Time to Raise The Roof

3 Tips To Remember When Installing Solar Panels On Your Roof

Solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular method of reducing energy costs for families. Unfortunately, when the panels are improperly installed on the roof, they can be damaging to your home.  To help with the installation of your solar panels, here are some tips to keep in mind. 

Review the Local Housing Codes

Your solar panel project should start by researching the local housing codes so that you do not violate them with the installation. The codes can vary from city to city, but there are some basics that apply in most areas. 

For instance, some cities require that there is enough room for firefighters to be able to walk the roofing in case of an emergency. Your contractor can help create a plan for placing the panels. 

An inspector will also want to ensure that your electrical service panel fits your current electrical supply. The solar panel could be feeding more electricity through the current panel than it can handle. If that is the case, you will need a new service panel.

Install Panels With a Comparable Lifespan to Your Roofing

Once the solar panels are affixed to your home, removing them can cause damage to your roof. Not only can the panels become damaged, but also the roofing. 

It is because of this you need to install panels that have a comparable lifespan to your roofing. For instance, if you have an asphalt roof that has approximately 10 years left before it needs to be replaced, look for panels that offer 10 years of coverage. 

Your roofing contractor might recommend waiting on the panels until it is time to install a new roof. At that time, you can shop for panels and roofing that have the same lifespan.

Install Drainage for Water

Normally, water that is on your roof trickles down into the gutters and through the downspouts. Once the solar panels are installed, though, the flow of water from your roof and into the gutters could be interrupted. As a result, the water can start to pool up on your roof. The longer the water sits, the more likely it is to seep through the roofing and into your home. 

To avoid this, you and your contractor need to ensure that there is a path for the water to flow through on the roof. You can also rely on a vacuum system to help pull the water off the roof and out into the yard.

For more information, contact East Texas Roof Works & Sheet Metal LLC. or a similar company.

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Outdoor Kitchens: 3 Types Of Lighting You Need For Different Areas

While you may think that the most important part of your outdoor kitchen is the actual kitchen itself, it may actually be the lighting. After all, you can’t cook in the dark if you decide to entertain in the evening. Therefore, you will need to make sure you have adequate lighting for the three main areas of your outdoor kitchen.

Task Lighting in the Grill Area

When it comes to the lighting design of the outdoor kitchen area, one of the most important parts is the grill area. Part of the reason for this is due to food safety issues. The person cooking the food must be able to tell if the food is being cooked properly prior to taking the food off the grill and serving it to guests. LEDs are an excellent type of light for grill task lighting as they provide a bright white light that will help you see clearly. This will ensure that the food is not only safe to eat, but that it is also being presented well. Also, the U.S. Department of Energy says that LEDs do not put off a lot of heat, which is important because there is already plenty of heat coming off of the grill so you don’t need a light bulb adding additional heat to the area.

Ambient Lighting in the Eating Area

Once you’ve figured out the grill lighting, it’s time to take care of the lighting in the eating area. You will want to figure out a way to keep insect attraction at a minimum. LEDS make for a great type of lighting in the eating area as they’re durable and energy-efficient. In fact, the Department of Energy states that LED bulbs will use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent lighting. Now, to help keep insects away, you can install ceiling fans in the dining area. This will also help with climate control. In addition, tiki torches, incense and anti-pest plants may be used around the eating area to help repel insects.

Safety Lighting Along the Walkways

The last step in your outdoor kitchen lighting design is figuring out the lighting along the walkways from the home to the outdoor kitchen. You can use low-voltage lighting to line the pathways, or you can use LED lighting like you have with the above areas. The great thing about LED lights is that they’re energy-efficient, long-lasting and cost-effective. You have several options with walkway lighting, depending on the type of pathway that you are lighting. For example, if you are lighting steps, you can use lights placed in the steps themselves. If you’re lighting a pebble rock landscape path, you could choose miniature lanterns on ground stakes.

For help with the design and installation of the lighting in your outdoor kitchen area, consult with a professional electrical contractor from a company like B & N Electric Company Inc.

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Create The Right Mood In Any Room By Installing Dimmer Switches

Being able to control the lighting in any room lets you set the mood for any activity. Turn down the chandelier lighting in the dining room for that candlelit dinner. Lower the lights in the family room for a cozy evening. With a few household tools, you can change regular light switches to dimmer switches. When you’re ready to create your own mood lighting, here is how to install dimmer switches throughout the house.

