Category: Maintenance + Prevention


Top 12 Holiday Decorating Tips to Make Your Season Merry and Safe

The winter holidays are here! Before you begin your celebrations (if you haven’t already), here are 12 holiday decorating tips you need to know that will keep you and your loved ones safe whether you’re lighting candles or decking the halls.

Tip #1: Give your decorations some space

Almost half of all holiday decoration fires start because a decoration was too close to a heat source. Three out of every five candle fires start because flammable items—furniture, bedding, or decorations—were near the flame. To safeguard your family and your home, keep candles at least a foot away from anything flammable, your trees at least three feet away from any heat source (including candles), and keep your kids, kittens, and other small beings away from all the above.

Tip #2: Safe glowing!

Candle care starts with a long-tipped lighter to prevent any potential burns, which may force you to drop the candle and create a dangerous situation. Also, never leave your lit candles unattended or walk with a lit candle, and since half of home fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., extinguish your flames fully before turning in for the night.

a menorah with blue and white candles lit on a table

Be safe around lit candles!


Candles are a staple in all winter holidays, and according to the National Fire Protection Association, December is the peak time for candle fires. To lower your home’s risk, place your menorahs and kinaras on a non-flammable surface or on aluminum foil that’s on a sturdy, flat surface. This prevents candles from tipping over and starting a fire. Make sure to pick a place that is out of reach of curious pets and children!

Tip #3: Peruse before you use

Before even plugging in your electrical decorations, examine them for fraying wires and loose or missing bulbs. Replace broken bulbs, and throw out the entire string if you see any exposed wires. It’s better to lose a string of lights than lose your home to a house fire. Double-check to ensure that your electric decorations have been approved by an independent testing lab, such as UL (Underwriter Laboratories), CSA (Canadian Standards Association), and ETL (Intertek), for safety.

Tip #4: Less is more…

Multi-colored holiday lights lit on the floor

Connect three, no more, or a fire may be in store.

“The Rule of Three” applies to incandescent lights as most strands only allow three to be connected at a time. Connecting more can lead to a fire hazard.

Also, be sure not to overload your electrical outlets and never plug in more than one high-wattage appliance per outlet. Forty-four percent of Christmas tree fires started with electrical distribution or lighting equipment problems, so make sure to turn off your lights and candles before heading to bed.

Tip #5: …and check your cords

Lights aren’t the only fire hazard when it comes to holiday decorating. Most light strands connect to extension cords, which can also be frayed or damaged. This not only increases the risk of home fires but can also give you quite a shock. Keep cords in good working order by not pinching them between furniture, squeezing them in windows or doors, placing them under rugs, or attaching them to walls or siding with nails or staples.

Tip #6: Take your decorating outside (but only for 90 days)

Giving outside lights special love and care is one of the most important holiday decorating tips. Since exterior decorations are exposed to the elements, they can suffer from weather damage and critter attacks, so keeping them up longer than 90 days may drastically increase the wear and tear. (The extended time also might annoy your neighbors.)

Tip #7: Don’t buy Charlie Brown’s tree. Really.

All trees are potential kindle, but you can help to prevent a real or artificial tree from catching fire by following these simple rules:

  • When shopping for a natural tree, see if it’s losing needles excessively. If so, continue the search.
  • Place the tree at least three feet away from your heat sources, including candles.
  • Keep your tree hydrated by adding water to it once it’s in the stand and adding water daily.
  • Use appropriate lighting, and never use candles.
  • Buy flame-resistant or flame-retardant decorations, including your tree (if artificial).
  • When the tree begins to lose its needles excessively, it’s time to kick it to the curb.

Also, don’t block a doorway with your tree, so you have a clear exit in case of a fire.

Tip #8: Take your holiday displays and safety to new heights

More than 160 people per day visit the emergency room with injuries related to holiday decorating, and that number increases during November and December. Keep yourself out of the hospital by placing the ladder on stable ground, never standing on the top rung of the ladder, moving the ladder rather than leading too far, and wearing appropriate clothing (fit pants, tied and clean shoes, etc.)

Tip #9: Baby, don’t be a firework

Though not as popular as the Fourth of July, Dec. 30th – Jan. 3rd draws 10 percent of all firework fires. If you plan to celebrate the new year with fireworks, follow all the federal, state, and local laws regarding firework use. Light your fireworks in clear, open areas, on flat surfaces, and have a fire extinguisher ready, just in case.

Tip #10: Invite your smoke alarms to the party

Man standing on ladder checking smoke detector

Every home needs working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Whether you’re frying latkes, cooking chicken and sausage gumbo, or baking cookies, the winter holidays are a prime time for cooking fires (along with many other types of fires).  Keep your holiday guests safe by ensuring your smoke alarms are ready for the party. Their importance cannot be understated.

Test your alarms (even hardwired detectors) to ensure they’re functional, and if you’re using battery-operated detectors, not only test the batteries but also keep an extra set around, just in case it starts to chirp. Of course, this is just a holiday decorating tip. Make sure to keep your smoke alarms functioning properly year-round.

Tip #11: Leave poison off the menu

We’ve written about Thanksgiving cooking safety with tips you should follow when preparing your winter holiday meal. Winter holidays demand an extra level of attention with poisonous materials around the house. Wash your hands after hanging lights (which have lead in the strands) and keep the holly and mistletoe out of reach of children and animals. Head over to the National Capital Poison Center for additional holiday poison safety information.

Tip#12 – Keep up with home maintenance 

Home maintenance never takes a holiday. Gain peace of mind and enjoy the holiday season by keeping your home working properly. While cleaning your dryer exhaust vent may not be top of mind in December, you may consider doing this if it’s been a year or more since it’s been cleaned. A dirty dryer exhaust vent can be a fire hazard. Similarly, you may need to get your furnace inspected or cleaned, have your hot water heater flushed, or test your sump pumps. By completing these and other home maintenance tasks as you needed, you can avoid “home surprises” and enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday.

Not sure how to keep up with home maintenance? The vipHome.app can help. Download the app now! 

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The Top 10 Tasks to Complete Your October Home Maintenance Checklist

Even though Halloween is rapidly approaching, your home doesn’t have to be a scary place (…unless you want it to be).

That’s why we’re coming at you with the top ten tasks on your October home maintenance checklist, so you won’t have to worry about your home. Ten may seem like a lot, but you did nine last month. So you’ve got this.

