6 Commonly Missed Cleaning Spots

It’s easy to get into a routine when cleaning your home season after season, year after year. While simply going over the same spots may make your home feel cleaner, at the same time, it allows the neglected areas to become dirtier. Here are six commonly missed spots around the home that, once given the attention they deserve, will help make your home feel completely clean.

6 Commonly Missed Cleaning Spots

1. Underneath & Behind Furniture

Dirt and dust love to hide in tough-to-reach, tucked-away spots like behind your nightstand, under your bed frame, and on the underside of your tables, chairs, and couches. Cleaning these areas may require some heavy lifting and rearranging but it’s worth your while. If enough dust and grime have accumulated over the years that your vacuum can’t remove the buildup, try using a washcloth to loosen the sediment.

2. Vents and Fans

Vents and fans not only collect dust, but they also distribute it around your home. Ceiling fans are one of the hardest spots in your home to reach, so you may need to use a ladder and an extended duster to clean them. Clean your vent grates with a dusting brush or a wire brush depending on the thickness of the buildup. If your home has central air, remember to replace your air filters periodically. A clean ventilation system is key to protecting your home’s air quality.

3. Bathroom Surfaces

We all know the feeling of picking up a rarely used shampoo bottle in the shower to discover a grimy ring underneath it. Wipe off your bottles and surfaces in the shower to keep it sparkling clean. Scrub away the debris from your shower head and soak it in a mixture of water and white vinegar to cleanse the device and to prevent a buildup of mineral deposits. To reach behind the toilet, you may need knee pads and an extended cleaning tool. Use a disinfectant-water mixture to prevent the spread of germs. Tackling chores like these will help make your bathroom feel brand new in no time.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

4. Switches & Handles

Light switches, door handles, drawer pulls, and knobs are all hotbeds for germs and dirt and can easily be forgotten while cleaning your home. Take a two-step approach to cleaning these high-touch surfaces: first clean, then disinfect. Cleaning will get rid of contaminants, while disinfecting targets pathogens. The combination of the two will help make your home feel cleaner while reducing the spread of germs. Other high-touch surfaces such as keyboards, phones, tablets, and other devices require regular cleaning as well.

5. Appliances

It’s easy to think of your appliances strictly as devices that help your home stay clean and organized, but they are magnets for dirt and gunk, too. After cleaning out the refrigerator and scrubbing down the shelves, find the coils and clean them of debris with a vacuum or a brush. The floor underneath your refrigerator can be a seriously grimy spot, so a quick mop of that area is worth your while. Give your dishwasher a good cleanse to prevent mold buildup and bad odors. Remember to clean out the filter occasionally with soap and water. Cleaning your appliances routinely can help avoid repairs and can even extend their life expectancy.

6. Baseboards

Baseboards are the perfect settling point for dirt and dust. The space between your walls and floors is an easy trap for buildup, and upon closer inspection, you’ll find some combination of scuffs, dust, food remnants and scratch marks. To thoroughly clean your baseboards, you may need to move your furniture away from the walls but be careful not to scratch the floor or damage the baseboards. Wipe away the dust before cleaning the surface. Use either a mix of soap and water, water and vinegar, or the proper wood cleaner for wooden baseboards. 

For more information on cleaning your home, seasonal maintenance, and more, visit the Living section of our blog.

Windermere Blog – Living

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The Best Indoor Plants for Every Room

With thousands of plant species, it can be hard to distinguish which plants are best suited for each room in your home, which greatly depends on sunlight exposure and temperature. A simple rule of thumb is to make higher maintenance plants more accessible to you. Some lower maintenance plants can go weeks without watering and require very low levels of sunlight.

Here’s a quick guide on indoor plants and where to place them in your home based on the level of care and management.

 

The Best Indoor Plants for Every Room

Living room

A monstera, a.k.a. Swiss cheese plant, works well in the living room due to its size and their natural inclination to climb. Providing a monstera with a stake or a trellis will bring about some decorative growth. Another large plant, the fiddle-leaf fig, works well in larger rooms. Fiddle-leaf figs tend to be more top-heavy with their large, floppy leaves. Both of these plants could work well next to a couch or sitting area where there is ample overhead space for the leaves. These large-leaved plants are typically happiest with indirect sunlight. Proper watering can be determined by observing the dryness of the soil. Once the top of the soil is dry to the touch, which is typically once a week for these plants, it’s time to give them a shower. 

