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Spring Gardening Tips!

by The Rullo Team

The first day of summer is right around the corner! Add stunning curb appeal to your Fox River Valley home and create a peaceful space filled with fresh produce and beautiful flowers for your whole family to enjoy. Get your green thumb ready to follow these top tips for gardening success!

1. Map It Out

Start your garden off with a plan. Figure out the layout of your garden in terms of what plants look best near each other, the distance between each of them, where the sunlight hits, and more. The more you can plan out ahead of time, the better your garden will end up!

2. Begin Indoors

Get your plants started inside. All you need to do is fill containers with potting mix, moisten with water, and carefully add your seeds. Make sure to place in a warm spot of your home that receives 12 to 16 hours of daylight. Once your plants have gotten larger, you can transfer outdoors.

3. Prepare Your Soil

Make sure your soil is ready. Purchase a soil kit from your local home improvement store to learn its type and pH level. This information will help you determine what modifications your soil needs in order to grow the healthiest plants.

4. Start Planting ASAP

With our cold winters in the Fox River Valley, you want to make sure that you time out your planting properly so you start early enough to truly enjoy the plant throughout the warmer parts of the year.

5. Prune

Help stimulate plant growth and improve the look of your garden by pruning shrubs and trees. Just ensure that you are only pruning those plants that have bloomed on new growth from this year. If you prune plants that are still on last year's growth, you could cause irreparable damage to the plant.

6. Mulch

Save time in the future by adding several inches of mulch around your garden. Mulch moderates soil temperatures, saves water, reduce weeds, and wards of disease. When spreading out the mulch, be sure to water the soil before and after in order to keep the mulch a couple of inches away from your stems. Check out this Guide to Mulch Buying from the Chicago Tribune for more helpful information.

 


Follow us on Facebook and check out our Website for more fantastic Fox River Valley gardening and home tips throughout the year!

Get Your Fox River Valley Lawn Ready For Spring!

by The Rullo Team

Get your green thumb ready! Spring is right around the corner! While it might still be a little bit before the warmer weather fully reaches us, now is actually the perfect time to start prepping your Fox River Valley lawn! Complete these lawn care tasks today and enjoy the most stunning yard this spring!


1. Wash Salt Away

All the salt used on the winter roads can do a number on your grass and plants. Give your landscaping a good watering to get rid of this winter remnant.


2. Patch It Up

Now is the perfect time to patch up those thin and barren spots around your lawn. Add grass seed or sod to these areas before the ground temperature rises above 65 degrees. This will help keep weeds at bay.


3. Remove Debris

After the fall and winter, your yard is likely filled with some leftover leaves, branches, and yard debris. Although this stuff protects your lawn in the colder months, it hinders growth in the spring. Do a good cleaning by removing all these items from your grass and garden.


4. Prune & Fertilize

Check the soil for dryness. If it is crumbling instead of clumping, you can begin pruning and fertilizing. Remove old growth from perennials and prune your trees and shrubs. Add a slow release fertilizer to your plants, trees, and grass. Use one that also contains a pre-emergent herbicide to help fight off weeds.


5. Plant Cool Season Plants

Once your soil is dry enough, you can start to add some fresh greenery to your garden. Although temperatures might not seem warm enough, there are some resilient growers (such as bare-root plants, snapdragons, and pansies) that love the conditions of this time of year.


6. Pick Out Your Perennials

Although you cannot plant them yet, now is the time to pick out and preorder the perennials you want to plant this spring. Most nurseries offer deals on these plants at this time of year. Not only will you get a great price but you will also enjoy the best selection!


7. Service Your Mower

Have your lawn mower serviced and ready to go for the first cut of spring. Keep it running in tip top shape all spring and summer by sharpening the blades, changing the oil, and replacing the spark plugs.



For more helpful home improvement tips throughout the year, check out our website at http://www.therulloteam.com/ and follow us on Facebook.

New Year's Resolutions For Your Fox River Valley Home

by The Rullo Team

The New Year is here! That means it is time to set your New years resolutions. When thinking about all that you want to achieve in the New Year, do not forget about improvements that you can make to your home. 2019 is the perfect time to make sure that your home is in tip top shape. Here are our top New Year's Resolutions for your Fox River Valley home.


1. Set a Budget.

Before determining any of your other home improvement goals, you should create a budget for yourself. This will ensure that you do not overspend when making improvements and will help you when unexpected maintenance costs pop up! If you are able to make it throughout the year without spending all the money you set aside (Lucky you!), continue to save the money into the following year when you might need it.

