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Important Signs That Your Chimney Needs Professional Help

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Have you recently purchased a home with a fireplace? Are you eager to start using it for warmth and romantic evening fires? A fireplace can be a great asset to a home, but unfortunately, fireplaces don’t last forever. Before you go lighting any fires, it’s important to have your fireplace checked to make sure that it’s safe. But there are a few signs that you can watch out for even before a professional arrives to check out your fireplace. A few of these signs include the following. Bits of bricks and mortar in the fireplace: Any sort of debris, besides leftover burnt logs, in a fireplace can be a worrying sign that you are in need of chimney repair. If the debris consists of bits of mortar and brick, your fireplace is starting to crumble with age and as a result of all of the fires that have been lit and caused the bricks to expand and contract with heating and cooling. Repairing this damage can sometimes be expensive, but an attic fire can be hugely devastating and isn’t worth the risk of using a damaged chimney. If the damage isn’t too extensive, a cement coating can be applied to the interior of the chimney to give it a few more useful years. Organic debris in the fireplace: Although perhaps not quite as serious as bricks and mortar, organic debris in the fireplace can be worrying as well. In a fully functional chimney, nothing should be able to make its way down a chimney. There should be a screen or a cap at the top to block the entry and exit of everything but smoke. If this screen or cap has become damaged or dislodged, however, you’ll need to have a chimney repair professional reinstall it before using your fireplace. Without this barrier, you could wind up with birds, insects, and small mammals making their way down your chimney either accidentally or on purpose. Black flakes in the fireplace: Another type of debris to be watching for is black flakes of material in your fireplace. This material is called creosote and is created when a smoky fire burns in your fireplace. Some types of creosote are worse than others and can be difficult for a chimney-repair professional to remove. But all types of creosote eventually need to go. If too much creosote builds up in your chimney, it can lead to a chimney fire that can spread to your attic and beyond. Talk to a company such as Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service to learn...

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How Pressure Tanks For Well Pumps Work

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you are installing a new well and well pump, do not forget to purchase and install a pressure tank too. People who are new to how a modern well works often forget this important piece of well equipment, and then do not understand why they cannot get water into their homes or get adequate water pressure. Since the pump just pumps the water from the well into the plumbing lines, you need something with power to draw the water and disperse it with consistent pressure. That is what the pressure tanks in wells do. Here is a little bit more on how pressure tanks for wells and well pumps work and why you need a pressure tank. From the Well Pump to the Pressurized Holding Tank The well pump pumps water from the well into a pressurized holding tank. The tank holds onto several gallons of water at a time, and signals your well pump when the water drops below a certain level so that the pump can restore water levels for future use. Then the pressure tank increases the amount of pressurized air inside the holding tank so that the water is ready to enter your home’s plumbing lines the minute you turn on a spigot or faucet. The Pressure Tank Maintains the Pressure Even when you are not using any water at all, the pressure tank maintains the correct pressure in the holding tank and the plumbing lines at all times. When you finally do need some water, the faucet handles act as pressure release valves, allowing the built-up pressure in the lines to escape with the flowing water from the holding tank. If you leave the faucets open for a long time (e.g., when you take a shower), the pressure tank kicks in and begins to build up more pressure to make up for the lost volume of air and pressure that is currently escaping through your spigot or shower head. Why You Need the Pressure Tank for Your Well Water City water gets its pressure from the city’s pressurized lines. When you have a well, you have zero pressure, so the water cannot work against gravity or move through your pipes with any consistency. No pressure means no water or only as much water as the vacuums in the pipelines current have. This means you cannot shower/bathe, run a dishwasher and/or run a washing machine simultaneously because the water pressure does not exist to move that much water from your well into your...

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Top Plumbing Issues That Homeowners Shouldn’t DIY

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Are you about to move into a house that is in less than perfect condition? Are you planning to fix up the house and then sell it at some point in the future? Fixing up a house to sell can be an exciting adventure. But when it comes to plumbing repairs, there are some things that you can do and some things that you should leave to a professional. Some things that should be left to a professional include: Leaky sink pipes: Unless you already have plenty of experience with these types of plumbing repairs, you should probably avoid messing with the pipes underneath your kitchen or bathroom sinks. The limited space available in these spaces will make the task much more difficult than it might appear at first. You run the risk of being unable to properly tighten a fitting or accidentally damaging another pipe when working under your sink. Removing the trap to retrieve something like a piece of jewelry may be simple and easy enough, but you should leave anything else to a professional. Water heaters: There are two things that you can do with a water heater. These include turning the heater on and off or adjusting the temperature. If the water heater refuses to turn on or ignite, this isn’t something that you should try to troubleshoot on your own. This is especially true if you have a gas water heater. Installing or fixing a gas water heater can involve potentially hazardous plumbing repairs that should only be attempted by a professional. Trying to deal with it on your own could result in a dangerous gas leak and so should be avoided if at all possible. If you have an electric water heater, it probably doesn’t have any user serviceable parts either and should be left to the professionals. Toilet replacement: If you have an old and outdated toilet, you probably can’t wait to replace it with something that is more modern and that matches the look you want for the bathroom. However, the seal on a toilet can be a tricky thing. If you don’t seat the toilet on the wax ring exactly right the first time, it could result in a nasty and potentially expensive leak. While you may well be capable of hooking up the water to the toilet, this is still one of those plumbing repairs that is probably better left to a professional. He or she should have the experience to do it correctly the first time or, if they happen to make a mistake, have the knowledge to recognize what’s wrong and then to correct it. For more information, contact companies like Salinas & Sons Rooter...