1. Celebrate the month

Did you know that October is Fire Safety Month? Yup, the same month we leave candles burning in gourds is also the month we should be learning and practicing fire safety. (Well, we should be doing that all year round – practicing fire safety, that is, though we do love pumpkins.)

There are a few things you can do to honor the month:

Person pushing the smoke detector test button

Give your smoke alarms some attention.

Check your smoke detectors. C’mon, you knew that one was coming. Go ahead, push that little test button, and make sure the batteries haven’t expired. Also, check your unit. Smoke detectors have a shelf-life of 10 years, and you can find the date of manufacture on the back. If that unit is over 10 years old, it’s time to replace it.

Check your fire extinguishers. Make sure they are where they’re supposed to be (you guessed it – near the kitchen and the fireplace). Check that there is no physical damage, and the pressure gauge is in the green section. Also, see if the unit has expired, and if so, replace it.

woman using a fire extinguisher on a small kitchen fire

Keep your fire extinguisher close.

Make a fire escape plan. Be sure to have two exits from every room (usually a door and a window). Choose a meet-up point outside (like the mailbox near the road), and discuss the plan with your family. Everyone in the home, including children, should know how to get out and where to go.

Clean your dryer vent. Dryer vents are a leading cause of fires in the home, so clean yours annually. If you are uncomfortable cleaning the vent independently, hire a professional.

2. Bust out the vacuum

Now is the time to vacuum all your radiators and baseboards. You want to make sure they are free of any debris or dust, so when you need that heat, it comes out in the most efficient way possible. (#SaveMoney.)

If you haven’t already had your unit serviced for the fall, call a HVAC professional now.

3. Say goodbye to summer for real

covered grill

Say good-bye to your grill for the winter.

Cover or store your outdoor furniture and grills. That way, they won’t get damaged from the harsh winter weather, and they’ll be ready for next summer!

If you live in an area where you never have to stop barbecuing, add to your October home maintenance checklist a deep cleaning of your grill. This will help you to prevent a home fire during the fall holidays (and football season)!

4. Close the tap

Hose connected to an outdoor spigot in the winter

Don’t leave a hose attached to an outdoor spigot.

As the cold months approach, you probably won’t be watering plants or washing cars, so it’s time to turn off the water to all your exterior spigots, drain the water, and store your hoses for a long winter’s nap. This is extremely important in areas up north where any water in your outside faucets can expand and break your pipes, leading to expensive water damage.

5. Plan for bad weather

snow covered roof

Winter is just around the corner.

The Farmer’s Almanac said this winter is going to be a doozy, so make a plan for a blizzard, ice storm, and even just that dreaded Polar Vortex. We have heating maintenance and winter weather guides, but even if you’re not in a place that sees extremely low temperatures, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to the effects of cold weather, such as freezing pipes. (We’re looking at you, Texas.)

6. Time to take a little off the top

On your October home maintenance checklist, be sure to add trimming dead tree limbs away from your home, especially those near your roof. Tree limbs can fall and damage your house, and even those that are touching your roof can cause damage by peeling up shingles or ripping off layers of asphalt.

7. Once the last leaf has fallen –

fall leaves in a gutter

Don’t leave your leaves in the gutter.

It’s time to clean out your gutters and downspouts. Just wait until most of the leaves have fallen, so you only have to do the job once, unless you enjoy cleaning out your gutters. If you do – clean your gutters more often!

If you live in a place without leaf peeping, you will still want to clean out your gutters of summer debris. This will ensure that your gutters are doing what they’re supposed to do, which is take water away from your home.

If your gutters are too high for you – safety first! Hire a professional for this task!

8. Put your sump pump to the test

close up on a sump pump in a concrete floor

Is your sump pump pumping?

Make sure that your sumps are working properly, and if you don’t already have a backup battery, now might be the time to install one. This will help keep your home safe and water-free in case a severe thunderstorm or a freak snowstorm rolls through.

Also, when was the last time your sump pump was inspected or serviced? You might want to call a professional to do that before it breaks down. If you want to avoid unexpected repairs, then consider purchasing a home warranty.

9. Keep your pipes warm

water being poured onto a frozen pipe

Prevent a burst pipe.

Did you know your pipes don’t like the cold either? Wrap them up with some self-sealing foam pipe insulation to keep them warm all winter long. This way you can save yourself the heartache of a broken pipe and not to mention the cost.

A good place to start is your AC unit, then any pipes that are on exterior walls, and finally your attic and crawlspace.

10. Winterize your sprinklers

In-ground sprinkler system turned on

Save your sprinklers.

This may be the time to call in the professionals and ask for the compressed air blow-out. Don’t worry. They won’t think you’re crazy. This is a way to ensure that all the water has been removed from your sprinkler line, so there is no risk of freezing and ruining your system.

Of course, southern homeowners, your October home maintenance checklist should include inspecting your lines and making sure there aren’t any leaks or grim buildup.

Get additional fall lawn care tips in 7 Super Simple Fall Lawn Care Tips and Secrets That Get Results

Be ready for every season!

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Fall Home Projects 2023: Get Your Maintenance On

Where has the year gone? It’s already fall! As more homeowners are improving their homes, we wanted to help by giving you the prime fall home improvement ideas this year.

We reached out to Matt Van Cleve, a home improvement contractor who has been helping homeowners enhance their homesteads for more than 35 years. Read on to find out what should be on your fall home improvement checklist this year!

Take it outside

“Homeowners are interested in putting money towards exterior projects,” says Matt. “This includes patios, decks, and landscaping due to spending more time at home during the pandemic.”

front porch with a wooden door with a wreath hanging on it

Enhance the exterior of your home.

While the fall real estate market is hot, homeowners who are staying put are less interested in adding to their homes. Instead, they’re looking to use all the space available to them, including their outdoor living space.

To enhance your outside area, Matt suggests focusing on these fall home improvement projects:

Give your home’s exterior a fresh coat

can of blue paint with a roller leaning on top

It’s time to spruce up your home’s exterior.

Get out your paint brush! Fall is a great time for exterior painting. With only a few rainy days, less humidity, and minimal temperature fluctuations, the mild autumn weather allows your paint to spread smoothly and cure properly, the latter which can take several days.

Replace deck boards

wooden deck attached to a green house in the woods

Give your deck some much needed attention.

It’s been a long summer, and this year, you’ve likely enjoyed your deck more than usual by grilling weekly and remote working outside. So give your deck the attention it deserves and replace any wearing boards. If you’re not extremely DIY inclined, hire a professional to complete this task for you.

