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Home Renovation Tips

2 Things That You Can Do to Help Your Air Conditioner Keep Your Home Cool

Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Things That You Can Do to Help Your Air Conditioner Keep Your Home Cool

One of the worst parts about the summer is the sheer amount of strain that you can put on your air conditioner while trying to keep yourself and your family cool. This strain can very easily lead to higher utility bills and extensive damage to your air conditioner. Listed below are two things that you can do to help your air conditioner keep your home cool.  Block Out the Sunlight One of the biggest ways to help your air conditioner keep your home cool in the summer is to use a variety of methods to keep sunlight from making its way into your home. This is vital because every little bit of sunlight that gets into your home is going to raise the temperature a bit. In the end, this can lead to your house being several degrees hotter than it needs to be, which means that your air conditioner has to work that much harder to offset this increase in temperature. To block out the sunlight, consider utilizing blackout curtains as a relatively inexpensive solution. This option can block out about 99% of sunlight, which will go a long way to lowering your cooling bills and the strain on your air conditioner. If you want to still allow a bit of sunlight into your home, consider solar screens. Solar shades are meant to pop into the same spot that your current window screens occupy, but they will block out a large portion of sunlight while still allowing a breeze into your home and preventing bugs from entering your house. Get Rid of Heat Sources Another way to help your air conditioner keep your home cool is to find the most common causes of heat within your home and get rid of them. One way to do this is to make sure that you go through the house and turn off any televisions or computer systems. Computers in particular can produce a lot of heat if they are left on.  Another heat source to get rid of is traditional light bulbs. Instead of using traditional bulbs, consider utilizing LED bulbs that can produce the same amount of light (or more) but do so while generating less heat. Finally, consider avoiding using your oven or stovetop as much as possible due to how quickly it can cause the inside of your home to heat up, which will force your air conditioner to come on more frequently. Whenever possible, attempt to cook your food on a grill outside of your home or utilize your microwave to keep your house from heating up. Contact an air-conditioner repair service such as All American Air & Electric, Inc. today to ask about anything that you can do to help your air conditioner keep your home cool. Blocking out sunlight and getting rid of heat sources are just two ways to lower your cooling bills and limit air-conditioner strain during the...

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Lower Your Energy Costs And Improve HVAC Performance

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Lower Your Energy Costs And Improve HVAC Performance

If you’re like most homeowners, you likely rely on your HVAC system throughout the year to keep temperatures comfortable inside. But with regular use, your HVAC system is put through a lot of wear and tear that can inhibit proper performance and increase your energy costs. Here are a few things you can do to ensure optimal HVAC performance year-round and decrease your overall energy expenses: Replace Your Thermostat Installing a programmable thermostat in your home that’s compatible with your current HVAC system is sure to help decrease your monthly power bills by up to 15 percent and will enable you to manage indoor temperatures whether or not you’re home. Being able to manage temperatures while away will ensure that your air conditioner and heater aren’t used when unnecessary, which will help reduce wear and tear overall and minimize the need for costly repairs as time goes on. Programmable thermostats come in many sizes, designs, and shapes which should make it easy to incorporate one that complement’s your home’s current decor. Seal up Your Ducts If your home is fitted with a forced-air HVAC system, your household might be losing up to a whopping 30 percent of temperature controlled air flow if any cracks, holes, or even minor leaks have developed in the ducts. Unusually high energy bills during the summer or winter, the development of stuffy rooms, or spaces that seem hard to keep warm or cool throughout the year are all signs that your ducts should be sealed as soon as possible. To decrease wear and tear on your system and increase air flow for proper temperature control indoors, use mastic sealant or thermal metal tape to seal the edges of all the ducts you can access. Don’t forget to seal ducts in your basement and attic! Plant Some Deciduous Trees Planting some new deciduous trees on your property near windows that get direct sunlight during the day and in front of your exterior HVAC unit is an excellent way to protect your home from excessive heat and cold throughout the year. In the summer, deciduous trees are full of large leaves that will shade your house from the sun’s heat. During the winter months, deciduous trees lose their leaves and allows the sun to heat things naturally up inside. Landscaping with new trees can even increase your overall property value by up to 20 percent. Some beautiful options to consider include dogwood, crab apple, and European beech. These methods and techniques are sure to help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter without having to put a lot of wear and tear on your HVAC system. You’re likely to save a considerable amount of money on energy expenses throughout the year too.  For more information, talk to a professional like Nathan’s Heating & Air Conditioning,...

