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Are you looking for the pawfect gift for your furry friend this Christmas? For most of us, our pups aren't just our buddies, they are truly members of our families, and we want to pamper them at Christmastime just like we do the rest of our loved ones! So I've sniffed out some bark-worthy deals and spectacular gifts that your dog will absolutely LOVE. Take a look:

Dog Cookies

 

Everyone else is eating cookies at Christmas, so why can't your dogs?  Well, they can, just not our cookies, dogs really shouldn't have sugar, but there are many places offering homemade dog cookies.  Gifts like this pack from Exclusively Dogs offer treats with four different cookies in it, made especially for dogs. This one includes 1 package of peanut butter wafer cookies, 1 package of beef and liver bits, 1 package of vanilla sandwich cremes, and 1 package of cheese-flavored bones AND tt even comes in festive packaging!

Browse more Exclusively Dog Items Here.

WXQ Winter Reflective Dog Jacket

Winter can be dangerous for dogs. Sure, they have more hair than us (well most of us) but they are still susceptible to the dangers of freezing temperatures. It also gets darker earlier, making it harder to see.  Glare can be especially bad on wet nets, so, maybe this reflective fleece lined dog jacket is just what your pup needs.  It's waterproof, warm for snowy and rainy days, and it helps drivers see your pooch.  It's available in a larger variety of sizes too.  Browse Reflective Jackets & other products here.

Paw Protection

If your dog loves romping around in the snow, or if you live in a colder climate where snow is prevalent, chances are your dog comes in contact with a lot of sand and salt.  This does a number on your dog’s paws and can be very painful, sometimes leading to cracking and bleeding.  So here’s a tip from the Mushers.  Apply this cream to the bottom of their paws before a walk.  It forms a protective barrier over the paw, making each walk more enjoyable and protects their paws from bleeding .   This method is often more tolerated by dogs than those protective booties. Get your MUSHERS CREAM here.

 

Kurgo Loft Hammock-Style Car Seat Cover

Dogs who ride in the back seat make a mess, obviously, but It’s not their fault.  They shed, their paws get dirty, leaving trails of prints all over the seat.  But this doesn’t have to be the case.  No, the answer is not a crate carrier, that’s cruel.  Instead, try the Kurgo Loft seat cover. It’s really a gift for both of you.  It protects your seats and secures your dog safely in the back.  This one is reversible AND waterproof AND machine washable. Check your local pet store or get your cozy KURGO LOFT SEAT here.

1 Foot Long Dingo Rawhide Candy Cane 

Everyone loves Candy Canes at Christmas…now your Dog can Enjoy them too!  A foot long Rawhide candy cane.  This will definitely keep your pooch busy while everyone is opening presents.  Our local pet stores definitely have these holiday treats!

The Ultimat BARK BOX!

If you want to be as surprised as Fido once a month when the mailman comes to the house with a nice boxed gift....then the Bark Box is for you! The BarkBox is a monthly subscription service that delivers treats, toys, chews and gadgets handpicked to engage your pup. You can sign up for a one-, three-, six- or 12-month subscription, which will be shipped on the 15th of each month. You can order your BARK BOX here!

PETZI TREAT CAM!

The real world forces us to leave our pets at home for big stretches during the day, but that doesn't mean we have to be completely separated from them. While any home-monitoring camera will let you keep an eye on what they're up to, the Petzi Treat Cam lets you watch in 720p high definition, speak to them via an embedded speaker, take pictures of them and even reward your pet with a treat remotely. Just push a button on your smartphone or tablet and out will pop one to three treats. The camera works in low light and has a wide viewing angle.  SO COOL!

Find the PETZI TREAT CAM here.

4-Legger Certified Organic All Natural Dog Shampoo

A good dog shampoo is hard to find. The pet store formulations are meh, okay, I guess…and human shampoo isn’t made for dogs. This organic shampoo uses rosemary and lemongrass essential oils, which will help deter fleas and ticks while leaving behind a fresh lemon scent. This is formulated as a mild cleanser, so it should be good for even the most sensitive dogs.