Tools You’ll Need

  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • wire cutters/strippers

From the home improvement store:

  • a dimmer switch for each light you wish to control
  • decorative wall plate to cover the switch (you won’t be able to use the old cover plate)

Note that some dimmer switches only work with the old incandescent bulbs. Other switches work with the new compact fluorescent lights (CFL). Make sure that you buy the dimmer switch that matches the type of light bulbs you wish to control.

Replacing the Light Switch

  1. Turn the electricity off to the light switch at the circuit panel for the house.
  2. Remove the decorative cover from the light switch.
  3. Loosen the two screws holding the switch in the junction box.
  4. Pull the switch out of the box with the wires behind it.
  5. Unscrew the green or copper screw holding the ground wire onto the switch and remove the wire.
  6. Cut the black and white wires going into the back of the switch as close to the switch as possible.
  7. Strip about a half inch of insulation from the ends of the black and white wires.
  8. Secure the end of the green ground wire to the green or copper screw on the dimmer switch.
  9. Push the bare end of the black wire into the hole on the back of the dimmer switch marked “Black” or “Hot.”
  10. Push the bare end of the white wire into the hole on the back of the dimmer switch marked “White” or “Neutral.”
  11. Push the wires into the junction box followed by the dimmer switch.
  12. Secure the dimmer switch in the junction box with the two screws.
  13. Place the decorative cover on the switch.
  14. Turn the electricity back on to the switch.

Problems You May Encounter

If you have any of the following problems, you’ll need the help of a residential electrical services company to address them.

  • The old light switch only has two wires going to it. This likely means there is no ground wire. An electrician will need to run a ground wire to the switch.
  • The wires are a different color than the standard black, white and green. The electrician will have to sort out the wires for you and replace them with the standard colors. To learn more, visit a website like http://aaaeinc.com/.
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4 Benefits Of Hiring A Property Management Company When You Own Rental Property

Owning rental properties can be a great investment– tenants can cover the cost of the mortgage while your properties rise in value. But acting as a landlord can be stressful and time consuming, especially if you are not experienced. Many rental property owners turn to property management companies to take care of many of the responsibilities of being a landlord. There are many advantages to hiring a rental property management company, such as:

Lower Vacancy Time

When a rental property is sitting empty, you’re losing money, so it is important to have as low of a vacancy time as possible. Property management companies can help reduce the time of vacancy because they have a large pool of renters and a marketing plan to make sure that your rental home is seen by people planning to rent in the immediate future. Utilizing the services of a property management company can help ensure that you have tenants renting your property and sending in rent checks year round.

Higher Quality Tenants

One of the biggest challenges of owning rental property is finding good tenants who will take care of your home and pay rent on time. If you are an inexperienced landlord, there is a good chance that you may make some mistakes when it comes to selecting tenants. On the other hand, rental property management companies specialize in selecting good tenants, so they will know what things to look for when someone applies to rent a property. Your property rental company can be a very valuable resource in helping place great tenants in your property.

Fewer Legal Problems

Most states have numerous rental laws for both landlords and tenants, and if you are not extremely familiar with them you can run into problems as a landlord. Luckily, property management companies typically have staff members in the legal field who work to ensure that all aspects of the rental lease and rental application process comply with local laws. In the event that you find that you have to evict tenants, a property management company will know how to do so legally.

Your Home is Maintained

In most cases, landlords are responsible for maintaining the property and making repairs in a timely manner. If you try to manage your rental property yourself, you may get phone calls at any time requesting service or repairs. This can be frustrating, especially if you own several rental properties. When you work with a property management company, they will field calls from tenants and arrange for any maintenance or repairs that need to be made.

If you’re looking for a property management company, visit Advanced Property Management.

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Green Options For Paving A Driveway

Driveways will eventually fall into a state of disrepair with cracks and fading from years of wear and tear. You can fix these problems with patches as a short-term solution, but you’ll need to repave your entire driveway at some point. If sustainability is a concern for you, the materials that you use can influence how you repave your driveway. Thankfully, there are several paving products that are environmentally friendly for homeowners that want to go green. By understanding what your options are, you can decide if they are best for your home

Permeable Concrete

A relatively new paving product that is available to you is permeable concrete, with the main concern that it will alleviate being environmentalism. A typical paved surface will not allow water to seep through it so that the water can soak into soil under the surface. Instead, water runs off the surface while collecting all sorts of pollutants and contaminants on your driveway. The water eventually goes into the sewer system as part of the normal water waste. The ground will be deprived of moisture, while the water supply in your city sees increased pollution.

Permeable concrete addresses this problem by being porous, which allows the water to soak right through the microscopic pores founds in the paved surface. Since permeable concrete can drain 4″ of water each minute, it will be able to handle drainage even in heavy rainstorms.

