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How To Clean Your Air Registers

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you think your air conditioner has an internal or electrical problem, you should definitely call and HVAC professional. However, you might want to run a few tests on your own to help determine where the problem really is. You can often diagnose the problem and fix it on your own with a few basic tools. One of the most common problems with an air conditioning system is inefficient airflow. This article explains how you can increase the airflow in your AC system by servicing your registers. First, Flush Your System Before you even begin to clean your registers you can use this simple trick to flesh out ducts. Go around your home and close all of your register vents, except for one. Remove this register from the wall. Tape a large black trash bag over the duct opening and then turn your heater on full blast. This should blow out of the docks and into the trash bag. This simple extra step won’t give your air ducts the most thorough cleaning, but it is definitely worth doing before cleaning your air registers. Removing and Cleaning Air Registers All you really need to remove the registers from the wall is usually a flat head screwdriver. However, you might need a utility knife if your registers are caulked at the edges or paint over completely. You will need to cut away the seal so you can remove the registers without chipping the paint along the edges. To streamline the process you should remove all the registers at once. This way you can clean them all together. The fastest way to clean air registers is to soak them in your sink and scrub them just like you are cleaning dishes. In fact, you can even use normal dishwashing soap on vinyl, aluminum and stainless steel registers. While the registers are removed from the wall you should also quickly clean the rim of the duct. Often, the edge where the drywall meets the duck can catch dust. Dust in this area probably won’t affect the overall airflow of your AC system, but it will affect the cleanliness of the air circulating through your house. If you have allergies, this is definitely not a step to skip. Finally, You can reattach all of the registers. And might be a good idea to invest in new, white screws because the paint from the old screws can be stripped off during their removal. For more information, contact a business that specializes in AC repair....

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5 Reasons To Choose Vinyl Impact Windows

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Installing impact windows is a smart remodel. It is one of the few home remodels that gives your interior and exterior an upgrade at the same time. Of course, this makes the project very cost effective and particularly attractive to homeowners who are planning on selling the property soon. If you are looking for the most cost-effective impact window product, you should definitely consider vinyl. It is a great material for window sashes for a number of reasons. This article explains 5 of the best reasons for investing in vinyl impact windows Vinyl is Lightweight The fact that vinyl is so lightweight makes it ideal for sliding windows. This means it can even be installed on large, vertically sliding windows. The sash can be easily slid up and down. Vinyl is Smooth The smooth finish on vinyl also makes it great for sliding windows. Vinyl window frames can slide passed each other with ease. They do not need to be lubricated to ensure a smooth operation. As long as the window track is clean, sliding windows work great. Vinyl is Colorful The amount of color options available with vinyl windows is also a major selling point. In fact, you can have your windows custom dyed to any color, allowing you to match with other paint colors on the inside or outside of your home. This costs much more and most homeowners end up finding a catalog product that fits their style. You may also want to consider printed finishes. For instance, printed stone or brick finishes on vinyl windows give the fixture a more natural look. These also cost more then solid colored windows. Vinyl is Energy Efficient Vinyl impact windows have great insulation. Vinyl is a material that does not transfer heat as quickly as plastic or aluminum. This means that heat loss during the winter will not be as significant. Also, solar absorption will be less of an issue during the summer months. Vinyl is Easy to Keep Up Perhaps the biggest draw of vinyl is the fact that it is so easy to maintain, both on a daily basis and in the long run. Cleaning it is just a matter of using a feather duster or wet rag. You never need to worry about repainting, refinishing or re-staining vinyl. It will remain smooth and waterproof as long as you lightly clean it on a regular basis. For additional info, get in touch with a window company in your...

