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How Do You Clear Sluggish Drains?

How Do You Clear Sluggish Drains?

If you find that your drains are sluggish or slow draining, it often means that you have a blockage somewhere in your plumbing line. Since a sluggish drain can result in a clogged drain and eventually cause a back up in the plumbing system, it is important to clear a sluggish drain right away.

The following are a number of tips to clearing a sluggish drain:

1. If the drain is still sluggish, but not clogged, try pouring boiling water down the drain. The boiling water will often soften the material so that hot water will wash it away. Wait about 15 minutes and flush the drain pipes with hot tap water.

2. The first item you can try to clear a sluggish drain is a plunger. Normally kitchen sink drains will have a basket that will lift out to provide better access to the drain pipe. Bathroom sinks will often have a pop-up stopper that will need to be taken out. Run a bit of hot water in the drain and then place the plunger head over the drain. Push on the plunger several times using forceful thrusts to push the hot water into the pipe and push the material causing the slow water drain out of the system. Then, run hot water through the line to see if it is flowing through the system properly.

3. There are chemical drainers available on the market, however, these products can often damage the pipes and they can dispel toxic fumes which can be hazardous if inhaled. You can try a homemade natural drain cleaner such as a mixture of a cup of baking soda followed by a half of cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction will cause the accumulated material in the pipe to break down. It is best to do this before you go to bed and let it sit overnight. In the morning, you can run hot water through the system to wash the material away. There are also natural non toxic drain cleaners available which are very effective at clearing out the material causing a sluggish drain. Natural enzyme drain cleaning products contain live enzymes that eat organic matter and break it down so the drain is cleared and clean. Using an enzyme drain cleaner monthly helps prevent sluggish drains.

4. If you feel the cause of the sluggish drain is deeper in the plumbing pipes, you can try using a snake to clear the drain. You just have to feed the snake into the drain until you reach the obstruction. Then, you can use the snake to tear and break away the material and then flush hot water through the system.

Unfortunately grease, oils, fats, and organic material going into drains can build up in the pipes and cause the water to drain slowly. It is important to keep clog causing materials out of the plumbing system and practice proper maintenance and cleaning practices. It will help keep your drains flowing smoothly for a long time and prevent future drain clogs.…

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How Much Money Can I Save? Simple Home Repairs

How Much Money Can I Save? Simple Home Repairs

If you’re really interested in saving money, you need to learn how to do your own home repairs. I don’t know how many times I go to someone’s home to fix something simple and the homeowner says,” I could’ve done that myself.” I just paid you a couple of hundred dollars to do something simple. It just doesn’t make any sense, why more people don’t do their own home repairs.

A little while ago, I repaired a damaged wood post that was holding up the front porch. I was only there for three hours, but the homeowner didn’t see the amount of time that it took me to go down to the lumber yard and then paint the wood post. All he saw was the three hours I spent on the job and the amount of money that he paid for the home repair.

When the homeowner gave me the check, he thanked me and I went on my way. I could tell what was going through his mind, he was thinking about how much money he could’ve saved by doing at home repair himself. I run into this often and tell my clients the same thing. You could have done that yourself, if you actually knew how to make the repairs.

Here are some simple house repairs that most homeowners should be able to do on their own. Exterior wood damage like siding and wood trim replacement. Interior wall damage, faucet water leaks, tile floor repairs, paint preparation and painting, caulking cracks and filling in holes and replacing door knobs. There are plenty of other simple home repairs that homeowners can do on their own with a little help from their library.

If you don’t know anything about a home repair that needs to be done in your house, check out a few books from your local library or visit your online bookstores for more information.…

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What Is Included in a Normal Septic Tank Maintenance Package?

What Is Included in a Normal Septic Tank Maintenance Package?

It is vital for every home to have a properly running septic system. A septic tank is a unit that collects the wastewater that is carried out of the home. The wastewater is treated and the clean water is returned to the ground water table. When the system breaks down, it can be a costly and frustrating experience. Fortunately, there are professional companies that offer septic tank maintenance packages.

Yearly inspections of your septic tank will help extend the life of the septic system. Although maintenance packages can vary among companies, the following outlines a general list of the services provided in a normal septic tank package:

1. Experts recommend that a septic tank should be pumped every 2 – 3 years, depending on how often the septic tank is used and the size of the tank. The pumping and cleaning of the tank will remove accumulated waste and sludge so that the tank will continue to work properly. As well, pumping the tank allows for a complete examination of the tank.

