Taking consistent maintenance steps regularly throughout the year is the best way to avoid a long, tedious, and perhaps, expensive process. Winters can be especially unforgiving when it comes to repairs if you are not mindful of the time it takes to properly maintain your home. Leaving the warning signs unattended may result in some harsh lessons. If you want to avoid costly repairs, it is best to prepare your home for the winter. Here are some steps you can take to protect your home, your wallet, and your sanity.
Check your Gutters and Drainage
Rain always presents a challenge when it comes to keeping your gutters and drains clean and free of clutter. If you take a proactive approach to maintaining your gutters, you will prevent your need to replace them. Additionally, clogged gutters and drains have the potential to lead to roof damage.
When a gutter clogs with leaves and debris, it can cause a strain on your roof. Ice can be particularly troublesome, as it can thaw and strain your gutters. To make sure your gutter is cleaned properly, flush it out with a hose.
Test Your Sump Pump
Testing your sump pump to make sure it is functioning properly can help prevent a basement from flooding or your home’s foundation suffering immense damage. Repairs for these could prove very costly. A properly functioning sump pump, when plugged in, should have a humming sound.
Check Your Window Wells
Natural light coming into your basement is a great way to provide ventilation. Window wells prevent soil from building up on window fixtures.
If the lining along your window wells fail, you leave your home at risk for flooding. A flood inside your home could require costly repairs.
Clean Your Dryer Vents
The lint inside your dryer, if not properly cleaned out, can present a dangerous fire hazard to your home. It is extremely important to regularly clean out your dryer vents to prevent a problem from occurring. Naturally, you will most likely have to do this more often during the colder months, as your dryer will get more use. In addition to preventing a fire from occurring, you will also be improving your energy efficiency.
Check Your Electrical System
The last thing you want to have happen is your electricity failing when it gets really cold! To ensure this does not happen, you should inspect your breaker wire for bad insulation and any discoloration.
If you need any assistance, it is a good idea to hire an experienced electrician to do a thorough inspection for you.
Bleed Your Radiators
This process should be completed every winter. Turn on all of your radiators to the highest temperature possible. Wait a few minutes and then turn of the central heating system to give them time to cool off. Turn off the radiator and open the bleed valve. Place a tray underneath the valve and let the air escape. Any water that escapes will be caught by the tray. Do not be alarmed when you see the water dripping. It is perfectly normal.
Avoid Ice Dams
When temperatures drop to freezing conditions, ice dams can form that prevent melting snow from draining properly. When this happens, you leave your home at risk of leaks in ceilings, insulations, and walls that could prove extremely costly.
Increase ventilation and add insulation in order to regulate the temperature of your roof. Any air leaks should be properly sealed.
Prevent Your Exterior Pipes From Freezing
This might be the most important step you can take to protect your home during the winter months. If a frozen pipe cracks and thaws, it can release hundreds of gallons of water in a single day. This could present a disastrous problem for your home as well as your wallet.
Inspect your pipes for signs of weakness. If you see any moisture on faucets and connectors, it could mean your pipes are nearing their decline and are in need of replacement. Do this as soon as possible to avoid catastrophic damage.
All of your pipes should be properly drained. It does not hurt to check on this a second time a few days later to make sure that all water has fully drained.
To provide extra protection for your exterior pipes, a foam covering is a great way to add some extra insulation.
Prepare for Winter Storms
Winter can bring harsh weather conditions consisting of heavy rain, snow, sleet, and hail. If you have a generator, take the necessary steps to make sure it is functioning properly. It is a good idea to keep back up batteries for flashlights the event of a power outage.
Having a battery-powered radio is a good way to stay informed with regard to changing weather conditions or local emergencies.
