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How-To Tuesday: Keep Water Pipes From Bursting in Freezing Weather

With temperatures dipping below freezing lately in the Lowcountry, we thought it would be a good time to address winter-weather home maintenance. Since we don’t have to deal with a whole lot of freezing weather here, some homeowners might be unaware that water pipes can potentially freeze and burst, causing big problems. Here are some steps you can take to prevent pipes from bursting in freezing weather.

Keep the heat on. Even if you’re not planning to be home, it’s important to keep your house warmer than outside temps to keep things in working order. Make sure the heat is set above 55° Fahrenheit. That way you’ll still save power on your electric bill while you’re traveling, but the house will stay warm enough to keep things safe.

Turn on faucets. This will keep water moving through the pipes to prevent freezing. There doesn’t have to be a steady stream of water. Try to aim for about five drops per minute.

Open any cabinets that cover plumbing. This helps the warm air from your house circulate around the pipes. While it won’t help with pipes in the walls and ceilings or under your home, it will limit the effects by keeping water moving.

Wrap pipes in warm towels if they are already on the way to freezing. You can cover them with towels and then pour boiling water on top, or use towels that have already been soaked in hot water. This will hopefully loosen the ice inside and get the water moving again.

If pipes have already begun to freeze:

If your pipes have already begun to freeze and the hot towels aren’t helping, try blowing hot air on the pipes with a hair dryer. DO NOT use anything with direct flames like a blow torch.

Are these tips too little, too late? If your pipes have already frozen, turn off the water ASAP and get in touch with a licensed plumber. Close off any external water sources to keep more water from filling the system. If water continues to flow, more ice will pile up, which will eventually lead to burst pipes. This will also help when the water begins to thaw. You don’t want to end up with water flooding your system once your frozen pipes are fixed.

Friday Five // December 29th, 2017

It’s time to wave goodbye to 2017 and say hello to 2018! There are lots of good times to be had this weekend. Ring in the new year with fireworks, go to a drive-in movie, jump in the cold water (for a good cause!) and more. Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have a safe and happy time. Everyone at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wishes you a very happy new year!

If you’re up for a bit of a drive to Bowman on Friday evening, you can step back in time and attend the Drive-In Movies at Yonder Field. Movies Rock will feature three screens—two for PG-13 and R-rated movies and one for G and PG-rated movies. There will also be food trucks, games, and live music from 7-8:30pm. Movies will begin at 8:45pm. Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged.

Head out to Deep Water Vineyard Saturday from 10am until 5pm for a Weekend Wine-Down. Enjoy tastings from the vineyard and Firefly Distillery, listen to music by Whiskey Diablo, eat delicious food provided by Wraps Around The World, visit the vineyard’s animals, and play some cornhole. Everyone is welcome at this event, including the family dog.

If you have children that are still too young to stay up until the official New Year’s ball drop, try out Noon Year’s Eve at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. Celebrate the start of 2018 from 10am until 2pm with sparkling art projects and a glitzy countdown and ball drop at noon. No pre-registration is required for this family-friendly event. Regular admission or a CML membership will get you in the doors. Come and play the day away!

On New Year’s Eve, pack up the family and head to James Island County Park for one final viewing of this year’s Holiday Festival of Lights. Take one last train ride, do one last go-round on the carousel, and roast one last marshmallow while you enjoy the festival of lights. Then, at 9pm, look up to the sky for the real light show: New Year’s Eve fireworks!

Head to the beach and be “freezin’ for a reason” on New Year’s Day! Brave souls can choose from a few different annual polar bear plunges in Charleston. The Dunleavy’s Pub 2018 Polar Plunge, which benefits the athletes of Special Olympics South Carolina, takes place on Sullivan’s Island on January 1st. People will begin to gather around 9am with the walk to the beach at 12:30pm and the official polar plunge taking place at 1pm. Meanwhile on Folly Beach, the 5th annual Bill Murray Look-a-Like Polar Bear Plunge also takes place on New Year’s Day. Registration for the lookalike contests start at 11am, and the plunge takes place at 1:30pm. A portion of the proceeds benefit local Folly Beach charities.

7 Common Home Repairs You Can Do On Your Own

For some home repairs, the smartest thing to do is to call a pro or local handyman for help. Sometimes, though, simple fixes can be fairly easy DIYs. Here’s a list of just a few common home repairs most homeowners can try with just a few handy tools, and without the added labor cost of calling a professional.