GoughNuts - Indestructible Dog Toys

One of the toughest dog toys available.  They guarantee it!  It's made from two solid pieces of rubber. Their goal is to provide the safest fun and durable product possible.  In the case of the Tug Toy design, there are two rings to protect human hands and dog snouts. Perfect blend of function and play for your pet! There is a large selection of shapes and sizes, perfect for every dog. Want to try a Ghounut...get it here or at a local pet store

WHISTLE GPS PET TRACKER

This small system fits onto your pet's collar and acts as a GPS beacon should they escape. Just press "locate" on your computer or mobile device, and the system will show you where your animal companion is exploring, letting you go and fetch him or her. The system can also be set up to send you — and up to four other people — an alert when your pet escapes. It also acts as a fitness tracker of sorts for pets, logging their activity and rest, which gives some insight into how man's best friend spends his or her day.   Get your WHISTLE TRACKER here!

I love my pups, Pharis and Simon, and Christmastime for them is no different than it would be for children in our families. If you feel the same, try any or all of these items and spoil your pups too!

Have a POWERFUL Day!

5 Tips For Making Your Home More Appealing to Both Men & Women!

by Rose Price

Neutralize Your Home!

Neutralizing your home makes it appealing to both Genders.  

Here are 5 Tips on how to do it best

Whether you’re getting ready to put your home on the market or you’re simply updating your decor, there are a few important tips that will help you transform your home, while still appealing to both Gender’s personal tastes.

1. Pick a neutral base.
A good rule to follow is to start with a good base; pick neutral colors like grey, beige, and white for walls, floors, counters and your large furnishing. Then create depth with deeper tones; choose navy, black or burgundy and then add a splash of color with your accent pieces. Accent pieces can be artwork, rugs, pillows or curtains. This method is tried and true and will never go out of style.

2. Utilize tailored furniture with contemporary accents

Big tufted velvet or floral patterned sofas obviously speak more to feminine tastes with a more formal style. Using a streamlined sofa (pictured above) in a great neutral fabric with a sleek, contemporary coffee table, while adding in modern accents makes for a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.  This is pleasing to both sexes.  You can still add your "pop of color" by pairing it with a colored leather chair- which is regarded as more "manly" but the colored part lends itself to the females a well, and the whole set-up gives you some sophistication too.

3. Bring on the patterns & texture! 

Just because you're looking to neutralize a room to make it more amenable to make sexes doesn't mean you need to give up texture & patterns....it just means you stay away from sequins & fluff.  Grab a great neutral patterned rug with a cozy woven throw blanket to hang over your sofa or chair and find some mis-matched, patterned & textured pillows. Believe me, both men & women LOVE cozy blankets & great pillows.  They look chic and are comfortable too!A patterned rug along with fun accents like a cozy woven throw blanket and textured pillows is a great way to add chic appeal.

*Don't go for delicate trinkets on coffee tables or shelves! Instead opt for the cool industrial or vintage style with chrome, metal, brass side tables, floor lamps and finishing touches that are super modern.

4. Mix and match fabrics

So many times, even in regular decors, people are afraid to mix & match fabrics. Don't be! Leather or velvet fabric furniture can be neutralized by adding accent pillows in linen, cotton, or canvas.  You can simply drape a cashmere throw blanket over the back of the leather couch and it becomes more welcoming and cozy. Even a fur blanket can be draped over the brushed leather and look ultra modern and appeal to both sexes, just don't overdo it with other more feminine accents. Keep things very balanced.  You also need to keep window treatments simple! Think soft, easy flowing fabrics or a simple, tailored roman shade style in a cream, gray or white.

5. Bring natural elements inside the home.

Nothing adds more of a manly touch to a home than adding a touch of nature with earthy elements like reclaimed wood tables, tree stump stools, woven baskets, natural fiber rugs, and even twisted tree branch arrangements.  You can bring flowers indoors, but you'll need to look at succulents or berry bearing type branches & greenery. Artwork should also be kept to coastal, nautical or landscape type scenery. Remember your theme throughout the home should stay neutral in order to stay pleasing to both genders. 