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Before You Trim Trees, Remember: One Person’s Yard Waste Is a Zoo Creature’s Treasured Treat

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Before You Trim Trees, Remember: One Person’s Yard Waste Is a Zoo Creature’s Treasured Treat

If you’re a committed green person who would like to recycle or re-use everything you don’t need anymore, you should definitely contact your local zoo before you have your landscaping tidied again. Many zoos accept branches of certain trees to feed animals or use as habitat for the animals in their care. This is a great way to keep yard debris out of the landfill and make a zoo creature happy at the same time. Here’s what you should know. Branches of leaves, fruit, and flowers are called “browse” The term “browse” is used to describe the natural tree, shrub, and grassy growth that animals munch on throughout the day when in their natural habitats. Zoos try to mimic that type of feeding by offering animals like elephants, giraffes, and zebras branches of trees to both nibble on and play with in their enclosures. Some zoos have entire gardens or growth plots devoted to raising specialty browse plants like eucalyptus for koalas and bamboo for pandas. But it’s difficult for most zoos to grow all of the plants that diverse animals need, so some zoos accept donations of branches cut from property-owners’ trees and shrubs. Many common plants are delicacies to zoo animals There are quite a few common trees and shrubs that are accepted as browse donations in zoos which offer this program. Some of these include Crape myrtle Japanese maple Citrus tree Pear tree Sycamore   Mimosa   Acacia Willow Grape vines, photinia bushes, hackberries, and tulips are also included. Many animals, including elephants, love evergreen trees. including Fraser and Douglas firs. The elephants wave the branches around and then strip the needles from the boughs. How browse donations work Not all zoos accept donations of branches and yard debris. Of those which do accept donations, you must have specific plants to offer in enough quantities to make it worth their while to pick the branches up, and they usually can’t travel more than a few miles to retrieve the yard waste. It’s best to call ahead to find out whether the amount and type of branches you have will be accepted for pickup. Even small donations may be dropped off at the zoo. Although you won’t be able to see your branches actually fed to the animals, you can rest assured they appreciate the gesture. Again, call ahead to be sure someone can accept your donation. When there are no zoos nearby, contact a local veterinary hospital, petting farm, pet store, or other exotic animal provider and ask if they can use any of your fresh cuttings. If trees have been sprayed—even with organic pesticides—they can’t be accepted. Branches must also be freshly cut, not dried out and inedible. If there is any fungal or severe bug infestation, you should not donate branches but should instead burn them or have your tree-trimming or tree-removal service dispose of them properly for...

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Complement Your New HVAC System With These Energy-Saving Home Updates

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Complement Your New HVAC System With These Energy-Saving Home Updates

Your new HVAC system is sure to help keep your family comfortable while spending time indoors throughout the year. But running your air conditioner and heater on a regular basis for temperature control tends to result extra energy expenses on a monthly basis. The good news is that you can introduce a couple of energy-saving home updates that will complement your new HVAC system and help offset your heating and cooling costs. The following home updates will also minimize HVAC wear and tear year-round: Introduce Some Ceiling Fans If you don’t already have ceiling fans installed throughout your home, consider introducing a few. Making use of ceiling fans will decrease your HVAC system’s workload and minimize wear and tear, which should help keep the system in excellent shape as time goes on and minimize the need for expensive repairs. While most HVAC systems use about 3,500 watts of power on an hourly basis to function, ceiling fans typically require only 60 watts of power each hour. Running your ceiling fans at night instead of your heater or air conditioner and using the fans to complement the performance of your HVAC system during the day can save you an impressive amount of money on energy costs throughout the year. Program your ceiling fans to run counterclockwise during the summer to create constant air movement and a light breeze throughout your home. In the winter, program your ceiling fans to run clockwise to keep the warm air circulating. Have New Windows Installed Having some new energy efficient windows installed in your home is an excellent way to save some money on your heating and cooling expenses throughout the year. Your new energy efficient windows should also reduce unwanted drafts inside your home, which will make it easier to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures throughout each day. Most energy efficient windows also resist condensation buildup on interior glass surfaces, which will help to keep mildew and mold from developing. What’s more is that energy efficient windows are designed to resist the transmission of ultraviolet rays, which will help to protect your flooring, furniture, and walls from fading and cracking due to sun damage. After making these energy-saving updates to your home, it should be easy and convenient to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures throughout the year without putting too much wear and tear on your new HVAC system or spending a fortune on energy expenses each month. Talk to a company like TODDCO, Inc. to learn...

