Maintaining Your Water Heater

Your water heater is a modern-day convenience. We don’t always think about it like that or having to live without them until something goes wrong. Many of us have experienced when a water heater has died – and it’s not fun. Cold showers or water leaks are not welcomed surprises.

Water heaters last an average of 10 years and like any appliance, they require a little maintenance to keep working efficiently. To get the most out of your water heater it’s a good idea to do some check-ins.  Once a year, schedule time to either hire someone to complete maintenance or make plans to do it yourself. Also, be sure to consult the owner’s manual that came with the water heater so that you can follow the manufacturer’s recommended steps and to safely perform the maintenance.  In addition, hire a licensed plumber or pipe fitter to aide in any maintenance if you are unsure how to safely accomplish these tasks.

A visual inspection is something you can do yourself. This helps to identify any issues on the exterior such as loose screws, nuts, bolts, and gaskets. The goal with the visual inspection is to see what is worn and may need replacing and check for signs of rust or corrosion.

General Maintenance Tips to Consider:

  • Have the tank drained once or twice a year. During this process, flush the tank a couple of times to make sure all the sediment and debris is cleared out of the tank.
  • Besides just cleaning the water, the anode rod should be checked once a year. The purpose of this rod is to attract all the debris and sediment. This rod typically needs replacing every three to five years.

Photo of Water heater in utility closet

  • If your water heater has a temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P valve), add checking the T&P valve to your list to make sure it is in proper working order. This is important to check as pressure can build up in the tank.  As mentioned above, be sure to consult the owner’s manual in order to safely perform this task. Not all water heaters have a T&P valve.

If your water heater is gas, it will have this valve. Some electric water heaters also have this.

  • If you have a tankless water heater, make sure to descale your water heater to rid the sediment and debris. Make sure the tankless heater is set appropriately and not too high. Doing this will decrease the buildup.

Signs your water heater may need maintenance:

  • leaks
  • low water pressure
  • hear clicking or if your water is rusty

Keeping a mindful eye on your water heater at least once a year will clue you into when it is nearing the end of its life span and help to keep it working efficiently. Doing this should help prevent any of those unwanted surprises.


Keep Maintaining Your Home!


Man closing window.

7 Affordable Remedies for Drafts in Your Mobile Home

Making your home well insulated is an important way to keep your home energy efficient. We pay for heat and air, but how much do we pay for air that escapes or seeps in? If your home is drafty, older, or just needs some reinforcement this is the article for you. Check out these simple ways to reduce drafts!

  • Draft snake – These are great for sealing doorways where the door is too short or doesn’t quite line up correctly. There are various types of draft snakes that slide on the bottom of the door to buffer both sides or ones that you can place directly in front of the door. 
  • Window plastic film – If you have old windows or just windows that let air in you may find placing a plastic film is a good, cost efficient solution – especially in winter. Most of them apply easily with a tape or have you use a hair dryer to bond the edges to your window frame.
  • Weather stripping – Updating your weather stripping is a great way to seal out cold/ hot air. Check around those doors and windows for easy places to put new weather stripping or to place some where there needs to be.
  • Chimney balloon – Fireplaces are great for logs but are notorious for letting in air. Sealing it with an inflatable chimney balloon will keep critters out and keep that air from filling your home.
  • Landscaping around your home – Oddly enough having a flower bed or landscaping around your home isn’t just pretty – it helps keep your home warm. Try placing some large bushes around your home to keep your home snuggled up for the cold season and keep cool air in during the warm months. 
Caulk gaps around your window.
  • Caulking – This one is a timeless classic. Caulk is usually best used around windows and will keep drafts out as well as being super easy and inexpensive to apply. It’s also perfect for small cracks.
  • Spray foam – A lot of times the issue with drafts in a home can be linked to poor insulation. However, that can add up or be a bigger project than you might be willing to take on. If so, spray foam insulation can be a good option. It’s easy to do and you only need one person to get the job done.

We hope that this can be a quick reference to hopefully help you find ways to improve energy efficiency in your home as well as stay warm or cool give the respective season.