Beautify your outdoor space

Autumn is one of the most visually appealing seasons, and you can enhance your yard with the usual cleanup duties – raking leaves and trimming trees. However, now’s also the time to remove any vegetable plant debris, plant spring bulbs, or add some additional accents to your landscape, such as chrysanthemums, pansies, and aster. (If any trees are too high to trim and threaten your roof’s structure, make sure to contact a lawncare and tree specialist to take care of them.)

Fall home improvement tips and maintenance projects

Ladder and paint roller in a living room prepped for repainting

Renovate rather than add on.

Rather than adding more room to their homes, homeowners are working with what they have.

“I’m seeing that people are less interested in additions and are more interested in reworking the confines of existing walls,” says Matt. “Homeowners are looking to improve upon what they have already – particularly with kitchens and bathrooms.”

Now is also the time for homeowners to tackle practical improvements and maintenance.

“Heating has got to be the first thing to address if your system needs upgrading, followed by electric,” says Matt. “The glitzy bathroom and kitchen can wait.”

When getting ready for fall and winter, it’s important to focus on these key maintenance projects:

Check and add insulation

insulation in the inside of a wall

Insulation can help prevent chilly toes.

“It’s a good idea to fix any insulation concerns,” says Matt, “particularly in attics and by windows. This ensures that the heat is not escaping too quickly, which would drive your bill up.”

Weather stripping around doors and windows takes only a few minutes with window film or caulk. You can also install new door sweeps, which can keep the cold outside and warmth inside. For quick upgrades, hang insulated curtains and plug up any holes at the bottom of your door with a door snake.

Also, head up to your attic to make sure you have adequate insulation. If you see that your insulation is below your attic floor joints, your home probably suffers from air leaks and needs more insulation. Also, if you see low spots in your insulation, you’ll need to add more as insulation should be even across your attic.

Not sure if you need more insulation? Call an insulation and drywall specialist to assess.

Clean your gutters

Man standing on a ladder cleaning out the gutters

Get up on your ladder twice a year.

Everyone’s favorite pastime – cleaning the gutters!

“If your gutters are clogged due to leaves, you can have a blockage,” warns Matt. “The downspout (part of the gutter that brings water to the ground) needs to be operating in top condition to take water away from your house.”

In the wintertime, blockages in the gutters or downspouts can create ice dams and damage at the structural level.

“It can cause water to leak inside the basement,” says Matt. “It’s not good for a house foundation either and can cause it to crack if the damage gets too great. You always want to get the water flowing away from your house, especially in the cold winter months.”

Unsteady on a ladder? Hire a roofing professional who will not only clean your gutters but also inspect your roof for any potential damage.

And of course, heating maintenance

Replacing the filter in the central ventilation system. Replacing Dirty Air filter for home central air conditioning system. Change filter in rotary heat exchanger recuperator

Don’t neglect your heating system!

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that fall is a good time to get your heating system serviced.

“In the fall and winter homeowners typically address heating concerns for practical reasons with the cold weather coming up,” says Matt.

This includes getting your HVAC unit or furnace serviced to make sure it’s working properly. You should also replace your furnace filters or HVAC filters, as this helps with air quality and energy efficiency.

Air filters need to be cleaned or replaced as frequently as every month or as rarely as once a year. (Most require replacement every season or every three months.)

Expert tips at your fingertips

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Secure Your Smart Home: A 6-Step Guide to Protecting Your Devices

The average American home now has 20.2 connected devices inside of it, and by 2025, the number of smart homes in the U.S. is expected to reach 77 million. Unfortunately, like any connected device, smart home tech can be hacked.

“If you have a lot of smart home devices and think there’s no reason to be concerned – it’s a recipe for disaster,” says Eugenia Blackstone, Chief Marketing Officer at Iris® Powered by Generali. “It’s important to educate yourself and know what you can do to reduce your risk.”

Eugenia recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast and shared with us simple ways to help protect your smart home from hackers and other digital threats.

Is the threat real?

Almost three in four homeowners with smart home tech devices worry that someone can gain access to their device without their permission, but is the threat real? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. In fact:

  • 9% of families have had hackers gain access to a device.
  • 16% had their personal data sold to other companies.
  • 11% had suffered some sort of virus or spyware infection on their device.

“On top of that, smart tech owners deal with issues like their private information becoming public, companies using or tracking their online activity for purposes the user didn’t intend or consent to,” says Eugenia.

There have been unwanted recordings of homeowners’ voices, images, and activities, which can lead to identity theft.

“Hackers are always trying to be one, two, three steps ahead, so it’s important that you do as much as you can to reduce your risk,” says Eugenia.

Six steps to a safer smart home

While you can’t protect your home from every digital threat, these seven simple steps can help to lower your risk of a smart home hack and can help to keep personal information private.

Step 1: Gain awareness.

Before you can protect your home, you must understand the digital threats that can harm it and your smart home tech.

“Educating yourself automatically brings your risk down,” says Eugenia.

Step 2: Change your passwords.

changing your passwords

Update your passwords frequently.

This easy and simple step is often overlooked, but its importance cannot be understated.

“Anything you can do to consistently change your passwords and use unique passwords is going to drastically lower your risk,” says Eugenia.

Also, avoid reusing passwords. If one password is compromised, all the accounts that use that password will be compromised. If one of them is your email or other sensitive accounts, you could be in trouble.

“Around tax time, you may have your Social Security number in there, W-2s, things like that, in your email,” says Eugenia.

So, make sure to update your passwords frequently and limit your password usage to one account.

Step 3: Set up a separate Wi-Fi router for your smart home devices.

Some experts recommend setting up two separate secure Wi-Fi networks at home – one for your personal devices and one for your smart home products.

“Now you’ve got two different networks that you’re managing and passwords you need to remember,” says Eugenia, “but that can be beneficial and help to protect your personal information and privacy.”

Step 4: Update your devices.

a smart home device

Updates can patch vulnerabilities.

Many major data breaches in the last 10 years have been attributed to ignored security updates.

“Most of the time, those device updates are patching some sort of security vulnerability that the company has either discovered or that’s been made aware to them,” says Eugenia.

Updates are the manufacturer’s way of correcting a security issue.

“If you’re not doing the updates, then you’re really leaving yourself an open door for cyber criminals to attack,” says Eugenia.

Keep in mind: You can set your devices to auto-update and some devices may need to be plugged in or have a certain battery percentage to update.

