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At Home with Judy....Spring Checklist Series #7

by Judy Gull

Exterior: Gutters, Trees and Gardens

Beginning with your gutters, check to make sure they’re clear of any debris. Spring rains and summer thunderstorms will give them a workout! Check also for any corrosion, separated joints or loose fasteners. Reinstall any downspout extensions if you removed them in the fall. Make sure that water flows at least 3 to 4 feet AWAY from the foundation. You may need to adjust your landscaping to facilitate this.

If you’re not comfortable being on a ladder, or don’t know exactly what to look for, call a professional. Many contractors will give you an estimate on the job before you book for service. Call around to secure a price you’re comfortable with.

Winter weather can also wreak havoc with your roof. If you notice any damaged shingles or seals, call a professional for repairs before the rains come. A small roof leak can quickly turn into a lot of damage if not caught early.

Heavy snows and ice can bend and weaken branches and tree limbs. Do a visual inspection of the trees on your property, especially those that are in close proximity to your home, garage or patio. With summer storms on the horizon, any weak limbs should be removed. You can either do this yourself or call a licensed arborist.

Yard cleanup – Remove all winter debris from the yard and clean up any dead foliage. Begin planning your spring and summer landscaping projects. A little advanced planning can save a lot of time when planting season arrives.

At Home with Judy....Spring Checklist Series #6

by Judy Gull

Exterior: Plumbing and Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning
Your air conditioner gets a workout over the summer, so proper maintenance and inspections in the spring are very important!  First, make sure that the vents are clean of any lint or debris that may have accumulated over the winter months. If any debris is present and you choose to clean it yourself, be very careful not to damage the “fins” that surround the exterior walls. Even if no debris is visible, it’s a great idea to have your system checked and cleaned by a professional every couple of years. A professional can also tune your system so that it will run more efficiently.  In regards to the system and its use inside the home, consider installing a programmable thermostat.  If you have a central air system this can help save considerable money on energy use!

If you use an air conditioner window-unit, now is the time to re-install it. Clean the unit before install and remove the dust and dirt from the filter.  Don’t forget to clean the filter  regularly during the cooling season also.  Once a month should be fine, but check more frequently if you use the unit every day. Be sure when you install the unit that the seals are tight and that it is properly fastened.

Winters in the Coulee Region can be brutal on your plumbing and pipes. Check your outdoor faucets for any drips or leaks and either repair them or call a professional to do the job.  Also run water through your garden hose to check for any cracks or holes that may have developed during the cold winter, even if it was stored in a garage or shed.

Please come back next week for our next installment of the Spring Series for Homeowners.

It's rare to come across celebrations that are both deeply meaningful and also ridiculously fun. Freedom Fest is that celebration!

A day of biking and music, Freedom Fest has been held since 2008, specifically to honor U. S. Veterans and their inestimable contributions to our national security, our well-being and our way of life. Like a giant Veterans Day party, Freedom Fest involves motorcycles and rock music. Freedom Fest puts all the glory back into the very flag our veterans have so bravely defended, mixing sheer exhilaration with a worthy purpose and a healthy dose of gratitude.

This June 15th at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, enjoy the legendary music group Chicago, Daughtry and The Remainders. A whole day of festivities, beginning with a motorcycle rally, ends with an evening of amazing music beneath the pristine summer sky. There will be refreshments, friends and tons of thrills just outside the Veterans Memorial Field.

After the unlocking of the stadium gates, the army band will defend its reputation as the preeminent military band in the world. The Opening Ceremony is not to be missed - the Joint Forces color guard will lead the singing of the National Anthem. A “Fallen Heroes” Presentation will succeed sets from both The Remainders and Daughtry, and then the evening culminates with Chicago and a fireworks display.

This day is the ideal way to set aside time for reminding oneself of our millions of Service members. They defend our right to freedom and protect us while we enjoy those freedoms. Too often, freedom is taken for granted, or those who make it possible for the rest of us to be free feel forgotten or ignored. Part of freedom's promise is the right to celebrate as one sees fit, to assemble and cheer on any given cause.

What better cause could there be than our veterans and active-duty Service members? Without them we wouldn't be able to openly celebrate anything. For all patrons who love a great party, Freedom Fest is the ideal opportunity to come together, share, have fun and let veterans know how vital and appreciated their service is.

Stadium gates open at 3:00 p.m. Prerequisite activities abound in La Crosse. Enjoy a mini boat tour on the La Crosse Queen. Or whet your whistle properly before the evening's festivities at the Bodega Brew Pub. Kill time and prepare thrill-seeking bones at the Riverside Amusement Park. All attractions are located within La Crosse and are convenient to the Veterans Memorial Field.

