Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

Your Guide to Winter Weather Preparedness

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


Your Guide to Winter Weather Preparedness


Winter weather can strike quickly and fiercely, and it can create an array of issues for homeowners.  When a winter storm causes a power outage, however, things can turn costly and dangerous very quickly.  The most important thing one can do to keep safe during a winter storm and/or power outage is to be prepared.  Here are some things you can do to make sure that you will stay safe and warm.



Keep these things on hand… And if you don’t have any, get some!


Prescriptions and Common Medications


If any member of your home takes medication daily, you will want to be sure, first and foremost, that you will not run out of the medications, should inclement weather strike.  It’s also a good idea to keep common over-the-counter medications on hand, just in case you should need them while you are stuck at home.


Stock Up on Food


It’s important that you have enough food at home to last you at least three days, should a storm leave you stranded at home or cause a power outage.  If the power goes out, make sure that you have a sufficient supply of food that doesn’t need to be cooked before it is consumed. 

If you want to cook while your power is out, and you want to do so with a camping stove or other appliance outside of your kitchen, it is imperative that you take the camping stove outside to cook your meal. 


Stock Up on Water


To plan for how much water to have on hand in the case of a power outage, account for one gallon per person per day, not including cooking or hygiene purposes.


Back-Up Power

Should a storm knock out your power, you should have a back-up source of electricity, if it is financially feasible for you to do so.  If you use a generator, however, keep it outside, and NEVER bring it inside your house or garage.  If you are planning on using a generator, be sure that you have the proper length of outdoor extension cord to bring the power into your house. 


Flashlights, Batteries, & Candles


Make sure that you have a surplus of batteries, and that you have enough flashlights and battery-operated lamps to get you through.  Flashlights and battery-operated lamps are a lot safer than candles, so be sure that you have enough of them.  Also, gather them and store them in a handy place before the bad weather hits.  Should you run out of batteries, use candles as a last resort.  Exercise all safety precautions when burning candles.  Never leave them unattended, keep them away from anything flammable, keep them out of reach of pets and children, and never leave them burning overnight.


Keep a Weather Radio on Hand & Know the Terms


If you constantly are checking the weather on your cell phone during a power outage, you will quickly drain your power and have no way to restore it.  To monitor the weather without draining your cell phone battery, purchase a weather radio and check it occasionally for any updates to the forecast.  Here are the weather terms often used during a winter storm and what they mean, for those of you who might not know:

Winter Storm Outlook – Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.

Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.

Winter Storm Warning – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.


Buy De-Icer and Salt Ahead of Time


Keep a stock of salt and de-icer spray on hand in case of icy or snowy conditions.  Even the slightest bit of ice can lead to injury, so it’s better to keep it on hand than to be caught without it.


Fire Extinguisher


Be sure that your home has a fire extinguisher on hand (that is not past its expiration date).  If the power outage should lead to a fire, for whatever reason, you will be happy that you have it.


Heat packs


Buy yourself a large pack of heat packs before the storm, in case you lose power and heat.  They can keep the blood flow going, keep you comfortable, and they’re great to stick in your socks or mittens!





Ease of Access


Before a storm hits, you should gather all the supplies you may need, as well as the ones you just purchased, and store them in an easily-accessible location.  This way, you won’t be fumbling around in the dark looking for flashlights and batteries before you take the precautions necessary in a winter power outage.


Make Sure Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are Working


The risk for carbon monoxide poisoning increases drastically in the bitter cold and during winter power outages.  NEVER turn to alternative forms of heating; their use often results in carbon monoxide poisoning or house fires.  If you are without power and your home is cold, contact your local emergency services to find a local community center that is offering warm lodging, rather than trying to heat your home in an unsafe way.