“It’s also not a bad practice to check every 30 days or so and make sure the updates have downloaded,” says Eugenia.

Step 5: Consider security add-ons.

Add-ons can provide additional security to your smart home tech devices. The most common add-ons to security are firewalls and antivirus software, which have become ubiquitous.

“Both of those are incredibly important in protecting devices from hackers and are pretty common now on a lot of devices,” says Eugenia.

Additional security add-ons may include:

  • Anti-phishing programs that can detect software that is known for phishing.
  • Anti-ransomware that can help protect users’ data and prevent an attack.
  • A data scrambler that changes keystrokes to protect passwords and other information.

“We have some ways to go before some of the best things out there become basic add-ins,” says Eugenia. “The best thing consumers can do is really be proactive about asking, ‘What sort of additional protections do I get with this device?’”

Step 6: Do your due diligence.

a woman on the phone in front of a computer

Complete your due diligence.

Before you ever buy a smart home device, research the manufacturer. Look at their website to see which can provide you with protection and value privacy. Consider calling their customer service to learn more about their product and security protocols.

“It is something that may in the moment feel like a headache, but it may end up saving you a huge headache down the road,” says Eugenia.

Make sure to choose companies that demonstrate a commitment to data privacy.

“Companies do this by making it easy to set up automatic updates on their devices or proactively partnering with a provider, like Iris, to offer you identity protection or online data protection,” says Eugenia.

What to do if your smart home tech is hacked

There are a variety of ways that hackers can infiltrate your system. One of the most common is through your Wi-Fi network. Once hackers gain access to your network, they have access to any device connected to it.

Hackers can also enter through a particular device – a smart light bulb, baby monitor, or a video doorbell. With the exception of ransomware, most homeowners won’t know they have been hacked until long after it’s happened.

a security camera for a baby - how to prevent your smart home devices

Make sure what’s most important to you is seccure.

Once you notice anomalies, such as devices moving very slowly or acting oddly, the first thing you should do is unplug, shut off the power source, and/or disconnect the device. Then reach out to the manufacturer of the device, who can help get the device working safely and properly again. Of course, make sure you contact the actual manufacturer.

“Make sure you’re going to that device’s website and looking up the customer service for that device, not just contacting some random tech support, not asking Alexa to contact tech support for you,” warns Eugenia.

Some scammers will purposely infiltrate a system and tell you the system has been compromised to trigger a call to a phony tech support number. That’s why it’s important to keep ahead of hackers and update your devices, change your passwords, and complete other safety protocols.

“The bad guys are always working to stay one step ahead, so it’s really important that customers be vigilant,” says Eugenia.

Keep your home safe and secure

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Not-So-Scary Essential Fall Home Maintenance

Halloween is a time for ghoulish delights, not homeowner frights, but that’s exactly what your home might deliver. And when you have expected guests popping in for treats, you don’t want to worry about the tricks your home might pull – now and in the coming months. So we’ve put together a checklist of not-so-scary fall home maintenance you can do – and should do – before All Hollow’s Eve to avoid costly repairs and safeguard your candy seekers.

After all, these outdoor repairs might seem like witchcraft, but you can complete them all in one warm weekend with time to spare for an apple cider doughnut.

Whisk away unwanted twigs

Banish trees and shrubs for touching your home, especially those rubbing against your roof. Plants help uninvited pests reach and enter your home, and trees can rip up your shingles and clog your gutters, leading to leaks. So cut away unwanted branches, and consider calling a professional to check the integrity of your roof before winter arrives.

Swap out your screens

Hang on to that summer warmth by removing screen doors and windows. This fall home maintenance task will help your house retain more heat from the sun (free of charge), and if you have single-pane windows, swapping out your screens for storm windows can also increase your home’s heat efficiency. You’ll be nice and roasty, toasty warm even when the temperatures start to dip.

Make your gutter and downspout dirt disappear

a homeowner cleaning out the gutters - fall home maintenance

Make the dirt in your gutters disappear.

We can hear your moaning – and not in a Frankenstein’s monster kind of way. But cleaning your gutters and downspouts prevents water damage to your roof, siding, and even your home’s interior. Do it yourself with flexible “wands,” high-pressure nozzles, and even robots! (Just make sure to avoid a nasty – and painful – ladder accident.) Or call a professional who can make all the leaves and dirt disappear, just like magic.

Driveway reparo

Since winter is coming, you’ll need to fix those cracked driveways and walkways as part of your fall home maintenance checklist. If you leave these issues for the cold months, water can seep into your concrete area, freeze, thaw, and eventually expand, creating a frighteningly costly display. Asphalt driveways tend to be more resilient to this type of cracking but are prone to frost heave (when moisture in the soil freezes and thaws, causing your asphalt to buckle).

You can repair your driveway almost as easily as Ron repaired Harry’s glasses with a scraper, leaf blower, filler rope (for big cracks), and caulking. Of course, calling a professional also gets your driveway magically repaired!

Save your hose

As you remember from high school science class, water expands when it transforms from a liquid to a solid, so you’ll want to make sure your garden hose doesn’t become a victim. Remove all hoses from all faucets, drain them, and then wrap them up for next spring. Turn off all outdoor water, too, so your pipes don’t get too big for their britches.

Prep your lawnmower

Before your lawnmower hibernates for the winter, it needs a bit of work. Take out your mower’s manual (you kept it, right?) and read the instructions. Some manufacturers suggest adding a stabilizer to your gas and a capful of engine oil, then running the mower for a bit. Others suggest replacing the spark plugs, running the engine try, or even changing the oil out completely. You also might want to check your blade to make sure it’s not dull, and if it is, replace it. Once you complete the necessary maintenance, roll that mower away until you spring ahead next year.

Secure your foundation

To prevent water from expanding and cracking your home’s foundation during the winter months, check the land around your foundation to make sure water drains away from the house. The land should be sloping down at least six inches per every 10 feet. Also, make sure dirt or soil isn’t touching your siding. If it is, that dreaded word everyone hates to hear – moisture – might infiltrate and create water damage, so call a home pro to explore ways to save your home from drainage and soil issues.

Carve out some time for your emergency equipment

Prevent a true nightmare by checking the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon dioxide monitors every month to make sure they’re working properly. Keep extra batteries on hand to avoid disconnecting your detectors for any length of time, and also, inspect your fire extinguisher to make sure it’s properly maintained. Though you might pretend to be a firefighter for Halloween, you’ll want to make sure you don’t need a real one on the scene anytime soon.