 

Bedroom/Office

Spider or jade plants can be great to have on a desk, and also work well to fill up shelving space. Adding a plant to a bookshelf here and there adds texture and brings a sense of wellness to the space, which is especially important when you’re working long hours from home. You could even swap a bookend for a plant to liven things up. Both of these plants are low maintenance and thrive in partial sun or shade. These plants typically require watering every two weeks, but when in doubt, check the soil to see if it’s dry.

 

Bathroom

Plants that require low levels of sunlight and enjoy high humidity—like ferns or bamboo—are great for the bathroom. Place them on your shower shelves or on a countertop to give your bathroom a spa-like feel. Because they can absorb water from the shower steam, they can go up to three weeks without a proper watering. Pothos, or Devil’s Ivy, is another great houseplant for the bathroom. They like to grow downward in a draping manner, so you can get creative with a hanging basket display.

 

Kitchen

Two plants that work well in kitchen spaces, such as on windowsills or in corners, are the Snake Plant and Cast-Iron Plant. The snake plant is known for its resiliency, and its thick leaves can handle the occasional splash from the kitchen sink or accidental bump from pots and pans. The Cat-Iron Plant is one of the toughest houseplants you’ll find. Where another plant may wither and die, the Cast-Iron Plant survives. Both are low maintenance plants can last weeks without watering. No green thumb? Fear not. These plants will keep on keepin’ on through harsh conditions or neglect, and their bright green leaves will help give your kitchen a fresh look and feel.

 

As the seasons change, your plant care routine will need to adjust to climate conditions. Some plants are known to go dormant in the darker months and require less amounts of water and sunlight. During springtime, fertilization can be done by adding fertilizer to the top of the soil.

Before you bring a new plant home that could end up in the hands (or paws) of a child or pet, do some research to be sure it’s safe for everyone in your household. Organizations such as the APSCA and the National Poison Center offer online sources to research the plants you plan on bringing home.

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How to Rent Out Your Vacation Home this Summer

A second home can be more than an escape from daily living, it can be a source of income. For those who own a vacation home, summer is full of opportunities to open your doors to renters while still enjoying the benefits of having your own personal getaway. This approach to home ownership can be a balancing act, but with the right preparation and know-how, you can turn your vacation property into an income-producing investment.

 

Renting Out Your Vacation Home in Summer

Splitting the use of your vacation home with renters can oftentimes result in quick turnaround times between visits, so it’s important to avoid falling behind on your task list to keep each transition and visit as smooth as possible. To help with this process, consider hiring professional cleaners to ensure the home is presentable, clean, and fresh for each guest’s stay. Listing your property on short-term rental sites like AirBnB and VRBO help increase your property’s visibility and can be a useful tool for managing the rental process, especially if you’re having a difficult time attracting renters.

If you’ll be staying at your vacation home between renters, be sure to schedule those dates ahead of time so you can block them off from visitors. A mix-up in scheduling only creates added stress and will negatively impact your guests’ experience, and potentially the online reviews.

 

Pricing Your Vacation Rental

Get the best return on your investment by offering a competitive rate, including on popular weekends. It’s common for homeowners to increase prices for popular summer dates like the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend. These are the times when people are flocking to vacation getaways and your prices should reflect the increase in demand. Because competition among renters is high during summer, making your home stand out amongst other properties in your area is a worthy investment. Boosting the curb appeal, replacing appliances, upgrading linens, installing high-speed Wi-Fi, and providing a workspace are all ways you can give your vacation home a competitive advantage.

 

Personalize Your Vacation Rental

As a host, it’s a good idea to add personal touches to improve your guests’ experience and make them feel at home. Add décor and treats tailored to your guests’ stay, especially if they’re celebrating a special occasion or life event. Little details like adding a personalized note, flowers, and treats from local hot spots will help make their experience one they won’t soon forget.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Before Renting Out Your Vacation Home

The regulations of the short-term rental market vary by location. Before you rent out your vacation home this summer, understand the rules in your area. For instance, if you belong to a homeowners association, they may have by-laws in place that restrict your ability to rent your property.

