Be a Mr. Clean for Your Kitchen

We all love food, so we are always in the kitchen making food, and making a mess! That’s why it is so important to stay diligent on cleaning this place that you use so often, and make it as clean as Mr. Clean! Here are some clever hacks and tips on maintaining and cleaning your beloved kitchen.


1. Hydrogen Peroxide

We all know hydrogen peroxide serves most home as a first aid item, but did you know that it has numerous uses outside of first aid. It’s a tough and nontoxic chemical that works wonders in your kitchen!
 
- You can remove most coffee or juice stains with a little hydrogen peroxide in water, plus a few drops of ammonia. Or combine it with flour to create a thick paste and apply to the stain. For every day wear and tear of your stone countertops, buff away small scratches with superfine dry steel wool called “grade 0000.
 hydrogen peroxide
 
- You can also clean your wooden cutting board with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. An improperly cleaned cutting board is a breeding ground for bacteria.

cutting board

- Clean Sponges: no one likes the mildew funky smell sponges tend to have. Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a bowl, let the sponge soak for about 15 minutes before rinsing.
 sponges

2. Baking Soda

Use baking soda to mop up tile: simply pour half a cup of baking soda into two gallons of water. Scrub with a string mop or sponge.
baking soda

3. Clean Cast Iron with Salt

Add 2 tablespoons of oil and place on medium heat. Once the pan is heated, pour 3 tablespoons of salt. Use a tong to hold a paper towel, scour until clean. Then. rinse and coat with vegetable oil to cure. Voila – a clean cast iron pan!
cast iron

4. Scratches on Stainless-Steel

To minimize a scratch on stainless steel, try steel wool and rub it gently in line with the grain until the scratches disappear. Then finish it with some wax-based aerosol spray like this one
stainless steel

5. Shine the floor with vinegar

For wood floors, get yourself a bucket and mix nine parts warm water to one part white vinegar.
vinegar

6. Clean a Narrow Vase with Alka-Seltzer

If your hand doesn’t fit down a narrow vase, no problem! Fill it halfway with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets to do the dirty work for you.
narrow vase

7. Your Kitchen’s Reliable Friend – Magic Eraser

It’s always good to keep one of these magic erasers handy in the kitchen because they are truly magical! Here’s a video to show you its magic in action:

 
Play some music, sing along and have fun cleaning your kitchen with our tips!

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My Basement is Flooding – What to Do?

basement flooding what do
Rain happens all year long, since we don’t need to get our snow gear to plow and shovel, we often forget how troublesome rain can be. We aren’t aware of our sump pumps capacity and limit until our basement starts flooding, and by then it is too late! We have been hit by heavy rain for the past couple days, so we thought it would be appropriate and helpful to ease homeowners’ panic by providing some information.
 
If your basement has flooded, there are some vitally important things you should know. First and foremost, consider your family’s health and safety. Entering a wet basement could be hazardous! Before you do so, be cautious of the following:
 
1. Electrical Shock: wet basement contains the risk of electrical shock. If you are positive that we can safely enter, turn off your home’s power at the main breaker switches first.
2. Gas Leaks: Protect yourself against gas leaks. If you smell gas, contact your gas company immediately. They will inspect and measure the leak and seals it. Then contact a plumber. We are opened 24/7!
3. Pollutants: Sewage can contain bacteria and transmit disease and the floodwater in your basement may have originated from the sanitary sewer and contain raw sewage. Wear protective items such as gloves, safety glasses, and a face mask. Be sure to wash thoroughly after any contact with sewage or anything touched by sewage.
4. Chemicals: When you get to the cleaning stage, be sure to ventilate well and limit your exposure to contact and exposure. Sometimes there are wide range of contaminants.
5. Structural damage: while this is not as common, a serious flood with certain conditions may weaken walls or ceiling structures. If you are uncertain and want to be sure, leave the area and call in the experts. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
6. Water valve shut off: If the flooding is due to a burst water supply pipe at home, shut off the main incoming water valve to minimize the damage. Be sure to know where your shut-off is and keep access clear at all times!

Sump Pumps 101

Sump pumps are our best friends when it rains, and you don’t have to wait until there’s a disaster before you address their problems. Let’s dig deeper into what they are all about with some tips and knowledge.
 
