White Lights or Multi-Colored Lights – Which Side Are You On?

white lights or multi-colored lights

The holidays are officially here! If you couldn’t tell from the colder temperatures and the shorter amount of daylight we’ve been experiencing, you can easily tell that the season is upon us whenever you go outside and see the beautiful spectacle of holiday lights. Trees and shrubs are bedecked in multi-colored lights, trees sparkle with clear white light in living rooms, and a myriad of bright lights can be found downtown or in your own neighborhood.

Continue reading

8 Things We’re Thankful for in the Metro East St. Louis Region

Fun things to do near St. Louis

As residents of the Metro East St. Louis region, we are surrounded by a large number of wonderful places, people, amenities, and activities. Too often, though, we take these great things in our lives for granted. This Thanksgiving week, we’d like to give everyone a little reminder of just a few of the countless things we have to be thankful for here in the Metro East. Here are just 8 of our favorites:

Continue reading

8 Tasks to Check Off Your Home Maintenance List This November

fall maintenance tipsNovember is the month nearly everyone thinks about Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. November should also be considered as a great home maintenance month before the cold winter weather makes its imminent arrival to the St. Louis region.

This November, take the time to perform and check off the following 8 tasks from your home maintenance to-do list! Check them out below!

Maintain Your Chimney and Fireplace – Before you decide to put a fire on in your fireplace, make sure that you give it thorough seasonal maintenance, giving special attention to the flue, damper, and firebox. A buildup of creosote can lead to a very dangerous chimney fire. Also, if you don’t already have a chimney cap, we suggest that you go ahead and get them installed at the time of service. This will help prevent outside critters from coming inside through your fireplace. Also, if you store firewood outside, make sure that it is not directly stored up against the house – mice and termites like to hang out there and can easily find their way into your home!

Ready Your Snow Supplies – You might not be ready to face the impending winter and the frozen precipitation that comes with it, but you will have to eventually! While winter has yet to arrive and it won’t start snowing tomorrow (or so we hope), forecasters in the St. Louis region are calling for a rough winter this year. Ready your snow gear before the weather turns nasty! Make sure that your snow shovel isn’t buried underneath all of your gardening tools and car supplies and that you have easy access to it in case of bad weather. If you use a snow blower, have it serviced and fill the tank with fresh gasoline. Finally, stock up on calcium chloride and some sand for deicing – keep a little of it inside your entrance in case you wake up to a snowy surprise!

Clean Your Gutters – If you haven’t done this yet, now is the time to get to it! Wear long rubber gloves, grab a gallon bucket, and scoop out leaves and debris into the bucket by hand. After the gutters are cleaned, run water down the gutter to see if it drains properly or if there are any spots that need to be patched up before the winter hits.

Clean and Maintain Closets – Can you see the floor space in your closets? Can you easily close the doors? If you answered, “No,” to either one of those questions, you need to clean your closets. Cramped closets can give unwanted pests a home, and too much stuff can break racks from the walls and derail sliding doors off their hinges. Go through your closets and throw out or donate the things you don’t want or need anymore. Consider adding compartments and hanging racks at different levels to make better use of your closet spaces.

Maintain Large Appliances – The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means family, fun times, and of course, lots of great food! You will want to make sure that your appliances are properly prepared for the demands you will be putting on them. Pull your fridge from the wall and clean the condenser coils in the back with a vacuum cleaner and a brush attachment. Vacuum away dust from the lower grille as well. Clean your oven and stove drip pans on your electric range oven. This will help ensure that your holidays are even safer!

Check Your Sump Pump – Most homes have sump pumps installed in an unfinished area in the basement. These pumps switch on automatically when groundwater levels rise, eliminating basement water before it’s a problem. If you happen to have a sump pump in your home, be sure that it is in good working order before the season begins. You wouldn’t want to wake up to a snowstorm and a flooding basement!

Maintain Moisture in Your Home – During the winter season, heaters can rob a home of its humidity quite easily. If moisture sounds like a bad thing to have in your home, please take note that even just a touch of moisture in the air can make heated air feel warmer, which means that you can keep the heat at a slightly lower temperature as long as your humidity is balanced. If you find that your woodwork is cracking or your skin is dry all the time, you probably need more moisture in your home. Consider investing in a humidifier to help add moisture to the atmosphere!

