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Spring Maintenance Checklist

March 6th, 2018 | Comments Off on Spring Maintenance Checklist | Posted in Family Health & Safety

Too many homeowners believe spring maintenance is all about the cleaning. Sure, spring cleaning comprises a big chunk of any spring home maintenance schedule, but maintenance aimed at various structures, appliances, and systems within the home is, arguably, just as important. Nearly all homeowners love to see spotless windows for that first sunny, 70-degree day, but you can’t forget your roof and the possibility that ice dams formed over the winter. Indeed, just as much as that first spring day should provide an excuse to go for a hike or a picnic, it should also provide a reminder that your outdoor spring maintenance is waiting. Follow this spring maintenance checklist to ensure your home is in optimal condition for the rest of the year.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

  • Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.
     
  • Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.
     
  • Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and recaulk needed area.
     
  • Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.
     
  • Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
     
  • Drain waste and vent system: Flush out system.
     
  • Hot water heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor.
     
  • Evaporative air conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.
     
  • Heat pump: Lubricate blower motor.
     
  • Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If you can slide a nickle into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a professional immediately.
     
  • Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Perform a thorough cleaning. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.
     
  • Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.
     
  • Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.
     
  • Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.
     

The History of Saint Patrick

March 6th, 2018 | Comments Off on The History of Saint Patrick | Posted in U-Tube

Roadside Emergency Kit

March 2nd, 2018 | Comments Off on Roadside Emergency Kit | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Technology to Improve Home Safety

March 2nd, 2018 | Comments Off on Technology to Improve Home Safety | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

As a homeowner, one of your top priorities is keeping your property and family safe from intruders. With the advent of smart homes and new technology, home security is easier and more affordable than ever.

The following are some new technologies that can protect you and your loved ones from criminals:

  • Doorbell cameras—Doorbell cameras are a great way to see who is at the door before you open it. This is especially useful if you have children who are frequently home alone.
  • Smart door locks—Smart door locks allow you to lock or unlock your doors remotely. This can be helpful if you forget to lock your doors before you leave the house.
  • Motion sensors—Homeowners can attach motion sensors to doors and windows. Even the slightest movement can trigger these devices and alert you to intruders.

Above all, it’s important to have a strong security system in place. These systems should include Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, smart smoke detectors and an alarm system that notifies the authorities in an emergency.

Read the complete inSIGHTS newsletter here.

Eating Healthy ? Expensive

March 2nd, 2018 | Comments Off on Eating Healthy ? Expensive | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

 

Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

 

Eating a well-balanced diet is a key component in living a long, healthy life. Many Americans think that eating healthy means they have to empty their wallets, which isn’t necessarily the truth. Keep the following money-saving tips in mind next time you’re grocery shopping:

  1. Make a weekly meal plan. Before you go to the store, think about what meals and snacks you want for the week. Read recipes thoroughly so you can make an accurate list of everything you need, reducing the risk that you’ll have to run back to the store later in the week.
     
  2. Create a list—and stick to it. Make a detailed list of what you need to buy before you go to the store. When you get to the store, don’t buy anything besides what’s on the list.
     
  3. Plan where you’re going to shop. Many grocery stores run sales or offer coupons on various healthy foods. Check out the ads and plan your grocery list around what’s on sale.
     
  4. Shop seasonally. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually easier to get and may be a lot less expensive. Click here for a list of what’s in season.
     
  5. Cook at home as often as possible. Many foods prepared at home are cheaper and more nutritious. Go back to the basics and find a few simple and healthy recipes that your family enjoys.
View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Festival : Peak Bloom Predicted

March 2nd, 2018 | Comments Off on Festival : Peak Bloom Predicted | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

March 2018 Festivals and Events

March 2nd, 2018 | Comments Off on March 2018 Festivals and Events | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

The Washington, DC area and its surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia host lots of annual festivals and special events. All dates, prices, and activities mentioned are subject to change, so please check the official website or call to confirm information. Please note that most of these events are held each year and the dates are updated as available.

