How to Clean and Inspect Gutters

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Having well functioning gutters and water drainage is absolutely vital to the care of your home. You should clean and inspect gutters a few times per year to make sure they are in great shape and working properly. Here is a guide to what to look for and how to properly maintain your gutters.

How_to_Clean_Inspect_Gutters

How to Clean and Inspect Gutters

Clean Out Gutters

There is no easy way to do this short of getting up on a ladder and reaching in. The key is to do it after a good rain. This will make the leaves and debris stick together easily, and the job will be much easier. The important thing to remember about cleaning your gutters is to use a safe ladder with someone spotting you, and never, ever reach farther than your natural reach. Accidents can and do happen when you try to reach too far. Slowly work your way around your home and pull out any and all debris.

Note: Make sure you anchor your ladder well. Also, wear heavy work gloves to reduce exposure to critters and sharp edges.

Flush Gutters

When you are finished cleaning them out, you should flush your gutters to make sure there are no areas of pooling or leaks. Running a steady stream of water through the gutter with a hose is an easy way to see if the water is flowing properly. You can do this safely from the ground by shooting the water up on the roof in various places.

Flush Downspouts

Flushing downspouts requires a more direct spray, so you need to take the hose up on the ladder. Be very careful and have someone there to watch for you. Anchor the ladder and spray directly into the downspouts to flush them clean.

Inspect Fascia Boards

Fascia boars are the underside of your roof overhang that most gutters are attached to. If they are improperly fastened, gutters can come loose. Another common problem is dry rot, as the fascia board is usually made of wood. Make sure there is no mold and that the wood is strong and sturdy. Tighten any loose screws and make sure the gutters are still securely holding to the fascia board.

Repair Holes or Leaks

Small holes and leaks in gutters can be easily filled in with putty or roofing cement. Larger ones need to be filled in with a piece of fitted sheet metal that you will need to cut. The key is to cover the area completely so that the leak does not recur. Most holes in gutters are not big enough to require sheet metal, so some putty and a knife will do just fine most of the time.

Gutter maintenance and cleaning is absolutely vital to the siding, foundation, and roof of your home. Keeping water out of these areas will make them last longer, costing you less money in the long run. Clean your gutters at least twice per year, but more often if you live in an area with lots of rain or debris. The key is to be careful and always think safety first.

Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Attic Maintenance Tips

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Climbing the steps to the attic is something few people enjoy doing. There is something creepy about an attic to many people. The truth is, an attic is just like any other part of your home, only darker. This is one reason why attic maintenance is one of the most ignored tasks. Nobody wants to climb up into the attic for any reason, much less clean and do maintenance.

Attic Maintenance Tips | The Happy Housewife

The good news is, attic maintenance is very easy. With some quick and easy tips, you can check this maintenance task off your list in no time flat. Here are the things you need to do:

Check Vents for Lint/Debris

Your attic vents are absolutely vital to the health of your home and they can easily be compromised by a number of different things. The most common problem with vents is a lack of ventilation space. If you put a big box in front of your vent, you will have all kinds of problems with moisture, insulation, and air flow. Make sure the vent is free and clear of anything on the inside and out. Wipe them down with a damp rag and make sure they are not clogged.

Look for Openings

Cracks and other openings in an attic can cause all kinds of problems as well. Look closely with the attic door shut. (Make sure you are in a safe, supported position first.) The darkness will often show any areas where light is coming through or openings you might miss. Also, check carefully around windows and corners. Any openings should be sealed up to help keep out the critters.

Check Insulation

Displaced insulation can cause you to get icy areas in your attic and should be put back into place. Just look around with a good light source to make sure insulation is in place and that it covers the surface nicely.

Check for Wasps and Other Pests

As tasteless as it might be, pest control in your attic is a necessity. The good thing about doing it during the winter is that most of these critters will be either dormant or sluggish. Wasps and bees are the most common problems in attics and they will be completely gone. Only the nests will be left behind and you can easily remove them with a stick or broom. Make sure you also seal up the entrance so they don’t return. (They got in somehow). Also look around for signs of bats, raccoons, squirrels, and mice. The droppings will be obvious if you look around carefully.

Reorganize and Clean Up

Finally, take the time to organize any storage or extras in the attic. A clean attic makes your maintenance easier each year. Clean up completely and you are good for yet another year.

Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Shoveling Snow the Safe and Easy Way

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Heading outside in the cold of winter to shovel snow sounds like a pretty straightforward task, but nothing could be further from the truth. Do it wrong and you will find yourself laid up with a bad back, pulled muscle, or in extreme cases, even a heart attack. Snow shoveling is serious business and should be done properly. Here are some tips to keep you safe and productive when shoveling snow this winter.

Shoveling Snow the Safe and Easy Way | The Happy Housewife

Warm Up Your Muscles

Before shoveling, you should warm up as though you were exercising. This is common sense really because shoveling snow is as tough as any workout. Take some time to stretch out your legs, back, and arms, paying particular attention to your hamstrings. This is the most commonly injured area when you are shoveling snow. Wear a back brace or other supports if you need them.

Dress in Layers

It is very easy to get overheated while shoveling snow. For this reason, you should wear a few layers that you can remove as needed. Keep in mind that staying dry is the key to staying warm. Take your time and add or take away layers as needed.

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is absolutely necessary in a tough workout, so snow shoveling certainly qualifies. The last thing you want is to get dehydrated while dumping snow. Have plenty of water handy and drink it regularly.

Use Good Posture

When you lift snow, you should always keep a straight back. Use your legs and shoulders as much as possible and keep one hand down closer to the shovel head. This will give you leverage and make the snow lighter. Never throw snow. Rather, you should carry it to where it goes and dump it off the edge of the shovel.

Move Slowly and Steadily

Many people go out and start slinging snow willy nilly. Find a steady pace and stick with it. Moving snow smartly is far more productive than doing it fast.

Have a Dumping Area

Know where you are going to dump each shovel full of snow before you begin. Having a dumping area is vital to your productivity. Why pick it up more than once? Know where it is going, and put it there the first time.

Move the Shortest Distance Possible

Before you put your shovel to snow, know where you are going with it and what the closest drop off point will be. When you are doing a larger area, find the closest edge you can drop the snow in. Again, double work is not a good idea.

Invest in Good Equipment

If you have regular snowfall, you should invest in some good equipment. A decent shovel is the bare minimum. Some folks buy snow blowers and de-icers. If you have poor equipment, you will have to work twice as hard to do the same work.

Shoveling snow is not all that tough if you take it nice and easy. Steady work will get the job done safely. Spend time preparing and then stick to your method, and you will get the job done in no time.

Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Help Families With a New Baby

By contributing writer Angie

When friends or family have a new baby enter their lives, it can be a great gift to offer help to them.  In my experience, however, it’s not just enough to say, “Let me know if you need anything.”  Most families won’t take you up on such a vague offer.  Instead, pick something that you feel comfortable doing, and suggest something specific when you offer to help.

In case you’re stuck for ideas on how you could help a family with a new baby, here are some suggestions that are usually sure to be received with a grateful smile from the new parents.

How to Help Families with a New Baby | The Happy Housewife

Take a Meal

One of my personal favorites is to ask if I can take a meal to the family.  If you are delivering a meal, you should make sure that you know of any allergies or preferences of the family.  It also might be nice, if others are also taking meals, to coordinate so the family with the new baby isn’t eating lasagna every night for a week.

It’s a great idea to pack the meal in disposable containers. That way you aren’t adding an errand to their schedule by requiring them to figure out how to get dishes back to you.

An alternate idea is one that I experienced after I had surgery. A meal was dropped of for us in dishes that the cook was about to get rid of at a garage sale.  She advised me to either keep them or donate them after I used them.  Instead, I saved them until I had to take food to another family, and  then I passed them along in the same way.

Spend Special Time with Older Children

New babies can take up a lot of time and attention.  If the family has other children, offer to take their other children out for a play date, a trip to the movies, or some other fun activity.  This will not only give the new parents a chance to rest or just spend alone time with the new baby, but it also gives the new baby’s siblings a little of their own special time.

Help with Household Chores

This is one of those items that you probably need to be family or very good friends to offer.  However, if that is the case, you could offer to do tasks like cleaning the house or picking up their laundry and then dropping it back off clean and folded.  This could also include offers of tasks such as mowing the lawn or shoveling snow, depending on the time of year.

Run Errands

If all of these options sound too involved, another idea that is a wonderful help but can often be fit into your own schedule is to offer to run some errands for the family.  Its can be as simple as calling to tell them that you’re going to be going to the grocery store and drug store, and could you pick up any items for them while you’re out.

New babies aren’t the only time that families could benefit from these types of help.  These are also great things to offer after family members have had surgery, a job loss, or other major changes.

What are some of your favorite things to do to help family and friends in need or with new babies?

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.