1. Failing sump pumps: If you only have a single sump pump in your basement, that is equivalent to an dead end with one mechanical failure away from a flood. If you have cheap plastic sump pumps, heavy amount of water flood the basement faster than the sump can stop it. Installing two sump pumps may not be the answer.
failing sump pumps
2. Sump Pump keeps running: Sometimes you may notice that your sump pumps run almost all the time. This doesn’t mean that there is a constant water problem. Sump pumps turn on and off based on the operation of a special “float switch”.
3. Clogged Sump Pumps: If the sump pump is sitting on the bottom of a dirty sump pit, the mechanical parts are likely to be clogged with dirt and debris. This can interferes with the pump’s operation.
4. Clogged Sump Pump Switches: Sump pumps know that the water level is rising due to a special “float switch”. As the water level goes up, the switch floats upwards, turning on the sump pump as it reaches a certain level. It these switches clog, jammed or become tangled, the switch will either stop or be stuck. Either way, your sump pump isn’t doing what it’s meant to do.
5. Frozen or Clogged discharge lines: if water can’t exit through the discharge line, your system will not work. Keep the discharge pipe protected from freezing and other debris, making it optimal for your system.
6. Power lost to the Sump Pump: Most of the time the sump could be working properly, but just has no electricity to work with. Check if the circuit needs to be reset, or if the pump is unplugged.
7. Backup Sump Pumps: Sometimes the mechanical failures in one sump pump can result a basement water problem, consider having a backup sump pump to kick in and pick up the slack!
 
We wouldn’t recommend a battery backup sump pump because their amperage-hour capacity will drop significantly after a year.
Your plumber would recommend you what backup sump pumps are suitable for your home. But be sure to use multiple discharge pipes to send the water out of the home if you have more than one sump pump. One discharge pipe won’t be able to hold the volume of water necessary for two simultaneous pumps.

Maintenance on Sump Pumps

Give a longer lifespan to the equipment by performing regular maintenance. Quarterly maintenance is a good way to treat your sump pump, it will only take few minutes and may help you avoid some serious pains in the future.
1. Scanning the pit and removing any visible debris, mud, or stones.
2. Testing the pump by slowly pouring a bucket of water into the pit. The float should rise with the water level, triggering the unit to start pumping. If pumping doesn’t begin, check to see that the unit is plugged in. Your float switch or check valve might also be at fault.
3. Clean The Weep Hole - Some pumps will have a weep hole, usually between the sump pump and the check valve. You can clean this weep hole out with a toothpick or other tiny object. Be careful not to break anything into the weep hole.

Waterproofing Basement

We also recommend residents to waterproof their basement to be safer. There are ways you could do this yourself, click here to learn more.
However, we do recommend residents having a professional crew to waterproof basement to ensure quality and to fully prevent any disaster.
 
 
We hope you find this information helpful. Don’t wait till the rain comes and floods your basement. Take cautious preventions and stay safe! Tweet us @wintershomeservices or write on our Facebook wall if you need any help!

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Home Tips for Pet Owners

home tips for pet owners
Meow, Woof! Animals are our best friends, they bring the indescribable joy to our world. During the holidays can be a time when we welcome a new member into our family. They are so cute- and so messy at the same time. We want you to avoid the frustrations of a new pooch with prevention tips and advice for canine-proofing your home!

1. Animal Hair

animal-hair
One of the most troublesome issues pet owners face is animal fur – on floors, furniture, and clothing. Be sure to place an old towel wherever your puppy/kitty likes to rest, and shake it outside periodically to remove excess hair before tossing it in the wash. Grooming your pet regularly will also help diminish chances of shedding unruly hair.   Or you can purchase a quilted suede pet throws or cover to protect your furniture. You can even dampen a rubber glove and run your gloved hand over any pet hair from upholstery!
rubber-glove

2. Pet Hair on Floors: method of vacuuming

pet-hair-on-floors
To remove pet hair on carpeting, be sure to vacuum several times a week using full suction. Always pick a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.   On wood and other hard floors, use an electrostatic mop; they’re more efficient than vacuums since they don’t blow the hair around!

3. Pet hair on clothing, rug and carpet

For clothing, we all know our best bet is to use a tape roller. You can even make your own pet tape roller by wrapping duct tape over a paint roller cover, sticky side out. Roll the paint cover over furniture or carpet to pick up the pet hair. Add more tape as the surface is no longer sticky and covered with pet hair.