Check Your Windows – After the first snowfall is not the time to discover that your windows aren’t properly sealed. As snow builds up and begins to melt in these areas, the water will then penetrate into unprotected areas, which can cause structural members to rot out. Check your windows before the cold weather arrives and caulk areas that aren’t properly sealed to keep out unwanted moisture and drafts.

Need more advice? Want to know how you can improve your home for your family or to help sell faster? Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help! We are THE home experts in the Metro East St. Louis region!

Is Your House Haunted? 7 Spooky Home Happenings Debunked!

is your house haunted?Halloween is just around the corner, and your mind is probably geared toward spooky ghosts, shambling zombies, and lots of other creepy things. You might be prepping for the holiday by watching a whole weeklong marathon of scary movies, which is all fine and dandy… until the lights go out. Suddenly, you hear a lot of strange noises and see shadow figures. Things that you can’t immediately explain occur in your home, and you’re two seconds away from calling an exorcist.

Don’t pick up the phone just yet! Check out these 7 spooky home happenings and see how you can easily debunk them (and fix your home to stop those things from occurring again)!

Things are going “bump” in the night – Are you hearing spooky noises in your home at night? Does it sound like there’s a monster prowling around upstairs, ready to strike? Hearing seemingly unexplained noises in your home could be enough to scare anybody. Truthfully, however, you could be hearing the many materials that make up your home expand and contract throughout the night, making audible pops – this is very common during the fall when warm days give way to cooler nights. So next time you hear a random “pop!” remember that it’s probably just your house settling!

My lights turn on and off for no reason – One night, you might be sitting down, watching your favorite show after a hard day’s work when the lights go off and suddenly come back on with no warning. You might wonder if Dracula is behind you turning the lights on and off, but more than likely, your home might have faulty wiring. Remember also that if bad storms are going through the area that you could experience a whole-house power surge, which sometimes causes lights to turn on and off by themselves. When in doubt, call an electrician!

I have a plague of pests in my home – Are you suddenly seeing an influx of spiders or other critters? Are wasps mysteriously congregating in your basement or attic all of a sudden? It could be a plague from another world, or your home could have cracks in your foundation or simply poor insulation. Check your insulation and foundation to see if there are any holes that need to be patched or if there are any areas that need attention.

I smell weird odors – Do you smell cigarette smoke out of the blue even though no one in your home smokes? Maybe you experience an unexpected whiff of perfume that you’ve never smelled before or a strange smell of sulfur. It could be a deceased relative dropping by to say hello, or it could very well be real hidden odors playing with your mind. Wet fiberglass, which is hidden behind your walls, can carry and give off those musty, strange smells, and any dead rodents that are hidden within your home’s structure can also give off foul odors. You might want to check your gas lines and connections as well. While natural gas is odorless and colorless, natural gas suppliers can add a foul-smelling odor to alert you of any leaks. This smell is like sulfur – rotten eggs.

The television turns itself on and off for no reason – It’s like a scene out of a horror movie. You go downstairs to do your laundry in silence when out of nowhere your television turns itself on for no reason! Casper might be trying to turn the game on, but more than likely this is probably another case of faulty wiring. Your television set could also have a defective switch or a loose circuit connection, which is a serious fire hazard. Disconnect your television until you can get the problem solved!

I think I found some cold spots – Cold spots are a classic sign that a ghost is trying to manifest itself to the living, but there are many other explanations as to why you might be experiencing cold spots in your home. Air leaks, typically from inadequate insulation inside the home, are a very common cause of cold spots showing up in your home. To know if you have a draft problem, try holding a lit candle carefully to your windows, doors, and walls. If the flame blows sideways when it’s held to these fixtures and walls, then air is seeping in and out of these locations in your home. Fix the drafts with a combination of insulation, weather stripping, and caulk, and you should eradicate the issue!

My doors and cabinets open on their own – If your drawers, doors, and cabinets open all on their own, you might be on the set of “Paranormal Activity,” or you could just have low relative humidity in your home. When drier air is present in a house, the wood inside shrinks, which can cause drawers, cabinets, and doors to open all on their own! Try leaving your bathroom door open when you take a shower in the winter – it can help raise the humidity levels in your home. You can also try investing in a good humidifier to help balance the air quality and suck out the moisture that lingers in your home. Your doors and cabinets should stay shut after these fixes! If not, you might want to call the Ghostbusters!

Need more tips? Ready to sell your home? Don’t be scared! Just pick up the phone and call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298! You can also visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help you!