Fully Charge Your Electronics


Devices like your cell phone or tablets should be fully charged before a winter storm hits, so that if the power goes out, you are ahead of the game.  If at all possible, purchase a portable charger and be sure that it is fully charged, as well, so that you can extend the life of your cell phone’s charge.  Your cell phone can be a great tool to have in a winter storm, so that you can keep an eye on conditions, keep up on when power will be restored, and call for help should an emergency situation arise. 


Cozy Up!


Have a supply of warm blankets and sleeping bags set aside in case you lose heat to your home.  Having these handy, layer them, and stay under them for as long as possible to keep yourself warm.

Sleep together!  The more body heat under a blanket, the better!

Dress in layers to preserve your own body heat.


Garage Door


Find out how to manually open your garage door before the winter weather hits, especially if that is the primary way that you get in and out of your house.


Turn Off Electronics


As a precaution, you should turn off and unplug any electronics that do not need to be on before a winter storm hits.  This will help protect your devices in case the power surges.  If your power is already out, and your devices are still plugged in, unplug them.  It’s very common for the power to surge before it is restored fully and back to normal. 

Clean & Inspect Chimney


If your home has a chimney, clean and inspect it fully before a winter storm hits, especially if you plan on using it to help heat your home.  An improperly-kept chimney can lead to fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you burn wood to either heat your home or burn in your fireplace, cover your wood pile well before a winter storm hits, so that it can remain dry but accessible.



Winter Weather/Power Outage Hacks


Trap the Heat


Even if you are using a generator to heat your home, shut the vents for rooms you don’t use, shut the doors, and lay a towel against the crack at the bottom.  This will help you conserve fuel by heating your house quicker, thus allowing you to turn off the generator faster. 


Avoid Frozen Pipes


Here is a list of ways to prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter.  Should you lose heat, turn your faucets on a slow drip.


Perishable Items


After 24 hours, the food in your refrigerator may be compromised.  After 48, the food in your freezer may be compromised.  However, given that this is a winter storm, you have some options to save that food.  Packing refrigerated and frozen foods in ice can help you keep them cooler, longer, so keep a cooler and a few bags of ice on hand.  Pack your food in the cooler with ice, and store the cooler outside.  If the temperatures are below freezing, your ice should last quite a long time.  If the temperatures rise above freezing, your ice will last a long time, as well, but it is a good idea that you occasionally check to see if it needs more, in that case.


Drink Coffee! …Or tea! …Or hot chocolate!


The important thing is that you occasionally drink a hot beverage.  Drinking a hot beverage raises your body’s core temperature, which helps keep your extremities, especially your fingers and toes, warm. 


Cardio to Fight the Chill


When you feel yourself becoming very chilled, try doing five minutes’ worth of jumping jacks or high knees.  This increased blood flow helps warm your body’s core temperature.  Be sure not to do so much that you sweat, thus dampening your clothes, as that will lead to you being even colder when your heart rate normalizes again.


Know When to Close the Curtains


Opening your curtains on a sunny day can bring natural heat into your home.  Even during the winter months, open your curtains when the sun is shining and shut them as it begins to go down, trapping the heat inside.

To really help trap that heat, consider hanging quilts or blankets over your curtain rods during a power outage.  This will help keep the heat in your home.


Park Facing East


Before a snow or ice storm hits, park your car with your windshield facing east, if at all possible.  This will allow the morning sun to hit your windshield, and it may make your car-clearing project a little easier after the snow or ice hits.


Gas Up Your Car


You always want to make sure that your car has a full tank of gas before a winter storm, for a number of reasons.  For instance, if you are driving, and you get stuck in a winter storm or in traffic, you will want enough gas to get you home and keep you warm through the ordeal.  Also, a full tank of gas adds some weight to your vehicle, which, in the case of a snow storm, can make your vehicle a lot easier to manage. 

You should also be carrying a winter weather emergency kit in your car.  For some guidance in regards to what is best to keep in these kits, click here.