Credit to FamilyHandyMan

Credit to FamilyHandyMan


 
For carpet and rugs, remove pet hair with a squeegee, it’s that simple!
pet-hair-with-squeegee

4. Oh No! Urine Stains!

oh-no-urine-stains
The sooner you get it off, the better! Canine urine left on carpets or rugs can permanently alter the dye, not to mention it smells! Remove any solid residue with a dull knife or gently with a paper towel. Blot fresh stains with a clean, white cloth. After absorbing as much moisture as possible, apply a solution of ¼ teaspoon clear dishwashing liquid mixed with one cup tepid water. Add one tablespoon of vinegar to the solution and gently stir. Start blotting with another clean, dry towel. Rinse by blotting with a towel dampened with tepid water. Continue this until the stain is gone.

5. Ways to prevent fleas on dogs

ways-to-prevent-fleas
No one wants to deal with the fleas’ crisis! Besides purchasing many dog medications and flea collars, why not make your own? A lot of the ones sold in stores contain harmful chemicals. You would be surprised how easy it is to make your own flea and tick preventatives.
 
Check out 6 ways to Naturally Prevent and Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs here!

6. Unplug your home

Unplug electrical cords when they aren’t in use. You pet may be a chewer as a start, and she/he could be in for a big shock! To better train them, you could coat your cords with a bad-tasting substance such as hot cause or a non-toxic ointment or spray at pet supply stores.
 
 
 

Extra Tips for Pet Owners

To make your life easier, here are some extra tips!
1. If you have a hard time brushing your dog’s teeth, squeeze some enzymatic doggie toothpaste onto a Nylabone or rope toy!
2. If your puppy is eating too quick, put a ball in the food bowl, you’d be amazed how it solves your problem.
3. Print and keep this handy chart of what foods your dog should NOT be given!
toxic-foods-to-dogs
4. New dog owner? No problem. Here’s a chart of dog’s body language for you.
doggie-language
5. We have a body language chart for cats as well! Unlike dogs, cats’ tail indicates their mood.
cat-language
6. Cat litter: relax when it comes to the litter box, cats naturally want to bury, and the litter box allows them to do just that after they have done their business.
7. For new cat owners, beware of poisonous plants! They like to chew on grass and plants inside and outside. Even non-poisonous plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
8. Cats or dogs: PUT A LID ON THE TOILET!
 
We hope these tips for your home help you get started as a new pet owner, or a current pet owner. Have fun with your pet and treat them with lots of love and care!

Topics discussed: pet owners, home tips, pets, how to

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Travelers’ Best Hacks

It’s December, a busy time for the holiday, which means lots of traveling to see your friends and family! Everyone travels, so we trust that you all have traveling knowledge knocking about in your brain. Therefore, we believe that it is more helpful to offer you traveling hacks and tips to get you more prepped for your holiday trips. As well as providing some tips for your home while you’re away.

1. Safely pack your razor.

safely pack your razor

2. Makeup products cracking and shattering: we can’t be gentle all the time. This is to prevent your beloved makeup products from breaking.

makeup products

3. Got trash during the long car ride? No problem. Use a plastic cereal dispenser.

cereal-dispenser

4. Dirty shoes mixing with clothes? No worries, pack your shoes inside a shower cap to keep the dirt away.

shower cap

5. Tangling necklace is a pain to untangle, that’s why you use a straw to keep it in place.

necklace

6. Store your chargers and cords in a glasses case to keep everything organized.

glasses case

7. Going to be eating during the car trip? No worries, get some extra shower caddies to hold the food.

shower caddies

8. Don’t want your shirt’s collar to be wrinkled and losses its shape? Use your belt to shape it!

shirt collar

9. Have any of your bottles leaked everywhere? Try this to avoid it.

shower bottles

10. Don’t need the whole bottle of makeup or lotion? Squeeze them into a contact case.

contact case

Last but not least, don’t forget to get your home ready while you are away.

1. Turn the heat down: make sure it’s turned up enough to prevent any seasonal freezing, but low enough that you won’t be wasting power and money.
 
If you have a smart phone controllable thermostat like this, then you may change the temperature anytime and anywhere you would like!
 
 
2. Leave the timed light on: Leave the outdoor light on with a timer, having a light on indicate that someone is home.
 
 
3. Plan for emergency: Weather is unexpected in the winter, keep in close contact with whoever is taking care of your home or a neighbor to ensure they are up to date.
 
 
4. Seasonal care: If you can ask someone to help you, have them shovel and salt the walks while you are gone. You wouldn’t want to come home to a pile of snow and a driveway that you can’t park in.
 
As well as checking on the house in the event of a power outage, ensuring that the heat kicks back on properly and your appliances are back to working properly.
 
 
window5. Curtains closed – or open? Leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you’re home, since noticeable changes could hint that you’re not around anymore. Move expensive items, like jewelry or computer, out of plain sight if they’re visible from the window.

