An Exploration of Air Conditioner Maintenance and Repairs

3 Ways To Prevent Flooding In Your Basement

If you are worried about your home flooding, you’re not alone. Floods are the #1 disaster in America and can rake up over $3 billion in damages annually. The last thing you want to worry about is going down to your basement and seeing water. This could be the result of a leaking pipe, a bad hot water heater, or even a crack in your foundation. Being able to prevent this type of damage to your home can save you thousands of dollars. Here is what you can do to prevent your basement from flooding. 

Fix Lot Drainage Issues

One of the major causes of basement flooding is improper drainage. If you want to ensure your foundation remains free from rainwater pressure, you are going to have to inspect your property for these issues. You want the ground to slope away from your foundation so you don’t have to worry about rainwater putting pressure on the exterior of your home. This is doable with just a shovel and a little work. Create barriers around your home that allow the water to be diverted away from the home. 

Install a Sump Pump

Sump pumps are great for preventing flooding from occurring in your basement. If you don’t have one, you should look at getting one installed. A sump pump can cost you between $100 and $200 and is well worth the cost in the end if it helps you avoid flooding. Most sump pumps run on electricity so it will cost you some money to run. You can find several models offering a backup battery that will keep it running should the power go out. 

Repair Cracks

You should inspect your foundation often for cracks. This is a sure way to accumulate water in your basement if it is exposed to the outdoor elements. Even a small crack can cause an extensive amount of damage when water gets through. In order to avoid this from happening, you need to make sure you seal up any cracks. You can purchase some epoxy at your local hardware store that allows you to seal up any cracks quickly and efficiently. 

If your basement does get flooded, be sure to call a professional water mitigation service. They can mitigate the water quickly and efficiently ensuring the least amount of water damage possible. Electrical and slip and fall hazards are always potential problems if you try and handle the water restoration yourself. 

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Garage Door Maintenance Tips

Your garage door: An integral part of your home, but something that you probably don’t think about too much. When you want to pull your car out or in, you open and close the door to your garage, and you don’t give it a second thought. But, when it gets stuck, it starts to shimmy or it makes a lot of noise, your garage door is suddenly on the forefront of your mind.

In order to avoid these types of problems, your garage door should be something that you think about often. Why? Because you should perform regular maintenance on it. With routine maintenance, you can keep your garage door functioning properly and safe.

Here’s a look at some routine maintenance tips that will keep this part of your home in good shape.

Inspect the Springs and Track

The springs and the track play a key role in the operation of your garage door and they should be inspected regularly. In order for the door to function properly and safely, they need to be bolted securely in place. If you notice that they are moving or shaking, adjustments need to be made. To be on the safe side, have a professional do this job. Even if you’re a seasoned handyman, if you aren’t well-versed in garage door repair, you could end up hurting yourself, or making the door unsafe.

Lube It

There are several components involved in the operation of a garage door, and these components need to be lubricated in order to operate properly.

Lubricate the hinges, wheels, bearings, rollers, springs and tracks once a year using grease, oil or a silicone-based spray lubricant. This is a job that you can safely do yourself. However, if you are uncomfortable doing it, call a professional to do the job for you.

Check the Weather Stripping

Every garage door has weather stripping around its edges. This weather stripping prevents wind, rain, snow, sleet and all other elements from penetrating your garage door. If the weather stripping is frayed or loose, you could end up having a wet, cold or hot garage. Replace the stripping as needed to ensure those elements stay out. This is another DIY job, but again, if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself, have a professional replace it for you.

Your garage door is an important part of your home. In order to ensure that it operates properly and safely, routine maintenance by you and a professional, like Kim’s Garage, is an absolute must.

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Innovative Ways To Cover Windows For Privacy

If you have small windows on or around your front door, you may have thought of ways to cover them so people on your front porch cannot peek inside your home. There are a few different ways you can try making your windows more private. Here are some instructions for you to use to cover these windows so you do not need to worry about peeping eyes.

Replace The Windows

Replacement windows are always a great option for getting a window that works for you. There are a couple of different privacy windows available. One is a window with a blind incorporated between two panes of glass. You can shut the blinds on each pane individually when you do not wish for light to come inside or when you do not want strangers peering inside your home. On sunny days where you are able to monitor the arrival of guests, you can keep them open. This gives you the option of having them open or shut depending on your mood.

Frosted windows are another type that can help keep the inside private. There are many patterns or degrees of frosting to pick from so it is difficult for someone to see inside. Call a replacement window contractor to see what options are available for your window set up.