As with all of the tips and lists that we post, this is not a completely comprehensive instruction manual, but rather a guide to give you an idea of what to do.  If you experience an emergency, do not hesitate to contact your local emergency services immediately.  Always exercise every safety precaution, and thoroughly read through any instruction manual that came along with any of your equipment.

Car Winter Safety Kit

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


Car Winter Safety Kit 


As the winter season settles in, so does the deep cold weather.  The frigid chill that comes along with winter is more than just uncomfortable to endure; it can be deadly.  Every year, tragic stories of stranded motorists facing the challenges of frostbite and exposure to the cold, or sometimes, even death, because they found themselves stranded in a ditch or snow bank with no way out of their vehicle and no cold weather provisions with them. 


Maintaining a “Cold Weather Emergency Kit” in your vehicle is not only a good idea, it can be a life-saver.  Winter weather brings foul weather that can lead to slick roads, which can lead to your car finding its way into a ditch or embankment.  In the unfortunate event that this happens, you will be extremely thankful that you’re equipped with survival provisions.  Here is a list of some items that you should include in your car safety kit, should you decide to assemble one.


Water in small bottles


Water is essential for survival, and even in the dead of winter, no one would like to find themselves stranded with no water available.  To account for the colder temperatures, you should be storing water in small bottles, because the smaller the bottle, the quicker the water will thaw.


Spare cell phone charger


Most people carry spare cell phone chargers in their car normally, but during the winter, it is imperative that you don’t remove that charger from your car.  In the event that you do get stranded in your vehicle, a dead phone will give no assistance in alerting emergency crews that you are there.


Jumper cables or a portable battery charger


To ensure that you don’t have to endure the cold, no matter if you’re stranded in a ditch or stranded in a parking lot, it’s important that you prepare for a dead car battery by keeping a spare set of jumper cables in your car, or, better yet, a portable battery charger.  A portable battery charger eliminates the need to have another vehicle with a charged battery present for you to jump your car’s battery.


Energy-boosting snacks


Keep a handful of nutritious snacks in your car, such as energy or protein bars.  Should you find yourself in a scary winter predicament, you will be fighting hunger as well as exhaustion in the cold weather.  Prepare for that with non-perishable healthy snacks.


Tire pressure gauge and sealant


Changes in temperature lead to changes in pressure, whether that is in regards to the weather system moving across the country or the air in your vehicle’s tires.  Should you develop a flat, you will want to have a tire pressure gauge to fill your tire up to the proper pressure again.  Should you find yourself with a hole in your tire, you will want to be equipped with a sealant that will enable you to hold enough air in your tire until you can make it somewhere safe.


Tire jack and lug wrench


Everyone should know how to change a tire, because you never can tell what situation you will find yourself in.  Keep a tire jack and lug wrench in your vehicle, because if you should need to change your tire, you will need both of those tools.  Even if someone else pulls over to help you, they, still, will need those tools to do so.


Hand warmers


Hand warmers are cheap and sold in large packages.  It is an excellent idea to purchase a large package of these items to keep in your vehicle to help you maintain temperature and blood flow to your extremities, especially your fingers and toes, which become very vulnerable in extreme cold.


First-aid kit


In the event of a car accident, one would hardly think that a first-aid kit would suffice for caring for any injuries incurred.  However, if someone was injured in a car accident and was stranded from immediate help, they likely would be happy to have the first aid kit in comparison to no medical items. 


Tow strap


If you find your vehicle stuck in the snow or ice, you may call someone to help you, or you find that a nice citizen has stopped to help you.  Sometimes, to get a car out of the snow, all it takes is a little push.  However, sometimes, it can take a bit more.  Buy tow straps and keep them in your trunk, because that’s the only fool-proof way to be sure that you will be getting your vehicle un-stuck.


Head lamp or hand crank flashlight


A flashlight should be kept in your vehicle during all months of the year, because car accidents and/or malfunctions do not only happen during the daylight hours.  A hand-crank flashlight is a great vehicle accessory, due to the fact that it will never run out of power, as long as the operator can crank it.


