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Create A Cozy Outdoor Living Space This Fall!

by Rose Price

Champaign-Urbana is truly spectacular in the FALL! As the days get cooler, the landscape is filled with stunning shades of orange, red, and yellow. Take advantage of the beauty of the season and remaining warmer days of the year by sprucing up your outdoor space. Create an autumnal oasis for you and your family to enjoy by following these top suggestions for transitioning your home’s exterior for fall.

 

  1. Add natural, seasonal color to the space with groupings of your favorite fall plants. The perfect flowers to use are chrysanthemums, mums, and sunflowers. Arrange these flowers into a collage of floral pots. You can also add wood or seasonal (pumpkins of course!) elements for added interest.

  2. Hang lighting that creates new areas for you to entertain and gather. Light strands, pendant lights, and lanterns can all instantly make the space seem brand new and create incredible atmosphere.

  3. Focus on natural and metallic elements that fit within the fall season but can also easily transition throughout the year.

  4. Update with simple accents, such as throw pillows, blankets, and outdoor area rug. Buy these and other accessories in autumnal colors.

  5. Create the perfect cozy spot for you to stay warm by adding a modern outdoor fireplace.

 

 

For additional homeowner tips, visit my website http://www.champaignrose.com/.

 

Wishing everyone a colorful and happy Fall in Champaign-Urbana!

 

 

Resource: HouseBeautiful

 

What is Normal Wear and Tear in your Champaign Home?

by Rose Price

Home maintenance is considered a chore for a reason. Between work, taking care of the kids, and other cleaning that needs to be taken care of around the house, it often gets pushed to the side. It’s something that no one wants to spend their free time doing and can seem tedious. However, it can help cut energy costs and preserve your Home's Value the future. By doing regular, easy home maintenance tasks you can keep your Champaign/Urbana area home in tip top shape! Follow these Top 10 Tips for simple home maintenance.

  1. Do a Deep Clean

Perform a deep clean on everything inside of your house. Remove accumulated dust, dirt, and grime buildup throughout the rooms in your house. Clean appliances. Get rid of any mold and mildew buildup in rooms where moisture accumulates. Not only will this clean help your home looking its best but it will also allow to identify any potential problems in your house that might need further attention and repair.

  1. Clean Your Dryer Vent

A clogged dryer vent is one of the leading causes of house fires. Ensuring that this does not happen is incredibly easy to do! Along with cleaning out your dryer lint trap every time you use the dryer, you should regularly clear the dryer connection. The dryer connection is the tube/pipe that attaches the appliance to the outdoor vent. Pull the tube out and vacuum it clean of all the lint that has been accumulating within the pipe and the pipe connection. After cleaning it out, reattach the pipe to the dryer and make sure that it is properly connected.

  1. Clear Out Your Drains

No one wants to shower while standing in water up to your ankles. Make sure to keep your drains cleared out to avoid more serious problems such as a sewer backup. For less severe drain clogs, pouring boiling water down the drain can fix the issue. If that doesn’t fully clear it up, use a snake to remove the blockage. Always keep your plumber’s phone number handy if problems persist. Purchase a hair strainer to prevent the issue in the future.

  1. Replace Your Toilet Flapper

A leaky toilet tank can prematurely wear out the toilet and cause water damage to the bathroom floor. If you notice that your toilet is leaking, the flapper needs to be replaced. After turning off the water supply to the toilet using the valve in the back, empty the tank by flushing the toilet. Remove excess water left in the tank and the flush chain from the lever. You can then slide the existing flapper off and replace it with the new one. Reconnect the chain and turn the water supply back on.

  1. Fill Holes and Cracks in the Wall

There are very simple and cheap fixes to cover small holes and cracks in your drywall. A cosmetic sponge can be used to fill those holes. Cut it down to size, push it into the hole, and spackle over it. For those small cracks, add a bit baking soda to strong, fast acting glue and spread the mixture over the crack. This will create a strong surface that can easily be smoothed down by sanding it.

