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Don't Neglect Your Septic Tank: I Learned the Hard Way

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3 Ways To Get The Gas Pilot Light On Your Furnace To Stay Lit

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Uncategorized |

There is no doubt that as the winter looms ever closer, the need for a functioning furnace is usually more important than it was during the summer. It is important to note that furnace manufacturers recommend having your unit inspected and serviced by a licensed specialist each year and that you should do so before using it for the first time. Even with that inspection, problems can still occur. Below you will find three easy ways to get the gas pilot light to stay lit. #1-Check The Wind Flow And Drafts In The Area The pilot light is obviously an important aspect of your furnace. Without it, the heater will not work. While there can be a number of causes for it to go out, including clogs in the unit, you may be lucky enough to find that it is just the wind that blows it out. First, simply close all of the windows and doors in the area. If you feel a draft when standing beside a nearby window or door, hanging heavier curtains may help and you may want to consider new insulation for the area. When you have contained the area as much as possible, light the pilot light again. With luck, you solved the problem. If you feel that the wind is coming from inside the furnace itself, it is time to consult with an expert as there could be a hole or leak that needs professional repairs. #2- Examine The End Of The Pilot Light That You Are Lighting For Waste If you have had your heater for a few years and have had to light the pilot light more than once, you may see that over the years, that tip has become dirty. As a result, it could become saturated with so much waste that it cannot access enough of the gas and fire to maintain the flame. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Grab an old toothbrush and after turning off the gas, take out the tip. Soak it in a cleaner for degreasing, like what you might use to clean the barbecue grill. Use the toothbrush to remove the build-up and allow it to dry, after removing all of the cleaner. Replace it in the furnace and light the tip once again. If it still doesn’t maintain the flame after trying a few times, proceed to the next option. #3-Consider The Size Of The Flame First, check your manual to see if your furnace has a flame adjuster, as some units don’t. If your furnace does, you will see a small bolt or screw adjacent to the pilot light, usually with a picture that shows you how to adjust the flame. If the flame is too low, it will not catch or hold the flame, so you can adjust it upwards in very small increments to see if that helps. It is crucial to check it each time you increase the fire and to maintain the flame at the lowest temperature possible after it lights. In conclusion, you need and should be able to depend on a working furnace. When its pilot light does not stay lit, the above tips may be able to address the problem. If they do not help, it is time to call in an expert like Custom Comfort....

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Common Types Of Sealcoating Explained

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When it comes to asphalt, there are many types of materials you can use for sealcoating. The right one for you will depend on different factors. Using the article below, you can decide which is the best option for your specific needs:  Coal Tar Emulsion In steel manufacturing, there is something called the coking process. In this process, thousands of chemicals are mixed with the asphalt itself. These chemicals have different molecular structures than the asphalt, and therefore protect the asphalt from UV rays, water, and even petroleum based products. For this reason, coal tar emulsion is considered to be the most durable sealant available. It is popular among airports because of its ability to withstand the effects of jet fuel leaking. The biggest advantage is that coal tar emulsion is not made from petroleum products so it doesn’t bond with the oil and cause deteriorating effects by breaking off in chunks. However, the black-gray color is something that people don’t like in some scenarios. For example, some contractors will mix darker emulsion with coal tar emulsion to achieve a more desired look. Coal tar must also be used with water to be worked into shape, after which the water dries and simply leaves the original coal tar behind. Asphalt Emulsion With a beneficial dark black color, the asphalt emulsion is something that restores original looks to asphalt. However, it doesn’t hold up as well against UV rays or gas leaks. It is also more difficult to sand down and it doesn’t hold the sand as long. Still, it is a great second choice to coal tar emulsion Oil Based Asphalt Sealer This is mainly used by asphalt paving contractors because it is available in asphalt plants. It is often used to rejuvenate asphalt. It is petroleum based, so it doesn’t protect against other petroleum products. It also has a very unique odor that lasts for days at a time. It also must dry before painting lines can be performed. A job site manager or owner of property needs to take into account the benefits and downsides of the different asphalt sealers when selecting the right one to use. Different materials and mix ratios are used depending on the contractor and the situation. One thing that should remain constant is that sand should be used to allow for maximum traction when surface material erodes due to sealcoating. Use the guide above and consider all of your options to make the best decision for you. Contact Norwest for more...