Frosting The Windows

You can frost your own windows in a couple of different ways. Glass frosting material can be sprayed on your windows. If you wish, it can be sprayed over the entire pane or can be sprayed-on in a pattern. To place a pattern, find a stencil in a hardware store or craft store. Tape into place and spray the frosting inside the pattern cutout. Move the stencil and repeat until you have frosted the window to your liking. This is a permanent frost.

To make a non-permanent frost, you can use contact paper. Clear contact paper will give your windows a glaze that cannot be seen through. Use a stencil and trace the pattern you like several times on a sheet of contact paper. Cut out the patterned pieces and peel the backing off of the paper. Stick into place. After you have placed the pieces, you can remove them when you want to try a new pattern.

Cover The Windows

You can cover your windows with a variety of different coverings. Blinds can be hung over small side windows and can be closed when you do not want sunlight or guests peering inside. Curtains can be placed by putting curtain hangers over the windows. Pick a sheer curtain if you still want sunlight to get inside. It will be enough to keep people from looking into your home. Heavier curtains can be used in cooler weather, helping retain the heat inside your home.

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What You Need To Know About Fiber Cement Siding

When the time to replace the siding on your home, you may wonder what options you may have. After all, you want a siding option that is durable, long-lasting, and that will look good while keeping your house safe from the elements. One option you may not yet be familiar with is fiber cement siding. Before you make any decisions regarding your siding material choices, get to know a little bit more about fiber cement siding so you can determine if it is the right option for you. 

What Is Fiber Cement Siding?

Fiber cement siding is made up of a composite of materials. The mixture used to create this siding material is a combination of wood fibers and cement, which is made up of various minerals and metals including iron, limestone, and calcium. 

What Are The Benefits Of Fiber Cement Siding?

The benefits of fiber cement siding are numerous, but by far the most important to you is its unparalleled strength. Fiber cement siding has the strength and durability of stone building, but without the high cost. In fact, the cost of fiber cement siding is not only lower than that of stonework, but is also cheaper than wooden siding options as well. 

Additionally, fiber cement siding is highly versatile from a design perspective. If you love the look of wooden siding or shingles, fiber cement siding can be designed and installed to mimic this appearance. You can customize the color you want to perfectly match your existing paint job on your house, and the aesthetic possibilities are virtually endless.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

While the benefits of fiber cement siding are numerous, there are a few potential drawbacks. Because of the cement component of this siding option, it incredibly dense and heavy. As such, it is not a do-it-yourself siding installation project. You will need to hire a crew of several workers to install your fiber cement siding safely and properly. 

While fiber cement siding is cheaper than stone or wood alone, it is more costly than vinyl siding options. However, vinyl siding will need to be replaced far more frequently than fiber cement siding. Additionally, you will end up repairing vinyl siding far more frequently. So, while you may be saving money in the moment, your long-term costs will likely be higher with vinyl siding. 

Now that you know more about fiber cement siding, you can make the best possible decision for you and your home. So, make your siding material selection, from a place like Side-Pro, Inc., and get started on your home improvement project as soon as possible. 

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Two Strategies For Clearing Out A Clogged Sink Drain

Nothing could be more frustrating–or more gross–than a backed-up sink. One thing it doesn’t have to be, though, is expensive. If you have a clogged sink, or if you would like to prepare yourself for the next time you do, read on. This article will present two strategies for clearing a clogged sink.

The Sink Stopper

The overwhelming majority of slow-draining and clogged sinks are caused by hair and other gunk that has become tangled with the bottom part of the sink stopper. While there are numerous products on the market designed to address this issue, by far the most effective and economical solution is to remove the stopper yourself. All this task requires is a pair of adjustable pliers.

The stopper lever on top of your sink connects down to the so-called “pivot rod,” which moves the stopper in and out of place. In order to remove and clean the stopper completely, it is necessary to first unscrew the retaining nut that keeps the pivot rod in place.

Before you attempt to remove this nut, however, you’ll want to make sure there is no standing water left in the sink–otherwise you’ll end up getting soaked once the nut is loose. Either give the sink enough time to drain, or, if it is completely backed up, use a thick sponge to transfer the water to a bucket. 

Once this is done, you may proceed to unscrew the retaining nut and remove the pivot rod. Now you should be able remove the stopper completely from the top of the sink. Be warned, you will likely be pulling out a slimy, nasty hairball along with it. After cleaning the stopper, put the assembly back together and then run some water to see if the problem is solved.

The Plunger

Chances are the above strategy will prove effective at eliminating your clog. But if the problem persists, it’s time to get out your old friend, the plunger. This tool is highly effective at clearing out clogs that have developed below the stopper.

