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Curb Appeal Tips in New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

Obviously, the first thing a prospective buyer sees when they drive up to your house is the front outdoor space and exterior.  First impressions can make or break a sale! Bring your curb appeal to life with a few easy and easy-on-the-budget ideas. 

 

  • - Use a long-handled soft brush and mild soap and water to wash the front of your home’s exterior.   

  • - If you don’t own a pressure washer, rent one from your local home store and give the driveways and walkways a good cleaning, paying special attention to stains from fallen leaves. 

  • - Store away any personal items you have in the front garden, like statuary, monogram garden flags, and even the basketball goal over the garage door.  You want the buyers to imagine your yard as their own. 

  • - Trim or remove shrubbery and trees, or large plantings that don’t show off the front of your home.  If the job is too big, a professional may need to be called in. 

  • - Give the front door a fresh coat of paint in a bright inviting color, add a new welcome mat, and if necessary, install new hardware and clean up or add new house numbers. 

  • - Simply changing your old porch or yard light sconces can make a big difference in appearance, as most homes are shown during the day, but many house hunters drive around in the evenings, looking at homes on their want list, so you want the lighting to shine bright. 

  • - If you don’t want to invest in a lot of flowers in the landscape in hopes that you will be moving soon, cover the beds with new mulch.  For some color, place pots and containers in strategic areas filled with flowers and greenery. 

  • - On a large front porch, add a sitting area with an indoor-outdoor rug and casually arranged porch furnishings.   

  • - Fencing adds value to your home, but it needs to be in great condition.  Clean the fence, painting and repairing where needed. 

  • - Don’t forget the mailbox!  Inspect the post and mailbox itself carefully, and give it a good cleaning, or replace it altogether.  Some low maintenance plants around it will make it stand out. 

 

You want your home to give your potential buyers a great impression when they drive up.  They will likely have already scrolled through your home’s photos in the online listing, so it needs to look as great or better than what they’ve already seen.  These tips may seem insignificant to you, but look at your home through a buyer’s eyes, and do whatever is necessary to turn that first impression into a sale! 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins

 

Photo credit: kiplinger.com

Overlooked Spring Cleaning Jobs

by Tucker Robbins

Spring cleaning is a time-honored, worldwide tradition of sorts.  For centuries, humans have been opening their windows and doors when the warm weather returns, allowing the long daylight hours inside, and cleaning everything in sight.  Thankfully, we don’t have to wipe through a Winter’s worth of soot-covered furniture and windows, but for many, deep cleaning is a must this time of year.  Some cleaning jobs are obvious, but there may be a few things to add to your list. 

 

In the Kitchen 

  • - Refrigerator coils can gather lots of dust and pet hair, along with spills from the fridge.  Getting the coils cleaned as much as possible can make a difference in how well your refrigerator motor runs.  Check with your appliance’s manufacturer website for the best way to perform this task. 
     

  • - The dishwasher doesn’t get dirty, because it’s a washer, right? While they clean, dishwashers can have greasy build up. With vinegar, baking soda, and a bit of elbow grease, Wikihow shows us how to get the dishwasher itself to help us get it sparkling clean and smelling sweet. 
     

  • - Herbs and spices are often overlooked while cleaning pantry shelves.  McCormickⓇ reports that whole spices last 3-4 years, 2-3 years for ground spices, and herbs have a shorter life of 1-3 years.  Check the freshness date on the container, and if it’s within that time frame, keep it.  If not, throw it away and restock your spice rack. 
     

  • - Don’t neglect the freezer compartment when you’re wiping down the fridge.  A mixture of equal parts of hot water and white vinegar to wipe down the door, seal and inside will take care of the grime, and help with any lingering food odors.  Before you refill the freezer with food, go through it and toss anything that looks freezer burnt. 

 

The Bathroom 

  • - Give your toothbrushes a good clean.  Pour about an inch of antibacterial mouthwash into a cup and soak the bristles in the mouthwash for about five minutes, and rinse. If you use a toothbrush holder, wash it in warm soapy water and allow to air dry before returning the toothbrushes.
     