For more Home Selling and Staging Tips visit my Blog, Facebook Page and my Pinterest Boards

Have a POWERFUL day!  

Find out:  

What Your Home Is Worth: Get an instant market analysis of your home. Find out what your home is worth in the current real estate market.   

Christmas Tree Safety in Champaign IL

by Rose Price

Christmas Tree Safety for Families in Champaign

For many people it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until there is a tree in the house. However, Christmas trees often present a few safety issues, even though they are much fewer than they were years ago. Each year home fires occur from Christmas Trees- Faux or Real for a variety of reasons.  Below are some tips to help ensure your Holidays are burning brightly....but in a good way, not with flames!

Choose your tree wisely: If you decide, like many people do, to go with a lovely fresh pine tree, there are certain things need to look for:

  • The tree should be flexible and fragrant NOT dry and brittle.
  • Shake the tree and make sure it doesn’t lose too many needles, this is a good indicator that the tree is fresh.
  • Examine the bark and make sure there are no insects crawling around.
  • Lastly, and often an after thought, bring a tape measure and make sure this tree will fit in your home.

Set it up right: Sounds simple, but there are things people overlook. Here's what you need to do:

  • Keep your tree at least 3 ft away from any heat source, including fireplaces, vents, radiators, and even light fixtures!
  • To keep your Tree fresh longer, always saw off the bottom 1-inch of the fresh tree- this ensures maximum hydration.
  • Make sure it is secured well; preferably in a tree stand and screwed in tightly!
  • Never put it in the path of traffic in your home. Find a nice, out of the way, focal point in your home.

Fa La La La Light it Up Safely! Faulty wires from Christmas lights is one of the main causes of Christmas tree fires. Although our Christmas lights are much safer now than they have ever been, caution and common sense should still be demonstrated.

  • Make sure your lights are working properly and meant for indoor use.
  • Always check for broken bulbs & exposed filament....replace before putting on the tree.
  • NEVER, EVER USE REAL CANDLES!! If you like the old fashioned look of candles in the tree, use the electronic version!

Your Tree Gets Thirsty....Water Often: Sure the tree is going to come down soon, it may not seem all that important to keep it watered, but having a well hydrated tree makes all the difference in preventing a fire. If you’re planning to keep your tree up for a while, don't forget to water in the New Year - almost as many Christmas tree fires occur in January as in December.

 


Faux vs. Real Christmas Trees:

Most people have already answered this question themselves, but for those of you still on the fence, here are some pros and cons of each to consider.

  • If your priority is minimum cost and maximum convenience, Faux Christmas trees may be the best way to go, especially since faux trees don't look all that "fake" anymore. You just purchase a quality artificial Christmas tree once and you will be set for years.
  • Most environmentally-minded groups advocate real over faux trees because they benefit local farmers (the great majority of trees currently come from farms and not forests), they are also 100 percent recyclable, and don't contain potentially harmful plastics or chemicals…all good things.
  • The whole faux trees are safer, hasn’t been proved, especially since most holiday fires are started by overloaded electrical outlets…in these cases, both types of trees are equally likely to catch fire. Even "flame resistant" artificial trees have been known to ignite if the temperature is high enough, and unlike real trees, they emit harmful toxins while burning.

​​

Our Conclusion: Do what makes you HAPPY!  If you prefer a Fresh Cut Tree...then get a beautiful fresh cut tree!  If you'd rather have a terrific Faux tree, then do a Faux Tree!  As long as you're happy and celebrating the season with love, joy, family & friends that's all that matters! 

If you are interested in looking for a home in the lovely Champaign/Urbana IL area, please give me a call! I'd love to show you around our Charming Community. 217-202-8843.  

Champaign IL Upcoming Events!

by Rose Price

7th Annual Folk and Roots Festival November 5-7

The Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival is an all-volunteer-run, grassroots festival that brings together national, regional and local artists and folk organizations.  There will be over 80 high-quality folk performances and participatory activities throughout downtown Urbana. The festival includes performances, dances, instructional sessions, jams, song-circles, family activities, storytelling, instrument-making and much, much more!  The festival is interested in evolving and unique forms of folk music and art, notably forms that break down barriers between audience and performers, while at the same time preserving local traditions and histories.

