Common Electrical Concerns in the Winter



Today, we'll go over some common electrical concerns people have in the winter and demonstrate how to handle them.



Every winter, we get calls regarding electrical items not functioning the way they should be in the home. Today, we will go over what a few of these electrical items are and how to handle them if they malfunction.

The first item we’ll talk about is a ground fault circuit interrupter, or a GFCI. These outlets are unique because they sense moisture or water and shut off automatically when in contact with them. These outlets can be found in almost every room of your home. A GFCI will have a test and a reset button on the main outlet, and there might be a series of other outlets tied to that. For example, if you have your reset GFCI in the master bathroom, all of your other bathrooms are tied to that outlet. If an outlet isn’t working in a hall bathroom, look for the reset in the master bathroom. If you are outside and have no power to an outlet, the reset for that is generally found in the basement, storage room, or utility area. You can see an example of a GFCI reset in the video above.


 Your Christmas lights might be causing your breakers to trip.



The second item we’ll go over is an arc fault circuit interrupter, or an AFCI. The purpose of an AFCI, which is required by code, is to detect any arcs or sparks in the circuitry. So, if there is anything cut or nicked and it arcs or sparks, the AFCI will cause that breaker to trip, or shut off, before a fire or any hazards appear. A potential problem we run into is that some devices use the arc or spark effect to run, such as a corded drill which has brushes that turn and cause the arc to spark. That is an intentional part of that device in order to propel the motor, but the breaker doesn’t have the recognition to determine if that’s good or bad, so it just shuts the drill off. So, when using different items in your home, you can experience the breaker randomly shutting off. Some of those items are vacuums, blenders, and of course, the electric drills.

As we move into the holiday season, we see a lot of people installing lights on their house. Those lights have a tendency to trip the AFCI breakers, so keep that in mind over the next few months. If you see a trip with those breakers, there’s a good chance the Christmas lights are causing it.

If a breaker is tripped, you need to know how to reset it. Of course, you’ll need to go down to your control panel and find the AFCI breakers. These typically have green on them. To test one, push the white button, and it will trip the breaker. To turn it back on, push it all the way off, and then pull it back all the way on. It’s important not to just try to flip it back on. You need to push it all the way off first and hear the rest click, otherwise it will just move to the center. Make sure you hear that reset click, then pull it back on. You can see this demonstrated in the video above.

So, it is possible that your breakers will trip from time to time. Some electronics can cause that to happen, as well as the items discussed earlier. Even static electricity can trip a breaker. However, if the same breaker is getting tripped over and over again, first check your device, and make sure that isn’t the issue. If it’s not, that would be the time to send in for a warranty. Just make sure to keep in mind that breaker trips are very common, and resetting them should be your first step.    

If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to us with a phone call or a quick email. We look forward to hearing from you!


Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our eight new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

Some Quick, Helpful Tips for Maintaining Your New Home This Winter



If you have a new home, it will start to lose moisture after a few years.
In the cold, you need that moisture to keep your home structurally sound.


When you buy one of our new homes, there is typically a lot of moisture in the home at first and it takes a while for it to dry out. However, by the second or third winter you have in the home, things will start to dry out. It’s important that you are aware of this and that you take steps to control the humidity in your home during the winter. We’ve got some things for you to look out for today that will assist you in the process.

The first thing to look out for is the settling, or drying out, of your drywall, your trim, and your wood floors. When it gets colder, the wood will start to shrink and you might see a little gap in some of the floorboards. If you have a wood floor, you don’t want your moisture reading to be any lower than 45%. If it is, you may have to invest in a humidifier.

Another thing to keep in mind in the winter is to make sure you turn on those exhaust fans when you shower. Their purpose is to help eliminate moisture content in the house. The excess humidity that comes from hot water isn’t good for the materials in your home. Too much humidity can cause damage if it sticks around too long. Let that exhaust fan run for an extra 15 minutes after you turn the shower off.


Wood tends to dry out

and shrink in the winter.




As the weather turns colder, you’ll also start to see some shrinkage cracks on your tile and backsplash on the counters. The backsplash has a caulked joint that can separate a bit as things dry out. You might also see some hairline cracks at the top of your ceiling. Doors may stick or rub a bit. The key to combatting this is controlling that humidity level in your home.

Finally, let’s talk about your HVAC system. The warmest areas in your home will be the areas nearest to the furnace, or the upstairs if you have a two-story home. The rooms that are furthest away from the furnace will be cooler in the winter months. As a homeowner, you will need to fine-tune and tweak the system to your liking and needs. You can close vents in some of the warmer areas to allow air to move to other parts of the home.

If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you!


Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our eight new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

Is Your Home Ready for Winter Weather?



Winter is almost here, so it’s time to go outside and make sure that the exterior of your home is ready for the cold weather. Today, we’ll go over our top winterizing tips for you.

