Thursday, November 14, 2019

3 cost-saving maintenance projects for Keller homeowners

Plumbing Maintenance

Routine maintenance: two words that likely evoke eye rolls, exasperated sighs and dread for most Keller homeowners who read, hear or even think about them. However, they’re also a homeowner’s best line of defense when it comes to protecting their most important investment — their home.

So, with that in mind, here are three inexpensive projects from The Grove Team that could save you a lot of money in the long run.

1. Inspect plumbing connections, appliance hoses, and pipes for leaks.

Refrigerators with icemakers or water dispensers, dishwashers and washing machines all have hoses that connect to your water supply. If these hoses wear out, blister or crack, or the connections loosen, they can cause leaks that can cause a lot of damage to your home and appliances. Replace these hoses with steel-braided hoses because they are less likely to fail and can be purchased at your local hardware store for around $20. Consult your owner’s manual for hose specifications and recommended replacement intervals.

Periodically inspect the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks for leaks. Also, if there’s a bathroom in your home that’s seldom used, turn the faucets on and off, and flush the toilet once a week to ensure water continues flowing through the pipes properly.

If you suspect you may have a leak, but the source isn’t easily accessible, time is of the essence. The average cost to hire a plumber is about $300, which is less than the potential amount of damage an untreated leak might cause.

2. Clean dryer ducts and vents.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to 15,050 home fires involving clothes dryers and washing machines in 2014, which is the most recent data available.

It’s important to empty your dryer’s lint filter after each use because lint is highly flammable. Combined with the high heat given off during a tumble cycle, this is a recipe for disaster. Lint also accumulates in dryer ducts and vents. While they take a bit more effort and know-how to clean, it’s just as important to do this at least once a year.

Unfortunately, one Mercury policyholder learned this the hard way.

The average cost of a professional dryer vent cleaning is less than $200.

3. Visually inspect your home’s exterior.

Make a point of walking the perimeter of your home to look for cracks, chips or holes in the fa├žade and lose shingles on the roof. Imperfections like these can be access points for unwanted water to enter the home, which can cause rot, mold or structural damage.

If your exterior walls are coated with built-up dirt and debris, wash them first to make it easier to detect potential problem areas. You can do this by attaching a cleaning tool to your garden hose or renting a pressure washer. Costs will vary depending on which option you choose, but start as low as $20.

Windows are another potential danger zone for leaks, so be sure to check the condition of your weather-stripping, as well as look for chips and cracks.

Consult a professional to determine the next steps if you find damages to your home’s exterior.

Taking care of your property now with these simple maintenance tips could save you time and money in the long run.
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Grove Team 2017/2018

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in homeownership. Call 817-337-0000 for Keller Home's for sale in Keller ISD.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

5 carbon monoxide safety tips for Keller homeowners

Father Helping Son

Along with the cold temperatures, snow, and ice, winter also brings unpredictable dangers, including the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, CO poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisonings in the U.S. Referred to as the “silent killer,” CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can only be detected with a CO alarm.

As colder temperatures start, it is important that Keller homeowners have an adequate CO alarm system.

Every year, CO poisoning takes the lives of over 400 people, while an additional 50,000 people are treated for it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and half of these deaths occur between November and February.

Here are 5 ways to ensure you are practicing CO safety this winter:

Check your alarms. Be sure to check all carbon monoxide alarms in your home by testing them regularly and replacing the batteries at least twice each year. Generally, CO alarms should be replaced every five to seven years. However, newer CO alarm models, such as the First Alert 10-Year CO Alarm, now offer a lifespan of 10 years, allowing you to rest easy without having to worry about changing the batteries every six months. CO alarms should be installed on every floor, including the basement, and in or near every sleeping area of the home.

Warm-up your car outside. Do not attempt to warm up your car or leave your car running inside of the garage, even if the garage door is open. Garages are a common source of carbon monoxide, and in the case of attached garages, these fumes can leak into the home. Other common sources of CO  include but are not limited to, heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, appliances or cooking sources using coal, wood, petroleum products or other fuels that emit CO as a by-product of combustion.

Ensure proper ventilation. The kitchen stove is among the most frequent sources of CO poisoning in the home. To help eliminate the danger of overexposure, always run exhaust fans when cooking and periodically open a nearby window when using the oven or stove to allow fresh air to circulate. Never use the stove to heat your home.