Official Site

Full Schedule

Volunteer

The 36th Annual Chris Cringle Craft Show --> November 6th & 7th 

Friday 3pm-9pm & Saturday 9am-5pm

@ 601 N Country Fair Drive, Champaign IL

The Chris Cringle Arts & Crafts Show is one of the Midwest’s largest craft shows, featuring over 155 booths and a wide variety of handcrafted items by local and area artists, as well as artists from all over the Midwest. There is free parking at the Fluid Events Center, but please DO NOT park in the County Market lot across the street, you may be towed. 

Illinois Heartland Decorative Artist sponsors a raffle featuring a holiday quilt, painted and pieced by our members. Tickets for the raffle are $1 each or 6 for $5. Proceeds from our show support our many projects, including art student scholarships, Memorial 4-H Camp, Decorative Arts Collections, memory boxes for hospitals, sponsoring families through the Department of Children and Family Services, area food banks, seminars, demonstrations, displays and a weekend retreat.

Visit the Illinois Heartland Decorative Artists Website for more information.

CUSR Cupcake 5K --> Sunday November 8th @ 9:00 am Parkland College

The only race that ends with a cupcake! Pretty Sweet!

The CUSR Cupcake 5K is  is a timed race ending with a cupcake. Funds raised will go into CUSR’s scholarship fund, which supports individuals who need financial assistance in order to access CUSR programs and services. Runners, walkers, and registrants who use a wheelchair are all welcome. A valid ID must be provided in order to receive pre-race information.  You can also check the CUSR Facebook page for more information.  The event will be held, rain or shine and there will be no refunds given, which is good because all proceeds go to the CUSR Scholarship fund.  For more information visit the CUSR Facebook Page.

Register

Check back often to my website, blog and Facebook page for more events, Holiday Festivals and more!

Champaign IL Top 3 Style Preferences of Home Buyers!

by Rose Price

Champaign/Urbana IL Home Owners if you're looking to "Freshen-up Your Decor" and get your homes on the market, take note of the Style Preferences below! In a recent promotion taken of prospective Home Buyers by Realtor dot com, buyers were asked to vote for their favorite type of decor as part of their “Get This Look” promotion. The styles below won overwhelmingly over any other home styles. 

The following is a breakdown of the TOP 3 STYLE PREFERENCES of BUYERS:

Good-Bye Hollywood's Spectacular looking but "don't touch" decor! Follow these tips for an easier to sell home!

INVITING: This is described as a welcoming atmosphere that includes fun bar ware, plenty of seating, and a gather-worthy kitchen that can serve as the LIFE OF THE PARTY!

RUSTIC: This look is for those who prefer natural elements: wood, stone, water and light. This design style usually incorporates organic materials from the outside/ inside for a perfect balance.

BEACHSIDE CHARM: This design has a relaxed and casual feel, often incorporating terra cotta tile, patio umbrellas, sun decks, and scattered shells.

Meanwhile, the design styles least favored in the survey: Regal (a design that uses fine fabrics and antiques), Urban, eclectic Mid-Century Modern, and Earthy.

Happy decorating...Look for more tips to come here on my Blog and on my Facebook Page!

If you'd like more information about homes for sale in the Champaign/Urbana IL area, please give me a call at 217-202-8843 or visit my website at www.champaignrose.com.

Resource: Realtor Mag.

CHAMPAIGN IL HALLOWEEN 2015

by Rose Price

HALLOWEEN FUN FEST 2015

Tuesday Oct 27, 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
SPOOKTACULAR HAUNTED HOUSE!

Market Place Shopping Center, North Neil Street, Champaign, IL


One of the best FREE family events for 30 years!  Join the Champaign and Urbana Park Districts, along with Market Place Mall, in Dressing up in your favorite costume and trick-or-treating.  There will also be games and one of our favorite parts..... a costume contest!! Take a walk through the spooky (family friendly) haunted house…if you dare! Don’t forget your bag to collect all the goodies and a camera to capture all the great memories of your child’s Halloween night! There will be Event images posted to the Champaign Park District’s Facebook page, so you can download, share, and enjoy! 

