Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West

Posted by Kathy Foran on 10/9/2016

If you are like most homeowners, you rarely thinking of the plumbing in your home unless there is a problem: you turn on a faucet, or flush a toilet and expect it to work properly without giving your “pipes” a second thought. However, homeowners, family members or guests may be using your plumbing system incorrectly, even if you are not aware. Misuse of the systems can result in an expenditure of time and money and a messy situation to repair. Locate The Water Shut-Off Make sure that you and all household members know where to locate the water shut off valve. In the event of a broken pipe, overflowing toilet or in the case of an emergency, it is vital to be able to shut off the flow of water immediately. Using The Plumbing System As A Trash Can Are you guilty of rinsing plates off in the sink without first scraping the scraps in the garbage can? If you do not have a garbage disposal unit, food should not enter the drain where it can accumulate and clog pipes. To avoid problems, remove food residue before rinsing and add a sink drainer to the drain cover to catch food items that make their way into the sink. Misuse Of Drain Cleaner When water backs up in the sink or tub, do you immediate reach for a bottle of drain cleaner? Wrong – while the most common solution for sluggish drains is a dose of drain cleaner, it often takes multiple uses to clean the line. Repeated use of caustic drain cleaners can damage pipes and are harmful to the environment. Before you attempt to clean a clogged drain with toxic chemicals, try a plunger or auger. If you resort to using drain cleaner: read the instructions and never use the same type of drain cleaner in a kitchen sink as you would use in a clogged toilet situation. Putting Grease Down The Drain Even if you use a garbage disposal, you should be aware that grease damages drains. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that up to 50 percent of all clogged drains are due to oil, grease and fat build-up in drain pipes. If you pour hot grease down the drain, it will coat the walls of the pipe as it cools. To avoid the problem of grease accumulation, always put hot grease in a container to cool and then dispose of properly. Avoid Toilet Clogs Avoid clogging up your toilets by remembering that once flushed, all materials must pass through a three-inch drainpipe that connects to your septic system or main city sewer system. Avoid dumping food, cat litter or paper towels in the commode. Talk to your kids and other family members about what is and what is not appropriate to dispose of in the toilet. Sanitary napkins, tampons, and disposable diapers should never be flushed. Provide an airtight waste can in each bathroom for disposal of items that should not go down the drain. Damage To Pipes In The Wall Stop and think before you start a home remodeling project: there are a lot of pipes hidden behind your home’s walls. Drilling into a wall to hang a photo or install a bookshelf might cause serious damage to the pipe that was hidden inside the wall. A simple little hole can cause a major leak. Always hang artwork, shelves or towel racks by placing the hanger into the studs of your wall. Use a stud finder before you tackle small home repair or remodeling projects to avoid a major plumbing disaster. If you are contemplating a major remodeling project near or around pipes or plumbing, it is prudent to enlist the services of a professional plumber. Too Much Weight On Plumbing Fixtures Avoid hanging a shower caddy on your showerhead to hold shampoos, soaps, and lotions. Too many heavy items places undo stress on the showerhead and plumbing fixtures that are not designed to be weight-bearing. Your home’s plumbing system is an important part of how your household functions. While it is easy to take our plumbing for granted, when it’s working properly, the savvy homeowner knows that with proper care and maintenance you can keep your pipes and sewer system in excellent condition for years to come.

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Posted by Kathy Foran on 6/16/2013