Today, we’ll go over a few things you should take care of on the exterior of your home before winter weather hits. For example, as temperatures get cooler, you need to drain your sprinklers. You can do that yourself, but we recommend having someone professionally winterize them. They will come out with a compressor and blow out all of the water in the pipes so that none of it freezes. When water freezes in pipes, the pipes expand and burst, which can cause major water damage. You should also make sure to disconnect your hoses. Failing to do so could lead to water damage. While you’re outside taking care of that, you can even put down some winter fertilizer. Most people aerate and fertilize their lawns during the fall, but putting down a winter fertilizer will get your lawn totally ready for spring. Check your caulking and the condition of your concrete. Caulking prevents excess water from going beneath the concrete slabs in your walkways or driveway. In the winter, that water can freeze and lift up the concrete slabs. Fresh caulking will help you prevent that problem.


Use sand or pea gravel instead

of de-icing agents on your walkways.




You should also seal your driveway to protect it from the de-icing agents applied by the city road crews. Your car’s tires will collect road salt and deposit it in the driveway, which can create pitting in your driveway. Sealant will also protect your driveway from oil spills and extra moisture from winter snows and spring rains.

When it does snow, it is incredibly important that you remove snow from your driveway quickly, or you will risk damaging the concrete. Don’t use salt or de-icing agents on your walkways. Instead, use some sand, pea gravel, or kitty litter to prevent people from slipping on your sidewalk.

As you tour the exterior of your home, check your exhaust and fresh air intakes to make sure they are free and clear of any obstructions, like bird nests. If you have a fireplace, make sure that the fireplace vent is clean as well.

Finally, pay attention to the exterior caulking on your home. Caulking can shrink and separate over the years. Seal them up to keep your home warm and lower your energy bills during the winter months.

If you have any other questions about preparing your home for winter, just give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our eight new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

Why Winterize Your Sprinkler System Now?




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If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our 6 new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

With fall weather approaching I thought it'd be a good time to talk about draining your sprinkler system. When the weather gets cold, the ground gets even colder, and the water left in your sprinkler system has a chance to freeze, which would ruin your sprinkler system.

Any time that the temperature gets below freezing you're going to need to drain the system until it's been fully winterized. To drain the sprinkler, simply locate the shutoff valve next to your sprinkler meter. On both sides of the meter there will be shutoff valves that control the water to the home, which you'll need to shut off.

Then you will have to find the sprinkler valve. To shut it off, turn it vertically to shut off all water to the sprinkler system. A very important step in this process is to clear the water from the drain. You can do this by opening the drain valve next to the sprinkler shutoff valve. The drain valve will allow any excess water to escape and drip out. Be sure to place a bucket underneath the valve to capture any excess water.

You're going to have to step outside to drain another valve on the outside. All you have to do is open it up and release any excess water that has formed. Most homes also have ports on the outside drainage valve, and you'll need a Flathead screwdriver to rotate the system to 90 degrees. You'll need to do this with every port that you have on your home, and some can have up to four or five.

For a quick recap of this process:
1. Shut off the water to the sprinkler system.
2. Open the drain to release trapped water.
3. Open the drain for the system outside.
4. Adjust the ports of the 'open' position.
5. Have the system professionally winterized by late October / early November.

That's a very abbreviated list above, so be sure to contact me if you have any questions. I can recommend someone to you who can come in and completely winterize your system once it becomes too cold to use it anymore.

A Quick Look at What We're Working on in Omaha



I just wanted to take a minute to show you phase two of the Arbor View development in Elkhorn that we've been working on. They're currently building an elementary school that's going to open here in the fall.

There are a lot of cool things going on here, and we're also getting ready to pave streets over in our second phase of Pebblebrooke in Gretna. Pretty soon we're going to have more available lots there as well.

If you haven't been to our website or seen our two new ranch plans, you can take a look here.

We model those in Elkhorn and Gretna. If you haven't been out yet, come take a look. We'd love to see you!

As always, if you have any questions for us about building a home, give us a call or send us an email soon. We'd love the chance to work with you!


Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our 8 new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

How to Prevent Water Damage



We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, and this always reminds us that we need to check out our sump pumps. Just after a big rainstorm is the best time to check, and we’ll be showing you what we need to look at.

Your sump pump will be located in your basement, and we install one to two sump pits that allow water from the outside to drain into. It’s a collection point, and any water that falls into the pit must be removed via a shop vac or a sump pump. If your home has a sump pump, pay attention to the electrical outlet. It must be a GFCI outlet with a test button. It’s important to have a power test button so that your pump doesn’t stop functioning during a storm. You can use an outlet tester or simply plug in a night light to ensure that the bulb remains lit. You have to make sure that you’re maintaining power to the pump.


The best time to check your pump is directly after a storm.



Another recommendation is a flood alarm or a water sensor. This will detect when your sump pit is reaching the maximum level and you are coming close to a breach that will flood your basement. The sump pump motor floats in the water, and once it reaches a certain level, it’s activated and will start pumping again until it goes back down to an appropriate level.

You should also walk around your basement after a storm to check for any seepage around your walls and windows. Walk along the perimeter of your basement and investigate for any signs of moisture. If you see anything, investigate it further or call a professional.

Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our 8 new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

Manage Your Own Sprinkler Systems



When you work with Charleston Homes, you have the option to get an in-ground sprinkler system installed by Turfbuilders. Turfbuilders offers each homeowner a free walkthrough, and they’ll also go over the control box and let you know how to adjust the sprinkler heads. This system is very easy to use. 

