How to Get Ready for Fall
Making a Fall Checklist
The cooler temperatures are already making their way into the midwest. Soon the leaves will start changing colors, and as with any season change it’s a good time to do some home maintenance and organization. Here’s our quick list of Fall prep ideas.
5 Things to do to Get Ready for Fall
1) Check and Clean the Gutters
This one is a no-brainer when it comes to prepping for the fall and winter. Clogged gutters can prevent proper draining, allowing standing water to seep into your home and cause wall and ceiling damage. Improper gutter drainage can also lead to overflowing gutters that pour water onto your landscaping as opposed to out the downspouts.
Companies like Agent Clean can clean out the gutters to remove leaves, debris and silt, and perform a water test on the downspouts to ensure that they are draining properly. We recommend a gutter cleaning service at the beginning of fall and at the beginning of winter.
2) Clean out Chimney
If you’re a homeowner and have a fireplace, the beginning of fall is the best time to check that your chimney is ready for use. Small critters and birds can make nests in chimneys which become a fire hazard. Leaves can also get stuck in the chimney. You can sometimes clean out the top part yourself, but it’s a good idea to have someone inspect it prior to lighting a fire in the fireplace.
3) Furnace check up
With colder temperatures inbound, the change of the season is a good time to check your furnace filter and have your furnace checked over by a professional. They can make sure that the wiring is working, and that the overall condition of your heater is up to par.
4) Clean and Seal your concrete
Fall is the perfect time to have your concrete patio and driveway cleaned and sealed. Did you know that cracks in the concrete are generally caused by water seeping into the pores, then freezing? It is the expansion of the water that causes concrete to crack. By cleaning and sealing the concrete, the pores are filled and water is unable to seep into the surface.
5) Plan a Fall Party
Fall is a beautiful season, and for most areas the weather is gorgeous. Why not plan a fall get together? Break out the chili pot, have a bonfire, and enjoy the company of friends and family.
4 Tips for Finding Tenants
Finding tenants can be a difficult task, especially in college towns where the competition is high. Here are a few tips to help your property stand out to potential clients.
How to find Good Tenants
1) Take good pictures.
One of the main things to do when attracting potential tenants is to take quality photos of the available spaces. Great photos helps maintain the image of clean, home-like spaces, and entice potential tenants to visit.
Take a clean photo of the exterior front of the house. Take one of the back if there is pertinent amenities such as a porch, patio, or nice view.
Take wide photos of the common areas, such as the kitchen, dining area, and living room. Take photos of the bedrooms. Try to get the whole room, and include photos of closets or master bathrooms.
Take photos of bathrooms, and other larger closets.
Once you’ve taken great photos, it’s time to share them. There are many outlets to advertise, from free listings on some sites to classified ads in newspapers. Make sure your ad clearly outlines the space available: is it a one-bedroom or two? What kind of unit? Is it a house? How many bathrooms? Is there a deck or patio? If it is a house, what style? How many floors? Try to identify specifics that would speak to the tenants you want to attract.
For example, a single floor ranch home with two to three bedrooms might attract new families or recently married couples. Apartments near campus are likely to attract college students.
3) Offer move in specials
A great way to stand out in the market is to offer move-in incentives, such as lower deposits or discounts on first month rent. While it isn’t necessary, especially if you have a sought-after property, it is a good option if your properties are in a saturated area.
4) Clean up the exterior
Curb appeal is just as important for rental properties as it is for businesses and homes. Making a great first impression when potential tenants visit is important. It also helps catch the eye of passersby.
Soft washing the exterior will take care of mold, mildew, dirt and pollution that may be contaminating the siding. Look for blackish green streaks or blotches, especially on vinyl siding. Mold also tends to grow into concrete such as patios and sidewalks.
Companies like Agent Clean offer custom cleaning packages to take care of any cleaning needs. Learn more about some of the exterior cleaning services available.
Finding tenants is a process. Following the above tips can help you attract more people to your rental property.
Tips for Throwing a Summer Party
Summer weather is already here and finding an excuse to throw a backyard party isn’t hard. Brats and burgers on a grill, ice cold drinks, and friends and family make the effort of throwing a summer party worth the time and energy. Here’s a few tips and tricks to consider while you think up your perfect patio party ideas.
1. Choose a theme
A fun element to bring to any outdoor summer party is a theme for your decorations. Maybe you want to have a tiki theme? Or throw a Very Harry Potter Bash? Having a party theme can bring some variety and fun to your outdoor get together and keep things interesting, especially if you host parties on a regular basis.