Maintain fuel-burning appliances. Have a professional inspect any fuel-burning appliances throughout the home each season. This includes furnaces, water heaters, ovens, and dryers, as carbon monoxide can leak from any fuel-burning device. If using a fireplace to heat your home, make sure your flue is open and have your chimney checked and cleaned each year by a professional.

Know the symptoms of CO poisoning. Because you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, you might not recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning, as they can be confused with common cold and flu symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, chest pain and vomiting. If a CO alarm sounds or symptoms appear, exit the home immediately and call 911.
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Grove Team 2017/2018

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in homeownership. Call 817-337-0000 for Keller Home's for sale in Keller ISD.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

How Keller homeowners can bring autumn indoors

Blanket on Chair

With the weather cooling down and trees changing to vibrant colors, it's no wonder many consider autumn their favorite time of year. Fall draws people outside to apple orchards and pumpkin patches and fills homes with the smells of seasonal baking.

A recent YouGov survey found that most people (over 69%) think exposure to daylight, fresh air and nature has a positive effect on their well-being, including reducing stress. Yet according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), people today spend 90% of their time indoors.

Even houses now are built to be more sealed, trapping bacteria and toxins inside, with many people unaware that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the EPA.
To enjoy the positive benefits of nature even when spending time indoors, why not open up your house and bring more of the outdoors in?

Try these five strategies for bringing more nature into your home this fall.

1. Open your windows or skylights
Before cold weather arrives, take advantage of pleasant temps to let in fresh air and sunlight, and even enjoy viewing the beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds outside. The fresh air will help you breathe easier, ridding the air of toxins, bacteria and musty odors inside.

Skylights are great options for adding fresh air and natural light, which can help make your indoor living environment healthier. Skylights are a simple home renovation project that can dramatically improve your home’s health and have changed a great deal from those of decades past. The latest skylight models and skylight blinds can open via smartphone app or remote control to bring in fresh air and control light.

2. Fill your home with cozy, natural scents
Use fresh herbs and spices like rosemary, sage, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to create your own homemade potpourri. Or you could make a wreath using sprigs of your favorite herbs, including lavender, rosemary, bay, and sage. You can add sprigs of similar aromatic dried options to fresh-cut flower arrangements, adding layers of scent, deeper colors and contrasting textures to your floral displays.

3. Bring pumpkins indoors
Autumn is not complete without pumpkins, but there’s no need to banish them to the front porch. Pick up some smaller pumpkins and other types of gourds, adding dried corn cobs to create a centerpiece for your dining room table or adding a pop of color to a coffee or side table.
Some types of edible squash are almost too pretty to eat, so why not display them for a while before cooking them? Look for visually interesting acorn, delicata and buttercup squash for your displays.

4. Leafy bouquets
Rethink your cut-flower bouquets. Take a walk outside to collect branches of colorful leafy fall foliage to add to your floral bouquets, along with flowers of similar autumn hues. Think chrysanthemums, sunflowers, dahlias and daisies in tones of orange, crimson and gold.

5. Incorporate fall design elements
Use autumn colors and shapes to inspire new design ideas. Swap decorative elements, from pillows and blankets to throw rugs and tea towels, for new items highlighting earthy tones like brown and orange. Look for items with nature-inspired designs — from leaf or vine patterns to migrating flocks of birds — that bring a feeling of autumn into your home.

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Grove Team 2017/2018

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in homeownership. Call 817-337-0000 for Keller Home's for sale in Keller ISD.

Monday, November 4, 2019

2020 exterior home trends for Keller homeowners

Exterior Patio

Whether you are thinking of selling your Keller home next year, or simply looking to update certain elements, investing in your exterior will deliver a return on your investment in both resale value and enjoyment.

From siding and garage door to the landscape and patio, there are many opportunities to refresh the outside of your home for style and function. The top trends of 2020 are all about bringing fresh ideas to tired spaces, updating with the latest product innovations, and ensuring your exterior gets as much love as the interior of your home.

Indoor-outdoor living
With a strong desire to expand living space, homeowners are investing in decks and patios that have a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor. Premium decking offers all the beauty of real hardwood flooring without the maintenance. Rich colors allow homeowners to create intricate designs and inlays that add an upscale look that can be completely customized.