Snow shovel and ice scraper


A snow shovel can be extremely helpful, should your vehicle become stuck in the snow.  An ice scraper is important to keep in your vehicle at all times, simply because winter weather can happen at any time.




A multi-tool pocket knife is also extremely helpful to keep in your car.  Not only can it help you escape your seatbelt, should you not be able to unbuckle, it can also help you with virtually any need you may have in an emergency situation.


Warm blanket or sleeping bag


A heavy blanket should remain in your vehicle all winter long, but if you want to be especially prepared for a disaster, you should consider purchasing a cold weather sleeping bag.  A sleeping bag built for cold weather can help prevent frostbite and will be more waterproof than a blanket, making it a great survival tool.


Winter garb


Keep a winter coat, a warm hat, and gloves in your vehicle.  Sometimes we run out of the house iwhtout a coat on.  However, if you found yourself in a car in the bitter cold, with no heater, you would be longing for a winter coat in little time, at all.


Road flares/Hazard triangles


This may seem excessive, but when discussing the bitter cold weather, it is certainly better to be prepared than to find yourself in an unfortunate situation without the emergency tools needed.  A road flare can help you be seen, even when your vehicle isn’t easily spotted from the road.  Road hazard triangles can help alert other drivers that your vehicle is ahead, especially helpful on a curvy road.



While this list, like all of ours, is not comprehensive, it certainly is a great tool to begin compiling a winter safety kit for your vehicle.

How to Avoid Frozen Pipes in Your Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes


Every Winter, it happens.  The temperature outside drops, and an unfortunate person wakes up to a flooded basement, kitchen, or bathroom.  A burst pipe in one’s home can cause thousands of dollars in damage, in addition to a huge mess and loss of important documents, memorabilia, and keepsakes. 



If you are planning a trip over the colder winter months, it is so important that you remember to turn off your home’s main water valve while you’re gone.  Frozen pipes can happen at any time, and they can prove extremely costly to a homeowner, even when found and noticed very quickly.  Standing water in one’s home for a number of days during an absence is something to avoid at all costs, and that’s why it’s suggested that you simply turn off your home’s water valve any time you will be leaving for more than a day.


Although it may seem like there is little that can be done to prevent frozen pipes when the weather turns bitter cold, there are some signs you can look out for that may alert you that your pipes are at risk of freezing or are in the process of freezing.  The most important and most effective way of predicting a frozen pipe is a change in water pressure.  If a faucet or toilet is flowing at a lower pressure than normal, it’s likely a sign that your pipes are freezing or have already frozen.  If you notice this happening in your home, it’s important to try to thaw the pipe at risk with some of the tips offered below. 


You should know the risk level for frozen pipes within your own home.  For instance, older homes are often poorly insulated, leading to a much higher risk of burst water pipes.  This risk becomes even higher if the old home is situated over an uninsulated crawl space.  It is important to know what steps you can take to prevent frozen pipes, as well as what to do in the event of a frozen pipe within your home.


Wrap the Pipe


You can wrap any non-insulated pipes in insulation foam or heating tape to give them extra protection from the cold temperatures.  Both products are relatively inexpensive, especially when weighed against the potential costs of a burst pipe in your home.


If you find yourself in a situation where your pipes are already at risk of freezing, or if you notice a change in your water pressure, you will want to act quickly, and a trip to the hardware store to purchase insulation foam or heat tape is not in your best interest due to the time-sensitive nature of the situation.  In a case such as this, there are some quick actions you can take to prevent the pipe from freezing completely.  The goal is to cease any further freezing as quickly as possible, and then work on thawing any freezing that may have already occurred. 


Newspaper as Insulation


If you have no heat tape or insulation foam on hand, but have noticed a pipe in your home is freezing, wrapping your pipe in newspaper can be an adequate insulator in a pinch.  It can create a nice barrier between the cold temperatures and the pipe. 


