The Gutter Shutter Co.

GutterShutter is North Americas leading manufacturer of leaf & debris free systems. We use only the highest quality materials. Our manufacturing facility utilizes cutting edge technology, to ensure precision.


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Crafty Ideas for Winter Curb Appeal

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1. Add splashes of green and purple. Plants, grasses, and evergreens can liven up a home’s winter landscape. Experiment with tall grasses, such as fountain grasses, that survive harsh winters. And in late fall and early winter, plants from the cabbage family add a vibrant purple color. Make the front door the focal point with a large wreath adorned with a colorful ribbon. To finish the look, place large, colorful planters filled with evergreens beside the front door, suggests Elizabeth Lord, broker with Carolina Farms & Estates LLC in Rock Hill, S.C.

2. Give it seasonal sparkle. Transform an unused bird bath or fountain into a seasonal display by adding twigs with red berries. Or fill frost-resistant urns with twigs, winter greenery, and sparkly baubles (sold at most craft stores), Storozuk says. For extra sparkle, roll twigs in glitter and incorporate a gazing ball—a mirrored glass ball available in various colors—into the display.

3. Make the garden statuesque. Roman- or Greek-themed outdoor sculptures can add class and elegance to a garden in winter. Be sure to use frost-resistant statues so they don’t crack, Storozuk says. Place the statues strategically throughout the garden to draw buyers’ eyes around the outdoor space.

4. Light it bright. During the winter, it’s more likely that buyers will be viewing home after sunset. Use clear flood spotlights to focus on the home’s architectural features, Storozuk says. Keep exterior lighting fixtures at maximum wattage and clean them regularly. When snow covers the ground, Michele Thompson, broker-owner of White Fence Real Estate in Vevay, Ind., takes photos of listings at night with all of the interior lights on—the light bounces off the white snow to create a warm, inviting glow. For the best results, turn off the flash, and use a tripod to avoid blurring, she says.

5. Show off the lifestyle. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t use the deck. Shovel your backyard sitting area and leave your grill uncovered so buyers can envision themselves using the space, Storozuk says. If the home has a hot tub, leave that open and running during showings as well.

6. Make the deck an extension of the house. Set up your outdoor tables and chairs just as you would in warmer months. “Home owners often cover their furniture and place lawn objects haphazardly on the deck,” says Kitty Schwartz, president and owner of Classic Home Staging in Katonah, N.Y. For added appeal, she adds a weatherproof cafe set with pillows that play off of interior accent colors. “Glancing out onto this type of vignette can make the indoor space feel larger and more interesting,” she says.

7. Create a photo display of sunnier days. Show buyers what the outside of the home looks like during other seasons by displaying some landscape photos in frames or using a digital photo frame with a slide show of images. “This will give a sense of what the property looks like at other times of year,” Storozuk says. If the home has a garden, make a list of what’s planted where. “Perennials can be expensive,” she says, “so treat them as a selling feature.”

8. Don’t forget to clear a path. If the ground is covered in snow, the simplest and most important thing you can do is shovel the driveway and sidewalks and keep the home’s patios and decks as clear as possible so buyers can get a sense of their true size.

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9 Handy Tips to Winterize Your Garden

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1.    Drain irrigation. Start out by draining irrigation systems. When you do this, you will help prevent pipes from stretching and bursting.

2.    Clean out ponds. Clean out ponds of any debris. This can help lower the volume of water by as much as 40%.

3.    Rake leaves. Remove accumulated leaves and use as insulation for plants.

4.    Use leaves for mulch. Use a mower to shred leaves to create winter mulch for garden beds and around trees.

5.    Install gutter screens for gutter protection. Along with this step, install gutter screens for gutter protection. Gutter Helmet® offers the nation’s premier gutter protection system.

6.    Add spring bulbs. Plant spring bulbs if you have not done so already. Spring bulbs need cold weather conditions to activate the flowering process.

7.    Trim up trees and bushes. Lightly prune shrubbery and trees just enough to remove dead wood and branches. Prune in more depth in early spring to stimulate growth.

8.     Build raised beds. Build raised beds and fill them with soil and generous amounts of compost and chopped leaves for a healthy garden in the early spring.

9.     Order seed catalogs. Order your catalogs and plan out your growing season for the spring.


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Why You Shouldn’t Prune Trees and Bushes in the Fall

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There is a popular myth about pruning that, if followed, can leave your plants weaker instead of strengthening them. Too many gardeners end up pruning bushes and trees in the fall, unaware that fall pruning stimulates new growth that weakens the plants going into winter. While raking and mulching are essential, pruning is not. You can and should clean out debris and remove dead leaves and twigs. However, keep it at that and avoid the impulse to hack away at your trees and bushes!