  1. Fix Your Windows

Avoid high energy bills by ensuring that your windows are keeping in the cold air or heat. With the cold winter months approaching in Illinois, you want to make sure that heat does not escape your home. Check the caulking around your windows. If there are any cracks or holes, remove the existing caulk with a box cutter and then apply a new line of it along the seam. To get a straight line of caulk, use painter’s tape. Remove the tape while the caulk is still wet. You can also fix a drafty window by applying an inexpensive insulating window film to the glass. Find a tiny hole in the glass? You can repair it with clear nail polish! Allowing the nail polish to dry in between applications, keep adding layers of the polish until it is flush with the glass.

  1. Get Rid of the Squeak Below Your Feet

Do you hardwood floors squeak when you walk of them? There is an easy fix for that. The culprit of the creak is moisture. Identify the floorboards that are creaking and sprinkle talcum powder on them. Take a makeup brush and sweep the powder in the cracks between the boards. This will help to soak up the moisture and remove the noise.

  1. Clean Your Fridge Coils

Your refrigerator is one of the items in your home that uses up the most energy. To help cut your utility costs, there is a simple fix. By vacuuming the coils underneath or in back of your fridge, you will keep it running as efficiently as possible.

  1. Inspect the Safety Features in Your Home

Make sure you and your family stay safe in your home by inspecting your fire extinguishers and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. For the fire extinguisher, make sure that it is in an easily accessible spot, check for adequate pressure, and ensure that no wear and tear has occurred. For the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, dust them off, ensure that they are working properly by pushing the test buttons, and replace batteries if necessary.

  1. Take Care of Your Gutters

Protect the exterior of your home and avoid more serious damage by regularly clearing your gutters of debris and buildup. If your home isn’t too tall, you can safely clean the gutters yourself by using a ladder. Remove all the muck that has been accumulating in the gutters. Then, take your garden hose to flush any remaining debris out and to make sure that water flows properly through them. If you notice that your gutters are sagging or pulling away from the house, replace the fasteners and hangers. As the leaves begin to fall this Autumn, it is important to make sure that your gutters are ready for any weather that comes our way. 

January is Radon Home Testing Month!

by Rose Price

Has your Champaign/Urbana home been tested for Radon? If not, now is the perfect time to get it done! January is National Radon Action Month. As your Champaign/Urbana Real Estate Professional, I feel it’s my duty to inform you of the proper precautions and actions to take in order to protect yourself and your family from any possible radon exposure.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon (also known as a radioactive gas) is found at some level in almost every home and takes the lives of 21,000 Americans each year.  Did you know that the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General have urged all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and places of business for radon? Because exposure to radon is a preventable health risk, testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure and health issues! If a high radon level is detected in your home you can take steps to fix the problem and protect yourself and your family.

Here's what you need to do to Test your Home for Radon:

  • Get a Radon test kit & Test your Existing Home: Test kits are available for purchase online, however we would recommend completing the Home Radon Testing Checklist at the following website to ensure you do  a complete and accurate job of testing your home: RADON TESTING CHECKLIST. The Public Health District of Champaign County offers Free test kits at the following link: FREE RADON TEST KITS If you live outside the state of IL, check with your state government office for Free Radon testing kits. Some home goods and hardware stores also sell radon testing kits. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully for proper placement and information on where to send it afterwards to get your reading.
  •  
  • Call a Professional- If you'd rather not do the testing yourself, you can call a IL Radon Mitigation Professional and they'll come into your home and do all the testing for you.
  •  
  • If You Are Buying a Home…and the home has already been tested for radon, ask the
  • seller for the test results of the most recent radon test. You may also want to request that a new test be conducted by a professional radon tester. If a radon test has not yet been conducted, request it as soon as possible with your own specific preferences. You have the right to decide who will do the test, what type of test will be done and when the test will be done.
  •  
  • If You Are Selling a Home…and your home has already been tested for radon, review the facts and verify it was done correctly. If so, make sure the test results are available to your potential buyers. If your home has not been tested for radon, get the test done as soon as possible; preferably before your home goes on the market.

The presence of radon in your Champaign/Urbana Home can be dangerous and life threatening. While smoking causes cancer in an estimated 160,000 people a year, radon can cause lung cancer in both smokers and non-smokers alike. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer overall.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched an international radon project to help countries around the world increase awareness, collect data and promote action to reduce radon risks. Radon in our homes is the main source of exposure and up until now has not received widespread attention. Get the facts about radon and make sure your family is safe from its dangers. If you are buying or selling a home, take the proper precautions to radon-proof your home before it’s on the market or before you move in.