Winter Maintenance Checklist

It’s time to prep your mobile home for winter. There are plenty of easy and efficient ways to protect your home from the elements and clean out seasonal build-up. So print out this checklist and get started! If your home could talk – it would thank you for following this guide!

  • Change air filters: Easy to do and it maintains indoor air quality and ensures your AC/Heat flows efficiently
  • Remove window units or winterize them
  • Check for leaks: Do your windows need to be caulked? Have a dripping sink? Remedy these areas to save on your utility bills.
  • Clean + prepare chimney/ fireplace: Consider hiring a chimney sweep. Clean up your fireplace if it can be used or stuff the chimney appropriately. Be sure to ask for professional help if you’re unsure how to clean or use your fireplace.
  • Clean out gutters
  • Put garden hoses up: drain the hose and disconnect it so the water doesn’t freeze and ruin your hose.
  • Seal interior/ exterior gaps: Be sure your home is well insulated.
  • Collect firewood: If you have a wood stove or want to have bonfires now is the time to start collecting.
  • Check your roof: Weathering over time has probably left your roof with some wear and tear. Be sure it’s fixed before winter when snow and freezing temperatures can damage your roof.

Get Maintenance Tips Now!

Here’s to being prepared and a great winter! This may also be a great time to consider checking into insulation options for your home if you notice a need for it in your mobile home!

Homemade Air Freshener Methods

You’re spending more time indoors. You might be turning the heat on and enjoying cozy evenings. Chances are you’re probably also enduring some unwanted smells. From the trash, to getting behind on cleaning, to the effect of closed doors – this season is strong on the senses. Why not make it smell great? Make your home rich with inviting, company worthy scents!

Below are some homemade remedies to get you started! Your nose is going to thank you! Make your house smell amazing with some of these methods!

Stove top – Quick and easy! All you have to do is grab a pot, fill it with water and add something fragrant. Fruits and spices make a great combination! Cinnamon, cranberry, and lemon make for a great holiday blend! Create your own combination – perfect for your home!

Spray – Homemade air fresheners are a great gift for Christmas or to take to your family at Thanksgiving. Most sites suggest a bottle with a spray nozzle, water, some type of rubbing alcohol agent, and drops of your favorite scented oil.

Spray bottle with essential oils and fruit slices in view.

Deodorizer – If you’re more interested in getting rid of a smell instead of adding a scent – try a deodorizing technique. Setting out baking soda or a dish of vinegar will do the trick.

Gel – This is the same method as making the spray air freshener, but you use gel. Gel candles are also great fresheners as they last a while.

Natural remedies – Coffee beans, fresh rosemary, and plants in general seem to clean the air around you and purify the senses. Try them out! Rosemary works great if you put it in the shower and let it release its perfume!

BAKE COOKIES!

Freshen Up Your Walls With New Paint!

We hope these ideas have been easy and cost efficient! Take these ideas to your family for Thanksgiving and give the kids or adults something fun to do while some people are cooking!

Giving Back this Thanksgiving without Spending a Dime

It’s easy to get lost in the bustle of life. Holidays are great, but for many they are a time of financial stress, reflecting on loss, or feeling alone. Maybe you fall into one of these categories yourself. If so, it’s all the more reason to give back. In a time of year where we look to our families, travel, and gifts, let us not forget our neighbors.

Giving to those around us doesn’t mean giving a lot of money, or any money really. It’s more about resources, time, and thoughtfulness. We encourage you to give this Thanksgiving. Below we’ve got some ideas to help you get started.

