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Top 10 Holiday Prep Tips

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and soon homes everywhere will be full of laughter and good cheer as friends and family gather to celebrate the season. Westlake Ace Hardware offers these 10 tips to help make sure your season sparkles and your house is ready for guests.

  1. Freshen Up with Paint – A fresh coat of paint on a dining room wall can take a room from drab to fab for a holiday dinner. For a quick update to your exterior, nothing welcomes guests for the holidays like a freshly painted front door. Choose a color that complements your house, but don’t be afraid to go bold. Perhaps a sunny yellow for a cottage feel or go with a vibrant red?
    Before you paint, repair any holes using wall repair patch and a high quality spackling. Sand the dried spackling with fine sand paper, clean the walls thoroughly to remove stains and pet odors, and apply primer.
    An angled 2- or 2 1/5-inch trim brush is ideal for cutting in around wall edges and under crown molding. Once you’ve cut in around the edges, use a high quality roller and follow a “W” or “M” pattern across or down the wall.
  2. Tend to the Toilet – The holidays bring housefuls of people to our homes and often plumbing problems with them. Do a quick toilet check before company arrives and if it is leaking, running, slow filling or noisy, it’s very likely because of a broken flapper. Flapper replacement is fast, easy, and inexpensive.
    Having a good plunger on hand is a must and if the plunger doesn’t do the trick, try a sewer snake. Made of bendable steel, a snake is maneuvered into a drain and can reach clogs up to 25 feet away, breaking them apart with a gentle twist or tug.
  3. Clean Carpets and Rugs – If your carpet or rugs show signs of stains and dirt, consider renting a steam cleaner and performing a deep clean to enhance a room’s décor. To get rid of tough stains, from food, drinks or pets, use a heady-duty stain remover to lift out dirt and grime.
  4. Prep the Fireplace – If you live in the Midwest, chances are your fireplace probably gets a bit dusty from March to October. To prepare for cool nights and your fireplace’s seasonal debut, get a professional check and cleaning before lighting the first fire. You can also give your fireplace an easy cleaning by using a shop vacuum to pick up old ash and cobwebs.
  5. Shed New Light – Nothing brightens a room or brings out the true colors of your décor like new lighting. Consider installing light-dimmers and replace LED lights that might cast too blue of a light. Today’s generation of energy-saving bulbs shed a softer light and shows true whites, allowing you to save money without sacrificing ambiance.
  6. Replace Furnace Filters – Dirty air filters restrict airflow and make your furnace work harder to deliver the warm air it created. Keeping the filter clean can lower your system’s energy consumption by five to 15 percent—which could save you up to $100 a year. Before you turn on your furnace for the winter, change the air filters.
  7. Seal Windows – For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit and you could save up to $18 per window this heating season. Properly installed window plastic is essentially invisible. It adds a buffer against drafts, and the extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home’s ability to hold heat.
  8. Keep Leaves Collected – The red, orange and yellow leaves of autumn are beautiful, but they can wreak havoc on your lawn if left to sit for too long. A thick layer of leaves will choke grass of valuable sunshine, oxygen and moisture.
  9. Mulch the Landscape – Winter mulching around shrubs and other plantings helps shield ground from the warmth of sun, thus keeping it frozen and plants dormant until spring. The mulch also helps conserve ground moisture during the traditionally dry winter months, and it gives beds a neat and tidy appearance.
  10. Disconnect and Drain Hoses – Freezing temperatures can ruin garden hoses if they are left outside during the winter. Over time, it will make them brittle and prone to leaks. Before freezing temperatures are predicted for your area, disconnect all hoses and hang them over outdoor furniture or saw horses to completely drain the water, then store them in your garage or shed. Also, disconnecting hoses from your outside faucets will drain water from the lines and help prevent ruptures and leaks.

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