  • - Bathroom exhaust fans can collect dust like ceiling fans, and the buildup affects how well it exhausts the humidity warm showers cause.  Danny Lipford of Today’s Homeowner has step-by-step instructions for getting your fan clean and running efficiently. 
     

  • - Many of us don’t think of cleaning hair and makeup brushes.  Remove loose hair from hairbrushes and combs, allow them to soak in warm water with some shampoo mixed in, and use an old toothbrush to scrub hairspray build up and body oils and rinse.  Makeup brushes should be soaked, given a lather, then rinsed in cool water.  Air-dry everything on a hand towel. 

 

The Rest of the House 

  • - Light fixtures get grimy and dusty, so covers should be removed after turning off the circuit breaker and washed in warm soapy water then air dried on a thick towel.
      
     

  • - Remove mattresses, vacuuming both sides, and if possible, prop them in the sunlight for a few hours.  The sun’s rays freshen and can kill some germs. When you replace them on the beds, make sure the mattress is flipped and rotated from its original position.   
     

  • - HVAC registers should be vacuumed, using the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner.   

  • - Curtains and blinds collect a lot of dust, but are usually washable, so check the manufacturer’s information before you toss them in the washer or clean them.   
     

  • - Once your deep clean is complete, take care to wash or clean brooms, mop heads and dusters, as this simple move will help your home stay fresher as you do your regular cleaning. 
     

     

Hopefully, the season of Earth coming back to life will encourage you to get everything in your home spic and span.  Spread it out over a few days or weekends, making lists to stay organized and on task, so the job won’t overwhelm you.  Don’t forget to get the family involved!  Once everything is gleaming, you can enjoy the coming months more, knowing your home is clean, and the job is done for another year. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins

 

Photo credit: housebeautiful.com

Home Decorating and Design Trends for 2018 for New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

A new year means that new home decorating and design trends are being featured in magazines, on blogs, and at home shows.  If you like to stay on top of the newest ideas and get an itch to get to the paint store when you see the most recent magazine layouts, here are just a few of things that are trending now. 

 

  • - In spite of what we see on house flipping television shows, the open floor plan is losing some popularity.  People are starting to define their open spaces with small partitions, paint, and other clever ways. 
     

  • - Natural things like wood, botanical prints and florals are still hot.  Wood is still king in the flooring department, and wallpapers and fabrics will be featuring natural prints. 
     

  • - For kitchen countertops, quartz is moving up the ranks because of its beauty and ease of care--it doesn’t need sealing like marble and granite, and it’s also heat resistant. 
     

  • - Accent walls are painted in bold colors, or covered with wood or bold-printed wallpapers. 
     

  • - Metallic pieces are making a comeback.  Finishes in brass and even stainless black are taking over stainless steel and brushed nickel.  Good thing that mixed metals are an acceptable look. 
     

  • - Larger tile on floors and backsplashes are coming in style, but the classic subway tile is still number one because of the clean, classic look it has. 
     

  • - Concrete is showing up in unusual places, like flooring and walls.   
     

  • - Smart technology is being integrated into almost every room of the house, including the bathroom

     

    -Vanity mirrors with smart screens built in, chromatherapy, and touch-free fixtures are becoming more popular and affordable.   

     

    - Trends in lighting are still leaning towards the vintage look, but pendants are especially stylish, and brass is the new brushed nickel. 

     

    The definition of trend, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a prevailing tendency or inclination; a general movement.”  In other words, trends are temporary, even if they last for years. Make it easy on yourself if you love a new look, and try a few ideas in your home, but don’t undergo a complete remodeling to meet today’s en vogue styles.  Stick to easily changeable trends, such as throw pillows, slipcovers, paint, and wall coverings.

     

     

    Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

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    Photo credit: lampsplus.com

Tax Tips for New Homeowners in New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

It’s tax time, and many dread the prep and thought of paying them.  There are some deductions homeowners can take, so if this is your first time filing as a homeowner, make sure you get the maximum tax benefits out of your new home. 