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Vinyl Siding Maintenance Tips to Help You Avoid Repairs

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Vinyl siding gives your home a clean, modern appeal without the hassle of having to repaint every single year. But while vinyl is a low-maintenance material in home building, it still needs basic care to keep it looking fresh and functional. Here are easy vinyl siding maintenance tips you can use to help you avoid repair. Keep mildew at bay While simply spraying your vinyl siding with a power washer or regular hose can keep normal dirt and debris at bay, sometimes your vinyl can get mildew on it. This typically occurs in the areas where your vinyl pieces connect and along the bottom where your siding touches bushes or grass. If you notice mildew (black or brown spots or stains on your siding), you can easily clean it by putting 1 part bleach to 3 parts water in a wash bucket and scrubbing the offending areas with a car wash brush. With mildew out of the way, your vinyl siding can avoid getting stained, which helps it last longer. Avoid nicking your vinyl Lawn mowers and weed whackers can ruin a piece of vinyl siding with one whack or ill-flung rock. To avoid nicking your vinyl when doing normal landscape maintenance, place a barrier between your siding and your equipment. Cardboard, tarp, and pallets can provide the protection your vinyl siding needs when you are doing yard work. You can also add curbing a few feet away from your vinyl siding to create a safe barrier for when you are doing landscape maintenance in your yard. Protect it against weather Vinyl is very durable and can last up to 60 years or more. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t crack or tear under pressure, though. High winds, hail, and branches landing on your vinyl siding can damage it. When you know a storm is coming your way, do what you can to protect your vinyl siding by moving all toys and other belongings out of your yard so they don’t blow against your house and cause damage. Keep your trees trimmed so weak branches don’t break off and hit your house. Place a tarp over your siding to keep hail from creating dents. Finally, avoid stacking wood, pallets, and other heavy items against your home if your area is prone to high winds, since these items can crack the siding as they slam against your house. You value your home, and keeping its exterior in pristine condition is one of the best ways you can keep your house in great condition. Vinyl siding gives you the benefit of being able to enjoy the same siding for many years with little maintenance. As long as you take care of mildew stains as they occur, protect your vinyl from damage due to lawn care equipment, and repair damaged areas as soon as you notice them, you should be able to enjoy your vinyl siding for as long as you own your home. If you do need some repair work done, contact a service like W L HURST...

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4 Things To Consider When Choosing A Shower Design For Your Bathroom Remodel

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Uncategorized |

The shower is a focal point of a bathroom design and a bathroom fixture that will ideally be both practical and luxurious. You need your shower to allow you to get ready quickly for work on busy weekday mornings. However, you’ll also want to be able to enjoy lingering in the shower in comfort on more leisurely days at home. The following are four considerations that you need to be aware of when you’re deciding what shower design features will be best for your bathroom remodel project: Taking baths You’ll be limited in your selection if you like to take baths often. In this case, you’ll have to purchase a design that includes a tub, and you won’t be able to choose a frameless or walk-in shower.  Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to choose from among design options like oval tubs versus rectangular tubs. You’ll also be able to choose a recessed or stand-alone tub depending on your preferences and the shape of your bathroom. Shower accessibliity If you need to choose a shower design that’s easily accessible for household residents with mobility issues, you might want to choose a walk-in shower.  Walk-in showers are free of obstructions like tub bases that need to be stepped over to get inside. They can prevent slips and falls, making them particularly ideal for homes with senior residents.  Another way to accommodate household residents with mobility issues in the shower is to have handrails installed. Handrails offer added stability and can be worked into both traditional tub designs and frameless showers.  Ease of cleaning It’s important to realize that some shower features either facilitate or complicate cleaning. For example, tiles on shower walls can be more difficult to keep clean because mildew has a tendency to develop in the crevices between tiles.  When you’re trying to make cleaning as easy as possible, look for simple designs that minimize the presence of small compartments, crannies, and grout lines. Solid surfaces of fiberglass and acrylic sheet will usually be easier to keep clean than ceramic or marble tiles. However, fiberglass showers sometimes have a tendency to accumulate mineral deposit buildup in homes with hard water.  Spaciousness You’ll be limited in your options if you’ve got a small space to work with. When a bathroom remodel design must fit into a small area, you have to learn to optimize the available space. Decide whether shrinking your shower size to offer more open space for your sink and toilet is more important for you than having room to stretch out in when you’re showering.  For more remodeling tips, contact a company like Patriot...