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Smart Water Heaters: A Smart Choice For Your Home

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you’re like most Americans, you probably have a smartphone. You may also have a smart thermostat and a smart refrigerator. But did you know that there are also smart water heaters that can help make your life easier and conserve energy? Here’s a closer look at smart water heaters, the features they offer, and why you should strongly consider purchasing one for your home. What features do smart water heaters offer? A standard, tank-style hot water heater has to keep your water warm throughout all hours of the day, regardless of whether you use it or not. While there are timers you can install to regulate when the heaters turn on, they tend to be a hassle if your schedule changes and you suddenly want hot water when the timer has triggered the system to be off. Smart hot water heaters allow you to program when the water is heated and when it is not. You set a normal schedule using an app on your smartphone, but if you ever need hot water at a non-regular time, you can easily set the heater to turn on at that time. For example, if you usually get home from work and shower at 7 pm, but find out you’ll be coming home at 5 pm, you can use the app to have the water heater get your hot water heater ready for 5 pm that one time. Many smart water heater apps also monitor your water use. You can track how much water you use each day, week, month, or year, so you know when you need to cut back. What are the advantages of a smart water heater? Being able to easily schedule when your water heater is on will save you a bundle on energy. Whether you use electricity or natural gas to power the water heater, restricting your use is good for the planet. Burning natural gas releases greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide. Electricity is generated, in part, by burning coal – another non-earth-friendly process. A smart water heater also ensures that if there are any leaks or problems with your water heater while you’re out of town, you find out about them. If you see your usage creeping up while you’re away, you know there’s a leak or some type of malfunction and can have a plumber go over before the place becomes any more flooded. If you’re ready to conserve water and energy in the most modern way possible, contact a plumber in your area to have a smart water heater installed. For more information, contact local professionals like Aurora Plumbing and Electric Supply,...

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How To Replace Kitchen Cabinet Molding

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

The molding is one of the most important design elements of any kitchen cabinet system. This is especially true with built-in cabinets that have crown molding along the top edge. If you take a close look at your cabinets system, you will probably notice that the main box is square and plain. The doors and molding truly define the cabinet. Luckily, you can change hardwood molding quite easily to give your cabinets a new look. This article explains how to safely remove your old molding and install a new product. Choosing a Wider Molding Removing your old molding is much easier if your new product is wider than your existing product. Make sure you choose you take this into consideration when choosing your new molding. Any scratches you make to the faceframe of the cabinet will hopefully be covered by your new, wider molding. Removing Your Old Molding The best tools for removing molding are a hammer, utility knife and two flathead screwdrivers. First, you need to cut through any caulk that is securing your molding to the cabinet and/or wall. If your molding is not caulked, the job should be quite easy. All you have to do is lightly hammer the flathead screwdrivers underneath the molding. If you hammer both at once, and then simultaneously pry them away from the cabinet, the molding will come off without cracking. Installing the New Molding Installing the new molding is actually very simple, as long as you have the right tools. Most importantly, you need a pneumatic nail gun and a compound miter saw. You will need to cut 45° angles, both ways, for the edges and corners of the cabinet so the molding design lines up. The best way to get the most accurate cuts is to actually hold the molding up to the part of the cabinet where they are going to be installed. Then, mark the backside with a pencil. If you cut right along the pencil mark, you’re bound to have a more accurate measurement and you will speed up the process because you don’t need to waste your time with a tape measure. Also, you should install the molding piece as soon as it is cut to the right length before you install the next piece. You might need to rent some of the power tools, but it is not an over complicated job. Next, you can focus on changing the doors with a coordinating style. For mor einformation, contact a business such as Adams Fine Furniture &...