Plungers work best with the stopper removed, which can be done as explained above. Once you have taken the stopper out, however, be sure to reinsert the pivot rod and screw the retaining nut back into place. This will keep all that gross clog-water from escaping on the floor as you are plunging.

With the plunger in place, fill the sink with approximately two inches of water. Press a damp rag against the overflow holes at the edge of the sink–this will increase the effectiveness of the plunger by creating a temporary vacuum in the pipes. Two or three solid plunges should be all it takes to get the problem fixed.

For more information, contact a business such as Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.

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Common Furnace Repair Questions Answered

There are few things that are more important in the winter than keeping your home a comfortable temperature. For many homes, a furnace is the tool of choice for this task, and this should not be surprising given the efficiency and durability of these systems. However, it is still possible for these devices to encounter problems, and depending on the problem, there is a chance that you may have a question that needs to be addressed. 

Why Does The Pilot Light Constantly Go Out?

With older furnaces, it is not uncommon for the pilot light to experience problems staying lit. When this happens, your system will be unable to generate heat, and you will have to relight it to keep your home comfortable. Not surprisingly, this can become extremely inconvenient, but many people are under the impression that there is nothing other than replacing the ignition box that will correct this issue. 

Luckily, there is actually a relatively simple step that you can take to help mitigate this problem. Using a damp cloth, you should carefully wipe away any grime that has started to accumulate on the ignition box. After allowing it to thoroughly dry, you can turn on the furnace, and the problem with the pilot light going out should be corrected. If it is not, then it may be a sign of a mechanical problem, and you will need to contact a furnace repair professional to address the issue. 

What Causes A Foul Smell To Come From The Furnace?

Another common issue homeowners can encounter with their furnaces is that they may notice a foul smell emanating from the system when it is active. Often, this will smell like something burning, and it can be rather alarming to homeowners. If you notice this problem, you should immediately turn off the furnace to conduct a visual inspection of it.

Accumulations of ash and grime on the interior of the furnace can start to give off these smells when the temperature in the furnace starts to rise. However, this can also be an indication of a potential fire hazard with the system. When inspecting the unit, you should look for signs of burning wires or paint. If you notice these issues, the furnace is likely getting too hot for these materials, and you will need to contact an experienced professional like Always Ready Repair to correct the problem before it develops into a major issue. 

A furnace can be an excellent way of ensuring that your home stays comfortable and cozy regardless of the outside temperature. However, it is vital for a homeowner to have a working knowledge of these systems, and understanding these basic questions and answers will go a long way towards achieving this goal. 

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How To Replace A Thermocouple On A Gas Furnace

A furnace that won’t light can be the result of a bad thermocouple. The thermocouple allows gas to flow to the pilot light and then on to the burners to produce the heat to warm your home. If the pilot isn’t lighting up, it can be the result of the thermocouple going bad. Here is how you can test and replace the thermocouple.

You Will Need:

  • Adjustable Wrench

Test Pilot Light First

You will want to make sure it is the thermocouple that is broken, and that the problem is not a clogged pilot light. Take a thin piece of wire and poke it through the hole on top of the pilot light to clean it out. Try lighting the pilot after you have removed any residue that might have built up inside it and around it. If the gas fails to go through the pilot light and you don’t get a flame, you can go ahead and replace the thermocouple.

Think Safety First

You should shut the gas off going to the furnace. You can shut the gas off at the pilot light control button, or at the switch along the gas line going to the furnace. The switch on the gas line has an arm on it that will tell you if the gas is on or off. Turn the switch so the handle is perpendicular to the gas line – this is the off position. You also want to turn the electricity running to the furnace off at the circuit breaker to completely shut the furnace down while you work on it.

Remove Thermocouple

Loosen the thermocouple nuts with an adjustable wrench and unscrew them with your hand (make sure everything is cooled down so you don’t burn yourself). You need to disconnect the thermocouple from the gas control valve before you pull it out of the furnace – you can find the disconnect clip by following the wire on the end of the thermocouple to the gas line.

Get New Thermocouple

You will want to make sure you obtain a replacement thermocouple that is meant to be specifically installed into your particular furnace. Your local furnace supply store can assist you if you have any problems getting the right part number.

Install New Thermocouple

Reconnect the wire going to the gas control valve and slide the thermocouple into the place. Replace the screws, and then turn on the gas and electricity.

Test Pilot Light

Make sure the thermocouple is positioned over the pilot light so the flame can heat it. If the pilot light stays on after you light it, you are done. If it doesn’t, there may be a bigger problem. At this point, it’s best to contact a heating contractor for assistance.

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