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Regular Annual Maintenance Can Lower the Cost of Home Repair

Regular Annual Maintenance Can Lower the Cost of Home Repair

By doing regular annual maintenance around your home, you can significantly reduce the cost of repairs. Some of the main things that need to be checked are the Heating systems, the Air Conditioner, touch up painting, and if you have any decks, regular power washing at least once a year. In addition, any major appliances should also be inspected to make sure they are still in good operating condition, in order to ensure they are running efficiently.

Every home is different so annual checks and inspections will be as well. For an example, some homes have a separate outdoor installed air conditioner; others have a dual heating and air conditioning system. When it comes to the outdoor models, you need to check and make sure the unit is clear and free from debris, that the condenser fins are not damaged ant the every thing is properly lubricated. If you live in an area where there are winter snows, this should be done in the fall, and the outside unit should always be securely covered before the first snow falls.

Indoor systems should also have the filters replaced on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is that these should be checked and replaced during the spring and fall. You should remove the floor plates from your duct work, and check to make sure these are clear of any debris and dust. Access panels can be removed, belts and pulley checked for tightness, and any areas that can be oiled by you should be. A few things that are important is that you should always turn of the power before attempting any regular maintenance checks, and ready your owner’s manual first.

Now while there are many aspects of maintenance that you can do yourself, some things should be left to professionals. It is a good idea to contact a reputable appliance service technician and get on an annual inspection program. They come in and check things that you don’t have access to, like internal electronics. A qualified technician can also identify problems more easily that you can, keeping small things from becoming large repairs. They also have the tools to do a more thorough inspection of your duct work.

For major appliances, refrigerators, stoves, and washing machines, you should pull these out at least once a year to check for fraying wiring, leaking connections and replace them as needed. Make sure that the dryer exhaust duct is clean, because a clogged duct can make your dryer work harder, and take more energy to dry your clothes. It is also a good idea to run a special cleaning agent through both your clothes washer, as well as you dishwasher, especially if you live in areas that have hard water. These cleaning agents are designed to break down deposits that have built up, and make your appliances run more efficiently.

Even with all of these maintenance steps, there are going to be times when your appliances break down. If you don’t already have it, you should consider appliance insurance. This is not the same as homeowner’s insurance. It covers repairs and replacement to your major appliances through normal wear and tear, or even emergencies. Homeowner’s insurance only covers them if they are damages in direct result to a fire or flood, and whatever else you have coverage for, not general repairs.…

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Ooh! Ooh! That Smell

Ooh! Ooh! That Smell

Is there an obnoxious odor coming from your kitchen sink that you can’t quite put your finger on? Where is it coming from and how do you get rid of it? Guests are starting to whisper and you are getting a reputation for being a bad housekeeper. Nobody wants to party at your house. Don’t panic, the solution may be fast and easy, not to mention very inexpensive. If you have a newer home, that smell is probably just left over from waste particles that have accumulated in the garbage disposal. Try this quick fix: Cut a large lemon in half and squeeze it into the garbage disposal opening. Let it work for five or ten minutes and then flush with hot water for about a minute. Repeat the same procedure again and see if that solves your problem. Surprisingly, this works most of the time. The citric acid in the lemon juice will neutralize the odor very effectively.

Now for older homes the problem could be caused by a faulty dishwasher drain hose leading from the dishwasher to the sink. This hose usually attaches to an air gap device at the underside of the sink and then wyes off with another hose to the side of the garbage disposal. Many times one or both of these hoses can become kinked causing food particles to become trapped in the hose with no way out. A sure sign that this is happening is during the drain cycle when the dishwasher will discharge water through the openings in the air gap back into the sink. This indicates that the drain hose is clogged.

You can imagine what happens to these food particles that have been lodged in the hose for a long period of time. They begin to decay creating a putrid odor. Even if you detach the hose and clear the obstruction, the foul smell will usually remain in the hose. Flushing the hose with hot water is worth a try but usually it is best to just replace the hose.