 

2. Focus on Decluttering.

We all accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. Start of the New Year right by getting rid of items that you truly do not need. Donate anything that is still in good condition. If there are items that you do not regularly use but have sentimental value, put them away in storage for the future. You will feel less stress throughout the year by only having the things in your home that are necessary. It will save you time on cleaning and tidying up.

 

3. Reduce Water and Energy Usage.

Help conserve our planet's natural resources while saving money yourself by making improvements to your home that cut excess water and energy usage. You can reduce the amount of water your home uses by installing low flow showerheads and high efficiency toilets. To improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, seal and insulate your ductwork.

 

4. Improve Indoor Air Quality.

Keep your family healthy by improving the air quality in your home. Reduce harmful pollutants by using high quality furnace filters and changing them regularly. Invest in air cleaners that can be utilized in individual rooms to remove specific irritants. Make sure that smoke and kitchen fumes are properly ventilated outside of your home from the kitchen. The same goes for the excess humidity in your bathrooms.

 

5. Install Maintenance Free Materials.

Spend the time in 2019 installing maintenance free materials throughout your home. This will reduce recurring stress throughout the year by eliminating upkeep and will make the need for continual improvements a thing of the past. Within your home, use ceramic tiles that are extremely tough and stain and moisture resistant. They will make your floors look fantastic for years without any need for repair. On the outside of your home, use fiber cement siding, which is weather proof and resists insects, fire, dent, and rot. This siding will last you for over 50 years without need for replacement!

 

6. Achieve Other Resolutions While Improving Your Home!

You will have more personal resolutions that you make this New Year. Work to achieve those resolutions while making improvements to your home. It's incredibly easy to do. If focusing on exercising more is one of your goals for 2019, focus on do it yourself projects around the home. You can burn calories by taking on simple tasks, such as caulking, cleaning, painting, and yard work. If your resolution is to spend more time with family, focus on projects around the home that you all can work on together and find fun ways to complete the task as a team.


 

Looking for a way to save money on your energy bills? Consider solar polar! Learn more about this new home technology from your very own solar-savvy neighbors during the 11th Annual Illinois Solar Tour! This free open house of homes and businesses takes place on Saturday, October 7th, from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. 125 sites throughout the state will be opening their doors for visitors to learn more about how the technology works and the economic and environmental benefits.

 

You do not need to travel far from your Fox River Valley home to take advantage of this great opportunity! There are incredible sites located throughout our area for you to explore. Come discover great technological updates that you can make on your home this Saturday at these local open houses.

 

 

Kane County Solar Buildings

  • 815 Greenwood Court, Batavia

  • 641 Maple Lane, Batavia

  • 3167 Savannah Drive, Aurora

  • 749 Scott Drive, Elgin

  • 39W830 Highland Avenue, Elgin

  • 43W125 Faireno Drive, Elburn

Kendall County Solar Buildings

  • 216 Lombardy Lane, Oswego
For more homeowner & seller tips, visit our website or contact The Rullo Team directly.

Chicago Home Show this Weekend!

by The Rullo Team

Ready to make some renovations or improvements to your Fox River Valley home? Come to the Chicago Home Show this weekend at the Kane County Fairgrounds (525 South Randall Road, St. Charles)! Taking place Saturday, March 18th, and Sunday, March 19th, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, you will find hundreds of contractors and awesome ideas for your home projects at this FREE event!


Bring your ideas, plans, or repair needs and talk to local contractors and service providers to make them a reality. There will also be helpful products available for purchase. You will find everything that you need for inside and outside of your Fox River Valley home including, but not limited to:


Interior decorating ideas

Home organization ideas

Financial services

Home security

Windows and doors

Decks and patios

Kitchen remodels and updates

Bathroom remodels and updates

Roofing

Siding

Gardening

Landscaping




Be sure to enter to win Cutco Cutlery and an Echo Dot at the drawing at the door.



Chicago Home Show Details

Dates: Saturday, March 18th - Sunday, March 19th

Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (daily)

Location: Kane County Fairgrounds (525 South Randall Road, St. Charles)

Cost: FREE admission and parking!



If you are interested in Buying or Selling your Fox River Valley area home, give the The Rullo Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.therulloteam.com/.

Home Maintenance Tasks to Complete in March

by The Rullo Team

Did you know that March is the best time to complete home maintenance tasks? With the weather warming and before the spring showers of April begin, this month allows you to get your Fox River Valley  home in tip top shape. Have your home looking and working its very best for the rest of the year and prevent any costly future damage by completing these tasks this March!


Check out the state of your roof.

With the snow and ice cleared from your roof, it is the perfect time to safely check its condition before spring showers. Look for missing or loose shingles and check for cracks in the flashing or vent pipes. If you want to ensure that nothing gets overlooked, consider hiring a professional roof contractor as many offer inspections for free. If there is an issue, be prepared to pay for repairs to be made to prevent any damage to your home in the coming months.


