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Fall Fix-Up: Changing with the Seasons

by Leslie Feldman
It’s official, fall is here! As a homeowner, now is the time to gear up and make sure your property is in top condition. Autumn is an ideal time to prepare your home for winter's chilly onslaught.

Start Outside
This fall, stock up on home maintenance cleaning projects that will keep your house looking beautiful well after the holiday season.

October is the busiest month for Sicklerville’s Jersey Pro Wash, as customers are looking to have their homes cleaned and prepared for the winter months, according to owner Chris Evans. The exterior surfaces of your home are constantly exposed to harmful elements, whether through materials like automotive exhaust, acid rain, chimney soot or even smoke from your BBQ, or caused by natural conditions such as ultraviolet light rays, wind, rain, dirt, and grime, Evans explains. Over time, all of these factors can physically attack surfaces causing them to degrade, discolor or oxidize.

“These take their toll on your home over time,” says Evans, who explains that is the time to have mold, algae, and mildew professionally removed. “If not removed periodically, they can destroy the beauty and reduce the value of your property dramatically.”

Maintaining your gutters in working order and checking for roof leaks are important tasks to take on this fall to protect your home’s value. Prevent costly roof and gutter damage by making sure that your gutters and downspouts are clean and flowing correctly. Organisms like algae can feed on the components of many roof shingles and lessen the life of your roof, while moss and dirt can attract insects inside your home. Evans says that stains or discoloration are signs that you may require a roof cleaning using a safe no-pressure cleaning.

The great indoors
As the fall and winter seasons arrive and messy weather tags along with them, it is the perfect time to create a mudroom area that offers storage, convenience, and organization for the entire family, suggests Joanne Landis of Closet City.

Whether you choose an alcove in your garage, a portion of your laundry room or just a small area at the back door, a wall unit can instantly turn any extra space into a mudroom for the family.

“Best of all, the unit can incorporate whatever it is your family needs to keep, like outerwear, muddy shoes, wet boots, school backpacks, and a variety of other items, all accessible yet organized and out of the way,” says Landis.

According to Closet City manager Eric Wheary, “If you have kids coming home from school and dumping their stuff everywhere the moment they come inside, then having immediate storage and hanging space right by the door is not only convenient, it’s a sanity saver.”

A mudroom unit might include anything from shelves or cabinets for gloves and hats, to hooks for hanging coats, scarves, dog leashes and backpacks. A bench seat with drawers or a storage bin underneath can hold bulky items. Closet City’s modular designs make the most of vertical space and allow family members to become organized by providing each with personalized compartments for their belongings. These units can be as wide as you like, ranging from just a few feet to the entire length of a wall, and are available in a variety of colors and wood grains to compliment any decor. A mudroom wall unit is a fall project that can easily becomes a year-round home improvement.

Holiday gatherings ahead
The fall and winter are great times to invite family to your home and gather around the fireplace. Alexis Rettinger, of Rettinger Fireplace Systems in Voorhees, says most homeowners are unaware that every manufacturer recommends an annual cleaning to both vented and non-vented fireplaces by a factory-trained and certified.

“Over time, dirt, dust and other particles can make their way into the unit, clogging the ports and negatively impacting the efficiency and appearance of the fire,” says Rettinger. “The mercaptan that gives natural gas that funny, sulfur-like or rotten egg odor, acts like an aphrodisiac for spiders and they will actually build their nests or webs inside the pilot and not allow the gas to flow through the burner.”

Rettinger adds that you should always watch out for fireplace rust. “Since water vapor is a by-product of gas fireplaces, you could sooner or later have a rust problem. The only sure way to know your unit is operating at its peak and safest level is to have the unit and its components tested and adjusted thoroughly each year and alert you to a more costly problem and also help you from ruining your gas fireplace altogether.”

If your chimney is uncapped, it’s an open invitation for nesting birds and animals to turn your hearth into their home. It also allows snow and rain to enter your chimney, causing moisture damage which could lead to expensive repairs. Installing a chimney top cap prevents the burning embers and sparks from escaping through the open chimney, possibly landing on your roof or yard.

