Pages Navigation Menu

Remembering My Dad Through Construction

Five Energy Efficient Tricks To Help You Save On AC Bills

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Five Energy Efficient Tricks To Help You Save On AC Bills

While summer heat increases and monthly energy bills go up, you may find yourself wondering what options you have (short of moving to a cooler climate) to reduce the cost of your AC. It can be especially concerning if you’re an environmentally conscious homeowner and realize that higher energy usage can mean more emissions. Use these five tips to help you reduce energy usage to keep your bills lower and help save the environment. 1. Shade your walls and roof. Shading any areas of your house’s exterior can help prevent heat absorption, meaning your AC unit will have less work to do. The roof is especially important because it’s angled towards the sun and is most likely to catch direct sunlight head-on during the hotter parts of the day. You can plant shade trees for long-term solutions, shade parts of the roof with shade sails for a shorter-term solution, and use bushes and/or trellised vines to help shade walls. A “green roof,” meaning one that’s designed with plants growing on it, is also an option; the plants shade the roof from sunlight, instead capturing the light and using it in photosynthesis. This is a bigger project, though, since it involves replacing your roof. 2. Paint your roof. In addition to blocking some of the sunlight that normally hits your roof, you may also be able to paint it a lighter color to help it reflect the sunlight rather than absorbing it. Unfortunately, this solution isn’t recommended for asphalt shingle roofing, but it’s a quick and easy solution for metal roofing. And a “cool roof coating” can work wonders as well; it’s applied in a similar manner to paint but it’s even more effective because it helps your roof reflect not only light rays but also thermal rays. 3. Insulate your walls and roof. Like an insulated thermos for your iced coffee, a well-insulated house can help keep cool air cool so your AC won’t have to re-cool it as frequently. Insulation in the attic is especially important due to the large amount of heat that your roof is likely to absorb. Even an adequately insulated house can become more energy efficient when additional insulation is added. 4. Use attic fans. In the matter of keeping heat from coming into your house through the roof, a multi-pronged approach is best. In addition to beefing up insulation and lightening your roof’s color, you can also use fans in the attic or crawl space to help disperse any heat that builds up before it gets into your living space. Use fans positioned at attic vents to blow excess heat outside. 5. Turn the thermostat up. If you turn your ceiling fans on, you may find that you’ll still be comfortable with the thermostat turned a degree or two higher than usual. And you can save a substantial amount of energy by turning the thermostat up when you leave for work in the morning so that your AC won’t have to work as hard, then turn it down again to keep you comfortable in the evening. Using a programmable thermostat to automate this process can make it almost effortless. These five tips will help you reduce the amount of energy your AC will need to use by reducing its workload. Of course, you’ll...

read more

3 Causes Of A Stinky Basement Toilet

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Causes Of A Stinky Basement Toilet

Having a bathroom in the basement can make your rec room more self-contained and spare guests the need to keep walking up and down the stairs. But having a toilet in the basement poses some potential plumbing issues due to the toilet’s proximity to the main sewer line. If your basement toilet suddenly becomes stinky even when clean, there could be a plumbing issue at play. Here are a few of the potential causes of a stinky basement toilet. Blocked Sewer Pipe Do you have a stinky smell in other areas of your home or do the sinks elsewhere back up when you run the dishwasher or flush a toilet? You might have a blocked sewer pipe. The smell will be worst in the basement toilet since there isn’t a house worth of piping standing between the backing up sewer gases and the basement toilet. Don’t try to unclog a sewer blockage on your own. Sewer gases are potentially dangerous and the blockage could be well under your yard. A professional sewer cleaning service can send a small camera down the line to find any blockages or obstructions that are causing the problem. If the problem is a simple blockage, the plumber will use an auger or snake to clear the line. Sometimes the problem can be due to tree roots pushing through the walls of the pipe and causing both a blockage and a hazardous sewer leak under your yard. The plumber will need to dig into the yard over the damage and replace the pipe with newer pipe. The short-term hassle will be worth not having sewage pouring into your yard and having a basement toilet that doesn’t smell bad constantly. Click here to read more about cleaning sewer and drain lines.  Blocked Vent A clogged sewer line causes gases to back up because your plumbing operates as a vacuum. A blockage at one end disrupts the vacuum and causes the gases and waste to move back in the direction of the open side of the vacuum. Vents, usually located on your roof, are on the opposite side of the vacuum from the sewer line. If your sewer line isn’t clogged, you should check your vents for blockages. Ask a plumber to come in and check the vents if you don’t have the safety equipment required for climbing onto your roof. If you do have the equipment, simply check the ends of the vents for any signs of blockages such as sticks or bird’s nests. During winter, make sure that snow or ice don’t form over the openings of the vents. Weak Wax Ring Are your sewer and vents both clear of blockages? The problem could be in the toilet itself. There’s a wax ring under the main body of the toilet that forms a water- and air-tight seal between the toilet and the sewer line. The wax ring is meant to keep sewer gases from leaking out around the toilet at the time of flushing. Wax rings are easy to replace if you have someone to help you move the toilet. Make sure you immediately block the sewer pipe with wadded up rags to block the gases from rising while you work. You can buy a new wax ring at any hardware store and the package instructions...