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3 Possible Causes Of An AC Unit That Constantly Trips The Breaker

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Does your central air conditioner trip the circuit breaker nearly every time the unit is running? The problem might seem like a major electrical issue but there could be more basic problems at play. There are a couple of quick checks you can make to diagnose the problem. You should still call in an air conditioning repair company for further diagnosis and part replacement. That’s because the problem sometimes is a major electrical issue that you won’t want to tackle on your own. Here are a few of the potential causes of an air conditioning unit that constantly trips the breaker. Overheating Due to Dirty Condenser Coils A central air conditioner sometimes trips the breaker to essentially save itself from permanent damage related to overheating. There are a couple of common causes of frequent overheating. One of those causes is as simple as dirty condenser coils in the condensing unit. The condensing coils take in gas refrigerant, which is pumped by the compressor, and convert that gas to a liquid. The conversion process requires circulating air and balanced temperatures since the surface of the coils will become hot. Dirt on the surface of the coils can cause the chemical change to make the coils overly hot, which trips the breaker to prevent overheating. You can check to see if the coils are dirty by turning off all power to the unit, removing the access panel, and conducting a visual inspection of the coils. If the coils look severely dirty or damaged, call in a HVAC cooling technician for a service call. Overheating Due to Blown Fan Motor If the coils look clean, there’s another potential culprit for overheating. A failed or failing blower fan motor can prevent the coils from receiving enough circulating air to regulate the temperature, which causes the coils to overheat and the breaker to trip. You can check the fan motor by simply standing next to the condensing unit while the unit is running. Do you hear the fan running at all? Does the fan sound like it is moving as fast as it used to? If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” you likely need a new fan motor. Call an air conditioning repair company, like Hudson Hdwe Plumbing & Heating Inc or a similar location, for the part replacement. Hard Starting or Grounded Compressor Overheating coils aren’t always the cause since the system can run into issues before the coils even have a chance to start refrigerant conversion. The compressor is the first step in the condensing unit and problems with the compressor can cause the breaker to trip. The two main problems are hard starting and grounding. Hard starting means that the compressor doesn’t get the electrical boost it needs to get running properly so it stutters then fails. Your HVAC technician might be able to install a hard start capacitor to fix that problem or else replace the compressor with a stronger model. Grounding is a more serious problem that occurs when a wire comes loose inside the compressor and shorts out the part. This problem requires a new compressor and likely will require the technician to replace the system’s refrigerant, which can become contaminated due to the...

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Four Surprising Facts About Cedar Roofing

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Do you love the look of cedar shakes or shingles? So many people like the way rustic cedar roofs look, but they shy away from them because they don’t know a lot about them and are nervous at the prospect of relying on wood to protect the top of their home. But if you’re interested in the look of cedar, it’s worth your while to learn a bit more about it. Some of these facts might surprise you – cedar might be a better choice than you’d surmise! Wood shingles can last longer than an asphalt roof. Cedar roofing has an average lifespan of about 30 years. If you live in a dry area with mild weather, yours might last even longer. This is longer than the standard asphalt roof is expected to last (most last about 20 years). Cedar is more durable than you’d imagine, and that’s why it is the wood most commonly used for roofing. It’s resistant to rot, and it naturally repels insects. Cedar roofing will reduce your energy costs. You might assume cedar roofing will cost you more than a cheap asphalt roof. However, in the long run, cedar is likely to be the more cost-effective choice. This is because cedar shingles are excellent insulators that provide natural insulation that’s about twice that of the average asphalt shingle. With a cedar roof, your energy costs will be lower. You should eventually recoup the increased cost of the cedar roof, when compared to an asphalt roof, with these energy savings. You really don’t need to be concerned about the roof going up in flames. Your roof is not going to just burst into flames without a cause, so unless you’re in an area where forest fires are common and your roof is likely to be exposed to flames, there’s no reason to be worried about this. If you do live in an area where fires are common, or if you just can’t make yourself feel comfortable with a wooden roof, you can choose cedar shakes that have been treated with a fire-resistant coating. The coating will need to be re-applied every few years to maintain the roof’s fire resistance. Cedar roofing holds up wonderfully in storms. Hail and heavy rain can cause dents in metal roofs, and it can crack ceramic tiles. It won’t do much harm to a cedar roof, though! You also don’t have to worry about the cedar shakes blowing off or being lifted up by re-freezing water; they’re thick enough and heavy enough to resist this kind of damage. Wood is meant to be outside – it’s natural – and it is built to stand up to the rigors of being exposed to the outdoor elements. For more information, contact a roofing company like Premier...