 
 
6. Frozen pipes crisis: If you live in a cold area and your pipes are in danger of freezing during winter, don’t leave them hanging while you’re away. It’s much easier to ask your friend to stop by and check your faucets. Make sure it’s not just few drops of water coming out, because that’s the sign of frozen pipes!
 
 
7. Pull the Plug: Unplug your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances to protect them from power surges. Not to mention you’re saving power.
 
 
8. Remove that spare key: if you have your key under that plastic rock, time to take it out. You never know who would be smart enough to figure it out.
 
 
If you’re a constant traveler and wish to save time as well as having alerts on your home (i.e. leaking water heater, flooding basement), you might be interested to look into a home monitoring program to control your home anywhere and anytime all from your smart phone!
 
 
We hope these hacks and tips are informational. As usual, if you have additional questions and comments, or would like to share your very own tips, tweet us @wintershomeservices or visit us on our Facebook!
 
Happy traveling!
 
Winters Team
 
Topics discussed: traveling tips, home monitoring, holidays, trips, hacks

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Toilets 101

Toilet 101

Believe it or not, the advent of the toilet has saved more lives than any other invention in history. More than seat belts, vaccinations or any medical device. We often take toilets for granted and don’t take care of it properly.
That’s why we are going to give you some tips and knowledge on toilets, as well as some fun essentials that you can add to improve its performance and your well-being!

FAQ on toilet

1. Why is my water trickling through a toilet long after it’s been flushed?

Answer: A worn rubber flapper valve at the bottom of the tank is probably to blame. When you flush the toilet, the flapper lifts, letting water flow into the bowl. Try by jiggling the handle, but eventually this trick stops working! A faulty flapper valve can drive up water costs, and if the supply line is plumbed with warm water to prevent condensation, heating costs will go up too. Below is the typical flapper assemblies, but it also depends on the make and model of your toilet.

flapper
2. Why doesn’t water enter the bowl when I flush my toilet?

Answer: If the water supply turned on? Try removing the lid to the toilet tank and see if the chain or strap to the flapper is lose or broken.

 

3. Why is there condensation on the outside of my toilet tank? Is there a solution?

Answer: usually it’s the result of humid air in the room coming in contact with the cold tank. This happens often in the summer or in the winter. Couple things you would need to check.

- Is the toilet leaking? Constant exchange of fresh cold water in the tank can cause condensation to form.

- Do you have good ventilation in the bathroom? Maybe you need an exhaust fan.

- In winter, the condensation may be caused by using a humidifier on your heating system.

4. There is a ring of pinkish mold at the water line of my toilet.

Answer: usually it’s because of the damp conditions with hot and humid weather. The rim of the toilet bowl would need to be disinfected, and pour several cups of household bleach into the overflow pipe of the flush valve inside the tank.

5. How can I remove rust stains from my toilet bowl?

Answer: Try Iron Out or homemade recipe with cream of tartar. Sprinkle over the stain then cover the cream with paper towels. Saturate the paper towel with hydrogen peroxide and allow it to soak.

 

What NOT to flush down the Toilet

Bathroom wipes – these moist towelettes/baby wipes are marketed to be flushed like toilet paper, but they actually create clogs and backups in sewer systems!

  1. Condom – latex prophylactics are like kryptonite for septic tanks and sewage treatment plants!
  2. Cotton balls & swabs – Just because they are cotton, doesn’t mean they won’t father together in bends of the pipe, causing massive blockages!
  3. Pills and medications – They destroy bacteria, contaminate groundwater supplies and have terrible effects on wildlife downstream,
  4. Cigarette butts – Waste of water supply and releasing toxic chemicals in our water supply!
  5. Paper towels – They are not designed to break down I nwater like toilet paper!
  6. Dental floss – these strings are not biodegradable. Once flushed, they love to wrap themselves around other objects in the pipeline.
  7. Fats, oil and grease – Just like we stated in our Garbage Disposal 101, never dump any cooking fats in the drain. It seems like liquid when it’s hot, but at soon as the grease hits the drain, it cools and congeals, becoming one giant pipe-clogging monster.
  8. Cat litter – It is made from clay and sand, not a good combo to flush down the toilet! Cat waste also contains toxins and parasites that shouldn’t be in our water system.
  9. Disposal diapers – Diapers are made from toxic plastic designed to expand when in contact with water.

