Use this checklist to prepare your home for winter

Related image

 

Homes need people. They deteriorate quickly when they’re not getting attention.
I make a pretty good living buying neglected homes that have just become too much work for the homeowner to handle. Take the time to protect your investment. Fall is a really good time to start thinking about your home maintenance as well as getting it ready for the colder weather. Here are a few items that you can do to get ready for the winter and help keep your home happy:

Check your home’s heating and air conditioning system

Most heating and air systems typically last 12 to 15 years. I see systems that are pretty much dead at 10 years and I see systems that are still going strong at 20 years. A lot of this has to do with how they’re maintained.

Before the weather turns cold, take this time to change your filters, at the very least. I recommend having the system inspected by a reputable HVAC contractor. Better yet, look into an annual maintenance agreement. Have the contractor check your system and make sure your heat is going to work when you need it. It’s much better to find an HVAC problem in the moderate temperatures of the fall than it is to find your furnace doesn’t work on a frigid winter day.

Paint, caulk and seal exterior wood

All of the wood trim on the exterior of your home needs to be protected from the elements. The wood used on your deck is typically a pressure-treated or rot-resistant species of wood, but the wood trim around your exterior doors and windows is just a one-inch-thick pine board that deteriorates very quickly if not protected. I see a lot of rotten wood around the outside of bay windows and exterior doors.
Replacing this trim is a big cost and pain and even professionals can struggle with making the repair look good. The best thing to do is to make sure it doesn’t rot in the first place, and that means keeping it painted and caulked. This is a job most people can do themselves if they stay on top of it. Once the wood is rotted and requires replacement, then you’re probably going to need to hire a good trim carpenter to tackle the job. So before that happens, take the time to go around your home and make sure that none of the caulk is cracking and your paint is not chipping and flaking away. If it is, scrape away the bad paint or caulk and apply fresh.

Even though your deck is made of treated or rot-resistant wood, it still needs protection. You don’t need to stain and seal your deck every year but check it to make sure it’s protected. To do this, simply pour some water on it. If the water beads up, then you’re good. If the wood absorbs the water, it’s time to clean and seal your deck.

Seal your masonry and hard surfaces

Your patio needs attention, too. If you have a concrete patio, driveways or walkways, make sure they’re protected as well. Occasionally apply a concrete sealer to all of your flat exterior concrete surfaces. All concrete flatwork eventually develops cracks. Good masons strategically place control joints in your concrete to try to ensure cracking is limited. Take the time to inspect your concrete and fill in any cracks before you apply sealer so that water can not get in and freeze over the winter. This should ensure your expensive concrete work lasts a very long time.

If you have an asphalt driveway, now is the time to think about resealing that as well. It’s not very expensive to have a company come and give it a quick spray of sealer, or you can simply buy a bucket of sealer and roll it on yourself. If your driveway has developed cracks, then patch those before sealing.

Check your drainage

Make sure the soil around your foundation hasn’t settled, creating areas for water to pool at your foundation. If you find a low spot, simply fill it in with some soil. Then go around and check your rain gutter downspouts. Make sure water is getting moved away from the home. Add downspout extenders if necessary. Saturated soil around a foundation can create real problems as it freezes and thaws throughout the winter months.

Clean your gutters

Once the leaves are pretty much off the trees, it’s time to clean those gutters. When your gutters back up, they overflow, and when they overflow, that water runs down your home, speeding up the deterioration of your exterior. It can also lead to deterioration of your foundation, water infiltration in the basement and to settling under your concrete porches and walks, which creates all kinds of problems.

Clean your chimney and order firewood

Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected before you start building those cozy fires in the next couple of months. A good chimney sweep company will make sure the fireplace is safe to use, and it can also identify maintenance problems.
This is also the time to order that load of firewood. Take the time to stack and cover that wood in a good location in the yard. Make sure that old firewood isn’t rotten and move it away from your home.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Winter is the time most house fires happen. It’s the time of year when we’re blasting the furnace and building fires. We are also much more likely to have our home closed uptight, so carbon monoxide is a much bigger hazard. Check all of your smoke detectors to make sure they are working and that they have good batteries. If your home is not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, consider getting some. The HVAC inspection will also ensure your furnace and water heater are properly vented, which is the most likely source of carbon monoxide.

