Time to Raise The Roof

Four Tips To Help You Get Ready For A Cold Winter With Heating Maintenance

While it may be hot now, it is soon going to be getting cold and you want to be prepared for the winter. This means doing maintenance to ensure that your family is ready. You also want to revise your heating system and make sure that everything is in good shape before the first frost comes. Here are some tips to help you prepare your heating for the cold winter ahead:

1. Turn Everything Off Before Working On Mechanicals

Before you begin working on any mechanical systems, you will want to make sure everything that is off. Turn off the main power switch for your HVAC system, which will be located near the unit. If you have gas or oil systems, make sure that the fuel valves are also in the off position before you start doing maintenance.

2. Clean Out The Fire Chamber Of Your System

Most systems will also have a fire chamber. This is where the fire from the furnace provides heat for your home. You should have an access panel to clean out the chamber. You will want to use a chimney sweeping tool to clean out all the ash and debris from the inside of this chamber.

3. Inspect Exhaust Systems And Ventilation In Area Of The Unit

Exhaust of your system is also important. You will want to check all the pipes to make sure that they are connected properly and that there is no damage. If your furnace is in a closed space, check to make sure that it has proper ventilation, such as vented doors or a special exhaust outlet vent. If you have vents that open and close, make sure that they are open before you start using your heating.

4. Change The Filter, Check Ductwork And Inspect Blower

The last step in your seasonal maintenance is to change the filter and inspect the ducts and blower. Open the access panel and look to see that the blower compartment is free of debris. If it is dirty and dusty, you can use vacuum attachments to clean it out. Check the ducts for damage and loose insulation, repairing any damage you find before turning your system on.

These are things that you will want to do to prepare your heating for the summer months. If you need help with maintenance and repairs to your heating before the cold gets here, contact an HVAC contractor, like Thompson Heating & Air Conditioning Inc, and talk with them about helping you with some of these tasks.

Learn More

What Countertop Materials Work For Outdoor Kitchens?

Outdoor kitchens provide the ability to cook and eat meals in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery around you. When building an outdoor kitchen, you will need to decide on the countertop material. Here are some of the best countertops available for outdoor kitchens.

Concrete

Concrete is a great material to use for your outdoor kitchen countertops, not just because of the stability of the countertops, but also because it is an outdoor-friendly material. You won’t deal with damage to the countertops due to heavy winds, rain, or other weather conditions. They can also be made to look any way you like with the help of decorative stamps, dyes, and paint. They are not susceptible to dents and scratches, so while you should still use cutting boards, they won’t take much damage if you accidentally cut them or drop something heavy on top. Concrete is also among one of the least expensive materials for countertops.

Granite

For a high-end countertop option, consider having granite installed. This provides a luxury look if you not only want to cook outside, but you want the ultimate in entertaining. Granite has some excellent properties for kitchens since it is highly resistant to heat, is easy to keep clean, and is very durable. On the downside, you will naturally pay more for granite. Installation might also cost a little more since specialized tools are used to cut it and the material itself is very heavy. You should also be aware that it can get stains from grease, so be careful cooking around these countertops.

Flagstone

If you are going for more of a rustic appearance for your outdoor kitchen, consider having flagstone countertops installed. This is a more cost-friendly option while also providing the natural look of outdoor spaces. It is installed by using mortar and grout in the joints in between the flagstone tiles. While it can provide a unique appearance and is generally acceptable for outdoor kitchens, it is also easy to stain and difficult to clean. To remedy this, flagstone should be sealed properly and re-sealed on a regular basis.

Soapstone

Another unique countertop option for your outdoor kitchen is soapstone. This is also very resistant to heat and staining, similar to granite, so it is an excellent option. However, it can be scratched easily, so you need to be careful when using it. Always have a cutting board around so you don’t accidentally scratch the surface of your new countertops. It will also get fingerprints and other spots if you don’t seal it.

For more information, contact a kitchen remodeling contractor.

Learn More

Tips For Keeping Your Home’s Foundation In Great Shape

Every homeowner takes pride in keeping their house in top shape. That said, a house is a complex building and it can be difficult to keep tabs on all elements of your family’s home. One area that can sometimes be overlooked is your house’s foundation. This critical area of your home can degrade over time if you do not monitor things like the water drainage around your property.

If you want to avoid having to call a foundation repair service, here are a few tips to keep your home in great shape:

Check Gutters and Downspouts

One of the biggest keys to keeping the bottom of your home in good shape starts at the top. Most houses have a gutter or downspout system installed in order to keep water from pooling on the roof and causing a problem.

But if these systems are not functioning properly, they can actually cause a problem elsewhere. Keep your gutters and downspouts free of debris in order to avoid a clog. A clog could cause water to fall only in a specific location and cause water to pool, and that’s bad news for your foundation.