read more

3 Unique Privacy Fence Ideas To Add Security And Privacy To Your Home

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Unique Privacy Fence Ideas To Add Security And Privacy To Your Home

If you want to have more security and privacy for your home, adding a new fence can be a good investment. Instead of doing a plain fence, you may want to consider ideas that can also be aesthetically pleasing, such as adding greenery or integrating features like seating. If you want more from your investment in a new fence, here are some great-looking privacy fence ideas that you may want to consider: 1. Giving Your New Fence Privacy With A Green Screen If you want to have a fence that offers privacy, this is usually a solid fence. You may want to have different designs that allow light through and offer little for privacy, such as a chain link fence. If you need to have an alternative solution to add privacy to your fence, you may want to consider adding a green screen with plants. This can be done with ground cover and climbing vines that you train to grow over the fence. Another option that you may want to consider is using evergreen shrubbery to cover your fence and give you privacy all year. 2. Get More Use From Your Fence With Integrated Features If you have a limited amount of space, you may want to consider fence designs that also offer functionality. This can be done by integrating features like bench seating or a vertical garden into your fence. You may also want to use your fence as a backdrop for an outdoor cooking area and patio, which can help give you the privacy you need and a practical backyard cooking or kitchen area. 3. Use Unconventional Materials To Give Your Fence A Unique Look In addition to practical solutions, you may want to consider some less conventional fence design ideas. This can be done by using materials that are not conventionally used in fences, such as adding glass features, which can be frosted to give your privacy. You can also use reclaimed materials like metal roofing, lumber or other waste. Decking materials can be another great solution to give your fence and attractive look with alternative materials. You can combine many of these different materials to create a unique fence design. If you want to add privacy and aesthetics to your home, these are some ideas that can help with a new privacy fence. You can contact a fencing contractor and talk with them about using some of these ideas for your new privacy fence. For a fencing contractor, contact a company such as All Counties Fence and...

read more

How To Fix Noisy Vinyl Siding

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Fix Noisy Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding naturally contracts and expands as the temperature and UV exposure outside change. If vinyl siding in your home is improperly installed, it can cause a cracking or squeaking noise as it moves. This can wake you up in the middle of night, and, in general, is an unnecessary disturbance. Thankfully, fixing your vinyl siding so that it can move properly and noiselessly on the side of your home is a fairly simple process that requires a few basic tools and the right technique. What You’ll Need You’ll need a crowbar, a hacksaw, a hammer, and inch and a quarter roofing nails, all of which can be found at most hardware stores if you don’t already have them at home. You may also need a step ladder, depending on the height the noisy siding is located at. Finding the Noise Vinyl siding that is properly nailed into the side of your home should move about a half inch. Gently grasp the bottom edge of each piece of siding and move it back and forth. If the siding does not move at all, that panel is a noise culprit. Test every board of siding to determine which ones need to be fixed. Fixing the Noise First, take the crow bar and gently shimmy the base of the board above the board that does not move, so that the boards unlock from each other. Lift up the bottom edge of the board above the offending board, and locate the nails that fasten the unmoving board to the side of your home. The reason the board is squeaking is that it is nailed in too tightly, and thus other boards will rub against it as they move during periods of temperature change. Use the hacksaw to cut through the nails holding the board to the side of your home. Then, take the hammer and new roofing nails, and hammer in a new nail immediately next to the old nail. Leave a slight gap between the nail head and the siding so that it can flex somewhat. Repeat the above process for the rest of the nails holding that vinyl siding board in place. Once every nail has been replaced, lock the newly fixed board to the board above it by pulling the bottom edge of the above board down over the upper edge of the fixed board, so the ridges fasten into each other. Repeat as needed for any other noisy vinyl siding...