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Ideas For Creating A Beautiful Rock Garden

Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Rocks are a natural foundation for pretty gardens. Attractive rocks ground the look of your landscaping, giving the plants a foil to further showcase their beauty. Likewise, rock gardens can create a rugged profile for your gardening. Plan a rock garden that adds color and texture to your yard. Layered Texture A textured rock garden offers the most visual interest. For a textured rock garden, start with one or two big rocks that feature flecks of minerals or other patterning. Vary the scale by creating a dry creek bed of smooth pebbles, and add one or two mid-sized stones. The plants should also feature various textures. Look for plants such as aloe and grasses with pointy leaves, and intersperse others with rounded leaves. Finish the garden with a few clumps of pretty blooms, such as lavender and forget-me-nots. Spring Glory A spring rock garden offers year-round blooming with the highlight taking place in spring. The foundation of this garden is a series of landscaping rocks laid out in a casual arc. Place one of the larger rocks in the center, but don’t look for symmetry. Instead, cluster some of the smaller rocks on one end to balance a larger rock on the other end. For the garden, Better Homes and Gardens suggests planting low-lying plants with a lot of color. Plants with colorful leaves, such as hosta and ornamental cabbage, offer year-round color. However, pretty flowers, such as pansies and poppies, show off in the spring and early summer. Follow a similar shape as your landscaping rocks when planting, clustering smaller plants in an arc while allowing a few big plants to stand alone. Formal Design Rock gardens often offer a wild look, but you can tame it with a rock wall. Have contractors build up a retaining wall of natural stone. Build up soil inside the wall, and create a pretty mini garden. For example select low-lying plants, such as aubrieta and phlox, to contrast with the stone. Add plants such as dianthus to fill in crevices and give your stone wall a more natural look. Mini Rock Gardens Perhaps large installations of stones don’t fit with your landscaping plans. In that case, create pretty mini gardens with stones as the centerpiece. Start with colorful landscaping rocks, and create a small pile. Choose similarly colorful but small plants to partner with the stones. For example, start with a pile of red granite. Add a planting of Mojave sage for gray-green foliage. Look for tiny bloomers, such as sulfur flower, that nonetheless feature bright coloration to complete your mini garden. Utilize landscaping stone from a company like Builder’s Sand & Gravel Inc. to complement live plantings for a beautiful rock...

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Three Household Problems That Require The Attention Of A Licensed Electrician

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer around the home or you’re eager to learn about household projects and handle them yourself to save money, it’s important to give ample respect to your home’s electrical system. The current passing throughout your home at all times is enough to seriously harm you and even cause a fire in your home. As such, it’s important to avoid attempting any electrical-related jobs on your own. A safer strategy, upon noticing something that appears to be incorrect, is to call a licensed electrician in your community who can visit your home, assess the nature of the problem and fix it properly. Here are three problems that need professional attention. Circuit Breakers That Constantly Trip While it’s not a big deal if one of the circuit breakers in your home trips from time to time, it is a concern if you’re finding that multiple breakers — or the same ones — are constantly tripping. This issue is more than just an inconvenience because you have to go to the basement or garage to flip the breaker back into position. It’s indicative of an issue with your home’s wiring or your wall outlets not being able to support the electronic devices that you’re using. Amateurs should never work on their circuit breaker panel; there’s a risk of injury and of doing serious damage to the panel. Instead, a certified electrician will be able to confirm the reason for the problem and replace any problematic outlets or wiring. Excessive Use Of Extension Cords An extension cord can come in handy from time to time, but if you’re using them daily to power your various electronic devices, doing so may be problematic. If you have a power bar plugged into an outlet and multiple extension cords running from it, you’re risking overloading the circuit. Additionally, extension cords pose a significant fire risk; more than 3,000 fires each year can be attributed to extension cords. Your licensed electrician will take stock of the situation and likely add additional wall outlets throughout your home to help you limit your use of extension cords. Flickering Light Fixtures A light that is consistently flickering is symptomatic of a problem with the fixture or the wiring that connects to the fixture. It’s a good idea to have an electrician take a look at the fixture as soon as possible in case faulty wiring could increase your risk of a fire. The contractor will replace the fixture, as needed, and ensure that the wiring is correct. Having this professional address this issue provides you with peace of mind. For more information, contact a licensed electrician with a company like Dr...

