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Prepping Your Air Conditioning

(Published on - 4/18/2019 5:58:54 PM)
Article By: 

Spring is a time of beginnings. You get a chance to start over, to try something new and to get your air conditioner ready for the hot summer to come. It might not be as romantic as the budding of trees and blooming of flowers, but having your air conditioner in tip-top shape is arguably far more useful.

When you start your spring clean, don’t forget your air conditioner. In just a few minutes, you can improve its efficiency while helping it continue to run well for years to come.

First, A Basic Explanation of Air Conditioning Technology

Your air conditioner isn’t magic, but it’s pretty close. These devices were actually invented in the early 1900s as a way to reduce indoor humidity in paper plants. It just so happened they have a side effect that we rely on even today.

Air conditioning systems depend on the expansion and contraction of gasses to pull moisture out of the air by cooling it down. This is basic physics at work — warm air holds more water, cool air holds less.

When air is pulled into your air handler (for many, this is a furnace) through your warm air return, it’s forced over a tent-shaped coil that uses refrigerant to cool the air as it passes. A blower then blows that cooled air back into the house.

So What Does the Outside Condenser Do?

The air conditioning condenser that most people consider to be “the air conditioner” is actually a giant heatsink. See, when the air is cooled inside your air handler, the refrigerant is what’s absorbing most of the heat. It then gets pumped to the condenser, where the heat collected inside your house is released to the environment.

It’s really a pretty simple idea that has made a huge change to how we live, play and work.

Your Air Conditioner Spring Tune-Up

There’s no time like spring to do a little air conditioner tune-up. A lot of the heavy lifting will have to be performed by HVAC professionals, but there are things you can do to keep your system running longer as a homeowner. Generally, these items should be done at least once in the spring before you start using the A/C and again in the fall when you’re ready to put it away for the year.

Change your furnace filter. Whether it’s on the ceiling, on the floor or inside your furnace or air handler, a clean filter is a filter that can let the most air through for cooling. And the easier it is for the system to pull air in and cool it, the more comfortable you’ll be with the least amount of cost. Investing in an electrostatic filter that you can wash and reuse is a smart move for the long term.

Flush your condensation line. There’s a pipe or tube that comes out of your furnace or air handler and runs to a drain somewhere. This is the condensation line. All the moisture your system is pulling out of that warm air has to go somewhere, you know? That somewhere is a pan that empties via this tube. Just open it up from the top (which tube it is should be obvious, but if you can’t find it, ask your HVAC professional), slowly pour in about a cup of vinegar or bleach. If the liquid moves, you’re gold. If not, you may need to spend some time investigating the issue. More often than not, it’s algae growth in the tube or mineral deposits, both things you can flush out, but require some patience to remove.

Clean your a-coil. That tent shaped coil mentioned above is called the “evaporator coil” or the “a-coil.” It can get dirty, which makes it a lot less efficient at removing moisture and cooling the air. If you feel brave, and you’re careful, you can wipe the coils clean or use a shop vac. They’re very similar to the coils on the back of your refrigerator, treat them the exact same way.

Comb the fins on the condenser. If you look closely at your outside condenser, you’ll notice that the part that’s inside the cage is made up of a whole bunch of teeny fins. These little guys can get damaged by accident, causing them to be less efficient because they’re not really in an optimal configuration anymore. All you need to fix this is a fin comb. This simple device lets you straighten bent fins, restoring your unit to its former glory.

Spray the condenser down. Last, but far from least, you’ll want to spray your air conditioner’s condenser down with a hose. Start by wetting all the fins with a garden sprayer, then go back around and spend some time slowly flushing out the dirt, one section at a time, working top to bottom.

Ready For An A/C Tune-Up?

If spring cleaning your air conditioner isn’t getting the results you’re looking for, it may be time to get an HVAC pro out to give it a once-over. For suggestions, contact an agent from Dale's Home Selling Team! #WeMoveWI

Ways to Brighten Your Home and Improve Its Appeal

(Published on - 4/8/2019 3:48:26 PM)

Article By:

When you’re thinking about selling your home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the details. Should you paint the front door? How about changing out that fixture in the dining room? Do you need to redo the floors or will a good deep cleaning be enough? So many questions, so many tasks that you suddenly feel are each the most important thing that must be done right away.

Anyone who has ever staged a home for sale, however, will tell you that the number one thing that you should do to get your home ready — before you start tearing out carpet or painting doors — is to make it feel light, bright and airy.

Buyers Are Always Looking for More Light

We’re creatures of the woods and savannahs, there’s an animal part of every person that wants more light, more light. It’s the same reason that people suffer from things like seasonal affective disorder: we need more light in our lives. Light also makes your home feel bigger when compared to other houses with the same basic square footage, so it’s sort of a win-win here.

