Boards N Beverages – Featured Business of the Month
We are passionate about helping small businesses succeed. That’s why we’ve started a new initiative to feature one small business each month that is owned by one of our clients. We believe that by showcasing these businesses, we can help them gain more exposure and grow their customer base.
This month, we are thrilled to feature “Boards N Beverages,” owned and operated by Lindsay Mathweson and Travis Britton, long-time clients of ours. Boards N Beverages is a small, family-owned business that specializes in the most beautiful charcuterie boards. Their passion for display shows in every delicious item they create.
If you’re in the area, we highly recommend checking out Boards N Beverages and trying some of their delicious spreads. Whether you’re in the mood for fresh fruit, something sweet, or a custom spread for a special occasion, Boards N Beverages has something for everyone.
We’re proud to support small businesses like Boards N Beverages and look forward to featuring more of our clients’ businesses in the months to come. If you’re a small business owner who is interested in being featured in our monthly spotlight, please reach out to us – we’d love to hear from you!
Maintenance Monday – Cleaning Your Dishwasher
You might think that your dishwasher is cleaning itself while it’s cleaning your dishes, but trust us, it isn’t. And while we still advise against prewashing your dishes to save water and energy, over time, bits of food, grease, undissolved detergent and water minerals can build up on the dishwasher’s filter and interior walls — and even clog the spray arms. That’s why running regular cleaning cycles and keeping your dishwasher clean are so important. Aside from the unpleasant smell and unsightly look this gunk leaves behind, it can also leave spots and film on your glassware, dinnerware and flatware, no matter how carefully and correctly you load the dishwasher. Plus, residue buildup can damage the dishwasher’s filter and pump, ultimately resulting in costly repairs.
In the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Care & Cleaning Lab, we have lots of experience keeping dishwashers clean. Along one wall in our Lab, we have stations to hold six full-size dishwashers for testing, and new models are constantly coming in and going out. And our GH test kitchens have multiple dishwashers too. After testing hundreds of dishwashers, dishwasher detergents and dishwasher cleaners, we’ve uncovered the best methods for how to clean a dishwasher and help keep it clean and odor-free.
How often to clean your dishwasher
How frequently your dishwasher needs cleaning depends on how many cycles you run daily or weekly. Assuming you run a load every day, here are the things to do daily, weekly and monthly to help keep your dishwasher clean:
- Daily or after every load: Remove visible bits of food from inside the filter well and the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Weekly: Wipe down the door edges and gasket to get rid of any debris, and remove and clean the filter.
- Monthly: Deep-clean the interior with a cleaning cycle.
- As needed: Wipe the exterior, edges and interior of drips, spots and film.
How to clean your dishwasher
Follow these steps to keep your dishwasher working its best, whether it needs a quick freshening or thorough cleaning.
1. Remove bits of food daily
The root of most odor problems is usually leftover food that has turned your dishwasher into a second garbage disposal. Get in the habit of cleaning any remaining bits of foods you see after each dishwashing cycle. Pull out the bottom rack and look for any leftover food that may have fallen into the filter well or gotten stuck to the screen or heating element. Remove it with your fingers or a paper towel to help prevent odors and future buildup.
GH Lab Tip: Wipe — don’t prerinse — excess food from plates, silverware, bowls and other items before loading them into the dishwasher. If you don’t plan to run a cycle immediately, rinse them quickly at the sink or run a rinse-only cycle to prevent unwanted smells. Also, always remove any labels or stickers from jars you may be reusing before putting the items into the dishwasher to prevent bits of paper from clogging the filter.
2. Wipe away door grime weekly
To clean the door:
- Wipe away any greasy residue and splatters that may have splashed or settled onto the interior surface of the door, the bottom of the dishwasher under the door, the door edges, the handle and the dishwasher controls with a damp microfiber cloth or sponge.
To clean the door gasket and dispenser:
- Gently scrub any icky gunk from the rubber seal around the door using an old soft toothbrush dipped in either warm, sudsy water or a mild all-purpose cleaner. Give the dispensers a once-over too to remove any debris or traces of undissolved detergent.
- Wipe clean with a damp cloth or paper towel.
GH Lab Tip: Avoid using bleach-based cleaners, especially if the interior of your dishwasher is stainless steel. Check your owner’s manual before using hydrogen peroxide to remove mold or mildew.
