Tag Archives: Grilling

Summer Home Maintenance Tips

house cleaningHere’s a punch list of summer home maintenance tips, tailor-made for New England homeowners.

If you’d rather hit the beach than the hardware store, call a pro before those small repairs balloon into bigger expenses. Angie’s List is a good resource or ask for referrals from a friend or neighbor.

Inside…
Air Conditioners
• Clear the air: Dirt and dust force air conditioners to work harder, waste energy and jack up your electricity bill
• Change your AC filters monthly, especially if you have allergy sufferers at home. If not, it’s fine to change filters once every three months
• Leaves and other debris from outside condensers can block air flow; clean them out of vents

Attic
• Clear attic vents of insect and animal nests or other debris
• Make sure vents and attic exhaust fans are in good working order
• Take a good look at your roof line: Check for leaks on rafters and insulation caused by loose or missing flashing

Basement /Cellar
• Check for and seal cracks, repair leaks in walls and floors
• If you have one, make sure your bulkhead entrance is free from leaves and other debris; sweep and repair cellar stairs, paint or re-paint metal bulkhead doors with rust-resistant metal paint
• Check and clean vents and basement windows
• If you have a sump pump, test, clean and lubricate it. If your pump has a backup battery, make sure it’s charged and replace it if necessary
• Sweep floors, toss out junk and other unused items you haven’t touched in two years or so. Click here to read our blog post on a room-by-room guide on how to declutter your home.
• Organize a giant yard sale with friends and neighbors to raise money for a good cause or your local school

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
• Test and replace batteries

Windows & Doors
• Clean windows inside and out with this chemical-free, green cleaner: newspapers and a solution of water and white vinegar will make glass sparkle. For more green cleaning tips, click here or, for something a little more official, the EPA’s website
• If you have older windows and doors, add putty, caulk or weather-stripping where needed
• Clean and install screens for windows and doors

Outside…
Exterior Walls & Walkways
• Check and repair missing or loose siding or shingles
• Caulk joints and cracks to prevent seepage from winter water damage
• Touch up wood finishes damaged by wet winter weather
• Touch-up painting or re-paint exterior siding and shingles
• Repair crumbling or missing bricks and mortar from walls and walkways

Exterior Plumbing
• Check and turn on outside spigots, sprinkler system and other outside water lines
• Check, connect garden hoses

Grill
• Click here to read our post about grill safety
• Check fuel lines and replace propane tank if needed
• Tired of lugging propane tanks—and of running out of fuel when you need it? Hire a plumber to run a grill gas line

Gutters
• Get the gloves out: Clean out those gutters; hire a pro to clean hard-to-reach places
• Check and repair damage and leaks from winter storms
• Hate cleaning gutters? Installing gutter guards may be a worthwhile splurge

Porches, Patios and Decks
• Powerwash, seal wood decks
• Check wood for rot, replace and seal damaged boards

Roof
• Repair damaged soffit panels and flashing
• Repair, replace damaged or lost shingles

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.

The Thrill of the Grill: safety tips to go with your steak tips

GrillingTime to get creative and throw some steaks, tips, corn on the cob, burgers, chicken, shrimp and calamari (yes, squid) on the barbie…along with some Portobello mushrooms and some zucchini strips for the vegetarians among us. You name it; you can grill it…except for beans. I just read something about someone grilling lettuce – I’m not sure how good that is, but why not?

Ready to fire it up? You pulled the cover off the BBQ and peered inside. Now what? Stop and take a few minutes do some quick grill maintenance before you start cooking:

  • Check the tray underneath your grill. Get rid of that old replaceable spill tray from last year, and make sure you always use a clean one before you cook. Too much grease can start a fire under your grill and get out of control quickly.
  • Check the hoses to and from your fuel source. If your grill is powered by natural gas or propane, make sure fuel hoses are attached properly and don’t leak. Not sure? Have a licensed plumber check things out. Remember to always put your fuel line in the “off,” locked or closed position when you turn off your grill burners.
  • If your grill runs on charcoal or wood, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully on how to best proceed. Have a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Clean your grill grates. Use a wire grill brush to get rid of old cooking residue (ew). Let the grill heat up and cook off a bit before you use it.
  • Give it some space. Don’t put your grill too close to your house or on a fire escape. Keep a safe distance–usually at least 10 feet–from wooden and other structures. Check with your local fire department and read the rules for your building association before grilling on a balcony or other small space.

Read more grilling tips on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Gas Grill Fact Sheet: http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/137858/GasGrill_factsheet_2013.pdf

Simple, classic 5-minute Italian marinade: Mix extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage and any other herbs from your garden in a bowl. Use separate bowls for meat, poultry, fish and veggies.

Let everything sit and marinade in the oil and herbs for as long as you like, then throw the marinated food (not the oil!) on the grill. Veggies go last. Always stay near the grill and watch what’s going on. Flip as needed.

Have an ice cold drink (Tip: try a half-and-half by mixing lemonade and ice tea over a big glass with ice and some fresh mint) while you wait.

Once your food is done, garnish with a little drizzle of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and some more fresh chopped parsley. Mangia!

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.