Just a note – Many homes are not equipped with an air gap device. Instead the dishwasher drain hose runs directly to the garbage disposal but the problem remains the same. Look for a kink in the hose. At this time it is also a good idea to make sure that the hose is run properly. It should be gently sloped upwards from the dishwasher to the underside of the countertop where it should be attached with a proper hose clamp. From there it should gently slope downwards to the garbage disposal. This method will help to insure that food particles do not back up in the drain hose and eventually back into the dishwasher.…

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What You Should Do When It’s Way Past Time For A Garage Organization

What You Should Do When It’s Way Past Time For A Garage Organization

Admit it. How long does it take you to find anything when you are looking for it, often during times of duress, in your garage? If the answer is anything longer than just a few minutes, you’ve got a problem. You know that you’ve left your garage organization skills somewhere else and this room doesn’t really reflect the rest of your house, so it’s time to take action.

Why do we treat the room that we store our cars in differently to every other room in the home? We might not be able to walk on a comfortable carpet in here or admire a nice wooden floor, but there’s no excuse.

The first thing we need to do when we’re thinking about garage organization is to sort everything out and get rid of what we don’t want. This room tends to be a magnet for anything and everything and if we can’t be bothered to think about a nice storage place within the home for something, it’s relegated out here.

If you haven’t used something within the last couple of years, what is the point of keeping it? Of course there are some things which we need to keep for a rainy day or for emergencies, but for everything else discard it or donate it to charity.

Purpose made shelving can make things a lot easier when you are rearranging everything. Try and look for ventilated units which make it easier still to prevent the formation of mold and mildew.

Things are far less likely to be damaged or degraded if you keep them on shelving. Many people advocate that you should conform to the 80/20 rule here. Garage organization dictates that 80 percent of items should be up on shelves, while the rest should be either on the floor or on hooks.

No discussion of garage organization would be complete without referring to the floor. This is a particularly hard cleaning challenge, especially when there’s so much junk around. The only things that should be on the floor are your larger or bulky items or your yard machinery.

Look underneath your vehicles and see what kind of fluid tends to fall from the car when you’re not looking. You need an absorbent mat here so that the floor is kept in as good a conditions as possible and you don’t have to worry about the potential for slip and fall accidents, either.…

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Understanding the Home Repair Permits

Understanding the Home Repair Permits

You may wonder why there is a need to get a building permit if you try to improve or repair your home. Well, this is very important, as this will ensure that the process you will undertake adheres to the standards set for your area. There are zoning rules and regulations as well as building codes that you have to adhere to. This is for your safety and for the safety of your community.

However, not all repairs and home improvements require permits, which is why you have to be more familiar of when permits are required. This is especially true if you do not work with contractors. If you work with contractors, they will accomplish the permits in your behalf.

You will most likely be required to get a permit when you do a major renovation. This is necessary because it is important that you follow the standard set for building new structures in your area. In addition to standardizing the safety of the structure, these standards are also set for the functionalities of the buildings or property. If you will convert your home or a portion of your home to an office, then, you will be required to acquire a permit.

Another important thing you have to bear in mind is the fact that permits are important. They are not just pieces of papers that you pay in the building department of your neighborhood. They are required because it is important that you follow the building regulations in your area.

You need to follow a systematic process of acquiring a permit.

1. It officially starts by submitting the required documents to the building agency. The intended repair and constructions should be specified. It is also essential that the plan or the blueprint of the renovation be attached.2. The authorized personnel will review the submitted files. 3. After reviewing the application, an inspector may be asked to check your home before the project can start. 4. After your application is approved, the project can start. The project may be monitored by the assigned inspector during the process. 5. Bear in mind that you need to start and complete the project at a specified time. If you will not be able to complete the project during the due date, you will be asked to procure another permit.

As mentioned earlier, permits are not required in all the changes you do in your home. You will not need permits in simple repairs like replacing fixtures, unless this will affect your water or plumbing system. You will not be needing permits as well if you repaint your wall. Permits required are not the same everywhere as well. This depends on the city, state or neighborhood.

One major factor to consider in requiring permit is its effect on the major systems of the property. If it affects the heating, cooling, electrical and water systems, then prepare to apply for the permits. If you are unsure about whether to get one or not, check with your local building agency first to verify.…

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Cleaning Up After A Home Improvement Project

Cleaning Up After A Home Improvement Project

Home improvement projects are necessary for anyone looking to maintain a pleasant home and those looking to sell. For whatever reason you are performing the project, there will be cleanup upon its completion. Spattered paint and excess wood are not an issue if you actually put forth the effort to clear things away.