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2 Water Well Problems You Can Fix And Prevent

Posted by on Sep 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you own a home that gets water from a well, you may not think about the well too often as long as water flows freely inside your home. However, when winter is about to arrive, it’s a good idea to know how to deal with problems that may arise. Here are two well problems you might experience in the winter and what you can do about them. Low Water Pressure If you are using the sink in your kitchen or bathroom and notice that water pressure is low in one particular appliance or room, that is usually the fault of a frozen line or pipe. If the line is frozen but your pump is working, there is a lot of pressure being built up that could be detrimental to your system. Not only that, but the pump itself might overheat, causing different components of the pump to melt or become warped. Therefore, if you have low water pressure, the first thing to do is to shut off the power supply to the well pump. The next thing to do is to warm up the pipe that is frozen. A small electric or ceramic heater might be used to warm the pipe, but you can even use a hair blow dryer. When you want to test whether the pipe is thawed, turn the power to the pump back on and see if the water pressure has increased. Keep warming the pipe until water flow has returned to normal. To avoid this problem completely, consider wrapping all your pipes with insulation tape so that the well pump can get water to all your rooms easily. No Water Flow at All If your water should stop coming through all the faucets in the winter, you may suspect that the well pump is the problem. When you inspect it, you may very well see cracking on the pump itself and hear it humming. Well pumps might freeze in the winter because they are usually filled with water at all times. If the water has frozen inside the pump, it will start to expand and the pump might start to crack, rendering it useless. You might need to replace the entire pump, although you might catch the problem early and be able to turn off the pump and wait for the well to thaw. To prevent this problem, do everything you can to keep the area around your pump at a temperature that is above freezing. To do this, you can build a well house and keep a thermostat-controlled ceramic heater in the area to make sure that the air never gets too cold and your pump can function properly. Now that you have some idea of how you can prevent problems with your well in the colder months, use the information in this article to help you take action. To make sure that your well is adequately prepared for lower temperatures, enlist the help of a local water well drilling company, like Merritt Well & Pump, that can assess the condition of your well and fix any...

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Caring For Your Honed Marble Countertops

Posted by on Aug 29, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When it comes to selecting the right countertop material for your bathroom, marble can be a great option. Marble countertops lend a timeless elegance to any room, and homeowners often enjoy incorporating this classy looking stone into their bathroom design. Marble countertops come in two finishes: honed and polished. Honed marble is better able to mask imperfections over time than polished marble, so selecting a honed marble slab for your bathroom is wise. Here are three things you can do to care for your honed marble countertops. 1. Make sure your honed marble countertop is sealed before use. Marble is a porous stone. This means that it will absorb trace amounts of any liquid that it comes into contact with. Marble countertops in the bathroom will be exposed to water from the sink and oils from makeup and other bath products. To prevent these liquids from staining the surface of your countertops, it’s important that you apply a sealer to honed marble before use. Sealers are designed to penetrate into the pores of the marble, preventing harmful liquids from causing permanent stains. 2. Keep your honed marble countertops clean. Using traditional cleaning agents could damage your marble countertops. Instead, you should keep your bathroom counter clean by using a scouring powder specifically designed for cleaning marble. Start by wetting the surface of the countertop with hot water, then apply the scouring powder (a powder that contains chlorine bleach is best). Using a stiff brush or power scrubber, begin scrubbing the surface of the countertop using circular strokes that overlap one another. If your countertop is especially dirty, you can leave the suds on the surface for a few minutes to soak. Rinse with clean water, and use a soft rag to wipe the surface dry. Following this cleaning routine will help preserve the integrity of your marble countertops. 3. Have your marble countertops refinished when scratches appear. Scratches are inevitable when you have a marble countertop. When the scratches on your bathroom countertop become too noticeable, you can restore the beauty of your honed marble by refinishing its surface. Start by cleaning the surface of the countertop and creating a frame around scratched areas with masking tape. Using a handheld circular sander and 220-grit sandpaper, start sanding the area inside your masking tape frame. Lift the sander off the countertop’s surface every 20 seconds, and wipe the sander with a cloth. Repeat this process with a 400-grit, 600-grit, and 800-grit disc until you can no longer see the scratches. Keeping marble countertops looking nice in your bathroom doesn’t have to be a struggle. Seal the stone before use, clean your countertops using only a scouring powder designed specifically for use on marble, and refinish the surface of your countertops when scratches appear, and you will be sure to enjoy your marble countertop for years to...