  • Check your pantry Do you have some canned goods, dry foods, or supplies you don’t need or use that are in date? Consider donating some to a local food bank. You could also organize a neighborhood or street-wide food drive and ask people to donate along with you!
  • Make baked goods for community workers Are you thankful for firefighters, police, librarians, teachers, etc.? Make them some cookies with a card and thank them for what they do to better your community.
  • Volunteer Help with a marathon, visit a nursing home, or a hospital. Your time and effort are the best gift you can give.
  • Become a tutor or mentor Do you know a child who needs some help with reading? Ask area non-profits in your city if they have a program you can help in tutoring kids or volunteer your time at a local school. Do you know someone who needs support or guidance or do you just feel you have skills you could offer? Consider becoming a mentor.
Man cleaning sink in a mobile home.
  • Clean someone’s house/car Do you know someone who just had a baby? Do you have a friend that needs a break? Offer to clean their house or help them do so.
  • Invite someone over for dinner You’re already making dinner. Why not everyone eat a little less or skip the leftovers so a friend in need can feel loved and supported?
  • Offer to babysit or dog sit for someone Everyone needs a break or a night out! Have a friend going a way for a while? Offer to watch their dog so they don’t have to pay money to board them.

Does all this giving back have you feeling thankful?

Try a Gratitude Journal!

Fall Home Maintenance: Clearing Leaves

When the leaves change color, it is one of the most loved moments of fall. Their bright colors add so much beauty to the world. With the leaves changing, it is means it is time for them to fall. While leaves can look pretty both on the ground or on the trees, leaves can cause some issues around the home.

 We suggest focusing on problem areas such as gutters, flower beds, wood surfaces, and walkways for clearing leaves.

  • Clearing leaves from your gutters will ensure they can drain properly in the upcoming season.
  • Removing leaves from flower beds will prevent animals from setting up residence close to your home. It will also allow plenty of sunlight to reach the soil so in the springtime your plants will thrive.
  • Leaves can potentially stain wooden areas such as a deck or porch. It can also cause the wood to rot. Sweep them off as often as you can!
  • Removing leaves from walkways is important as they can cause the area to be slick when it rains.
Someone removing leaves from a gutter with bright orange gloves.

Clearing leaves in your yard is not a must, but it is good for the environment. However, it does help to keep the areas around your home clean and safe if you choose to pick them up.

Removing leaves is a simple process, you can either use a rake, mulch them up with a lawnmower, or gather them in a pile with a leaf blower. Once they are collected into a pile, there are several solutions for ridding the leaves.

  • Use the leaves for your compost pile
  • Burn leaves (check your local area to make sure there is not an ordinance about burning leaves or if there is a burn ban)
  • Bag them for trash
  • See if your community has leaf pickup days

Leaf maintenance can be a year-round job, so do not stress every time a leaf blows into your yard from somewhere else. Creating a good routine will help to keep the project manageable.

For more items you need to prepare your home for, check out our fall maintenance list.


7 Ways to Use Pumpkins this Harvest Season

Late every September, we welcome a season of cooler weather, changing colors, and a time of plenty. For centuries across the world – cultures have celebrated the fall season as a time of harvest. During this time, we reflect on the year we have enjoyed thus far and all the reasons we have to be thankful. So it makes sense that we use vibrant colors, various plants, and wonderful foods to celebrate the harvest.

One of the most popular signs of harvest time is the pumpkin! Bright, versatile, and delicious – the pumpkin is often the center of attention. From classic carving, to the unusual – these ideas are sure to help you celebrate!

 1. Cooking

Pumpkin seeds make for a great snack and all you have to do is bake them! Plus, you can make pie. But it doesn’t stop there. Try making a soup! Check out these great ideas!

2. Carving

Carve a scary face, the letter your last name starts with, or a super hero for the kids! Get some inspiration here.

 3. Painting

Don’t want all the mess of carving? Simply paint a design, stripes, or anything you want for a finished look!

Painting a pumpkin
Make a party or event around decorating your pumpkin!

 4. Bowl/ Container

Need a festive punch bowl or container for candy? Cut out a pumpkin and line it with a plastic bag or find a clear bowl to fit in it. Here’s a great “how to”.

 5. Luminary

You can either use pumpkins to light your walkway or cut out the center and put a candle holder with candle in it!

6. Embellishing/ Decorating

Many sites use lace, push pins, and stickers to make a unique pumpkin with modern flair.

 7. Door stopper

Keep the doors open this year by placing a small pumpkin in front of the door.

Give Me Decorating Ideas!

