An Exploration of Air Conditioner Maintenance and Repairs

3 Reasons You Should Waterproof Your Basement

Proper waterproofing can protect your basement from structural damage, keep your warmer, lower your heating costs, and prevent mold and mildew growth. If you have a musty odor or you feel dampness when you walk into your basement, it is time to call a contractor to have it waterproofed.

Structural Damage

If the area you live in receives a lot of rain, it can easily seep into your basement. This seepage typically comes in through the joints and edges of the floor and walls. In most cases, it will take time before you notice anything happening. If not taken care of quickly, it can lead to much larger damage, such as bowed walls and a cracked foundation.

Hydrostatic pressure is also created when floodwater forms puddles in the soil surrounding your home’s foundation. Over time, the water pushes over the wall, and can lead to your basement flooding.

Mold and Mildew Growth

When a basement is not waterproofed, moisture can form on the walls. This moisture can lead to mold growth. Mold can also grow in the carpeting, and can get down into the padding and floor boards. The most dangerous type of mold is black mold, because it puts toxins in the air that is harmful to your health. If you notice this mold in your basement, you should hire a professional to clean it for you before you start waterproofing it. This will ensure all of it is removed. You should not try to clean it up yourself, unless you have only a small amount.

Cold House and Higher Heating Costs

If your basement is damp and humid due to it being wet, it will be harder to heat. Your heating system will have to work overtime to heat the moisture-laden air. This causes your heating costs to rise, which can be expensive over time.  The costs of waterproofing your basement will be quickly paid for in the money you save on your heating bills.

The damp air also makes your home feel colder, which means you will have to raise the thermostat to be comfortable.

As you can see, not waterproofing your basement can cause many problems, and can lead to expensive damage. Take time to hire a professional, like John Norris Foundation Repair LLC, to waterproof it. It will be an expense, but much less expensive than some of the damage you will have to repair due to a wet basement and foundation walls.

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3 Mistakes To Avoid When Pruning A Fruit Tree For Winter

If you want your fruit tree to actually bear fruit come the spring and summer months, you’ll need to prune it before the frigid temperatures of winter strike. This way, the tree’s branches will be trimmed and ready for healthy, steady growth once temperatures begin to warm up once again. If you choose to prune your own fruit trees rather than contact a professional tree service, you can save yourself some money. However, there are some big mistakes you’ll want to be careful to avoid in the process.

Failing to Prune Low-Hanging Branches

One of the most common mistakes people make when they choose to prune their own fruit trees is not pruning low-hanging branches. Generally, low-hanging branches have the most difficult time growing come spring and summer, so it’s best to trim them back in the winter. This is especially true of any branches that are beginning to slant towards the ground, as these will not only fail to bear any fruit but may also hinder your access to the tree later on.

Not Pruning Suckers

Suckers are small branches or growths that tend to appear along the base of a fruit tree. They’re called suckers because they do just that–suck the nutrients and water from the rest of the tree. It’s important that you prune back all suckers in the winter; otherwise, they may continue to grow and you’ll have a very hard time dealing with them in the spring. In fact, if suckers grow large enough, they may actually prevent the tree from being able to produce any more fruit. It’s usually easy to tell when you’re looking at a sucker because it’ll have a different appearance from the rest of the tree’s healthy branches–so be sure to search carefully and get rid of them.

Not Knowing When to Remove a Tree

Finally, there may come a time when your fruit tree has simply grown too large or has succumbed to a tree ailment and will never be able to produce fruit again. Therefore, it’s important to know when it’s time to have a tree removed. Failure to remove a diseased fruit tree can not only cause an eyesore on your property, but could also lead to a pest problem–as many insects are attracted to dead or dying trees. When in doubt, contact a professional tree service like Kansas City Tree Care, LLC to assess your tree and determine whether or not tree removal is necessary.

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Handy Man Services: What You Get For Your Money

You have a “honey-do” list about a mile long. You really do not want to think about how you will get everything done, especially since some of the things on your list require a professional. Hiring several separate contractors for everything sounds expensive. Then there are the “handy-man” services and you wonder what you might get for hiring them. You might be pleasantly surprised. Some of these services offer a lot, and they can be worth every penny you pay.

Jack-of-All-Trades Work for You

Many of these handy-man services hire men and women who know a little about everything and a lot about certain things. For example, you want to hire someone from a service provider that can help you change the leaky faucets in your home. The service provider sends somebody with a background in plumbing, but this same person can also fix a leaky roof or cut down dead trees in your yard. These services hire many out-of-work general contractors, and that works not only for them but also for you. You get more than you need by hiring a handy-man service.