Newest technology includes the IntelliFire Ignition System, which removes the need for a constantly burning pilot, saving the homeowner an average of $10-12 per month. When the fireplace is turned on, the pilot lights first and ignites the main burner. When the fireplace is not operating the pilot shuts down.

This year, manufacturers are coming out with more sleek and contemporary landscape or linear fireplaces, moving away from the traditional fireplace look. Some models come with interior lights that allow you enjoy the tranquil sense of the tumbled glass, while others have a more natural, river-rock appearance.

“We have lots of customers coming in for a makeover or re-facing of their old brick fireplace,” Rettinger adds. “We can engineer the whole job from design concept to completion, where we capture the entire wall in granite or limestone, add a beautiful wood mantle and new door. The customer is amazed by the completely different look they receive in just a few days work.”

Warm up
If your heating system isn't operating at peak efficiency, the rising fuel costs that run your system could be costing you an unnecessary fortune. Sicklerville’s T.J. Eckardt Associates recommends an annual furnace checkout and inspection, including a filter change, before the heating season gets into full swing to insure that your furnace works more efficiently when the temperature starts to drop.

Owner Tom Eckardt says it pays to invest in preventive maintenance. “It extends the life of your equipment and prevents expensive repairs,” he says. “It also gives you the peace of mind that your heating system is ready to operate properly when that first cold day arrives. And we all know that day is just around the corner.”

Eckardt suggests scheduling a furnace inspection as well as considering a yearly service contract, so that you are always prepared for next season. Stay warm and cozy this season with simple renovations and improvements, from the inside of your house on out, to prepare your family home for winter and beyond.

Fall Fix Up Directory

Brindisi Builders
A family-owned business, Brindisi Builders has the experience and craftsmanship to help you design and create a welcomed new addition to your home, a gourmet kitchen, a lavish bathroom or any need that you may have to make your home that perfect place to come home to.
(856) 985-6219

Burlington Carpet One Floor & Home
Dedicated to providing you with the best installation service in the industry. Their trained sales professionals and installers work as an installation excellence team to make your installation worry free.
(856) 310-9292

California Frameless Shower Doors
Upgrade your bathroom with frameless shower doors. They can add a look of luxury and quality to bathrooms of any size. California Frameless Shower Doors specializes in frameless and semi-frameless shower doors and also offers mirrors with floating glass shelves, back splash mirrors, vanity and bar mirrors. Impress your guests for the holidays with the beautiful look of frameless shower doors.
(856) 649-6919

Catalina Home Enclosures, Windows & Doors
Catalina has been in business for more than 20 years. Owners Bob Nasuti and Craig Secreta are able to offer the latest in techniques and materials as well as giving to their patrons the highest quality products at competitive prices, together with a personal commitment to customer satisfaction.
(800) 786-3667

Closets by Design
Organize your home this fall with the help of Closets by Design. They will offer you an in-home consultation to help design a project that meets your home’s size and style. Be ready for the upcoming holidays with an organized home.
(800) 293-3744

Closet City
For 25 years, Closet City has organized and improved home interiors throughout the tri-state area, providing functional and unique storage for closets, pantries, laundry rooms, mudrooms and home offices.
(800) 342-0070

Coit Cleaning Services
Get your home like new again with the help of Coit Cleaning Services. They will have your carpets, upholstery, drapes and tile looking like they did when you first bought them. Coit also specializes in air duct and dryer vent cleaning.
(856) 566-0700

Dambly's Garden Center
Dambly's Garden Center in Berlin has been providing expert service in South Jersey for over 32 years. They offer a wide variety of gardening supplies, plants, hardscape materials, bulk mulch, bulk stone, animal feed, seasonal decorations and more.
(856) 767-6883

