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Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Plumbing Concerns You Might Benefit From Having Addressed

A plumbing issue can be a source of panic for many homeowners that are not familiar with the steps needed to manage some of the more common plumbing problems that may arise. Knowing how to address some routine plumbing problems that can arise in your home will make you a much more capable homeowner when it comes to avoiding disruptions and damages due to plumbing failures. 

How Can You Clean Your Garbage Disposal?

As time passes, your garbage disposal can accumulate vast amounts of food and other particulate matter in it. These accumulations can cause foul odors to come out of the your sink, and they may also lead to clogs and slow draining. Fortunately, you can easily clean the garbage disposal.

To do this, you should pour at least a cup of baking soda down the garbage disposal followed by a cup of vinegar. The fizzing action created by these two substances will help to loosen any stuck food or grease. Once the fizzing has subsided, you should pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to rinse away any materials that are still around the garbage disposal. 

Are There Any Warning Signs That Your Sewer Line Has Developed A Leak?

A damaged sewer line can be a critical form of damage that your home can sustain. This type of damage can result in vast quantities of water spilling, and this may contaminate the soil in the area. Sadly, these lines are difficult to determine if they are damaged because they are buried, but there are still a couple of warning signs that may alert you to this damage. 

If you notice the floor of your basement suddenly developing cracks or becoming uneven, this may indicate that the sewer line below the floor has ruptured. When this problem develops with the sewer line below the soil in your yard, you may notice that the grass starts to brown, the soil seems to sink lower than the surrounding area or standing water in the area. Once these issues have been observed, you should contact a plumber as soon as possible to have the sewer line inspected to verify if this is the source of the damage. 

Plumbing issues can cause you to experience a tremendous amount of stress for a variety of reasons. In particular, you may not know how to handle some routine maintenance and repairs that your system will need. Considering these answers for questions about cleaning your garbage disposal and how to tell if a sewer line has ruptured will make preventative major plumbing complications much easier. 

For professional plumbing services, contact a company such as Hilmans Plumbing.

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Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Decorating Your New Basement Egress Window For Fire Safety

If you’re planning to turn your basement into usable living space, an emergency egress window is likely to be part of your plans. These are large windows designed to be set into the wall of the basement and used as a means of escape in the event of a fire. It’s a great idea, but it does change the look of your house. It’s important that any new landscaping or decor doesn’t interfere with the window’s function.

Here are some things that you need to think about when landscaping or decorating around your new basement egress window.

Disguise it, but don’t block it.

From the inside of the basement, that big new window looks like a blank canvas. From the outside, it looks like a big hole with a window in it. Your first instinct may be to fill it with plants.

The well around an egress window is a good place for small planters, but keep in mind that someone trying to escape from the basement needs to be able to scramble out of the window well. Use small planters, so that they can easily be moved out of the way. Ceramic pots can shatter and cause injury. You can also use plastic planters. They won’t detract from the appearance of your plantings since a person standing at ground level won’t see the actual container.

Decorate the opening, but don’t impair its function.

Planters that sit directly on the floor of the window well must not interfere with the escape function. Test this by putting the empty pots in their new locations, then using the exit window. Does the window still open all the way? Is it easy to get past the planter and up the side of the exit? Everyone who uses the basement needs to be able to get out this way, so take age, size, and physical ability into consideration.

Family members need to get out, but firefighters need to get in.

An exit window isn’t just for people trying to get out. If someone is trapped in the basement, or if the main entrances to the upstairs are engulfed in flames, it may be the only way for firefighters to get in. Make their job easier and safer by following these tips.

  • Don’t hide the window with tall shrubs — first responders often work in dark, smoky circumstances. You want them to be able to help your family right away.
  • If the window is separated from a walkway by a fence or other barrier, make sure that there is a clear area next to it so that a rescuer has a place to stand.
  • Keep the floor under the window free of furniture and other obstacles. If a child or other family member needs to climb on something to use the exit, place a low, sturdy table at one side of the window. This allows egress without creating a hazard for rescuers.

For more information on how to add an egress window to your basement, consider contacting a professional like those at Property Service Agency LLC.

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Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Decorating Your Living Room On A Shoestring Budget

When you are in your mid-twenties to mid-thirties, you are likely still working to find yourself and develop the life that you want. This often means that you do not have the glamorous, high-paying job that you imagined when you watched shows like Sex and the City or Gossip Girl where young women magically had all the money in the world to decorate their fabulously large apartments. While you may not live in the TV fantasy world you dreamed of, you can still have a fabulous and trendy apartment even if you are on a shoestring budget with a few DIY projects and creativity. You just need to get a little creative and get yourself a few ideas of how to get started. So get started and decorate the room where you will spend the most time, especially with guests, your living room. 