Get your home ready for trick-or-treaters with Halloween safety tips from our friends at Franklin Mutual Insurance!

Hocus pocus – home in focus

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Homeownership can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. The vipHome.app can help. In less than four minutes, enjoy a new way to manage your home. Simply download the app, register your home, and enjoy a simplified homeownership experience.

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How to Make Your Gutters Squeaky Clean (and Why You Need to) 

You need to get your mind in your gutter twice a year (figuratively speaking, of course). If you leave your gutters alone for too long, you may find yourself with:

  • Birds and tiny animals making nests in them.
  • Tiny plants growing inside them.
  • Expensive water damage to your roof and attic due to clogs and ice dams.
  • Expensive water damage in your home’s lower levels thanks to clogs.
  • Sagging gutters from too much dirt, debris, and clogs.

As fall approaches (and gutter cleaning season), our experts put together this quick guide to how to clean your gutters with tips, tricks, and other super important information.

“After the seeds fall and after the leaves fall”

How often should you clean your gutters? Experts recommend a regular gutter cleaning at least twice a year. If you live where trees shed their leaves, you may want to clean your gutters and downspouts in late spring and late fall – “after the seeds fall and after the leaves fall.”

Live near pine trees? you may have to do it more frequently – every three months to prevent debris from creating clogs.

If you live in an area prone to wildfires, you may want to clean them even more frequently to prevent dried leaves from becoming fire hazards.

The tools and supplies to get the job done

a person wearing orange gloves cleaning out a home's gutters

Protect your hands!

Make sure to use work gloves plus latex gloves as gutters have muck, dirt, leaves, debris, and as we mentioned earlier, potentially nests. (Don’t be bitten by Chip or Dale!)

Depending on the size of your house and other factors, your gutter cleaning project may require some or all of the following items:

  • Garden hose with a spray nozzle.
  • Extension or step ladder.
  • Ladder stabilizer.
  • Gutter cleaning tools, including a trowel or scoop, cleaning wand, or telescoping extension pole.
  • Gutter sealant.
  • Bucket(s).
  • Pressure washer.
  • Plumbing snake.

Gutters were not designed to take the weight of an extension ladder, so if you’ll be using one, make sure to use a ladder stabilizer. Also, always place your ladder on solid, even ground.

Now – get down and get dirty

As always, if you ever feel uncomfortable about a home maintenance or improvement project, call professional gutter cleaning services. However, if you’re able and ready, here are a few tips to help get your gutters squeaky clean.

  • Place your ladder on solid, even ground and use a ladder stabilizer if need be. (Make sure to keep three touch points – one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot – at all times.)
  • Scoop out the dirt and debris from the gutters either using your hands (with gloves), a trowel, or other gutter tools. Put the muck in a secured bucket.
  • Once you’ve cleaned out of the muck, remove the downspout screens and flush the entire gutter.
  • If you see any places where water escapes the drainage area, seal it up with gutter sealant.
  • Check the downspout to see if the water is flowing freely. If you notice any hesitation or a slower than usual water flow, you may have a clog.
  • If you have a clog, place the garden hose with a spray nozzle at the bottom opening of the downspout. If the clog remains, try using a plumbing snake to clear the area.
  • Replace the downspout screen and flush the area again to make sure the water is flowing smoothly.
  • Check that the gutters and downspouts are secured to the house, and if they’re not, secure them.
  • Finish up by washing the exterior of the gutter system. This can be done easily and efficiently with a pressure washer.

How long does it take to clean your gutters?

That generally depends upon the size of your home. Content Writer Susie and her sister cleaned their home’s gutters in a little under an hour; however, a larger house or a home with gutters and downspouts in disrepair may take longer.

Afraid of heights?

If using a ladder is not your thing, then consider buying a set of tools that help extend your reach. Gutter wands, pressure washer attachments, even a leaf blower attachment can all help to make sure you stay safe while clearing your gutters and downspouts.

If you have a multi-story home or feel uncomfortable completing this project, then hire a “gutter cleaning professional near me” who can take care of this for you.

Have a standing water problem?

a person sloping their gutters

Are your gutters sloped correctly?

If you noticed any standing water while flushing the gutters, then your gutters may not be sloping properly. They should slope ¼” toward the downspout for every 10 feet of gutter. A super handy homeowner may be able to fix this issue with a drill. If you’re not super handy, we recommend calling a roofing professional for gutter cleaning and repair.

It is important to complete this step as water damage from your gutters can be incredibly expensive, especially if it leads to mold and mildew.

Stay on top of home maintenance

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Woman hiker spraying insect repellent against tick on her legs and boots

DIY Home Pest Control Tips from Orkin Pest Control

Ticks, bedbugs and squirrels – oh, my! And those are just three of the pests that look for a way inside your home. To find out how to protect your abode, we reached out to Glen Ramsey, Senior Technical Services Manager and board-certified entomologist for Orkin Pest Control.

Glen earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in entomology and works behind the scenes at Orkin with pest identification and problem solving of unique home situations.

Watch the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast now and read on to learn DIY home pest control tips.

Why pests invade your home

“We’re trying to prevent harm,” says Glen, who has worked in pest management for more than 13 years. “There’s obvious harm that some pests can do to people, but there’s also harm to homes.”

As the weather cools, homes face two major category of pests – 1) rodents that try and migrate inside, so they can survive the winter months and breed at the same time and 2) occasional invaders that don’t typically feed or breed in homes, but try to escape cold weather or high heat.

So, how do homeowners begin to combat these pests?

“The first thing to do is walk around your house,” says Glen. “Look for things that don’t look right such as scratch marks, bent gutters, and popped shingles. Those types of things are indicative of another problem.”

Make note of these areas and then seal cracks and crevices, install screens on windows and make sure they are tight. Also, caulk around plumbing lines, air-conditioning, HVAC lines, and where your cable line enters your home.

When it comes to your trees, you should cut away any branches that are overhanging or touching the home. This prevents pests from being able to jump or just walk right onto the house.

“If your bushes are 12 to 18 inches away from the foundation of your home and you cutaway on the backside, you can’t tell,” says Glen. “It still looks beautiful, but it keeps ants from being able to walk from the bush onto the house.”

The same goes for overhanging trees, which allow squirrels and cockroaches to drop onto your roof and enter your home.

Home remedies to get rid of ticks

red tick on blade of grass

Make your yard undesirable to ticks.