3. Clean the dishwasher filter weekly
The filter is found below the bottom spray arm; you’ll need to pull out the bottom rack to get to it. If you’re not sure how to remove it, check the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for details. To clean it:
- Unlock and remove the filter and rinse it under hot running water.
- Using a soft toothbrush, scrub the mesh screen and plastic frame to remove any grease or particles stuck in the crevices. Then rinse it clean.
- Lock the filter back into place.
GH Lab Tip: Do not operate your dishwasher without the filter properly locked, as you can cause severe damage to your machine and possibly void the warranty.
Maintenance Monday – Clean Shower Heads
How to Deep Clean Your Showerhead (And Why It’s Important)
We get it – your bathroom showerhead is one of those spots in the home you’d expect to be somewhat self-cleaning, but it does need some routine upkeep to look new and function at full capacity. It may not come into contact with much besides water and soap, but cleansing the showerhead helps to treat hard water build-up and keep soap scum at bay. Mineral deposits like limescale in your water supply can create blockages in the holes through which water passes, reducing the power of the jet or entirely clogging it. Time to get those micro-jets clean and improve your overall showering experience.
Pro Tips for Hanging Holiday Lights
It is the beginning of December and the perfect time to hang those holiday lights – if you haven’t already. We have gathered 8 tips for hanging your holiday lights from the pro himself, Bob Villa.
Sure, it’s wildly funny to watch the death-defying antics of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) as he blankets his home in lights in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but his technique is not something that you want to imitate. Don’t be like Clark. Take some time upfront to determine an outdoor lighting plan, and make sure to check the bulbs, light strings, and electrical outlets. Follow these eight tips, and you’ll hang your holiday lights like a pro.
- Create a Master Plan
Look at your house critically from the street (or take a photograph) and decide which elements would benefit most from lighting. Consider highlighting architectural features by stringing lights along eaves, pillars, posts, windows, and doors. Also look at bushes, trees, window boxes, and planters. Finally, think about the appropriate lighting for paths and stand-alone figures.
- There’s More Than Roofline
“Everyone gravitates toward the roofline, and they forget to balance it with something below,” says Mike Marlow of Holiday Bright Lights, a national chain that provides professional holiday lighting for homes and businesses. “It’s like interior design. You might have something on your room’s walls, but you need something on the shelves and the end tables too.”
- Don’t Forget the Backyard
Why should the front yard have all the fun? “We’re seeing people decorate behind the house,” Marlow says. “It makes sense because they see the backyard more than the front.” Consider stringing lights along deck railings, decorating a tree—any tree—with lights, or covering out-of-season yard structures.
- Get Enough Lights
Before you head to the store, have an accurate idea of how many boxes of lights you’ll need. Measure the lengths of anything you plan on decorating, such as windows, doorframes, fences, railings, etc., and make note of the location of the power source or extension cord. Remember, you will need more or longer strands if you plan on winding them around the spots you’re decorating. Use net lights for bushes and shrubs, which takes the guessing work out of how many strands are needed to cover the branches. Also, pay attention to the bulb count on the box. The brighter you want your house to be, the more bulbs per strand you’ll want.
- Assess Your Equipment
Check that lights and cords are in good repair and are rated for outdoor use. Read manufacturer recommendations to determine the number of lights you can safely string together. Never connect different types of lights on the same circuit or outlet.
- Power Up
Outdoor lights should be plugged into circuits protected by ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). To avoid running cords everywhere, try power stakes—portable devices that bring power where you need it (you can buy them on Amazon).
- Opt for Plastic
Trade hammer and nails for plastic clips that safely secure lighting to everything from shingles and gutters to posts, window frames, and railings. Consider using light stakes (like these from Target) to line walkways, driveways, and garden edges with bulbs. These plastic accessories can be removed after the holidays and reused next season.
- Stay Safe
Work with a partner or use an S hook to hang a bucket to the ladder to hold supplies. When possible, keep your feet firmly on the ground by using an extension pole instead of a ladder. Finally, don’t decorate trees that touch power lines. In short, avoid any technique employed by Clark Griswold.
Read Bob’s full article here.
Maintenance Monday Replace Your HVAC Filters
Part of responsible homeownership includes, of course, regular home maintenance. And there are some tasks that, if deferred, can lead to a home system that’s inefficient and overworked, which can result in problems and expenses. One such task is changing the filter of the home’s HVAC system. It’s simple and inexpensive, and taking care of it at least every three months can mean the difference between optimum comfort and avoidable repairs.