read more

Comparing Cellulose And Fiberglass Insulation

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Comparing Cellulose And Fiberglass Insulation

Cellulose and fiberglass insulation can be found in most homes around the country, and for good reason. Both are efficient methods at preventing temperature fluctuations within your home, helping you save money on your energy bills and maintaining your home’s comfort level during extreme weather. However, despite providing the same function, the distinct material differences between cellulose and fiberglass insulation give each type of insulation a unique set of advantages. Understanding the differences between the two can help you pick the insulation that best fits your home’s needs. Cellulose Insulation Cellulose insulation is the more affordable option of the two, which makes it a better option for homeowners who have a tight budget to maintain. The exact price of cellulose insulation will depend on the quality and manufacturer of the insulation. Cellulose is made out of recycled newspaper and is installed using a blower. This makes cellulose ideal for hard to reach areas, such as attics or crawl spaces as you don’t have to staple or install the insulation by hand. However, the lower price point of cellulose is somewhat mitigated by the fact that it needs to be installed using a blower. Though blowers can be rented from hardware stores, it is a much better idea to hire a professional from a company like Tracy’s Insulation, Inc. to ensure that the insulation is put into place properly, which can raise the installation costs. Furthermore, if cellulose insulation becomes wet due to a leak in the roof, it will clump up, become largely ineffective, and have to be entirely replaced. Fiberglass Insulation Fiberglass insulation has a similar insulative value to cellulose insulation, and comes in batting, or large rolls of insulation that have to be installed by hand. Unlike cellulose, it does not require any special equipment and can be easily installed by hand, both lowering the installation costs and making it much harder to install the insulation improperly. Fiberglass insulation is also able to withstand water exposure much better than cellulose does and will not need to be replaced if it gets wet. However, fiberglass insulation can irritate your skin and eyes, and care must be taken during the installation process to protect yourself. Furthermore, the less expensive installation process is somewhat mitigated by the higher material cost of fiberglass insulation (again, which will depend on the quality and manufacturer in question). Additionally, the installation process of fiberglass insulation is much more labor intensive, as the batting has to be cut to fit the areas it is to be installed in, which takes longer when compared to cellulose’s blower method of...

read more

Using A Pellet Stove For Supplemental Heating: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Using A Pellet Stove For Supplemental Heating: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are looking to reduce your fuel bills, installing a pellet stove for supplemental heating can be a good choice. In fact, on days when it is not too cold, you can probably even get by with using just the pellet stove. As you begin the process of choosing a pellet stove and having it installed, you might have the following questions: Where should the pellet stove be placed? Usually, you will want to have the pellet stove installed in the part of the home where you spend the most time. This way, its heat will be most concentrated in this area. Many homeowners choose to have their pellet stoves in their living rooms, though you may wish to have it in your bedroom so you can stay toasty warm at night. Note that the stove must be placed in an area where it can easily be ventilated to the outdoors through a wall or ceiling. It will also need to be near an electrical outlet, since the ignition and air-distributing fans are powered by electricity. What is the best way to obtain and store pellets? Wood pellets are sold by many home improvement and big box stores. They come in pre-packed bags. HVAC professionals who install pellet stoves may also sell them directly. To ensure you do not get caught without pellets, it is best to buy them in large quantities. You can store them in a basement or crawl space inside plastic totes to ensure they don’t absorb moisture. Talk to pellet suppliers in your area and see if any are willing to automatically set aside pellets for you at certain intervals (such as on the first of every month) so you don’t arrive ready to pick them up and then find that they’re sold out. What maintenance do pellet stoves require? A pellet stove does need to be properly cleaned and maintained in order to keep functioning properly. About 1–2 times per week, you’ll need to remove and empty the ash drawer. Every couple of weeks, you will want to turn the stove off and vacuum it out. The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you how often to wipe off the heat exchanger. Additionally, about once per year, you will want to have an HVAC tech out to inspect your pellet stove and replace any parts that are showing wear. They will also check your vent system to ensure no harmful fumes are making their way into your home. Using a pellet stove can take some time to get used to, since you will have to refill the pellet feeder and learn to adjust the air flow to meet your needs. Once you adapt to it, however, you will enjoy having this additional source of renewable heating. For more information, talk to a heating contractor in Essex County,...