“There is definite evidence of new ticks being introduced into the United States, and people are being exposed to more and more tick-borne diseases,” says Glen, who lives down the street from a CDC tick specialist. “It’s extremely important for homeowners to wear repellents when they go outside.”

The CDC website has many useful resources for homeowners, but one of the most important tips is simply to cut the grass.

“Tall grass is notorious for ticks,” says Glen. “Ticks do what’s called ‘questing.’ They’ll stick out their front legs while their back legs hold onto the top of the grass stick. As you walk by, they’ll grab your pant leg or your dog, and go with you. It’s important that you keep grass cut short, so they can’t do that.”

Another suggestion is creating ecotones in the yard. If you have a wooden area and your grass leads up to it, consider adding a gravel barrier in between.

“That harsher break between the wooded area and the grass is a huge deterrent to ticks,” says Glen. “It also keeps your lawn better protected from anything that might be coming through the woods.”

Deer will transport ticks, so avoid planting vegetation that will attract deer and other animals, as well.

How to get rid of ladybugs in your house

ladybug on a leaf

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home…

Ladybugs are very beneficial, especially in your garden. They eat aphids, which are pests of plants. However, you want to stop a ladybug infestation from happening inside your home.

“Those lady bugs can die in the attic, in the wall voids, in places where you can’t get to them easily,” explains Glen. “Those bug carcasses, for lack of better term, can attract other pests.”

You also shouldn’t smash ladybugs on your wall or your curtains, as they produce an orange stain.

“It’s a chemical that they exude to try and ward off predators, but it will stain wallpaper, paint, and fabrics,” says Glen. “By sucking them up with the vacuum cleaner, it doesn’t let them stain the surface.”

Most bugs you can suck up in the vacuum cleaner, Glen adds. It’s the ones with a pungent odor, like stink bugs, you should capture and release outside.

How to get rid of bed bugs in your home

bed bugs on a mattress

Hire a professional immediately for beg bug issues.

“Bed bugs really need to be managed professionally,” says Glen. “I never recommend a homeowner try and control bed bugs themselves.”

Glen has seen homeowners try to curb a bed bug infestation themselves. The situation only grew out of hand.

“It was to the point that when you walked in, there were bed bugs on the ceiling and dropping on your head as you walked through the room,” says Glen. “They could sense the carbon dioxide that you’re breathing out, and they were trying to find a food source.”

Let professionals know as soon as possible, so they can get rid of the bed bugs. The longer it goes, the more expensive it’s going to be, and the harder it’s going to be. As soon as you see bugs as small as apple seeds upon your bed or in the usual infested areas, call a professional.

And homeowners should not be embarrassed by bedbugs.

“People pick them up from travel, from going to camp and coming back. Hotel rooms and airports might have them. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not that your home is dirty.”

Beware of scorpions

scorpion in a red shoe

Do not grab a scorpion by its tail.

If you live in the southwest United States, you may need to protect your home from scorpions. They are notorious for getting into rock piles, gravel and woodpiles, so getting rid of those around your home is key. Unfortunately, gravel around your house is recommended to keep insects out since they don’t like to cross that barrier.

“Scorpions like it, though, and they’ll hide and nest in them,” says Glen.

Seal your home with chalking or weather stripping and use door sweeps.

“Scorpions can smash really flat and get in,” says Glen. “Make sure that your door sweep touches the doorframe and when the door is closed, you can’t see light around it.”

In the unfortunate event that a scorpion does enter your home, you shouldn’t try to grab its tail.

Notes Glen, “Trained professionals do that; other people don’t. They can sting you.”

The best course of action is to scoop the scorpion into the dustpan and throw it out the front door.

When to seek assistance for your home

raised bed garden in the backyard of a blue house

Take a proactive approach to your pest control.

Homeowners should use integrated pest management (IPM) that monitors all year long.

“IPM is an ongoing repetitive process where you assess the situation, implement control measures and then monitor the situation for any new activity,” says Glen.

It’s a proactive way to handle pests. Orkin generally sees homeowners bimonthly, monthly or quarterly basis.

“If you’re in a really cold climate, you may not need it as often, so the technicians may come quarterly,” says Glen. “But it is important that somebody is looking year-round because there’s different pests that will come in the fall, then the spring, then the summer and finally the winter.”

Most companies, including Orkin, do free inspections. They provide a comprehensive overview and may uncover something a homeowner missed.

“Maybe it’s the squirrel in your wall, or we may make a recommendation that we could really help with mosquito control.”

Orkin also realizes that some homeowners may not have the funds to fix certain areas of their homes at this time.

“We’ve seen the struggles that people have had during this time with continuing service, and we’re working with them to keep themselves pest free,” says Glen.

Take a proactive approach to your pest problems with the help of Orkin Pest Control

Keep your home safe and secure

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Is My Tap Water Safe to Drink? Check Out Your Consumer Confidence Report

Here in the U.S., we have some of the safest drinking water in the world, but unfortunately, not everything that comes out of your tap is safe to ingest. How can you tell if your home has safe drinking water?

The annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), or the Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, can help. We recently spoke with Bryanna Poczatek, Technical Affairs Manager for the Water Quality Association (WQA). Bryanna walked us through what the CCR says and how it can help you make decisions about your drinking water.

What is the Consumer Confidence Report?

The CCR is a report that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires public water systems to make available to their consumers each year.

“The report provides important information about the quality of drinking water in the area and can help customers make informed decisions about their water,” says Bryanna, who has been with the WQA for five years.

The CCR includes the following information:

  • The water source (groundwater, aquifer, wells, etc.).
  • Details from the recent water quality testing for the system.
  • Regulated contaminants and their concentrations, if any.
  • Comparison of regulated contaminants to EPA drinking water standards.
  • The source of any contaminant.
  • Any violations of standards, including any potential health impacts.

“When you get your report, the first thing that I would recommend is to see if there are any violations of the drinking water standards,” says Bryanna.

Most reports have a column that reads, “average level detected” (or similarly), which you should compare to the “maximum contaminant level (MCL).” The MCL is the maximum level of a contaminant allowed in the water of a public water system.

“If you compare those two levels, you can see how much is in your water compared to what is allowed in the regulation,” says Bryanna.

You’ll also see the maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG), which is a non-enforceable public health goal.

“This is not a level that the public water systems are required to meet, but it’s essentially the level at which no expected health impacts would occur,” says Bryanna.

For some contaminants, the level is set at zero. You may ask, “How close to the MCLG is my water quality?” Knowing what levels of contaminants are in the water can help consumers determine whether they should take additional actions to improve the quality of their home’s drinking water.