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Gardening For All — 5 Tips For Creating An Inclusive, Accessible Yard

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Gardening is generally considered by many to be a therapeutic endeavor. But for those with physical or mental challenges, it can be even more important for enjoyment and good health. If you’re considering making your garden more accessible to everyone, here are 5 of the most important tips to keep in mind.  Invite Use. Start your landscaping makeover by thinking like all its future users. What is already in place that disabled family members love? What might they find overwhelming? Is your yard filled with slopes, trees, narrow spots, or other uninviting aspects? Thinking about the big picture will help you formulate a cohesive accessibility plan. Keep in mind the interests, needs, and abilities of any disabled users so that you can create a space that they will personally find appealing. If you’re unfamiliar with disabled access designs, it may be good to work with a qualified landscape designer for this stage of the process.  Evaluate Paths. Make sure your yard’s pathways are easy for everyone to use. If your yard is used by someone in a wheelchair, for example, avoid tight corners, sharp turns, or elevation changes. Accessible paths should also often be wide enough that 2 or 3 people can walk side-by-side along them. Use a firm but attractive pathway material such as stamped concrete, brick, pavers, flagstone, or wood. In addition, ensure that adequate lighting covers the entire path — perhaps utilizing different lights, such as stake lighting and spotlights.  Raise Beds. A garden tinkerer who has mobility problems can still enjoy working in the outdoors with a little extra effort in the design. Rather than place some garden beds on the ground, raise them up using containers and garden boxes. You can hang flower boxes on or over porch or deck railings or on fences. In addition, you can often find stand-alone garden containers that are high enough to be comfortably worked on while sitting or standing. Even just adding a retaining wall or berm can give a disabled family member the ability to garden at a convenient height.  Engage Senses. In addition to ensuring that the garden looks nice for all users, add accessories and plants that engage their other senses. This can be especially important for aging family members or those with emotional difficulties. Bubbling fountains, for example, can be soothing for anxiety and depression. Choose flowers with a strong scent, such as lilac or lemon verbena, to add olfactory appeal. Add in plants and trees with interesting texture variety as well.  Get the Right Tools. Encourage disabled users (and the rest of the family) to garden to their hearts’ delight by having good tools available. This could include specially-designed trowels or pruners, tools with a longer reach, long-handled weed removers or arthritis-friendly hand tools. In addition, look for ways to make getting around easier, such as installing ramps to get into and out of sheds or to reach storage spaces. By planning ahead and designing your garden area around the needs of disabled or elderly family members, you can create a yard that will bring everyone in the household years of joy in the...

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How To Choose The Right Dumpster For Your Project

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Whether you are cleaning out an entire home of accumulated junk, or you have a construction project in the works, knowing what size of dumpster to rent for your needs is important. Too small of a rental and you will end up spending extra money getting the dumpster emptied and placed a second time. A dumpster that is too large will just take up space. Take the time to assess your situation to determine what size of dumpster you will need. Measure Your Debris if Possible You may not know what you are going to throw away, but if you have the ability to take a rough measurement of your debris, this is the best way to estimate the size of dumpster that you will need to haul away the junk in your home. Dumpsters are sized by the number of cubic yards of trash they will hold. One cubic yard of trash is roughly two average size trash cans full of debris. While you won’t get a perfect measurement, this is a great way to start estimating the size of dumpster you will need. Small Cleanout Jobs If you are cleaning out a shed, or redoing a small bathroom, the five yard dumpster should be perfect for your needs. This size of dumpster is lighter than the ten yard dumpster, and can sit comfortably on a driveway without causing any damage. For larger jobs, like a spring cleaning of the garage or basement, a five yard dumpster will be large enough. Dumpsters for Larger Jobs When you are trying to renovate more than one room in your home, or you have accumulated many years of junk, the ten yard dumpster is a great option. This is the most commonly chosen dumpster, as it is versatile. This dumpster is a bit heavier, so you will have to make sure it is placed in an area where it can’t cause damage to your driveway. Take the time to find out if the dumpster can be opened on the side, or is simply an open top dumpster. It can be harder to place junk in an open top dumpster, but these are the most common. You will also have the option of a 15, 20, or even 30 yard dumpster. All of these sizes have their uses, from big yard cleanup projects, to complete home renovations. Call your local dumpster rental company to discuss the size of dumpster you may need for your project. Go to websites like this for more...

