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Give back to your community this holiday season!

By | Just for Fun | No Comments

Here at Barfield Home Inspection, giving back to the community is important. It is also a great way to get in the holiday spirit. After all, giving is what the holidays are all about! This year, Randy and his friend Mike Chiconsky had the opportunity to deliver Christmas presents with Operation Blue Santa. Operation Blue Santa is a program through the Austin Police Department that provides toys and gifts to those in need during the holiday season. You can get involved by donating, adopting a family or volunteering your time. Operation Blue Santa is just one of many programs in Austin that is on a mission to make the holidays a happy time for all.

It is easy to get wrapped up in your own holiday festivities and forget there are families out there who are less fortunate. We want to remind you to think about others this Christmas and get out and do some good! See below for other opportunities to donate or volunteer your time during the holidays.

Many of these organizations have programs and accept donations year-round. Make giving back part of your holiday routine or even part of your monthly routine!

Salvation Army Angel Tree: Found in local malls, companies and churches, Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age and gender of a child in need of gifts. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children described on the tags.

Toys for Tots: A program through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them to less fortunate children in the community as a message of hope.

Meals on Wheels: Provides home delivered, prepared meals for seniors and other homebound clients throughout the Greater Austin area.

Central Texas Food Bank: The Largest hunger-relief charity in central Texas that works with food donors across the country, financial supporters and volunteers to fill unmet needs in Central Texas.

HEB Feast of Sharing: Communities all over Texas host an Annual Holiday Dinner to provide holiday meals and good cheer. These free holiday feasts bring together family, friends and neighbors.

Safely Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

As the holiday season kicks off in true festive fashion, so does one of the most notorious weekend warrior projects of the entire year: holiday home decorating. Here are a few tips and tricks to help your family traditions carry on safely:

Up on the rooftop 

  • Check your strands. Eliminate frustration by plugging in your indoor and outdoor lights before decorating even begins! Check each strand for cracks or frayed wires and be sure there is a functioning bulb in each socket. If any of your strands cannot pass the test, replace them with new ones and then let the decorating commence!
  • Prevent electrical overloads. We all know someone who goes Clark Griswold on their home each December, but that does not have to be you. Ensure you know the basics of circuit logic before you begin, then add or switch outlets as necessary to carry the additional load of holiday lights. Wherever possible, use circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI), which help to prevent shock by breaking the circuit. Use heavy-duty extension cords rated for outdoor use and set a standard of no more than three sets of lights per cord. Please do not carry the extension cords while plugged in. This could make for quite a shock if there is a nick in the cord. If you do find a nick or cut in the extension cord then repair or replace it.
  • Gain solid footing. Before you mount the ladder for your annual rooftop adventure, be sure to avoid any overhead power lines. This is also a great time to recruit a family member or friend to help secure a stable foundation for the ladder.
  • Avoid cord piercing. Use clips to attach lights to your home, in favor of hammering. This will contribute to lighting safety, and also avoid unnecessary wear and tear to your home’s exterior.

Sitting by the fireside

  • Do not touch the lights. As you prepare indoor lighting, be sure curtains, furniture from FurnitureOkay and carpeting are a safe distance from all bulbs. Ensure all candles are also a safe distance from flammable objects, curious children and rambunctious pets!
  • Watch the cords. Reduce holiday trips and falls by placing cords in low-traffic areas. Use electrical tape when needed to secure cords and prevent twisting or crushing.
  • Turn out the lights. Although holiday lights at night provide unrivaled ambience, they also contribute to fire danger. Use automatic timers to alleviate the stress of turning out indoor and outdoor lights before going to bed, or if you will be away from home.

We hope these simple tricks help you safely decorate your home this season. If you run into any glitches in the plan, give us a call! We will be happy to point you in the right direction.