 

  • - Homeowners can claim their mortgage interest for a tax deduction. On the chance that you’re using tax return software, it will calculate your deduction after you answer questions about your home purchase.  If you’d rather use an accountant or tax prep service to help you, they can answer all your questions. 
     

  • - If you moved more than fifty miles because of your job, or starting a new one, your expenses are tax deductible.  There are some time stipulations as well, according to number one in this guide from taxact.com;  make sure you meet the requirements before taking this deduction.
     

  • - Making your home more energy efficient by installing a solar energy system or solar water heater make you eligible for a thirty percent credit for parts and labor.  Unfortunately, the credit for geothermal heat pumps and small wind turbines has expired. https://www.energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit 
     

  • - Are you self-employed and use a room or section of your living area for a home office?  There’s a deduction for that.  The IRS has a couple of requirements, and if you don’t want to go through figuring up the standard deduction, they offer a simplified deduction, but choose which method takes more off your tax responsibility. 
     

  • - Did you pay “points” to the bank to get a better interest rate? If so, that money is tax deductible. Since points are usually 1% of your home loan, if your loan was $250,000, your tax break would be $2,500 for paying down one point. 
     

  • - Any property taxes are tax deductible, beginning the official date that you purchase the home, which is usually on your settlement statement you receive at closing. 
     

  • - Hopefully, this hasn’t happened in your first year in your new home, but if you’ve had something unfortunate happen that insurance didn’t cover, there is a casualty loss deduction for out-of-pocket expenses.  The repair cost must be more than 10% of your gross income. 

 

Don’t let all this information scare you away from doing your own taxes!  No matter how you decide to file, gather everything you would normally use to file taxes, but make sure you have the 1098 mortgage interest form from the lender, property tax receipts, and any paperwork you saved from the casualty loss repairs or alternative energy installments. Home ownership has many benefits for the homeowner, and you should take advantage of every penny you have worked so hard for to put into your new home. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: realtor.com

Getting Organized on a Budget for New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

Your dream closet comes complete with drawers, shoe shelves, a complete vanity and a hefty price tag. Other organizational organizing gadgets and pieces can cost quite a bit as well, but there are a multitude of ways to get organized without spending a lot 

 

Closets 

  • - A chain plant hanger is perfect for hanging shirts and blouses to save valuable room.  Chains also come in a variety of sizes and finishes, and is available year-round at most hardware stores. 

  • - Mount a short curtain rod on the inside of the closet door to hang scarves, and use clip-style curtain rings to hang hats and gloves in the Winter. 

  • - Tension rods placed at top and bottom of your closet can extend your hanging space for lighter items, like blouses and shirts. Or add shower curtain hooks to keep purses, scarves or ties handy.  

  • This use of tension rods for shoe storage is awesome and easy! 

  • - A large piece of sturdy wire mesh from a hardware or farm supply store, and even pegboard cut to fit any spare wall space in your closet can be installed virtually flat. S-hooks make perfect hangers awkward-shaped items, and ties and scarves can be stored flat. 

  • - Closet space can vary, and if you’ve already utilized every inch, consider a wardrobe.  Scan online yard sale groups, flea markets and auctions for inexpensive pieces, add some paint to compliment your decor, and you have a custom wardrobe! 

 

In the Kitchen 

  • - A clean egg carton or small muffin tin is perfect for keeping things organized in the catch-all drawer. 

  • - If your cabinets make it hard to find pots and pans that you need, consider hanging them! Pot racks can be made from many things, and if you’re feeling a project coming on, here’s a great DIY pallet rack to try! 

  • - Use inexpensive dollar store baskets in your pantry for pull-out organization of cans, spices and baking items.  The baskets keep them neat, and easy to get to. 

  • - An unused cookie jar is perfect for keeping cooking utensils handy and out of a junky drawer. 