 

Clogged toilet? No problem, try our tutorial on “How to Unclog a Toilet”

 

 

Toilet Cleaning Tips

Hard Water Stains – Use Baking Soda and Vinegar! Pour a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and swish it around with a toilet brush. Let it sit for a minute. Then add 1 cup of baking soda to the toilet bowl and two more cups of vinegar right after. Let it sit for 10 minutes and use the toilet brush to swish and mix the solution onto any stains above the water line. Don’t flush the toilet just yet! Let the solution do its magic. Then you’ll be surprised how well it worked!

 

 

Fun Essentials that you cannot miss!

1. Kohler’s Purefresh scented and lighted toilet seat – no more odor and awkward embarrassments!

toilet

 

Kohler just launched this state-of-the-art toilet seat that will save us from our bathroom odor and embarrassments. With the deodorizing carbon filter in the Purefresh seat’s hinge that neutralizes odors, a quiet fan moves fresh air over the scent pack, boosting fragrance into the air. Not to mention that it lasts up to six months!

It require two D batteries to operate, along with the carbon filters, which cost only $6.99. Scent packs are sold three for only $7.99.
2. Touchless Toilet Flush Kit – make it an easy business!

No handle to touch means fewer germs to pick up or leave behind! Touchless flush is easy to install, just like how easy it is to use. Imagine how easy your “business” is with this no-touch flush technology!

 

3. Dual-flush toilets – powerful way to conserve water!

Offering the option to use only the water you need, dual-flush toilets can save the average family money on their water bill. They carry the WaterSense® label, which means they use 20% less water than a standard 1.6 gallon toilet while still meeting strict flushing performance guidelines. Two different flushes in one easy-to-use handle lets you save water without sacrificing performance.

 

We hope you find this informational. A golden rule for you appliances at home: be good to them, and they will be good to you. Treat your toilet with care, and it will treat you nicely. Let us know if you have any questions on your toilets!

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Garbage Disposal 101

Today we are going to talk about garbage disposal – a great appliance that makes household duties less demanding, but a costly one if clogged or not operated properly. We want to help customers like you to avoid these major repairs with proper maintenance and caring. You would be surprised how easy it is!

The simplest way to break this down is to list the do’s and don’ts. As well as some extra tips that you might not know about!
Garbage Disposal 101

Do’s and Proper Use:

1. Always use cold water full blast when running the disposal. Cold water solidifies grease and oil so they can be chopped up before reaching the trap. Hot water causes grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
2. Run the disposal for 10-15 seconds after the grinding is complete. This assures the complete flushing of any remaining particles.
3. Run your garbage disposal regularly to prevent rust and corrosion. This ensures that all parts stay moving to prevent obstructions from accumulating.
4. Once in a while, grind certain small hard materials such as small chicken and fish bones, egg shells, small fruits pits, etc. A scouring action is created by these particles inside the grind chamber that cleans the garbage disposal’s walls.
5. Cut large items into smaller pieces and put them in one at a time.

Don’ts and improper use:

1. Corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins and artichokes. The fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains.
2. Don’t grind cigarette butts.
3. Don’t EVER stick your hand in there!
4. Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
5. Don’t put too many potato peels down. The starches in potatoes will turn into a thick paste and cause blades to stick.
6. Expandable foods – pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot, they do the same once inside your pipes or gavage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
7. Coffee grounds – although they do help eliminate odors, they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs.
8. Harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners – they can damage the blades and pipes. Try Borax, a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer that effectively works on odor-causing mold and mildew.
9. Grease, oil, and fat – it will slowly accumulate and impede your disposal’s grinding ability as well as clogging drains.

Odors:

A cheap way for you to clean your disposal without damaging it with harsh chemicals.
1. Run the disposal thoroughly with cold water. Pour 1-2 cups of ice cubes and ½ Cup of baking soda (make sure the entire drain is covered in baking soda). If you want, pour ½ cup (118ml) of vinegar down the drain as well (note: only use this sparingly since vinegar is acidic and could damage rubber parts inside the disposal if used too often!). Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and bacteria killer.
2. Start running cold water into the disposal and turn it on. Let it run until you can no longer hear the ice in the disposal.
3. Pick one of the fruits: lemon, lime, tangerine or orange. Cut in half and put into the disposal. Make sure you take the seeds out to prevent any clogging! Any time you eat an orange or use lemons, put the peelings into the disposal and smell the difference.
Want a visual tutorial on how to clean your garbage disposal? We got you covered:

You should smell the difference by now!

Facts:

1. Remove excess debris from the blade with ice cubes and rock salt. Ice cubes keep the blades sharp!
2. NEVER use disposals with a septic system: it fills up your septic tank!
3. Keep silverware away from the disposal: a change of a little habit with a big result!