Screened porches with floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors are popular as well as porch/deck hybrids that can be designed to feature built-in kitchens, fireplaces, and seating. To further personalize the space, homeowners are mixing textures and materials, including metal, wicker, and wood, in outdoor furniture and features to create individualized style.

Mixing styles and designs
Following the popularity of farmhouse styles in the last decade, homeowners continue to create a hybrid look that incorporates select modern farmhouse designs, as well as elements of midcentury modern and industrial influences into the exterior home design. Mixed-use siding is at the forefront of this trend. Board and batten siding mixed with stone continues to gain popularity for a modern farmhouse look. Another popular design is mixing clapboard siding with textures of shake or vertical style of board and batten to create visual interest and balance. Black windows add a modern industrial look along with a sleek metal garage door to pull together the overall design.

Exterior colors and accents
Across the country, darker, more pigmented colors are transforming homes with showstopping appearances that stand out from a sea of beige that was so popular in the past.

The traditional red front door is being replaced by statement doors that define an entryway with style and class. Black and blue doors are trending as well as designs that feature glass and iron elements. Dutch-style doors are also popular for 2020 and beyond. In addition to a statement front door, homeowners are thinking about entryway decor, adding personalized doormats, house numbers, and door knockers, as well as changing out decor seasonally.

Minimalist maintenance
Homeowners are continuing to invest in design solutions for their exteriors and yards that require little to no maintenance, yet allow them to fully enjoy outdoor living. They are opting for high-quality products using durable materials, such as limestone, gravel, and bamboo. Garden bed designs incorporate pavers, rocks, evergreen plants, and annual plants, to achieve a low maintenance exterior that still delivers on curb appeal.

Above all else, Keller homeowners are looking to make exterior designs their own in 2020. New builds and home renovations that utilize durable materials are a top trend, and the sky's the limit when it comes to design.
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Grove Team 2017/2018

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in homeownership. Call 817-337-0000 for Keller Home's for sale in Keller ISD.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Winter DIY projects for Keller homeowners

DIY Winter Home Project

The leaves have changed, temperatures are dropping and pumpkin spice treats abound, which means winter is coming. Now is the time to winterize your Keller home, which can mean up to a 10% savings on your energy bills, according to Energy Star.

Help your home fight the cold, without breaking the bank, by tackling these four DIY-friendly preventative projects.

Seal windows and doors. Check for small cracks and gaps between window frames and doors. These are the spots that allow water, insects and cold air to creep inside. Do this yourself by holding a lit candle or incense stick near the potential leak; if the flame or smoke dances around then you know you have a leak. Protect your home and keep it warm by replacing worn exterior caulk with an exterior grade sealant.

Check your furnace filter. Did you know the dirtier your furnace filters are, the harder your furnace has to work? In most homes, filters should be changed monthly throughout the heating season. You should also have your furnace serviced periodically to make sure it is working properly. Not only will regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating system give your wallet a break, but it can also significantly improve your furnace’s efficiency and longevity.

Defend against pests. Avoid issues with mice and other pests trying to stay warm this season by sealing up gaps and cracks inside your garage, attic, basement and under sinks or around pipe and electrical cutouts. Specially treated to block mice, birds, bats and tree squirrels, as well as ants, roaches, spiders, and bees, the foam also works to seal and insulate to help save on energy costs.

Protect your pipes. Pipes can burst and cost a fortune to replace. Locate pipes in the home that pass through unheated areas, like crawlspaces or basements, and insulate them with foam rubber sleeves. Just cut the sleeve to fit the length of the pipe, wrap it around and secure with duct tape. In extreme cases, put heating tape on first to ensure that the pipe does not freeze. Also, be sure to locate your home’s water shut-off valve just in case a pipe does burst. Better safe than sorry.
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Grove Team 2017/2018

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in homeownership. Call 817-337-0000 for Keller Home's for sale in Keller ISD.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

How Keller homeowners can maximize autumn for pets

Family Walking Dog

Autumn is a great time to get out of your Keller home and enjoy the outdoors in the company of your favorite four-legged friend. The temperatures have cooled down and the fall colors are starting to appear, yet it’s not too cold to enjoy a brisk walk or even a leisurely stroll together. It’s also a fun time to enjoy holidays and treats with your pet — as long as you know what’s healthy for them, and what’s not.