  • - A wall file-holder attached to the inside of a cabinet door is transformed into a plastic container lid holder. 

  • - Mount a long piece of magnetic tape to your backsplash to hold knives and other often-used utensils for easy access. (Make sure the kids can’t reach them, though!) 

 

Bedrooms 

  • - Use a bookshelf as a headboard to create space for books, (obviously), remotes, glasses, morning medicines or display items. 

  • - Under-the-bed storage is essential for seasonal clothes, shoes, toys, old photos--anything you don’t use daily.  Suitcases, old dresser drawers (with adhesive felt or wheels on the bottom), inexpensive plastic storage containers, and vacuum-sealed storage bags make the most of this space. 

  • - Is your makeup kept in a jumbled drawer or cosmetic bag? This DIY magnetic makeup board is a great way to keep it handy and easy to find. 

  • - The kids’ toys can stay better organized by using baskets in bookshelves, open shelving on their level, and benches with storage.  

 

Getting organized is on many New Year resolution lists, and if you’re serious about it, start by decluttering, and using what you can afford or DIY to make it happen.  Putting the home in order can be pretty, practical, and even cheap! 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Photo credit: care2.com

Safely Decorating with Outdoor Lights

by Tucker Robbins

It’s time to get the holiday house decorating in high gear, and you may have bought new light strands, but plan on mixing them with ones you have, or adding LED lights.  Safety is important this time of year, and making the days merry and the nights bright means taking a few precautions. 

 

  • 1. Check your old lights for frayed wires, nicks or cuts along the outer cord, and broken bulbs. Broken bulbs can be replaced, but toss the frayed strands, or those with cuts. 
     

  • 2. Decorating the exterior of your house means the lights you use must be made for outdoors.  Check the packaging or tag on the string to make certain. 

  •  

  • 3. Use clips or hangers that are UL-approved--do NOT nail, tack, or staple lights to any fixture. 
     

  • 4. If you’d like to light a tree in your yard, make absolute certain no power lines run through the branches, and keep any lighting at least ten feet from power lines. 
     

  • 5. Make sure your extension cords are specifically made for outdoor use, and have a three-pronged ground plug.  Your receptacle should be a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet in case of electrical overload, it will shut off power.  Portable outdoor GFCI’s are available for very little cost at Amazon. 
     

  • 6. Read and heed all labels when it comes to connecting strings of lights.  If the label says only three can be connected to one another, start a new chain of lights after the third strand is in place.  Also keep in mind that only strands with the same number of bulbs should be connected--in other words, don’t connect a 100-strand with two 25-strands. 
     

  • 7. Keep extension cords away from high-traffic areas, and out from under welcome mats or pavers. 
     

  • 8. Many people start decorating long before Christmas, but be aware that most non-commercial light strands are only safely exposed to the elements for 90 days.  Any longer, and deterioration to the insulation will begin.   
     

  • 9. Avoid using a metal ladder if you’re having to get up high with your lights--use wooden or fiberglass instead. 
     

  • 10. Never leave lights on when you’re not at home, or asleep.   
     

  • 11. If you’re considering adding LED’s to your holiday display, make sure you don’t mix connecting with incandescent.  Going all-LED will be costlier upon start-up, but will save money on your power bill, as well as in replacement costs--LED’s can last up to twenty years. 

 

You don’t want a friendly neighborhood competition to turn into disaster, nor do you want a classic Clark Griswold power outage at home.  Know your home’s electrical limits, and use common sense and care while you’re decorating. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: laserchristmaslightshq.com/

Preventing Pests in Your Home

by Tucker Robbins

We normally associate pests and insects with Summer time, but now is a good time to think about what you can do to prevent creepy crawlers coming in to your home. It’s a simple matter of checking the outside as well as the inside, and staying ahead of them. 

 

Exterior 

  • 1. When you mulch plants, keep it from piling up against the house’s foundation. Insects can use the mulch for overwintering, but if you could add a border of rock or stone between the mulch and the house, or even use cedar mulch, it would discourage pests. 