Keep an Eye on the Grade

A good grade when it comes to your house’s foundation means the degree at which the ground slopes away from your house. This slope within 10 feet of your foundation should be at about 3 to 5 percent. If you notice that water is puddling in a specific section, it may be because the grade is not what is should be.

A foundation repair specialist can fix any problems you discover before they become a larger issue. If the grade is a persistent problem, you could consider getting a french drain installed in order to solve the issue.

Don’t Forget the Plumbing

While a large part of good foundation maintenance has to do with monitoring water outside the house, don’t forget to check the pipes inside. An annual plumbing inspection can periodically check for leaks that might be doing internal damage to your house’s foundation with you even realizing it. 

When it comes to taking care of your house, don’t overlook your home’s foundation. Inspect your gutters and downspouts on a regular basis and ensure that no clogs are developing. If you do notice a pool of water starting to develop, get some assistance to fix the grade of the slope around your house or consider installing a new drain. Regular plumbing inspections are also a good idea.

Contact a company like Reynolds Construction with any questions or concerns you have.

Learn More

Find What You Need When You Need It: Material Handling Equipment That Gets You Organized

Your construction crew may refer to you as obsessive compulsive or anal retentive, but the fact is a well-organized equipment truck makes the job run more smoothly. For maximum efficiency. and a place for everything and everything in its place. nothing beats material handling equipment, especially racking. Both your trucks and your work shed can be outfitted to suit your organizational needs in the following ways.

Racking Inside or on Your Trucks

Putting racks inside your cargo vans or on the outside of your pick-up trucks is not as hard as you might think. For the insides of your cargo vans, louvered racking is ideal. You can power-screw the louvered panels to the sides of the interior of the truck, and then all of the little hang and stack bins you can mount onto the louvered panels. The bins themselves can be color-coded–blue for nails, red for screws, yellow for nuts, etc., or you can just use whatever size bins you need and label them all on the front of each bin with a permanent marker.

On the outside of commercial pick-up trucks, you can use modular storage unit pieces, bolted to the bed of the truck, which can also be locked for safety. Another possibility is compartmented drawers, which would hold a lot of small fasteners inside a box, none of which could be jostled out of the trucks or lost in a mess in the back of the trucks. To really make compartmented drawer bins work for your work trucks, you might also consider horizontal bin cabinets, which can store every type of hand tool and fastener in the construction trade.

On-Site Storage

Undoubtedly, you have some sort of storage shed for equipment when you are onsite, or you keep the majority of small metal goods and tools in the office trailer with you. To avoid a ton of clutter and help your crew find what it is they are looking for quickly, you could purchase peg or slat boards on which you can mount both bins for fasteners and pegs for hand tools and small power tools. Additionally, if you have your workers sign tools out and/or record what supplies they remove from your inventory, then you can also keep track of what you need to replenish and verify it with the bins on the boards. Everything is labeled, in its place and accounted for when you utilize these racking and storage options.

Speak to a company like Tri State Surplus Co to learn more.

Learn More

Preventing And Repairing Garbage Disposal Jams

The garbage disposal is a must-have appliance in many kitchens. It makes cleaning up a breeze, since leftover food can go right down the sink, without any need for plate scraping or smelly garbage hanging about. Garbage disposals aren’t always a replacement for the trash can, though. Putting the wrong thing down the sink can result in a jam, which will put the disposal and the sink out of commission until it’s fixed. Understand what causes jams and what you can do if they happen.

Clogs: Common Causes

Garbage disposals use a system of spinning blades to grind and mash food into a liquid paste before it passes into the drain system. Certain items can gum up the blades so they don’t move, resulting in a messy clog. The following items are generally a no-no for the disposal:

  • Anything with stringy fibers, including corn husks and large pieces of celery, can wrap around the blades.
  • Gummy foods, like pasta and rice, become paste-like when mashed in the disposal, leading to a major clog.
  • Greasy foods, including bacon grease and oils, can solidify in the drain and disposal, leading to both a clog and a foul odor.
  • Any non-food item, such as paper, twist ties, glass, and sponges, can lead to an instant jam.

Basic Repair

Often, you can repair the jammed disposal on your own. First and foremost, you need to turn off all power to the disposal before you begin. Then, you will need to check the main disposal unit under the sink. There will be a place to insert an hex wrench in the bottom of the unit. Garbage disposals usually come with their own wrench, which you may find under the sink or taped to the side of the disposal unit. If not, you can use any wrench that fits.

Insert the wrench into the disposal and try turning it in either direction. You will likely have to use some force to get it to move, and then wiggle it back and forth until it moves easily. This turns the blades inside the unit, forcing the jam through.

Once this is done, turn the disposal back on and run water through it until it is clear and working well. In the future, always make sure you are running water down the drain when the disposal is running, since this will help minimize the chances for a clog. If for some reason this won’t clear the jam, contact a local plumber or repair technician from a company like Gold Seal Plumbing. They will be able to quickly fix diagnose and fix the problem and get your disposal running again.

