5 Ways Mice Enter Your Home In the Fall

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5 WAYS MICE ENTER YOUR HOME IN THE FALL

In the autumn there is no question about it, mice will find any means necessary to find shelter. This means that your home could be at risk of a mouse infestation. Mice are masters of finding any way in a building they can, this is because they are able to squeeze through holes the size of a dime! And because cracks and holes in your foundation, windows, and roof are inevitable, nearly every home is a candidate for mice infestations.

Mice are full of diseases and they can also do extensive damage to your home:

  • They can spread diseases such as hantavirus (deer mice), salmonella, and listeria through their urine, droppings, saliva and nesting materials.
  • Because mice breed year-round and able to produce five to ten litters per year, with an average of 6-8 babies per litter, you could have up to 60 mice gnawing at your furniture, rugs, and your walls (to name a few of their favourite treats).
  • They can burn your house down, literally. They love chewing on wires to keep their teeth short and to gain access to places that the wires may be blocking. Mice can chew through soft concrete, wood, drywall rubber, plastic pipes, insulation, aluminum and even gas lines. Expensive repairs!

Rodent proof your house, here are my top 4 suggestions:

1.  Caulking – Go around your house and seal off the cracks and holes

2.  Clean up debris around your house – especially dog poop

3.  Don’t leave garbage and recycling in your garage

4.  Weather-stripping, especially your garage door. Mice will stay out

Happy Fall Season!

This article was brought to you by:

Bill Martin
Martin’s Pest Control
www.martinspestcontrol.com
(403) 460-7213

How to Prep Your Home for an Inspection

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How to Prep Your Home for an Inspection

Keep in mind that often buyers attend the inspection, therefore, we recommend you treat the inspection as another showing which could make or break the sale of your home. It is always a good idea to reduce clutter and present a clean and odor free home! Be sure to leave the house too so that your buyers can feel comfortable and the inspector can complete an efficient home inspection. Here are some other ways to help prep your home for a smooth home inspection:

  • Clean toilets
  • Remove extra stored items underneath sinks
  • Remove childproofing from receptacles
  • Replace burnt out light bulbs
  • Install a new air filter in furnace
  • Have all gas, electricity & water shut offs turned on
    (Except for the exterior water during winter)
  • Put your downspouts down
  • Remove storage away from the furnace, hot water tank and electrical panel
  • Make sure the attic hatch is accessible. Cover clothes and items beneath with plastic poly if you are worried about the insulation mess
  • Remove pets from the home
  • Remove laundry and dishes from your machines as they will be tested
  • Fix any issues that you are aware of
  • Leave out invoices for important previous repair
Accurate Home Inspection Calgary

Dishwasher Cleaning & Maintenance

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We often don’t think about cleaning the machine that cleans our dishes, though unfortunately, foot, dirt and debris can build up over time reducing the effectiveness of the dishwasher. It can be frustrating running your dishwasher to clean your dishes, only to have to re-clean them afterwards to remove hardened on flakes of food. Or should we miss inspecting glass dishes in the light, we may risk the embarrassment of serving guests drinks in a dirty glass! These concerns led me to look into how to properly clean and maintenance our dishwasher to help avoid those issues.

How To Clean Your Dishwasher

1. Be sure to keep up on your dishwasher’s rinse aid. Most dishwashers now have a gauge to help monitor the levels of dishwasher air left in your system, if not, as a general rule it is good to top up every couple months, depending on your usage.

2. Fill your sink up half full of water and add 2 cups of White Vinegar. This can be used to soak and clean dishwasher parts and accessories. Vinegar is a safe, natural and effective cleaning agent to remove water build up and disinfectant. Another option is a dishwasher cleaning agent, or lemon juice.

 3. Remove racks and utensil holders for cleaning and to allow yourself access to the other areas of the dishwasher. If they fit, add them into your vinegar cleaning solution or use a cloth or toothbrush with the cleaning solution from your sink to clean.

4. Clean the holes of the spinning arms. Inspect the holes in the spinning arms of your dishwasher to ensure that they are clean and clear from build up or food. These holes need to be clear in order for the dishwasher to run efficiently. To clean these holes use something fine pointed such as a toothpick, needle-nose pliers, or wire with a hook at the end – though be sure to take your time and be careful to not scratch or damage your spinning arms. Start at the holes furthest away from the center, and work your way towards to center.

5. Wipe the dishwasher’s gasket, walls and door sides. These areas do not get cleaned during a washing cycle, so to eliminate odors and build up it is helpful to regularly wipe the sides and edges of your dishwasher. You can use your sink’s solution or a mild spray cleaner to clean these areas. Remember to do the bottom of the door as it can gather debris. Be sure to take time to clean the gasket in the base of your dishwasher, scrub brushes or toothbrushes would be a useful tool in this area.

You can also get a deeper clean by removing the cover, if you do so, be sure to take pictures during disassembly to ensure proper reassembly.

 6. Last Step! Run a ‘Cleaning’ cycle. After you replace all the parts, you can finish off with running your empty dishwasher on low with 2 cups of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher. Halfway through, pause your cycle for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the vinegar to soak.

If you have an odor issue, you can sprinkle 0.5-1 cup of baking soda and run the dishwasher as normal.

Step #6 is great to do periodically as a mini cleaning for your dishwasher.