Each sprinkler system is controlled by the Rain Bird control box. When your sod is still new, it needs to be watered three times a day. All you have to do is go to “Start water times,” and the control box gives you the option to select different times. You can water up to six times a day or you can water once a day. 

When you are on a normal watering schedule, you should set the sprinklers to go off early in the morning. I recommend watering your lawn around 5 or 6am. You can even set watering station run times. Station one is in your front yard, and stations three and four typically cover the back yard. Your front and back yards should be watered for about 30 minutes. The second station is for your parkway, and the fifth station usually covers the side yard. You can water the parking and side yard for 20 minutes because they are smaller areas. 

You can also select which days of the week to water your yard. Again, new sod needs to be watered three times a day during the first week. During the second week, water twice a day. During the third week, go back to the three times a day schedule. After that, your sod should be established and you can switch to watering only three or four times a week.



Water 3 times a day to 

establish your new sod.



The Rain Bird control box makes scheduling easy. Simply hit the plus or minus button to turn the water on or off. A water droplet on the home screen will indicate whether or not the sprinklers are on. Once the program is set up the way you want it, you can test each station for a couple minutes to ensure that the sprinklers are working. If they are, go ahead and set the program to auto run. 

If you know the weather's getting colder or it’s going to rain, flip the switch to the off position so the sprinklers don’t run. 

Adjusting your sprinkler heads is simple as well. Turfbuilders provides a tool for you to use, but if you can find it, a thin flathead screwdriver will work just as well. You can make the sprinkler cover a wider area and also adjust the amount of water that comes out. Ideally, the stream coming out of the sprinklers should be a bit of a spray.

This is a great, easy-to-use sprinkler system. If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you.

Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our 8 new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

How to Maintain Your Home's Exterior This Spring




Spring is upon is here in Omaha, so today we’re going to talk about the upcoming weather conditions and how it relates to the exterior of your home. We are going to take a look at one of our model homes today and show you some things you can do to make sure your home is fresh and ready for the year ahead. 

One of the most important things to pay attention to is the caulking and sealing of your driveway. We use self-leveling caulk, which most hardware stores carry. To reseal your driveway, follow these steps:

1. Cut the caulking bag open.
2. Load it into a caulking gun.
3. Clean out all of your control joints
4. Slowly apply the caulk in 2-foot sections.
5. After applying, spread evenly by using your finger (make sure to have a rag handy).

Another important part of your home that may get overlooked are your downspout extensions. These extensions carry the rain and melted snow from your roof down away from the foundation. If they break off at the connection, they will drain right into your foundation and just recycle the water back into your sump pit. It’s important that your downspout flows away from your home.


There are a few things to keep an eye out for on the sides of your home’s exterior. On one side, you will have your A/C as well as a furnace exhaust pipe and a furnace intake pipe. For the exhaust, make sure the area where the tubes meet with the house is sealed and caulked tightly. For your air conditioner, give it a light spray from the hose to make sure there aren’t any cotton or dust particles in there. 

Settling is another thing that gets overlooked often. To remedy any uneven or low surfaces on the ground outside of your home, pull the sod up, add some dirt in underneath, and pull the sod back over. Any low-lying areas next to your home could be holding water that could ruin your foundation and cause your basement to flood. 

The home in the video above has vinyl siding, but a lot of our homes have either LP or Hardboard siding. Regardless of the type, there is going to be some caulking you will need to maintain periodically. 

It’s important to check all of these things periodically throughout the year to avoid costly repairs and maintain your home’s value. Watch the video to learn even more tips! If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you!


Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our 8 new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

Check Out This New Ranch Floor Plan – The Glenville in Omaha




Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our 8 new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

We’re excited to share our new model called the Glenville! This plan starts at $205,000. There’s 1,527 square feet on the main level. This style features Cathedral ceilings, half stone fireplace, slate appliances, and quartz countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. The floor plan includes three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms with an optional den.

We also have models located in Arbor View and Elkhorn, which is north of 204th and Maple. If you’ have any questions, feel free to reach out by phone or email! We’d be happy to answer any questions you have and serve your Omaha real estate needs.

Don't Miss Out on the Edgebrook




Know anyone who's interested in building a home? 
If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who are looking to own their first or second home - would you forward this message to them? We'll be happy to show them our 8 new construction home plans along with the benefits of owning a Charleston Home so they can make a decision that's right for them.

Today we're going to tour a new model in Arbor View called The Edgebrook. The main floor has 1,932 sq. ft. and it opens up into a large great room. There are many upgrades available such as wooden cross beams in the living room and a big stone fireplace.

The eat-in kitchen has a large bat-wing bar with all of the most modern appliances. There is also an optional den that could be used as a guest bedroom or an office.

The master bedroom has a large closet, a master bathroom with double sinks and a walk-in shower.

Stop by to take a tour- 1/2 mile north of 204th and Maple. The Edgebrook will be open Monday- Thursday 1-6 P.M. and Friday- Sunday 12-5 P.M. We would be more than happy to show it to you!