Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Identifying the cause of the faucet leak is done. Now it’s time to repair it and rid yourself of that nagging drip. Once you have identified the cause of your leaky faucet, you’ll be able to repair it.

Follow these steps to fix a leaky faucet yourself: 

1: Know what type of faucet you have. It might be a cartridge faucet, ball faucet, or ceramic disk faucet.

2:  Make sure the water supply to the leaking faucet is turned off. The shutoff valves are most likely under the sink. You will see one for hot water and one for cold water. Turn them in a clockwise direction until they are closed.  

3: Use a sink plug or towel to plug the sink and you will minimize the risk of losing any small parts down the drain.

4: Once the decorative knobs are removed, there should be a screw that attaches the handle to the stem. Unscrew and remove the handle.

5: The packing nut and then the stem can be loosened with a wrench. Check these parts for any damage. If there is any damage to the parts replace them.

6: Finally, check out the O-ring and washer within the valve seat. Replace the washer and O-ring, and see if that fixes the issue.

7: Once your sink is reassembled then test it for leaks.

The sound of the dripping faucet won’t be missed and you will experience the pleasure of having tackled yet another home project. Look at what you have accomplished!

How Do I Choose the Best Privacy Fence Materials?

With so many different types of styles of fencing and fencing material, making a decision on which materials to use can sometimes be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider. For instance, the budget, the look, the time it takes to install. We will consider a few different types of materials and a few types of styles which will help you to make a good decision.

So just what kind of styles and fencing materials exist? There are lots of finishes, everything from the wood finish, to a composite finish. There is also vinyl, metal, and masonry fencing.  No matter what finish you choose each, has specific benefits to the finish. For example, wood is a classic finish and it’s also cheaper than some of the other finishes. If you like a metal finish you can choose from aluminum, chain-link, or wrought iron it just depends. The composite finish is going to be a combination of materials including wood and plastic with a little more durability. The vinyl fence is going to be a lot more pricey but it is a great option if you like maintenance-free materials. It’s a great fencing material and it will last longer than any of the other materials. 

Once you decide on the type of material you want to use then you can think about the style of fencing that you want to use. Just like with the materials, there are lots of different types of fencing styles. Everything from the scalloped, squared, dog-eared, farm-fence, or privacy style, There are lots of different options.

Once you know the material and the style that you want for your fence, you now know the look that you’re going for you’ll be able to make a good decision for your fence.

How do I Install a Security Camera Doorbell?

One of the best smart home gadgets you can add to your home right now is a video doorbell. It’s actually quite easy to install this gadget on your own. Let’s consider a few quick and easy tips on how to install a security camera doorbell.

Let’s get started, there are some basic tools that you’ll need to do this install yourself. You’re going to want to make sure you have a screwdriver and some pliers, and perhaps a drill. Now, shut off the power. This is very important.

The first thing you want to do is go ahead and remove the existing doorbell button. Usually, two screws hold that in place. Now you want to detach the home wiring from the doorbell and pull out some additional wire very carefully.

With most units, there is a mounting bracket that will come with the new wireless doorbell. Next, you want to mount this bracket. As a result of properly mounting the bracket, you can attach your home wires to the new video doorbell.

There will be two terminals on the back of the new wireless doorbell. Now, connect the new doorbell to the home wiring. After the wiring is connected, you are now ready, to mount the camera doorbell to the mounting bracket. Most units will have a security screw included to connect them.

Everything looks good and the new wireless doorbell is mounted properly, now it’s time to test it. You can now turn the power back on. Now it’s time to check the new doorbell set up. Typically it should light up and you can pair it with the app on your phone. Perfect job!

Are You Inviting Wildlife Into Your Home?

If you live in a more rural area, you probably see quite a bit of wildlife around your home. And if you see a lot of wildlife, that means that there is much more activity that you never see.

While this might be fascinating to observe, it might not be so nice if the wildlife starts to make inroads into your home or disturbing your surroundings.

Animals will only come into the area when they can find easy access to the three things that all animals seek – food, shelter and water. If you want to keep them away, you should deny them those things.

Your garbage can turn out to be a treasure trove for many scavenging animals. Keeping your garbage well-closed will minimize the risk of them smelling food scraps or other things that are edible. If necessary, having a small shed to keep your garbage in can serve as a deterrent for most animals.

Cleaning and Maintaining Outdoor Security Lights

You spent a lot of money on a good outdoor security lighting system. Now you want to make sure that you maintain and clean it regularly to add value to your home and get the most out of your investment.

