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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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3 Common Plumbing Issues With Fresh Water Pipes In Older Homes

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you live in an older house and are having trouble with your water, it might be due to the fresh water supply pipes in your house. Plumbing pipes last for years, but they do not last forever. Over time, they can get clogged, and this can lead to problems. If you are having any problems with your water supply, you may want to consider hiring a plumber to replace all the fresh water pipes in your home. Here are three common problems people experience from having old pipes. Low water pressure The first issue you might be experiencing with your water is low pressure. Water pressure is dictated by several different things, but one important factor is the size of the pipes that are supplying the water. If your water has minerals in it, these minerals can get attached to the pipes. When this happens, it restricts the amount of water that can flow through the pipes. This problem can lead to low water pressure, but this is not the only issue that can reduce the pressure of your water. A plumber will be able to inspect your pipes to determine if this is the cause of your low water pressure. Poor water quality A second issue you might be having with your water is poor quality. If your water tastes or smells bad, or if it is loaded with iron or other minerals, it might be due to your old pipes. If the pipes are full of contaminants, the fresh water can also get contaminated. This can lead to bad-smelling water, and it can also lead to safety issues with your water. Poor water quality is not always due to old pipes, though. It can also be due to the water coming from your well or city water system. Leaky pipes The third issue caused by old pipes is leaks. If you are experiencing a lot of water leaks with your fresh water pipes, it might be time to replace them. Pipes can wear out over time, and when they do, they can become leaky. The only way to fix this problem is to have a plumber replace any pipes that are old or leaky. Plumbing leaks and problems can be frustrating, costly, and messy. If you are interested in finding out what is causing your plumbing issues, contact a plumber in your area today. Plumbers can locate all potential problems and fix them for you. Click this link for more...

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Single Parent And Bought Your First Home? 2 Things You Should Know About The Garage Door

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you are a single parent and just moved into your first home, there are things you need to learn to do on your own. One important thing you may not think about is the garage door. Below are two things you should take time to look into. Prevent burglars from entering If the garage is attached to your house, you need to know how to keep burglars out. One easy way you can do this is to put frosting on your windows. These are non-adhesive window-coating films. These films are applied on the inside of the windows, and you can find them in frosted patterns. There are also liquid frost coatings that you spray on the inside of the windows. You can find this film or liquid frost at most home improvement centers. A burglar can easily look into a garage through the window to see if there is a car parked in it. If not, they may try to break in your house. They may also try to see if there is anything worth stealing inside the garage. You could also go a little further and install bars on the inside of the windows. Check safety sensors and automatic reverse Because you are a parent, you need to check the safety sensors and automatic reverse, especially if you have small children. If they are not working, your child could be under the door when it is closing, and it would close on them. To check these, open the garage, and sit something directly below it that you don’t mind getting damaged, such as an empty box. You can find one sensor on either side of the door a few inches above the ground. Make sure the item you put under the door is taller than the sensors so they can detect it. Close the garage door using your automatic remote or from the wall switch. As it is closing, the door should stop, and then automatically reverse to the open position. If the door does not do this, look at the sensors to see if one of them is blinking. If so, this means they are not aligned with each other. Tighten the screw that is holding the sensor to the bracket on the one that is blinking until the light is solid, which shows they are aligned properly. Open the garage door and put something directly under it again, and make sure the door automatically reverses when you try to close it. If it is still not working, contact a garage door contractor to repair or replace the bad sensor. While the garage door contractor is at your home, ask them to show you other things you need to check. For more information, visit websites like...

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Three Unique Ways To Hang Your Drapes

Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you’ve got drapes to hang, but you’re tired of the old stand-by curtain rods, it may free your creative side to hear that you don’t have to stick to the status quo when it comes to your home decor. There are many unique ways to hang draperies, and finding one that really speaks to your style can be a welcome departure from the standard hardware and fixtures. Here are a few ideas to help you get started, but you’re sure to find other options around the house. Tension Line Whether you like the look of wire, thick braided rope or a plastic-coated clothesline, you can create a tension line across the top of your window. Just run the line through the open slot on the curtains, then attach it at either end of the window frame using nails or tension brackets. This is usually best for lightweight drape materials, though, because the weight of the fabric can weigh down the line if it’s not anchored tightly. Hooks or Knobs Attach hooks or knobs to the wall in a straight line across the top of the window. Opt for drapes that are fitted with grommets, buttonholes or tab tops so that you can hang them on the hooks. If you’re hanging lightweight, sheer drapes, you may only need one hook for every two tabs or grommets. The heavier your drape material, the more hooks you’ll want to use. If you’re hanging the drapes in a kids room, look for child-inspired hooks like animals, sports equipment or something similar. Crafty Creations If you are the crafty sort, you can create a rod for your drapes out of just about anything. For example, a thin, well-cared-for tree branch is a sturdy rod for heavy drapes. You can mount it in brackets on either side of the window frame or even suspend it from the ceiling with clear wire. If you’re outfitting a window that you need to open and close regularly, remove the bark from the branch and sand it smooth, then varnish it. Otherwise, opt for sheer drapes that let light through so that you don’t have to move them. There’s no reason to be stuck with the same-old curtain rods that you see everywhere. If you like to stand out from the crowd, you can still do just that with these unique drape-hanging options. Consider the style of the drapes you’re hanging as well as the decor in the room to make sure that your hanging fixtures will create a cohesive look. Contact a local shop, like Park City Blind & Design, for more...