Shut down the pool and the sprinkler system and drain outside faucets

Make sure your pool is properly shut down and prepare the system for winter. I think it’s worth the costs of getting an expert to inspect and shut down the system, even if you’re a do-it-yourselfer for the rest of the year. Fall is a good time to get pool work done if a problem is discovered. Pool contractors tend to get busy in the spring.

Make sure your sprinkler system is properly shut down for the season. Most sprinkler systems require the lines to be blown out. Again, it’s well worth the cost of a professional.

A professional winterizing is way cheaper than replacing a bunch of broken lines next spring.

Your outside water faucet is completely unprotected from the elements. It will freeze over the winter, and I’ve seen them split the water line well inside the home, flooding the basement. In less extreme cases, I see outside faucets develop nasty leaks. Take the time to do a basic drain of the line. You can simply shut off the water valve to your outside spigot, then go outside and open the exterior spigot valve and let the water drain out of the line. You don’t have to get every dropout. Now if the water in there freezes, it has plenty of room to expand

without breaking pipes or seals. Leave the water shut off to the faucet until you need to use the hose next spring

Prepare your lawn for winter and set it up for a great spring.

If you want that beautiful spring lawn, you have to give it attention in the fall. New grass does not grow when it’s too hot or too cold. If you want new grass to grow, you really only have September and October, then April and May to do it. If you neglect the fall, then you’ve cut your time in half. There are differing opinions on when you should overseed. I prefer to fall. Once the heat breaks, your lawn can get some great growing time. So around late September, aerate the lawn and overseed it. Then in about late October or November, apply fertilizer with winterized.

Check your trees

Before all of the leaves fall, take a look at your trees and make sure they’re still healthy, especially trees that could fall on your home or a neighbor’s home. Don’t think a dying tree will be obvious. Sometimes you really won’t notice, especially if you have a lot of trees. At one of my properties, I noticed a couple of dead trees, and I had them cut down. Later, a neighbor pointed out a tree that was dead that I never noticed. Fall isn’t a good time to trim your trees, but if there are branches up against your house, it’s a good idea to trim them away before winter so you don’t have ice-coated branches against your siding or windows.

Make sure your attic doesn’t become a critter hotel

It’s going to get cold out and your attic is the perfect winter home for squirrels and birds. These critters can cause a lot of damage and potentially some health problems. Make sure your trees are trimmed well away from the house and make sure your gable vents are intact. It’s a good idea to tack a screen up behind your gable vent just in case. Also, walk around your home and look up at your soffit and fascia. Make sure there are no holes that will allow birds to get in.

Do a quick energy audit

If you’ve never had one, a professional energy audit is a good investment. But fall is also a good time just to check your door seals. Make sure you’re not seeing daylight around your exterior doors, and take a can of spray foam insulation and fill in around those drafty outlets and light switches.

Prep your expensive lawn and yard care equipment

Before you put your lawn equipment away for the season, drain the gas. Gas goes bad, and come springtime old gas can gunk up your fuel filters and make your equipment run sickly. I pour my shed gas can into my vehicles and get fresh gas in the spring. You can also just put a fuel stabilizer into the gas if you want to keep it on hand.

Your weed eater probably uses two-stroke gas so you can’t put that into your car. It’s best to plan for that early and make sure you don’t have a lot of fuel left over at the end of the year. Plan to do the one really good trim job at the end of the season to run the fuel out of the weed eater.

If you used your pressure washer this year, then make sure the gas is out of that as well. Run some pump-protecting antifreeze through the system. There is a special product just for this. All this equipment is expensive; take the time to protect it. Click here for home safety tips

Cover your patio furniture

Get your patio furniture protected, but make sure you wait until a clear, warm day to cover it so you don’t trap moisture on it.

Prepare for snow removal

Dig out the snowblower and fire it up before the big one hits. Make sure it’s ready for that snowy morning. If it’s not, then get it repaired now. Also, take inventory of your salt and shovel situation. You know you won’t be able to find a shovel after the big snowstorm hits.

5 Top Tips On How To Start A Successful Security Company

Image result for security event

More and more businesses and organizations look for ways to keep their properties and interests safe from violence, robberies, and other crimes. With the security concerns rising, there are more business opportunities opening up for the entrepreneurs who want to start a security company.