When we are little, we don’t necessarily spend a lot of your time thinking about maintenance. After all, oftentimes, our parents prepare our meals, help us to bathe, and drive us to get our haircuts. We are not required to think about the idea of maintenance because our parents maintain everything for us. Of course, they could teach us the importance of cleaning our room, brushing our teeth, and keeping an overall organized way of living. But, unless they are proactive in that area, we are left to fend for ourselves. As a result, many of us may not appreciate the importance of maintenance until we are old enough to drive or when we buy our own car.
Nearly every child has dreams of growing up and being independent. It may seem a little ironic because once they reach adulthood, children long for those innocent, childhood years when they could depend on their parents to do everything for them. We’ve all heard the expression, “Ignorance is bliss”. There is a certain sense of pride one feels when they reach the point in their lives when they are able to take care of themselves. A young adult feels that sense of pride when they are handed the keys to their first home or their first car. Once an individual is given the responsibility to live on their own, maintenance may just be one of, if not the most, important parts of their everyday life.
For many, cars are an enormous investment. And although cars depreciate in value overtime, as the owner of a car, one wants to do everything they possibly can to prolong the lifespan of their car. Additionally, keeping up with the maintenance for your car can greatly impact its resale value in a positive way.
Inspect and Maintain Your Tires: Have you ever been driving along on the road and it feels like your car is leaning to one side? If so, one of your tires may have low tire pressure. Ignoring this can cause severe and unnecessary strain on your vehicle’s engine. Always keep an eye on your tires’ pressure levels and adjust them accordingly. When you take your car in to get an oil change, ask the workers to check the tire pressure for all of your tires. They will tell you if you are in good shape or if you need an adjustment.
Change the Oil: It is a common thought that changing your oil every 3,000 miles is sufficient, but, you may be able to extend that time period if you choose a higher-grade oil. Some oils allow your vehicle to perform at a higher level for up to 5,000 miles. When you take your car in to get an oil change, ask about the different types of oil that are available. Also, not every type of oil is going to be suitable for your car. This is generally based on three factors: the oil viscosity, whether to use synthetic or non-synthetic oil, and your car’s mileage. Ask a service team member for assistance if you are unsure.
Check the fluids: To make sure your car keeps running smoothly, you should check:
Check the Air Filter:
Remove the air-filter element from your vehicle. To check its condition, hold it up to a strong light. If you can’t see any any light passing through it, it is time to replace it. Having a properly functioning air-filter will increase your car’s fuel efficiency. Additionally, it has been said that changing a clogged air filter has the potential to increase acceleration by 6 to 11 percent on modern fuel-injected cars. Other studies have indicated that doing this can save up to fifteen cents per gallon at the gas pump. Changing your air filter can help reduce emissions as well.
Inspect your Brakes: Unless you are an expert in vehicle maintenance and know exactly what to look for in this area, it is probably best to have an experience professional do a thorough inspection of your cars brake system. They can tell you if it is time to replace them.
Check the Battery: Look closely at the battery’s terminals and cables to ensure they are securely attached. If your battery has removable caps, check its fluid level every few months.
We learn a lot as we get older. How to properly maintain and care for our cars will not only make us more confident in leading a healthy and happy life; it will save us loads of money over time.Read more
We all have moments where we contemplate how to better ourselves as individuals and how to improve our lives. Some of us may struggle with figuring out the best or most effective way to go about doing that. The key is to not spend so much time dwelling on how you’re going to accomplish what you want to. So many of us are told that it’s important to have a plan for our lives and to set goals that help us fulfill those goals. While this is most definitely true, it’s important to realize that getting started is, actually, more important. If we spend all of our time planning, we won’t have any time for executing that plan. So how can we improve our lives and get the most out of each day?
Drink More Water
Drinking a glass of water is the first thing we all should do when we wake up in the morning. Why? It helps regulate digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. If you are ever feeling thirsty, do not ignore that feeling. It’s your body’s way of telling you it needs to be replenished with fluids. In addition to improving digestion and circulation throughout the body, drinking more water will improve your skin. Healthier looking skin will improve your confidence, too!