read more

Identify, Fix And Prevent Septic Line Freezing

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Identify, Fix And Prevent Septic Line Freezing

Freezing temperatures can wreak a havoc on your home’s water and septic systems. You likely know of the issues that can arise when your water lines freeze but did you know that your septic lines can freeze and cause you even more troubles? If your septic lines have frozen, you need to get them thawed and take precautions to prevent it from happening again. Here, you will learn how to do just that.  Identify the Problem Before you get to work thawing your septic lines, you must confirm that they are frozen. If you have experienced freezing temperatures for a few days and the drains have slowed, chances are, the septic lines are frozen. If left unrepaired, you could soon find septic water backing up into your drains and basement. Problems Caused by Frozen Septic Lines As mentioned above, septic water backing up into your home is a potential problem, but it isn’t the only thing to be concerned with. Think about what happens when waterlines freeze – if they aren’t thawed out quickly, the lines burst and you not only have a big mess to clean up, but you also have to replace those lines. The same thing can happen with your septic lines. If you don’t thaw the ice inside the lines quickly, the ice will continue to expand and eventually cause the lines to burst. Thaw the Septic Lines Start by cutting the power to the septic pumps and don’t run anymore water down the drains in your home. If need be, shut off the water supply to your home to ensure that nobody runs any more water into the septic system. Your best option is to contact a professional septic repair person to thaw the lines quickly. The repair person will start the process by using a small camera that can be sent down your septic lines to pinpoint the exact location of the freeze up. After the ice is located, he or she will then send pressurized steam into the line to thaw the ice rapidly. After the ice is thawed, the camera is sent back into the lines to inspect them for any cracks or damage. Prevent Future Freezes Your septic lines froze because they aren’t buried deep enough under the ground. Insulate the lines better by covering the area with mulch or top soil. Adding several inches of mulch or top soil should do the trick, but if you continue to have problems, the lines may need to be wrapped with heat tape to fix the problem for good. Talk with a local septic professional (such as one from Burleson Septic Cleaning) to learn more about protecting your septic lines from the bitter cold temperatures of...

read more

Essential Tips For Storing Your Propane During The Winter

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Essential Tips For Storing Your Propane During The Winter

Whether you use propane to power your equipment, heat your home or simply keep it in case of an emergency, you probably know that storing it correctly is important. During the winter months, it can be even more important to protect your propane. Luckily, following these tips can help you store it the right way when the temperatures plunge. Use the Right Type of Tank Storage in the right type of propane tank is always important, and it can be particularly important during the winter, when the propane can be at risk of separating. Make sure that you use a tank that is designed to be used to store propane, and inspect it carefully to ensure that there is no rust and no other issues. Invest in a Heater Have you ever thought about investing in a tank heater? Basically, a tank heater is designed to keep your propane tank at a reasonable temperature. It won’t keep it particularly warm, but it will prevent it from getting too cold when the temperatures are at freezing levels. This is an effective way to keep your propane in good shape all winter long. Keep it Full Now is the time to go ahead and fill up all of your propane tanks to the brim. Not only is it a good idea to do so to ensure that you have ample propane to last you through the winter, but it can also help with storage. Basically, if the tanks are completely filled, it helps cut down on the amount of condensation that can form inside the tanks when the temperatures are cold. Since condensation can cause serious problems for propane, this is important. It’s an easy and effective way to prevent potential dilution of your propane all winter long, but it’s a good tip to follow year-round to prevent condensation from ever forming. Add an Additive There are additives on the market — such as the ones that you can purchase from the same company that fills your propane tanks — that you can add to your propane to help keep it stabilized when it’s cold. Add one of these additives to each tank at the start of winter to help prevent separation. As you can see, there are a few simple yet essential tips that you can follow when storing propane for the winter. Follow these tips and check out the site if you want to keep your propane in good...