TRICK OR TREATING SCHEDULES FOR THE AREA:

SATURDAY OCTOBER 31st

Champaign: 5 to 7 p.m.
Mahomet: 6 to 8 p.m.
Monticello: 5 to 9 p.m.
Paxton: 5 to 8 p.m.
Savoy: 6 to 8 p.m.
St. Joseph: 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Tolono: 6 to 8 p.m.
Tuscola: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Urbana: 5 to 7 p.m. 

BEST PARTY APPETIZERS FOR HALLOWEEN

Now, it's time to engage your inner Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray!  If you're brave enough to host a Halloween party this year, don't skimp on the details.  Cleverly themed appetizers and drinks are a must.  Here are some super- duper appetizer ideas, sure to impress your guests for many Halloween moons to come! Just click on the names of the appetizers for the recipes!

MUMMY DOGS

WITCH'S BROOM 

BRAINS 

CHEESY BATS

SPIDERS

WORMS IN DIRT

PUMPKIN VOMIT

MINI PUMPKINS

Hopefully you feel inspired!  Halloween is one of the best parts of Autumn and certainly one of my favorites.  If you have any unique costume, appetizer or drink ideas, please share on my Facebook Page so everyone in the community can enjoy!  I'm always on the look out for fresh creative ideas to help make the season better each year. 

Champaign IL Top 3 Haunted Houses for 2015!

by Rose Price


A cold, sleeping dread creeps amongst the moonlit forest of the Central Illinois night…Something evil in the woods, something dark and ominous.  There have been reports of paranormal happenings at the​ Bonesaw Mill... Or maybe some biological freaks of a recent military experiment roam the forest, bloodthirsty, angry for vengeance... Or maybe it's the eerie laughter of an insane clown wandering through a cannibal circus from hell?  If you're looking for the best haunts in Central Illinois, look no further.  The New Haunt at Bonesaw Mill and the newest attraction "The Freak Show" are two of the best haunted experiences of the season.  Come explore, if you dare

Looking for the best HAUNTED HOUSE in Central Illinois? Visit the All New Haunt at Bonesaw Mill and Brand New Haunted House attraction, The Freak Show. Come explore what you’re afraid of, if you dare!

Midway Of Madness

Every year The Midway of Madness takes over the Champaign Co Fairgrounds, now in it's 4th season, the haunts get better every year.  Make your way through a dark ominous maze of crazed carnies and fantastic scares around every corner....ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH FOR THIS HAUNT?? Check out their facebook page for more info.

Upcoming Dates

 

Saturday, October 17, 2015, Starts at 7:00pm 

Friday, October 23, 2015, Starts at 7:00pm 

Saturday, October 24, 2015, Starts at 7:00pm 

Friday, October 30, 2015, Starts at 7:00pm 

Saturday, October 31, 2015, Starts at 7:00pm 

Haunt Masters

Two more great haunts in 1 Spectacular Location: Head to Rantoul, IL.  Haunt Masters present their Fear Factory & Psychosis Haunted Houses this October, and are more than ready to scare you! 

Visit Illinois Haunted Houses for more great Haunts in Illinois

ORGANIZATION! A word that haunts many homeowners, especially active families; when football cleats, hockey sticks, and various balls of shapes and sizes start invading your living room, But family and organization don't have to be contradictions.  Here are some simple home organization tips to help stay organized during your child's season.  The key here is variety and adaptability.  All of these storage tips can be easily modified, allowing you to adapt to your child's growing needs.  

Bungee Storage

Maybe the easiest way to stay organized in places like your garage, and still making it easy for the kids to grab balls or equipment in a hurry when they're late for practice is this phenomenal Bungee Storage system!  A Super easy & simple DIY project, but a great garage organizer too! 

Garage Cubbies

One of the keys to an organized garage is shelving!  Lots and lots of shelving.  So, nothing beats a great cubbie system.  You can make it even more convenient by using various sized cubbies; storing balls, bikes, helmets, bags, anything your little heart desires! 

