Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

With winter right around the corner, it’s important to get your home in shape before the temperature drops and the rain and snow takes a toll on your home. We’ve gathered the top “must-do” items that homeowners should take into consideration in order to protect their home and their family.

  1. Check your Chimney

You may not realize it, but a wood burning fireplace can build up with creosote, a harmful combustible chemical that can form in your chimney.

Creosote is a black thick-like tar that develops in your chimney stack. If you don’t have your chimney cleaned every winter, the oil can catch on fire quickly, damaging your home and put your family’s health at risk. For these reasons, it is imperative that you get your chimney checked every fall. A chimney sweeper can make recommendations as to if you need your fireplace and chimney stack cleaned.

While you are thinking about your chimney, you may also want to consider adding a cap to prevent animal nests or homes from being constructed at the top of your chimney.

  1. Clean Out Gutters

Before the onset of the increased rain, snow, and ice, you’ll want to clean out your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause serious home damage like foundation, structural, and flooding damage, and these home repairs can be costly.

If you are cleaning your gutters on your own, be sure to use proper ladder safety techniques. Always keep both feet and at least one hand when using a ladder. Consider laying a tarp on the ground to throw any debris from your gutters onto and protect your landscaping. After cleaning your gutters, you may want to consider installing a gutter guard, like Leaf Filter, to eliminate any future gutter hassles.

  1. Inspect Your Roof

If you are not privy to using a ladder, consider using binoculars from ground level to inspect your roof. Looking for loose or missing shingles that will need to be repaired. If you suspect any damage, you may want to get a professional to recommend courses of action. A repair might be a little costly, however, it will prevent any serious and substantial damage from occurring in the future.

  1. Store your Patio Furniture

Whether you are storing or covering your patio furniture, take the time to do a bit of cleaning and maintenance. This will increase the longevity of your furniture.

Remove all cushions and scrub all of the pieces with dish soap and a soft bristled brush. You’ll also want to make sure the cushions get a thorough cleaning too. While cleaning, take the time to inspect for any loose or missing screws. By tightening and replacing any loose screws, you will increase the lifetime of your patio furniture. If you don’t have any room for your furniture in your basement or garage, be sure to get some heavy-duty covers to protect everything from winter’s wrath.

  1. Stow Your Mower

When your mower is sitting all winter, fuel will begin to decompose and varnish the carburetor. When you go to start your engine in the spring, you’ll run into issues. To prevent any sort of issues, wait until the tank is nearly empty from use and run the engine outdoors to use up any remaining fuel. We also suggest checking your mower’s manual for any cold-weather storage steps that would be specific to your product.

Incorporate these five steps before the winter weather hits your area and your home should be in good shape!

5 Easy Tips to Save Energy and Money While Decorating Your Home

When you think about energy savings for your home, you probably think only of your air conditioner or appliances, but there are plenty of small changes you can make around your home to improve its efficiency. Even the way you decorate can make a difference on your energy bill. Check out these five tips for easy ways to save energy at home.

  1. Choose energy-saving window coverings. In the summer, heat from your windows can raise the temperature in your home and increase your cooling costs. In the winter, cold drafts from your windows can make your home chilly. To stop this energy waste, choose blinds, drapes and shutters that provide energy savings. For example, drapery with a thermal lining can help shut out the cold and heat. Looking for more energy-saving window ideas? HouseLogic gives some great advice.
  2. Rearrange your furniture. Take a look around your home. Is the furniture arranged in the most efficient way? Move any furniture that covers an air vent or blocks the flow of air in any way. Keep furniture away from windows that might cause a draft in cooler months or excess heat in the summer. This will keep you more comfortable, so you’ll mess with the heating and cooling less.
  3. Look for the ENERGY STAR label. No matter what your decorative style, there’s a way to incorporate ENERGY STAR products into your design. These energy-saving products are government certified, so you can rest assured you’re not wasting much energy. While ENERGY STAR is most commonly associated with appliances and TVs, there’s actually a wide range of products certified in the government program. You’ll find everything from ceiling fans and light fixtures to windows and doors.
  4. Install ceiling fans. While having a dazzling chandelier in your bedroom or living room may be the look you want, it won’t minimize your energy bill. Instead, install ceiling fans. They can cool you by up to 4 degrees, so you can turn your air conditioner up without being uncomfortable. You can also use the ceiling fan in the winter. When you switch the way the blades rotate, they push hot air down to keep you warmer. Remember, ceiling fans cool people—not rooms. Make sure you turn off the fan when the room’s not occupied.
  5. Fix up your fireplace. While a crackling fire makes your home cozy in the winter, it’s not always efficient. Sure, you can (and should) keep the flue closed to save energy, but is that enough? When you light a fire, a large amount of heat goes up the chimney, not into your home. In the end, you waste more wood or fuel to keep your house toasty. To make it more efficient add a fireback to reflect heat into your living room, install glass fireplace doors that can keep the cold out when the fireplace isn’t in use and replace your damper if it doesn’t fit snuggly.

*** Contributed by SaveOnEnergy.com SaveOnEnergy.com has built a reputation as an exceptional resource for all energy consumers by partnering with many of the most popular retail energy suppliers in the industry. Since its creation in 2003, SaveOnEnergy.com has helped millions of residential and commercial shoppers find a great rate on electricity and/or natural gas.

Houzz Feature: Pile On the Pillows and Blankets for Fall and Winter Warmth

We are honored to have recently been featured on Houzz with our beautiful family room from M/I Homes Of DC: Maryland :: Crown – Picasso Model.

A word about size. Beyond color, pattern and texture, you also have to navigate through endless sizes. Size will help convey the statement you’d like to make with your pillow selection. Twelve- and 16-inch square or round pillows, for example, will offer subtler touches over, say, 24-inch squares. For greater impact use a variety of sizes. Read more here.

Check out more of M/I Homes photos on Houzz here.

Spring Break Snow Fun in Maple Grove

There may be snow on the ground in Indy, but that isn’t stopping some future Zionsville residents in our Maple Grove community from getting outside and making the most of this not-so-spring-like weather!

Check out the snowmen (clad in an M/I Homes construction hat, of course) that a few future residents built on their lot!

Snow Man
Indianapolis experienced record-breaking snowfall for late March, with nearly ten inches falling in and around the city! But these residents know that a little snow can’t stop the spring fun! We certainly think this is a sign that Maple Grove will be one fun community to live in!

Interested in learning more about Maple Grove? Contact us to schedule a community tour!

Winter Maintenance Checklist

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