No Multiple Contractors, Multiple Contracts, or Multiple Visits

Usually these services send one or two employees out at a time. You are charged the hourly rate for each employee sent. You can buy four hours’ worth of work, an entire day, or several days and the “handymen” do all the odd jobs you want them to do for the amount of time you schedule them. It does not matter if you need them to clean gutters, fix the toilet and/or rewire the electrical box. They are all highly skilled and trained general contractors. Everything on your list that requires a professional, and even some things that do not, is completed in one trip.

The Price of All-in-One Services

While you may suffer sticker shock when you hear what these general contractors and handy-man services charge, you have to take in the bigger picture. Think about what a plumber, a roofer, and an electrical contractor would all charge you to do the same amount of work on the same day. If you look at it that way, the price for all-in-one services is about one-third of what it could be if you hired three separate contractors. You could also look at it as the price of convenience and freedom, since you do not have to complete anything on your list yourself, and that is often worth more to customers than the total cost.

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Four Tips To Help You Care For Your Wood Fencing And Get The Most Life Out Of It

If you have installed wood fencing for your home, a fence will look great for years.  Eventually, wood will need to be replaced, but with the proper care for your fence, you can get a lot more life out of it. This means doing regular maintenance like staining and sealing the fence. You may also need to do small repairs to your fence, such as replacing a board or repairing a gate. If you want to be able to get the most out of your fence, here are four tips that can help you:

1. Keeping The Wood Of The Fence Clean

Wood will rot a lot faster when it gets dirty from dirt at the bottom of the fence. This happens when dirt splashes on the fence when it rains. You can clean the fence regularly with a garden hose to prevent this. You may also want to consider installing a ground cover like gravel at the bottom of the fence to keep it from getting dirty. This can look great with the addition of a few plants, and will add to the aesthetic appearance of your landscaping design.

2. Regular Staining Of The Wood

Wood needs to be protected with paint or a sealant to prevent it from weathering. This is something that should be done regularly just like the decks on your home. You may want to consider using a stain with UV protect for sections of your fence that get a lot of direct sunlight. Doing this will reduce fading from sun light and help to make your fence last a lot longer.

3. Storing Wood For Small Repairs

You may also have to replace a board at some point. It is a good idea to store a few extra pieces of wood for these repairs. You will want to store them in a dry protected place like a storage shed or garage. When you have your fence built, ask for enough extra wood for one section of fence. You will have the wood you need for repairs, and the wood will match the original materials your fence was made out of.

4. Repairs To Leaning Gates

Overtime, gates on wood fences can start to sag and become out of square. To fix this problem. You can unscrew the hinges and fasten them where the gate is a little higher. To prevent the problem, you can have a fencing contractor install a tension cable for the gates. This cable holds the ends of the gate to prevent it from leaning over time.  If the gate does start to lean with cables, you can just add more tension to the cables to fix it, and will not have to do any major repairs.

These are some things that will help you get the most out of your fence. If you need help with any repairs or installation of a wood fence, contact a fencing contractor (such as Holman Fence LLC) to get the right care for your fence.

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6 Tips To Step Up Your Gardening Efforts This Year

You’ve been gardening for a couple of years and are ready to make your garden something you’ll be proud to show off to others. Now is a good time to start planning how to create that showcase garden. These tips will produce a vegetable garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Maximize the Use of Space

Whatever amount of space you use for your garden can likely be used more efficiently by mixing the plants. For example, tomatoes need a lot of space between each plant because of their extensive root system. Carrots and onions need a limited amount of space. Plant your tomatoes first, then plant a narrow-root plant like onions or carrots in between the tomatoes. The plants won’t compete with each other and you’ll get more produce from your garden space.

Separate the Garden and Yard Space

Dig a shallow trench around your garden bed and fill it with loose gravel. This creates a border between the yard and the garden which makes the care of each area easier. The gravel will stop some yard pests from entering the garden. It will also help to trap water runoff from the garden and keep more of the moisture within the space.

Use Raised Rows to Make Maintenance Easier

Layout the garden so each row is raised slightly above the base of the garden. This creates a valley between rows which makes weeding easier and channels water through the garden and not just off to the sides.

Automate the Watering

Have a company that specializes in sprinkler installation (such as Santos Landscaping) put in a drip or furrow irrigation system on a timer. Visions of hand watering your garden are picturesque, but you’ll waste water through runoff and evaporation, and you may not water when the plants need it. An automated watering system takes the variables away so your garden always gets the right of moisture.