Is there a proper way to clean and maintain such a system? Yes there is here are a few tips:

  1. If the trim trees trimmed in and around the system waiting.  This will prevent any obstruction of the lighting and allow for the system to do its job well.
  2. Quickly replace any burnt out or broken bulbs in the system. This will ensure the safety of your sister continually.
  3. Keep any bushes or shrubs properly prone. This is also an important part of cleaning and maintaining the lighting and continued safety of the area.
  4. Replace any other damaged pieces of the system and test it often to make sure that it’s all working properly.
  5. Sparkling clean lenses means great bright light. Use a soft cloth and a mild soap to thoroughly clean the lenses of your security system. This will ensure that the light shines brightly and effectively as purposed.

The curb appeal safety and security of your home is important. Maintain your well-designed home security lighting system with proper maintenance and cleaning.

Laminate or Vinyl Flooring – Which?

Many homeowners are asking themselves if they should install vinyl or laminate flooring to change up the look of a space.  They are both great options, and very cost-effective.  Replacing your floors at a very reasonable price is easy to do. It’s becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference between vinyl and laminate floors. Here are a few key similarities and differences. This knowledge will help you make a good choice for your home.  

Both floorings can duplicate the look of other textures and finishes, such as stone, hardwoods, tile, and more. The difference in the floorings lies in the makeup of the materials.  Vinyl flooring is almost always made from synthetic material, whereas laminate flooring is made from mostly natural materials. Laminate is also much thicker than vinyl flooring.

Vinyl is water-resistant and waterproof. So it’s a great option in a high humidity area. On the other hand, laminate because of its construction from wood is not waterproof. You would not want to use laminate flooring in a high moisture area. 

High luxury vinyl is good for high traffic areas. But, because it is a thin flooring avoid moving furniture across this type of floor. Laminate floors are more durable and damage-resistant. A good option for homes with pets and children.

There are many options to choose from, for both laminate and vinyl flooring. Whatever choice you decide to make will add value to your home. Enjoy making the decision and the outcome.

Replace Air Filters

Do you want cleaner air in every room of your home? You can have it when you replace the air filters regularly. Central heating and cooling air systems need good filter maintenance to help them run at their best and for the longest term.

Here is a how-to list for changing an air filter.  

  • First, find out where and how many air filters you have in the house. You want to service all of them. Clean and replace all of the air filters. There may be a return air register, an air handler cabinet, and even a filer for a window air conditioner. 
  • Make sure you have the correct size for all filters before you change it. There is a cardboard frame around all disposable air filters,  while reusable washable air filters have a plastic frame. The specific size of the filter is generally indicated on the filter, both for the disposable and reusable filters. Use a measuring tape to measure the length, width, and thickness of the filter, for filters that don’t indicate size. When selecting a new filter use these numbers.
  • Correct placement of the filter is important. There will be an arrow that indicates furnace filter airflow printed on the filter. Place the filter with an arrow pointing toward the furnace, in the direction of airflow. It’s important to make sure the filter is installed properly. The unit will use less energy. It won’t have to work hard to pull air through the opposing side.

The life of the furnace is extended when the air filters are replaced, indoor air quality is improved and energy bills are lowered. When the HVAC unit runs efficiently the benefits are evident. Changing the air filter regularly is truly important

Are You Ready To Install Solar Paneling?

We know how important it is to protect our environment and look for alternative energy sources.  Solar power is an excellent source of renewable energy and there are many advantages to installing it in your home.  However, before you decide if solar panels are a good idea, its good to look at some of the drawbacks as well as the benefits.  Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Some of the materials used in solar paneling and the batteries they use are known to be harmful to the environment, this is something to investigate if your aim is protecting it. 
  • With time, as is the case with most things exposed to the elements, solar paneling will begin to deteriorate and require maintenance.  Even the suns ultraviolet radiation can affect them.
  • If it is your desire to power your entire home with solar power then its important to be aware that you will need more than one or two solar panels.  While technology is improving in this regard you would still need a large system to run the entire home which will cost a significant amount of money to install and maintain. 
  • To be a reliable source of energy, solar power needs a constant supply of sunlight.  Many factors beyond our control will hinder this such as clouds, degree of latitude and even the sun setting. 
  • Much of the time, solar panels are installed on the roof.  Keep in mind this will make roof repairs more of a challenge.

To summarize, while solar power is a great source of renewable energy, its important that you do your research to make sure you know what is involved and to determine if it is a good idea for your property.