Foam Board Insulation


Another adequate insulator when you are in a pinch is foam poster board for large areas that need extra insulation.  Placing the foam board around a section of pipes that are at-risk of freezing can be the difference between a frozen pipe and a thawed pipe.  While this is certainly not the recommended way to insulate your pipes, it is certainly worth a shot in a pinch.


Use a Hair Dryer


If you see a pipe freezing, grab a hair dryer and an extension cord and begin blowing hot air on the pipe of concern. 


Never, never, use a torch or open flame to thaw your pipes.  Even the smallest ember can ignite and smolder for days.  Many homes have burned to the ground as a result of this method of thawing frozen pipes; don’t let yours be the next statistic.  A hairdryer will get the job done just fine.


Use a Space Heater


If you notice that your pipes are freezing, plug in a space heater to begin raising the temperature in the area where the at-risk pipes are.  Remember, your goal is not to make the space comfortable and cozy, your goal is to raise the temperature above freezing.  As with the use of a space heater at any time, follow the recommended safety guidelines for your particular model, and keep the heater and cord away from anything that could ignite.


Open Cabinet Doors


If you find that the temperature is drastically colder under your sink than in your home, it’s not a bad idea to open the cabinet doors to allow the temperature around the pipes to rise, especially on those particularly cold nights.  This simple act can prevent a flooded kitchen or bathroom.


Turn Up the Heat


If you are at-risk for frozen pipes, especially if you live in an older home with poor insulation, it’s a good idea to turn up your thermostat during the bitter cold.  A higher utility bill is certainly cheaper than the cost of a frozen pipe.


Keep Your Garage Door Closed


By keeping your garage door closed, you are allowing the temperature inside it to rise more than the outside temperature, which can prevent any pipes around that area from freezing.  Pipes don’t need to be toasty warm to prevent freezing; they only need to maintain a temperature above freezing.


Check Your Heat Tape Annually


If you have insulated your pipes with heat tape or foam installation, it is imperative that you check your insulation once a year.  Make sure that the insulation you have installed isn’t peeling, falling off, or showing signs of damage in any way.  If you notice that there are some trouble spots with the insulation you have around your pipes, be sure to replace and repair them.


Take Necessary Precautions on Vulnerable Outdoor Faucets

The biggest risk every home has for a frozen pipe is within the outdoor faucets.  Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you have already disconnected your hoses from your outdoor faucet.  However, there is a bit more that you can do to protect those pipes in addition to disconnecting your hose.  Here’s a guide for safeguarding your outdoor faucets:

    1. If your home’s outdoor faucet is equipped with an indoor shut-off valve, shut it.
    2. Place a bucket under the drain cap and open the cap to begin draining the water.
    3. Go outside and turn on the faucet until it runs dry.
    4. Once the faucet is cleared, turn off the exterior faucet and close the drain cap inside the house.

Following these steps will ensure that your exterior faucet has no water in the sillcock or hose bibb.  If there is water in those places, it is likely to freeze, which will cause the change in water pressure that leads to busted pipes.


If your home is not equipped with an indoor shut-off valve, the best thing you can do to safeguard the faucet from freezing is to make sure that the faucet does not drip.  Even a slow drip can freeze, causing a blockage in the hose bib.


A frozen pipe can lead to thousands of dollars in damage to a home.  Knowing your home's risk level, as well as knowing what to do in the event that a pipe freezes in your home, can be invaluable information to have.  The more prepared you are, the better your chances are of preventing damage to your home's pipes at all.