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Exploring The Benefits Of A Walk-In Shower

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Exploring The Benefits Of A Walk-In Shower

Modern technology has remedied one of the huge issues faced by the elderly and disabled population. Annually, 235,000 individuals visit the emergency room for bathroom injuries, and approximately one-third of those cases involved incidents from the bathtub or shower. You can choose a model free of thresholds or doors if you choose. Another alternative is creating a ledge where the water cannot run over the bathroom floors. The choice depends on your individual needs. Offers Health Benefits One of the most beneficial effects is the peace of mind you receive from knowing you and your family can safely take a shower without injury. Showering on a regular basis can help patients who suffer from health issues including heart conditions and arthritis. The hot/steamy water can soothe the body for those who cannot motivate easily. The ancient Egyptians created the medical concept of hydrotherapy dating as far back as the 5th century B.C. Personal hygiene can be a challenging for many individuals who are at risk for falls in the tub/shower. Have you ever tried to wash your back? Imagine that scenario for an elderly patient or someone with physical disabilities. The walk-in shower can also benefit individuals who have irritated skin or a wound that needs to be gently cleaned. Comes with Safety Features The shower/tub is a very slippery surface even when it is void of the soap and shampoo products used for bathing. Grab bars are installed to prevent falls and make maneuvering in the stall much easier. You can also place a chair in the space for individuals who cannot stand or have limited mobility issues. Installation is Simple The process is much easier than many believe. Your current tub/shower can be replaced, and the new unit installed using the same space. The design can be made ranging from a large or small scale, depending on your current décor. Many of the doors and walls are glass, but you can be creative with the products used. Maintenance is Easy A walk-in shower is easier to clean because it doesn’t have all the additional corners and crevices where soap scum and other debris can collect. Getting in and out of a regular shower can be difficult for all, and scarier for physically challenged, children, or aging people. With the low step provided by the walk-in unit, many of these issues simply don’t exist. You could receive the luxury in your home that might not have been available unless you went to a spa for special care. The addition to your home can benefit everyone and lend a rich atmosphere to your bathroom. Click here to learn more about bathroom...

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3 Benefits Of Hiring A Junk Removal Service Instead Of Renting A Dumpster

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Benefits Of Hiring A Junk Removal Service Instead Of Renting A Dumpster

If you are cleaning out your attic, cleaning out a rental that a tenant has left in bad condition, or are tackling a home remodeling project, you might be thinking about renting a dumpster so that you can handle all of the mess. However, you might find that hiring a junk removal service — in which the service will send a team in to retrieve the junk and haul it off for you — is a better option. These are three reasons why. 1. Avoid Causing Damage to Your Yard First of all, you should know that renting a dumpster can cause a lot of damage to your yard. A dumpster can damage your grass in the area that it is placed, and the truck that drops it off and picks it back up can cause damage to your yard, too. With a junk removal service, this often isn’t as much of an issue, since you can ask the team to park in your driveway rather than driving on your grass. This is often not an option when you’re having a dumpster dropped off, since you probably don’t want to have it in the way on your driveway for the duration of your project. 2. Get Rid of All Types of Junk Some dumpster rental companies have restrictions on what can be placed in their dumpsters. For example, you might not be able to discard chemicals, and you may not be able to mix recyclable and non-recyclable items in the same dumpster. With a junk removal service, however, you can often get rid of all types of junk without having to worry about as many restrictions. Depending on what you are getting rid of, this can be a big deal. 3. Save Yourself a Lot of Hard Work A big clean-up project can be a massive undertaking on its own, and there’s a chance that you aren’t looking forward to all of the work that is involved. Luckily, you can save yourself a lot of hard work by hiring a junk removal service, since the individuals who work for these companies will often come in and take the junk out of the home or elsewhere from the property for you. This is a great way to make your project a whole lot easier on yourself. As you can see, a dumpster rental isn’t always the best choice. Instead, consider these benefits of hiring a junk removal company like The Dump Guy to help you take care of your...

