggest pain in the backside every winter. In our region, we just don’t see that many hard freezes but they do happen. So making sure your pipes are insulated and not susceptible to those freezing temperatures is an absolute must.

  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes…particularly those that run under your house in crawl spaces. Damage to your foundation from a burst water pipe can be extremely expensive.
  • In the event of an extreme freeze, open up you cabinets under your kitchen and bathroom sink to allow the heat in the house to get to your pipes. Also, turn your hot water on just enough so you have a steady flow of warm water going throughout your pipes.

When all else fails…Prepare an Emergency Kit –

Besides the occasional deep freeze, our region is no stranger to wind storms. With wind comes downed power poles and power outages. Any one who live in the Northwest in 2006 clearly recalls the wind storm in December that knocked out power in our region for up to 10 days. Many who didn’t know better brought BBQ’s and generators into their homes to keep warm. Of course, we know the end results as many died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Be certain you have lots of tea lights and indoor candles as well as something to light them with.
  • Always have a battery operated radio handy to keep up with events.
  • Find resources to insure you have a battery pack for crucial digital items such as cell phones and computers.
  • Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if you have a pet), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
  • Have a safe place to keep cash on hand. If the power is out and you need supplies…cash may be the only source of payment stores can accept.

Winterizing your Home is a Smart and Safe way to enjoy the cold months in the Northwest

I hope you will take away some good information from some of these tips. Perhaps they will serve as a reminder that it’s time to get ready for old man Winter and that not even us in the Pacific Northwest are safe from the clutches of winter!

SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate