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3 Brilliant Hacks to Make Snow Shoveling Less Miserable

by Scott Darling

Don’t break your back shoveling snow. Try these tips to make winter less of a burden.

If you’re a homeowner in a snowy climate, chances are good you rue the winter: All that snow has to go somewhere, and it’s not getting there itself. 

Cue the snow shovel.

Barring a move to a snow-free state or barricading your family inside all winter, there’s no way to avoid the endless task of shoveling snow. There are, however, ways to make the process much easier. Here are three simple hacks to make the morning after a snowfall much less stressful.

1. Spray Your Shovel with Cooking Oil

Snow sticking to your shovel makes an already arduous task even more obnoxious. Avoid it with this hack: Lightly coat your shovel with non-stick cooking oil to make snow slide right off. No more time wasted removing snow from your snow remover. (You can substitute a spray lubricant like WD-40, but the downside is it’s toxic.)

2. Lay Out a Tarp Before the Snow

If you like short cuts, this technique, billed as “the laziest way imaginable” to clear snow, according to a tutorial from “Instructables,” has got your name on it. The day before an expected snowfall, lay a tarp on your walkway. When the snow finishes falling, just pull out the tarp, and voilà: an instantly cleared walkway. (Word to the wise: Make sure pedestrians won’t trip on your tarp; include a sign or use this technique in your backyard walkway if you’re concerned.)

The technique requires a tarp, firewood, and twine as well as some prep work. Pre-storm, use firewood to weigh down your tarp — you don’t want it flying away in the wind! — and tie the twine to both the tarp and to a shovel standing upright in your yard. You’ll use the shovel to pull out the snow-laden tarp.

Although this method might be faster than shoveling, it does require manpower. After all, a cubic foot of snow can weigh between 7 and 20 pounds. So don’t get too ambitious with the size of your tarp or you might not be able to pull it once it’s full of snow.

3. Make a Homemade De-icing Cocktail

De-icers make snow removal easier by cutting through the tough, icy layers that are a pain to remove with a shovel. But an easy solution should be easy on your property as well. Many commercial de-icers are pretty harsh.

Commercial ice-melting substances — magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride (salt) — all cause damage to the environment, according to the University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center. They can also damage concrete sidewalks and driveways, which mean hefty repair costs later.

A better solution: Make your own de-icer using rubbing alcohol or vinegar. You’ll save money, too. Commercial melters typically cost $8 or more. Plus, you’ll avoid the hassle of trekking to the hardware store to stock up.

Use vinegar before a storm to make ice and snow removal easier:

  • Combine 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
  • Spray or pour gently (you still want to avoid runoff into your landscape) before a storm.

To keep the sidewalks and steps from icing after a storm:

  • Combine 2 parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part water.
  • Apply to minimize runoff.

Quick Home Improvements

by Scott Darling


Home improvements can many times take a lot of time and can easily overwhelm you.  The home improvements listed in list article are some that won’t take you a lot of time.  Likely you will be able to get these home improvements done in just a matter of a day or so.   Whether you want to do these home improvements for your own enjoyment or you plan to sell your house, these will get you started in the right direction and won’t take up a lot of your time.   

  1. First on the list of quick home improvements is to simply change your front door hardware.  This is a simple and easy fix that won’t take you long at all and it is one that won’t cost you a lot either.   
  2. Painting the front door a bright color is another quick home improvement that can really make a big difference in the way your house looks.  Red is a popular color that can make a statement to those who pass by your home.  Another great color to use on your front door is a bright teal color.  Both of these colors are very popular these days so if you want to be part of what is in, you should use one of these colors.   
  3. Another quick home improvement that can make a huge impact on how your home looks is to upgrade your house numbers.  You can buy fancy glass or ceramic tiles with your house number on them to match your newly painted door.   
  4. Painting outdated or old furniture in your home is another quick home improvement that can make your house look awesome.   
  5. Updating your kitchen and bathroom fixtures is a quick home improvement that is easy to do and will make your house look the best it can look.   
  6. If you have an old fireplace that is no longer able to be used, why not put some candles in it to spruce it up a bit.  This is a nice cozy improvement to make especially during the upcoming colder months.   

Again, home improvements don’t have to take a ton of time to make a huge difference on how your house looks.   

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for November 2016

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA single family homes saw pending sales decrease by 3.5% in November 2016 when compared to November 2015. 526 homes sold in November with a median sales price of $319,000, a 3.13% increase from November 2015.  The average sales price increased by 11.0%, and homes were on the market 10 days more.

Christmas Tree Bugs and What to Do about Them

by Scott Darling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is that time of year again!  The happiest time of the year!  That is true unless you are one of the unlucky ones who ends up bringing bugs into your home via your freshly cut Christmas tree.  Christmas tree bugs are no fun and can be a pain to get rid of once you have them.  Below are a few ideas on what to do about Christmas tree bugs and how to avoid having to deal with them. 

  1.  Many Christmas tree lots have mechanical tree shakers that will get rid of the bugs for you before they have the chance of entering your home.  There are some tree lots however that do not have these services.  If you get your tree from a tree farm that doesn’t have this type of mechanical tree shaker, just be sure to do the shaking yourself with the help of a few friends.  Shake the tree back and forth a few times as hard as you can and that should help to get rid of any bugs that might be attached.
  2. A good way to check to see if your new Christmas tree has bugs  is to look at it with a bright flashlight.  A few of the bugs that might be on the tree are the following:  mites, praying mantis, psocids, bark beetles, scale insects, adelgids, and aphids.
  3. One way that you do not need to try in order to get rid of Christmas tree bugs  is to use chemicals of any kind.  These types of things shouldn’t be in your home and also won’t work well with Christmas lights which can sometimes get hot.  You could be in for a disaster worse than the bugs if you try to kill them with chemicals. 
  4. If you find that you do have Christmas tree bugs your vacuum will become your best friend.  Be sure to vacuum around the bottom of the tree and anywhere you see that the bugs may have gone in your home.  This will help to eliminate them even if it is just a few at a time. 

Don’t worry yourself sick if you get home and find that your Christmas tree has bugs living in it.  They like the tree and much of nothing else so you don’t have to worry about them getting on you or your loved ones.  

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Clogged Drains

by Scott Darling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All too often around the holidays plumbers receive several service calls for clogged sinks and jammed garbage disposals. Here are a few tips to avoid these problems:

Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.

Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.

Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onions, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains

Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.

Don’t put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.

Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running; this will help the food scraps flow down freely through the drain pipes and plumbing.

Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.

Don’t grind large animal bones (beef, pork etc.).

Don’t put coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They won’t harm the disposal but they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs.

Most importantly! Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners to unclog the drain. They damage blades and pipes.

For more tips on Home Ownership visit my website!  

If you would like to talk about selling  a Chester County home, give me a call 610-594-7268 or visit my website to Discover your new home.

Scott Darling is a full-time REALTOR and a professional in every sense of the word, he is committed to making sure you have the complete, accurate information and honest advice you need to make a good decision. Scott’s goal is to meet your expectations and hopefully exceed them as it applies to your real estate needs. Learn more about Scott Darling a leader in the Chester County PA Real Estate Market!

Credit Craig Shea

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Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275