Review your homeowners insurance policy to understand whether you are covered while guests are staying in your home. It is likely that you will need to obtain a landlord insurance policy to cover your property while it’s being rented. While some companies offer it as a rider policy that can be added onto your existing homeowners insurance, obtaining a separate policy may be required for adequate coverage. A typical landlord insurance policy will cover property damage, liability, and rental income loss. When shopping around for landlord insurance, find the policy that best fits the needs of your property.

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Tips for Sustainable Horse Property Management

Caring for a horse property is no easy feat. This is especially true when you are committed to having an eco-friendly property as well. Making small changes in daily land management practices can have positive impacts on the environment and your animals. Here are some tips to help make your horse property more environmentally friendly.

Manure Management

The average horse can produce up to 50 pounds of manure in a day. The way the manure is stored, distributed, and treated can have a significant impact on its value. There are a couple of options when it comes to repurposing the manure on your farm:

1. Composting

You can use the manure for composting as well as fertilizer for your pastures and gardens. Composting at the proper temperature can kill fly eggs and larvae, parasites, pathogens, and weed seeds. Using it for your pastures and gardens acts a slow-release fertilizer and is the perfect soil conditioner.

2. Distribution

If composting is simply something you don’t have the time or money for, you can also ship out your horses’ manure. There are many different organizations that will connect you with gardeners who are looking for the excellent fertilizing properties of manure.

Regardless of what you choose, storage is an important factor to consider, as it is vital to safeguard against surface and groundwater contamination. Make sure your manure storage is safely distanced from water sources and ideally covered and contained to prevent pollutants from leaking, bugs, and odor.

 

2. Water Conservation

Horses are notoriously very thirsty animals and acreage properties require a lot of water to upkeep their pastures. There are numerous ways to conserve water on your horse property.

1. Install Rainwater Catchment

You might as well take advantage of the free water mother nature provides on a rainy day. Using a rainwater catchment system can help you catch and store water during rainy periods. Depending on where your barn is located on your property, you may be able to meet all your horse watering and irrigation needs with a large catchment basin.

2. Automatic Waterers

Installing automatic watering systems can help conserve water, as well as keep the water cleaner and fresher for your animals. Some water systems are powered by geothermic heat. Using this technique keeps water cool in the summer months, and above freezing in the winter. And since it is powered by geothermic heat, you aren’t using additional electricity!

3. Reuse Water

Another great way to conserve your water use is to reuse leftover water from other daily tasks. Leftover water from horses’ buckets can be used to water the garden. Also consider using a bucket and sponge for your horses’ baths to prevent any further water waste.

 

3. Preserve Pastures

Pastures are a great source of food for your horses but do require a good amount of work. Luckily, a lot of that work can be done in a way that is environmentally friendly. As discussed above, using the manure from your horses on your pastures work as a great nutrients rich fertilizer. Overgrazing horses can make the land more vulnerable to erosion and lead to less of a filter for runoff. To prevent this, incorporate rotational grazing. Rotational grazing moves horses from one pasture to another allowing for regrowth and optimizing the horses’ foraging diet. This method also allows for plant diversity and improved soil structure.

 

4. Reuse and Recycle

A tried and true method to property sustainability is reusing and recycling. Consider reusing equipment when available or even repurposing old containers and tools for other uses around your property. For example, old water troughs make for efficient gardening containers. If you are looking to make some improvements to structure on your property, consider using recycled or renewable materials whenever possible. Recycled rubber stall mats are an easy way to incorporate recycled materials into your barn.

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7 Tips to Give Your Short-Term Rental a Competitive Advantage

As the usage of short-term rental services has increased over the years, so too has the competition between rental owners to make their properties stand out. There are a variety of marketing tactics you, as a rental owner, can employ to give your home an edge, but ultimately, making the property as appealing as possible is the best way to ensure your strategies are effective.