Tips for Showing Your Home During the Holidays

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


Tips for Showing Your Home During the Holidays


This time of year is often regarded as a terrible time to sell your home, because the housing market slows during the holidays.   However, this is not necessarily true.  There are a number of things you can do to help your home stand out during the rest, giving you an advantage despite the less saturated market.  In fact, if you play your cards right, there is even some evidence that sellers actually get better results during the Winter months 

There may be less buyers in the winter months, but that means that there are also less buyers.  You can make this work in your favor.  Hire an experienced real estate agent, and price your home right.  Remember, also, that many of the buyers looking for homes in the winter are doing so because they have a specific reason for moving.  Whether it be divorce, job transfer, or any number of reasons, buyers are motivated.  If you are a motivated seller, this can work in your favor in a major way.  Here are some tips to give you an idea of what works (and what doesn’t) for staging your home for sale during the holidays.





First things first, decorating your home for the holidays.  There are two schools of thought on whether or not sellers should decorate their home for the holidays when they will be opening the home for showings.  On one hand, it would be awful to overwhelm a Buyer with personal decorations, because for many buyers, it can be difficult to picture themselves in a home that is so personal to the sellers.  Furthermore, many times, holiday decorations can get excessive and make the home look cluttered, which in turn makes the home look smaller and certainly doesn’t leave a good feeling in the buyers’ minds after a showing.  It’s also important to note that not everyone celebrates the same holidays as you do, and some people don’t celebrate the holidays at all.  Decorating your home heavily for the holiday you celebrate might alienate your home from some potential buyers who follow a different belief system than you.

However, there are some really great things that can happen if you decorate your home properly.  A home decorated for the holidays feels warmer, cozier, and more inviting.  Since light is such an important factor in your home’s appeal to potential buyers, including indoor lights into your holiday decorating can be a great way to decorate for the holidays, while helping to illuminate your rooms fully.  Simplicity is key, so when you are digging out the decorations, even if you usually go all-out for the holidays in your home, it’d be a good choice to tone it down this year and think, “simple and chic.”  Steer clear of the kitsch, and perhaps consider leaving many items packed away, at least for this year. 


Holiday Lights


Just like interior decorations, there are two schools of thought on putting up holiday decorations.  Some people will advise you to steer clear of decorating all together, and the other group will tell you that decorating your home can actually help potential buyers picture themselves in your home.  Keeping it simple is definitely the way to go, should you decide to decorate your home for the holidays.  Don’t go overboard with outside decorations, and sticking to the classics can be a great philosophy.  Steer clear of large lawn decorations, and keep it chic and simple with the lights strung on your home.  Given that it will often be dark when potential buyers are coming to your home, being one of the only homes on your street without lights can make your home look uninviting and cold.  The lights will help illuminate the outside of your home so that those coming to your home for a showing can easily find their way. 


The Usual Rules Apply


Just like in any other season, the tips for holiday selling also include the ones typically given for home staging.  De-clutter, de-personalize, deep clean, and illuminate well.  Be sure that the interior of your home looks tidy, bright, and maximize the utilization of your space as best you can. 

For more information on general staging tips, click here.


Light, Light, Light


Winter is often a tough time for many people because of the lack of sunshine and shorter days.  Any real estate agent who knows their stuff will tell you that lighting your home properly goes SUCH a long way on making your home appealing to buyers.  Some homes are designed to let in more natural light than others, and some have better lighting on the interior than others.  Knowing how to play up the light that your home does have is key.  In the winter, days are shorter, and because of that, there will be no natural light flowing into your home during the hours that most showings are scheduled.  Before showings, be sure that you turn on all the lights in your home. 


Keep the Outside Clean

Be sure that your home looks clean going into the colder months, because the winter weather can cause damage and dirt to build up on and around your home.  Despite the dripping, sloppy snow, make sure that your home is as clean as can be, so that your home looks neat and tidy despite the weather happening around it.  Keep your porches, walkways, and driveway clear of ice and snow, always.   You never want to turn away a showing, and you certainly don’t want to be liable for anyone getting hurt on your property.  Not to mention, if it is hard to get into, your home will seem less inviting, right off the bat.  