In Case of Emergency

1. Resetting may solve problems: most disposals have a reset button on the bottom. If your disposal isn’t working, check the electrical breaker and see if it’s on. If it is ON and the unit isn’t working, press the reset button.
2. Jammed disposal: contrary to the common sayings, DO NOT USE A WOODEN broom to unjam your disposal! What ends up happening is you could break the wood and some debris could sit inside the disposal, adding oil to fire!
3. Our tutorial on how to unclog a disposal: We have a tutorial on how to unclog and fix a disposal using various safe tools. It will save all your troubles!

 
Hope you have learned few tricks and tips on caring for your disposal. Remember, treat your garbage disposal well, and it will treat you well in return. If you have any questions or want to submit more tips, tweet us @wintershomeservices or go on our Facebook page.
 
Don’t forget to share this if you find it helpful!
 
Keywords: garbage disposal, howtounclogGarbageDisposals, troubleshooting, drains, kitchensink

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Are you Clutter-Free for the Holiday?

Whether it’s due to poor habits, or an advanced case of affluenza, we all have clutter at home. Besides the lost time of searching for missing things, clutter is extremely unsightly as well, especially during the holiday time when we have guests over. Check out our “Winters Declutter and organizing hacks 101” guide! We will provide you tips and ways to help you organize a clutter-free home.

1. Use Shoe Boxes as DIY Dividers

Use Shoe Boxes as DIY Dividers
Why spend money on drawer dividers at a store when you can make your own? All you need are scissors and shoe boxes. Cut the boxes in half by length or width, then simply tuck into a drawer and voila – you have your customized drawer dividers!

2. Stuffed Animals Handy on the Wall

Stuffed Animals Handy On The Wall
Stuffed animals on the floor collect dust and get lost. Why not keep them handy and clean? Attach half of Velcro strip to the back of a lightweight stuffed animal, and the other half to the wall. Of course, use the soft side on the toys so they stay fuzzy with no scrapes!

3. Plastic bags everywhere

Plastic Bags Everywhere
Plastic bags can be reused, so we save them. A good way to organize them is inside a tissue box.

4. Storage for cords

Storage For Cords
Cords can get tangled and take up more spaces than needed, simply take a hanger and wrap your cords around it.

5. No place for towels?

No Place For Towels
Use a wine rack to hold your towels so you have enough towels accessible for your guests too. Not to mention it doesn’t take up anymore room!

6. CD tower in the bathroom

CD Tower In The Bathroom
Turn the CD tower on its side – a great bathroom organizer without taking additional room!

7. FRAME your keys – no more losing them!

Frame Your Keys - No More Losing Them
A beautiful way to keep your keys organized and never lose them again! Simply take the glass from an old frame, cover the backing with paint, fabric, or decorative paper. Affix hooks and hang your keys.

8. Magazine racks for storage

Maximize Racks For Storage
Pot lids everywhere? No worries, use a magazine rack.

9. Not enough storage in the shower?

Not Enough Storage In The Shower?
Put another shower rod for extra storage. You can even dry your towels that way!

10. Not enough space for mugs?

Not Enough Space For Mugs?
Use rods for towels, and pick up some hooks and baskets and voila – you have your DIY IKEA-inspired coffee station! No more clutter in the cabinet to look for your special morning coffee mug!
 
Remember, there’s no such thing as clutter-free living because even the tidiest among us still tosses clothing on floors from time to time. Accept reality by establishing dedicated clutter preserves and only let it stays within boundaries. Build good habits, be consistent and be creative. Let us know how you like these clutter-free ideas and how you conquer your clutter!
 
Have fun decluttering!

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My heat is robbing me – help!

My heat is robbing me – help!

 

There’s a price to pay for a cozy winter. As we watch the snow falls romantically and kick our feet back in our warm, cozy home, we can feel the pinch in our pocketbooks from rising energy bills as well. According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for 56% of the energy use in a typical home! Therefore, it is so important for us to take the steps to save on winter heating bills.

Check out our money-smart ways to bundle up your home this winter!

1. Insulate, insulate and insulate!

ioninsulate

Find out how much insulation you already have in your home and WHERE it is. Make sure your home is properly air sealed as well. Most houses leak and attic doors are one of the biggest offenders. Read this before you insulate your attic. The Department of Energy can get you started with its ZIP Code Insulation Calculator.

How much you’ll save: 20-30% off your monthly bill with return on investment in as little as one year.