Hockey Pad Drying Rack

One of my favorites!  This little guy is a life saver for all the hockey moms out there.  If you have a hockey player living in your home, you know that you'd rather keep that stuff outside, due to the stench it will leave in your home for days after every practice & game.  What's worse, is that if equipment doesn't dry completely, bacteria will grow on your child's pads, making them smell worse and lead to rashes and other health risks.  Not to worry, the problem has been solved.  Invest in a rack drying system!  If you're a really crafty parent,  these can easily be made cheaply with some PVC and some ingenuity.  Here's a guide to a DYI Drying Rack.

Peg Board Rack

The thing about child athletes is...they grow and so do their interests.  After a few seasons, you almost have enough equipment to open your own used sports store.  The answer to this is simple, a peg board!  It can constantly adapt to your child's growing arsenal of balls and equipment and coincidentally it's another easy DIY project.  DIY Pegboard.

Rollable Bins

For equipment used most frequently this Rollable Storage Bin is the perfect solution. It allows you to organize equipment by sport (soccer, tennis, baseball, etc.) and because it is on wheels, you can move it whenever necessary.  The Container Store has a few great options.

Hopefully this list helps lower the stresses of a busy fall sports season, allowing you to put all your effort into cheering on your little athlete!

For more Home Improvement & Organizational tips checkout my Facebook Page & my website. If you're interested in Real Estate in the Champaign/Urbana area, please give me a call!  I'd be happy to show you around our fantastic community or meet you and answer any questions you may have.

10 Fall Maintenance Projects for your Champaign IL Home

by Rose Price

1. Time to Stow that Mow...errrrr!

Two Words: Fuel Stabilizer.  If your mower sits for months with gas in the tank, it will start to deteriorate and damage the internal parts of the engine.  You can protect from this with a $10 bottle of stabilizer.  This way, you can keep your mower in good condition over the winter.

Another mower tip is to cool and remove the spark plug the pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole. After, pull the starter cord a couple times to distribute the oil.  This will keep the pistons lubricated and ensure an easy start in the springtime. Lastly, turn the mower on its side and clean out the grass and debris from the mower deck, finish and stow. Goodnight Mower til spring!

2.  Secure your hoses..

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and plumbing.  Doing this can result in cracked pipes, water damage and lots of "green" spent on your end! Don't gamble with the weather. If the water does freeze and expand...it's already too late.

3. Give your sprinklers a long break

Drain your irrigation systems.  Even deep buried systems can freeze, which again, leads to broken pipes and sprinkler heads. It's pretty simple:

Turn off the water to the main valve, then shut off the automatic controller. Once complete open the drain valves to remove water from the system. Once you've drained the water completely from the system, remove any above ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out.  If you don't have valves, then you may need to hire a pro to blow out the pipes with compressed air.  It may cost you a little bit of money, but it's well worth the time & money spent!  

4. Caulk your Cracks

Purchase a couple of tubes of colored caulk to match your exterior color then walk around your home and seal the cracks between the trim, window frames, door frames, and entry points of cables, pipes & vents. This is one of the simplest and most important jobs you can do to ensure you're not wasting energy this winter.

5. Get your head in the Gutter!

Clogged rain gutters may be one of the jobs you dread most, but they can be one of the costliest repairs if left undone. These can cause ice dams to form which often lead to expensive repairs, not just at the gutters & roof, but the attic, ceilings of your rooms and even the walls and floors!  So make this a priority; After all the leaves have fallen, remove the leaves, and other debris- including the gunk that forms from the gutters and flush them out with a hose. Make sure your gutters aren't sagging; tighten gutter hangers and downspouts.  If you find any colored sand or grit it is most likely from your shingles.  If you find enough of this, it may be time to replace the roof or at the very least have it inspected by a professional.  Click here for Recommended Roofers in Champaign/Urbana

*Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet from your home to prevent foundation problems

6. Raise the roof!

Look for warning signs of damage or any loose or missing shingles.  If shingles are missing, you should replace immediately.  Black algae stains are normal, but masses of moss could be a sign that a roof is decaying underneath.  If you do find moss, call a roofer for an evaluation. 