Pruning Can Do Harm

If you trim trees and shrubs in the fall, you will end up stimulating growth just before your plants get ready to go dormant. This, in turn, makes the plants weaker. When you prune on a warm day, sap starts to rise in the plant. When the temperature drops below freezing, the plant suffers and can even die.

Pruning is best left to early spring or the tail end of winter. Give your plants a haircut then. Most gardeners err by over-pruning bushes and trees pre-winter, leaving their plants vulnerable to the stresses of winter temperatures, pests and disease.

For lilacs and spireas that bloom in early spring, prune them after they finish blooming. The only exceptions for pruning at the end of fall and start of winter are deciduous shrubs that are overgrown.

Also, remember to not prune when it is wet outside. This can spread diseases through the growth of microbes that take advantage of the weak state your plants are in. Instead, wait to prune when the sun is out for a period of time to dry out and kill bacteria and mold.

When the Time is Right, How to Prune

When you do have to prune, first remove dead and dying branches from the body of the plants. If branches are rubbing each other, prune to allow for healthy growth.

Plants that can be pruned just before the start of spring include glossy abelia, beauty berries, hydrangeas, Bradford and Callory pears, crabapples, poplar, spruce, junipers, sumacs, cherries and plums. Maples, birches, dogwoods, walnuts, and elm tree should be pruned only after spring has started to prevent sap from oozing out of the trees and weakening them.

Remember to keep your pruning shears clean to prevent disease from spreading accidentally. Simply wash tools with a teaspoon of bleach in warm water and then allow to dry.

Fall Maintenance Tip: Install Rain Gutter Guards

One of the most important steps of fall garden maintenance is to clean out your gutters and make sure you have rain gutter guards installed and functioning properly. A gutter leaf guard helps protect your gutters from debris and plant material accumulating in your gutters, thus allowing the steady natural flow of water down the roof, through the gutters and to the ground. With properly installed rain gutter guards, you can keep your gutters clean and protect your home from water damage that happens when water does not flow properly away from the house.


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Outdoor Storage Spaces

As the days get shorter, you might be starting to think about the things you need to do to get your home ready to winter. For most homeowners, getting ready for the cold months involves putting many items in storage, from patio furniture to sporting equipment to the grill. If you’re wondering just where you’re going to stash all of those items, check out our list of often-overlooked places for outdoor storage.

  • Above the garage door. The garage is a common storage space, but the area above garage doors is often overlooked when it comes to storage. Adding ceiling-mounted shelves above the doors is an excellent way to put this wasted space to use.
  • Under a deck or porch. A raised deck creates a convenient area underneath to store a variety of weatherproof items, from hoses to mowers. To conceal your storage area, add skirting around the deck with a door for accessibility. The area underneath patios can be used for storage of smaller items.
  • Storage benches. Stash your garden tools inside a waterproof storage bench and enjoy clutter-free surroundings. The bench will also provide extra seating for next summer’s gatherings!
  • Storage shed. Larger items such as patio furniture and pool accessories require more space and also need to be shielded from winter weather. A storage shed can provide the extra space you need to corral all of your outdoor accessories while making them last longer. You’ll also enjoy the bonus of more space in your garage!
  • Temporary storage unit. This can be a great short-term storage solution. Temporary storage containers are secure, waterproof and can be stored on your property, so you can access your items anytime.

Protect Your Home with GutterShutter!

A gutter leaf guard is good, but GutterShutter is better! Protect your home and belongings from water damage year-round with our gutter protection system. For more information call 513-671-4000 or visit guttershutter.com.


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Every New Homeowner Should Know These 3 Things…

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New homeowners have a lot more responsibility than renters. You can no longer rely on a landlord to do repairs, maintain the property, or add gutter guards or gutter screens to prevent clogged gutters. For first-time homeowners, there are many things to be aware of to protect your investment. If your house is brand-new, there is less need to do maintenance and repairs at first, but as time goes on, you need to keep an eye on certain weaknesses in a home. If not, your new home will quickly become like an old one!

 

Here are three important things to know.

1. Know where your shut-offs are.

If there is ever an electrical fire or bad plumbing leak in your new home, you don’t want to be running around, desperately looking for a way to shut off the power or water! In addition, before doing electrical or plumbing repairs, you need to know where shut-offs are. Locate your main electrical and water shutoffs and make sure they are easily accessible.

  • The main electrical shut-off should be at the main breaker panel or outside near a service entrance.
  • The water shut-off valve should be on a wall of the house facing the street. Also, learn where all the individual valves are for all of your sinks, toilets, dishwashers, etc.

2. Know your electric circuits.

Most house fires are caused by electrical failures. Before moving into a new home, make sure the electric system has been inspected by a licensed electrician.

  • Determine which outlets serve which circuits and then label the breakers.
  • Look for any tripped circuits and read appliance labels to know how many amps each one draws.
  • Make sure GFCI outlets (ground fault circuit interrupters) are installed near all sinks, in the laundry room and garage, and on exterior outlets.