What if all contaminants are below EPA limits?

Three water quality taking water samples from a river

Does your water pass the test?

“That means the water is meeting all federal and state drinking water regulations (MCLs),” says Bryanna.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the water meets that non-enforceable public health goal, the MCLG. The water also could contain unregulated contaminants that public water systems are not required to test or treat.

“In the U.S. we have some of the best drinking water quality in the world,” says Bryanna, “so it’s going to be pretty good quality. But there are steps you can take to improve that water quality even further.”

What is the most dangerous contaminant that could be in your tap water?

Certain populations are more at risk for certain contaminants, so the most dangerous contaminant can be different for different people.

“Children are more susceptible to lead poisoning because they’re absorbing a lot more lead than adults are,” says Bryanna. “Nitrate is another contaminant that is especially dangerous to infants. It can cause blue baby syndrome or low oxygen levels in the blood.”

Some contaminants have acute impacts from which you could experience health effects within a few hours or days. Others can have a chronic impact, and you may not know for months or years.

“Bacteria and viruses can cause issues very suddenly,” says Bryanna, “while exposure to very low levels of certain chemicals like arsenic you might not know for years.”

The danger depends upon the person and the concentration, among other factors.

Warning signs of water quality issues

a woman scowling into her glass of water - Consumer Confidence Report

Some contaminants are not easily noticed.

Cloudy or discolored water, specific orders, or taste issues are easy-to-spot indicators of an issue with your water, but there are many contaminants and other concerns that you would never be able to notice without testing.

To improve water quality, the WQA recommends homeowners take advantage of the following resources:

“If you know what contaminant or what issues you’re dealing with in your water, you can search on our websites for water treatment products that have been tested and verified that they remove contaminants and other concerns from your water,” says Bryanna. 

Did you receive your CCR?

Private wells are not regulated by the EPA, so any homeowner with a well will not receive a CCR. However, you are encouraged to get your water tested regularly by a water quality professional.

Renters in apartment buildings, houses, and condos – anyone who does not pay their city water bill directly – may not receive a CCR.

“Renters will likely have to contact either their building manager or a landlord and request a copy of the reports,” says Bryanna. “They can also check to see if it is available online.”

A renter could search for the water provider online or check the EPA’s search tool, which can help locate a local CCR.

What happens if there’s an issue with your water now?

The EPA’s Public Notification Rule requires that public water systems notify all their customers if the safety for the drinking water has been compromised.

“You’re definitely going to know if there’s an issue,” says Bryanna, “but how soon and how you find out is going to change.”

How and when homeowners are notified depends upon the severity of the issue. Homeowners could be notified anywhere from 24 hours to up to a year.

“It could be over TV or news, email, mail,” says Bryanna. “If it’s one of those more long-term issues, such as a late water sample test, you might not know anything until you get next year’s Consumer Confidence Report.”

Updates to the EPA CCR

The EPA is in the process of revising the Consumer Confidence Report requirements and is seeking to finalize the new requirements in early 2024. The new report should be easier to read and understand, so consumers can know what steps to take to make sure their drinking water is safe.

“The Consumer Confidence Report you receive in the future could look different than it does now,” says Bryanna. “Hopefully it changes for the better and will help everyone better understand their water quality.”

Enjoy a new way to manage your home

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Homeownership can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. The vipHome.app can help. In less than four minutes, enjoy a new way to manage your home. Simply download the app, register your home, and enjoy a simplified homeownership experience.

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The Hurricane Preparedness Checklist Every Homeowner Needs

Hurricane season is back! That means you can expect power outages, storm surges, and other perilous problems, now through November 30. An unprepared homeowner can be left with thousands of dollars in damage from a strong hurricane, so here at vipHome.app, we want to help you ready your home.

Stay safe and prevent storm damage to your home with our 2023 hurricane preparedness checklist! Also, get additional tips in our hurricane preparedness podcast with FEMA!

Item #1 – Stay informed

Sign up for local alerts with apps such as Nixle or the FEMA app. These apps will alert you to any warnings in your area. Also, consider buying a solar charger for your cell phone, just in the case the power goes out, and invest in a battery-operated radio. This way, you can still have an ear to official announcements if the nearby cell tower loses power.

Download the vipHome.app, which now sends critical weather alerts right to your phone! 

“Homeownership is simpler and safer when you are prepared,” says Founder Alfred Bentley, “and that is what our weather notifications do.”

The app also sends preparedness tips, so you can ready your home for whatever Mother Nature sends your way. Sign up today! 

Item #2 – Know the difference in hurricane alerts

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you understand the severity of the storm headed your way. This will help you make an informed decision concerning your safety. The National Weather Service will give you one of these alerts:

Hurricane watch: A hurricane or tropical storm (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) is possible in the next 48 hours. Monitor alerts, check supplies, and gather anything you might need in case of a power outage.

Hurricane warning: Experts expect a hurricane or tropical storm to hit the area in the next 36 hours. Listen for calls for evacuation and heed those warnings.

There are similar watches and warnings for tropical storms as well as storm surges, so be prepared to respond accordingly.

Item #3 – Plan for all options

a packed duffle next to a chair - hurricane preparedness tips

Ready a light bag in case of evacuation.

“Better safe than sorry,” is a favorite phrase for these emergency situations. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered, “What is the important part of hurricane prep?” – this is it. Make plans with your family for all situations – if you’re staying for the duration of the storm or you need to leave.

Follow these emergency preparedness steps:

  • Ready an emergency kit for your home (more on that below).
  • Prepare for a power outage.
  • Keep your gas tank full.
  • Create an evacuation plan and know the approved evacuation routes.
  • Designate an out-of-state emergency contact. This will be the person everyone contacts if you’re not together during the storm.
  • Select a place where you all can go in case you need to evacuate and ensure that everyone knows how to get there. This can be a nearby shelter, set up by FEMA.
  • Put together a “bug-out” bag that you can grab if you need to evacuate. It should be light and portable.
  • If you have pets, make sure to include them in your plans, with pet-friendly hotels or a family member’s house as a safe place.

