Thursday, December 15, 2016

Now it's cold- BUT, what does your home think?

Now it's cold!- What is your home thinking? 

Quick, no cost ways to winterize your home. 


Well hello! Just like a thrown cup of cold water in the shower, the cold wind jolted me awake this morning while walking my dog at 5:30am.

Winter has descended on Maryland with a fury and it seems like just last week you could stroll around Baltimore with a light jacket.

If you haven't done so yet- you really need to make sure your home is winterized ASAP.

We surveyed Pros and Seasoned Homeowners for this one. Below are the most common tips to do immediately which all are NO COST:

Homeowner To Do List:

1. Winterize outdoor Faucets. (30 second video here)
2. Inspect roof and gutters (look for water pooling, leaks, damage) from both the outside and from inside your attic. *even if you had them cleaned, try to give it a quick look.
3. Winterize outdoor equipment: (power equipment and HVAC)*
4. Test and/ or get repairs to snowblowers now (not in January).*
5. Check smoke and C02 alarms and batteries.*
6. Put insulation inside or over-top of attic stairs/ access points.
7. If you have a sink or faucet with pipes on an exterior walls- open the cabinet doors underneath to allow warm air circulation. Consider keeping the faucet on a light drip. Check regularly to make sure water is running and not frozen.
8. Check to make sure all windows are closed and LOCKED- securely and tightly closed.
9. Even with a gas fireplace- make sure the fireplace flu is open and test surrounding CO2 alarms.
10. Check forced air vents to make sure they are all open. Unlike summer heat- you do not really want unused rooms getting too cold as this can cause frozen pipes even in neighboring rooms (see #5 below).


1. When winterizing outdoor HVAC equipment (not for Heat Pumps)- DO NOT cover the sides as this can trap moisture and cause rust. Just cover the top and securely fasten.

2. When winterizing power equipment, add a fuel saver to the gas tank. Close the gas valve on the bottom of the tank (small engines only), then run the engine until it cuts out (emptying the gas line from fuel). Check oil, grease, spray blades with a rust prevented (i.e. WD-40). RUN EQUIPMENT OUTDOORS TO PREVENT HARMFUL GAS FROM ACCUMULATING INSIDE YOUR HOME/ GARAGE.

3. A Smoke and CO2 alarm should at least be on every floor. Check Batteries. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN ALARM you can purchase a battery operated one from all Hardware Stores and even some local Pharmacies. You can also contact and get a free alarm from most local governments (call 611 in Baltimore City).

4. If a frozen pipe has been found cut the water to that pipe immediately- do you best to locate the area that is frozen. Open the faucet to release pressure and determine whether or not the pipe has ruptured, only then consider thawing. IF UNSURE, CONTACT A PLUMBER IMMEDIATELY. Paying for a service call is much cheaper than repairing water damage.

5. Although your rooms are separated by doors and walls, the inside of your walls (especially interior walls) are sometimes poorly or not insulated and cold air can transfer from one room to another. Most interior walls are nothing more than Gypsum Board (Sheetrock) and wooden 2 x 4's. Cold air can freely move around transferring heat (or lack of heat) from one room to another. In the case of the spare room which you closed off during the summer, make sure those vents are open, allowing heat to still circulate into that room. You can still keep the doors closed and allow the temperature to drop in that room, but even having minimal heat can save energy and protect other rooms and plumbing.

Just for FUN- in 2008 Co-Founder climbed Mt. Washington, New Hampshire. This mountain is notorious for holding the highest recorded ground wind speed for many years (231mph). When EFynch Co-Founder, Teris Pantazes, took this video- it was -20 with an 80 mph wind. Doesn't feel too far off from today! Click Here for the video. is a Maryland Based Software Company that also supports the Homeowner Community. More information can be found at FYNCHNEST.

Based in Baltimore City, EFynch provides the information above or conversation purposes only and this posting (and all postings on this blog) are designed for entertainment and conversation purposes only. The information contained is not the opinion of EFynch but instead is written as the personal opinion of it's author. If you are unsure of the topics described above or have on prior knowledge of the information, it is highly recommended you contact your local handyman, plumber, electrician, landscaper, roofer, or a qualified home professional. Some of these tasks involve risk and should not be undertaken by a non-proffesional or licensed person. If you decide to act on the information contained here, you agree to hold and the author harmless.

Group deals which may be discussed on this page can be found at Maryland FYNCHNEST for Homeowners. Group Deals.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Halftime Home Improvement Challenge:
By: EFynch

When I was younger I remember how Sundays revolved around football. Before any plan, project, trip, or visit was agreed too, the inevitable "what time is the game?" was always considered.

But during Football Sunday, there was always another fun time. . . Halftime.

Each Sunday, as halftime began, even before the players left the field, my Father and I were down in the garage. He already had a game plan in hand and there was always a task or challenge on our list to be that week's "Halftime Project".

These times are something that I remember to this day because we literally took a break from watching a team play on TV, to being a part of our own team. We had a challenge and more often then not, they were so much fun that our 15 minute project would stray to 20 minutes or longer. It was that worth it!

So without further ado, here is your guide to the Halftime Home Improvement Challenge.

1. Quick Painting Project.
What is does: Trim and paint outdoor furniture to protect and preserve.
Why Halftime: Because this requires multiple coats. The first one takes the longest but still under 15 minutes. You can do 2nd or 3rd coats later on.
Prep: Have paint, tape and furniture set together and ready.

2. Install a new faucet.
What is does: quick update to the kitchen or bathroom, often under $100.
Why Halftime: A wrench is often all your need. As long as water is turned off- you can't really make an irreversible mistake. Don't over-tighten and when you turn the water back on- go slow.
Prep: Buy a new faucet, have tools ready.

3. Winterize outdoor faucets or equipment.
What is does: Protects and prevents damage.
Why Halftime: Cutting the water to an outdoor faucet can take slightly more time than it takes to walk around your house. When winterizing outdoor power equipment (or testing your snow blower), most of the time spent is allowing the machine's engine to use gas in supply lines or to properly warm up.
Prep: none.
                                                               Video Link Here

4.  Clean you bathroom Vent Fans.
What is does: Quiets engine and helps things run smoother.
Why Halftime: Cutting the water to an outdoor faucet can take slightly more time than it takes to walk around your house. When winterizing outdoor power equipment (or testing your snow blower), most of the time spent is allowing the machine's engine to use gas in supply lines or to properly warm up.
Prep: none.
                                                              Video Link Here

5.  Update/ Change your cabinet knobs.
What is does: Easy way to update cabinets.
Why Halftime: This is an easy job which you can start and stop incrementally (after each cabinet). You can even challenge yourself to use commercial breaks!
Prep: Measure Cabinet door depth, purchase knobs, have a (small) wrench.

I hope that you can find value in the advice above. Although my dad and I now disagree on the better team (He is a Washington Redskins Fan, I am a Baltimore Ravens)- the thrill of 15 (or sometimes 20) minutes together where we worked as a team is something I will always keep with me. The key to picking the right project is to select something that is relatively easy, and can include little helpers if you have them. Also consider something that can begin but paused if an issue arises (this way you can go back to the game).

Good luck!

PS- Other ideas: Bicycle repair or greasing, change HVAC air filters, check smoke alarm batteries, test flashlights, check auto tire pressure, or test outdoor hammock! These are all home improvement projects we normally overlook but can accomplish in a quick time.

Visit our Community page for more information. Info focused on Maryland Home Improvement and Home Ownership Topics and advice.