You'll also want to check your plumbing vent stack, which is usually lined with a rubber collar (called a boot) that may crack or loosen.  They will definitely wear out before your roof does.  So check it annually to ensure it's not cracked or loose.

7. Drains

Look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your home at least 6 vertical inches and ideally over ten feet away.  This way, you'll keep water from soaking the soil around the foundation, which often leads to cracks and leakage.   

8. Check your furnace

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling professional before winter. These checks should take place annually.  Make sure to check the filters, which should be replaced every 2 months. If your HVAC includes a humidifier, make sure to replace this filter as well. Remember, Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. Don't put your lives at risk! Get your HVAC checked at regular intervals.

 

9. Prune the plants

Late fall is the best time to prune your plants.  The goal is to keep branches 3 feet from your house, so moisture doesn't continually drip on your roof and home during the winter and damage your home.  

10. Check your fireplace

This is important for safety.  Grab a flashlight and take a peek inside.  Make sure the damper opens and closes properly.  Look into the flue to make sure it's free of birds, nests, branches and any other obstructions.  Check for missing or cracked bricks and replace damaged ones immediately. Next check for creosote buildup and clean your chimney thoroughly. Because creosote is a dangerous & highly flammable substance, using a certified Chimney Sweep is highly recommended.   

 

 More Winterizing Tips Below  

For more Home Maintenance Tips give me a call or visit my website at www.champaignrose.com.

 

Get Your Champaign IL Home Ready For Fall

by Rose Price

It may seem like summer has just ended, but before we know it, the blustery winds and  cooler temperatures of Fall will be upon us. Now is the best time to prepare your home for the change of seasons, before the actual change begins. Just think of the cash you will save by taking care of the weatherizing of your home now. Here are a few area's to check out on your home:

Raise the Roof

Few home problems are more frustrating than a leaky roof, as it’s often hard to find the exact source of the problem.  So, taking care of these things before the rain and snow begin is a good idea. 

Inspect your roof from top to bottom, searching for missing or damaged shingles. Check shingles for cracks and other damage. Look for damage to metal flashing around vents and chimneys. Look in your gutters. If you find large granules, it could be a sign that you are losing your roof’s coating. Finally, make sure your gutters are flowing freely of any type of debris; leaves, sticks, sludge from rains and storms throughout the summer months.

Get your mind IN the Gutter

The drainage system on your roof is extremely important, as it diverts thousands of gallons of water from your home annually, protecting your foundation and walls. Obviously you want to keep these drains flowing smoothly.  Clogged gutters lead to basement flooding and other hard to detect damage.  They are not immune from rust and erosion, so you need to keep them cleaned out, especially BEFORE the Fall leaves start falling into them. Once they have been cleaned, we'd recommend using a mesh guard over the top to protect them from future debris, and it makes keeping them clean  & your job, a whole lot easier!  

Hunt your Home for Drafts

Many homes have air leaks around windows and doors, which can account for an increase of  10% in your energy bill (according to the U.S. Department of Energy).  So, check for gaps in caulk and weather stripping.  If you don’t have weather stripping…you’re missing out!  Seriously, weather-stripping is by far the most cost-effective way to control heating and cooling costs. It will reduce drafts and keep your home comfy cozy year round.  However, this stuff can deteriorate over time, so even if you already used it, you want to inspect it annually.  

There are a couple easy techniques for checking your stripping:

  • 1) Close your door or window on a strip of paper…if the paper slides up and down easily, you have some work to do.
  • 2) Light a candle and hold it near the frame of the closed door or window…if you find the flame flickers at any point near the frame…you have a leak!

You’ll also want to check your caulking, especially near entry points for cables.  This can also deteriorate over time, so look for area's you may have to re-caulk.  

Brrr.....It's Getting Chilly!

Winter is coming, and we all must protect our pipes or deal with a very messy & expensive aftermath! Close any shut-off valves to outdoor faucets…then drain the water line, by opening the valve outside.  

*If you don't have shut-off valves or your faucets are not "freeze-proof “, you may benefit from styrofoam faucet covers sold at home centers.