Decorative Home Impressions
A great fall project that can add beauty and be done quickly is stamped asphalt. Decorative Home Impressions can install decorative, maintenance free walkways or driveways in one day. They can also install special pavers over existing concrete steps, landings or patios. Call today for great options on giving your house grand curb appeal.
(856) 885-3509

Eaise Design and Landscaping, Inc.
A family owned and operated landscaping company in South Jersey, Eaise will help plan, design and install the outdoor living space of your dreams, or provide lawn maintenance, irrigation systems, outdoor lighting, snow removal and holiday lighting. Offering more than 25 years of experience, Eaise stands behind their work and products.
Cherry Hill (856) 428-7769
Mullica Hill (856) 478-4555
Washington Twp (856) 740-2900

Elite Landscaping
Backyard need a new look? Elite is a full-service landscaper based in southern New Jersey. Their services include lawn maintenance, installation of retaining walls, brick walks and patios, ponds, waterfalls and more.
(856) 753-1944

The Fireplace People
Welcome to the premier hearth and barbecue specialists in Southern New Jersey since 1975. They offer the area's largest display of wood, electric and gas fireplaces, with a showroom to inspire you.
(856) 768-0009

Gill's Landscaping, Inc.
Enjoy the fall scenery from your new deck or patio. Gill’s design team will meet with you to see what best fits your home's space and style. Gill’s can also help you decide what to plant now for landscaping that will grow and look beautiful in the Spring. Call today for a free consultation on the many options for landscaping and hardscaping projects that Gill’s can do for you now.
(856) 223-9770

Home Trimwork
Offering beautiful custom crown molding, wainscoting, archways, window moldings, picture frames, raised panels, fireplace mantles, bookcases, stairs, iron balusters, wood floors, interior painting and more. Call today for a design consultation.
(609) 206-8621

Jersey Pro Wash
Jersey Pro Wash’s experienced technicians arrive at your home or business in uniform, driving a clearly-marked Jersey Pro Wash vehicle, on time and ready to work. Their attention to detail in customer service and punctuality sets Jersey Pro Wash apart from the rest. Call now for your free estimate for power washing and restoration services.
(856) 776- 9274

Joseph's Landscaping & Irrigation, Inc. & Joseph's Garden Center
Joseph's is a full service landscaping and irrigation company that proudly serves South Jersey. Joseph’s newly revitalized garden center is open from March through December. They offer plants, shrubbery, trees, flowers and more. Ask for their advice on what to plant now so you can enjoy a beautiful garden in the spring.
(856) 629-9528

KOL Marble & Granite
KOL Marble & Granite is one of the top marble and granite fabricators in the area. Their knowledgeable staff can bring the beauty and utility of natural stone into your life. Visit their show room in Cherry Hill or contact them to schedule an appointment for an in-home estimate.
Cherry Hill
(856) 857-1430

Life Painting, LLC.
There is nothing that transforms the look of a room more than a coat of paint. Whether it's an accent wall in your dining room, or a detailed master bedroom with chair rails and vaulted ceilings, a professional paint job will breathe new life into any interior space in your home. Life Painting also provides construction services, including, crown molding, custom trimwork, bath, kitchen, and basement remodeling.
(609) 381-4713

McAllister The Service Company
For more than 120 years, home and business owners have relied on McAllister for heating fuels, state-of-the-art heating, air conditioning and indoor comfort equipment and for prompt, dependable equipment service.
(856) 665-4545

Nastasi's Fine Furniture - Appliances – Bedding
For 65 years, Nastasi's has been helping families furnish their homes. From living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and more they offer fine furniture at discounted prices along with free decorating advice. Come in today and check out three huge floors of furniture in their 30,000 square foot showroom.
(856) 854-3198

Rettinger Fireplace
Si vous voulez donner à votre maison Neuve, ou vous vendez votre maison dans le marché concurrentiel d'aujourd'hui, nous comprenons vos besoins. Certifié re-designers professionnels et serveurs de départ de l'immobilier, nous pouvons soit aide que vous atteindre le concepteur look and feel que vous voulez dans votre maison, ou nous pouvons rendre votre maison surpasser toutes autres actuellement sur le marché !
(856) 783-5501