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Water In Your Unfinished Basement? Repair The Damaged Seals Around Your Window Well

Posted by on May 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Water In Your Unfinished Basement? Repair The Damaged Seals Around Your Window Well

If you find water on the flooring of your unfinished basement, you may wonder where it comes from and how can you stop it. A wet basement can cause numerous problems for your home, including mold growth and foundation damage. One of the places you might look first for leaks is your window well. Although window wells should have some type of drainage system in place to redirect rainwater, they can sometimes develop leaks in the seal that allow water to seep into the basement and along the walls. If you don’t seal the window, the moisture may eventually deteriorate its wooden frame. Here’s what you need to get for the repairs and how to use them. Find and Purchase Your Supplies You can find the supplies you need at your nearest home and gardening store or large retailer. First, purchase a large tube of modified silicone caulk, caulk gun and metal spatula with a triangular-shaped head. Modified silicone caulk is an ideal choice for your repairs because it seals out moisture, works well in cement and goes on without too many issues. For your caulk gun, you may want to purchase a drip-free smooth rod product. This type of tool helps prevent unnecessary messes that can slow down your repairs. The spatula’s triangular head may make it easier to smooth the caulk around the edges of the window.  Also, obtain a bucket of clear water and three cleaning rags. Now, you’re ready to begin. Secure and Repair the Leaks You want to create a safe working area around the window to avoid falling or slipping during the repairs. Move any obstacles out the way and dry the flooring thoroughly. If you can’t reach the window safe by standing, use a wide-based ladder instead. Always have someone hold the ladder for you as you ascend it.  Now, follow the steps below: Use your water and two rags to remove any dirt and debris from around the window frame, including the seams. Dry the window thoroughly with the last rag. Insert your caulk into the gun, then prep it according to the gun’s instructions. Use your spatula to remove any broken or chipped pieces of old caulk from the window’s seam.  Apply one thin line of material along all four sides of the window. Use the spatula to smooth out the material. Move to the outside of the home. Perform step one to clean the exterior side of the window. Repeat step three, then apply and smooth caulk around the entire window. Check the flooring after it rains again to see if it’s wet or dry. If the floor’s dry, you successfully solved the issue. If the flooring is wet, contact a basement waterproofing contractor for assistance. There may be other leaks in the basement that require...

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How To Remove And Repaint Your Interior Doors

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Remove And Repaint Your Interior Doors

Most interior doors are hollow, so they are lightweight and affordable. But over the years you will probably need to repaint your doors a few times. If you do have hollow doors, this process is much easier to do if you remove the door from the frame. This article explains how to remove doors and then repaint them. Removing the Doors Removing the doors is simple. All you really need is a thin screwdriver and a hammer so you can remove the pin from the hinge knuckles. Make sure the screwdriver is thinner than the pin so it will fit into the knuckle. Basically, place the screwdriver head onto the bottom of the pin and hammer it upward until you are able to completely pull the pin out. It is best to remove the pin from the bottom hinge first. Make sure you do this while the door is closed and the lock is engaged. You don’t want the door to slide free from the bottom hinge and bend the upper hinges. Painting the Doors Once the doors are removed, you can easily paint them in a separate area. When you set up a simple painting station that is fully masked off, you can speed up the painting. For instance, you can set large sheets of painter’s plastic or construction paper on the ground. Unless your hinges are painted the same color as the door, remove the hinge plates with a screwdriver. Some hinges are unpainted, so you definitely want to take them off first. You also need to tape off the handles and locks. These can be removed, but it is usually much easier to just tape them off. The best way to paint a door is with a spray gun. This is definitely true for doors with decorative panels, molding and mullions. Painting these intricate designs and corners with a paint brush will often result in drips. Also, the smooth surface of wooden doors will show brushstrokes. With a spray gun you can give your door a much more consistent sheen. The key is to remove all your doors, prep them to be painted and then do all of the painting at once. This way the paint will be more consistent and you can streamline the work. Most doors will require at least 2 coats. Let your doors dry for a full day before putting them back in the frame. For more information on painting your doors or on the doors in general, contact professional installation experts, such as those at Mister Window...