3. Know the risks.

The greatest danger to a home and family is fire.

  • Make sure there is a plan for evacuation and a meeting place in the event of a fire.
  • Have emergency numbers readily available.
  • Place fire extinguishers strategically around the home, especially in the kitchen.

The next greatest risk to a home besides fire is water. Ninety percent of a home’s problems will be found in basements, foundations and the roof, as they are the most susceptible to expensive water damage and corrosion.

  • Inspect the bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens regularly for water leaks. Fixing leaks can be as simple as tightening a nut.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are properly caulked and sealed to prevent water from seeping into the walls.
  • Maintain your home’s gutter system.

Rain gutters are a major line of defense against water damage. Leaves, debris and granules from shingles can result in clogs that force water out and down around the foundation.

  • Check a new home’s landscaping to make sure the slope of the ground around the foundation doesn’t send water from the gutter system toward the house.
  • Check to make sure all downspouts have extensions that keep water routed at least five feet from the foundation.
  • Clean out the gutters regularly, and make sure they drain properly.

Interested in Gutter Guards?

To ensure your gutters are always free-flowing, install gutter guards or, at the very least, gutter screens. GutterShutter gutter protection is the best way to ensure gutters do the job they are supposed to do. Be proactive and call 513-671-4000 to learn more!


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How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

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Most people think of air pollution as an outside condition like smoke or smog. However, what people don’t realize is that the air inside your home can be more polluted than the outside air! Indoor pollutants can include lead from old paint, formaldehyde, fire retardants, radon or volatile chemicals from household cleaners.

One major pollutant that can cause all kinds of health problems is mold or mildew. Mold in a home can make you sick, especially those who have allergies or asthma. Occupants of a house may be experiencing symptoms of colds and allergies, when the cause is actually mold spores inside the home.

Mold forms where there is excess moisture. If there are wet spots on the ceiling or walls and that unsightly green slime is growing, you need to find the source of moisture and stop it. A leaky roof or a clogged gutter system is the likely culprit.

EPA Recommendations

Give your roof a thorough inspection for leaks and check to make sure your gutter system is working properly. If your gutter is clogged, water can be backing up and leaching into your walls and ceilings. If this is the case, add a leaf filter or gutter cover to prevent debris from stopping up your gutter system.

Let’s look at some other things we can do to improve the quality of the air we breathe in our homes, and improve the health of our families.

According to the EPA, there are three basic strategies to improve indoor air quality.

  1. Source control
  2. Improved ventilation
  3. Air cleaners

Source Control

Controlling the source is the first and most basic thing that can be done. Determine what the individual sources of pollution are and eliminate or reduce their emissions. Sources can be common household items such as:

  • New carpet – emits a range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Broken compact fluorescent lights – emit mercury, a neurotoxin, in small amounts into the air.
  • New electronics and other plastic products made with polyvinyl chloride – can emit phthalates.
  • Glues and adhesives – emit VOCs such as acetone or methyl ethyl ketone.
  • Heating equipment such as stoves, heaters, fireplaces and chimneys – especially gas stoves, can produce carbon monoxide causing, headaches, dizziness and fatigue.
  • Upholstered furniture and pressed-wood products.
  • Radon – from earth and rock under buildings or from private wells.

These types of indoor air pollution can be controlled in several ways: by covering them up, removing them completely or, in the case of heating equipment, adjusting them to release fewer pollutants.

Improved Ventilation

As we said earlier, outdoor air is often cleaner than indoor air. Introducing outdoor air is one way to improve your home’s air quality. This can be done in several ways:

  • Natural ventilation – such as through windows and doors.
  • Mechanical means – such as through outdoor air intakes associated with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
  • Fans – window, ceiling, attic and bathroom fans.
  • Infiltration – air that passes through openings, joints and cracks in walls, floors and ceilings, and around windows and doors.

Air Cleaners

Air cleaners range from complex whole-house systems to simple tabletop models. Some of these air cleaners can be very effective at removing particles, but most tabletop models are not that effective. Moreover, most air filtrations systems don’t remove gaseous pollutants such as carbon monoxide or VOCs.

Carefully evaluate if there may be outdoor sources of pollutants nearby, such as smoke or refuse, when using ventilation to reduce indoor air pollutants.

Breathe Easier with a Leaf Filter

Usually, the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate the individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions. Do a thorough evaluation of your home and eliminate or control as many of the sources as you can. Then add some ventilation and effective air filtration. The air you breathe is very important to the health of you and your family. Don’t overlook moisture as a possible source of pollutants, as it often a major cause of health issues. Remember: a leaf filter or gutter cover can solve moisture problems that cause mold, a source of indoor air pollution. Call 513-671-4000 to learn more about GutterShutter for gutter protection solutions.