Too many sellers overlook this simple notion, instead opting to choose trendy colors to try to appeal to buyers. They paint their dining rooms a dark scarlet, or choose lighting that isn’t nearly bright enough, creating a home that’s more cave-like than house-like. These same sellers wonder why they can’t find a buyer for their enclave, as potential after potential comes in for a look and immediately runs for the door.

But you’re not one of these sellers. You’ve come to the right place for some tips to make your home more appealing by bringing in more light, both real and artificial. These simple tricks can make a huge difference to your home’s first impression.

Let’s Let in the Light!

There are three kinds of light you need to be aware of when you’re looking to brighten your home: the natural light that comes from windows, doors and skylights, the artificial light that comes from your light fixtures and that light that’s bouncing off the walls and around the room.

Natural light is simple to harness, just:

* Clean your windows until they sparkle. Even those fine layers of dust and dirt can block light transmission, making your home feel dark and dreary.
* Remove heavy drapes. If you must have curtains, opt for sheers or lace panels. Sheers will still set off the windows like a heavy drape, but let most of the light from outside come inside.
* Leave every window blind open once your house is on the market. This is a huge mistake a lot of sellers make. Instead of leaving their windows open so that the first thing a potential buyer sees when they walk through the door is a bright and beautiful home, they close the blinds for fear that people will look into their home since it’s for sale.

Artificial light isn’t too tough to get a handle on when you:

* Clean the globes on all your light fixtures. The glass globes on ceiling lights and those glass shades on your ceiling fans can be run through the dishwasher on the top rack. They’ll come out clean as a whistle and able to let more light pass through.
* Replace dim bulbs with much brighter ones. You’ll be surprised how much different your living room looks when you replace the four 40 watt bulbs in your ceiling fan with four 75 watt bulbs. You can certainly overdo this, but it’s hard in rooms of any substantial size.
* Choose blue. Replacing those orange-tinted light bulbs with full spectrum bulbs may seem like a pointless hassle, but this small modification will make your interior feel like it’s full of more of the natural light that’s coming in through the windows. More natural light is almost always better.
* Consider the room size. There are times that choosing the brightest bulb in the box is the wrong way to go. Rooms that are small or narrow, like bathrooms, may be better served with slightly less lighting. You’ll have to use your judgement on that, but keep in mind that no one wants to walk into a small space and be blinded by the artificial light inside.

Light that’s bouncing around the room needs to keep bouncing, so:

* Choose brighter colors to reflect more of the ultraviolet spectrum. The more white involved, the more light it reflects, which then bounces off the other light colored walls, making the room seem big and airy. Stark white is not a great choice, it often makes a home feel too institutional, but a buttercream, barely gray or other almost-not-tinted color can really brighten up a room and get that light moving.
* Minimize dark design elements. It’s not just the walls that can absorb too much of the light in your home, making it feel like an underground bunker. The floors, ceilings and even the furniture in the room all affect how much light is moving around. Again, you don’t want to go totally white, but if you have a dark floor or your ceiling could stand to be painted, definitely make an effort there. Ceilings should be flat white for best results.
* Use mirrors strategically. Mirrors were way overdone in the 1980s and have kind of fallen out of favor since. It’s unfortunate, since they’re a great way to help direct light exactly where it’s needed. When you’re confronted with a dark room that seems to have no good solutions for light, try adding a mirror. For example, a mirrored closet door in a small bedroom with a single window can have a huge impact on the room, plus it’s a handy accessory.

The Devil’s in Those Details

Before you panic about all this lighting stuff, you may want to talk to a Realtor from Dale's Home Selling Team about doing a quick walkthrough of your home so they can point out places where you should be focusing your efforts. Click HERE to get  connected with a Dale's Team agent today! #WeMoveWI

How to Handle a Flooded Basement

(Published on - 4/4/2019 3:31:41 PM)

April Showers Bring May Flowers...

...We've all heard it before, and for some of us, this means wet basements as snow melts and the rain keeps falling. 

The number one rule to follow if you have standing water in your basement: DO NOT enter the water until the electrical is turned off. There is a high risk of electrocution in standing basement water. 

 As soon as you are safe from any sort of electrical dangers, it is time to start removing the water. Click on the photo below for a quick video about water removal. 

Once your basement is free from water, the real clean-up begins! Getting out the wet remains and removing soaked items as quickly as possible is key to preventing mold and bacteria growth. 

Clean Up Tips:

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-Always put safety first since a flooded basement can bring many health risks into your home. Wear protective clothing, such as gloves, rubber boots, and overalls. If sewage water was involved, wear a face mask and protective eye glasses to protect yourself from harmful gases. 

