Category Archives: Home Maintenance

things to do in may photo galeMay is a good month to finish your Spring To Do List, and start thinking about tackling your Summer To Do List.

 

 

  • Turn on your outdoor spigots and check your garden hoses for leaks.
  • Take a look at your deck or patio. Does your deck need to be repainted or refinished? Does your patio need new bricks or stones?
  • Wash and set out your outdoor furniture.
  • Inspect your pool after the long winter. Start getting it ready for the upcoming summer months.
  • We use our outdoor grill year round, but it’s a good idea in the spring to clean it and make sure you have enough propane or charcoal.
  • Mulch your shrubbery bed, and till and prepare your vegetable garden.
  • Memorial Day Weekend is a popular time in New England to buy your tomato plants for your home garden.
  • Take the cover off your outdoor air conditioning unit and open up your vents in your house. Test the central air conditioning system well before the first hot day of summer, or you may be surprised! Start thinking about putting your window air conditioners back in the windows.
  • Wash your windows, inside and out.
  • Buy sunscreen products and bug spray so you are ready for the summer months.
  • Go through your winter wool clothes and decide what is headed for the dry cleaners and what is headed to Goodwill.
  • In New England, May is a great month to start up your walking regimen.

Gale Crop 2011 jpegAbout the Author – When Gale is not working at home on her “To Do List”, she enjoys working with both Sellers and Buyers. Gale Spadafora is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy and can be contacted through her website at www.galespadafora.com.


Fred well water photo 1We have a second home in Killington VT.  Our home in Woburn has city water and sewer lines.  Last December, we were in Killington and I had to use the bathroom.  I attempted to flush the toilet and nothing; it didn’t work.  We had no water.  I yelled, “Ann the toilet is not working”.  She said “great, this is what happens when you don’t have city water and sewer lines.”  We went to the basement to check the utility room and discovered that there was no water pressure in the pump tank.  We told everyone who was in the house not to use the bathrooms and we all went skiing.  We thought that in about 5 hours the water would regain pressure and we would be fine.

At about 1:00pm that afternoon, my friend Jeff (who is an electrician) came over to make sure there were not any electrical issues.  What we found was that the pump in the system was working fine and we could hear the pump spinning, but no water was coming up the well.  Jeff suggested getting our hose and tapping into the neighbor’s outside faucet to fill the well with water to see how long it would last.. We filled the well for 4 hours and it worked fine.

Fred well water photo 2The next day we spoke to the plumber that put in the well and he came by and tested it.  The pipe had 50 feet of water in it, so we were ok.   But we still did not know why we had this issue.  Days went by, no problems, the water worked fine.  Then the same week we were in the basement (there is a bathroom down there) and heard the toilet running.  Finally we figured out what happened. The basement toilet was running all week when we were not at the house and the system could not recover, causing no water to be in the well.  I changed all the stoppers in each toilet in the bathrooms and so far so good 2 months and no well issues.

Fred Damore headshot photoAbout the author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Ross Mortgage, homeowner and self-acclaimed do it yourselfer.  Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@rossmortgageco.com

 


As a taxpayer, I am always looking for tax deductions or credits to help me pay less taxes.  Did you know that as a home owner you could get a tax credit of up to $500 for making energy saving improvements to your home?! Some of these improvements include energy efficient windows, insulation, central air conditioning, roofing furnaces and so much more.  To learn who and what qualifies go to irs.gov and search for form 5695


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About the author: Anthony Giglio is one of the broker/owner’s of RE/MAX Legacy and is an passionate about getting all the tax deductions and credits he can. You can learn more about him and contact him directly by visiting his website www.myhomeMA.com


Roland Melted SidingA few times in recent years, I have come across homes with distorted, melted vinyl siding.  The first thought is to ask “how could this have happened?”  The answer is very simple – the neighbors did it!  Well actually the neighbors didn’t do it, at least not intentionally, but when they installed their new low – e windows, the process began (unbeknownst to all parties).

Here’s what’s really happening.  The neighbor installs low emissivity windows because they provide great benefit to him.  The low emissivity windows have a thin layer on the inside of the outer piece of glass of a double paned insulated window.  This keeps out the heat from the infrared rays of the sun while allowing natural daylight to pass through. In the winter time, it also reflects the heat within the room back into the room.  That all sounds great for the homeowner with the energy efficient low – e windows.

But what happens to the heat that is reflected away on the outside?  The window acts like a magnifying glass that directs a “laser beam” of energy towards the next door neighbor.  The position of the sun in the sky can affect the intensity and the worst conditions are winter time when the sun is lower which results in a greater impact.   Traditional siding like cedar shingles or clapboards is not affected.  But vinyl siding is affected and the siding melts and distorts.

If you have a cooperative neighbor, you can ask that he install screens on the outside of his windows that will disperse the energy without affecting the effectiveness of the windows.  This should take care of the problem.

Another option, although more costly, is to install HardiePlank siding on your home.  This is a fiber-cement product, but the cost is 3 times that of regular vinyl siding.