At Home with Judy....Spring Checklist Series #5

by Judy Gull

Welcome to part 5 of our spring checklist series for homeowners! This week’s entry will focus on decks and patios.  Spring maintenance can extend their lifespan, save you money in future repairs or replacement and keep you safe!

 Exterior:  Decks and Patios

Inspecting your deck and/or patio every spring can help extend it’s lifespan exponentially.  Finding and repairing trouble areas now can really save you money in future replacement costs.  It can also catch potential safety hazards to keep you and your family safe

Heavy snow and ice over the winter months can cause stress damage to decks and patios, so start by doing a visual inspection.  For wood decks, do you see any loose or damaged boards, posts, steps or guardrails?  If so, repair or replace loose boards and reset any protruding nails by gently tapping them back into place.  Next, clean your deck to remove debris that may have accumulated over the winter.  Power washers are a great tool to use.  If you don’t own a power washer, keep in mind that many local hardware stores rent them by the hour or day.  After your deck has been cleaned and is dry, resealing or staining is always a good idea to protect the wood.  If you choose to refinish or apply new decking stain, keep in mind that outdoor temperatures should be above 70 degrees before you do so and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Next, check your outdoor furniture.  Inspect tables, chairs and umbrellas for any damage and repair or replace if necessary.   If no damage is found, then now is a great time to clean and air them out.  Chair pads and umbrellas can be washed with warm soapy water and then air dried.  Keeping them clean not only looks nicer, it will help them last longer as well!

Finally, pull out your grill for a good cleaning.  Clean any dust or dirt that may have accumulated over the winter.  Instructions on cleaning the inside of your grill will vary depending on the type of grill you have and also by manufacturer.  Refer to the manufacturer’s booklet for details.  Remove the grates to clean them.  They can be scrubbed with steel wool (using hot soapy water) or with oven cleaner.  If you choose to use oven cleaner, follow the instructions on the can for safety.  If you cook on the grill a lot during the summer, cleaning it now will save you the hassle of doing it before your first grilled dinner of the season.

We hope this information has been helpful.  Check back soon for the next entry in the At Home with Judy Spring Checklist Series for Homeowners.

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are two of the simplest (and most impacting) things any homeowner can do to prevent potential life threatening situations. Every year, home fires cause approx. $7.5 billion worth of damage and injuries. Sadly, due to home fires, a human life was claimed every 169 minutes. 30% of these deaths could have been easily avoided if the residences had utilized working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

Carbon monoxide poisoning alone accounts for between 200-700 deaths annually in the U.S. These deaths, as well, can be prevented with a functioning carbon monoxide detector in place.

Here are just a few important issues to bear in mind before and after installing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors:

  • Depending upon one's purpose, any number of different types of carbon monoxide or smoke detectors might be most feasible. For smoke alarms, go with dual sensor. These are both ionization and smoke sensitive, and are able to detect different types of fires—smoldering versus lapping flames. That being said, no one brand of dual sensor smoke detector picks up every possible kind of fire.
  • Since it's best to install several detectors scattered throughout the levels of one's home, purchasing multiple brands amounts to extra safety. Each brand has its unique strengths at detecting one fire over another fire, for example.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly. Change batteries yearly - designate a single day so all detectors get fresh batteries simultaneously. Some detectors come with ten year lithium batteries. Since a home owner should replace the entire smoke detector every ten years, those with lithium batteries are best discarded completely.
  • Place smoke detectors on every level of one's home and in every bedroom. Photoelectric detectors are best for kitchens and bathrooms to prevent false alarms. Dual sensor detectors are best for all other spots.
  • Mount detectors at least four inches from walls and corners, and away from windows, fans and vents.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are slightly more costly than smoke alarms, but certainly not more costly than a human life. Starting at roughly $35, CO alarms that meet UL Standard 2034 are preferable. CO detectors are so sensitive that they are almost perishable - the fresher they are the better they work.
  • Check the manufacture date on backs of CO detectors at time of purchase. Test CO detectors weekly and vacuum them monthly. Remember to change the batteries annually, and as with smoke detectors, mount CO detectors on every level of the home, especially the basement.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

Contact Information

Photo of Judy Gull Real Estate
Judy Gull
RE/MAX First Choice
757 Sand Lake Road
Onalaska WI 54650
Direct: 608-781-7714
Fax: 608-783-4263