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Considering A Master Bath Remodel? What You Should Know About Steam Showers

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Considering A Master Bath Remodel? What You Should Know About Steam Showers

If you’re looking for a unique shower enclosure for your home’s master bathroom, you might want to consider installing a steam shower. Steam showers are usually slightly oversized in comparison to standard showers and they feature a watertight seal around the door to keep the steam inside. Here’s a look at the basics of steam shower installation to help you decide. Waterproofing Options The steam shower enclosure has to be waterproof to hold the steam and water spray inside, but there are many different ways to do that. For example, you may decide that you want to cover the studs and ceiling with a layer of thick plastic sheeting. Then, you can cover the sheeting with concrete board that’s been treated with a waterproof sealant. Once the concrete board is secured, you can cover it with tile or whatever type of material you prefer. You may instead opt for sheet metal for finishing. If you use sheet metal, you won’t need the extra plastic. Instead, the metal panels will be welded together to seal them completely. Then, you can go around the edges with caulk to ensure that there are no open areas where moisture can seep. Electrical Needs Steam showers must have a dedicated circuit for power, including a separate circuit breaker. That’s important because, if the steam shower system malfunctions, you need to be able to shut down the power to it right away without affecting any other circuit in the house. When you install the enclosure, have an electrician add the circuit for the power supply. Steam Generation In order for a steam shower to be really effective, it requires a separate steam generator. This produces more steam than you could get from a hot shower alone. Most steam generators can be installed either alongside the outer edge of the enclosure or even underneath a cabinet or in a nearby linen closet. Just make sure you choose a place where the steam generator can connect directly to your main plumbing line that runs to your shower. In addition, you’ll need somewhere for the drain line to run. The drain line is where the condensation flows out away from the generator. Before you decide what kind of shower enclosure you’re going to add to your home’s master bathroom, talk with a kitchen and bath specialist about the benefits of steam showers and whether or not one would work for your home. Click here to get more...

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3 Essential Parts Of Window Air Conditioner Maintenance

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Essential Parts Of Window Air Conditioner Maintenance

The comfort and sense of luxury provided by window air conditioners make them among the most beloved home appliances. Yet these positive qualities can quickly become undermined if you don’t take proper care of your AC. If you would like to learn more about how to keep your air conditioner running strong, read on. This article will introduce you to three essential areas of maintenance. Keep your air filter clean. One of the nice things about window ACs is that, unlike their central air conditioning kin, their air filters are generally reusable. However, this requires that you clean them on a fairly regular basis–ideally once a month or so during summer months or other periods of heavy use. Most air filters are accessed via the front of the AC. The filter should pull readily out of its slot. Let it soak for a little while in a sinkful of warm, soapy water. Then use your sink sprayer to rinse it clean. Stubborn areas of dirt may be loosened up with the use of a scrub brush. Once clean, allow the filter to dry thoroughly before reinstalling it in the machine. Straighten out the condenser fins. On the side of your AC that points out of the window is an array of thin metallic condenser fins. The purpose of these fins is to help displace the unwanted heat from inside of your house or apartment. Over time, these fins tend to take a beating, getting bumped, banged, and bent out of shape. Unfortunately, bent fins are much less efficient at transferring heat. The good news is that straightening your fins isn’t much more difficult than combing your hair, provided you have the right tool. Conveniently enough, the tool you will need is known as a fin comb. All you have to do is slot the teeth of the comb into place, and  draw this comb gently along the fins. Remove built-up dust from the fans. All window ACs come equipped with two fans. One of these is situated next to the evaporator, while the other is next to the condenser. They both serve to keep these important internal components from overheating and blowing out. As time goes on, they both also tend to accumulate gross buildups of dust and gunk. Oftentimes, the dust will escape past the air filter and end up being circulated with the cooled air. Ensure cleaner air by washing off your air conditioner’s fans from time to time. Because the delicate electrical components are sealed off, this task can easily be accomplished using a garden hose without causing any undue harm.  For air conditioning maintenance, contact a company such as Nathan’s Heating & Air Conditioning,...

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Embellish A Plain, Glass Railing’s Surface With An Etched Design

Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Embellish A Plain, Glass Railing’s Surface With An Etched Design

Add an etched design to a plain, glass railing inside of your home to add aesthetic value and appeal. Once you have finished the project, the railing will have a unique appearance that will stand out and add a considerable amount of beauty to the inside of your home Materials Needed glass cleaner soft cloth cerium oxide buffing cloth towel self-adhesive stencils etching cream plastic bowl mixing stick paintbrush wet rag bucket of water ​Clean And Buff The Glass Surface Remove dirt and fingerprints from the glass railing’s surface with glass cleaner and a soft cloth, and reduce the appearance of scratches in the glass surface by rubbing a buffing pad over them that has a few drops of cerium oxide added to it. Move the pad over the scratches in small circles while pressing down in a firm manner. Once the scratches have faded as much as you could get them to, rinse away any cerium oxide that remains with a damp cloth and dry the glass railing with a towel. Add A Design To The Railing Purchase self-adhesive stencils that depict a design that you prefer. A floral pattern or fancy swirls are a couple of ideas that may provide the railing with an attractive finish. Secure the patterns across various parts of the railing. Cover any imperfections that are still visible in the glass and use a ruler to assist with placing the stencils evenly across the railing. Pour some etching cream into a plastic bowl. Mix the cream for a couple minutes to eliminate any air bubbles. Apply the cream to openings in each stencil with a paintbrush. Wait a few minutes for the cream to change the way that the glass looks. The glass that was covered with cream will have a cloudy appearance once this occurs. Rinse The Cream From The Railing  Dip a rag into a bucket of water and wring it out. Use the damp rag to remove the cream from the railing. Rinse the rag out as you complete this step so that cream that was previously removed is not reapplied to the railing’s surface. Once the cream has been removed, wait for the etched sections to dry. Afterwards, remove the stencils. Dispose of any leftover cream.  The glass railing will have an eye-catching appearance that you can enjoy on a daily basis. Keep it maintained by removing dirty residue from its surface with a soft cleaning cloth and mild detergent. For more information, options, or assistance with your glass railing, contact railing installation companies, like California...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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