Knowing When To Change Your HVAC Filter

Regular maintenance is a key to keeping your home functioning the way it should so that’s its occupants stay safe and secure.  Your HVAC system is one of those areas that needs a regular check and it is recommended that you have it serviced by a professional once a year.  The HVAC filter, however, should be changed more frequently, if not, this could affect the homes indoor air quality.  But, how frequently should it be changed?  
Much depends on the amount of use the system gets.  As a general guide, the HVAC filter should be replaced every 3 months.  In some homes, it is a good idea to replace it even more often than that.  Large family households and homes with pets are more likely to produce extra dirt and dust so changing the filter as often as once a month would be beneficial.  You might also want to consider changing it that often in homes where a family member suffers with allergies or if there are people smoking indoors. 
The area surrounding the home also plays a part in determining how frequently to change the filter.  If you are surrounded by agriculture, if there is construction going on in the vicinity or even if wildfires have been in the area, these are all reasons to change the filter more often.
In some cases, you will need to change the filter immediately.  You should do this if it is damaged in any way or becomes damp or wet.  Wet or damaged filters could allow harmful toxins such as mold spores to enter and circulate around the home. 
Its clear from this short overview that in order to maintain a healthy indoor air quality, HVAC filter should be changed regularly.

Landscape Design And Home Energy Savings

Extremes of outside temperature can play havoc with heating and cooling costs so looking for new ways to save on these costs is something many homeowners may think about.  As the title of this blog may suggest, can the sensible design of the properties landscape help with those energy savings? Yes, it can.  The strategic positioning of trees and shrubs etc. can allow shade to fall on a home, protecting it from the hot summer sun which has been known to lower indoor temps by as much as 9 degrees.  This method is known as landscape shading. 
For landscape shading to be successful it must be planned very carefully.  Trees must be placed in just the right position for them to be able to provide shade at the time its most needed.  Thought should also go into the kind of trees you will use.  If you are looking for a lot of shade then you will need to select a denser tree.  Another thing that is important to consider is whether you want the home to benefit from the suns heat during the winter months.  If this is the case, then a deciduous tree will be the best option as it will provide full shade in the summer but lose its leaves in winter, allowing the sun to reach the home.
Some points to consider.  Remember that it will take some time for trees to reach their full height so you may not see immediate results and energy savings.  If you want a quicker result, vines are a good choice as they can be wrapped around a trellis or fence and provide good shade.  Shrubs are another good option, particularly if you want to shade a pathway or driveway. 
So, the homes landscaping can be used to save on indoor energy costs but first its good to consider what the planting of extra trees will mean for moisture levels etc. on your property.

Crawlspaces…Think About The Dangers Before You Enter

The crawlspace is something that you may have need to enter from time to time. Before you do, however, it’s important to prepare yourself for whatever hidden dangers may be lurking down there, after all, it is a dark, generally damp space that lies undisturbed for prolonged periods of time. So, what should you be prepared to encounter?

One of the first things you may think of is animals and insects. An under-home crawlspace can provide the ideal environment for rodents, insects and other vermin, some of which may be poisonous or become dangerous if they feel cornered or threatened in some way. It’s very important that you enter the space very cautiously because in such a tight space it would be difficult to make a hasty retreat.

One hazard you will likely find in the under-home crawlspace is mold or fungi. Sewage or standing water could be another problem. All of these have known health risks.

Another major concern would be if you suspect the home has some kind of structural damage. In such a situation it is not advisable to enter a crawlspace. It is better to have first have the home inspected so that you know what type of problems you are dealing with.

Now that we have mentioned some of the dangers with entering a crawlspace its important to make sure that, if you really need to be in such a space, you wear the proper protective clothing and equipment needed to keep you safe down there. You should also make sure someone is aware that you are going down there and is available to raise an alarm if the need arises.

Your Complete Home Inspection

We know what a difficult challenge it can be to find the right people working for you. You might find this is especially the case if you are relocating to a new area. Buying a home in a different location than you are familiar with can often feel overwhelming, so finding someone trustworthy and honest to help you with all aspects of this process is very important.

We are one of the most trusted home inspection companies in the area and we are here to help you with all your home inspection needs. Why is it so important to choose the right home inspector you may ask? Because a home inspection can determine whether the home you are looking to buy is a wise investment or a money pit. A less than trustworthy home inspector may not perform as thorough a home inspection as necessary and could miss major problems with the property which could end up costing you thousands.

We are InterNACHI certified home inspection company. This is the standard of professionalism and honesty in a home inspector. This means you can feel confident that you will receive as thorough of a home inspection as is possible and that our report will be detailed and honest so that you can make the best choice of home. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding the home inspection. We are here to help the home inspection process go as smoothly and as stress free as possible for you.