Get Some Cheap Side Tables and Get to Work

To get your living room as fabulous as possible, you need to pay close attention to the details. One of the details you should be sure you focus on is your living room side tables. 

However, just because it is an important detail doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money on it. Go out to garage sales, estate sales, antique shops, or unfinished furniture shops and find yourself a few cheap side tables. Do not worry about chipped paint, faded finish, or even the color of the tables, just be sure they are sturdy and structurally what you want. 

Then, head to a hardware store. You will need sandpaper, paint, brushes, and, if you really want to get creative, other supplies like painting sponges and stencils. When you get your cheap side tables and supplies home, start by sanding the side tables down. You can do this by hand or use a sander as long as you get the paint and stain off of the original table.

After your table is prepped, you can start painting. You can do a solid color, put on a base color coat and sponge over with different colors to add texture, or add stenciling to create contrast. You can be as creative and artistic as you want to be. 

Use Wooden Crates As Bookcases

Another inexpensive way to decorate your living room and display your book collection is to use cheap wooden crates as bookcases. You can stack your crates easily and as tall as you want. 

If you do not like the unfinished look of standard woods crates, you can get some spray paint and make your new bookcases look however you want. Black or white work well against neutral walls and look much like the more expensive bookcases you can buy in stores. And, if you do not have a lot of books, you can use crate shelves to hold framed photos, artwork, and other decorative pieces you want to keep in your living room. 

Now that you have a few ideas of how to live the fab life on a limited budget, you can get to decorating your living room and the rest of your apartment as well. Just remember you need to get creative and have fun with it. 

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Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Packing Materials Best Suited For Fragile Items

When moving, you know how easily fragile items will break if not packed properly. What you may not know is which supplies are best suited for securing your breakable items. For this reason, you want to gather information about the packing supplies moving companies use so that you know what materials are best for your particular job.

Paper Types

Most fragile items need to be wrapped in some type of paper. When you pack your own belongings, it is tempting to use newspaper because it is easy to find and you can stockpile it when you know a move is coming. However, for many fragile items, the ink used on newspapers can damage your belongings.

To reduce damage, many moving companies use nonreactive paper made from recycled materials. What makes this paper different is that it does not contain any dyes, inks or acids that could damage paintings or fine china. Some companies refer to this paper as “bleached” packing paper and it comes in large thin sheets.

Another option is corrugated paper, which has the same interior look as cardboard boxes. The difference is that this paper is thinner and flexible, which allows the packers to wrap items securely inside of boxes. Generally, it comes in rolls. Moving companies use this paper to cushion larger items like oil paintings so that they’re not damaged while being moved.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is another packing material that comes in several sizes. The smaller bubble wraps are better suited for fine china or other small decorative pieces. Many packers prefer to use this material along with packing paper, to help cushion items and to prevent shifting while your items are in boxes.

The larger bubble wraps are usually used for sturdier items like TVs and computers. The size of bubbles acts as pillows and absorbs any movement. For items that need to go into crates, the packers may use a layer of bubble wrap in tandem with moving blankets to offer the highest level of protection for your breakable items.

Bubble wrap also works well for added padding inside of the boxes to fill gaps. The fewer the gaps inside of a box, the less likely something will break, should the box get knocked into something like the side of the moving truck.

Each company has their own methods for packing boxes, which is why you need to ask questions about the type of materials they use for fragile items. By taking some time to learn about the different packing materials, you can make sure the company that you choose will be able to prevent your fragile items from breaking. One company that might be able to help you is Midway Moving & Storage.

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Posted by on Jun 12, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When Is It Absolutely Necessary To Change Your Locks?

Is it time to change your locks? The signs are there if you pay attention. A well-made lock can last for a long, long time. A cheap lock will last you a long time too as long nobody tries to test it. Both of these types of locks will require a replacement at some point. Here’s how you can tell if it’s time.

Look to See if the Lock is in Disrepair

A lock that needs replacement will let you know. Look at yours.

  • Does it just look worn out?
  • Is there rust creeping around the edges of it?
  • Is it absurdly dull and tarnished looking?
  • Does it resist when you use the key?