It sounds like the best fix is for the neighbor to invest in a few hundred dollars to purchase screens and hope it does the trick.  Replacing the defective vinyl siding without resolving the cause will only result in it happening again.

For more information about low – e windows to understand the benefit and potential problems, a quick Google search will provide all the information you need to know.

Roland Crop 2011 jpeg (1)About the author: Roland Spadafora is one of the broker owners of RE/MAX Legacy. You can learn more about him on his website www.spadaforateam.com

 


Heat loan Gale photoMassachusetts has a loan program available to assist with energy efficiency improvements.  The Mass Save® Residential HEAT Loan Program provides interest free loans for up to seven years and a maximum of $25,000 for Massachusetts residential homes and rental properties.  The program is funded by the following program administrators who buy down the interest on the HEAT Loan making it 0% interest to the customer:  National Grid, Eversource, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Unitil (MA), Liberty Utilities, and Cape Light Compact.

Call Mass Save® at (866) 527-7283 to schedule a no-cost Home Energy Assessment or work with a participating Home Performance Contractor.  They will review the results of your assessment and let you know which improvements would be eligible for the special financing.

Go to http://www.masssave.com/residential/offers/heat-loan-program for a list of improvements that might be available to you. Type in your Zip Code and Source of Heat to get the promotions available.  The following are typical of the improvements you may qualify for:

  • Attic, Wall, and Basement Insulation
  • High Efficiency Heating Systems
  • Central Air Conditioning/ Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps
  • High Efficiency Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Solar Hot Water Systems
  • 7-Day Digital & Wi Fi Thermostats
  • ENERGY STAR® Qualified Replacement Windows

For a limited time only, take advantage of the expanded HEAT Loan offerings funded by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources:

  • NEW: High Efficiency Wood Pellet Boilers
  • NEW: Deeper Energy Savings
  • NEW: Expanded 2-4 Family Loan
  • NEW: Grants to Remove Asbestos, Upgrade Knob & Tube Wiring

 

Once you have your Assessment done you are ready to contact a Participating Lender. The list of Participating Lenders can be found at http://www.masssave.com/~/media/Files/Residential/Information-and-Edu-Docs/HeatLoanLenderList.pdf  Look for your service area to find a lender. There is also information about the maximum loan available at each lender and whether the loan is secured or unsecured.

Business customers, including non-profits and multi-family complexes with five or more dwelling units also have the opportunity to apply for interest-free loans up to $100,000 with terms up to seven years.

The HEAT Loan Program is definitely something that every Massachusetts resident should explore.  For more information go to the Mass Save® website at http://www.masssave.com/

Gale Crop 2011 jpegAbout the Author – Gale Spadafora is passionate about the environment and promoting Green initiatives.  She is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy and can be contacted through her website at www.galespadafora.com


dryer 1 dryer 2 dryer 3The one thing that is always over-looked in a home is a dryer vent.  Now, we have all cleaned out the lint catch in front of the dryer, but what about the hose and vent that distributes the air outside?   If you have kids like me, laundry is an everyday event.  These appliances are used a lot.  When was the last time you checked the hose on the back of the dryer?

These are a few things that I have found over the years.  I have had the washer machine sitting on top of the dryer vent so no air could escape. I have had the dryer vent clogged with lint and no air going through.  I have also had the dryer vent disconnected.  This is one of those places in the house that no one wants to look at.  Just to see back there you have to pull washer and dryer out and have a full HAZMAT suit on!

My friend Matt checked his dryer vent this past weekend.  He found  that it was not connected to the outside of the house at all.  The hose ran through the floorboards and was just blowing lint into the insulation.  This is a big problem because it could start a fire.  To resolve this issue, he cut a hole in the basement ceiling and reconnected the hose to vent the dryer to the outside.  Most likely this had been going on for years.

Another one of my friends had a dryer issue and asked me to see what was going on with it.  I climbed up a ladder to the second floor vent and lo and behold there was a family of birds living in the vent preventing the dryer from venting properly.

Here are some facts and figures from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

Dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 22 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2006-2010.

  • In 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries and $236 million in direct property damage.
  • Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires, washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 4%.
  • The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean.

So in short every spring move your washer and dryer out, clean the vent and make sure the air is blowing through it.  No one wants a fire.

Fred Damore headshot photoAbout the Author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Ross Mortgage, homeowner and self-acclaimed do it yourselfer.  Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@rossmortgageco.com


Ice dams are all the rage this winter. With the incredible amount of cold and snow we have had this winter we are experiences endless amounts of ice damming on homes. There are countless number of articles and blogs on how to fix these ice dams and to be honest it tempting for the DIYer in you!  However, fixing an ice dam is a TWO PERSON job!  Hopefully, you will learn from my experience and always remember to put safety first!

 

antnew1Anthony Giglio is a Realtor and one of the broker/owners of RE/MAX Legacy. His clients enjoy working with him because of his easy going approach. You can contact him directly on his website www.myhomeMA.com or read his blog at www.mytownline.com


This winticesameer has posed many challenges in real estate.  All the cold and snow have not only dissuaded potential buyers from pulling the trigger in purchasing a home during this time, but have also created serious problems for those buyers who have decided to make the move. For buyers that are under contract, the cold and snow have created many problems scheduling home inspections, appraisals, and the final walk through.  Sellers have had to deal with removing large amounts of snow to allow potential buyers to access the property while also ensuring there are no water leaks entering the home.