 

1. Boost Your Curb Appeal

Renters are scrolling through pages and pages of properties, looking for something that catches their eye at first glance. To make your property stand out, invest time and energy into the home’s curb appeal. Making these improvements doesn’t necessarily require breaking the bank, either. Simple projects like a fresh coat of exterior paint, refinishing the patio or deck, and creating a beautiful yard will go a long way towards helping your home stand out amongst the competition.

 

2. High-Quality Photography

Once you’ve spent time curating and beautifying your rental, it’s important to communicate its feel to potential renters. High-quality photos give renters the best impression of what it’s like to spend time in the home. Photograph every room in bright lighting to make the space as inviting as possible. Be sure to thoroughly clean every room before taking photos to have it looking as inviting as possible.

 

3. Improve Your Description

After potential guests explore your photos, they’ll read your property’s description. While it’s helpful to read descriptions of other listings in your area to get an idea of what tenants are looking for, it’s important to communicate the unique attributes of your home. Talk about what makes it special, emphasize the selling points, and reference what renters are seeing in the photos you’ve provided.

 

4. Repair or Replace Your Appliances

When guests are paying for a rental, they expect everything to be in fine working order. To make your property stand out, consider repairing or replacing your appliances. This makes for a more enjoyable stay and could potentially offer you a competitive advantage. All appliances have a certain life expectancy, so if you haven’t replaced your appliances in a while, it just may be time to do so.

 

5. Upgrade Your Bedroom and Bathroom

Renters are looking to relax, so any luxury you can provide them will do wonders for giving your property an edge amongst the competition. Two areas of the home where you can deliver on luxury are the bedroom and the bathroom. From the bedspread and pillows to the curtains and rugs, experiment with different textures in the bedroom to make it as comfortable as can be. A high-quality mattress is also a worthy investment to make your guests’ stay all the more memorable.

By making simple upgrades to your bathroom, you can give the guests the feeling of having their own personal spa. High-quality shower heads and a spacious, relaxing tub will help to deliver a luxurious atmosphere to your bathroom, as will meticulously cleaning the space and keeping your surfaces well organized.

 

6. Upgrade Your Kitchen

A welcoming kitchen is the key to making your rental feel like home. Kitchen makeovers often come at a high cost, but there are ways to transform your kitchen without breaking the bank. Start by upgrading your lighting, giving your walls a fresh coat of paint, and refinishing your cabinets. If your kitchen needs new appliances, remember to select them first before making any renovations to ensure their dimensions are correct.

 

7. Provide a Workspace

With more people working remotely than ever before, some renters will likely look at your property as a potential place to conduct their work. Accommodating these guests with a quality workspace can make your rental stand out. Consider making the workspace multifunctional using items like a folding desk. This gives remote workers the option to stow their home office setup at the end of the day while ensuring that the workspace won’t be a permanent fixture for guests on vacation.

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How to Handle Water Damage In Your Home

Even if you’ve done all you can to prevent water damage in your home, there’s still a possibility it could occur. During a water damage emergency, it’s important to have a plan in place and be proactive to make sure things don’t go from bad to worse.

 

How to Handle Water Damage

If your home is in danger of flooding, evacuate the area until it is safe to return. In all other situations, as soon as you notice any water damage, it’s time to act quickly to prevent further damage. Water reaching an electrical source spells danger, so be sure to switch off your circuit breakers to cut the electricity. If your circuit breakers are in the same room as the source of the water damage, it’s best to stay away and call an electrician. Unplug devices from outlets as well to avoid getting shocked. In all situations, wear rubber boots, gloves, and protective gear.

After the electricity has been turned off, the next step is to find the source of the water damage. In the case of a burst pipe or a leaking hot water tank, cut the water supply by switching their shut-off valves. If the water damage has occurred in a small, contained area, you may be able to handle the repair independently. But if the water damage has spread to a large area, it will require a professional.

Moving furniture, household items, and possessions not only helps to protect them, but will also clear the area for when professionals arrive, allowing them to get right to work. If the water continues to flow while the technician is on their way, try to prevent further damage by slowing its spread using buckets, towels, and mops. These items don’t have the salvaging power of a professional’s tools, but anything you can do before they arrive could help to prevent further damage.