Learn More

How To Repair Broken Obstruction Sensors

A garage door that comes down on your car, a child, or a pet can cause some real damage. Thus, modern garage doors are equipped with an obstruction sensor. However, if this obstruction sensor starts to malfunction, your garage door will not close like it should. Your first instinct might be to call for repairs, but before you do, you should inspect your garage door to see what you can do on your own. 

How Obstruction Sensors Work

You will have two obstruction sensors, which will be located on either side of your garage about six inches from the ground. Each sensor will have an electronic eye and a laser. The laser will run from sensor to sensor and as long as the beam is unbroken, your door will close just fine. However, if something breaks the beam, the sensors will send a signal to your motor to reverse the direction of your door. This is how it works in an ideal situation, but if your motion sensors are not working like they should, your door will not operate properly. 

Diagnosing Sensor Problems

If your garage door starts to close, then suddenly reverses itself, you likely have a problem with your sensor. You may be able to close the door by holding the button down on your wall closer, but this is not a permanent fix. 

Repairing a Malfunctioning Sensor

There are three main things that can go wrong with a sensor. Two of those problems you can take care of on your own, and one requires the help of a professional. They are as follows:

  1. Located near the floor of your garage, sensors can get obscured by windblown debris, dust, and spider webs. Thus, your first step in troubleshooting your sensors should be to clean them.
  2. If cleaning them doesn’t help, move your sensors from side to side then up and down. Your sensors should be equipped with a light that glows green when both sensors are in alignment. Keep maneuvering your sensors until you see the green light.
  3. If you try steps one and two, and you can’t get your sensors to work, you likely have an electrical problem, and you will need to call a garage repair company to correct the problem.

Not every problem you have with your garage door requires a professional. Doing some troubleshooting on your own can help you to save money, but if you make your best effort and still can’t get your door working, it is time to call for reinforcements.

Learn More

Regularly Clean Your Home’s Rain Gutters So They Can Protect Your Home

Since your home’s rain gutters serve the vital function of directing storm water away from the base of your home, it is important that you regularly clean out the leaves, pine needles, and dirt that tends to accumulate in the bottom of rain gutters.

Follow these simple steps to properly clean your home’s rain gutters:

Step 1: Remove Leaves Manually

The first step to clean your home’s rain gutters is to safely climb on a folding ladder. For this project, you should use a ladder with a shelf so that you have a place to put a bucket to collect the leaves from the gutters. For safety, stand on the first step of the ladder and jump up and down a bit before you climb up. If the ladder doesn’t move, then the ground will be stable enough to hold your weight. If the ladder starts to sink into the ground, then you can place a piece of plywood under it.

Wearing rubber gloves, you should remove all of the solid material found in the gutters. You can use a gutter scooping tool or a large plastic kitchen spoon to help make the project easier. Never use a metal spoon in your gutters as it can damage the gutter.

Once you have removed all of the leaves, you can compost the material for use in your garden.

Step 2: Spray the Gutter Tracks and Downspouts

Using your garden hose with a nozzle attachment or a pressure washer, wash down all of the long gutter tracks and the downspout pipes to remove any lingering dirt or leaves. If you use a pressure washer for this project, be sure that you do not aim it at the underside of the roof’s shingles as this can damage the integrity of the roof.

Step 3: Treat Any Biological Contaminates

If you find any mold, mildew, or moss growing in your home’s gutter system, then you should treat it. You can spray it with a mixture of chlorine bleach and some warm water. Spray the area with the bleach mixture and scrub it with a stiff brush to remove. Wash down the gutter and paint on your home to remove any bleach to prevent it from doing any damage.

Step 4: Inspect the Gutter System for Damage

Once your gutter system is cleaned, then you should walk all the way around the perimeter of your home and check for any damage that needs to be repaired. Things that you should look for include:

  • holes
  • cracks
  • missing rivets
  • missing spikes
  • damaged caulking

Additionally, if your home has older metal rain gutters, then you also need to check for missing paint or signs of rust. If you find any rust it must be sanded, treated, and repainted to prevent it from spreading.

A Note About Gutter Guards

If you do not like cleaning your gutters or live in an area with a lot of trees, then you should consider having gutter guards installed on your home’s rain gutter system. The gutter guards are made in such a way that they allow water to drain from your roof and keep leaves and pine needles out of the rain gutters. This eliminates the need for you to clean your home’s gutters.

Conclusion

By regularly cleaning your home’s rain gutters, you are preventing water from damaging your exterior paint, landscaping, and your home’s foundation. If you are interested in having gutter guards installed or are in need of professional gutter cleaning, you should contact a local rain gutter cleaning company like Mr. Gutter for assistance.

Learn More