Fireplace Maintenance and Safety

With winter settling in, it’s time to get your fireplace ready for the cold months ahead. Stay safe and warm with these fireplace safety tips.

Annual Inspections – Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional to ensure that it’s obstruction free and clear of creosote – a black, oily accretion that builds up on the inside walls of the chimney. Because creosote is highly combustible, a thick accumulation creates a fire hazard.

Length of Use – Use the fireplace for short-duration fires, no longer than five hours.

Plan Ahead – Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials. Use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while a fire is burning.

When to Clean – During periods of heavy use, clean the wood-burning firebox regularly once the embers are cold. Leave about an inch of ash because it acts as insulation, allowing the coals to heat faster and retain more heat.

Upkeep – Check that vents are unobstructed and able to do their job. Clean the fan and all air circulation passages. In non-wood burning fireplaces, clean and adjust glowing embers and logs for best appearance.

Cap Your Chimney – Have a cap installed at the top of the chimney to deter animals from entering, help prevent water damage and keep debris from blocking the opening. A spark arrestor will prevent live embers from escaping the chimney.

Safety First – Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergency. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with charged batteries.

Use Common Sense – Never leave the fire unattended. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. Keep children and pets away from the fireplace. Do not use a vacuum to clean up ashes, because embers can smolder long after the fire is out, creating a real fire hazard.

Information courtesy of:

Terry Foster

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Important Tips for Selling Your Home Quickly in Today’s Market

No-nonsense, common sense ideas for selling your home quickly in today’s market…

1. Don’t raise the price-be aggressive with your pricing.
2. Remain flexible-you might not get exactly what you want for your home, but remember, chances are you will be getting more home for your dollars as a buyer. Plus you can move forward with your life while your neighbors are still waiting to sell “at the right price”.
3. De-clutter-raise your home above your competition-stand up and be noticed (in a good way, of course!)

In conclusion: Sell now if you can. And you certainly can even in this slower market. By take advantage of these tips now as a seller will net you less stress, a quicker sale and the ability to take advantage of not only these low interest rates (as a buyer), but also the abundant inventory choices and prices.

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Keeping Your Home Safe With Holiday Travel

The holiday season is the most traveled time of the year. If you are going away, heed the following:
• Have a neighbor or house-sitter bring newspapers and mail inside.
• Tell a trusted neighbor your itinerary, your mobile number, and any activity you expect at the house.
• Be careful with social media. Don’t announce your travel plans or vacation pictures during your trip on Facebook, or your blog. You’ll also want to consider how using applications like Gowalla will affect the safety of your home.
• Use a simple timer device to turn on lights and other electronics, giving the appearance of an occupied house.
• Turn around the address cards on your luggage tags, so they can be accessed if needed, but not read at a glance. You don’t want to advertise just which house you are leaving empty.

Information courtesy of:
Debbie Flunker, Loan Officer
Network Funding, LP

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What is an EARMARK?

An Earmark is a special project, usually secured by a lobbyist friend of the politician, for a project in a Senator’s home state.

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Houston Nutcracker Market-officially starts today

Well I have to say, November snuck up on me and suddenly when I turned around, it’s time for the Nutcracker Market. For me, it’s the official start of the Holiday season! I love walking around and seeing all the wonderful booths filled with beautiful cloths, jewelry, home decor etc. It’s fun to see what is “in” for the upcoming season. It would have to be a labor of love because you walk and walk till your feet feel like they are going to fall off, then you find the strength to continue “just on more isle”.
Ladies, bring your guys! They are so helpful caring your packages for you…or even making a trip to the car. Build stamina and calf muscles! They might even forgive you when they see all the food sampling…and don’t forget to stop and buy an alcoholic drink-or two.
For more info:
…and don’t forget your $1.00 off coupon
Onward fellow shoppers…….

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Oven Maintenance and Energy Saving Tips for the Holidays

Oven Maintenance and Energy Saving Tips for the Holidays
Simple suggestions for making your baking trouble-free this holiday season

●Check to be sure the oven door gasket is tight. Adjust or replace gaskets as required.

●If you have a self-cleaning oven, consider using the self-cleaning feature immediately after regular baking when the oven is still hot. Less energy will be required to reach the cleaning temperature. Try not to use the self-cleaning feature too often.

●Preheat ovens only when necessary. With conventional ovens, keep the preheating time to a minimum. Unless you’re baking breads or pastries, you may not need to preheat the oven at all.

●Don’t lay foils on racks. Food cooks more quickly and efficiently in ovens when air can circulate freely. If possible, stagger pans on upper and lower racks to improve air flow.

●Use glass or ceramic pans in ovens. You can turn down the temperature about 25°F and cook foods just as quickly.

●Do not open the oven door often to preview the food. Each time you open the door the oven temperature drops by 25°F. Watch the clock or use a timer instead.

Information courtesy of:Fidelity National Home Warranty

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Houston’s Nutcracker Market starts this

Houston’s Nutcracker Market starts this Thursday, November 11. Get your $1 off coupon here

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Look what happens when you: reduced regu

Look what happens when you: reduced regulations,and streamlined government. Reagan’s initiatives unleashed the largest and longest peacetime economic expansion in American history.

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Daylight Savings Time ENDS-Fall Back

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Prepare Your Home for Winter with These Simple Tips

Winter may be slow in coming to the south this year but when it does get come, here are some tips:

Prepare Your Home for Winter with These Simple Tips
By Paige Tepping

When summer is a distant memory, and the fall temperatures get cooler, homeowners across the country are thinking ahead and preparing their homes for the Winter weather that will be here before we know it.

Here are some steps homeowners can take now to ensure their comfort as the cold weather approaches in addition to keeping their heating bills from going through the roof.

  • Check for and seal foundation cracks
    Inspect the chimney and fireplace
    Install storm windows
    Check the furnace
    Winterize your water heater
    Insulate exposed piping
  • Additional ways to warm your home
    There are more easy ways to make and keep your home warm in the winter. By simply reversing the spin of your ceiling fans and setting them on low speed, you’ll send warm air down into your living space. In winter, your fans should spin in a counter-clockwise direction. Most fans have a small switch to set the spin direction. If yours doesn’t, you may want to upgrade to a new energy-efficient ceiling fan. Using your ceiling fans to circulate warm air in the winter saves money and keeps your furnace from having to work as hard.

    Keeping blinds and curtains open on sunny days will naturally warm up any room. Closing them at night will help keep the heat in and the chill out. Save costs and concentrate warmth in your home by only heating rooms you use. If your heating system has vents, close the ones in unused areas of your home. Use a humidifier—just adding moisture to the air will make your home feel warmer. And as an added bonus, humidifiers also cut down on carpet shocks from dry static electricity.

    For more details visit:<a href=”For” _mce_href=”″>For”>″>For Your Clients: Prepare Your Home for Winter with These Simple Tips</a>


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