Any interior renovation work, such as remodeling a kitchen or knocking through a wall to make two rooms into one, will inevitably result in a lot of waste being created. It will mainly be items that can’t simply be thrown in with the normal trash, so what can you do? Well, hiring a skip solves the problem for most people. Put it on your driveway and then use a wheelbarrow to move waste from the room being worked on to the skip. This gets waste items out of your house quickly, and prevents a build up of things, which not only looks bad, but which can also be dangerous.

When it comes to painting, cleanup is crucial not only for the looks of the area you just painted, but it can save you money as well. If a little paint splashed on that one, tiny area of the carpet you thought you had all covered up but didn’t, all is not lost. If the paint has settled on top of the fibers as a blob, you can cut it off, being careful not to cut the carpet itself. If some paint seeped below the top, use a good amount of warm water and try to blot it out. Avoid scrubbing, because that is likely to embed the paint even more. If you have a knife with a blunt edge, you may be able to pry the paint out.

Every 5-10 years or so, the roof on a house needs to undergo thorough maintenance. It not only makes your home look wonderful, it is necessary to keep out the water. It does, however, make a mess. Tarps drape every inch of the yard around the house and disposal bins and trucks are an eyesore. Some contractors employ the use of bins that are wheeled up to the area where debris is being tossed down and carry it off to the trucks and bins. You’ll have no worries about huge trucks tearing up the grass, shrubs, and garden. Hiring a skip can also be a good option.

Clearing up after a home improvement project is not bad if you don’t let it go. Taking care to clean up right away will have your home back to normal faster than you might expect. Plan and prepare, and you will have no trouble at all.…

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Simple Tools For Calming Down Anyone Working in the Construction Industry

Simple Tools For Calming Down Anyone Working in the Construction Industry

When I first started working in construction, in the late 1970s it seemed like every person on the job had an attitude. The carpenters didn’t like the plumbers, the plumbers didn’t like the electricians and the electricians didn’t like the plumbers or the carpenters.

There were even times, when fights would start between one of the different tradesman and it was usually over something silly. Things are a little different today as more and more people become afraid of lawsuits and losing everything that they own. This has forced most people to learn about more constructive ways to deal with other people.

Here’s a couple of things that you shouldn’t do when you’re trying to calm down another person who is working on the project. You shouldn’t continue calling them names, don’t run away from them, there is no need to punch them or beat them up, don’t mention their mother in any negative way and whatever you do, don’t let it happen again.

We all do some pretty dumb things when more upset or mad at someone and the people who work in the construction business are no different. They get mad and say things that they often wished they had never said and rarely get anywhere or solve any problems.

The next time that someone starts yelling at you, you need to stay calm and definitely do not become over reactive. Don’t get in their face and start yelling at them. The easiest way to calm anyone down, is to remain calm yourself.

There is no need to prove to your ego, that you’re the big man or that they’re an idiot. If they don’t seem like they’re calming down, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a time out. Tell the other person that you need to go to the bathroom, take a moment to think about it without them yelling at you or any other way to get yourself away from them for at least 10 minutes.

Usually this will be enough time for them to cool down and talk to them rationally. If this doesn’t happen, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact your supervisor or the property owner’s to get a third opinion on the problem at hand.

Whatever you do, do your best to remain calm and that will usually prevent the situation from escalating.…

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What’s Good About a Bosch Drill?

What’s Good About a Bosch Drill?

A drill has always been part of a worker’s life. You may be a hardworking contractor but if the tools aren’t perfectly doing their job, you’ll end up having muscle strain, injury or the end result of what you’re working on is not what you expected. Among all the drills distributed in the market these days, Bosch drill is the brand that maintains top-notch performance. It’s powerful, it has great features, light in its weight and most of all it is amazingly durable for long periods of use. It’s simply perfect for your tough drilling jobs!