Read the whole article here:
Maintenance Monday – Ceiling Fan Direction in Winter
Being advised to turn a fan on in the winter may not seem helpful. However, even in winter, ceiling fans can be used to help manage the interior climate.
Ceiling fan direction in the winter should be clockwise, and the fan should run at the lowest speed. This pulls cool air up toward the ceiling, which in turn displaces the warm air that rises and collects near the ceiling.
A clockwise ceiling fan direction for high ceilings is especially important in winter. It moves the warmer air trapped at the very top of the room down. The air flows toward the floor and along the walls. This makes the room feel warmer, allowing you to lower the thermostat.
The low speed prevents any drafty “wind chill” and keeps the airflow steady and consistent. When standing under the fan, look up and double-check that the blades are rotating in a clockwise direction.
Maintenance Monday How to Clean Your Gutters
It can be easy to put off cleaning gutters, but it’s a necessary job that isn’t difficult and will keep them working properly. Rain gutters get clogged with leaves and other debris over time, so cleaning them regularly is best to avoid more difficult work later. The good news is, it’s not hard to clean gutters. Use this guide to learn the basics of how to clean gutters and downspouts.
Why is it Important to Clean Your Gutters?
A home’s gutter system controls the flow of rainwater from the rooflines. This protects your home’s roof, walls, foundation, and landscape. If debris builds up in them, it could lead to sagging gutters, mold growth, wet basements, a leaky roof, or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Gutters filled with debris can also make homes for rodents and other pests. Neglecting gutter maintenance can lead to costly repairs down the line.
Gutters need to be cleaned at least twice a year – in the spring and in the fall. If you have pine trees near your home, needles will need to be removed every three months to reduce the potential for clogging the gutters and downspouts.
Hiring someone to clean your gutters is an option if you aren’t comfortable on a ladder. Fees vary depending on your location. Prices are based on how many linear feet of gutters you have. It typically costs more if you have a two- or three-story home.
Determine if Gutters Should be Replaced, Repaired or Cleaned
Regular maintenance will make your gutters last longer. At some point, they will need to be repaired or replaced to help protect your home from water damage. Here are a few signs that will help you determine if your gutters need to be repaired or replaced.
Cracks or splits
Even small cracks will grow, allowing water to seep into the fascia boards behind the gutters, the shingles above the gutter, and the foundation below. Replace any split or crack sections of the gutter.
Paint damage and rust
The paint on your gutters is weather-resistant. Peeling paint or rust indicates that water is present on the surface on a continuous basis. Look for clogs and remove debris to get the water flowing. Replace or touch up the paint on the damaged section of the gutter.
Pools of water and mold
If you see standing water or mildew near the foundation, it can indicate that the gutters are clogged or there could be a defect in the gutter system. Remove the clog. If the problem persists, replace that section of the gutter and downspout.
Water damage or watermarks
Inspect directly beneath the gutters on a dry, sunny day for any evidence of water damage. Water damage underneath gutters can indicate that they are leaking or overflowing with water. Look for possible blockages in the area. If there are none, this indicates that the section has a crack or a leak which will need to be repaired or replaced.
Gutter sag is a definite sign that it’s time to replace gutters. Gutters should never sag or pull away from the house. Sagging gutters means that it is no longer draining properly and need to be replaced. This may be a good time to look into upgrading your old ones with gutter guards or screens or with seamless gutters.
Guidelines for How to Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
A regular and thorough cleaning helps keep gutters in tip-top shape. It requires only a few tools and an afternoon to get water flowing from your roof and away from your home.
Cleaning gutters in early spring will prepare them for the heavy spring and summer rains. In the early fall, clear out leaves and other debris that accumulated during the warmer months.
When possible, avoid cleaning gutters after rain. Allowing a few dry days before cleaning your gutters will allow the debris to dry out, making the chore much easier.
Start your gutter cleaning task near the downspout and work toward the closed end.
Practice Ladder Safety
Cleaning gutters requires working from a ladder. Work safely.
- Never climb above the second to last step/rung.
- Do not extend your reach.
- Use a step ladder on solid level ground whenever possible.
- For two-story homes, use an extension ladder.
- Use a ladder stabilizer to help keep your ladder in place, if using an extension ladder.
- If you are not comfortable on ladders, consider hiring a professional.
