5 Tips for Moving in the Winter

5 Tips for Moving in the Winter

Moving is hard work any time of year but if you’re moving in the winter, you may also have to deal with snow and ice. Here are some helpful tips when you have to relocate in cold weather. While you have a lot of planning and organizing to do, you’ll also need to prepare for cold weather.

When Moving in the Winter, Plan for Snow Removal

  • Shovel: Unless snow is still in the forecast, shovel and remove any snow the day before your planned move, preferably early in the day. Doing it early will give the sun a chance to melt away any residual snow on the walkway, giving you a clean surface.
  • Remove ice: After you shovel the snow, spend a few minutes chipping away any ice on the walkway and driveways of the new house and the old one. Removing ice will help prevent falls while you’re loading and unloading the truck.
  • Spread sand: Once you have the walkway and driveway cleared of ice and snow, liberally sprinkle a mixture of sand or ice-melt on the pathways. This will create a non-slip surface and the ice-melt will take care of any snow or ice you missed.

Protecting Flooring

  • Drop cloths: Another tip for moving in winter is to cover your floors. Invest in as many fabric drop cloths as necessary to cover all of the hardwood and tiled floors in both houses. The sheer number of trips you and your helpers will make in and out can ruin the surface of hardwood and possibly scratch tile.
  • Plastic tarps: While you’re getting the drop cloths, get plastic tarps to cover the carpeted rooms. Tracked-in snow and mud can ruin carpeting. Purchase enough extra tarps to cover the areas of carpet you will be walking on. For extra protection, put fabric drop cloths on top of the plastic ones. The cloth will keep you from slipping on the wet plastic.
  • Entryway: Use a non-slip, rubber-backed rug in front of all entryways. These are available at restaurant supply stores and home improvement stores.

Adjust the Thermostat

When you’re moving, the doors of the home are open just as often as they are closed. Don’t stress the heating system. Turn your thermostat down to the lowest setting without turning your furnace off completely. Otherwise you will be wasting a lot of energy.

Designate a Doorman

An often overlooked tip is to have a designated helper who holds the door for the movers and makes sure it gets closed when no one is entering. This is a perfect job for an attentive child who wants to help out. This job provides movers with hands-free entry into the house and will keep your home warmer.

Dress for the Weather if You’re Moving in the Winter

  • Wear gloves: The best gloves for moving in the winter are thinly lined leather, suede, or work gloves with palm and finger-tip grips. These will keep your hands warm and give you extra gripping power. Don’t wear thick gloves. They will prevent you from firmly gripping the items you are moving.
  • Dress in layers: Don’t wear a heavy, bulky winter coat; it can impede your movement. Wear a long-sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, and a light jacket. Put on a hat if it is very cold and windy. By dressing in layers, you can remove them if you get overheated.
  • Footwear: Wear non-slip shoes or lightweight snow boots. Even though you shoveled the sidewalk, winter weather poses a risk for slipping or falling on ice or snow. Waterproof, non-slip boots will keep you safer during the process.

American Home Inspection Services provides home inspection services to customers in southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

5 Warning Signs of Electrical Problems in Your Home

5 Warning Signs of Electrical Problems in Your Home

Address electrical problems in the home at the first indication of trouble. Ignoring these signs puts your family and home at risk for a house fire. The longer you delay the repair, the more damage can be done. Pay attention to signs of electrical problems and make a call for repairs as soon as you notice any of the below signs.

Flickering Lights are Signs of Electrical Problems in Your Home

Flickering lights are often caused by loose electrical connections. This can occur in a single light fixture or throughout the home. Both concerns need immediate professional attention, although the latter is a more serious sign of an electrical problem.

Hot Outlets

Electrical appliances generate heat when in use, but the outlet itself shouldn’t become hot. If you notice the outlet is warm to the touch, disconnect any cords and call a professional to troubleshoot the problem. Light switch covers follow the same rule, except in the case of dimmer switches which commonly generate some heat.

Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wiring may comprise part or all of your electrical system. It was commonly used in the 1960s and 1970s when high copper prices caused builders to use aluminum instead. The aluminum oxidizes rapidly, which creates a fire risk in the home. Aluminum is no longer used in residential electrical applications. If you have aluminum wiring in your home, replace the wiring to improve fire safety.

Burning Smell

A burning smell is always a sign of trouble. The smell indicates that plastic sheeting around the wiring is melting. This problem poses a fire risk.

Loose Outlets Can Indicate Electrical Problems in Your Home

Many people notice loose outlets but fail to realize their potential danger. If you plug in an appliance and the outlet moves or the plug falls out, it’s time to make a quick fix. Left in this condition, the outlet will eventually loosen wiring within the walls which requires a more involved repair and increases the risk of fire.

American Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services to Southeast Michigan. If you’re buying or selling a home, contact us to request an appointment.

Tips for Home Security While on Vacation

Tips for Home Security While on Vacation

Vacation is an escape from everyday life to get some rest and relaxation. Make sure your vacation is the stress-free adventure that you’ve planned by preparing your home before you leave. The following steps to improve home security will help you to enjoy yourself on vacation knowing that your home is protected.

Home Security While on Vacation: What You Should Know

You’re excited about going on vacation and want everyone to know. However, sharing the news on social media is not the best idea. Never divulge information about your trip such as the destination or the dates of your departure and return. Wait until you’re back home to share pictures and details on social media.

Don’t let your home look empty while you’re away. Stop newspaper and mail delivery until you return. You can also ask a friend to stop by and collect your mail so it won’t pile up. Leave a light or two on in the house. Put lamps and your television on timers to create the illusion that someone is home. Install motion-detecting lights to illuminate the yard or back deck.