read more

Paint Your Chain Link Fence For A Desired Effect

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Paint Your Chain Link Fence For A Desired Effect

If you have a chain link fence around your yard and you don’t like the bland coloring of it, you can easily paint it any color you want. Painting the fence the same color as the trim of your house can help tie it in to the house’s style. Painting it the same color as the grass in your yard can make it less noticeable. Once you choose the color you want your fence to be, you can follow the instructions below to paint it yourself. Remove any rust from the fence If you have areas of rust on the fence, you want to remove them by using a wire brush. Spraying a primer on the areas where rust is known to occur will help to prevent it from coming back. Lay something down to protect the grass Take a large piece of plastic or cardboard and lay it on the ground opposite the side of the fence you are going to be painting first. If there is a little bit of wind blowing, take some rocks or bricks and place them on all four corners of the covering so it doesn’t get blown upward and kick dirt onto the fresh paint. Paint the fence Make sure there isn’t a lot of wind when you go to paint the fence. Also, it shouldn’t be a very hot day or the paint can start to dry before it hits the fence. This will cause the paint job to look rough, and the paint can easily chip off. Paint the fence from the top to the bottom, moving in a left to right motion. Once you have painted one entire side, do the same thing for the other side. Allow the paint to dry completely before you allow people to walk around the area where the fence is so you don’t have to worry about dust, grass or leaves getting kicked up on the fence and sticking to the paint. While painting your fence is a great way to get it looking the way you want, there are also other options available to you. If you would like to change the look of your fence in a way that also adds more privacy, you can get rolled wood fencing you roll along the fence and attach to it. There are also slats you can put through the fencing for extra privacy, which come in many styles and colors. Click here for info about chain link fencing...

read more

3 Foundation Problems And The Repairs That Can Correct The Damage

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Foundation Problems And The Repairs That Can Correct The Damage

Damage to the foundation of your home can be caused by different problems. Depending on the type of foundation you have, it may be due to static water pressure or it can be due to things like settling. The repairs that are needed for these problems will differ greatly. Here are some of the repairs that you may need for your foundation: 1. Settling Slab Foundations In Loose Soils Settling slabs can have a lot of problems. This is common in areas with soft soils, such as deltas and swamps near the coast. There are several things that can be done to deal with these problems, such as installing tensioned concrete cables. This method consists of installing cables beneath the foundation and applying tension to them. The cables hold the concrete together as one piece to prevent uneven settling, which can cause cracks in your foundation. There are also pier systems, which can be driven beneath the footings of your foundation. The piers can also be used to jack up areas of your home that have already settled. 2. Cracks In Foundation Walls Of Crawl Space Foundations Crawl space foundations can also have problems. These problems can be due to the settling of the foundation walls beneath your home. They can become cracked as your house settles, which can often happen with brick, stone and concrete block foundations. To repair these problems, the cracks in the walls will need to be fixed and support added to the footings. This can also include installing piers to support areas of weakness in your foundation.  With older homes that have had walls added to them, the walls may need to be temporarily removed and supporting footings added to the walls. This can be common in historic homes with pier systems that predate modern building codes. 3. Static Water Pressure Causing Damage To Basement Foundations Static water pressure is another problem that can cause damage to home foundations. This is common with basement foundations because the walls are below grade levels. This is caused by groundwater that seeps against foundation walls and causes pressure. Eventually, the pressure can cause walls to crack and other structural problems. To fix this, you will need to have the cracks in foundation walls repaired. You may also want to do improvements to the drainage around your home to help prevent this type of foundation problem. These are some of the repairs that you may need to have done for your foundation. If your home is in need of repair to prevent structural problems, contact a foundation repair service to help the problems evaluated and the find the right...

read more