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How A Contractor Can Fix A Collapsing Foundation Wall In Your Basement

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the foundation of your house can cause your basement walls to bow inward. The pressure is caused by water building up in dirt outside the foundation and not properly draining away after rain storms and snow melts. Eventually, enough water builds up on the outside of the foundation to the point where the weight of the water pressing against the foundation moves the wall inward. If you don’t have the problem fixed, the wall will collapse into your basement in time. Here is how a contractor can fix a bowed-in foundation wall to keep it from collapsing into your basement. Brace Wall The first step will be to brace the wall to keep it from collapsing further into your basement. A contractor can use adjustable wall braces to hold the wall upright. The bottom base of the brace is screwed into the concrete floor, and the top part of the brace is leaned against thick pieces of lumber sitting flush against the foundation wall and screwed in place. The top part and the bottom part of the brace are screwed together. There is a large nut in the middle of the brace that the contractor turns to either lengthen or shorten the brace. Excavate Exterior of Foundation A backhoe is typically used to dig down to the bottom of the exterior of the foundation to remove the wet dirt and expose the exterior side of the foundation wall. Once the dirt has been removed, the bracing inside the basement is lengthened until the foundation wall is returned to its normal straight up and down position. Repair Wall The contractor will repair any cracks in the wall using hydraulic cement. Hydraulic cement dries quickly and is harder than ordinary cement or mortar. The contractor will then apply a polymer coating over the exterior wall to create an impermeable seal against moisture damage. Install Drain Tile The contractor will install or repair the drain tile around the bottom of the foundation of your house to keep the water from building up in the ground outside your home. Drain tile is made of perforated PVC pipes, stones, and a permeable fabric that allows water to filter through it. The trench is sloped so it runs downhill. Enough fabric is laid out on the bottom of the trench so the contractor can completely wrap it around the PVC pipes. The PVC pipes are laid down on top of the fabric. The fabric is wrapped around the PVC pipes so stones and dirt doesn’t fall into the pipes to clog it up. Stone is then placed over the fabric to keep the dirt from pressing down on the fabric and plugging up the holes on the PVC pipes. The trench is then backfilled with the dirt the contractor removed when digging out the trench. The portable adjustable bracing is then removed from inside the basement and everything is cleaned up to leave you with a newly restored solid foundation...

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Keeping Your Fireplace Safe And Ready For Those Chilly Evenings At Home