Happy Harvest! We hope you and your family can have some fun with these ideas!

Halloween Trick or Treat Bags for Your Kids

How many orange pumpkins have you bought over the years for Halloween? Come on, there’s no shame, we’ve all been there. Oh, and I haven’t forgotten you, pillow sheets! You are creative and so is your child – let’s make a fun treat bag that celebrates that! It will give you an easy project you can enjoy with your kids, and their friends may just call you the “cool” parents, even though we know you already are!

Kids sitting on stoop in Halloween costumes with trick or treat bags.
  1. Sew one! A simple pattern can make for a super cute bag for Halloween. For most projects, all you need is different colored felt and a pattern! You could also reuse the fabric for other seasons depending on what you choose!
  2. Repurpose a shirt/ sew a patch on. Have an old spooky shirt? Cut it with a simple tutorial and you’ve got a great bag! You also can sew or iron patches of a canvas bag for a well-traveled look!
  3. Stencil on a canvas bag! Use paint, spray paint or whatever you like to make your own unique saying on your kiddo’s bag, or go classic and put their name on it!
  4. Line your bag in ribbon. You can line the top by gluing the ribbon along the edges of the bag. You can also cut two little holes in the top of the bag and wrap the ribbon around the bag and to the top and through the holes.
  5. Use bandanas! Get a few different colored bandanas and tie them together or sew them up to make your own unique bag!

Keep Crafting with Your Kids!

Ask your kiddo what theme they’d like to do, or make something to go with their costume. Ask some of their friends to join and make a party out of it! Come up with your own idea if you like!

Family outside in the mountains

10 Spend Free Fall Weekend Ideas

It’s my opinion, but I wear it proudly – Autumn is worth the whole year. In other words, I seriously love fall and wait for it each year with expectation. I enjoy the other seasons as they come, but there’s nothing like the season of fall to me. If I had to peg the one underlying reason I love this time of year it’d have to be that the outdoors turn into the perfect playground, from gorgeous colors, to perfect temperatures, football games, etc. it’s all so inviting!

So since the outdoors are gearing up to create the ideal backdrop for all your family fun, why not enjoy it all without the cost? That’s right, here’s how to have the best fall weekend without breaking the bank!

  • Go hiking: If you need an all-day event, or your looking to spend some energy with your older kids or your pets this option is made for you! You can stay active and enjoy the scenery – talk about the best of both worlds!
  • Host a scary viewing party! Get your favorite spooky show or movie and invite your friends over! Borrow a projector and take it outside or watch on your deck or screened in porch.
  • Use fall foliage for décor: Acorns, pinecones, and leaves make for beautiful décor pieces! No need to go out and buy what you can find in your backyard. If you are nervous they are filled with bugs, dry them out or try one of the many cleaning options on Pinterest!
  • Take lunch to the park: Instead of staying inside, take lunch outside! Heck, it can be your own backyard!
  • Have a candlelit story time: Put the phones and electronics away. Light some candles and turn the lights off. Read the kids a book by candle light. You’ll feel like your back in the day and get to focus on one thing at a time for change! 

Cup of coffee with whip cream and caramel on a table next to fall leaves.
Enjoy a cup with a friend!
  • Make tea or coffee and invite a friend over: Enjoy a low-key chat without having to go out and spend money. A warm cup of hospitality is just as sweet as friendship.
  • Volunteer: Easy, free, and it helps someone else! This is the best one on the list. It’s never too early to teach your kids to put others’ and their needs first. It is the season of gratefulness after all!
  • Clean/Organize: Open the windows and freshen up the house for the season! Organize the kids’ toys, the kitchen, or make a box to donate. Does a room in your home need a good scrub, too? Get some kitchen cleaning inspiration!
  • Break out the board games: Work together or enjoy a little friendly competition playing some games. This is great for those kiddos that need a little break from technology.
  • Go outside and draw what you see: Take another look at your backyard or your front yard. Draw your best rendition! Be sure to include all the color you see!

Get More Frugal Ideas!

Enjoy the best season of all! Remember, fun can be free!

Oakbur Quill Co.