2. Some professionals will run water through all of the faucets to check for low water pressure and if there are any leaks and odours coming from the drain pipes.

They may also put a dye in the system to help locate any leaks.

3. An evaluation of all of the components of the septic system will be performed. There will be an examination of the plumbing fixtures and appliances that are connected to the water system such as washers and dishwashers and their water pipes to make sure everything is connected properly. They will also check to make sure wastewater is being discharged properly into the septic tank.

4. The septic inspection can also involve checking the drain field. The inspector will do a visual inspection of the system and drain field to observe drainage so they can make sure there are no signs of a septic system back up. An inspection may also include using digital cameras to visually inspect pipes leading to the absorption field. Cameras allow inspectors to visually examine all important components of the system in order to identify and repair any problems.

5. A septic system inspection can also include checking all the devices associated with the water system such as water pump and hot water tank. The professional will do a thorough examination of the components and perform tests to make sure everything is working properly.

Depending on the complexity of the septic system, the time it takes for a thorough maintenance inspection can take from 2 to 3 hours. To keep your septic tank and entire septic system functioning properly, the best thing you can do is have a yearly maintenance inspection, employ septic system maintenance practices throughout the year, and have your septic tank pumped every 2 to 3 years. Not only will it keep the septic tank and system operating properly and extend the life of the septic system, but it will also save you costly repair bills.…

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Your Driveway Floor Says a Lot About You

Your Driveway Floor Says a Lot About You

When people arrive to visit you or simply drive by in the street, one of the first things that they see is your driveway floor. This represents a large part of the overall appeal of your home and you should go out of your way to make sure that it looks as good as possible. Remember that first impressions are everything and you do not want a first-time visitor to get off on the wrong foot. If your driveway is badly stained, you should think about surfacing it.

The driveway floor can be affected by misuse, which would be cumulative over the course of many years. If the previous owner had been known to work on his vehicle there, you might see the leftovers. If a car had been parked there for long periods of time, oil stains may have resulted. Unless all owners of the house had been careful over time, this area will likely need some attention!

If you have a brand-new house, you want it to retain its new look. If you have just purchased a home from a caring previous owner, you will want to do the same. If you have to park vehicles outside, make sure that your driveway floor is kept in great condition by putting absorbent pads beneath them. This is especially true with your older vehicles, as they have a much higher propensity to leak and cause nasty stains otherwise.

Never let your garage become so full of junk that you cannot park the vehicles that you have within. It looks much nicer from the street if you don’t have cars in your drive and this will also help to avoid your driveway floor surface becoming stained, causing you to put hours of backbreaking work into cleaning it in future.

A driveway floor that is significantly damaged, may need to be resurfaced. This type of concrete stain work is significant and must be applied correctly, if it is going to have the best chance of success. Underlying the amount of work required, all adjacent surfaces must be protected or they can be badly damaged as a result.

Before you can start the process of acid staining, you must conduct a thorough cleaning of the area to be treated. Any holes, blemishes or cracks have to be filled in and leveled off using the appropriate concrete products. If you don’t do this correctly, you will see the blemishes underneath and they will in fact be magnified, so you want to approach the task correctly from the beginning.

All dirt and grease will need to be removed from your driveway floor before you attempt a concrete stain. This will invariably mean the use of harsh chemicals, which could then cause blemishes to the overall surface. However, the concrete stain will take care of this residual effect.

Check the weather forecast before you begin a concrete staining job. You cannot start this process unless you know what is going to happen over the next couple of days. It is unwise to choose a particularly hot or sunny day and obviously you want to be sure that there is no rain for the entire period, allowing adequate time to dry.…

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How to Repair a Slate Roof With the Copper Tab Method

How to Repair a Slate Roof With the Copper Tab Method

A slate roof is one of the best investments you can make for your home. Not only is a slate roof very attractive, but it is also almost 5 times more durable than an asphalt roof. An asphalt roof will last 20 years, while a slate roof can last almost 100 years.

Even with the amazing durability of a slate roof, it does, at times, need repair. Whether it’s a branch that falls on your house, or a clumsy satellite dish installer, every now and then a slate will get damaged. This damaged slate needs to be repaired, otherwise the waterproofing that a slate roof can provide will be compromised.