Even if you don’t want to have an official theme, having some party decorations can provide a nice ambience to the event, especially in the evening times. Consider putting up outdoor string lights around the patio or in the trees, some backyard torches to light the walkway, or led water lighting if you have a fountain or pond.
2. Clean it up
Once you decide to throw a party, it’s time to get your home and patio into top shape.
- Focus on high-traffic areas of the house such as the kitchen, hallway, and bathroom.
- Pick up clutter such as toys, trash, and odds and ends.
- For the deck and patio, pick up toys, hoses, and tools.
- If you have a pool, clean up the water to remove dead bugs, grass and leaves.
If you want to make your house shine, have a cleaning service company soft wash your house and deck and pressure wash your patio and sidewalk. Soft washing is a low-pressure cleaning method that removes mold, mildew, and algae from surfaces without the risk of damage from high pressure. Power washing your patio and sidewalk will remove dirt and mold from the surface and make it look bright and clean for your guests.
The prep work is usually what makes or breaks a good summer party, but it isn’t just for curb appeal. Mold becomes slick when wet, so if you’re throwing a pool party, having the concrete cleaned is a good safety precaution.
3. Get the food
Let’s be honest, food is a huge part of throwing a party. You don’t want to have too much or too little, and you want to accommodate your guests’ tastes. The first key to getting the food organized is a proper head count.
If you’re throwing a small party just for close friends and family, start a list of the likely attendees to get an idea of how much food you’ll need. If you’re having a more informal party, social media is a great way to get a quick RSVP from potential guests. Set up your event on Facebook and send invites with a request for RSVP before the date of the party. This gives you time to prepare the food.
When it comes to the type of food to have, try to offer a variety of options that are easy to grab and carry around. If you’re doing anything bigger than a dinner party, you’ll want to forgo things like casseroles, roasts, and other formal dinner options as most informal backyard parties involve standing and mingling. Try to present a spread of finger foods such as little sausages, cocktail sandwiches, chips, and veggies and dip. Provide paper plates and plastic utensils for easy clean up, and have large receptacles nearby for guests to deposit their trash.
Throwing a summer party can be exciting, fun, and rewarding. It can also be a nightmare with poor prep. The key is to plan the event carefully so that you can let loose and have a great time with friends and family.
What to do with your tree after Christmas
With the holidays coming to an end, you might be wondering what to do with your Christmas tree. If you have a synthetic tree it’s a simple matter of removing decorations and putting it back in it’s box or storage, but a live tree needs to be recycled or disposed of properly. Here are a few tips for disposing or recycling your Christmas tree.
Christmas Tree Disposal
It’s a good idea to dispose of your tree before it becomes too dehydrated. Dehydrated trees are a fire hazard the longer they are kept. Many families dispose of their tree just after the first of the year.
To prepare for disposal, remove your ornaments and lights. Have a container or bucket handy for any excess water that may be in the bottom of the tree stand.
You can wrap the tree in plastic or put a tree cover on it to prevent needles from scattering about your home when you carry the tree out. When cleaning up the needles, avoid vacuuming as they can clog or damage it. Instead, use a broom and dustpan.
Recycle Your Christmas Tree
It is becoming more commonplace for neighborhoods to offer a curbside pickup option for your Christmas tree. Contact your local county waste management to see if this service is available in your area. If curbside pickup is an option, consider cutting the tree into three or four sections to help with the disposal process.
There are other options if you have a garden or landscaping. You can have the tree mulched for use around your plants. If you’re in a rural area and have a patch of trees, your Christmas tree can be left as shelter for rabbits and birds. Trees can also be submerged in lakes or ponds to create a refuge and feeding area for fish.
Cleaning up after the holidays is primarily focused on decoration and tree clean up, but the turn of the year is also the time to start thinking about spring cleaning. Agent Clean offers residential house cleaning services such as siding cleaning, roof cleaning, window cleaning, and gutter cleaning. When you dispose or recycle your tree, consider getting on the calendar for spring exterior cleaning.
Where to Buy a Christmas Tree in Waukesha
Buy a Christmas Tree in Waukesha
One of the most exciting things to do before Christmas is to head out and find that perfect tree. If you’re in Waukesha, WI, here are some places to go on your quest for a Christmas tree.
Green Acres Christmas Tree Farm
Green Acres is just south east of Waukesha in New Berlin. They have a five-star rating on Google and are open 9:30AM to 4:30PM.
20203 Lawnsdale Rd, New Berlin, WI 53146
Schuett Farms is south west of Waukesha and is rated well with 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google. They are open weekdays from 12:30PM until 7PM, on Saturday from 10AM to 7PM and on Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. They also offer beef for sale.