In-ground irrigation systems should come with instructions from the manufacturer on how to freeze proof. 

Where’s your Filter?

Furnace filters trap dust that would otherwise be deposited around your home.  Clogged filters also make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, and can seriously increase your utility bills. It’s easy to manage by a simple monthly cleaning to keep the filters breathing free and clear.

Disposable filters can be vacuumed once before replacement. Foam filters can also be vacuumed but these don't need to be replaced unless they are damaged. Use a soft brush on a vacuum cleaner. If the filter is metal or electrostatic, remove and wash it with a firm water spray.  Boom, your filter is good as new.

Professional Help

It's a good idea to have your Heating System inspected by a professional once a year. People often wait until the last minute, so beat the rush and schedule this for the early fall, before the heating season even begins.  Here are some of the signs that your Heating Systems isn't functioning properly:    

  • Noisy belts Weird screeches or whines may signal that belts connected to the blower motor are worn or damaged.
  • Poor performance. A heating system that doesn't seem to work as well as it used to could mean a lot of different problems. Your heating ducts could be blocked, the burners might be misadjusted or the blower motor could be on its way out.  But before you panic, check that the filter is clean.   
  • Erratic behavior. This could be caused by a faulty thermostat.

Come on Baby Light your Fire

Even if you rarely use your fireplace, you should check it annually for damage. 

Inspect your flue for creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of burning wood, so if it accumulates in your chimney, you could be victim to a devastating fire. Have your chimney inspected annually for creosote buildup. If you use a fireplace frequently, then have the flue inspected after each cord of wood burned.

The best option is to have your entire chimney system inspected by a chimney sweep. Once you know what to look for, you can perform the inspection by shining a bright flashlight up the flue, looking for any deposits approaching 1/8 inch thick, though the actual cleaning of these deposits should be performed by a professional.  

  • Look for flue blockages. Birds love to nest at the top of an unprotected flue. A chimney cap is an easy way to prevent this.  If you don't have a cap, just take a look up the flu to be sure.
  • Exercise the damper. The damper is the metal plate that opens and closes the flu just above the firebox. Test the open and closed positions to ensure that it is working properly.
  • Check for damage. Make certain that the flue cap is in place. Inspect brick chimneys for loose or broken points. If access is a problem try using binoculars.

Keep your Humidifier Happy 

Really dry winter air is bad for your health, but did you know it can make fine wood crack easier? You and your home will feel more comfortable if you keep your Central Humidifier running properly. 

  • Inspect the plates or pads. You can clean them with laundry detergent. You should also rinse and scrape off mineral deposits (use a wire brush or steel wool). 

Gassy 

Anything involving gas is a huge safety issue.  Heaters that are not maintained properly can spew poisons into the air of your home, or at least it may be costing you more to operate. Have a professional check these devices annually. 

Smoke and CO Detectors 

Replace batteries in all of your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Then vacuum them with a soft brush attachment. Test the detectors by pressing the test button or holding a smoke source (like a blown-out candle) near the unit. If you haven't already, install a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.

Fire Extinguishers 

You’d be surprised how many homes don’t have a fire extinguisher.  Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher rated for all fire types (look for an A-B-C rating on the label). Keep one near the kitchen;  though having one per floor isn't a bad idea. Check the indicators on the pressure gauge to make sure the extinguisher is charged. Make sure the lock pin is intact and in place, and then make sure the discharge nozzle is not clogged.  

  • Fire Extinguishers should be replaced every 5 Years.
  • With every replacement, use a permanent marker to mark the date clearly on the new unit

​​For more Homeowner Tips and Fall Maintenance, visit my website and Facebook page. If you're looking to Buy or Sell a home in the Champaign/Urbana IL area in the fantastic Fall season, give me a call or stop in our office. You can contact me anytime at 217-202-8843 or view local homes at this link: Homes for Sale in Champaign IL.

Have a POWERFUL day!

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Rose Price
Landmark Real Estate
One East Main Street, Suite 200
Champaign IL 61820
217-202-8843
217-352-1933
Fax: 217-378-1281