It can be tricky to repair a slate roof. The pieces of slate are very rigid, unlike asphalt shingles, so the easy fix of simply lifting the shingles next to the damaged shingle is not an option. You have to follow certain steps to fix that shingle, and here they are:

1 – Disconnect the damaged slate. You’ll have to hold the slate to keep it from sliding off the roof and potentially hurting someone, and then cut the nails behind it to get it loose. There are usually two nails in the back of a roof slate.

2-Choose the right slate to replace the damaged slate. If the blank space left by the missing damaged slate is 10 inches long, the replacement slate should be 23 inches long. This is because the slate should be twice as long as the opening, plus 3 extra inches for that attractive lap over effect.

3-Place the slate. Use the space between the row of slates above the row you’re working on to mark where the holding nail should go.

4-Counter sink the nail. Punch a hole in the slate from the back so that the hole in the back is clean. It’s OK for the ragged side of the hole to be on the front of the slate. Insert the nail head into the clean hole on the back of the slate

5-Nail on the replacement slate. You might have to cut off the edges of the nail head to get it to pass through the upper shelf of slates.

6-Cover the nail hole. You’ll need a copper bib for this. Slide it up under the upper course of slates to so that it covers the nail hole and extends up under the upper course. Make sure the top of the bib extends over the nail and under the upper slate. You can slide it up so far that you can’t see it anymore.

Following these steps will help keep your slate roof looking wonderful for years and years. It may seem complicated, but it’s actually quite easy to do. Taking on home improvement projects on your own will save time and a lot of money, but when in doubt, make sure to contact a professional to consult, or to even do the job for you.…

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The Basic Home Repair Tool Kit – Part Four

The Basic Home Repair Tool Kit – Part Four

Chisels, Utility Knives, Planers, Putty Knives and Scrapers

The home repair tool kit is a lot different from what it used to be. When I was younger, there were no power tools in my father’s vast array of tools. The brace-and-bit and folding wooden rule have gone. Now, everything needs to be plugged in or recharged. Not a bad thing at all, but not being a carpenter, like my father and his father before him, I wonder how mobile power tools make the professional carpenter.

However, the jobs to be done remain the same and the rule for buying tools remains the same, buy the best you can afford. So, let’s take a look at a few modern tools that would make up a very well-equipped set of tools.

Chisels: generally speaking, you will need a basic set of four chisels: quarter, half, three-quarters and one full inch in width. The are used for fine work or places where a saw can’t get. If you need to cut across the wood’s grain make a shallow cut at either end of work area, otherwise the chisel will rip the wood too far. The cuts act as barriers – cut off points. Tap the chisel with a wooden or plastic mallet to preserve your chisels (or the side of a hammer, if you must). Chisels are sold sharp, but sharpen them up again.

Pro Tip: buy or make a cloth wallet to keep them in to protect the sharp edge. Beware of buried nails!

Utility Knives: or, in the UK, Stanley knives are razor sharp. Most are retractable now for safety reasons. The blades come with two sharp edges, so when it becomes blunt, unscrew the handle and reverse the blade. Spare blades are kept in the handle too. Use the knife for any use you need, the blade is tough and versatile. Cut vinyl, linoleum, plastic, almost anything.

Pro Tip: NEVER just toss the knife into your bag. Put it in and make certain that the blade has been retracted. Millions of professionals have cut their hands on open blades while rummaging in their toolbags.

Planes: the plane is used for planning wood. It is for fine work and the blade has to be sharpened regularly. There is also a power planer, which makes short work of stripping thin layers of wood off, say, a slightly over-size door.

Putty Knives: a putty knife is a tool with a very flexible blunt blade for spreading putty on widows or adhesive on walls. These latter knives are often 12″ wide, window putty knives are 1″ wide. Make sure you clean them thoroughly after use.

Pro Tip: if you forget to clean the knife after use, rub it clean on coarse sandpaper.