Why choose Bosch among other competing brands? Here are the reasons:

1. Tracing back history, Bosch already established their reputation of creating high quality tools-ranging from drill drivers to hammer drills with varying features and use. Since 1932, the company already thrived and the name isn’t uncommon for the working population. So you’ll never worry on wasting your money over tools that easily break down and claims to be better when they’re not.

2. Bosch drill comes with a Durashield A� casing that has tough yet flexible properties so even if you drop it on the ground for as high as ten feet or even at the rooftop, it will leave the inner parts untouched and you won’t even see cracks on its surface! The casing is made to resist strong blow impact so you don’t need to worry about repairs and additional cost to buy another one. It’s made to last long.

3. Do you feel yourself racing while you drill just to catch up with time and deadlines? When it comes to power, Bosch tools deliver excellently as they are made with “2 speed gear box” with a torque of 500in/lbs. So even if you won’t exert too much effort, it passes through the hard wood smooth and easy. You’ll be working fast and of course, you won’t feel weak and tired after completing your project.

4. It doesn’t matter even if you forget to charge your batteries especially if your schedule demands you to move fast. Bosch has recently integrated Blue Core Battery A� that has its own cooling system and energy reservation of up to 50%. The performance of the battery is consistently exceptional-you can work for longer hours without frequently charging and the charging time has been cut into half (30 minutes). Even if you store it in warm areas, it doesn’t lose its energy.…

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Wasting Energy is Not Cool – The Draft Stopper is the Sensible Solution

Wasting Energy is Not Cool – The Draft Stopper is the Sensible Solution

Many different products have been designed to try and help us overcome the problems associated with energy loss in the home. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that every single building that we live in is very porous, even though we might not be able to see this with the naked eye. Of course we cannot live in a sealed box and need windows and doors, as well as a certain amount of natural ventilation, but this does not make for smart energy use.

A typical home has dozens of locations where our expensive conditioned air could escape. As heat tends to rise, in winter we should be focused on making sure that we have enough insulation in the attic and protection around the attic door to ensure that it does not escape this way. However, we also need to look at all our windows and doors for action as well.

Even though there are so many different products and solutions available to us, the conventional draft stopper is still one of the best ways to ensure that we keep the air in its place. These products might not be the most aesthetically pleasing to look at, but they are highly cost-effective and certainly do the job, which is the main point.

A homeowners budget is stretched so thinly during this ongoing recession that we cannot afford to have to deal with the ever increasing cost of energy. Analysts estimate that this is likely to increase by something close to 40% per year in real terms and we should do everything in our power to be energy efficient. Draft stopper products are your first port of call.

It might be sensible for you to consider buying a thermal detection device to find the source of leaks around your home. You might be able to borrow one, but in any case if you think about how much it might be able to save you, go ahead. Combine this with the draft stopper products that you will procure after you have finished your work as a detective and you are ahead of the game.

A thermal detection device works by pinpointing a significant difference in temperature around your windows or doors. This will be the location of cool air infiltration, as an example and will allow you to plan for the positioning of draft stoppers. Remember that once you place these products in their correct locations, you need not worry about your valuable dollars evaporating into the air outside.

Do you know that 20% or more of the air that we condition for our use is lost due to poor insulation and efficiency? Apply this figure to the cost of your monthly utility bill and see how much it’s worth to you in terms of real dollars spent.

Energy efficiency may sound as if it could be an expensive initiative for you, but it doesn’t have to be. The typical draft stopper is the most cost-effective option, made from ground corn cob and polypropylene, designed to be absolutely perfect for the job.…

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How to Unclog a Toilet

How to Unclog a Toilet

The task of going near a toilet with the intention of unclogging it is not a particularly appealing one. However, this is something you will need to attempt yourself, particularly if you do not wish to pay for a plumber to come and fix the problem. We all know that we wish to keep that option as the last resort. On the more positive side of things, we know that unclogging a toilet does not require expertise skill which makes your task much easier. The same cannot be said for other areas of plumbing which require complex handling skills.

Before you do anything else, the first thing you should do is to identify what is actually causing the clog. You should do this with any other clogs that you get around the house too. There are many items that end up causing clogs in toilets, as many people try to dispose items which are not suitable for the toilet. For instance, this is the case with face wipes or cotton wool. In these cases it will be necessary to use the plunger. An important tip to remember is that toilet paper is made in a way that it breaks away easily whilst being flushed. The same cannot be said for some other items.