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What Are Your Choices In Residential Rubber Roofing Installation?

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Although rubber roof installation was once mainly for commercial buildings, residential use is expanding. This is not only because of the superior durability and integrity of rubber roofing materials, but also because of advances in installation techniques. If you are thinking about tackling the job yourself, here are your options: Rubber roof installation using a torch  Most rubber roof installations have required the use of a torch to melt and seal seams to form a continuous sheet of material from multiple smaller pieces. Bitumen, which is made from asphalt traditionally use in roof shingles, is modified using rubber and chemical enhancements to create large flat sheets that are sealed into a single membrane that covers the entire roof. This type of installation is also done using materials made from rubber or plastic synthetics, but all require the use of a burning torch. The main benefit of this type of rubber roof insulation is that the materials are less expensive than newer materials that are less labor-intensive to install and don’t require torch work. The drawbacks of this type of installation are the requirements of use of a torch. The average homeowner that might attempt to install their own rubber roof using this method will probably not own a torch and be skilled in its use. This lack of experience could be even more costly than imagined. In order to install any type of rubber roof membrane, your roof must be stripped down to bare plywood. An inexperienced hand using a torch on a wooden roof could result in fire. Cement application for rubber roofing This type of application requires no torch work, because the rubber roof membrane is installed in a single piece large enough to cover a substantial portion of the roof. It is held in place by a special adhesive designed for this purpose. Seams are overlapped and cemented together and provide the same integrity as those welded together with a torch. It is sold in larger rolls, typically ten feet wide and either twenty-five or fifty feet long, and can be purchased, along with cement and other supplies, at local home improvement stores. Installation still requires all old roofing materials to be stripped from the roof until only the plywood base remains. Those roof must be cleaned of dirt and debris, and temperatures should be moderate for the cement to adhere properly. Any cuts for pipes or other protrusions should be made before the cement is applied to the roof, so have everything measured and cut first. This type of cement does better in warmer temperatures, so the cement container should be kept in a warm place until ready for use, and once the rubber membrane is applied, will usually set in around thirty minutes. Although the material is resistant to tears and pressure from walking across it, plywood should be placed atop the membrane to minimize the chance of damage during installation. You should also look for small bubbles or air pockets and smooth them out as you progress, no matter which installation method you choose. Rubber roof tiles These tiles are installed with nails in overlapping rows just like asphalt tiles, but they are much lighter to transport to the roof, and more durable and less brittle than asphalt. They are also more expensive,...

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Understanding The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Hydroseed Lawn

Posted by on Aug 15, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you’re looking for an option to create a lush, green lawn without having to invest in sod, hydroseeding may be the best option. There are many benefits to choosing hydroseeding, and understanding the advantages of the process can help you decide if it’s right for you. However, it’s equally important to understand some of the disadvantages so that you can be prepared to mitigate those concerns while you wait for your new lawn to thrive. Advantages Hydroseeding has many advantages for homeowners. Here are several reasons to opt for this type of lawn treatment. Disease Resistance – Hydroseed is usually a blend of several different types of grass seed, giving you a bit of diversity in your lawn. This diversity helps reduce the risk that you’ll lose your whole lawn to a single disease, because different varieties of grass are vulnerable to different types of diseases. Easy Customization – Since hydroseeding usually uses a mixture of several grass seeds, it’s easy for you to customize the look of your lawn. Talk with your hydroseeding service about the seed blends you have to choose from or create a custom blend that you like. Cost Effectiveness – If you have a large yard, you’ll find that hydroseeding may be more cost effective than other options. This is because the hydroseeding machine only needs to be set up once for a yard application, and it takes very little extra effort to treat a large yard than a small one. Aside from the price of the seed itself, you shouldn’t have any additional costs simply for having a large yard. Disadvantages Hydroseeding isn’t without its disadvantages. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you’re applying hydroseed to your lawn. Water Requirement – Hydroseeding requires extensive watering to get the grass established. In some cases, hydroseed lawns may need a couple of months of heavy watering practices to help the grass develop strong roots. Make sure that you have the time to devote to the watering and that you’re not likely to face any water restrictions during that time. Prohibiting Traffic – If you have pets or kids, hydroseeding can be a challenge, because you have to stay off the lawn for those first couple of months required for the seed to sprout and the grass roots to develop and strengthen. Consider this carefully when choosing hydroseeding and have an alternative in place for walking your pup or taking the kids to play. For more details about hydroseeding and how it works, check out sites like...

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