Scrapers: scrapers are made for removing old paint from timber, but they are versatile. A blunt scraper is virtually useless, so keep it sharp with some sandpaper or wet-and-dry. Most decorators find the 1.5″ scraper the most useful although non-decorators usually buy the 3″ scraper. If you keep it sharp, you have to be careful of two things: leaving it in your bag when not in use, as for utility knives above and, when in use, that you don’t drive the scraper into the wood you are scraping, especially if it’s an old, slightly rotten window frame.…

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Garage Cleaning is Beneficial All Around

Garage Cleaning is Beneficial All Around

You don’t have to tell us how busy you are as we realize that there is very little available time for you to devote to cleaning on a daily basis. We know that there are piles of “junk” accumulated in each corner, but you can start to see where the dust is forming and we know that you are feeling guilt pangs as you sit down to watch the television for a brief moment. However, spring is upon us and you should be motivated to do something about this issue as they say you can benefit from a mental, physical and financial perspective by doing so.

Is it possible to boost your physical, mental and financial health by attacking your disheveled home? Start in the garage, cleaning it out to make you feel better about yourself, getting some exercise at the same time the and discovering some ways this can actually make money. Just look at all those glass jars on the shelves and turn them out and see how many quarters you have. They say that the average household has almost $100 in loose change, if they just look for it.

When you get really involved in a deep garage cleaning, all those cobwebs that have built up over the winter will blow away any will feel much better mentally about yourself. As you put things in place, you will feel that glow of achievement as you physically get rid of stuff that you know you really do not need and that has just piled up over the winter months.

As you look and see what you have, give yourself a pat on the back as you make a pile for donations. You can then look forward to taking them to the local Goodwill store or to the Salvation Army and benefit those who are less well-off. You never know, you might find something that you had forgotten about, which is worth money and you could go ahead and schedule a garage sale for next weekend to benefit.

Garage cleaning is hard work and laborious, for certain and it is a shame that we do not keep up with the maintenance of this room on an ongoing basis. Look at the condition of the floor, for example, and vow to do something about this. All kinds of debris can fall from your car when you return from a trip, especially if it is raining. Put some garage floor mats beneath each vehicle to account for this problem.

You don’t want your concrete floor to become marked up, detracting from the value of your home and you should view garage floor mats as a necessary investment. In addition, all the boxes that are stored against each wall will not be doing much to protect their contents, if they’re allowed to get damp and subject to mold and mildew.

The National Institute for Mental Health tells us that visual clutter really affects us, stunting our short term memory capability and affecting our attention span. Who wants to get into a nonfunctional state such as this, so get on with your garage cleaning right now.

Garage cleaning projects are very big undertakings, sure to take a whole weekend. With plenty of notice, tell the family that they are getting involved with you in this project and that they should look forward to getting their own share of the physical, mental and financial well-being from this task.…

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Where Is An Insulation Fact Sheet When You Want One?

Where Is An Insulation Fact Sheet When You Want One?

You may not have paid too much attention to the mundane topic of insulation in the past, but now that you are seeing increasingly expensive energy bills and may have noticed the odd draft or two or an inconsistency in the level of temperature throughout your home, it’s time to educate.

Looking at an insulation fact sheet you will be able to see how unbalanced your home is and how you need to take steps to organize and manage its efficiency. By being proactive here you’ll be able to keep those rising energy bills at bay.

You’ve got to have insulation to ensure that the flow of heat from one point to another is resisted. We are not necessarily talking about heated air flowing out of the home in the winter, it could be warmer air getting in during July and August.

Heated air always flow from a warmer space to cooler space whenever it can. This is a challenge for you as you have got to stop it or you’re going to be paying through the nose. You don’t want conditioned air in your basement, garage or attic, for example, do you?

Whenever heat is lost in this natural way you will have to compensate for it with your hard-earned cash. Your heating or cooling system will be working overtime and this will lead to additional and unwanted maintenance costs if you’re not careful. We measure the resistance of insulation to heat in terms of an “R” value.

There are many different areas around your home that you need to focus on. Primarily, look at access doors to attics and the attic spaces themselves. Look for ducts around the home to see whether they are efficient or not. You want to ensure that your walls have a necessary amount of insulation within and that you have insulation under floor especially if there is a basement beneath.

Modern windows and doors tend to be much more tightly fitting than their aged counterparts, perhaps. That’s not to say that they are as impenetrable as they should be, though. You might be amazed to find how leaky some of these areas are and you don’t have to necessarily consider replacement of them, if this proves to be the case.