The security industry is growing fast with the increasing need to secure properties and individuals from potential threats and criminal activities. Now, the industry is providing cybersecurity services also, which has widened the scope of business. In the U.S, the security services industry generated a revenue of 34 billion dollars in 2017. During the year, the global security services industry earned around 116 billion U.S dollars of revenue. These statistics encourage entrepreneurs to enter the field of providing security services.

Few Things To Keep In Mind

While it is true that the demand for security services is increasing rapidly, still, starting a security company is not an easy task. First, competition in the industry is tough. Many entrepreneurs enter this field in the hope of getting an early success. But most fail to give their company a good start simply because they could not succeed in the competition.

A common reason why many such companies fail is that they ignored some basics. Many of them entered the business without researching the market. They had little understanding of the new security needs of people. Such companies had no strategic business plans. Learning from their failures, you should first have an insight into the security industry. This will help you in deciding on some specific services that are more useful to your customers. Overall, you must have all the details of the industry, business, and market.

When you start a security business, you have to meet certain conditions laid down by the authorities. Each state government has its own strict rules and regulations for running the companies that offer modern security services. You must meet the licensing and training requirements. In addition, also follow the techniques of business management and networking to run a security business successfully.

Wondering how to start a security company?

Here Are 10 Tips On How To Start A Successful Security Company

01. Decide On The Type Of Security Business

When starting a security company, the startup should pick a category of the services that you would like to provide to the clients. Do not start offering an entire gamut of the services for which you may not have sufficient funds and other resources. Therefore, pick the right type of security business.

For example, many businesses want to secure their data from the possibility of theft. Your company can deliver Internet technology security services, which is a growing field of business. If you have the experts to deal with cybersecurity issues, think of providing these services.

Security Business

You can also think of providing home security alarms and monitoring services. You can start offering these services even with small capital in hands.
How about your startup providing security guard services to big or small organizations? For this, you will be hiring specialized security personnel.
So, select the type of security services your company would be providing thorough research.

Looking For a Security Logo Design?

We have helped thousands of business owners from all around the world with their graphic design needs such as logo design, website design, social media posts, banner design and much more.

02. Pick A Right Business Model

Which of the existing security business models would you prefer to follow?
For example, you can choose to acquire a company that is already doing a security business. A benefit of this model is that the company’s customer base, reputation, inventory and perhaps some property is available to you ready-made.

Else you can opt for buying a franchise. This option is good when you want to be an independent business owner. The franchise provider company will offer you the infrastructure such as an office and coaching services. Some of the popular security franchises in the U.S are Signal 88 Security, The AmeriCorps, and Background Screeners America. Click here for Security Comapnies County Durham

Business Model

Another option will be to set up your security company with no external controls. When you decide to build the best security company of your own, you are responsible for taking every decision right from the first step to the last. For this, you should be willing to invest a lot of time.

03. Get Permits And Licenses

One of the very first things that you think when you plan how to start a company is to get the required permits and licenses. You must hold some crucial licenses and permits to operate your security business. Each state has its own set of laws. So, find out what are the conditions laid down by your state in this regard.

Licenses

For example, if you want to operate your security company in California, the state requires you to complete a 40-hour training course. You will also need to pass their background checks from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If the company is to be started in Georgia, you will apply to the Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies for the license. Visit your state’s Attorney General to find out the specific requirements.

04. Create An Impressive Business Logo

Customers first see a logo on a product or service before buying it. They do so to establish the authenticity of what they are buying. The business symbol plays a crucial role in building the brand identity of a company. Therefore, make it a point that the logo design of your security startup is unique, memorable, and stunning.

Impressive Business

When creating the logo, make sure that it is a simple design, having only a few colors and fonts. It should also be scalable so that it looks great on billboards and does not lose the fine details when printed in a smaller size.

05. Get A Business Plan

Write an accurate business plan well in advance. The plan must give you a clear picture of the market and customers. In addition, it should tell how you would be moving forward in establishing your business.

You should also clearly mention your expectations regarding the profitability of the business. There should also be clear guidelines for locating potential clients in the market.

The plan must also present an analysis of your competitors. Mention their pricing, marketing material, logos, websites and other things in your business plan.

Do not forget to include a detailed budget for running the security company in the early months. The budget should mention the local insurance rates, the number of employees you will hire and the type of security equipment you will need. Include the cost of opening the office also.