-Use caution around electrical equipment and/or sockets. It is best to avoid all appliances and electrical equipment until everything is completely dry. 

Dirt Removal

-Flood water nearly always brings mud into your basement. Before the mud dries shovel it outside. 

-Mud and dirt may also be on your walls and furnishings. Use a hose and rinse everything several times until all of the debris has been flushed away.

-Do not allow the mud to dry and harden, it is much easier to remove while it is still moist. Once you have flushed it off of your walls and belongings, use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up the water.

Damaged Items Removal

-Unfortunately, there will be some of your possessions that you will not be able to salvage, especially if you had sewage in your basement.

The following items should be discarded:

  • Flooring, including carpet, that has been deeply penetrated by floodwater or sewage.
  • Walls and ceilings that have been soaked and have absorbed water. Walls should be removed 20" above the water line.
  • Insulation materials.
  • Inexpensive articles that have been soaked. Including mattresses, box springs and particleboard furniture.
  • Items such as furniture coverings, pillows, cushions, and stuffed toys can not be properly sanitized.
  • Canned goods, vegetables, herbs and any other food that came in contact with the flood water. 

Salvageable Items

Many items can be saved if they are cleaned properly.

  • Floors and carpets that were only minimally affected by the flood. They should be rinsed and cleaned as quickly as possible. Carpets should be cleaned and deodorized. Consider having them professionally cleaned.
  • Furniture that has had minimal contact with flood water. Scrub the furniture with an antibacterial soap or steam clean. 
  • Clothing. Machine wash in hot, soapy water with one cup of chlorine bleach.
  • All items that show no visible signs of contamination. They need to be cleaned and dried thoroughly.

Disinfect & Sanitize

-Thoroughly disinfect and sanitize your entire basement and any items that you are trying to salvage. Use care when working with bleach and other cleaning supplies. Basements frequently have poor ventilation and the fumes can be harmful.

-All surfaces should be washed down with chlorine bleach at a ratio of 1 cup bleach to 1-gallon water. Be sure to rinse all surfaces after cleaning. 

-Kill all mold with bleach and leave cupboards, closets and wall cavities open until they are thoroughly dry.

Continue to dry, dry, dry--Open windows, bring down fans, use dehumidifiers, etc. Allow ample time for your basement to dry to prevent any more water damage or mold growth. Click HERE to read about mold cleaning and prevention from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. 

⇒As alway, please reach out to a member from Dale's Home Selling Team for more information or to see how we can help you sell your home TODAY!⇐ #WeMoveWI


6 Crucial Rules for Renovating Your Basement

(Published on - 3/26/2019 8:42:29 PM)
Article By: Terri Williams for

"A good basement renovation can provide extra living space and increase the value of your home, so for most homeowners, fixing it up is a no-brainer if they have the cash. But a botched remodel can turn this subterranean space into a money pit.

To help you consider this type of revamp from every angle, we spoke with designers, builders, real estate agents, and other experts to uncover the rules everyone taking on a basement renovation must follow—or risk disaster."

Click HERE to read the 6 crucial rules for renovating your basement.⇐

Don't forget! --Dale's Home Selling Team is here to help guide you through the process of buying and selling, whenever you're ready! #WeMoveWI



7 Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

(Published on - 3/21/2019 5:49:14 PM)
Blog article courtesy of

Congratulations! You’ve found a home to buy and have applied for a mortgage! You are undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home! But before you make any big purchases, move any money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer. They will be able to tell you how your decision will impact your home loan.

Below is a list of 7 Things You Shouldn’t Do After Applying for a Mortgage! Some may seem obvious, but some may not!

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1. Don’t change jobs or the way you are paid at your job! Your loan officer must be able to track the source and amount of your annual income. If possible, you’ll want to avoid changing from salary to commission or becoming self-employed during this time as well.

2. Don’t deposit cash into your bank accounts. Lenders need to source your money and cash is not really traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

3. Don’t make any large purchases like a new car or new furniture for your new home. New debt comes with it, including new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios… higher ratios make for riskier loans… and sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

4. Don’t co-sign other loans for anyone. When you co-sign, you are obligated. As we mentioned, with that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you will not be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payment against you.

5. Don’t change bank accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track assets. That task is significantly easier when there is consistency among your accounts. Before you even transfer money between accounts, talk to your loan officer.

6. Don’t apply for new credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO score will be affected. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

7. Don’t close any credit accounts. Many clients have erroneously believed that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both those determinants of your score.

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If you are concerned or have more questions, make sure to reach out to your loan officer before making any big financial moves. Click HERE to reach out to an agent from Dale's Home Selling Team to get connected with a lender or to begin your home search today! #WeMoveWI



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