Item #4 – Secure emergency supplies

A hurricane preparedness checklist is not complete without gathering emergency supplies. Whether riding out the storm (if evacuation isn’t mandatory) or leaving the area, have the following essential items:

  • Cell phones.
  • Solar chargers.
  • Batteries.
  • Medicines (know how to store them safely, especially if they need refrigeration).
  • Flashlights.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Money.
  • Important documents (passports, birth certificates, etc.).
  • Non-perishable food and water (enough for at least three days, a gallon of water per person per day).
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene supplies.
  • Protective gear.
  • Blankets.
  • Waterproof boots.
  • Warm clothes.
  • Irreplaceable items (your child’s favorite stuffed animals or wedding photo – only essential items).

Consider buying an emergency kit that includes many of the items above.

#Item 5 – Prepare your home

flood and high winds in a tropical neighborhood - hurricane preparedness tips

High winds and flooding can damage your home.

Preventing costly home damage begins by taking the necessary precautions before the hurricane arrives. To stop your patio umbrella from making a new hole in your neighbor’s sliding glass door, complete the following hurricane preparedness checklist:

  • Check for loose shutters or screens. Tighten them as needed.
  • Trim back wayward trees.
  • Secure loose wires and cables.
  • Remove debris from downspouts and gutters.
  • Inspect your roof, and repair loose shingles.
  • Use caulk to seal off doors and windows.
  • Test sump pumps and clear exterior drains of debris.
  • Test generators and make sure you have fuel available.
  • Store lightweight items such as toys and patio furniture. Secure any objects remaining outside as they can become projectiles in high winds.
  • If you live in a flood area, consider placing sandbags around your home’s perimeter. (Also, make sure you have the necessary homeowners insurance. If you’re not sure, contact your agent.)
  • Protect windows and doors by covering them with plywood or hurricane shutters. Leave one or two smaller windows exposed for light and air circulation.

Be prepared all year round

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A Super Quick Guide to Powering Wash Your Home

Summertime is the perfect time to make your way out onto your deck with a nice cold beverage and the beach read you’ve been meaning to get to. Unfortunately, just as you get ready to enjoy yourself, you discover your siding is a dirty, grimy mess. No one can enjoy Hello Beautiful when their own space is less than aesthetically pleasing. Time to break out the power washer! 

How to get your siding squeaky clean

We should note: Most people use power and pressure wash interchangeably. There is a difference as power washing involves a heating component. They have the ability to sanitize because they use steam power. However, homeowners generally own pressure washers, and professionals own power washers.

That’s why it’s recommended you hire a professional to power wash your home. Highly pressurized water that can reach temperatures of 311℉ flowing at speeds of over 200 mph can really do some damage to your property but more importantly to your person. So if your home is in need of a shower, consider calling a professional. 

However, DIY homeowners are able to rent power washers from local big box home improvement stores. If you are looking to power or pressure your home yourself, then here’s how to do it. 

Step 1: Gather your materials and prep the pressure washer.

Before beginning the job, gather the supplies needed with a strong focus on safety. You will need:

  • A pressure washer.
  • Mold/mildew remover. 
  • Brush.
  • Garden hose. 
  • Extension wand or scaffolding if cleaning a taller home. 
  • Duct tape. 
  • Personal protective gear (goggles, gloves, and closed-toed shoes).

Remember that pressure washing is a physically demanding job full of bending and reaching and only works on certain types of surfaces. Do not pressure/power wash certain types of stucco or fiber cement siding. 

When deciding when to pressure wash, choose a mild day. (Some climates may need to wait until spring or fall.) Not only can the summer sun dry the cleaning solution too quickly, but it can also dehydrate you and may be too much for such a physically demanding job.

Step 2: Prep the area.

Cover any area where water might enter your home with duct tape, such as outlets, light fixtures, cameras, and video doorbells. Inspect the house and cut away any vegetation that is touching the areas you are going to power wash.

If you are using a plant-friendly detergent, you don’t need to cover your plants. However, it is still a good idea to limit the amount of detergent that your plants take in. 

Using the low pressure tip, spray your plants with water before you start to pressure wash. Make sure you are using the low pressure tip or you could damage your plants. 

Step 3:  Spray on the detergent.

Add the cleaning solution to your pressure washer, and attach a garden hose. Turn on the motor to start the flow of water. Starting from the bottom, spray the detergent onto the surface, working in 10-foot sections. You don’t want the detergent to dry before you are able to wash it off.

Step 4: Get cleaning.

man in green shirt and overalls standing on a scaffold pressuring washing roof and gutters - how to power wash your home

Work top to bottom when rinsing.

Switch the tips on the wand to one that will work best for your job. The most common is the white 40-degree spray nozzle. This will allow the water pressure to increase but not all the way. Working from the top down, start washing the house. 

Remember to never use a ladder when pressure washing. If you have areas you cannot reach, use an extension wand or portable scaffolding.

Step 5: Rinse and repeat.

Repeat the process of spraying the detergent and then rinsing it off until you have pressure washed your entire house.

When choosing a pressure washer, you are going to be dealing in PSI and GPM. That’s what the cool kids call Pressure per Square Inch and Gallons Per Minute. The higher the PSI and GPM, the faster the pressure washer will clean. Of course, all that power comes with a cost. 

Picking the perfect pressure washer

a red electrical power washer on a driveway - how to power wash your home

Electric or gas, which is best for you?

The second big factor you need to consider to power wash your home is whether you prefer a gas- or electric-powered pressure washer. While gas-powered pressure washers will have a higher PSI and GPM than electric ones, that doesn’t mean they are the right choice for your home. 

Because they are more powerful, gas -pressure washers tend to be a bit more difficult to control and can damage delicate surfaces. As stated earlier, the more power, the higher the price tag, so a gas-powered pressure washer will tend to hit your wallet a bit harder, too. Another thing to consider is like any gas engine, they require a certain amount of maintenance, which is much more than their electric counterparts. 

If choosing the right equipment and then pressure washing your house seems too difficult, remember – hire a pro

How much does it cost to power wash a house?

If you choose to hire a professional, the cost to power wash your home varies by region, but nationally, the average ranges from $.15-$.75 per square foot. So assuming you have a 2,500 square foot house, the average range is about $375-$1,875.

How often do you have to power wash your house?

Most experts suggest power washing your home once or twice a year to keep your curb appeal…well, appealing, as well as keeping mold and mildew from forming. That’s why it’s a good idea to add this task to your list of annual home maintenance, along with flushing your hot water heater and cleaning your dryer exhaust vent

Stay on top of home maintenance

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Homeownership can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. The vipHome.app can help. In less than four minutes, enjoy a new way to manage your home. Simply download the app, register your home, and enjoy a simplified homeownership experience.

Download the app today!

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