  • 2. Inspect your foundation carefully for cracks or holes, as well as places where utility pipes and wires enter your home.  Cover or fill them with wire screen mesh, cement, or metal flashing. 

  • 3. Outside lights, when left on, draw flying insects, but if you can change the bulbs from incandescent to halogen, they are less attracted to the glow.  

  • 4. Check doors and windows for openings and seal them with caulking or weather-stripping, and repair any holes in your screens.

  • 5. Keep trash cans and surrounding areas clean, and make sure lids fit tight. Recyclables should be rinsed well, and container lids put back on before tossing them in the recycle bin. 

  • 6. If you have anything that can retain water, empty it as often as possible, and use a larvicide in your landscape’s water features.   

  • 7. If you use firewood, store it away from your home, at least thirty feet. 

  • 8. Gutters should be cleaned periodically, not only for their efficiency, but to help keep pests from making a home in the debris. 

 

Interior 

  • 1. The most important pest prevention tip for the inside of your home is cleanliness.  Keep crumbs off the counters and floors, clean food messes immediately, and keep food consumption limited to the kitchen. Wash up dishes before going to bed at night.  

  • 2. Storing open food in plastic containers with lids or plastic storage bags will lessen the chances of pests finding it. 

  • 3. Check stored grains, (flour, sugar, cornmeal), often, and discard it as soon as the expiration date passes.  Storing these in a sealed container is best. 

  • 4. Pet food is best kept in a storage container with a tight-fitting lid. 

  • 5. Keep inside garbage in a trash can fitted with a bag, and keep the lid closed. Remove the bag to the outside can as soon as it’s full. 

  • 6. Vacuum carpets frequently, especially if you have pets.  They can bring in little hitch hikers when they come in from being outdoors. 

  • 7. Inspect all baseboards, and replace or repair them if they’re broken, and walls should be checked for holes, and repaired as soon as possible. 

 

 

If you see pests in or out of your home, it’s best to call a professional to address the problem, and do it quickly so you don’t suffer an infestation.  Once you know you’re clear of bugs, it only takes a few minutes each week to keep them from feeling at home in your home.  

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: www.gopherthekill.com

 

Caring for Your Laminate Wood Flooring!

by Tucker Robbins

Choosing laminate wood flooring for a home is a really good decision for a homeowner.  Laminate flooring has come a long way since its beginning a few decades ago, with better quality, ease of installment, and varieties to choose from--you can even get laminate to look like stone! Caring for this manufactured product can be tricky, but with the right cleaning and care, it can look great for years to come.  

 

Protecting the Floor 

 

  • 1. Laminate flooring isn’t real wood--it’s an image of wood adhered to fiberboard, with a bottom that is moisture damage-resistant. It is covered with a clear protectant that is hard enough to protect it from scratching and pitting. 

  • 2. Although it is made to prevent moisture damage, it still needs to be protected from liquids.  Any spills need to be cleaned up as quickly and thoroughly as possible. 

  • 3. The top layer of sealant is there to protect the floor, but if the dining room chairs are constantly pulled from the table, put some felt pads on the legs to prevent any scratching. 

  • 4. Other pieces of furniture that don’t get moved often still may need something under the legs, and felt pads or newer style plastic casters work perfectly for heavier pieces. 

  • 5. High traffic areas are best protected with area rugs and runners.  Be sure to use a gripper mat or tape underneath rugs to prevent slipping. 

  • 6. Even though laminate is great for homes with pets, they can still get scratched in extreme situations.  Keep pet’s toenails trimmed to prevent this. Pet accidents need to be cleaned immediately to prevent moisture damage and stains. 

  • 7. Some toys with sharp edges can dent or pit the floor, so they should be used with care, or in places protected with area rugs. 

  • 8. Sometimes an area of the floor can get damaged, and the best solution is to call the manufacturer to get their advice.  Most even sell repair kits for small DIY jobs. 

