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Kurt Spoerle - Realtor®
Office: (317) 566-2399
Cell: (317) 366-4000
kurt@kurtspoerle.com
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Summer has flown by and we are now into August. Kids are heading back to school and you may find yourself with a little extra free time. Check out the list below for a few helpful tips to keeping your home in tip top shape!

1. Pamper the lawn
Homeowners can’t successfully emulate the tightly trimmed golf-course look because they don’t have a golf course’s budget and army of maintenance professionals. Instead, the best thing you can do to achieve a good-looking lawn is to mow frequently and high (three inches or more – or just set your mower blades as high as they’ll go). This discourages weeds and trains the grass to grow in thickly. High, frequent cutting encourages roots to grow deep and retain water, so you’ll need to water less frequently. Let the clippings fall onto the lawn to add nourishment.

2. Clean sink drains
If you’ve got a slow-draining sink, take action. First, try a homemade drain cleaner. Onthehouse.comrecommends mixing a solution of equal parts of salt, baking soda and vinegar. Pour it into the drain and chase it down with two quarts of boiling water. You can use this solution monthly. Avoid chemical drain cleaners; they can damage the pipes and create toxic exposure for you and your family.

Or you can apply some elbow grease and fix slow drains by cleaning out the drain and trap  – the U-shaped pipe that’s directly under the sink. Position a bucket under the trap to catch falling water and gunk and keep a pile of rags at hand for cleaning up. This can be a messy job – you may also want to wear rubber gloves.

Loosen and remove the couplings that hold the trap to the straight pipes that run from the sink and to the sewer. You may need to use a plumber’s wrench. If the pipe is plugged, all kinds of messy stuff will fall into the bucket and must be removed from the trap. If possible, take the trap outside and shoot a stream of water from the hose through it. Rinse it out thoroughly. Use a snake or wire from a coat hanger to remove built-up debris from the pipes.

3. Fix leaky faucets
Check faucets for leaks and install new rubber gaskets by unscrewing the faucet end, removing the old gasket and reassembling it. Also fix dripping faucets. First, shut off the water under the sink. For sinks with independent hot and cold water faucets, dismantle each faucet, removing the washers (rings made of rubber, plastic or brass). Put the washers in a sandwich bag and bring them to the hardware store to look for replacements. Reassemble the faucets and turn the water back on. For a single-arm faucet, fix leaks by replacing the faucet’s inner workings. That’s not hard, because you can just note the brand and buy a faucet rebuild kit (about $50 at hardware stores). Dismantle the faucet, laying out the pieces on a paper towel. Shoot a photo or make a sketch to refer to when assembling it. Put the faucet back together and turn the water back on.

4. Get a furnace inspection
Have your heating system inspected and serviced by a professional. Call the company that sold it to you or your fuel distributor to get recommendations for servicers.

5. Inspect and maintain the water heater
Have your water heater professionally serviced once a year. Inspect the water heater thoroughly and check the walls and floor around it for evidence of leaks, rust or corrosion. Also check the lines and connections to the heater. Even a small amount of moisture can rot the flooring and subfloor. Lie on the floor to look at the bottom of the heater from underneath, using a flashlight. If you find leaks, replace the water heater.

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