These are all signs of a worn lock. If you notice any of these things, then you need to replace the lock. Once a lock reaches this point, its integrity is completely compromised. A rusty, worn lock doesn’t require any real effort for someone to break. This goes for deadbolts as well as spring bolts in doorknobs.  

There are many more reasons you may want to change out a lock or multiple locks in your home or business. Just make sure that you don’t swap the locks when a far cheaper, and quicker, rekeying will do.

For example, if you lose a key or somebody moves out, you don’t have to change all the locks unless you specifically want to. You can rekey the cylinders and keep your functional locks.

Reasons Beyond Disrepair

Reasons beyond disrepair, when it’s essential that you replace the lock, usually have to do with damage.

Break-ins – Even if a break in doesn’t succeed, you may need to change the lock. Brute force and tampering can weaken the lock or cause it not to work as it should. Even if it looks fine and works fine, you should consider replacing it. If you’re unsure, you can remove it and bring to a locksmith to see if it’s still okay to use.

Accidents – Much like an attempted or successful break-in, accidents are a good reason to change out a lock. If somebody accidentally barrels into the door, or a small vehicle hits it, then it’s no different from someone applying brute force on purpose.

Reasons Unassociated with Disrepair

Reasons that have nothing to do with damage, wear, or tear often have to do with aesthetics and security.

Aesthetics – You may want to upgrade your locks to match the overall look and feel of your house. This is especially nice after a renovation. Nice locks can improve the value of your home just a bit as well, simply by looking good and functional.

Security upgrades – There is a whole world of locks, locking mechanisms, and modern locking technology that can go right on your door. You may want to upgrade from the locks you have to something a little more robust and secure.

If you have cheap locks, then upgrading is a good option. But even if you have good locks, you may want to take it step further to something like a keyless entry lock. Yes, there are consumer-grade door locks that can read cards, fingerprints, or a sequence on a keypad.

The Bottom Line on Changing Your Locks

The bottom line is you either replace your locks because they need it, or because you want to. If it’s just one lock, you can get away with doing it yourself. If you’re trying to change all the locks in your home, you should speak to a professional locksmith.

There are many options when it comes to keying a whole home, and you may want to hear what they are from someone who knows what they’re talking about.

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Posted by on May 24, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Tips For Avoiding Frequent Air Conditioning Repairs

While some air conditioning problems will require the expertise of a professional contractor, others can be easily repaired or even prevented on a DIY basis. For instance, issues with energy efficiency and low output levels can typically be prevented through the use of the simple air conditioning repair tips outlined below.

Tip #1: Change Or Clean Your Air Filter Each Time Your Energy Bill Arrives

A dirty air filter can cause a variety of issues, including high energy bills and low air output levels. This is because when your air conditioner’s intake filter becomes excessively dirty, your AC unit will no longer be able to easily pull in air from around your home. This will cause the unit to consume more energy to try and keep the air circulating and will ultimately result in less cool air being produced as the unit continues to get less and less air from around your home.

The best way to prevent these issues is to change or clean your air filter approximately once a month during the cooling season. The problem is, while many people are aware of the need to replace this filter, they will often forget to complete this basic maintenance while struggling to keep up with all of their other daily responsibilities. Learning to associate the need to change or clean this filter with the arrival of your monthly energy bill will help to ensure you never forget again.

Tip #2: Clean Your Outdoor Condenser The First Time You Use Your AC Unit Each Year

Plants, dirt, fallen leaves, and other debris can get stuck inside your outdoor compressor and result in your AC unit being unable to produce as much cold air as it once did. Over time, this debris may even cause serious damage that could result in costly repairs and maintenance. The good news is, these issues can often be prevented by cleaning this outdoor unit just once during each cooling season. The best time to complete this maintenance is the very first time you turn on the AC unit each year.

When performing this annual maintenance, you will want to begin by pulling any weeds or trimming back any plants that have grown within a few feet of the unit. Next, you will need to treat the area with a weed control product in order to prevent them from returning later in the season.

Once the area is free of weeds and other plants, you will need to wash down your outdoor compressor using a standard garden hose. While you may think that using a high powered hose attachment or pressure washer will do a better job of getting the unit clean, the truth is, this approach can actually damage the protective cage around the unit. Therefore, you should always resist the temptation to use anything other than a standard garden hose.

Simply allow the water to run over the unit until the water runs clear. This is really all it takes to keep your outdoor unit free of damaging debris.

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