According to recent statistics, one in five people suffer from allergy and asthma symptoms. If you are one of these people, chances are that you've had an allergy attack in your home, with no clear definable cause as to what exactly set your symptoms in motion. Reducing the amount of allergens in your living space is not only beneficial from a cleanliness perspective, but in cleaning your home of potential allergens, you decrease the chances of having another spontaneous attack in your home. Floors - If you live in a home with hardwood floors, then consider yourself lucky. They attract much less dust than carpeting, and are much easier to clean and maintain. If you are in a carpeted home, then consider upgrading your vacuum to one that touts itself as being able to remove microscopic particles and allergens from the carpet. An upgrade in vacuums will usually work wonders for a house with allergy sufferers. Plush toys - Whether they belong to your pet or your child, plush toys are often overlooked as potential carriers of allergens. Make sure you wash them thoroughly on a regular basis. The same is true for pet bedding. Create an (almost) allergy-free room - Designate a room in your home to be the go-to place if you need a break from allergy symptoms. Use your bedroom if possible. Purchase allergen covers and casings for your bedding, keep pets from entering the room, and clean the room more often than you do the rest of the house. Curtains - Drapes, while being an attractive addition to the home, can collect dust, pollen, and mold spores. If you plan to add drapes to your windows, or refuse to give up the drapes you have, be prepared to give them the attention they'll need to keep them dust and allergen-free. Air - If you live in a home with central air, be sure to replace your air filters regularly. Keep your windows closed on days that seem to be giving you trouble, and keep your air setting on recirculate. This will ensure that the air in your home is constantly being scrubbed of potential allergy triggers.

Posted by Kathy Foran on 5/27/2012

No matter how sturdy a home is, sooner or later maintenance will be required. When this happens, you will have the choice to do some of this maintenance work yourself, or you could opt to utilize a home repair service to do it for you. This largely depends on how much experience you have in repairing things in your home. For example, hanging a picture on the wall does not take too much knowledge and expertise, as all you would need is a good drill and a little bit of know-how. On the other hand, if you need some major plumbing repairs, then you are better off finding a reputable plumber to do the job for you. When it comes to painting, it really does depend on whether you have some experience and know-how, and how much you enjoy doing it. For some people, painting can be extremely therapeutic. They will gladly paint every room in their home without any fuss. For others, painting a wall can seem like an extremely messy job, and in most cases, it will be a job badly done. In a situation like this, you are better off using a professional painter. One of the best ways to find a good quality home repair service is by going on the internet, as this allows you to quickly find a specialized repair service within your area with just a few clicks of your mouse. In addition, you are also able to do a little research on the repair service beforehand. If you would like a local referral I keep a list of professionals. Please call or email me for more information.

Posted by Kathy Foran on 1/29/2012

Smoke detectors save lives. Many people may be lulled into a false sense of security thinking they have smoke detectors in their home. Smoke detectors that are not installed or maintained properly are not safe. Here are a few tips on what you need to know about buying, installing, and maintaining your smoke detectors: What should I buy? The National Burn Institute recommends only buying smoke alarms tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). You will also want to make sure the smoke detector has a battery backup. Smoke detectors that don't work in a power outage are no good. Consider buying a combination smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector, they may be more expensive, but well worth the money. There are two main types of smoke alarms, which are categorized by the type of smoke detection sensor used in the alarm. They are ionization and photoelectric. Ionization smoke detectors Ionization detectors respond quickly to flaming fires with smaller combustion particles. They contain a chamber with two plates that generate a small, continuous electric current. When smoke enters the ionization chamber, the smoke particles disrupt the current flow, which triggers the alarm. Photoelectric smoke detectors Photoelectric detectors respond more quickly to smoldering fires. They use a light beam and light receptor. When smoke is present between the light and receptor, the photocell sensor triggers the alarm. Combination smoke detectors The best smoke alarms can sense both types of fires (flaming and smoldering). For the highest degree of safety and preparedness, there are combination smoke alarms also that combine ionization and photoelectric detectors into one unit, called dual sensor smoke alarms. Check with your local fire department to see what kind of detector they recommend. Installation and Maintenance Smoke detectors should be installed on each floor, outside of every bedroom and sleeping area and near any air vents. Detectors should also be installed high on walls or on ceilings because smoke rises. Avoid installing detectors near windows, doors or where there are openings where smoke can escape. Check with your local fire department for specific regulations on the placement of detectors. Smoke detectors have a lifespan of about seven to 10 years, and it's important to replace old detectors according to the model's recommendations. Test your alarm’s batteries monthly and remember to replace all batteries at least once a year. Clean and vacuum the grill of your detector to get rid of dust and debris. Other maintenance includes a monthly testing of the alarm and cleaning with a vacuum hose about once every month.