Winter is Coming: Here's 11 Tips to Prepare

The nights are getting colder, the leaves are changing colors, and it’s time to join the squirrels and prepare for winter! Though we don’t need to store nuts and pack more leaves into our home, we do have a list of chores that can really make surviving this winter easier.  

Clean the Gutters. 

How to Prepare for Fall

Without clean gutters and proper flow control, you might be dealing with icy front steps this winter! Be sure to clean your gutters so melting snow and freezing rain can flow away from your walking areas and foundation. 

 

Prep the Snow Blowers and Clean the Lawnmower

Before leaving your weed eater and lawnmower in the shed all winter give them a good cleaning so they are ready to go in the spring.

If you have a snowblower now is the time to check the tires and make sure everything is working correctly. You don’t want to mess with that at 5am when you need to get to work and there is a foot of snow on the ground. 

Feed the Grass

Though your grass may look like it’s dying, it is simply preparing for winter. To help it survive the cold and snow this year and encourage stronger roots and greener grass next year, fertilizing your lawn after your last mowing. This will keep the roots healthy and strong all winter long. 

And a bonus tip: If you love bulb plants in the spring time fall is the perfect time to plant those. 

Empty the Pipes

Unless you enjoy the horrors broken water pipes can bring, we always suggest turning off outside water sources. Turn off the water lines and then open the spigots outside to drain the line. This is a simple task that could save you lots of money and a huge head ache. 

How to Prepare for Fall

Winter is Coming

To prepare, check that your heating system is in order. Furnace filters need to be changed monthly to ensure clean air in the winter time. It also improves the effectiveness of your furnace and can reduce your energy bills. Just be sure to replace the filter so it is facing the correct way. Double check for the arrow on the filter that will show you which way the air should flow through it. 

Outdoor Furniture 

It’s time to have one last summer party on your outdoor furniture before bringing them inside for winter. Don’t forget to clean them off! Bringing in your outdoor furniture can expand the furniture’s life and keep them looking their best.

Fire! Detectors.

With fall and winter come holiday dinners, nights around the fireplace, and lighting our pumpkin spice candles. Now is the time to make sure all your detectors have fresh batteries and your alarms are set and ready! 

Check Your House for Leaks

How to Prepare for Fall

When sending all that money to duke this winter you’ll be wishing you did this next tip! Walk around your house and look for any places that warm air could escape. Check for peeling or cracking caulk around doors and windows. Poke around your plumbing pipes and air ducts to see if there are any gaps that need to be filled. Your wallet will be thanking you this winter!

Heat rises! 

With this next tip you’ll make your heating bills go down and have warmer toes too! Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. In summer we want our fans to suck the hot air up and push the cold air down. In the winter we want all that warm air down with us. 

Chim Chiminey, Chim Chiminey, Chim Chim Cher-oo

If you have a beautiful fireplace in your home where the family will gather around during those chilly winter nights, it’s a good idea to get your chimney cleaned and maintenance. Ensuring your fireplace is in good working order is a small task compared to the tragedy it could be if something goes wrong. 

How to Prepare for Fall

Organize the Shed

With all these summer things that we’re putting away and storing, cleaning out your shed will make winter tasks a lot easier. Move all your summer items to the back and the winter ones to the front. This way when you have to get to something this winter you wont have to go searching in the cold. You’ll also want to remove any liquids in the shed that might freeze. 

Once you have all your chores done it's time to treat yourself to a mug of eggnog or some Irish coffee!

Granite Counter tops vs Quartz Countertops: What’s the right top for your home? 

Do you find yourself trying to choose between granite countertops and quartz countertops? Both are great products, so how do you choose which is right for your family? 

A Popularity Contest

Although quartz is making some strong inroads,  granite is still the undisputed champion of the countertop world. It is by far the most popular countertop in kitchens and bathrooms today, but may not remain that way in the near future. 

What are they made of?

Because granite is quarried out of the earth, sliced up into the slabs, and then polished to the beautiful tops you are used to seeing, every one is unique. As a result, it’s important that you actually go to the warehouse and pick the actual slab that will be used in your home. If you try to pick granite from a sample, you may find that the top that shows up at your home, may not look like the sample you picked in the showroom. Mother Nature loves variety, and no two granite stones are exactly the same. 

Unlike granite, quartz is a man-made product. It’s made up of approximately 93% crushed quartz mixed with 7% resin binders. It will also run far more consistent to the sample blocks you see, thanks to the more consistent manufacturing process. The top you receive will likely be very close to the sample you see in a showroom making the selection process a bit simpler. 

Maintenance: 

Because granite is a natural stone, it can be rather porous and requires sealer to be applied periodically. We recommend that you apply sealer to your stone tops about once per year. While there are sealer options available that are warranted to last up to 15 years, they do come with a price and in some cases have to be applied before the tops are installed in your home. 

Quartz, on the other hand, is very dense and none porous, and requires no sealers. It is every bit as heavy as granite, but because it’s a little more flexible, it is less likely to break during fabrication and installation. Quartz is definitely the winner when it comes to maintenance, or lack thereof. 

Pricing Comparison

Granite and quartz are both priced in levels. They may be listed as levels one, two, and three or level A, B, and C and so on. The concept is the same either way, where one or A will be the lowest cost, and the prices go up with the levels. It’s important to note that the quality of the granite or quartz doesn’t go up as the levels and prices go up. Paying more for granite does not insure a higher durability or performance over time. In fact, some exotic granites, that are more expensive, actually break easier during fabrication which contributes to their higher cost. The higher levels are typically less plentiful, and therefore in more demand. Think of them as semi-precious stone: the less of it there is, the more it’s going to cost. 

Quartz tends to start out at a slightly higher price point than granite, but the two are fairly similar in the grand scheme of things. The cost difference tends to be small enough that most people make their decisions based on aesthetic or maintenance of the products and not on price. 

The style of quartz

The uniformity of quartz makes it easier to make tight seams that are less noticeable. The natural randomness of granite that provides its uniqueness, sometimes creates seams can be quite obvious. Quartz also lends itself to more contemporary designs with its more consistent pattern and color options. 

 

Conclusion

Both granite and quartz are great countertop materials for Kitchens, Bathrooms or any other area of your home. If you like the natural feel of mother nature and don’t mind a little sealer, granite may be your perfect fit. If you prefer the uniform and carefree maintenance approach, quartz may be just the solution for your home.