There are a number of different solutions that can be used to help stop air leaking into or out of areas around doors and windows. Some of these solutions are very cost effective and can be pressed into service immediately. This will help to keep your living area free of drafts and give you some breathing room while you look at all the other insulation options around your home in the longer run.…

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Tips for Managing Contractors and Subcontractors Payments

Tips for Managing Contractors and Subcontractors Payments

When hiring the services of a contractor or a subcontractor, commonly referred to as a sub, there is one important factor that you need to consider, that is payment terms. Often times the only leverage that you have on them to get the job done well and on time is their good name and the pay terms. If the professional you have hired is not popular or is new to you, then the only hold at your end is the pay terms. Therefore, it is important to understand how and when you will make the payments.

But before you determine the pay terms, you need to first understand the legal aspects of this process. In the event that you fail to make payments on completion of the project, they can file a lien against the house. And if you continue to fail in paying them, they can even initiate a foreclosure, which will prevent you from reselling or refinancing your home. Therefore, it is essential that you retain your own interests when it comes to making timely payments.

There are instances where you hire a general contractor, and he in turn hires subs to complete your project. Often times you will pay him for the completed work, but he might fail to pay the subs. In such instances, there is a possibility that the sub can file a lien against you. The best way to avoid this situation is to pay the subs directly. While signing an agreement, you need to state these terms clearly. In this way, you can demand a release for each completed portion of work and inspect the quality of the finished job before you release the payment. The release protects you from any liens from the subs.

Another possibility of a lien arises from the material suppliers, whom the contractor would have failed to pay. Ensure that your agreement has a provision wherein you directly pay the suppliers. Further, ensure that you have several milestone payments instead of a lump sum advance. This gives you the benefit of releasing the payments after inspection of finished work. It also keeps them motivated to complete the work on time. And in the event you end up with an incomplete project for whatever reason, your budget is still intact to allow you to hire a new professional.

You will need to do a lot of homework and screen several professionals before you hire one. Checking references, analyzing past projects, and reviewing their work history will help you avoid frustration and disappointments at a later stage. Although the general contractor would supervise the work of subs on a day-to-day basis, it is important that you perform periodic checks to ensure the smooth progress and quality finish of your project. In short, signing an agreement with all these terms clearly specified and making payments after obtaining a release are essential for the successful completion of your project.…

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What Are the Benefits of Green Cleaning and Preparation?

What Are the Benefits of Green Cleaning and Preparation?

What are the benefits of green cleaning? Consider helping to protect the environment, safeguarding the health of your family, the avoidance of hazardous risks and savings in your pocket. All of these are very powerful reasons and should cause you to stop and think when you are preparing your regular cleaning jobs. Prevention is much better than cure, however, and always bear in mind that a number of different products are available to help you avoid cleaning in the first place.

The environment sees some of the greatest benefits of green cleaning, every time you use a natural product instead of an over-the-counter disinfectant. Remember that the bottles you buy in the store are plastic, find their way to the landfill and as they are biodegradable will stay there, literally for years and years. The landfills produce a lot of methane gas which is a hazardous greenhouse gas and contributes to climate change and global warming.

Hazardous chemicals are a way of life in our society, unfortunately. Most cleaning solutions contain them and they can be responsible for upsetting your allergies, impacting your family’s health and other issues. Reap the benefit of green cleaning by looking elsewhere, apart from the toxic chemical area in the store. What about looking in the food aisle? Salt, vinegar, lemon and baking soda are fantastic products that can help you to understand the benefits of green cleaning. Mineral oil, washing soda and borax can also be used alone or in combo with the other products to give you just as good a result.

When it comes to cleaning, your garage is a heavyweight problem. Some months of winter weather will contribute to debris being dragged in from the street on your vehicles. Bypass all the toxic pollutants that you would otherwise create by conventional cleaning and understand the benefits of green cleaning products in this area. Please help to avoid harm to our waterways and environment. As the garage is one of the most problematic areas in the home to clean, forget the toxic chemicals for once and continue to try and figure out the benefits of green cleaning. Or you could avoid cleaning altogether by putting protective, purpose made floor mats in place. These can trap a lot of water and waste from your vehicles and will also capture grease and oil that falls to the floor from underneath.

Garage floor mats can be bought in a number of different sizes or made according to the specifications of the vehicles that you have. Consider them for yard gear, grills or other problem areas, these mats can also be used to make sure that you don’t have to clean up more than you want to. Politicians and scientists tell us about the benefits of green cleaning as they preach about global warming and climate change. Environmental issues are exacerbated by these chemicals and we can save money by not using them, as well as by fitting protective mats.…