If on the other hand, you hear bubbling in the tub, then chances are that your sewer line is clogged. You should try turning on the bathroom sink if you hear bubbling. If this makes matters worse, then it is very likely that you will need to call a plumber, as plunging alone will not suffice.

Before you start plunging, you first need to make sure that there is enough water in the toilet. This is important as it will work in pushing the clog all the way out of the drain. The method is to plunge up and down quite a few times so the plunger fills with water. Your problem may not be resolved in the initial hurdle so you may have to repeat this process quite a few times to solve the blockage problem.

The key to all this is to insert a little aggression in the plunging. This will work to force the water in the plunger through the waste outlet of the toilet , dislodging the blockage in the process. You may splash a little water outside the bowl, however you can avoid this messy business by not filling up with too much water.

Unfortunately, even with all that plunging and mess your blockage problem may still not be resolved. You may have attempted to plunge many times, failing each time. Do not worry as there is another method you can use. For this you will need what you call a closet snake (or a closet auger). In order to use the snake, all you need to do is expand the handle all the way out, insert the functional end into the outlet of the toilet bowl, and crank it down into the bowl, making sure the cable goes into the drain.

Once the bowl has been drained, you should then flush the toilet pulling the cable up at the same time. This is so that the cable can be cleaned. It is strongly advised that you flush the toilet a good number of times before you put the snake away.…

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Banishing Roofing Repair Ripoffs

Banishing Roofing Repair Ripoffs

When hailstorms hit Madison, Wisconsin in July, the damaged roofs they left in their wake prompted experts to warn city homeowners about roofing repair companies. Soon thereafter, yard signs and flyers from roof repair companies littered the neighborhood. In response, reported, “Local contractors and consumer protection experts urge homeowners to do their homework first and check a [roofing] contractor’s history to avoid signing with a so-called ‘storm chaser’ who might come swooping through the area.”

The report went on to state, “State officials said that they urge consumers to learn more about any company.” More specifically, Wisconsin’s Bureau of Consumer Protection “warned that residents should be cautious of groups who might be trying to rush the deal.” Officials from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection further cautioned, “Nearly every time there’s a big weather event somewhere in the state, the office does get calls about questionable contractors.”

Meanwhile, in Denver, Colorado, the damaging storms the city received earlier in the summer season was prompting officials to echo Madison’s sentiments. A KDVR report titled “Tips to avoid storm repair scams” revealed that in the month of June, “the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau says 85 percent of inquiries it received were related to roof repair.”

To prevent homeowners from falling victim to such scams and to save itself the headache of dealing with the resulting complaints, the BBB issued a list of suggestions to “avoid getting taken as far as [roof] repairs are concerned.” They included:

1. Take your time in choosing a roofing contract. Although the repair may seem urgent, signing on the dotted line with the first company who knocks on your door is setting yourself up for disaster. “Always get three bids and check each company out with your BBB,” the Denver Better Business Bureau advised.

2. Now is not the time to be trustworthy. Just because someone looks the part or says he is a roofing professional doesn’t mean he is. “Get [his] business card and contact the main office for the company [he] say [he] works for and verify the person’s employment,” the BBB cautions.

3. Try to stick to a roofing repair contractor in your own state. Out-of-state businesses are more likely to be fly-by-night operations that will be near impossible to track down, let alone dispute, down the road when a shoddy roof repair job becomes apparent.

4. Don’t sign anything without reading it thoroughly. If something is unclear to you, seek legal counsel. The BBB recommends that “you clearly understand what you and the contractor are both responsible for.”

5. Your home insurance company is your best friend on the heels of roofing damage. Contact them immediately and “conduct an inspection with the claims adjuster before involving any contractor.”

6. Make sure you contact your insurance carrier yourself. Never divulge “your insurance information to a contractor and do not allow them to file a claim on your behalf.”

7. Check with you county building department to ensure that the roofing contractor you’re considering is licensed.

8. If you’ve already signed a contract “that locks you into paying even if no work is done,” admit your folly and “contact your attorney immediately.”…