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Reduce The Cost Of Replacing Your Windows With 3 Smart Tips

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Replacing the windows in your home may be a necessity due to concerns over the energy inefficiency of your current windows or damage that’s apparent with your windows in the form of broken glass or frames. If you’re interested in home window replacement, but are worried about the costs involved, it’s a good idea for you to look into what you can do to make replacing your windows more inexpensive without giving up on quality. Schedule the Window Replacement During Favorable Weather While it’s possible to get the windows in your home replaced during any part of the year, window companies may charge more if they need to replace windows during unfavorable weather. This typically includes winter and in the middle of a hot summer. Emergency window replacement can also be more expensive than you may be prepared to spend, making it important to schedule in advance and keep an eye on the weather for when you want the windows replaced. Check if Only Part of the Window Can Be Replaced In some cases, the entire windows may not need to be replaced. This may be the case if the glass in your windows is broken, but the frames are still good. Taking a close look at the entire window can help you determine if any parts are still in good condition and can be preserved during the window replacement. Making do with the parts that are still in good condition will help ensure that you’re not overspending on things that aren’t necessary. Set Aside Money for Professionals Instead of Opting for DIY Work While replacing the windows on your own may seem like a good option for saving money, it can often lead to major repairs being needed later. By prioritizing professional help, you can reduce the chance that anything will go wrong during the replacement. This will help ensure that the windows are installed properly and that mistakes are not made. With the average cost of replacing a window around $240 to $365, you may not be looking forward to making such a major home improvement project. Since replacing windows should be a necessity for some problems such as poor insulation or a shattered glass window, you’ll benefit by looking into how you can find discounts. Another discount not mentioned is simply getting multiple windows replaced at the same time due to the lower cost for bulk window...

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Signs That Your Garage Door May Need To Be Professionally Repaired

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized |

It is important to make sure that you are keeping an eye on the condition of your garage door in order to spot trouble that may require the assistance of a professional contractor. This way, you will know when it is time to call for help from a professional. Automatic Opener Is Not Working If you have tried to open the garage door with the remote in your vehicle and it is not working, you will need to inspect the automatic opener. Check to make sure that the machine is still plugged in. You will also want to examine any other wiring that you can see to make sure that it is still connected. If you spot a problem with the wiring, or you are still unable to determine the cause of the problem, you will want to contact an experienced garage door contractor. Never attempt to rewire the automatic garage door opener for safety purposes, as a small mistake could cause you to get electrocuted. Metal Parts Are Starting To Develop Rust You do not want to allow metal pieces of your garage door to develop too much rust. If too much rust develops, the metal pieces could break apart. This could cause the door to stop opening, the automatic opener to fall from above, or the locks to no longer work depending on what piece broke. If there is just a little bit of rust, you might be able to clean it off with a strong rust remover that you can buy online or at a large home improvement retailer. If there is a lot of rust, it is best to simply have the rusted parts replaced. You will want to allow a skilled contractor to take care of this for you for safety purposes. The Tracks Are No Longer Straight Having tracks that are bent in the slightest bit can cause a lot of problems with the functioning of the door. It can make it difficult to open and shut the garage door properly. Therefore, you will want to see if a professional garage door contractor can straighten the tracks for you. If he or she is unable to do this with success, the tracks will need to be replaced with new ones. By considering all of the previously mentioned signs of trouble, you should have no trouble making sure that you are getting your garage door repaired as soon as issues start to arise. To learn more, contact a company like Allied Door Controls &...

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Tips For Choosing The Best Basement Windows For Your Older Home

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Many older homes have basements and many of those basements have windows. Basement windows can add to the decorative appeal of a house because some of them are unique in design. Some basement windows are small and have tiny panes that give them an unusual decorative design. Other basement windows are reminiscent of antique style houses because of their wooden muntins and old glass panes. However, when the time comes you need to replace older basement windows, making the right choice for modern styles is important. Follow these tips for helping you make the wisest investment in new replacement windows for your basement. Take A Close Look At Wooden Sashes And Muntins Your basement’s windows are closer to the ground than any other windows in your home. For this reason, they are at greater risk of rotting due to high levels of moisture from the ground. Take a look at your existing windows to see if the muntins or sashes are experiencing rot. Older homes were built with wooden window frames that can give way to the effects and damage of moisture. You will be able to see the formation of condensation on your basement windows when moisture levels are high and the wood on those windows could be rotted. If the muntins are rotted, they are easier to break, allowing the glass pane they hold in to fall out. When a pane falls out, your home has an easy way for unwanted visitors like rats to come in. The Best Replacement Windows For Your Basement When shopping for the windows for your basement, you should know that vinyl is the best choice because if its resistance to moisture. Vinyl windows are easy to maintain and you never have to worry about termites eating away at them. Vinyl windows are available in many colors and sizes, making them easy to use for unusual sized basement windows. With vinyl windows you can maintain the unique appeal your home needs from its basement windows while enjoying the functionality they offer as well. Greater Energy Efficiency Matters In Your Basement When you replace your basement windows, you can increase your energy savings by a lot. This is especially true in older homes that have old basement windows . The glass used in older windows is notorious for allowing air to pass through them. Vinyl windows have double panes that greatly reduce the loss of warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer. Replacing old basement windows can help you enjoy a more comfortable home environment.  Investing in window replacements (for more information, click this hyperlink) for your basement can help preserve your home’s value while helping you save...

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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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