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Few pleasures are as satisfying as sitting in your home in front of a fireplace. The warmth and ambiance that it produces makes it the ultimate place to relax on a cold night. Make sure you keep your fireplace safe and ready for an evening fire with these tips. 1. Burn only hardwoods in the fireplace. Hardwoods such as maple, birch and oak burn much hotter than softer woods such as pine. The hotter fires burn off the chemical residue, known as creosote, which can coat the inside of the chimney and create a fire hazard. The hardwoods have less sticky sap to contend with so they are easier to handle and store. While more expensive than the softer woods, hardwoods reduce your risk of a chimney fire and you may not need to clean the chimney as often. 2. Inspect your fireplace often and schedule a regular cleaning. If you use your fireplace often in the winter months, wipe out the firebox and check the chimney for creosote after every few fires. The creosote appears as a hard soot that sticks to the inside of the chimney and upper portions of the firebox near the flue. At any sign of creosote buildup, contact a chimney cleaning service, like AAAA Dave’s Chimney Service, to remove it.  A regularly scheduled cleaning will also prevent a dangerous buildup of creosote. 3. Monitor the exterior of the chimney for changes. Bricks and mortar crumble as a chimney ages and becomes more weathered. If the mortar around a chimney begins to fail, you can see large portions shift on the bricks below it. Simple mortar problems can be repaired by tuckpointing. This involves grinding out the mortar between bricks to a specific depth and filling in the space with new mortar. Large sections of damaged bricks may require the chimney to be rebuilt from that point up. At the top of the chimney should be a metal cap with open sides. This allows heat and smoke to leave the chimney but prevents weather and wildlife from getting in. Any signs of damage to the cap requires a call to a chimney service to replace the cap before you use the fireplace again. 4. Protect the room from sparks and embers. An open fire in the fireplace may be pleasant to watch, but it posses a serious risk to the room. Pieces of burning wood and sparks can be ejected from the open fireplace onto wood floors, carpets, furniture, pets and people. A double-mesh or glass fireplace screen in front of the firebox contains the sparks and embers but allows you to enjoy watching the fire. Never leave a fire unattended. Always keep a fire extinguisher in the room with a fireplace. Make sure that everyone knows where it is and how to operate it. Inspect the fire extinguisher every year to make sure it is charged...

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New Homeowner’s Guide: How To Install Glass Storm Doors

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Storm glass doors provide an extra layer of protection against the high winds and cold temperatures of winter. This will help to keep your house warmer during winter by cutting down on the amount of draft that comes through an exterior door. Here is how you can install storm doors on the outside of the exterior doors on your new house. Step One: Measure Door Opening Measure the width of the door frame first.Then measure from the bottom of the frame over the exterior door down to the sill you step over when you enter your home. Make sure you take note of which side of the exterior door the hinges are located. The hinges of the storm door should be on the same side as the hinges on the exterior door. You can now head to the hardware store to purchase a door that fits the dimensions of your measurements. If you have an odd-shaped door frame, you may have to order a custom-made storm door. Step Two: Install Door Take the glass out of the storm door and set it safely aside – working with just the aluminum frame will make the job easier without the weight of the glass in it. Cut the jamb according to manufacturer’s directions. The jamb is the part of the frame that the hinges are connected to so you can open and close the door. Set the frame in the opening, and use a level to make sure the frame is even and not tilted. Insert screws into the outer frame of the storm door into the wood on the door opening. Open the door and screw the inside of storm door frame to the wood frame – the screw holes are predrilled by the manufacturer. Step Three: Install Header The header has a lip that stops water from dripping down inside the storm door on wet days, and it has weather stripping on it to keep out cold air. Open the storm door and slide the header over the top of the door. Close the door. The header should rest just above the storm door so the top on the door won’t stick when the door is opened and closed. Screw the header into place. Step Four: Install Second Jamb The second jamb will have the latch on it so the door stays shut when you close it. Place this jamb against the wood frame and screw it in place. Step Five: Install Bottom Expander The bottom expander has weather stripping on it to provide the bottom of the storm door with a good seal. Slip the expander onto the bottom of the storm door and adjust its height so the weather stripping rests against the door sill. Screw the expander in place. Step Six: Install Door Closures The door closures shut the door automatically. Screw the cylinder side of the door closure into the frame, and screw the arm of the door closure into the storm door. You should put door closures at the top and bottom of the storm door to give it extra closing strength on windy days. Step Seven: Place Glass in Door Take the storm glass window and insert it into the door frame. For more information, contact Five Star Windows Inc or a similar...