Clogged Sink

Materials needed:

Rubber gloves (optional), damp rag or cloth, plunger, bucket, slip joint pliers OR adjustable wrench

Fill the clogged sink halfway with water and make sure the overflow hole is blocked. Cover the drain opening, making sure the plunger is full of water. Push down firmly and lift slowly until the blockage clears. Run hot water down the drain for several minutes and unblock the overflow hole. If that doesn’t clear the blockage, try this. Locate the P-trap (the U-shaped pipe that connects the vertical pipe coming from the sink to the horizontal pipe that goes into the wall). Place a bucket underneath and unscrew the trap. You may need to use the slip-joint pliers if it’s too tight. Pull the trap away and let empty into the bucket. Clean the trap and reassemble, being careful to not over tighten. Run hot water to make sure the clog has cleared.

Leaky Faucet

Materials needed:

Screwdriver, pliers, slip joint wrench or wrench to fit, replacement cartridge or washer, silicone grease, heavy cloth, piece of leather or duct tape (if needed)

**BEFORE YOU START: Turn off the water supply and turn the faucet on. Wait until any residual water is cleared from the pipes. Plug the sink in case any small pieces fall from the faucet while you’re working. Put them in a safe place for reassembly.

Remove decorative handle cap (often marked hot or cold) by removing the screw underneath, then jiggle the handle to loosen. A screwdriver or slip joint pliers may be needed at any stage.

For modern faucets: Remove the interior cartridge using pliers. It may be held in by a lock ring or retaining nut that will need to be removed first using a wrench. Replace with new cartridge. For older faucets: Use a wrench to undo retaining nuts, remove headgear, locate the old washer, and replace it with a new one. Apply silicone grease to the screw threads, then reassemble the faucet in reverse sequence. Turn the water supply back on and check for leaks in reassembled faucets. If the problem continues, you may need to replace the faucet.

Slow-Flushing Toilet

Use a stiff bristled brush to clean out the holes under the rim of the toilet. Sediment and calcium could be clogging the holes.

Leaky Toilet

First, check the ball float. This controls the water level in the tank. Adjust the arm for the ball float by tightening the screw at the top of the arm or bending the arm downward which will stop the water flow sooner after a flush. The flapper may be another source of a leak. A new flapper sells for less than $5.00 and is simple to replace. Before replacing, make sure to clean around the area to remove any sediment that may cause it to seal improperly.

Moldy Bathtub Caulk

Materials needed:

5-in-1 tool, plastic razor, new caulk

Remove the old caulking so the new material will form a seal against the tub and tile. If moisture gets behind it, mold will form again. Use a 5-in-1 tool and a plastic razor to cut the caulking out. Caulk remover will help loosen any stubborn bits that won’t come up on their own. When that’s done, clean the area well and allow it to dry completely. Apply new acrylic latex caulk that contains mildewcides to prevent new mold from growing.

Scratched Floorboards

Materials needed:

Floor or multi-surface cleaner, soft cloths, steel wool, fine-grade sandpaper, mineral spirits, putty knife, wood filler or putty to match floor color, materials for varnishing floor

**BEFORE YOU START: Examine the scratches. Light scratches can be fixed with steel wool. Deeper scratches will need fine-grade sandpaper.

Clean the affected area with floor cleaner or multi-surface cleaner. Rub the scratch with steel wool or fine-grade sandpaper. Make sure to go in the direction of the wood grain and only over the scratch. Clean and smooth with mineral spirits and a soft cloth. Press wood filler into scratched area with a putty knife and leave it to dry. Using fine-grade sandpaper, sand the excess dried filler to the level of the surrounding wood. Clean the dust and revarnish the repaired area to match the rest of the floor.

Doors That Swing Open or Closed On Their Own

Pull out one of the hinge pins and lay it on a sturdy work surface. Hit the midpoint of the shaft with a hammer, then reinsert the pin. The blow will have bent it slightly, providing enough resistance to prevent the unwanted movement.

 

5 Things You'll Love About Living In West Ashley

The Lowcountry is such an amazing place to live that it’s difficult to choose which area is the best to call home. Since there are such great choices in the tri-county region, we've started a series on the best things about living in each area. Today, we’re taking a look at five of the reasons you’ll love living west of the Ashley River (aka West Ashley) in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

Close to Downtown

You can’t get much closer to downtown at the great home prices still available in West Ashley right now. Neighborhoods along Savannah Highway enjoy about a five-minute drive into downtown. While those residents closer to I-526 and Highway 61 have a few more miles to drive, it’s a straight shot down 61 or Savannah Highway into downtown Charleston.