Rightway Waterproofing Company
Rightway Waterproofing is known for its honesty, high quality work and professionalism. Their reputation in the Delaware Valley for basement waterproofing, basement remodeling and mold remediation is second to none. With this company homeowners deal directly with the owners and get a lifetime guarantee on all waterproofing. Call today for a free home inspection and have your basement done the “Rightway!”
(856) 317-1111

Signature Home Solutions
Si vous voulez donner à votre maison Neuve, ou vous vendez votre maison dans le marché concurrentiel d'aujourd'hui, nous comprenons vos besoins. Certifié re-designers professionnels et serveurs de départ de l'immobilier, nous pouvons soit aide que vous atteindre le concepteur look and feel que vous voulez dans votre maison, ou nous pouvons rendre votre maison surpasser toutes autres actuellement sur le marché !
(609) 941-4185

Sila Heating & Air Conditioning
Heating and cooling systems of all kinds, including furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, central air conditioning, whole home back-up power generators and 24/7 service plans. Locally owned and operated since 1986!
(610) 491-9400
(888) 491-9030

SLS Landscaping, Inc.
SLS Landscaping offers unique designs that will enhance the beauty of your home with landscaping, hardscaping, outdoor lighting, outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, paver patios, walkways and more. SLS is committed to providing homeowners with quality full service landscape management as well. From turf fertilizer programs to plant health care programs the care that SLS provides will keep your home’s curb appeal beaming for years to come.
(609) 518-5263

Solar Reflections
Solar Reflections is your local home daylighting experts. Make the right choice and brighten dark rooms too! Solar Reflections is a Solatube premier dealer and provides an affordable way to brighten any home. You can expect the highest level of service from their Certified Installation Consultants. Professionally installed in about two hours.
(215) 997-5901

Stone Galaxy
Serving the tri-state area, Stone Galaxy's goal has always been to satisfy customers with high standards and quality. Only the most superior and beautiful stones are used. Unlike many other companies, Stone Galaxy uses the finest sealers. Company personnel believe that their goals can best be realized by providing top-quality products, competitive prices and an exceptional level of services to all of their customers.
(888) 780-1169

Sunbeam Windows & Door Co
Sunbeam window & Door Company has been your choice for vinyl replacement windows, entry doors, retractable awnings and window treatments since 1946. The secret to their longevity lies in their professional workmanship, quality products, attention to details and most of all their customer service
(856) 662-3300

Swim-Mor Pools
Swim Mor Pools has been building and servicing in-ground swimming pools in South Jersey since 1967. They have been able to maintain their success and longevity because they build a high quality swimming pool with their own crews.They honor their warranties and guaranties. They make customer service and satisfaction a priority
(856) 456-3332

T.J. Eckardt Associates, Inc.
For over 31 years, homes and business owners have relied on T.J. Eckardt Associates for first-class heating, air conditioning and indoor comfort equipment and for prompt, dependable service after the sale. As an independent Rheem Team Dealer they carry a full line of heating and cooling systems and related products. You can be sure that T.J. Eckardt will find one that best fits your need and budget.
(856) 767-4111

The Window Factory
The Window Factory has been providing and servicing homeowners with high quality vinyl replacement windows and vinyl siding as well as entry, storm and patio doors that offer beauty, comfort and value for over 20 years. Their products are custom made to fit because they measure your openings first. This family owned and operated company offers free estimates and professional advice on what works best for your home.
Haddon Heights
(856) 546-5050
(800) 322-0002

Young’s Landscape Management
For nearly 20 years, Young’s has been blending lush, colorful plantings with hardscapes, lighting, water features, synthetic turf lawns and sporting areas. Plan now to ensure a blooming landscape and comfortable living space for next summer. Serving the Delaware Valley to the Jersey Shore
(856) 654-5441

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 8 (October, 2011).
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