Clear out the gutters.

Throughout the winter, debris has been accumulating in your gutter system. It is time to clear them out of all leaves, branches, and anything else you may find in them to make sure that they can properly keep rainwater away from your home’s siding and foundation. After cleaning them, consider adding gutter guards so that you do not need to continue to complete this task into the spring.


Freshen up the siding.

Your home’s siding takes a beating during the winter. You can easily clean off any dirt that has accumulated and extend the life of your siding with a brush and soapy water. Your home will be ready to sparkle in the spring sun.


Take care of your decks.

Just as debris accumulates in your gutters, it also accumulates between boards in your deck. Clear out leaves and branches to prevent potential rot. Also, look for any loose boards and repair as necessary. After clearing and repairing, use a cleaning product to help return your deck to its former beauty.


Inspect your home’s driveway and walkways.

The lifespan of asphalt and concrete decreases with each winter due to snow and ice. Cracks begin to form in the material due to the cycle of freezes and thaws. You can prevent future damage by adding a sealant to any cracks that you find. Consider hiring a professional for any large cracks and holes that you find.


Get your yard ready for spring.

Although it might not look like it, spring is right around the corner. March is the perfect time to get your yard prepped so it looks its very best once the warmer weather is here for good. Clear your lawn of large branches. Give the grass an initial cutting to get it ready. Prune rose bushes in mid-March so that they can properly grow after the last frost and add some beautiful color to the outside of your home.


Clean your air conditioner condenser.

It will soon be time to keep your home cool with the air conditioner. Make sure that it can work properly when you need it by cleaning it out now. Clean out debris and dust that you find in the AC condenser outside. If you want to ensure a thorough cleaning and prevent any damage to the condenser, hire a professional to take care of this task for you.


Add caulking to doors and windows.

The cold winter weather can damage caulking around doors and windows. Inspect these areas for any cracks which can lead to water entering your home in the spring. Fix the damages with a high quality, latex caulk that is made for exterior use.


Great Local Deals for Your Fox Valley Home!

by The Rullo Team

There are so many incredible Fox Valley businesses offering products and services to fit your every need. Local company Fox Valley Values helps connect consumers to these great local businesses! Visitors to the website can search hundreds of local Fox Valley businesses. As an added bonuses, you can find exclusive offers and coupons for these stores. With restaurants, local boutiques, and services offered, there is the perfect deal for you on this site!


 

Looking to make some improvements to your Fox Valley home? There are amazing deals being offered through the website now to help you do that. Improve your home's heating and cooling to keep you and your family comfortable all year round. Get ready for spring by stocking up on your lawn care and landscaping needs. Spruce up your home with some beautiful, new home decor. Check out the current deals below to help update your area home, save money, and support local businesses!

 

Special Offers for Your Fox Valley Home

Heating and Cooling

Blue Frost Heating & Cooling (1965 Powis Road, West Chicago)

Current Offers include dryer vent cleaning, deep air duct cleaning, attic insulation, and furnace cleaning, installation, or servicing.

 


McNally's Heating & Cooling (707 Colomba Court #102, St. Charles)

Current Offers include humidifier installation, duct cleaning, Full HVAC installation, furnace installation, and discount on any service.

 

Lawn Care

Ralph Helm Inc. (820 Stover Drive Unit A, Elburn and 36W710 Foothill Road, Elgin)

Current Offers include lawn equipment servicing, setup, and delivery.

 

Tentinger Landscapes (1290 Molitor Road, Aurora)

Current Offers include project consultation and estimate.

 

Home Decor

Cocoon (212 South Third Street, Geneva)

 Current Offers include savings on home decor. 



If you are interested in Buying or Selling a home in the beautiful Fox River Valley, give the Rullo Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.therulloteam.com/.  

 

What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear in Your Fox River Home?

by The Rullo Team

Getting Your Home Ready For Fall

by The Rullo Team

Raise the roof

Few home problems are more frustrating than a leaky roof, as it’s often hard to find the exact source of the problem.  So, taking care of these things before the rain and snow begin is a good idea. 

Inspect your roof from top to bottom, searching for missing or damaged shingles. Check shingles for cracks and other damage. Look for damage to metal around vents and chimneys. Look in your gutters, if you find large granules is could be a sign that you are losing your roof’s coating. Finally, make sure your gutters are flowing freely.

*If you are no longer using antennas…take them down.

Get your mind in the gutter

The drainage system on your roof is extremely important, as it diverts thousands of gallons of water from your home annually, protecting your foundation and walls. So, obviously you want to keep these drains flowing smoothly.  Clogged gutters lead to basement flooding and other hard to detect damage.  They are not immune from rust and erosion either.  So, before the leaves start falling, clean your gutters! THEN put some mesh guards over them to protect from future debris.  