Here are some dos and don’ts for enjoying the changing season with your furry best friend this fall:

DO enjoy long walks or hikes with your dog. Like humans, dogs need exercise, and they don’t usually get enough of a workout just hanging out in your backyard. Whether you opt for a fast-paced walk or jog, or a longer, more relaxed walk around a park, chances are you will enjoy it almost as much as your dog does. And it’s good for both of you! Stop to play a game like fetch with your pooch once in a while, especially if you’re starting to feel worn out but your dog still has pep. You’ll both come back home relaxed and happy.

DON’T let your dog off the leash unless it’s permitted, such as at your local dog park. Even then, know your dog and his or her behavior, and let that be your guide — if you have difficulty controlling your pet around other dogs or unfamiliar humans, a leash will also help keep your pet safe from harm.

DO let your dog frolic in your piles of leaves as you’re cleaning up the yard this fall. While it may take you longer to complete your task, your dog will have a ton of fun — especially small-prey hunting dogs that like to burrow, such as terriers.

DO check your dog thoroughly for ticks after spending any time outdoors, and do this just outside the front door, to avoid bringing any pests inside your home. You can get advice on tick removal and prevention from your veterinarian.

DO let your dog enjoy occasional treats that are made especially for dogs. Some are created to celebrate the season, like Beggin’ Strips With Real Pumpkin. Real meat is the first ingredient, and they are also made using real bacon, with no artificial flavors or colors. Your dog will enjoy the flavor of real pumpkin, just like you do.

DON’T let your dog eat table scraps, no matter what holiday you're celebrating. Many holiday favorites, from chocolate, grapes, and raisins to ingredients like onions, can be hazardous to a dog’s health. Another very harmful ingredient for dogs is xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in things like gum, mints, and candy. Even a small amount of xylitol can be very hazardous to dogs.

DO consider making or buying an outdoor dog house for your four-legged pal, if you don't already have one. While dogs still enjoy spending time outdoors year-round, it's a good idea to provide some shelter from rain, cold and wind as the season heads toward winter. The internet and your local home improvement store are great resources for DIY dog house building plans and materials. This is also a great project to involve the kids.

Enjoy your pet during this festive season by sharing the best of the weather and appropriate treats with your dog. Make the most of the season so you'll both have great memories to last you through the colder days of winter ahead.

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Grove Team 2017/2018

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in homeownership. Call 817-337-0000 for Keller Home's for sale in Keller ISD.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

How to winterize your Keller home

Clogged Gutter

Winter weather is difficult to predict. Use these tips to help protect your Keller home from the costly damage winter storms can bring.

Take care of your roof
  • Keep your gutters clear. This keeps ice from accumulating and backing up under the shingles.
  • Trim trees year-round so branches don't fall on your house.
  • Worn-out, missing or damaged siding and roof flashing can let water and ice into your home. Be vigilant and replace them.
  • If your chimney is leaning or the mortar has seen better days, get it repaired.
Prevent ice dams
  • Eliminate heat sources under the roof, such as lights and heaters in the attic, that can contribute to thawing.
  • Keep the attic cool and ventilated to stop or slow the refreezing cycle.
  • Consult a roofing professional to remove snow or standing water before an ice dam can form.
  • Invest in a roof rake, a tool that allows you to stand on the ground and safely brush snow off the roof.
  • Avoid trying to chip any ice dams off your roof, as you could damage the roof. Ask a roof specialist for help instead.
  • Talk with your roof specialist about sealing the roof deck with a moisture barrier.
Prevent water damage
  • Ventilate the attic and insulate the attic floor to stop warm air in the house from melting snow and ice on the roof.
  • Wrap exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or 2 inches of Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed heat tape.
  • Caulk cracks and holes in the home's outer walls and foundation. Holes left by cable installation can also leave pipes exposed.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around pipes.
  • Trickle water from faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
  • Locate the home's main water valve — typically in the basement or outside near the curb — so you can turn the water off quickly if a pipe does burst.
  • If you leave the house unoccupied for an extended period, shut off the water and have a professional drain the system. Turn the heat down, but don't turn it off.
Clear surfaces where you walk or drive
  • Keep walkways, steps, and driveways clear of snow and ice.
  • Treat these areas with rock salt or de-icing products.

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Grove Team 2017/2018

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in homeownership. Call 817-337-0000 for Keller Home's for sale in Keller ISD.