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4 Modern Features To Give Your Deck A Contemporary Look And Feel

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Modern Features To Give Your Deck A Contemporary Look And Feel

If your deck is outdated, it may be time to renovate it with new materials like decking and railings. The investment in your restoration may be a good opportunity to change the design and give your home contemporary features with things like glass or metal railings or a dry decking system. Here are some modern features that you may want to consider for your deck to give it a contemporary look: 1. Install New Decking With Hidden Fasteners Or A Dry Deck System To give your deck renovations a modern look, you may want to consider replacing the decking with materials like tropical hardwoods. These materials can be installed with hidden fastener systems to give your deck a clean look with no exposed screws or nails. Another option that you may want to consider is a dry decking system that will allow you to create dry finished space beneath your deck. This is a type of floor for your deck that acts as a roof and allows water to drain off the deck without getting the space beneath it wet. This can be good if you want to add something like an all-seasons enclosure beneath your deck or other space that is covered and dry. You can even add finished space to your home beneath the deck with a dry decking system, which can be a good option for a home remodeling project. 2. Add Metal Or Glass Railings To Give Your Deck A Contemporary Look The old wood railings can go if you want to give your deck a more modern look. Instead of using conventional wood materials for the railings, you may want to consider modern materials like metal and glass. You can even combine the look of metal with glass or use cables to give your deck a unique custom look with clean lines. There are building regulations for deck railings, so you will want to consult your local building authority about what can be done. With glass, you may be required to use a tempered glass, or with cable railings, you may be required to have a certain amount of spacing between cables. There may also be regulations on heights and the types of railings that can be installed on your deck. 3. Continue Your Deck With Addition Platforms In The Garden If you have a small deck, to give your deck design a modern look, you may want to consider expanding it. This can be done by adding features like platforms in your garden that are an extension of the deck area attached to your home. You can even create separate spaced with the deck areas, such as a seating area, spa and cookout area for entertaining. You can also add screen and patio doors to these areas to make the spaces more private. The paths and platforms in your garden can act as an expansion of your home and even be a good place to add a garden house or other outdoor structure to your home. 4. Add A Garden To Your Deck With Planters And Vertical Features If you want your deck to have a modern look, you may also want to include features that help blend it into the natural surroundings. This can be done by incorporating garden areas into your...

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Low Risk Log Cabin: How To Protect Your Log Cabin From Fire

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Low Risk Log Cabin: How To Protect Your Log Cabin From Fire

There is nothing quite as luxurious as having a vacation home. Just knowing you can get away from the city and from work and take a vacation to your second home is a beautiful thing.  A statuesque log cabin inside of a suburban vacation area is the perfect place to go and relax. One item of importance that may keep you from relaxing is thinking about your home’s ability to catch fire. If you want to mitigate your risks while living in a log cabin in a wildfire-prone area, here are some tips on fire protection. Keep the yard raked and the gutter clear One of the smallest yet most dangerous ways that a log cabin becomes prone to catching fire more easily is by having leaves and wood all around the cabin, along with having leaves and branches in the gutters. When you are at the home, be sure to keep too many leaves and other debris from accumulating around the home structure. When you are gone, have maintenance clean the yard and gutters on a bi-weekly basis. Build a metal roof Most log cabins will have a fireplace. Though this is the perfect way to heat the home and relax, this is also one of the ways that the structure can catch fire. Hire a construction firm to replace the roof of your log cabin with metal materials. The metal can be made in different colors and can blend in perfectly with your long cabin’s wood shade. Metal roofs will also not catch fire, making running the home’s fireplace less likely to cause the embers that escape the chimney to cause any blazes. Pave a proper road path Even if your log home is more rural, you want to make sure that you pave a road and a proper driveway. Clearing out this path of trees means that you and your family can easily get out if a fire starts at your home or in the woods nearby. It also means that the fire department will be able to pull up to your home and fight the fire properly, rather than having to navigate a rural area to help put out any fire. Hire a contractor to make a proper driveway and create access to the main road. Live near a body of water Even if you make sure your home is built with fire protection in mind, there is a possibility that a wildfire or a fire at a nearby cabin can set off a chain of events. To help the firefighters and to protect your home, live near a body of water. If no fire hydrants are readily available, you can create a man-made pond near your home. Fire departments are conscious of water availability and can draw from lakes, ponds, and other water bodies nearby. Having water near your house can save your log cabin. For more ideas on fire protection, contact a company like The Safety Team...

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