 

2. Let your thermostat be the boss

thermostat

Teach your thermostat how to save money and let it run your house – you can save at least 10% on your heating bills! If you don’t have a smart-phone operated thermostat, simply adjust 10 to 15 degrees cooler for the 8 hours you’re at work. If you can take it, cut it back even more during the 8 hours when you sleep and you could even save 20% more!

We strongly advise you to get a smart-phone operated/programmable thermostat to save your bills in the long run. Imagine being able to control the temperate of your home on your phone anywhere you want. Our home monitoring program for only $14.95 a month gives you the ability to monitor and control your home (from water shut offs, door locks to thermostats). You can also get a FREE programmable thermostat through MassSave*

*after redemption

How much you’ll save: 10-20% off your monthly bill

3. Dial up your hot water setting

water heater

    Water heater account for 14 to 25% of monthly energy bill because they are on 24/7 and factory-set at 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of us can live comfortably with 120-degrees water and save 3 to 5% on water heating costs for every 10 degrees of setback.

If you are looking for long term savings, reduce hot water use with low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, “jacket” the heater and wrap hot water pipes to minimize stand-by heat loss, and install a timer to take advantage of cheaper off-peak power.

For greater savings, ditch the tank entirely and invest in an energy-saving, on-demand tankless water heater. You’d save 24 to 34% of water heating cost!

4. Money flying out the WINDOWS

 windows

Those of us that live in older houses with old-fashion, outdated windows – they are big holes in your walls where money fly right through! Double-pane thermal windows arrest the heat transfer by inserting dead-air space between two panes. These energy-efficient windows enable homes to take advantage of free solar heating during the chilly winter.

How much you’ll save: 16 to 21% on annual heating costs, and return on investment as little as two years.

5. Cash going up the Chimney

Our heat’s favorite place to be: up and through the chimney. Check if your chimney’s damper is airtight by poking your hand up inside the flue and see if you can feel the draft. Most home owners place fitted glass fireplace doors over. Some leverage their fireplace by installing a heat exchanger, or installing woodstove to bring more heat into the room. Not a bad idea!

How much you’ll save: Glass fireplace doors can save 1 to 2% off your heating bill.

6. Space heaters, fans and future plans

Portable space heaters can be dangerous, that’s why we would recommend quartz or oil-filled heater, which look like radiators.

More Tips:

  • Reverse your ceiling fans to help circulate rising heated air down to where you need it.
  • Close the doors to little-used rooms.
  • Insulate outlets and light switches with switch insulators

 

We hope this will help you save some money and not let your house “eat” up your heating bills. While it’s nice to be warm and toasty, it is important to make sure our bank account stays cozy as well! Got more tips? Submit them to us on Twitter or Facebook!

 

 

 

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Checkmarks for your fall clean-up: did you do a good job?

We know our customers care about their lawns!It isn’t as simple as it seems, fall clean-up can be tedious. Seems like all we have to do is shove all the leaves away. But by taking the time to put your yard and landscape “to bed” in fall, your lawn will reap the rewards. Give your lawn a healthy start next spring by managing and checking off these 10 fall tasks.

rake
  1. Feed your lawn! It needs food too

Think of fall fertilization as replenishing your lawn after a long, hot, dry summer. It will help maintain your lawn’s root health and replenish nutrients that were expended in summer months. Don’t wait too long!

  1. Remember to water

Before you put away the sprinklers for the season, remember that some plants are still thirsty. Water early in the day to avoid evaporation and disease development. Water deep: when you see moisture soak into the soil of container plants and beds, apply another dose.

 

 

  1. Air out your soil yet?

That build-up and foot traffic can compact soil, which cuts off oxygen and nutrient supply to the roots. Aeration loosens soil. Tips: balding turf, matted-down grass, sparse new growth, pools of water and tough grounds are signs you need to aerate!

soil nutrition
  1. Have you level and reseed?

Early fall is the best time to reseed a lawn so turf roots establish before winter. Loosen soil with a dethatching rake, add a soil amendment and evenly apply seed. Here’s a general video on how to reseed a lawn:

  1. Are your perennials overcrowded?

Fall is the ideal time to divide the root ball and replant. Cutting back the plants prior to transplanting can help reduce shock.

gardener

6. Want spring’s first blooms?

Plant in the fall to enjoy spring’s first blooms! This include crocus, daffodil and tulip. Let the bulbs stay cool all winter. Don’t forget to dig holes for bulbs and fertilize before replacing soil.

tulip

7. Pick up leaves

We all know this is a common one, but just want to stick it in as a tip to remind you! Dark, moist environments are breeding grounds for disease!