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Septic System Upgrades: Three Upgrades To Protect Ground Water Supplies

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you have a septic system and a well for the needs of your home, ground water contamination may be a concern that you have. This means that you will want to have well systems that help purify water and septic systems that keep waste out of the ground water supply. With upgrades to your septic system, such as self-contained drainage, you can protect your water supply. Here are some things that you can do to upgrade your septic system and prevent ground water contamination: 1. Installing Aerobatic Septic Systems For Poor Soil Aerobatic septic systems are sewer treatment systems on a small scale. These systems consist of a series of chambers and tanks that breakdown solid waste. This type of system is often used for properties that have poor soil quality that does not filter effluent. It can also be used in areas with high water tables, or for homes on wells where water contamination is a concern. These can have a drain field like a conventional system, or they can be newer self-contained systems that recycling the water after it has been treated so no waste ever reaches the soil. 2. Improving Drain Fields With Mounds, Wetlands And Lined Drainage Drain fields can also affect ground water quality. Problems with the drain field can include collapsing, clogs and leaks in the system. To address these issues, you may want to consider an alternative drain field solution. Some things that can be done include the use of wetland systems to filter the effluent. Better filtration and lined drainage areas can also be good solutions to prevent contamination of ground water. 3. Multi-Chamber Tank Systems With Storage For Greywater Recycling It is also important to reduce your water consumption with a septic system. This can be done by using multi-chamber systems that reduce the amount of water. These systems can be aerobatic systems that act more as a complete waste treatment system, or they can be systems that store greywater. Separate greywater storage can allow you to recycle greywater, which will not only allow you to reduce septic problems, but also reduce water consumption. This can be good for areas that have warm months when wells can go dry. These are some ways you can upgrade your septic system to protect your water supplies. If you need help with improvements to your septic system, contact a septic installation contractor, like those at Moon Septic, and talk with them about providing some of these improvements for your...

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Troubleshooting Your Boiler

Posted by on Aug 3, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Being deprived of hot water or central heating can be an incredibly frustrating and potentially hazardous situation. In order to minimize your worries and help you correct that problem, here is a guide to troubleshooting your boiler: What does a boiler do? Your boiler is responsible for two main things in your house: heating up water for showers, sinks, and washing machines, and acting as a central heater. Some water boilers are specifically meant for heating your plumbing water, while others serve both purposes in your house. The first thing you want to do is narrow down the problem from “a heating problem” to a more specific problem, such as “a problem that prevents hot water from reaching specific faucets.”  Ascertain The Problem Check to see whether the heater works and whether you have hot water. If you have problems in both areas, then there is a decent chance that the problem lies with the boiler. However, if the problem is limited to one of those areas, then the respective distribution system might be at fault. Ventilation In the case that your hot water works but you aren’t getting hot air when the heater is on, there is a good chance that your ventilation is at fault. Carefully note which rooms, if any, are receiving heat. If only a couple of rooms are affected, then there is probably a blockage near the vents in those rooms. You should open up the vents in affected rooms and use a flashlight to check for any obvious blockages. If you can’t see any, then the problem might be too far into the ventilation system for you to easily access yourself. Similarly, if none of your rooms are getting hot air, then the problem is either in the ventilation near the boiler or is a problem with the boiler itself. It can be dangerous to tamper with your boiler since it deals with large amounts of electricity and heat. In such cases, you might be better off hiring a pro. Hot Water If you have heating, but your hot water doesn’t work, then there is likely some sort of problem with your plumbing or with the hot water tank itself. In order for the boiler to distribute water to your house, it needs to be full of water. If it is empty, then you have a dangerous situation on your hands. Many boilers will continue to run, even if there is no water contained inside. If the pressure in an empty heater gets too high, it might rupture violently. There might be a clog in the plumbing close to the boiler, which would prevent any hot water from reaching the rest of your house. It can be dangerous to handle such a clog on your own, so it is recommended that you call a professional such as Boiler Services,...

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Tree Trimming: Don’t DIY

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you’ve noticed you have overgrown trees and you don’t know much about landscaping, you’ll want to call the professionals. There are a lot of concerns that can arise when you cut down tree branches, especially if you don’t have the knowledge or the equipment.  Overgrown trees can become a visibility concern when backing out of a driveway, they make your landscaping look unkept, and the branches can move in the wind and cause a lot of damage. Here are a few of the benefits you’ll get when you choose professional trimming.   Safety It can be hard to tell when a tree branch is going to fall when you’re cutting it and where it’s going to land. The experts work to make sure the branch doesn’t damage any houses, vehicles or property, and that brush doesn’t harm anyone. They also have all of the safety equipment needed to do the job. You have to worry about things like power lines and your own safety when trimming trees, which is why you want to leave it to the professionals. Removal The experts are going to haul away all of the brush and mess from trimming. If you don’t live in an area where you can burn leaves or brush and you don’t live in an area where you can easily dispose of the brush, it can be inconvenient trying to get rid of it. You could even have to pay for a dumpster or trash removal service. The trimming company should take everything away for you. Inspection While the tree removal company is working on the branches they can inspect the tree to make sure the tree doesn’t have a fungi problem like scotty mold or other problems.  They can also tell you if there are a lot of dying or dead branches, which are a danger. The inspection will help you determine if you need to treat the trees or if they have to be removed.  When you start talking to tree trimming companies (such as Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc.) make sure that they have liability insurance and you aren’t liable for any of their workers on your property while they are at your home. Different trees are going to have different costs for trimming because of their size and the type wood. Get estimates from multiple different companies if you are worried about the cost, and if you feel the first initial quote you get is too...