 

Keeping It Clean 

 

  • 1. The first defense in keeping any floor clean is a mat on both sides of a door that leads outside.  A “no shoes” policy could even be put in place to keep even more dirt out, as well as preventing scuff marks. 

  • 2. Removing dirt and small particles is best done on laminate floors with a microfiber cloth or mop.  Sweeping with a broom can scratch the surface over time, and usually doesn’t get all of the dirt, anyway.  Many styles of reusable and washable cloth floor cleaners are available and are perfect for laminate. 

  • 3. Electric sweepers are also excellent for vacuuming dirt and pet hair.  Make sure any vacuum-type sweeper has a gentle brush motion.  Too heavy, and it can scratch. 

  • 4. Mopping can create streaks because of too much detergent in the cleaner. The best solution for mopping grime or sticky spills is using two parts warm water, one part white vinegar, a few drops of dishwashing liquid, and a drop or two of lemon essential oil.  The essential oil helps keep the vinegar odor down, but that smell fades quickly.  Mix this in a spray bottle, and spray each area as you mop.  The less liquid used, the better for the floor. 

  • 5. In case of streaks, use a microfiber cloth or cloth diaper to buff the floor.  These are best for a great shine on the floor. Never use dusting spray, as it can cause floors to be slippery. 

 

 

Laminate flooring can be an asset to a home, without the expense and extra work a hardwood floor can bring. Without a lot of extra cost, the flooring can look new for many years, as long as attention is paid to its care and cleaning.  

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: www.desmetoxbow.com

Fall Gardening Tips

by Tucker Robbins

For most gardeners and those who love to work in the yard, it is time to tidy things up to prepare for cold weather. It’s the best time to prepare for next year, even though the next planting season is months away.  Get to work for a head start on Spring. 

 

Vegetable Garden 

  • 1. If you still have tomatoes or peppers ripening, either take up the plants and hang in a cool place to let them ripen on the vine, or protect them from frost with burlap or row covering over their stakes. 

  • 2. If you have cool weather plants, make sure they’re getting plenty of water, and leaving them to grow until after frost makes them taste better!  

  • 3. Clean up all dead or dying plant debris, because it can cause diseases and help insects that like to overwinter in the rotting vegetation.  If you don’t have a compost pile, now is a good time to start one with healthy debris. If it looks diseased, discard it or burn it. 

  • 4. Fallen leaves can provide essential nutrients to your garden soil.  Once they have been raked, spread them over your garden so they can decompose, and till them into the soil come Spring. 

  • 5. Adding lime to the garden soil is best done in the Fall.  Take a soil sample to your local extension office for a free soil test so you’ll know how much you need to add. 

  • 6. Cut back perennial herbs, and freeze or dry them for winter cooking. 

  • 7. Think about adding a cover crop.  Cover crops add nutrients to the soil, and prevent soil erosion.  Find a list for your region at https://www.almanac.com/content/cover-crops-us 

  • 8. Before storing garden tools, remove all dirt and debris, then spray with a 10:1 mix of water and bleach.  After they dry, oil tools that have moving parts, make any repairs that may be needed, and hang them out of traffic areas in your shed or garage. 

 

Landscaping 

  • 1. Plant trees and shrubs in the Fall.  The cooler temps and onset of dormancy gives them the perfect opportunity to establish their root systems. They still need plenty of water, so make sure you keep them hydrated.  

  • 2. Apply fertilizer to your lawn, and aerate it as well. Walking behind the fertilizer spreader in spike-soled shoes is a great way to do these two important things at once.   

  • 3. The last time you mow, keep the level at 1¼”.  This will keep leaves from settling on your lawn, as well prevent disease and insect over-wintering. 

  • 4. Cut back your perennials in the flower beds, mulch them well, and divide tuberous plants like daylilies and irises.  <span class="SpellingError SCXW154508354" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; user-select: text; -webkit-user-drag: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-repeat: repeat-x; background-position: left bottom; background-image: url(" data:image="" gif;base64,r0lgodlhbqaeajecap="" 8aaaaaaaaaach5baeaaaialaaaaaafaaqaaaiilgaxcchrtcgaow="=&quot;);" border-bottom:="" 1px="" solid="" transparent;"="">Hostas also benefit from a Fall division.   