 

Water Damage – Insurance

Contacting your insurance company as soon as possible will help to navigate the situation. Find out what steps they may require you to take in the event of a flooding emergency. It’s helpful to get a claims adjuster to your home quickly to assess the situation and provide estimates on the potential cost of making repairs. Water damage can easily feel overwhelming and chaotic, but it’s important to photograph the incident. Take photos of the source of the damage, where it spread, and the damage it caused—both to the home and any personal items of value. Documenting the incident will inform your claim with your insurance company.

Whether the damage is covered by your insurance depends on the source of the problem and how your policy is arranged. If the damage was a result of an underlying condition that worsened over time, your claim may be denied. If this happens, ask for a detailed explanation to understand the gaps in your policy. This emphasizes the importance of regular home maintenance on the systems that control the water in your home. Even if you run into a costly repair, it’s better to be aware of deficiencies and fix them than to wait and be faced with a full-fledged emergency later on. Take time to review your policy as is and understand what you as the homeowner are ultimately responsible for in the event of an emergency.

For more information on how to get ahead of potential home emergencies, read our guides on preparing for wildfires and winter storms.

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8 Tips for a More Energy Efficient Home

Whether they are motivated by rising energy costs or a desire to cultivate a more sustainable home, homeowners are constantly searching for ways they can go green, reduce their home’s energy waste, and save money in the process. Here are some simple methods for a more energy-efficient home.

 

1. Determine Your Energy Output

A natural first step in your energy-efficient journey is to get a gauge of how much energy your home is currently using and where it is being used. Analyze your recent bills to get a picture of your home’s energy consumption and the habits that are tied to that level of usage. From there, you can determine what kinds of cutbacks can be made to save energy. You might also consider hiring a professional energy auditor to fully inspect your home’s energy practices and identify where there’s room for improvement.

 

2. Laundry Room Best Practices

Adjusting your methods in the laundry room is an easy way to make an impact on your home’s energy output. When it’s sunny, air-dry your clothes to save energy. Most of the energy consumption generated by doing laundry comes from the heating of the water, so use cold water when possible. Wait until you have a full load before running the washer to maximize your laundry room’s efficiency.

 

3. Install Energy-Efficient Lighting

Replacing incandescent lights with newer, more energy-efficient options is a productive step towards reducing your home’s energy waste. A change of lightbulbs is a relatively cheap solution compared to more expensive energy-saving methods like replacing appliances. Because energy-efficient lightbulbs use less energy than standard bulbs, they commonly last much longer as well.

 

4. Check Your Windows

Excessive air conditioning and heating are often the culprits behind wasteful energy practices. Weatherstripping and caulking your windows help to regulate the flow of air, keeping your home warmer in the colder months and cooler in the hotter months. Old, drafty windows let in air that can increase your home’s energy usage, regardless of the season. The upfront investment in purchasing new windows will pay off in the long run and will help to reduce energy waste.

 

5. Check Your HVAC Unit

A fine-tuned HVAC system is critical to making your home as energy efficient as it can be. Maintenance of your HVAC unit periodically to make sure it’s running in tip–top shape and to avoid replacements, which can be quite expensive. The cleaner your HVAC filters, the more efficiently they can run. The filters should be swapped out a maximum of every three months, more often if you use it year-round or if you have pets at home.

 

6. Insulate Your Home

A well-insulated home can deliver significant savings on heating and cooling costs. Walls and windows are common areas where air can escape, but so are pipes and ducts. Wrapping all these areas in insulation will pave the way for saving energy throughout the house.

 

7. Turn Down Your Thermostat

Turning down your thermostat is an effective method of reducing energy consumption. Even lowering it by one degree will lower your furnace’s energy output and can make a difference in your home’s overall energy efficiency. Remember to clean your furnace filter often. A clean filter will allow your home’s heating system to run more efficiently and cost-effectively.

 

8. Set Energy Efficiency Goals

Once you’ve begun to implement some of these strategies to make your home more energy-efficient, you’ll discover new ways to reduce your home’s energy waste while saving money. Set goals for your home’s overall energy output in a given month or set a target number you’d like to see on your next energy bill. Track your home’s progress in energy efficiency and the savings you’ve generated over time to see the difference you’ve made.