For more Home Buying and Selling Tips visit my Blog and Facebook Page  frequently. 

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.

 

9 Tips For Making Your Champaign IL Home Energy Efficient

by Rose Price

Summer is officially here and inevitably your electrical bill is slowly creeping up as the months go on.  We have a few simply upgrades you can make to your home to make it more efficient and help keep more money in your bank account. 

 

Programmable Thermostats

Energy.gov suggests that turning your thermostat down 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day can save you "as much as 10% a year on your heating/cooling."  Save more money; follow the recommended optimum daytime (78 degrees) and night time (70 degrees) temperatures, you can preset these and your thermostat will adjust on it's own.

 

 

Insulate

Adding new or additional insulation to your ceilings, attic and walls along with using caulk and or weather stripping (ensuring windows and doors are properly sealed) will prevent cold drafts and air leaks, keeping warm air inside in the winter.  These same improvements will help trap cold air inside in the summer.  

Ceiling Fans 

Now you've programmed your thermostat to the optimum levels, but chances are you may feel a little warm in certain rooms throughout the day.  This is where an energy star ceiling fan can help.  The average central air conditioning unit uses 3,500 watts of energy when running while the average ceiling fan uses only 60 watts, even when running on high!  You could save a lot of money even by running your fan for only half an hour a day.  In order to get the most from your ceiling fan follow these simple ceiling fan hacks from The Simple Dollar.  

 

 

HACK #1  In the summer time you want to adjust your fan so the air blows downward.    

Most fans have both a clockwise and a counter clockwise setting.  There are conflicting theories on what direction to use and when, simply because it is all dependent on how the blades are aligned and this varies from model to model.  Forget the theories, there's an easier way.  Simply stand below your fan and turn it on high, if you immediately feel a breeze, then it is on the summer setting (usually counter clockwise).  During the summer months, your ceiling fans should be running on high, with air blowing down, this will create the most air movement and give you the coveted breeze effect.

HACK #2 Turn the heat up a few degrees in the summertime.  

Sounds crazy right?  But, running your fan on high throughout the day will circulate the air better and create a breeze effect that will make the room feel cooler than it actually is.  

HACK #3  Turn ceiling fans off when you leave your home.

Obviously! Right?! Though running at 60 watts isn't a ton, you are sure to save quite a bit more if you shut your fans off when you're not home.  

 

Check out the video from Home Depot for instructions on how to install a new ceiling fan:

Replace Old Appliances

Obviously, old appliances aren't as energy efficient as newer models.  So, replace these dinosaurs with newer more efficient, Energy Star certified appliances.

For example:

  • A high efficiency on-demand water heater only fires when you need hot water.  It heats it quickly and then stops burning fuel.  
  • Get low flow appliances.  Low flow toilets, shower heads, and washing machines save a lot of water than more traditional models.
  • For the best results, double up.  Combine a low flow shower head with a on-demand water heater and double your savings.    

Window Treatments

Installing blinds, drapes, and shades will reduce the amount of sunlight and heat that enters your home.  Of course, these can be positioned in a way to let light and heat in only when you want it.  

Go Fluorescent

Fluorescent light bulbs last 8-12 times longer than incandescent. Plus they look dynamite in the home!  

Open Your Doors

Keeping your doors closed stops your cooling systems from cooling the entire house and interrupts the flow of air, so open those doors!

Check Those Vents

A lot of homes, especially older ones have vents in strange places like closets for instance.  Go through your home and seal off any vent that is cooling an area that doesn't need cooling.  Even spare bedrooms and little used rooms can be wasted vents; blocking these will save you money. There are a large variety of covers out there, you're sure to find one that suits our vents. 

Last but certainly not least...

Take Advantage of Tax Incentives

The federal government offers a ton of incentives for making energy efficient home improvements.  Recent increases in incentives now allow for up to 30% of the cost of the home improvements, whether its for new windows, insulation, or air conditioning, up to $1,500 back into your bank account. 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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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