 

Get In On the Ground Floor

West Ashley is such an up and coming area, with businesses like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and more moving in and helping to give home prices a big boost. The current mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg, resides in West Ashley and is a proponent of revitalizing the area. According to Mayor Tecklenburg’s biography on Charleston-SC.gov, “He has championed Plan West Ashley, the largest, most comprehensive renewal and revitalization effort in our city’s history. Modeled after the successful Downtown Revitalization Commission of the 1970s and ‘80s, the West Ashley Revitalization Commission is working directly with citizens to create a master plan that will guide the area’s development for years to come.”

 

Avondale

One of West Ashley’s most popular areas is Avondale, which features several restaurants and bars like Triangle, Pearlz Oyster Bar, Mellow Mushroom, Charles Towne Fermentory, Gene’s Haufbrau, Classic Coffee, and other great shops and restaurants. Avondale is the perfect walkable neighborhood for those who like to be able to run errands on foot. There are banks, grocery stores, home goods stores, doctor’s offices, laundromats, veterinarians, and other necessities all within a less than one-mile radius of the area.

West Ashley Greenway

The Greenway provides a safe, public place to walk, run, and bike any time of day. The trail, which totals 7.8 miles, stretches from Wesley Drive at Folly Road all the way to McLeod Mill Road near Main Road. It makes the perfect place to train for a 10K, meet your Stroller Strides group, or just take an afternoon stroll when the weather is nice.

Proximity to Attractions and Parks

West Ashley is also close to several beaches, parks, and plantations. Charles Towne Landing is right in the middle of West Ashley off of Old Towne Road. The 184-acre park is a great place to spend a day during any season with miles of trails through the Original Settlement, Animal Forest, and Mrs. Waring’s Garden. Other attractions include local plantations Drayton Hall, Magnolia Plantation, Middleton Place; lots of green space and playgrounds; and state parks. You can also be at the beach in about fifteen to twenty minutes when traffic is light.

Ready to call West Ashley home? Get in touch with us today! We can help you find the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. 

 

Friday Five // December 22, 2017

’Twas the weekend before Christmas, and all through the town…people were enjoying lots of fun local activities for the whole family! Take in some holiday music and movies, see some pretty Christmas trees, or visit Scuba Santa. Whatever you do this weekend, the Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Co. family hopes you have a safe and fun time and a very Merry Christmas!

On Friday night, the Summerville Orchestra hosts #SOfestive, a free event open to the public from 7-9pm. The Orchestra will be gifting the sounds of the season to the Summerville community at six locations. Visit one or more of the locations listed at the link above to enjoy selections from a flute choir, double reed trio, brass quintet, jazz group, string quintet, or woodwind quintet. There will also be the additional treat of an artist from the Summerville Artist Guild sketching, drawing, or painting at each location.

Join the Junior Service League of Summerville for the last weekend of the 3rd annual Christmas on the Square 2017. Stop by Hutchinson Square to see trees decorated by local businesses, families, civic groups, and schools. Voting may be closed, but you can still grab an ice cream from Guerin’s or a coffee or tea from Cuppa Manna and take a walk among the beautifully decorated trees through Saturday.

On Saturday, musicians from Chamber Music Charleston present The Night Before Christmas: a Classical Kids’ Concert at the Sottile Theatre downtown. Performances at 11am and 1pm will include well-loved stories paired with classical music; singalongs with favorite holiday classics; and a special visit from Elsa who will perform a new arrangement of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. And who knows? Maybe she’ll even bring a little snow with her!

This weekend is your last chance to catch Scuba Claus at the South Carolina Aquarium! Santa will depart after December 23rd to bring toys to good little children everywhere, so get to the aquarium by 11am or 3pm on Saturday for one more opportunity to see Santa swimming in the Great Ocean Tank. The event is included with regular aquarium admission.

The forecast looks great this Saturday for outdoor movie night at Knightsville General Store and Coffee House! A screening of Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town begins at 6:30. There will be sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs available for purchase along with S’mores kits, popcorn, hot tea, and hot chocolate. Bring your chairs and blankets and roast some marshmallows by the fire while you enjoy this holiday classic.

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