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Everything listed under: Safety

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    Is Your Deck Ready For Spring?

    You already know how important it is that you keep your lawn looking great, but what about the other aspects of your exterior landscaping? Decks take a lot of upkeep, but it is worth every minute! 

    Having a deck expands the usable living space of your home in the warm months, invites guests into your backyard to enjoy the green grass and fresh air, and provides a gathering space to get you in the yard more often.

    Here are some things to consider when getting your deck ready for spring:


    Safety

    Of course, safety is a top concern when talking about decks. Some decks can be twenty feet in the air! Most are constructed of wood which can rot away over time. Decks are also a common DIY project which can often be done poorly by a previous homeowner. The safety regulations surrounding decks are important to know. 

    When assessing if your deck is ready for spring, check if there are any loose or warping boards. Look for rot and insect damage, especially near the posts that hold the deck up and have wood near the ground. Ensure your deck has proper footing and flashing installed to prevent future safety problems. Lowes.com provides a comprehensive list of areas on your deck to check for safety reasons each spring.

     

    Maintenance

    Besides checking for safety concerns, you should also keep your deck appealing by performing maintenance each spring. Start by cleaning the whole deck! Move the grill, move all the furniture – move everything off and give it a power wash. It is suggested to stain your deck every 3-5 years, so chances are you will need to buy some stain and block off a weekend to get it done. 

    Make sure it is above 50 degrees when you apply stain. Once the deck is fully clean and freshly stained, consider any other upgrades you might want to add this season. Do you need more shade on your deck? Do you need some lighting to enjoy your deck in the early morning or late evening? Do you need a deck heater or more storage? Decking out your deck will only add to the enjoyment of your yard this year!

     

    Get your deck ready for spring by inspecting its safety, maintaining its beauty, and upgrading its functionality. Then get outside and enjoy your lawn and yard more than ever this season! 

  • Winter Home Maintenance Tips

    Although we at Ehlinger love taking care of what’s outside your home—lawn service and snow removal is our livelihood—we want the inside of your home to be safe, cozy, and well cared for this winter. As we settle into our Minnesota winter, now is a good time to give thought to some of the important winter home maintenance tasks that you may have forgotten.


    Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Heating Equipment

    According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires started by home heating equipment and carbon monoxide poisoning both increase during the winter months. Vehicles and generators running in an attached garage can cause dangerous levels of CO, and you should always make sure there is ample ventilation. If you’re going to start your car to let it warm up, back it out of the driveway so the fumes don’t build up in your garage and seep into your home.

    Never use your oven to heat your home, and be sure to turn off portable space heaters when you leave the room. (That includes the one you have hidden under your desk at work.)

    Stock up on Winter Supplies

    Stock up your home and your car with winter-ready supplies. For your home, make sure you have a good snow shovel, snow blower, and salt to rid your walkways of dangerous ice. Or, try one of these tips for keeping your walkways free of ice. If you have no desire to repair or purchase a snow-blower, let us do the snow removal for you. (We offer one price for the whole season, so you’re covered automatically, no matter how many times it snows!)

    For the car, think about what you might need in the event of a sudden winter storm in your path or being stranded on the side of the road. Blankets, flares, water, salt, and a small shovel can be incredibly handy in the right moment. Having a spare battery for your phone is another good idea. 


    Chimney Tips

    We all love a roaring fire, especially in these temps. But there are several to-dos surrounding that blaze to keep your home safe. First, get a fire screen that is well-reviewed if you have pets or children in the house or as guests. Many a tiny hand has been burned on fireplace glass! Hearth guards are also available to cushion those dangerous edges.

    To upkeep your fireplace, remove ashes regularly, and get your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year by professionals.


    Protect Your Pipes

    Often on the exterior walls of a home, pipes are susceptible to freezing in cold temperatures. If you’re leaving town, don’t turn your heat off completely because the pipes (and water within) may freeze and cause damage. When the temperature gets extremely cold, let the water drip a bit through the night to keep something flowing through the pipes. Pipe insulation is available at hardware stores and can give you pipe peace of mind.


    Watch for Ice Dams

    Melting and refreezing water on your roof can cause ice dams, meaning big problems forming under your shingles, in your gutters, and in drainpipes, blocking water from draining off your roof. The problem actually begins in your attic, with heat seeping through the roof and melting ice and snow, only to refreeze in an ice dam. Contact a professional to investigate and address this issue.

    If we take a moment to step outside your house to meet winter face-to-face, Ehlinger Lawn Service will be there to help you safely and effortlessly tackle snowfalls. Gain tips on how to shovel safely and find out more about our snow removal program, which provides snow blowing off your driveway whenever snow reaches more than 1 inch.

    So enjoy this winter, be safe, and stay warm!   



  • Tips and Tricks for Safely Shoveling Snow

     

    As the weather gets colder, Minnesotans start to get excited about outdoor winter activities. With the promise of snowmobiling, snowmen, and skiing, it is easy to forget about the responsibilities that winter holds, like clearing the snow from driveways and sidewalks. We are here to remind you of some simple shoveling safety tips to remember as winter approaches.

    Technique is Key

    Shoveling snow can be hard on your lower back and arms. To reduce the strain on your body, remember to lift with your legs. Back problems in the winter are mainly caused from shoveling heavy snow. The main technique for preventing these back problems is to pivot and twist your shoulders in line with your hips, this requires less twisting of your spine.

    Move the Snow in Sections

    This winter is predicted to be full of snow that is extra wet and heavy. It is important to move the snow in smaller sections or layers to make it a little easier on your body. You don’t have to dig all the way to the sidewalk in one movement; take your time and work in smaller sections.

    Give Your Body a Break

    Shoveling snow is a strenuous activity that can be hard on your body. Shoveling snow increases your blood pressure and heart rate causing your body to react as if you were working out. This is why it is important to take breaks every 15 minutes. Also making sure to wait at least a half hour after you wake up allows your body to warm up and prepare for the strenuous work.

    Wear Layers

    Don’t let the cold weather get the best of you- wear layers and be sure to keep your mouth and nose covered to prevent you from breathing in the cold air. Be sure to keep your hands and head covered to prevent potential frostbite and windburn. Keep your feet warm with thick socks and slip-resistant boots.

    Listen to Your Body

    Lastly, listen to what your body is telling you. If you need to take a break, do it. The snow isn’t going anywhere, after all! If your muscles ache or your back begins to cramp up, take a longer break and head indoors to let your body recover.

    If the work becomes too much for your body to handle, or you’d just rather have someone else take care of it for you, be sure to contact Ehlinger Lawn Services and forget about snow removal for the rest of the season!