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10 Tips for Sustainable Gardening

Spring is calling and the flowers are in bloom. It’s the time of the year that many homeowners start spending more time in the garden. Having a healthy garden is one of the best ways to create a sustainable home and reduce your household’s carbon footprint. Here are some eco-friendly tips that will help to make your garden even more sustainable.

 

1. Compost Your Waste

Composting, which puts your natural waste to good use, is the cornerstone of any sustainable garden. All grass clippings, dead leaves, plants, flowers, and the like are rich in nutrients. By composting, you provide your garden with a natural fertilizer, free of contaminants. Not only will this provide nourishment, but it will also help to produce healthier and tastier food.

 

2. Mulching

If having a sustainable garden is your goal, it’s important to treat your soil with care. Mulching enriches the soil and ensures it’s as healthy as can be. Mulch conserves the moisture in your soil, ensuring it won’t dry out. It also reduces weed growth and naturally moderates the temperature of the soil. Mulching can cover either bare soil or freshly planted food and flowers.

 

3. Garden Design

It’s natural to want to accentuate the beauty of your garden when designing it, but the sustainable gardener will prioritize giving plants what they need. Take into consideration which plants need direct access to sunlight, which need the most space in the garden, and any special requirements a plant may need to inhabit optimal growing conditions.

 

4. Use Natural Weed Killers

One of the pillars of organic gardening is to reduce the use of chemicals whenever and wherever possible. Homemade recipes involving vinegar and corn gluten meal are effective substitutes for harmful, chemical-based weed killers. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to weed by hand often.

 

5. Use Water Efficiently

Substantial watering is critical to keeping your garden healthy, but overwatering is a common practice and leads to an unsustainable garden. Research the amount of water your plants and flowers need to make sure you aren’t overwatering. If you live in a rainy climate, rain barrels are a useful tool as their function is to catch and conserve the water from your downspouts.

 

6. Animal Manure

For a more sustainable garden and even healthier soil, consider adding animal manure. Chicken, sheep, and cow manure are all popular choices. Rich in nutrients, it can be used both as a fertilizer and as a soil conditioner. Make sure the manure you purchase is free of pathogens and ask about the recommended window of time from application to harvest before you begin using it.

 

7. Go Local

Planting natively is a fast ticket to sustainable gardening. Native plants are innately acclimated to local climate conditions, making them easier to grow and maintain. Native plants often require less water to grow due to their familiarity with the soil and rainfall in your region, which cuts down on your garden’s total water intake.

 

8. Collect Dried Seeds

Believe it or not, you can save your seeds and sow them next year. Wait until the seed is fully ripe before you collect it. It’s important to gather seeds when the weather is dry and to store them in a dry place. To produce healthy plants in the future, the seed must be completely dry.

 

9. Control Garden Slugs

Slugs are known to wreak havoc on gardens, eating through leaves and fruit, leaving a trail of destruction. There are many ways of controlling slugs in your gardens, but some may do more harm than good. If you choose to use slug bait, go organic. Many slug baits contain chemicals that are highly toxic to other animals.

 

10. Replace Your Gas Mower

How else can you reduce your garden’s carbon footprint? Replace your gas mower with a more sustainable alternative. Electric mowers and push mowers are functional and more eco-friendly replacements. For added sustainability, consider replacing your other gas-powered equipment, such as trimmers and leaf blowers.

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5 Tips For Maintaining Your Property

Owning an equestrian property can be an amazing asset, but it also requires a lot of hard work. With some attention and care, you can keep your property well-maintained and functioning smoothly. Here are some tips to help you maintain your equestrian property to the highest standard.

Investing in the Right Materials & Equipment

One of the smartest things you can do with your equestrian property from the beginning is to invest in high-quality materials and equipment. You don’t want to make maintaining your land any more difficult than it needs to be, which is why you should acquire tools that make the job easier, while giving your land the quality care it needs. This also means investing in high-quality materials for your horses and their quarters. Flooring, fencing, and bedding are all important to maintaining your horse’s health. These investments will extend the longevity of your indoor and outdoor structures, creating an environment where your animals can live comfortably.