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Hunt for drafts

Many homes have air leaks around windows and doors, which can account fro 10% of your energy bill (according to the U.S. Department of Energy).  So, check for gaps in caulk and weather stripping.  If you don’t have weather stripping…you’re missing out!  Seriously, weather-stripping is by far the most cost-effective way to control heating and cooling costs. It will reduce drafts and keep your home comfy cozy year round.  However, this stuff does deteriorate over time, so even if you already have it, you want to inspect it each year.  

There are a couple easy techniques for checking your stripping:

1) Close your door or window on a strip of paper…if the paper slides up and down easily, you have some work to do.

2) Light a candle and hold it near the frame of the closed door or window…if you find the flame flickers at any point near the frame…you have a leak!

You’ll also want to check the caulk, especially near entry points for cables.  This also deteriorates over time, so you may have to re-caulk.  

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Chill

Winter is coming, all men must protect their pipes. 

Close any shut-off valves to outdoor faucets…then drain the line, by opening the valve outside.  

*If you don't have shut-off valves or your faucets are not "freeze-proof “, you may benefit from styrofoam faucet covers sold at home centers.

In-ground irrigation systems should come with instructions from the manufacturer on how to freeze proof. 

Where’s your filter?

Furnace filters trap dust that would otherwise be deposited around your home.  Clogged filters also make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, and can seriously increase your utility bills. It’s easy to manage.  Simple monthly cleaning is all it takes to keep these filters breathing free and clear.

 Disposable filters can be vaccumed once before replacement. Foam filters can also be vaccumed but these don't need to be replaced unless they are damaged. Use a soft brush on a vacuum cleaner. If the filter is metal or electrostatic, remove and wash it with a firm water spray.  Boom, your filter is good as new.

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Professional help

It's a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional once a year. People often wait until the last minute, so beat the rush and schedule this for the early fall, before the heating season even begins.  

See the signs:

    Noisy belts Weird screeches or whines may signal that belts connected to the blower motor are worn or damaged.

    Poor performance. A heating system that doesn't seem to work as well as it used to could mean a lot of different problems. Your heating ducts could be blocked, the burners might be misadjusted or the blower motor could be on its way out.  But before you panic, check that the filter is clean.    

    Erratic behavior. This could be caused by a faulty thermostat.

Come on baby light your fire

Even if you rarely use your fireplace, you should check it annually for damage. 

Inspect your flue for creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of burning wood, so if it accumulates in your chimney, you could be victim to a devastating fire. Have your chimney inspected annually for creosote buildup. If you use a fireplace frequently, then have the flue inspected after each cord of wood burned.

The best option is to have your entire chimney system inspected by a chimney sweep. Once you know what to look for, you can perform the inspection by shining a bright flashlight up the flue, looking for any deposits approaching 1/8 inch thick, though the actual cleaning of these deposits should be performed by a professional.  

Look for flue blockages. Birds love to nest at the top of an unprotected flue. A chimney cap is an easy way to prevent this.  If you don't have a cap, just take a look up the flu to be sure.

Exercise the damper. The damper is the metal plate that opens and closes the flu just above the firebox. Test the open and closed positions to ensure that it is working properly.

Check for damage. Make certain that the flue cap is in place. Inspect brick chimneys for loose or broken points. If access is a problem try using binoculars.

Keep your humidifier happy 

Really dry winter air is bad for your health, but did you know it can make fine wood crack easier? You and your home will feel more comfortable if you keep your central humidifier running properly. 

Inspect the plates or pads. You can clean them with laundry detergent. You should also rinse and scrape off mineral deposits (use a wire brush or steel wool). 

Gassy 

Anything involving gas is a huge safety issue.  Heaters that are not maintained properly can spew poisons into the air of your home, or at least it may be costing you more to operate. Have a professional check these devices annually. 

Smoke and CO detectors 

Replace batteries in all of your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Then vacuum them with a soft brush attachment. Test the detectors by pressing the test button or holding a smoke source (like a blown-out candle) near the unit. If you haven't already, install a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.

Fire extinguishers 

You’d be surprised how many homes don’t have a fire extinguisher.  Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher rated for all fire types (look for an A-B-C rating on the label). Keep one near the kitchen; though having one per floor isn't a bad idea. Check the indicators on the pressure gauge to make sure the extinguisher is charged. Make sure the lock pin is intact and in place, and then make sure the discharge nozzle is not clogged.  

***Fire extinguishers that are more than six years old should be replaced.

***Mark the date of purchase on the new unit with a permanent marker.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

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