If your home is being listed during the holidays, meaning that your interior photos will be done during the holidays for the advertising of your listing, it is recommended that you either get the photos done before you begin decorating or that you hold off on decorating until after your photos are taken.  The holidays will soon be over, but if your home is still on the market, the images people will be seeing will be dated to the holidays and no longer be appealing in the same way they would be during the holidays.  

All in all, selling a home during the holidays can prove to be a tricky endeavor, but it can also pay off for the sellers, if they utilize the knowledge and tools that are available.  

Prepping Your Home for Cold Weather

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


Prepping Your Home for Cold Weather


The weather is beginning to get colder, and as it does, the threat of winter weather looms ever closer.  Everyone knows that before a winter storm hits, they've got to go to the store and pick up milk, bread, and eggs to survive,  but there are more things you can be doing right now, before that imminent occurance is upon us.  The Fall is a great time to get your home ready to brave the cold weather, whether you're worried about making your life easier come Springtime cleanup, you'd like to keep your house warmer this Winter, or you are looking to avoid a home disaster following a Winter storm.  So, we present you with this list of things you can do now, before that cold snap sets in, to help you with whatever your concerns are for this coming Winter.


Clean the Gutters


When Winter hits, the Midwest tends to be hit with a mix of wet and frozen precipitation.  It's important to remember that even the frozen precipitation turns to liquid at some point, and as it does, the liquid will drain to your gutters, down the spout, and be deposited a distance from your home and in a manner that will drain away from your home.  That, at least, is true if you have your gutter system set up properly.  Now is the time of year to unclog your gutters to prevent water overflow.  Also double check to effectiveness of your gutter drainage system to ensure that the water is being dispensed away from your home (and that it won’t make its way back toward your home down a decline).


For proper drainage around your home, it is important to fill in any holes that have developed around your foundation to prevent melting snow and ice finding its way toward your home.


Seal Your Window & Door Frames


Unsealed window and door frames can lead to a striking amount of heat loss during the colder months of the year.  To ensure that your home isn’t losing significant heat during this Winter, check your home for air leaks, and seal the problem areas with caulk.  Adding weather stripping is a great choice for cutting back on air leaks, as well, and it’s cost efficient, at less than $5 a roll.


Protect Your Roof


Snow and ice accumulation on trees can become incredibly heavy.  To ensure that your trees won’t crash down on your home from the weight, trim your trees before Winter hits.  When doing so, you should be trimming any limbs that hang above your home, as well as any that are visibly dead. 


To help prevent any potential damage to your home or roof, inspect your roof and replace or repair any damage to the roof or shingles.


Service Your Furnace


When the cold weather arrives, HVAC service providers are extremely busy, and there is often a bit of a wait to have any services performed, should you encounter a problem with your furnace.  To avoid the hassle and stress, and to keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible, it’s a great idea to have your furnace serviced now.  This increases your chances of making it through the winter months without any major furnace issues.


For maximum efficiency, it is also the time of year to change your furnace’s air filter.  This keeps your system running properly, especially as the air dries out, increasing the amount of dust in the air in your home.


Seal Your Driveway


This task is one that is often not suggested, but it is a great tip for cold weather preparations.  The melting and freezing of snow and ice often leads to the breaking down of asphalt and concrete, causing holes and cracks in roadways, sidewalks, and driveways.  Applying a layer of sealant to your driveway in the Fall can significantly decrease your chances of encountering damage, because the sealant creates a protective layer that prohibits the water to penetrate the concrete or asphalt.  This project is fairly quick and easy, and the supplies are easily obtainable at any home improvement store.


Service Summer and Winter Equipment


To maintain optimum performance of your lawn equipment that is utilized in the Summer and Spring months, it’s important that you drain the gas and oil from your lawn equipment.  On Fall and Winter equipment like your leaf blower and snowblower, perform your tune-ups now in the Fall, and be sure to turn on the equipment before you need it to make sure that it starts easily and is in optimum working condition. 