Chimney Maintenance

Sooner or later every area of the home will need some kind of maintenance and the chimney is no exception. This is an important part of the home to check because if left to fall into disrepair, a chimney will not only be very expensive to fix but can also become a major safety hazard.

There are different reasons why a chimney can become damaged. Large objects like trees or scaffolding etc. may fall on it, different types of extreme weather conditions can cause deterioration or even earthquakes can damage a chimney. Whatever the reason is, however, a damaged chimney can become a safety hazard especially if it is in danger of collapse. This would not just affect the outside of the home, but a chimney will often fall in on itself, making this especially dangerous for anyone inside the home.

So, how can you tell if the chimney needs repairing? There are some simple things you can do like stand back from the home and look at the entire chimney, does it look like its leaning or listing? Are there any signs that it is starting to come away from the rest of the home? Take a look at the footings of the chimney, what kind or condition are they in? Do you observe any deterioration? Another thing you can try is to take a screwdriver and scrape some of the mortar on the chimney, does it crumble easily? These are all signs that the chimney is in disrepair.

Some areas of the chimney are not so easy to check so, what can you do to find out the condition of those areas? One way is by having the chimney inspected. A home inspector can point out any areas of concern they observe and advise you about what to do next.

Preventing Accident And Injury On The Staircase

Sometimes accidents within the home are unavoidable, but the risk of accident and injury can be greatly reduced by proper home maintenance. Take the staircase, for example, this is one area of the house where many accidents occur, so how can some of these be prevented?

To start with, the home staircase, as well as the surrounding area, should meet all building standards and codes. One example of this is the space between banisters. These must not be placed too far apart that a young child could squeeze their head through them and be injured. Each step must also be of the same height to prevent a tripping hazard. Depending on the age of your home, a building contractor should have built the home according to these standards, but some older homes may not be up to date.

Even if it is built up to code the home’s staircase can still be a dangerous area. Wooden stairs, if they have been over polished, can be lethal. Loose carpeting is another hazard on stairs and could cause someone to slip. A loose or wobbly handrail can make a person lose balance and fall. If you notice any of these issues, be sure to fix them immediately.

Good lighting is also very important around a staircase, especially if there is someone with poor eyesight in the home. Make sure that each step is well lit and clearly visible.

It is not just stairs inside the home that should be checked. Outside stairs need to be in good condition with no damaged or crumbling concrete and they should have the appropriate amount of grade.

Childproofing Windows

All parents desire a safe and secure home for their children. When there are small children at home a parent will often go to great lengths to childproof the house. Let’s look at one area where childproofing is important; windows.

When children are small, falling is one of the biggest hazards they face and while most of the time the child bounces back up again, if they were to fall from a height, the situation would be very different. There is a variety of low cost, simple ways to prevent a child from falling from a window but one of the first things you should do is think about where to position your furniture. Never place furniture items underneath a window where a child could easily climb.

Installing window latches will become very important as a child grows and can reach a window without climbing. These latches should permit an adult to open the window easily while at the same time prevent a child from doing so.

Another child safety option is window guards, these generally have bars stopping a child from accessing the window and, although they should meet proper safety standards, make sure the bars are spaced no more than 4 inches apart so that there is no risk of a child getting their head or another body part stuck. Window stops are another option designed to only permit the window to be opened to a certain width. As in the case of window guards, window stops should not open more than 4 inches.

Window screens should not be considered as a protection against falling from the window and are not designed as a safety feature. If you have screens on your windows you will still need to take additional safety precautions. If you would like more advice on safety in your home, please feel free to contact us for more advice.

Dryer Safety

Many appliances in the home, if not properly taken care of, can present a danger in the home. One such appliance is a tumble dryer. Sad to say, many homes have been destroyed as a result of a fire that started in the dryer. So, what can cause a tumble dryer fire and how can we help to prevent one?

How does a dryer work? Hot air is blown through a rotating drum of wet clothing gently drying the clothes. As water evaporates from the clothing, it forms water vapor. Naturally, this water vapor needs to escape out of the dryer and will do this through an attached vent, this is usually made of bendable plastic or metal duct designed to be flexible enough to fit behind the machine and vent out of the building. It is not just water vapor that comes from drying clothes, lint also comes off the clothing and must exit the dryer through the vent.

When does a dryer become a fire hazard? If the vent is not attached to the dryer it runs the risk of overheating. This is because water vapor will not be able to escape and lint, which is highly flammable, will start to accumulate in the machine. These factors can result in the dryer bursting into flames.