Start a Compost Pile

Stop using chemical fertilizers and switch over to nutrient-rich compost. This natural fertilizer adds the right balance of nutrients to the soil so you don’t have to worry about the soil becoming too rich in some chemicals and depleted in others.

Use Natural Pesticides

Cut down even more on your use of chemicals by making your own organic pesticides. Liquid soap, water and lemon juice makes a natural spray pesticide for flying insects and ants. Add chili pepper and garlic to this mixture for an effective defense against slugs and beetles. Baking soda, oil and water work against plant fungus. Make a list of the common garden pests in your area and research the home recipes most effective against them.

With a little planning, you’ll have a garden that is easy to maintain that produces an abundance of vegetables. You’ll use fewer chemicals and your plants will be healthier. Step up your garden activities this year and have more fun with the space.

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Keep Your Electrical System Working Well: 3 Areas You Should Inspect Twice A Year

If you own your home, you should conduct a maintenance inspection at least twice a year. This inspection will help you locate problems that will need to be addressed. Repairs that are taken care of quickly can keep them from turning into something major later on. Your electrical system should be included in that maintenance inspection. If you find any problems involving the electricity in your home, you should have a home electrician take care of the repairs. Here are some of the areas that you should include in your electrical system inspection.

Interior Outlets

Outlets can wear out, especially if they’re used often. One of the first things you should check is their ability to hold a power cord. Plug a cord into your outlets. The outlet should hold the power cord securely. If there is not a snug fit, you should stop using the outlet until you can get it replaced. You should also check to see if there are any scorch or burn marks around the opening of the power outlets. Scorch or burn marks signify a wiring problem that could lead to an electrical fire. If you notice any of these issues, be sure to contact an electrician as soon as possible.

Lighting Fixtures

During your inspection, you should look at each of your lighting fixtures. You’ll want to see if the bulbs fit snugly. You’ll also want to look to see if there are any scorch marks inside the light socket. If there are, stop using the lighting fixture. This could mean that your light fixture is overheating. You’ll also want to turn your lights on and see if they flicker. Flickering light fixtures can mean that you have a wiring problem inside the ceiling.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

Your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room probably have ground-fault-circuit-interrupters, or GFCI’s. The GFCI outlet is designed to shut off when there is a danger of electrical shock. Your GFCI outlets have two buttons on the front. One is a test button and the other is a reset button. Each time you inspect your home’s electrical system, you should also test your GFCI outlet.

Simply push the test button. The reset button should pop out. Simply push the reset button and your GFCI outlet is ready for use again. If the reset button doesn’t pop out when you push the test button, you’ll need to have a new one installed as soon as possible.

To keep your home and family safe, you should inspect your electrical system at least twice a year. Contact your electrician immediately if you discover any problems during your inspection.

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3 Areas To Check To Ensure Your Home Is Ready For Winter

When the mercury in the thermometer starts to drop, it’s time to take inventory of how prepared your house is for the cold snap ahead. You might even want to hire a professional contractor or HVAC specialist to come out and inspect certain parts of your house. Here are 3 key areas that you should keep an eye on and repair if necessary before the weather turns cold.

Seal It Up

Head to the local home improvement store and get yourself a caulking gun. The fall season is a great time to make sure that all of your doors and windows are properly sealed. If you let these parts of your home fall into disrepair, you could be greeted by a chilly draft upon winter’s arrival that could cause your energy costs to skyrocket. If you’re not comfortable taking care of this job yourself, hire a contractor to do it for you.

Fine Tune the Furnace

If you haven’t fired up your furnace since the start of spring, it’s probably time to give it a test run as well as a fine tuning job. A professional HVAC contractor such as Brower Mechanical should be called to your home so that they can ensure your heating system is ready for the season ahead. The colder it gets, the harder your heater will have to work, so make sure it’s up for the job. It’s better to have a contractor come out while the thing is still working instead of waiting for it to break down and cost you a large amount in repairs.

Don’t Forget the Exterior

It’s not just the inside of your home you should be concerned about. There are a couple areas outside the home that you should also keep an eye on. Make sure any debris or leaves from the fall are removed from your gutter system before the first snow. You could easily develop an ice dam that could cause roof damage if your gutters are not cleared before snow and ice start to develop. Also make sure you turn off all outdoor faucets and disconnect all hoses to ensure you won’t suffer any significant damage to your plumbing system during the winter.

The fall is the perfect time of the year to perform some maintenance on key parts of your house. Get your heating system fine tuned and ensure all windows and doors are well caulked to keep your energy costs down. Don’t forget to keep an eye on what’s going with the exterior of your house as well. As always, contact a professional who specializes in HVAC installation and repair if you need assistance.

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