Please note: Refer to your dishwasher’s manual for specific instructions and information as each dishwasher is unique in some way.

Top 3 Tips to Help Your Dishwasher Run Better

  1. Scrape your dishes before. Sure you don’t want to waste the water and time rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, though scraping the excess food is worthwhile. This goes a long way in reducing the amount of food scraps stuck on your dishes after a washing cycle, and prevents the trap from getting filled up faster.
  2. Don’t overload the dishwasher. It can be tempting to fit all your dirty dishes into the washer rather than waiting for the next load, though keep in mind it is better to wait or wash a couple items by hand rather than having to re-run the dishwasher or hand wash dishes after a washing cycle.
  3. Use the correct cycle. It can be tempting to use a shorter cycle, or an eco-wash cycle to save time, water and energy costs, though these may not be appropriate for each wash. It depends on how dirty your dishes are for that particular cycle.

 

Important Questions to Ask During Your Home Inspection

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At Bocc Home Inspections we like to help educate our clients on the important items of their new home. We do this through including tips and photographs in the report, marking important shut offs with custom tags, demonstrating how and where the following items are within each home.

Here is a list of questions we suggest to ask during your home inspection:

  • Grading: Is the grade around my entire home sloped away from my foundation walls and window wells?
  • Smoke alarms: How do I test the smoke detector?
  • Ventilation: What is a ventilation switch? Should it be on or off? How does it work with the heating system?
  • Furnace: Where is the disconnect breaker or switch located for the furnace?
  • Water: Where is the main water shut off? Kitchen and bathroom sink water shut off (if present)? Toilet water shut off?
  • Electrical: Where is the electrical panel? How do I turn breakers on and off and how do I reset them?
  • Detectors: Where are the smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, arc fault circuit interrupters and ground fault circuit interrupters? Where are the instruction manuals that are provided with these devices?
  • Eavestroughs: Are the eavestrough down spouts connected and directed away from my home and not towards my neighbour?

At Bocc Home Inspections we like to answer these questions and provide tips on these extra things to help ensure our clients can have a healthy and sound home, Because Our Company Cares For first time home buyers we also include a home maintenance manual as an extra resource for their journey of homeownership.

Easy Guide to Staining Your Deck and Fence

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Easy Guide to Staining your Deck and Fence

Applying a wood treatment such as a stain or paint help prolong the life of your exterior wood by protecting it from the sun’s rays and moisture. Skipping maintenance on your exterior wood you risk having the wood dry, crack, split, warp, turn grey and rot.

PREPPING TO STAIN

Sand
Adam’s favorite thing to do! Not… Sanding is never a good time, though it is very important to sand to avoid splinters if you have splitting and cracks in your deck. For a semi-transparent stain it is important to sand in the same direction of the wood’s grain to avoid the scratches & resulting staining lines caused from sanding against the grain. Therefore, a sanding puck or a belt sander would work better than an orbital sander. We rented a handheld belt sander from Home Depot for $16/4hrs or $23/24hrs and a 2-pack of belts for $15.

Clean
Whether your deck has been stained before or not it is important to clean the wood with a deck cleaner before staining. It took me awhile to wrap my head around this, as I was looking to save time by skipping this step as our deck hasn’t been stained before so I thought it would be considered cleaned. However, it helps open the pours, removes BBQ grease, dirt, and bits of grass or whatever may be in your deck or fence. With your fence it may be more difficult to spread the cleaner on, so I was told that you COULD wash the fence with your garden hose (NOT A PRESSURE WASHER – this will damage the fibres of the wood) if it hasn’t been treated before. Though it is always best to use a wood cleaner on all exterior wood before painting/staining, nonetheless.

Tips for Applying a Wood Cleaner:
1. Spray the wood with your garden hose first
2. Apply the cleaner however you feel is best – could use a painting roller or pump sprayer. We chose to use a painting roller.
3. Scrub the cleaner on wood using a push broom.
4. Let sit for 15 Minutes.
5. Rinse off with garden hose.
6. Let it properly dry for 2 days before staining.

APPLY WOOD STAIN

Selecting Wood Paint/Treatment
You can go with a transparent, semi-transparent or solid color. If you prefer to see a wood grain you need to select a transparent or semi-transparent stain (this is what we chose!). For Alberta’s climate it is important to find a stain with good sunscreen properties and UV protection in order to extend the lifespan of your exterior wood. Having some waterproofing properties is important as well, though in Alberta we don’t get tons of rain so I was told this is less of a priority. When you have higher water-resistant stain you will likely have a glossier and more smooth of a coating on top which will make your deck more slippery, especially when there is snow on top of it. With us having kiddos we are going to choose one that is less glossy in order to prevent falls and accidents.

Stain/Paint
For solid stains or paints you could use a roller to apply, with following up with a brush to get the stain into the cracks and seams. With a semi-transparent stain you will want to use a brush to apply the stain on the wood. It is best to complete a piece of wood then move onto the next in order to have the stain blend nicely in. Be cautious around siding when applying the paint, you may like to use green painters tape to prevent paint and splashes from getting on your siding. Be sure to apply 2 coats, this helps your color and wood protection to last longer. It should be able to last 1-3 years.

After all that hard work, be sure to pour yourself a cold one and enjoy your beautiful deck/fence!