Roll Up & Store Hoses


Before freezing weather hits, remember to unhook any hoses, drain them, and turn off water to your outdoor spigots.  Also, winterize your sprinkler system, if your home is equipped with one.  Freezing water lines can create a nightmare of problems, but these simple steps can help you avoid any in your home.


Have Chimney Cleaned & Inspected


Having a woodburning fireplace or furnace is wonderful in the Winter months, providing your home with cheap heating.  They can also be incredibly dangerous if not maintained properly.  It is important to have your chimney serviced every year to avoid excessive build-up of soot, which can consequentially cause a fire in your home.  If you aren’t sure how to properly perform the cleaning and inspection, contact a professional to have them do it for you.  You will still save money on heating this Winter by burning wood for heat, and you will avoid any tragedies.


On a side note, if your home is heated, in part or in full, by a wood burning fireplace or furnace, be sure that the wood you are storing outdoors is at least fifteen feet from your home in order to prevent a termite infestation.


Drain Hot Water Heater


Sediment can build up and clog the pipes of your water heater, and draining your system to get rid of some of that build-up can increase your water heater’s energy efficiency by up to fifty percent!  It’s beneficial by increasing the lifespan of your equipment, and it saves you money on your energy bill… A true win-win!


Care for Your Lawn


As soon as the weather turns frigid, we all start longing for the warmth, sunshine, and life that Spring will bring.  To make your Spring cleaning a little easier this year, consider prepping your lawn for the warmer months now, before it turns cold.  You can aerate, fertilize, and seed your lawn now, and it can actually very beneficial to do so.  The precipitation that comes in Winter will help the nutrients penetrate your soil effectively, meaning that your lawn will be richer and fuller in the Spring.  Also consider mowing your leaves instead of raking and burning them, turning them to a mulch that will break down and become a natural fertilizer compost that costs you nothing! 


If your home is equipped with a wood burning fireplace or furnace, consider this tip as well: Saving the ashes from this Winter.  If you have a vegetable garden, till it this Fall, spread the ashes over it as Winter continues, enabling the precipitation to soak the nitrogen into your soil.  You will be amazed at the richness added to your soil!  If you don’t have a vegetable garden, consider spreading the ashes in your flowerbeds for a wonderful fertilizer that will help you have more blooms!


Reverse Your Ceiling Fans


Reversing your ceiling fans in the Fall can help with heating costs in the Winter.  Rather than blowing air downward, the fans will keep the air in your home moving, which is a big help to the comfort level in your home, considering that heat rises.



Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

Share This Page

Contact Information

Photo of The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group Real Estate
The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group
Century 21 Advantage
103 S Main St
Columbia IL 62236
IL: 618.281.7621

138 Concord Plaza Dr
Saint Louis MO 63128
MO: 314.649.0221
Fax: 618.281.4311

Linda Frierdich is the area's premier real estate professional, offering services in St Louis, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Crestwood, Ballwin, Arnold, Fenton, Oakville, Columbia, Waterloo, Millstadt, Valmeyer, Dupo, Belleville, O'Fallon, Mascoutah, Fairview Heights, Smithton, Ruma, Hecker, New Athens, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Caseyville, Shiloh, Swansea, Monroe County, Madison County, St Clair County, and Randolph County.  Her team focuses on resale homes, new construction, first time home buyers, condos, farms, land sales, subdivisions, lot sales, single family, multi-family, commercial, foreclosures, bank owned property, military relocation, and building. This site offers options to search real estate in Columbia Illinois and other areas. We offer buyer and sellers services second to none!

Listing Alerts

Be the first to know what's coming up for sale in your real estate market with our New Property Listing Alerts!

Just tell us what you're looking for and we'll email a daily update of all homes listed for sale since your last update. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact Us

Our offices are located at:
103 South Main, Columbia, IL 62236
- or -
138 Concord Plaza Dr, Saint Louis, MO 63128

FAX: 618.281.4311