The biggest issue for homeowners this winter has been ice dams.  An ice dam is ice buildup on a roof that prevents melted snow from running off the roof and into the gutters.  The melting snow from the roof then gets trapped by the dam and eventually backs up on the roof, travels under the shingles and eventually leaks into the home.  A permanent fix to this problem is proper insulation, sealing and ventilation in the attic.  This could prove costly to the homeowner and it may not be feasible to rectify the issue during the present winter season.  However, there is a simple way to diminish the damage after an ice dam has formed to prevent further damage until a more permanent solution can be put in place for next season.  This could save not only the home from water penetration, but more importantly, a sale.

Instructions:  Fill a leg of discarded pair of panty hose with calcium chloride ice melt.  Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter.  The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for the water to flow down into the gutters from the roof.

By tackling an ice dam immediately when your home is under agreement, it will certainly make the process go a lot smoother during this winter season.  If you need assistance with preventing your home from having any ice dams either this season or next, contact an agent at RE/MAX Legacy for a licensed contractor that will be able to help with this problem.

 

Juliano blog headshot photoAbout the Author: James A. Juliano is one of the founding partners of Scafidi Juliano, LLP managing the Woburn office located in Downtown Woburn Center. He currently serves on the Woburn Conservation Commission where he has sat for almost two (2) years.  Mr. Juliano is very active in his community and also serves as the President of the Woburn Baseball Diamond Club which supports Woburn High School Baseball and is on the Board of Directors for the Woburn Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Juliano is also a Director of the Friends of the Tri-Community Greenway, Inc. which is a non-profit corporation responsible for the formation and organization of the 6.63 mile bike path and park that will stretch through Stoneham, Woburn, and Winchester.

Mr. Juliano’s present areas of practice include residential and commercial real estate transactions, residential and commercial lending, land use and zoning, and Landlord/Tenant law.  Mr. Juliano can be reached at jjuliano@scafidijuliano.com or by phone at 781-210-4710, Ext. 102. His company website is www.scafidijuliano.com.


warm houseHere are some guidelines for keeping your home warm this winter and reducing your heating bills.  According to the US Dept of Energy as much as 35% of air leakage in a house comes from small openings in doors, windows and fireplaces.

 

 

  1. Doors – Make sure your storm door closes firmly. Install a metal or rubber door sweep on your exterior doors.
  1. Windows – Check any windows you don’t open in the winter. If you feel a draft at any point make sure to caulk. Or apply a clear weather stripping tape along the edges of the window. You can also cover the window with window film, by applying with double stick tape and then using a hair dryer to shrink it tight. Don’t forget to remove any window-mounted air-conditioning units. If you have a wall mounted AC, seal it at the edges with weather stripping and place a cover over it.
  1. Fireplaces – When your fireplace is not in use the flue should be closed. You can also install a glass door with vents at the bottom.

Other ideas to warm your house and reduce your heating bill include annual maintenance and changing the filters on your furnace or boiler, adding insulation, using programmable thermostats and avoiding ice dams on your roof by cleaning your gutters.

Gale Crop 2011 jpegAbout the author – Gale has spent a lifetime of winters in the Northeast and looks forward to the day she can reside in a warmer climate without worrying about heat loss. Gale Spadafora is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy and can be contacted through her website at www.galespadafora.com


Get the Most Out of Living Small

Whether you are an empty nester, newly divorced, or just want to save some money, downsizing might be the right choice for you.

Ladies, have you ever had a professional makeover only to have the cosmetologist tell you thatstock-photo-small-modern-living-room-with-tv-and-couch-127205507 the shades you had been applying to your eyes were all wrong? For instance, dark eye shadow make your eyes narrow and tired looking, whereas neutral or light colors make you appear lively, even younger.

The same scenario applies to small spaces: darker shades will make a room appear smaller, more enclosed. To make the same room more open, new homeowners should consider repainting the room brighter with more neutral colors, such as creams, nudes, and yellows.

Carpet has a similar effect, especially lush carpet. Bottom line: hardwood is in, carpet is out. Once you change to hardwood floors your rooms will appear bigger, brighter and they will shine.

Moreover, your large pieces of furniture will overwhelm a small space, making it feel crowded and smaller than it actually is. Search for multi-purpose furniture like benches that double as storage or glass tables to give the illusion of more space. Mirrors create a similar effect by giving rooms more dimension to them.

Ultimately, make downsizing work for you, not the other way around. Use these techniques to get the most out of your space. Don’t be afraid to experiment. And when you are in the mall, stop by the makeup counter with more confidence. It is never too late for a makeover!

Patty 2About the author: Patricia Lovett is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy of the Alliance Home Team and would be happy to share her decorating ideas with you. She can be contacted at www.pattylovett.com