8. Mow Low

Mowing for the last time? Make it a short cut since you’re tugging the lawn tools until spring.

9. Decorate for the holidays!

Have fun with your decorations! Get festive!

10. Clean upean up

Wash down all your patio furniture and store it for the season. For dog owners, make sure to pick up toys so they don’t get buried or lost!

 

Enjoy the rest of fall!

Winters Team

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Is Your Home REALLY Ready For The Winter?

As we breathe in the brisk air of fall, it also reminds us that winter is on its way. Besides reorganizing our closets, making sure our heat is working, it’s also important to use these 10 helpful tips for our home to REALLY prepare our house for the LONG winter.

1. Stove Pot Humidifier

A cost-effective way to keep your house warmer for longer!
A little tip, great creative and use lemon juice or cinnamon sticks with the humidifier for a fresh, clean, “wintery” smell!
Stove Pot Humidifier

2. Orange Peel As A Fire Starter

Crazy but true! The oil in the orange’s skin can fuel fires while releasing less creosote than paper. Dry its peels on a sheet pan and toss them in a paper bag (with a silica packet to maintain freshness). Not to mention your fireplace room will smell like fresh oranges!
Orange Peel As A Fire Starter

3. Pebble Boot Tray

Tired of wet snow remnants from boots? Use a pebble boot tray – the snow and ice will drain through the rocks to the bottom of the tray and your boots dry quicker that way. This is also easy to clean. You can make your very own, learn how to here
Pebble Boot Tray

4. De-Icing Roof Cables

Frozen ice forming on shingles or gutters mean bad news – use a de-icing roof cable or heat tape. You can turn them on before the storm hits you and assure that the cable will prevent ice from forming!
De-Icing Roof Cables

5. Sealing Air Leaks

We spend so much money on our heat, let’s make the most of it by ensuring that our windows are sealed and not have that warm air escape! Test for air leaks by placing candles around locations in your house on a windy day with the windows shut. If you flame moves, make sure to caulk and seal all air leaks! Don’t have time to caulk? Simply place bubble wrap between the window and the screen to keep out that cold draft. Or use 3M all weather flashing tape. We’ve include the tutorial for you here:

6. Tin Foil: Time to clean That Fireplace

It may be unconventional, but it works! Place a double layer of tin foil across the bottom of a fireplace before lighting a fire. When the fire is finished the next day, fold the tin foil with ashes in it.

7. Warm Water Bottles

Did you know that people used to use warm water containers to provide warmth while in bed since the 16th century? In today’s day, an electric blanket is a good modern alternative or you can stay vintage and use couple warm water bottles and lay them on your bed several minutes before you hit the hay.
Warm Water BottlesElectric Blanket

8. Don’t Have Salt To Quickly De-Freeze Your Steps?

Salt alternatives: rubbing Alcohol and dishwashing liquid. Use rubbing alcohol and dishwashing liquid – mix together one tsp of dishwashing liquid, one tsp of rubbing alcohol and half a gallon of hot water and voila! Your very own concoction to pour over ice! Plus, the concrete doesn’t get eaten away over time.

9. Dehumidify Air Dryers

Humid basement? Maybe you should consider buying a regenerative desiccant compressed air dryer – it uses pressure swing absorption to efficiently dry wet rooms! Wetness can cause mold growth overtime!

10. Programmable Thermostat

Last but not least, you can save money and energy with programmable thermostats in the long run. It adjust to a user-set temperature program with flexible time-of-day and seasonal adjustments.
We have a $14.95 monthly plan that gives you home monitoring: you can control your thermostat anytime and anywhere with your Smart phone! You can also add any other smart devices like door locks and water shut-offs – All from your smart phone! You can get a FREE thermostat through the MassSave rebate program too!
Programmable Thermostat
We hope these ten tips will make your winter less stressful and less repair work. Enjoy your winter!
Got other tips you want to share with us? Tweet us @wintershomeservices or tell us on our Facebook page!

Your friendly plumber,

Winters Team

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Call Us Today For All Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning Repairs 617-776-5950
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“Not only were they quick to action but they called first thing Monday morning to tell me they could come in 30 minutes to start taking the furnace out and install the new one same day. While many other companies claim “24/7 emergency service” these guys mean it AND they are helpful. On Sunday night they also brought me space heaters to keep my place warm – lifesaver! This is a company I will openly refer and use for services in the future. Thanks Winters! I now have heat less then 24 hours later and a full understanding of how my new system works.”

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