It’s important to make sure that the vent is always attached to the machine and is reaching to the outside. Because washers and dryer are generally stored in tight spaces, take some time to do a check of the back of the dryer to check the vent is in good shape and has not become crushed or developed kinks in it that could impede airflow. Another vital step is to empty the lint collector after each use.

Wood or Carpet – Whats Best For You?

So what do you think is best for your living room.. carpet flooring or wood flooring? Well in this article, we’ll throw some pros and cons out there to help you decide which would be best for your coziest spot in the house.

First, you want to see if carpet would be a good choice because of the look of it in your living room, the appeal of it. Then you must consider the beautiful designs, probably thousands, that they are able to craft on. It feels warm and fuzzy under your feet and is quite pleasing to the eye if you can make it work with your living room. However, carpet is infamous for holding moisture underneath it. And so begins the vicious cycle of mildew and eventually, mold. On the other hand, if you’re able to check it routinely, you can definitely make carpet work for your home.

Then we have the option of wood flooring. So many things can be done with wood flooring. Engineered flooring, classic farm look floorboards, sanding down, staining it, etc. In the summertime, wooden flooring is amazing. However, once again you have to watch out for the moisture. Given enough, moisture can actually make the floor shrink the tiniest bit, and as water collects, the shrinkage will become more visible. Also, wood flooring is very susceptible to scratches or dings against other objects.

So on one hand, you have carpet that is extremely pleasant to the touch, and awesome in the winter time. On the other, you have wood flooring, excellent in the summertime, but cold during the winter. So the choice could be based on where you live, whether it be spring year round or winter year round.

How To Reduce The Noise Outside Your House

Do you live in the part of the city where you are constantly hearing trains, cars, planes go past your house, and it keeps you up all night because of all the noise that they are making? Have no fear, sleepless nights are no more!

There are some simple things that you can do in order to reduce the amount of noise that is able to pass through your house. If you have hardwood floors, tables, beds, consider putting in softer pieces of furniture. Sound will bounce off of softer furniture a lot more than hardwood furniture would. So think about maybe putting in carpet, soft couches, maybe even the special made foam that you can put up against your bedroom walls that will absolutely keep all the noise out.

In conclusion, if you find that it is with your neighbors who are being quite noisy at night, one thing that you can do is get your local counties noise ordinance list, describing what noises should and shouldn’t be occurring at different parts in the day. If the neighbors are noisy at night, don’t be afraid to call the police.

Protect Yourself When Composting

In our last article, we saw that while composting can be a very good thing to do, caution must be taken at the same time to avoid the health-related hazards that can come with it. There are many precautions we can take to ensure that we stay safe when it comes to composting.

Always protect yourself by wearing suitable clothing. Good protective footwear is essential if you want to keep yourself protected. You want to avoid coming in contact with the compost as much as possible. Never keep this footwear on when entering the home.

As someone who handles compost regularly knows, that tilling is something that must be done regularly in order to help the compost break down. It’s important that you avoid the possibility of inhaling spores, so make sure to wear a breathing mask when tilling. Its also not a good idea to do this when its windy out.

Did you know that compost can be quite combustible if stored wrongly? Store your compost in a container that allows for decent air-flow.

Washing your hands after handling compost is one of the most important things to do to stay healthy. This is often overlooked though, especially if you move on to doing something else in the garden.

These are just a few of the simple ways to protect yourself while doing something you love.

Compost’s hidden dangers

We all know composting to be a very good thing. It is one of the ways we can be responsible for the environment. Composting can also be beneficial for the soil. What then, are the negatives if any to composting? Lets consider a few things we need to keep in mind with regard to composting.

Unfortunately, there are a number of ailments associated with composting. When we think of what composting actually is, we can understand why. It is full of decaying food and plants, and with that comes certain dangerous pathogens.

What are some of these dangerous pathogens?

There are a number of fungal diseases that can be caused by compost. Farmers lung is one, this can display symptoms like that of pneumonia. It is caused by being exposed to certain fungal and bacterial pathogens. Another is Aspergillosis, this can also be caused by inhaling spores from rotting plants. Histoplasmosis, is again caused by a fungus, this time though, it comes from bat and bird feces.

Other diseases caused from exposure to rotting compost are Tetanus, Legionnaires Disease and Paronychia, an infection around the finger and toenails.

As you can see, while we are doing our part to protect the environment, we also want to be aware that there are dangers. In our next article, we will discuss ways to keep safe while composting.