  • Francophonie Cultural Festival  – Throughout March 2018. Learn about French culture through a variety of concerts, theatrical performances, films, culinary tastings, literary salons, children’s workshops, and more.  Washington DC hosts the largest Francophone festival in the world.
     
  • Washington Wizards Basketball – See NBA games live at the Capital One Arena or enjoy the national broadcasts throughout the season.
     
  • Washington Capitals – The NHL Hockey team plays at the Capital One Arena. Find information on tickets, schedules and more.
     
  • Women’s History Month – March is Women’s History Month. Washington, DC is the home to the many important sites that are dedicated to preserving and honoring the contributions of women. This month is a great time to visit these museums and historical sites.
     
  • Alexandria Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – March 3, 2018. Old Town Alexandria celebrates the Irish holiday with a classic car show, a dog show and a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Elected officials; the Irish Ambassador; military commanders; and other local celebrities participate along with local scouts, marines and high school bands.
     
  • Frederick Restaurant Week – 2018 Dates to Be Announced. The 7-day promotion features fixed-price lunch and dinner options in the city of Frederick, Maryland and the surrounding area.
     
  • NBC4’s Health and Fitness Expo – March 10-11, 2018. Washington DC Convention Center. The annual event offers fun activities to motivate you to take charge of your health. Try a new sport such as golf, skiing or snowboarding with the virtual simulators. Check your body mass index, take a heart risk test, learn about ergonomics and much more.
     
  • Rock and Roll Marathon – March 10, 2018, The Marathon is a 26.2 mile, 13.1 mile or 5K race to raise money for charitable organizations. A Health and Fitness Expo will be held on March 10-11.
     
  • Saint Patrick’s Day Parades – Dates vary by location. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at a parade in Washington, DC, Alexandria, Virginia or Gaithersburg, Maryland. Enjoy a day of Irish music, dancing and fun. See also Irish Restaurants and Pubs
     
  • DC Environmental Film Festival – March 15-25, 2018.Times and locations vary. See documentary, feature, animated, archival, experimental and children’s films from around the world at a variety of venues around Washington, DC.
     
  • National Shamrock Festival – March 17, 2018, 1-9 p.m. RFK Stadium, Washington DC. Enjoy a day of family fun at the largest Saint Patrick’s Day party and street festival in the DC area featuring more than 50 live bands.
     
  • White House Easter Egg Roll Lottery – 2018 Dates to Be Announced. Don’t miss your chance to attend the White House Easter Egg Roll. Enter the lottery for free tickets. 
     
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival – March 20 – April 15, 2018. See the blossoming of thousands of cherry trees on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. The capital welcomes spring with this annual tradition begun by the gift of 600 trees to the United States from Japan in 1912. Don’t miss the parade, kite festival, concerts, fireworks and cultural events.
     
  • CineMatsuri – Japanese Film Festival – 2018 Dates to Be Announced. The festival will screen five recent Japanese films, each in a different genre, that showcase the diversity and richness of Japanese film making today.
     
  • Annapolis Film Festival – March 22-25, 2018. The Annapolis Film Festival will showcase more than 70 African-American and African films with a focus on black storytelling.
     
  • Marine Corps 17.75K – March 24, 2018. Prince William County, VA. The unique 17.75K distance of 11.03 miles will be held just outside Marine Corps Base Quantico taking runners on a course along the wooded paths and scenic roads of Prince William Forest Park.
     
  • Spring Theater in Washington DC – Check out the spring theater scene in Washington DC. With dozens of performances around the capital region, here is the schedule of the top shows for the 2018 season.
     
  • Blossom Kite Festival – March 31, 2018. As part of the festivities at the National Cherry Blossom Festival, kite enthusiasts compete and show off their kite flying skills on the National Mall in Washington, DC.