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Three Tips To Help You Save Money On Your Heating Oil Bills

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Uncategorized |

The high cost of home heating can put a major dent in your winter budget. Fortunately, there are many ways you can save money if you heat your home with an oil furnace. The following tips can help lower your fuel bills while still allowing you to stay warm this winter. Tip #1: Get a Tune-Up The simplest yet most effective way to save on heating oil is to keep your furnace in top condition. An annual service check and tune-up ensures your furnace is working as efficiently as possible. The technician will check and clean the burner and interior filters in the system, check that everything is working properly, and then will lubricate and adjust the various parts of the furnace so they are at peak performance. You will also need to clean or replace the main furnace filter monthly for the duration of the heating season to make sure the furnace continues to perform efficiently. Tip #2: Seal the Leaks A leak means you are burning oil, but not providing heat inside your home, and instead wasting the heat by sending it outside. Heating leaks can occur in various parts of your home. Poor weatherstripping around doors and windows is a common cause of heat loss, and one you can easily remedy. Simply purchase a roll of adhesive weatherstripping to replace the old stripping.  Leaks can also occur due to poor insulation. For example, attics are a common location that aren’t insulated well. Blown-in insulation is a quick way to add more insulation and lower your oil costs. Finally, you may want to have your heating ducts inspected to make sure you aren’t losing heat before it makes it out of the vents. A duct inspection will reveal any leaks along duct joints, which can then be properly sealed. Tip #3: Get on a Plan Another way to save money on your oil costs is to work directly with a heating oil delivery company. Most providers have plans that allow you to spread the cost out over the year, so you can budget a set amount monthly for your winter heating. Many companies also offer prepay options. You can prepay for your winter’s oil when the prices are low – usually in summer before the winter heating season. This way you won’t have to pay high winter prices when you need a refill in January. Some companies even offer plans that allow you to lock in the price by scheduling your first delivery in summer. With these deals you don’t have to prepay to get the lower summer rate at your next delivery. To find out more about heating oil, speak with a business like Self Heating...

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Got Children? Follow These Essential Garage Door Safety Tips

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Although you and your family probably rely on your garage door in your day-to-day lives, you might worry about your kids getting hurt by this dangerous mechanism. Therefore, if you want to keep your children safe, you should follow these essential tips for garage door safety. Mount Your Garage Door Opener Higher Check the garage door opener that is placed inside your garage, next to the entrance to your home, and make sure that it isn’t where any of your children can reach it. If it’s too close to the door, your kids could be tempted to play with it. Consider having it mounted higher up on the wall so that only adults can reach it; if you need help, you can hire a garage door repair professional to assist you. Also, keep any handheld controls out of reach of your children; as you probably already know, kids can be particularly attracted to devices with buttons, so they could inadvertently cause injury while playing with your controls. Check the Safety Mechanism Your garage door should have a reverse mechanism in place if it was made after 1993. This reverse mechanism is designed to make your garage open back up if someone or something goes underneath it while it is in operation. If you haven’t done so lately, you should have it inspected by a garage door repair professional from a business like Plano Overhead Garage Door to ensure that your safety mechanism is working properly. You can also test it yourself by putting an old toy doll or other baby-sized item underneath the garage door to ensure that the garage door reverses itself before touching the item. Never Open or Close Your Garage Door Without Looking at It If you’re in a hurry, it can be easy to press the garage door opener as you are gathering other items from the house or the car. However, it only takes a split second for a child — or adult or pet — to walk underneath it. Therefore, you should never operate your garage door unless it is directly in your line of vision. Although you might love the fact that your family has a garage, you might be worried about it putting your children at risk. Garage doors and their openers can be dangerous for adults and children alike, but there are steps that you can take to keep your family safe. Follow these tips, and you can greatly reduce the chance of your children being harmed by your garage...

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