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3 Home Alterations To Let Grandma Move In Without Losing Your Sanity

Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 in Uncategorized |

An increasing number of adults — 10 million of whom are over the age of 50 themselves — are caring for aging parents and grandparents these days. It can be hard emotionally, physically and financially. One way to help alleviate the difficulties is for the parent to move in with the children’s family. But this can create a whole other set of problems caused by being too close together: lack of privacy, friction, loss of independence, etc. How can you have the best of both worlds, then?  Here are 3 ways you can care for your aging parents in your home while reducing those stresses that come from living together.  An In-Law Suite A so-called “in-law suite” may be the simplest way to adjust your home to provide more privacy for both the caregivers and the elderly family member. It is a separate area in your home that is self-sufficient but still connected. In-law suites generally have a kitchenette (lacking a full range) and either a 3/4 bath or a full bath. They don’t require an outside entrance, although you may choose to add one. This compromise situation is smaller and less complicated than a full apartment and may be easier to acquire a permit to build. An in-law suite can be formed out of unused rooms (such as a guest room or a formal dining room) or even by enclosing a patio or deck — thus saving money on the remodel. An Apartment Adding an apartment to your home or property is a more expensive endeavor, but it may bring a better return on investment. A fully-functional apartment with a complete kitchen, bath and separate outside entrance can be rented to outside parties and is likely to add to the value for future home buyers when you leave. Before deciding to add an apartment, be sure to check with your local planning and zoning agency to see if it’s even allowed.  A Duplex If your home simply won’t accommodate a separate living area for Mom — or if your budget won’t allow an extensive remodel — you might consider moving to a home that already has a separate apartment. Essentially, this is what an owner-occupied duplex is: a single home that consists of two side-by-side townhomes or apartments with 2 or 3 bedrooms and full amenities. In a duplex, you can live comfortably and privately in your own space, and so can your family member. But you’re only steps away from each other for caregiving purposes. There is only one structure to maintain and when your family no longer needs it, a duplex could be a great rental investment property.  No matter what type of home alteration fits your lifestyle and budget, you can find a way that ensures the safety and health of both yourself and your aging parents. For more information about home remodeling, visit or a similar...

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Tips For Safe Rootop Holiday Decorating

Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If your home’s holiday decorations include any rooftop additions, it’s important that you understand the best practices and precautions before you put them up. By understanding the necessary safety considerations, you’ll be able to protect yourself and the condition of your roof. Before you climb the ladder with those decorations, here are a few things you need to think about to avoid damaging your roof or experiencing an accident. Consider Your Safety Don’t dismiss the importance of your footwear choice to your personal safety on the roof. If you’re going up there, consider a pair of sneakers with a rubber sole. They’ll give you good traction and they are the least damaging to the tile. Test Your Decorations Before you put anything up on the roof, take time to not only test any electronic or illuminated decorations, but also to make sure that you have enough lights. That way, you’re not having to get up and down from the roof multiple times. The less time you have to spend walking around on your roofing tiles, the better. While you’re testing everything, inspect all of the cords to be sure that everything is in good condition. When you’re putting them up outside, and on your roof, you need to eliminate the risk of electrical shortage or fire due to damaged wires. If anything is worn or damaged, replace it. Also, be sure that all of the cords are UL-certified for outdoor use. Secure Inflatables Carefully Inflatable decorations need to be carefully anchored to the roof. Use the anchor hooks that are attached to the inflatable decoration to secure it to the roof. The hooks are designed to make it easier to secure the ornaments to the roof without causing damage. For larger ornaments, consider mounting them to plywood and then strapping the plywood in place, that way you don’t risk damaging your roofing tile with the fastening hardware. Take the Chance to Inspect While you’re on the roof, it’s a good opportunity to check it over for any visible damage. It’s a good time to address any loose roofing tiles or identify a roofing problem that could potentially lead to a leak or other hazard during the winter months. Call a roofing contractor right away if there’s anything that needs to be patched. With these tips, you’ll be able to tackle your rooftop decorating and showcase your holiday spirit with the confidence that it’s done right and without damage to your roof. For more tips, talk with a roofer like Darnell...

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