You may need to contact a professional to locate this type of ready mix for permeable concrete. The material is not easily found in local home improvement stores.

Hollywood Driveway

Your home’s driveway can be environmentally friendly while also having a glamorous look to it. A Hollywood driveway, also referred to as a ribbon driveway, uses two strips of concrete that are slightly bigger than the width of your car’s tires. The remainder of the driveway is filled in with soil or grass. It allows water to run off into all the surrounding grass naturally. The construction process will also be cheaper, since you’ll be using fewer materials.

Don’t make compromises in terms of environmental impact when having a driveway paved. Now that you know of some alternative paving methods, you can make an informed decision about which one is the best fit from your home. If you still have questions about green options for your driveway, contact a local paving company in your area, like Interstate Paving LLC.

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Maintaining Your New Hardwood Floors

If you’ve just completed the installation process for a new hardwood floor, congratulations! Natural wood brings beauty and sophistication to just about any room–no matter the aesthetic. However, if you’ve never dealt with hardwood floors before, you might not know how to maintain them properly.

The good news is that caring for your new floors isn’t that complicated. If you keep a few things in mind and do a little preparatory work, your floors can withstand the rigors of daily life and look their best for years to come.

Immediate Preparations

When it comes to your new floors, the three most important things to prepare for are furniture, pets, and children. These are the elements in your home that will scratch or otherwise damage your floor most often. By taking a few preventative measures right away, you can do a lot to prevent undue damage from these factors.

First, purchase and install scratch guards for all of your furniture. You might not plan on moving your dining room table right now, but you’ll be glad you have protection when the time comes. Also, consider purchasing throw rugs for any areas that are frequent stops for your pets and children. A play room should have an area rug in the middle of the room, at minimum.

Weekly Care

The most important thing you need to do to protect your floors is frequent dusting. Pet hair and dirt, while seemingly minor, can cause scratches on your floor over time. It’s important that you remove them from your floor on a regular basis. 

The best way to do this is with a dust mop or a vacuum with a floor brush attachment. It’s a good idea to treat the mop with a dusting agent–usually a spray product that can be purchased in any home store. Also, do not use a vacuum with a beater bar attachment. This is a great setup for deep cleaning carpets, but will damage your floor when used.

Seasonal Care

Once every few months, you’ll want to deeply clean your floors using a wood cleaner. It’s important to follow the product’s instructions and to dilute the product with water. You don’t want to use too harsh of a cleaning solution on your floor.

On top of that, it’s critical that you wring the mop out completely and remove standing water from the floor when you’re done. Puddles can permanently damage your floor if they’re left alone. You might also choose to use fans in order to totally rid the floor’s surface of moisture and humidity.

Hardwood floors are an investment in the beauty and value of your home. With proper care, they’ll provide years of excellent form and function.

For help with hardwood floor installation, click the link or do an online search.

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2 Methods For Winterizing Your Sprinkler Systems

With freezing temperatures right around the corner, you might want to look into winterizing your home now before it is too late. One of the things that you need to winterize is your sprinkler system. You have to get the water out of the pipes, sprinkler heads, and valves to prevent any damage from occurring. This will protect your irrigation system and prevent costly repairs when summer rolls around. To help you get your system properly winterized, try one of the following methods.

Manual Draining

If you are attempting to use this particular method, you have to first locate the manual drain valve. It should be on the mainline of your sprinkler system, typically at the lowest point. If there are multiple low points on your system, there are probably additional valves along the pipes.

Turn the system off at the main valve. Open one of your sprinkler valves to help alleviate some of the pressure in the line. Open your manual valve slowly. Continue with this process until all of the valves on the systems mainline have been opened. Leave manual valves open throughout the winter. The valves have to be disassembled to get all of the excess water out of them before winter hits.

Automatic Draining

Automatic drain valves open whenever the system is turned off. They work to drain all of the water out of the pipes. Since this system works by eliminating water when the system is powered off, you don’t have to worry about doing a lot of work to winterize this particular system. Simply look for any puddles on the surface. This normally indicates that you have a drain that got clogged and needs to be repaired. Once repaired, it should drain the water out of the system for you.

The valves have to be disassembled here as well. This helps to eliminate any excess water that might have gotten stuck in the sprinkler head.

By using one of the above methods, you can keep your system in proper working order and prevent any unexpected repairs down the line. Even the smallest amount of water in the line, valves or sprinkler heads can cause a world of problems for your system. It doesn’t take long to winterize your system, but the benefits are well worth the effort. If you have any additional questions, take the time to discuss your concerns with a sprinkler system professional like Heads Up Sprinkler Systems or other local professionals today.

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