Traffic Patterns

When considering a house purchase, visit the location at different times of the day to gauge the nearby traffic patterns, congestion, on-street parking, and noise. Seasonal differences may also be a factor, especially if the house is near a school or sports venue.
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Damper Insulation

Poorly fitting fireplace dampers allow air to move freely up and down the chimney, often resulting in significant energy loss. Install a new damper or repair the existing one so it closes tightly and be sure to close the damper after every use.
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Low-Flow Shower

Install a low-flow shower head with a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or less. You'll cut your bathroom water use by 30 to 50 percent, and you'll conserve the energy required to heat the "extra" water.
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Sump Pump Test

Sump pits are intended to collect water from foundation perimeter drains. If there is a pump installed in the pit and no water is collecting in the pit, be sure to check the pump to be sure it is working. The easiest way to test your pump is to fill the sump pit to the point it will activate the pump, if the pump does not work replace it.
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Good Credit

Credit problems won't prevent you from obtaining a mortgage, but they will increase the cost. So try to put some time between your problems and your home purchase so you can reestablish good credit. Keep in mind, however, that interest rates, home prices, or both might rise while you work to boost your credit score.
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Pool Efficiency

If you use your pool only on weekends, reduce your heater thermostats settings by eight to ten degrees during the week. Furthermore, when leaving for vacation for more than a week, turn off the pool heater, including the pilot light.
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Novice Gardening

The best advice for the novice gardener is to start small; a well prepared small garden will yield plenty of produce or ornamental beauty. As skills and confidence grow, gradually increase the garden's size to fit your time and energy commitments.
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Lead Sources

While paint, dust, and soil are the most common lead hazards, other lead sources also exist.
- Drinking water, your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder.
- The job, if you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes.
- Old painted toys and furniture.
- Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain.
- Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.
- Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass, or refinishing furniture.
- Folk remedies that contain lead, such as "greta" and "azarcon" used to treat an upset stomach.
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Spring Chimney Cleaning

Springtime is the right time to get your chimneys checked! Sweeps are generally less frantic in the spring (vs. the crazy fall season) and if your chimney needs repairs, they can be made before the cold weather hits!
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Generator Test

Be sure to test your back up generator every year, especially prior to the cold seasons when it is imperative it work. Also check the oil level, spark plug and fuel filter as prescribed by the owner's manual.
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