Eat More Veggies
Vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals the body needs to perform at its best. Whether you are talking about physical strength or brain function, vitamins and minerals such a vitamin A, C, and E, as well as magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and folic acid help to keep your body and brain in top shape. For potassium, foods such as avocados and sweet potatoes are great sources.
Eat Less Processed Foods
Processed foods contain a lot of artificial ingredients, are high in sugar and fructose corn syrup, refined carbohydrates, and are low in what is good for your body such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also low in fiber. When you eat too many processed foods, you are more likely to gain excess weight, which, overtime, may lead to health risks like diabetes. Instead, eat more foods in their natural states. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables and meat or fish.
There are several reasons why we should meditate every day. Research has shown that meditation may improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia. Additionally, meditation may decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. If you are having trouble sleeping, meditate may help to calm your mind and fight against insomnia.
Develop and Stick to An Exercise Plan
Regular exercise can improve your mood and decrease stress and anxiety. Furthermore, holding yourself accountable to something, especially something that is good for you, will buy you less time to be concerned about matters that are, perhaps, out of your control.
Spend Less Time On Your Phone And Watching Television
Engaging in conversation and activity with others around you will prevent you from feeling isolated and alone. Instead, get outside and exercise. Being on your phone all the time may negatively affect your relationships as well. Prolonged periods of sitting down and not moving may greatly affect your physical health in the long run.
As is a common tradition in the United States, as well as many other places around the world, countless individuals look to the new year as a means to flush out the negative energies or bad practices they may have had in their lives the previous year. Others may seek to continue strongly their positive pursuit of happiness. This begs us to ask a least a few questions of ourselves: How do we as individuals define our own happiness? What is true happiness? And is it even possible to achieve? Let’s discuss.
American and pop culture teach us to put material wealth at the forefront of our desires and ambitions. Day after day after day, we see commercials on television showing the new, flashy car or the luxury watch that we need to have. We’re told that by obtaining these material goods, that our social status in society will be greatly improved. It’s important to distinguish between pleasure and true, sustainable prosperity. Getting that next text message from a love interest makes us feel good. Buying that new sports car makes us feel good. When we receive this positive reinforcement, our brains release the chemical dopamine, which takes us to a place of sheer joy. However, like any effect of a drug, it wears off and we long for more and more and more. Is that sustainable? Oftentimes, it isn’t.
So, how can we channel our energies and desires in a direction to actually improve our overall happiness? The answer may be self-improvement. For example, taking an interest in and learning a new instrument not only can give you a feeling of worthiness and happiness, it can give you a feeling of fulfillment. Playing an instrument is something that will stay with you. Unlike that fancy, new sports car that rusts and depreciates over time, it’s something that’s sustainable.
Perhaps one of your resolutions is to quit smoking. According to a 2000 study, it was found that cigarette manufacturers increased their advertising in January and February. Sabotage is actually one of the biggest threats to having your resolutions fail. Besides advertisers, another threat to resolutions, however unintentional it may seem, is family members. For example, if one of your resolutions is to lose weight in the new year, having a batch of freshly baked cookies resting on the kitchen counter is, at the very least, unhelpful.
There are steps we can take to assist ourselves in ensuring our resolutions do not fall by the wayside. Those steps are: reduce, implement, and celebrate. We need to make sure that our resolutions are small and manageable. Implement a plan of action that we can confidently stick to. Again, it’s important to be mindful of remaining focused on a small goal. Finally, we should reward ourselves when we accomplish something, even if it’s by doing something small for ourselves.
Every year, we as Americans partake in this tradition of self-improvement. In order to ensure we remain on track, let’s make sure we remain grateful. What do I mean? Well, take at least 15 minutes and jot down what you are grateful for. Update the list weekly by adding an additional two items. If you feel you’re a sharper thinker when you’re outside, go for a walk and contemplate this important list that way.
This pandemic has certainly upended many of our lives. Let’s take a step back and refocus our attentions on what we can control versus what is out of our hands.