So that your home looks occupied, keep your regular appointments with the landscaper and other maintenance services. For an extended vacation, hire a company to handle the chores while you’re away.

An Alarm System Increases Home Security While on Vacation

More than 2.5 million burglaries occur in the U.S. each year. Approximately 66% of these are home burglaries. July and August are the most common times for burglaries to occur since they’re popular for family vacations.

Home alarm systems are affordable and protect you when you’re home or out-of-town. Not only does a monitored alarm system reduce the risk that a burglar will break into your home, but it notifies you and the police department that something is wrong. With an alarm system in place, you enjoy peace of mind and superior protection.

Protect Your Home While You are Away

Give the house a quick inspection before you leave to make certain all of your doors and windows are locked. Taking steps to improve home security requires only a small amount of effort so that you’re prepared for your time away.

American Home Inspection Services offers home inspections in southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule our services.

4 Ideas for Storage While Remodeling Your Home

4 Ideas for Storage While Remodeling Your Home

When planning to remodel your home, make arrangements for the storage of your furniture and belongings during the process. Renovating your home is rewarding but often messy. Look for easy ways to prepare your belongings to keep them out of the way of workers and prevent damage to them. Storage while remodeling can be simple if you plan ahead.

In-Home Storage While Remodeling

Depending on the size of the remodeling project, you may be able to store your items in your home. Make space in the office or temporarily rearrange the guest bedroom to store furniture. Pack smaller items in plastic totes and store them in various places around the house. Label the plastic boxes clearly so you’ll know where things go after the renovation is complete.

Store Items in the Garage or Basement

If you have the option of parking in the driveway or on the street during the remodel, use your garage for storage. Stack totes of your belongings along the wall. Roll up rugs and stack them out of the way. Keep furniture in the garage where you would normally park your car.

The basement of your home is another option for storage. Clean the area you’ll use for your belongings. If the basement tends to be humid, use a dehumidifier in the space to help protect furniture and other items from mold growth while they’re being stored.

Rent a Storage Container

Some companies rent storage containers that are delivered to your property. A portable storage unit at your home is convenient. Move items on your own schedule and access them whenever you need. Storage containers take up yard or driveway space but could be a better option than off-site storage.

Off-Site Units for Storage While Remodeling

If you have items that you won’t need during your renovation, a storage unit may be the best option. Store your items safely at a storage facility for a monthly fee. Depending on the items going into storage, you may prefer a climate-controlled unit. Facilities that offer on-site security and 24-hour access are a safe and convenient option for storage while remodeling.

American Home Inspection Services provides home inspection services in Southeast Michigan. If you’re buying or selling a property, contact us to request an appointment.

Tree Maintenance at Home: From Purchase to Pruning

Tree Maintenance at Home: From Purchase to Pruning

From the moment a tree is selected for your home, care and maintenance begin. How you care for trees at home will affect their growth and health, especially in their early years. In fact, tree maintenance over the first few years affects the tree’s strength, shape, and lifespan. Follow these tips to ensure your tree gets a good start for a strong, healthy life.

Choosing Trees and Placement

When adding new trees, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll want to have a clear idea of the tree’s purpose. Is it meant to provide aesthetics, shade, privacy, or serve as a windbreak?

Next, you should understand the limitations of the planting site. Know your hardiness zone. Estimate the maximum spread and height for a tree within the available space. Know the soil conditions and sun exposure. Get started with tree maintenance at home by putting careful thought into your choice of tree and its placement on your property.

Choose Healthy Trees to Get Started With Tree Maintenance

Because trees are transported in different ways, it is important to know what to look for with each variety. Grow trees at home more easily when they start out healthy and thriving.

  • With bare-root seedlings, look for roots that are fibrous and moist. Seedlings for deciduous trees should have roots that are roughly equal to the length of the stem.
  • Trees with roots that are wrapped in burlap should have a root ball that is firm to the touch, particularly near the trunk. Ensure the root ball is of sufficient size for the size of the tree.
  • For container-grown trees, pruned roots should be cleanly cut, with none wider than the width of a finger. There should be no large, circling roots in the container. The soil and roots in the container should be tightly joined.
  • When purchasing a mature tree, look for bark that is healthy and bright, leader or leaders that are well-developed, lack of mechanical or insect injury, ideal spacing in between the branches, and low branches.

Pruning is Part of Regular Tree Maintenance

Proper pruning is essential for a healthy tree. The correct time of year to prune depends on the reason for pruning. Light pruning can be done any time, as can the removal of dead branches and limbs. Winter pruning is common, resulting in a burst of new growth that is vigorous in the spring. This is best performed in late winter once the coldest days have passed.

To direct the growth of unwanted branches, or to dwarf a tree or branch’s development, pruning should take place in summer shortly after the growth of the season is complete. Defective limbs are easier to see and remove in summer.

Trees heal more slowly in autumn and potentially damaging fungi spread spores profusely at this time, so it’s best to limit pruning to the times outlined above.

Add Mulch Around Your Trees

For newly planted trees, mulch is helpful for soil insulation, water retention, weed prevention, and protection from damaging lawn equipment. Start by removing the grass within a three to ten feet diameter area, depending on the tree’s size. Pour bark pieces or wood chips within the circle at a depth of two to four inches. Do not allow the mulch to touch the tree’s trunk. Mulch is beneficial for new and well-established tree maintenance.

American Home Inspection Services provides home inspections in Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule an appointment for our services.