Examples of items to consider closely are:

  • Tractors, bailing and mowing equipment
  • Stall floor mats
  • Paddock and turnout panels and gates
  • Arena sand
  • Horse grooming supplies such as a wash station, vacuum, sheers and brushes
  • Hay feeders and automatic/heated waterers

Fix the Small Things

With equestrian properties it’s best to fix a problem, no matter how big or small, as soon as it presents itself. Addressing any issue quickly will go a long way in keeping your stable in peak condition and your horses happy, healthy, and safe. A broken fence or leaning post can easily be pushed down, allowing a horse to roam without supervision or boundaries. Something as small as an exposed nail could lead to an injury of your animals or others.

Create a Cleaning Schedule

When you own a large plot of land the responsibilities add up. The more acreage, the greater the chance for a mess. It’s important to make sure your barns and stalls are regularly cleaned for the health and safety of your horses. Keeping those areas moisture-free is also critical for quality horse barn maintenance. A dirty horse stall often attracts unwanted insects, and an unkempt stall could bring disease and bacteria into your barn. Horses may experience thrush and other respiratory issues if their sensitive lungs breathe in ammonia from urine-soaked bedding.

Maintain Good Ventilation

Horses need access to fresh air. It’s important to maintain good ventilation in their stalls, keeping open passages for your horses so the air can cycle through the space. Consistent air flow will also help regulate and maintain temperatures as they change throughout the season. Without good ventilation, your horses are at risk for highly contagious illnesses like pneumonia.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Maintaining your equestrian property is not easy! There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking to outside help to make sure every task gets completed. Even something as simple as a gardener or another employee that would assist you with more specific needs like caring for horses. You can often look to youth or others in the community who would enjoy trading horseback riding with simple chores and caretaking duties. Bringing in some help makes it that much easier to stay on top of your tasks and allow you to enjoy your property at the same time.

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How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

Water is constantly coursing through your home, flowing in and out of drain pipes, sinks, tubs, and showers. Numerous systems in our homes are dependent upon water, but the minute it runs rampant it begins to cause damage. The consequences of water damage run the gamut, from rotted drywall and mold growth to serious structural issues. The following guide will help you understand what you can do to prevent water damage in your home.

 

How to Prevent Water Damage

Leaks

Leaks soften wood, which invites all sorts of unwanted activity from termites, while simultaneously creating a perfect habitat for mold and mildew growth. To prevent leaks, keep your drains healthy by frequently cleaning out your drain strainers and refraining from dumping grease down your drains. Check to make sure none of your drains are leaking and if need be, repair or replace your p-traps. Drips, dark stains around your pipes, and discoloration on your ceilings and walls are all strong indicators that a leak has sprung. If you notice an inexplicable spike in your water bill, this is also a sign of a potential leak. By identifying these signs, you can begin repairs right away and stop the water damage in its tracks.

Gutter drainage

A home with weak gutter drainage is an open invitation for water damage to occur. Cleaning your gutters routinely is the best way to prevent them from clogging, which helps to avoid damage to your siding and foundation. Make sure your downspouts expel the gutter water away from your house parallel to the ground. Take a trip to the hardware store for downspout extensions and elbows to make sure that water won’t build up around your home’s foundation, especially if you live in a rainy climate.

Sump pump

Your sump pump can be your saving grace should a water emergency occur. Sump pumps move excess groundwater away from your home, preventing it from infiltrating your basement or crawl space. They are connected to the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) electrical outlet, which protects it from electrical shorts. There are two ways to test your sump pump. The first is by pouring in enough water to raise the float. If it’s working properly, the pump should activate and begin removing water from its pit. The other method is to unplug the pump’s power and plug it back in. If it does not turn on, it requires repair or replacement.

More

There are some additional steps you can take to prevent water damage to your home. Inspect your roof to identify any damaged shingles or cracks. While you’re up on the roof, take a look at your chimney. Repair any cracked or broken bricks and consider a chimney cap if you don’t already have one in place.

 

Water damage can be harmful to your home and your finances. Even the smallest leak can snowball into larger problems if neglected. By following the steps to prevent water damage, you’ll know if your home needs repairs before it’s too late. For more advice on preventing damage to your home, read our guides to wildfire and winter storm prevention.

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