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The best way to cut down on the potentially high cost of home maintenance is to tackle the simple jobs on your own. Here are some basic repairs that you should be able to handle without too much difficulty:

Plugged Sinks- Pull out and clean the sink stopper. If the problem persists, turn off the water supply under the sink before removing and clearing the trap (the curved section of drainpipe under the sink). Avoid using chemicals if you suspect a serious blockage.
Plugged Toilet- The first resort is the tried and true toilet plunger. If that doesn’t work, use a plumber’s snake to clear the pipe.
Electrical Failure- Check the circuit breaker to see if the circuit has been tripped to the off position. You may need to replace a blown fuse (replacement fuses usually cost less than $5).
Leaky faucet- Shut off the water under the sink and replace the washer on the faucet. If the dripping persists, you may need a new faucet unit.
Damp basement- Make sure that gutters extend away from the house and that the earth is graded away from the walls. A dehumidifier can help dry the air, but you may need to call a professional if you find cracks in the foundation.
Damaged caulking- Crumbling caulk around tiles, windows and doors needs to be replaced periodically. Caulking guns and caulk run about $20 total and are easy to use.
Gouges or holes in walls or woodwork- Holes in plaster walls and drywall are easily fixed with plaster patching compound or spackling compound, respectively. Holes in woodwork should be filled with wood putty and sanded lightly. Refinishing may be necessary.
I hope these tips help you with the upkeep of your home! I’d be happy to give you recommendations for home repair experts should your house need additional attention. Let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.

Lawns

Cut your lawn at the highest recommended setting. Most weeds require plenty of light to germinate so you want to keep the grass as thick and long as possible to create shade near the soil surface. Keeping the grass blades longer also produces healthier grass plants, and a healthy stand of grass makes it hard for weeds to break through. Check the recommended mowing heights for your type of grass

When you mow, remove no more than one-third of the grass blade at a time. Mow at frequent intervals to keep the grass a fairly consistent length.Scalping your lawn produces patches where weeds can begin to take over your lawn.

If you need to water your lawn, do so in long, heavy intervals rather than shallow, frequent ones. Watering only once or twice a week for long intervals promotes deeper root growth instead of encouraging the germination of undesirable weeds. Remember that most established lawns require one inch of water per week from rain or sprinkling. Always check local ordinances governing water use. When watering is required, water early in the morning. At this time, less wind and lower temperatures keep evaporation to a minimum. If you must water at night, avoid getting the foliage wet. If your lawn is a new seeding, water in shallow, more frequent intervals until the grass gets established.

To insure a better looking lawn, treat patches of undesirable weeds with a post-emergent herbicide. Wait for the weeds to die, clear the dead foliage out, and re-seed the bare patches as soon as the herbicide directions allow.

To keep your grass looking its best, remember to sharpen your mower blade periodically. A dull mower blade bruises, tears, and weakens the grass plants, resulting in a ragged, tarnished appearance at the leaf tip. Always keep your mower in top operating condition.

If your grass won’t grow in an area of high traffic, the soil may be too compacted. Aerate the area and reseed. If the traffic cannot be redirected, adding a stepping stone path may be the best solution for the area.

Do a soil test now. You’ll learn what amendments your soil needs. Adding amendments in the fall will get you started on a great spring lawn.

Flowers and Vegetables

Deadhead flowers after they have bloomed to redirect the plant’s energy away from manufacturing seeds and into growing new blooms. The process keeps a plant healthier, especially during dry spells, and also tidies up the flower bed.

If you want your flowers to create seeds, stop deadheading at the end of the season. Once the flowers are dead, cut them and allow them to dry. Remove the seeds by crumbling the dried flower head. Put the seeds in an envelope for next spring.

Remember that container gardens and hanging baskets require more water and fertilizer than other plants. Their soil dries out easily, so check it frequently. Put your finger in the soil about one inch deep. If it feels dry, water it until water runs from the pot’s drainage holes.

To keep plants in hanging baskets and containers flowering, choose a liquid plant food fertilizer with a high middle number, for example 15-30-15. Fertilize established container and hanging basket plants at least once a week.

Start planning your fall garden now. Chrysanthemums, impatiens, ornamental cabbage, and pansies are old favorites. Try adding a late vegetable crop of spinach or turnips to enjoy before winter sets in. If your garden space is still occupied with summer plants you can start seeds in trays and transplant them later.

Start planning your spring bulb garden now. Mentally note the areas where you want to add bulbs for next year. Have your shopping list ready when the selection hits the garden centers.

When indoor plants have been moved outdoors for the summer, roots may grow through the bottom of the pot. If the pots are sitting on the ground, give the pots a twist occasionally to loosen them. Check them carefully before bringing back inside. Pests may have set up summer homes in your houseplants.

Conserve water in the vegetable garden by keeping the weeds pulled. Your crops don’t need the competition for water that weeds present.

Plant and grow herbs. They should grow quickly in the warm weather. Perennial herbs should be fully grown by next spring.

Check your mulch layer to see if it’s enough for the remaining days of summer.

Start planning now for fall perennial division — which plants to divide and where to put the offspring.

Preserve food crops from the garden for later enjoyment.

Continue to watch for pests and disease on plants and in the lawn.

Stop and look at your garden as a whole. Take note of what’s working and what isn’t. Keeping a garden journal helps you keep track and helps you improve for next year.

Tools

Periodically lubricate tools with moving parts, such as pruning shears, with light machine oil. Doing so prevents rust and corrosion and maintains a smooth operating action Sharpen tools as needed.

Keep garden hoses coiled and out of the direct sun when not in use.

Make sure bird feeders, bird baths and the ground underneath them is clean. Also ensure that the food and water is changed or replaced regularly.

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“Client’s Say:”

“Joseph was very easy to talk to and explained everything as he went along. If there was a question about anything he answered it to the best of his ability. I highly recommend him.”

-Mathew H, Louisville, KY


“Joseph was extremely helpful, I would absolutely recommend him. He did an excellent job explaining information to me so that I could better understand the house I’m purchasing. He was very friendly and patient with all of my questions.”

-Erin E, New Albany