Clear Debris From the Gutters
Have two buckets available to make your job easier. Use one bucket for the debris you remove. The second bucket can hold your tools. Hook the buckets to your ladder for easy access.
- Wear safety glasses to keep bits of dried leaves and other debris out of your eyes.
- Put on the rubber gloves under your work gloves if the debris is damp. This will help keep your hands dry while protecting them.
- Begin cleaning near a downspout. Place your ladder squarely on level ground before you climb it.
- Remove and clean the downspout strainer.
- Clear large debris such as leaves and twigs by hand.
- Use a trowel or gutter scoop for compacted debris.
Flush the Gutters
After most of the debris is removed, flush the remaining bits and dirt from the gutter with a garden hose.
- Fit your garden house with a spray nozzle.
- Flush out the gutter with water, starting at the far end and moving toward the downspout.
- Use a strong stream of water and avoid spraying underneath the roof shingles.
Specialty gutter cleaning attachments for your garden hose can make the job easier. For maximum power when spraying gutters and downspouts, use a pressure washer.
Check the Downspouts
After the gutters are clean and the water used for flushing isn’t draining quickly, check the downspout for clogs and any lodged debris. Turn the hose on and spray down the spout. If the amount of water coming out is less than what is going in, there is a blockage.
- Feed the hose up the downspout from the ground.
- Turn the hose on at full pressure to try to dislodge the clog.
- If this does not dislodge the clog, use a plumber’s snake to break up the blockage.
- If you have a downspout that flows into an underground tiling system, you will need to remove the bottom end to access the longer length of the downspout.
Check for Gutter Drainage and Slope
When the downspout is clog-free, flush the gutters once again. Check for proper water flow and drainage. Also look for any leaks at the seams.
- If there is any standing water in the gutter, the gutter is not properly sloped. Gutters should slope 1/4 inch for every 10 feet toward the downspout. If your gutters do not slope properly, detach the hangers to adjust the gutters to the proper slope.
- Make sure all the gutters are secure and firmly attached to the house.
- Inspect each gutter section and the downspout for damage.
- Add support hangers or reattach gutters to the fascia if needed.
Complete the Gutter Cleaning
Seal any leaking seams and joints with gutter sealant, following the product’s instructions. To spruce up the outside of the gutters, use a pressure washer to remove any mildew and dirt. Touch up with paint, if needed.
Now that your gutters are free of debris and draining effectively, consider adding gutter screens to reduce the amount of work needed for future gutter cleaning.
Cleaning your gutters is a necessary home maintenance task. With the right tools and this guide on how to clean gutters, you can complete the work and repairs on your own. If you need a ladder to reach your gutters, rent one from your local Home Depot.The Home Depot Rental.
The Lone Star State is a phenomenal retirement destination with 25 metropolitan areas and is in AARP’s network of age-friendly states and communities. At The Luxe Global Group, we are committed to helping the 3.7 million local senior residents with all of their Real Estate needs.
When we say our motto is “Your Real Estate Agents” for life, at The Luxe Global Group, we truly mean that. Taking care of all generations is our top priority. Real estate can be difficult to navigate for aging loved ones, or saying goodbye to a lifelong home to receive the care you need. These changes are inevitable and we are here to help you navigate these transitional steps. Let us help you plan your future.
We specialize and have resources to:
- Understand your future housing possibilities
- Plan for downsizing and estate sales
- Inform you about property taxes
- Advise on when it truly is in your best interest to sell your home or keep it as an investment
- Determine what to repair or not repair in your home before selling
- Provide resources for the transition into retirement
We will help you put a plan together for the right place, the right time and the right way to sell or purchase your property. We will work with your family members, if needed, to ensure your best interest is at the forefront of all we do.
Our expertise with the Senior Market will provide realistic options and valuable information for your residential, commercial or land properties, whether you are:
- Renovating to Stay
Nursing homes are a popular and affordable option that can help seniors with long-term care and housing needs, many of which can be found in your community. Unfortunately, choosing the best facility to meet individual needs can be inundating and time- consuming for aging adults and families.
For this reason, we came up with a resource to help seniors and their loved ones explore the different facilities available to them, as well as costs and payment options. You can learn more from Community Outreach and Senior Advocate’s guide here:
CLICK HERE to take a look at the Guide!
We care about our Seniors! We want to help you navigate your next steps, with your best interest at heart and be your Agents For Life.