GPS: State Highway 83 & Road X, Mukwonago, WI 53149
Cozy Nook Farm
Cozy Nook Farm is due west of Waukesha and offers both trees and wreaths. With a 4.7 out of 5 rating, Cozy Nook Farm is a great option when buying a Christmas tree. Open daily from 9AM to 7:30PM.
S11 W30780 Summit Ave, Waukesha, WI 53188
How to Pick a Christmas Tree
When choosing a live Christmas tree, there are several things to check for before buying.
- Is the tree free of pests and insect damage? Check the tree for signs of insect infestation or damage. Insect damage can be unsightly and affect the life of the tree.
- Does the tree have gaps in the branches? While trees naturally may have gaps, finding a full tree looks better and is easier to decorate. If you find that your tree does have some gaps, try and hide the gaps against a wall or in a corner and let the best side of the tree face outward.
- Shake the tree. Do the needles fall out easily? This is an important check if buying a tree that is pre-cut, as it could indicate dehydration or disease. If you’re looking at cutting your own tree, shake it a little before choosing to ensure that it won’t rapidly lose its needles once you get it home.
Getting a real tree for Christmas can help bring in the holiday cheer, but be sure you’re not creating a fire hazard. Keep the tree away from fireplaces and heat sources, and be sure to water it on a regular basis. Also, just like flowers that are kept in a vase, trees will eventually begin to deteriorate. As the tree goes bad, it loses its ability to absorb water, which can lead to a fire hazard. Don’t keep the tree too long after Christmas; many get rid of the tree around the turn of the New Year.
Getting rid of your tree is also the time to start considering Spring cleaning. Agent Clean of Waukesha offers house cleaning service for siding, roofs, gutters, and concrete, and offers free estimates. Get ahead of the schedule and book your spring house cleaning when you throw out your tree.
5 Tips to Prepare for Winter
Preparing Your Home for Winter
Cold weather is already creeping into the forecast, and winter is just around the corner. It’s a good idea to prepare your home for the cold weather by following these easy winterizing tips.
5 Winter Preparation Tips
Tip 1: Disconnect Water Hose
This tip is a vital one if you live in an area that commonly drops below freezing during the fall and winter months. Exterior garden hoses can retain water, and when it freezes, it can freeze all the way into the spigot and pipes, causing stress fractures and burst pipes. This leads to flooding and it can be extremely expensive to repair the leak and restore the damage from water. When fall comes around, simply disconnect your garden hose and store it for the winter. It’s also a good idea to turn off water to the outside spigot.
Tip 2: Gutter Cleaning
Clogged gutters aren’t just an issue in the fall and spring. In the winter when the propensity for snow increases, clogged gutters can cause flooding issues due to melted snow water being unable to drain properly. It’s a good idea to check your gutters at the beginning of fall and the end to ensure that your gutters are functioning properly. If you hire a gutter cleaning service, be sure to ask if they perform a downspout test, as clogging can sometimes occur in the downspout.
Tip 3 - Seal Your Concrete
Have you ever noticed that cracks seem to appear in concrete after several winter snows? That’s because the shrinking and expanding of the concrete during temperature changes can accentuate micro cracks in the surface. As water seeps in and freezes, it further deforms the concrete, causing it to crack. You can avoid this by sealing your concrete. Sealant fills in the pores and cracks and makes the concrete unable to absorb moisture or water. Be sure to have your concrete cleaned prior to sealing it, or the stains, mold, mildew, and algae will forever be seen under the sealer.
Tip 4 - Move the Plants
This is a fairly obvious tip, but many plants do not like to be frozen. If you have potted plants that are sensitive to weather, it’s a good idea to move them indoors before the first frost. This helps ensure that they survive the winter. You can transplant smaller plants from your garden to a pot and store it indoors if you need to.
Tip 5 - Get your Furnace Checked
Just like having your air conditioner checked going into the spring and summer, it’s vital to ensure that the health of your furnace is optimum going into the winter months. Severely cold weather can be dangerous without a heat source, and HVAC companies sometimes require a day or two to make a service call. Proactively prepping for cold weather is always better than reacting to a critical failure.
Winter can be a wonderful season, with snowmen, snow ball fights, Holiday parties, and cozy evenings by the fire. It is more enjoyable if you do not have to deal with leaking pipes, cracked sidewalks, flooding gutters, dead plants, and cold homes. Follow the steps above to prepare for winter like the best preppers!