  • 5. If you have any young plants or trees, mulch well around them to protect them from freezing once the thermometer drops. 

  • 6. Update container plantings with chrysanthemums, ornamental cabbages, pansies and interesting grasses.  These should take you through the Winter and provide interest and color for the drab days ahead. 

  • 7. Plant flower bulbs for a beautiful, maintenance-free Spring flowerbed.  Daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, and crocuses will provide color for weeks. 

 

Getting your garden and yard ready for Winter not only makes things look better, but it will certainly help once Spring gets here. The weather can be unpredictable come March and April, so take advantage of the cool, long days of Fall to prepare for next year’s growing season. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: Pinterest

Winterizing Your Pool

by Tucker Robbins

A backyard pool used to be a luxury.  Thanks to modern technology and lower prices, a swimming pool is a common sight.  Properly winterizing a swimming pool may take a few hours, but it’s worth taking care of your investment. 

 

In-Ground Pool 

  • 1. Remove any toys and floats, and clean all debris from the pool, skimmer and pump basket.   

  • 2. Remove ladders or other equipment.  If the ladders aren’t removable, you’ll have to cut your cover to fit.  This may negate the warranty, so check the label and cover instructions before you cut. 

  • 3. Test your water, and add the proper chemicals for your pool’s size. Check labels on packaging for proper mixing and distribution instructions.   

  • 4. Backwash the pump, and blow out the pipes according to manufacturer’s directions. 

  • 5. Lay your cover out on one long side of the pool, and place empty water tube weights in their loop holders.  Fill the tubes completely.   

  • 6. After the tubes are in place on one side, you may need the help of another person to pull the cover corners across the width of the pool.  Add water tubes to the remaining sides and fill. 

  • 7. If you invest in a leaf net, it will save the main pool cover from damage from rotting leaves, plus save your from extra cleaning when it’s time to open the pool again.  Put the leaf net in place over the cover and attach according to manufacturer’s instructions.   

  • 8. Once you are finished, walk around the pool to assure your cover is secure, and the pool surface is completely covered. 

 

Above Ground Pool 

  • 1. Follow the first three tips for in-ground pool winterizing. 

  • 2. Disconnect hoses, and drain the pump.  

  • 3. Draining a certain amount of water from the pool to protect the skimmer from cracking or breaking is an important step, but a winter skimmer plate installed over your skimmer can help you skip this step.  Drain the skimmer hose completely if you use a skimmer plate. 

  • 4. Fill the air pillow completely, and place it in the pool. 

  • 5. Pull the cover across the pool and air pillow. 

  • 6. Depending on whether there is a deck around your pool will determine what you need to secure the cover: if there’s a deck, use water tubes; use cover clips if your pool is deck-free. 

  • 7. Once you are finished, walk around the pool to assure your cover is secure, and the pool surface is completely covered. 

  • <span class="SpellingError SCXW212132132" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; user-select: text; -webkit-user-drag: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-repeat: repeat-x; background-position: left bottom; background-image: url(" data:image="" gif;base64,r0lgodlhbqaeajecap="" 8aaaaaaaaaach5baeaaaialaaaaaafaaqaaaiilgaxcchrtcgaow="=&quot;);" border-bottom:="" 1px="" solid="" transparent;"="">8. Intex above-ground pools and their parts need to be completely drained, disassembled and stored inside, especially in very cold climates.  In warmer areas, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for winterizing. 

 

There are downloadable/printable resources with specific step-by-step instructions for all kinds of pool care.  Undertaking this task can save money, but if you are unsure of what you’re doing, or don’t have time, call your local pool maintenance team to winterize for you. You want your Summer pool opening as problem-free as possible when hot weather arrives. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: Pool Guys of Palm Beach 

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Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)