Important Tips to Consider for Remodeling Your Condo

According to recent research findings, insurance companies are said to incur up to $2.5 billion dollars every year due to water and mold damages on condos. With harsh economic times and high standards of living, insurance firms do recommend homeowners to use modern and profitable means when remodeling their condos. However, before you jump into the process of flooding repair your condo, it is advisable that you first ensure you adhere to set guidelines that will get you the best out of the renovation. Here are some of the important considerations you have to keep in mind before you embark on the process of condo remodeling.

 

Know the Rules

One of the first things any homeowner needs to understand before they even start flooding repair are the policies of the condo association. However, in certain situations, the board may or may not have policies in place that affect the selection of materials or cosmetic decisions but in most cases, the association will always have policies concerning the times and day’s renovations can be conducted. Failing to check the rules can easily cause you lots of trouble later on since your association might need approval or permit before you embark on any form of home remodeling.

 

Know the Person You Are Renovating For

You are in a position to tell what your association will allow and what they will not allow. It is important that you first figure out who you are remodeling the condo for. Are you remodeling the condo to add rental or resale value or just doing that to add onto your enjoyment?

 

In most cases, home remodeling will always lean more towards one or another with completely different approaches. It is therefore important for one to decide what will be a greater priority and ensure you are honest when making a choice.

 

Know the Limits

It is always important for one to know what the project limitations are before you start implementing an idea which you will not be in a position to turn to reality. For example, the tight condo spaces are at times known to include the intrusive columns or odd angled walls, but that is because moving them structurally is impossible. It is advisable that you know the elements which can be opened or removed and which ones cannot. Hence, it will be more appropriate if you consider hiring flooding repair expert for consultation services.

 

Always Move Your Eyes Not the Fixtures

In most cases, the bathroom fixtures cannot be moved at any significant distance without massive expense and constructions. It means you will be forced to leave the toilet to its initial location and you might not be in a position to add that second sink.

However, you can only restructure how your eyes see the space by settling on some of the finishes to blend away and others to stand out. It is always possible to make your eyes focus on the most beautiful elements.

 

Lower the Lighting

When you speak about moving the walls and fixtures, it is important that you keep in mind several condos do have cement ceilings. It means you will not be in a position to drill into them.

 

However, depending on the type of fixtures you need to add, you will need a 6-12 inch drop. This will be a noticeable change in your condo ceiling although in a smaller area and it will never be that much that you hit your head.

 

Ensure You Stay Flexible

Most clients do come into home remodeling Santa Rosa projects with lots of decisions made concerning what they do and what they are not interested in doing. For instance, clients will be interested in things like a large fridge, double sink or a king-sized bed. However, it would be appropriate if you can be flexible in some of these things.

 

The points listed above will be of great help when you need to perform flooding repair in your condo. It is recommended that you seek clarification from home builder experts in case you are not sure of what you will be doing.

 

Five Fantasy Basement Designs

Over the past two decades, finished basements have been some of the most popular renovation projects according to the National Association of Home Builders. Everyone has seen home remodeling plans where a basement is finished with a bar, home theater, craft room, or spare bedroom. But there’s a saying, “go big or go home.” What about going big at home? Here are five fantasy basement finishing ideas that will inspire you to go big with your home remodeling plans:

 

Casino

If you can’t get enough of the sensory overload of a casino, you can include a basement casino in your home remodeling plans. Kentucky and Ohio allow private ownership of slot machines as long as they are not used to operate an illegal gambling operation. Used slot machines are used for entertainment only and include the key so that you can reuse your quarters.

 

If your tastes run more toward video games, a basement arcade may be more your style.

 

Bowling Alley

If your hobbies include bowling, maybe your home remodeling plans should include a basement bowling alley. Home bowling alleys are not cheap, but you may be able to find used bowling alley lanes, pinsetters, automatic ball returns, and scoring displays.

 

Museum

Whether you collect art, autographed baseballs, or antique glass bottles, you probably need a place to store and display your collection. Maybe a basement design that includes a museum should be part of your home remodeling plans. The layout and the lighting of the basement renovation will be designed to highlight your collection.

 

Skateboard Park

If you are into extreme sports, maybe your home remodeling plans could include a basement skateboard park. The advantage of having a skateboard park in your basement? You can install padded floors and walls next to your skateboard ramps and rails. You still have to wear a helmet, though.

 

Basketball Court

This last one might not be for everyone, but dedicated hoops fans might want to include a basement basketball court in their home remodeling plans. The biggest challenge with a basement basketball court is the height needed to accommodate the backboard and rim. If your basement ceiling isn’t tall enough for basketball, maybe a basement hockey rink would fit your space better.

 

Conclusion

Basement remodeling plans are limited by nothing except the homeowner’s imagination (and the height of the ceilings). Even if your basement design seems like a fantasy, a residential contractor may be able to turn that fantasy into reality.

How to Design a Basement That Won’t Get Moldy

Basement remodeling is becoming a popular trend in home renovations, with good reason. A finished basement can have a 70% return on investment when reselling a home. From recreation areas to home gyms, there are endless ways to make use of basement real estate. If your family is going to be spending time in your newly finished basement, it is important to make sure the environment isn’t doing them any harm. No matter how nice your new basement design looks, they are naturally dark and damp places that can attract dangerous mold.

 

Having mold in your basement an affect the entire household, as spores will rise and spread to the rest of the house. When ingested or inhaled, mold spores can cause breathing troubles, skin irritation, or can even be toxic. Mold can also compromise the structure of a wooden home if it spreads to the framework. To protect your home and family, read on for ways to keep your basement mold-free.

 

Avoid Organic Materials

 

Mold stays alive through moisture and a food source. By removing the food source, you can minimize the likelihood of mold growing in your new basement. This means avoiding organic materials such as drywall and wood floors. Experienced basement refinishing contractors can provide safe alternatives to keep your finished basement looking homey while staying dry. If your basement is being used for storage, remove any organic materials like newspapers, extra wood, or even clothing. If these things must remain in the basement, store them in airtight containers.

 

Take a Minimalist Approach

 

The less space being taken up in your basement, the more airflow the room can have. Increasing airflow to prevent stagnant areas and limiting the number of items in the room that could feed the mold are great preventative options. They also make your basement look larger and more open, so it’s a win-win!

 

Monitor Humidity Closely

 

The key to preventing mold is to limit humidity. A great start is purchasing a dehumidifier for your basement to take some of the moisture away, and if possible, run a fan in the room for an hour every day to circulate air. It’s also important to make sure all entrances to the outdoors are sealed and well-insulated and have a ventilation system. When considering basement remodeling avoid things that will hold moisture, such as carpeted floors; try tile instead.

While basement remodeling can be a great home addition for a family to enjoy and increase overall value, it’s important to make sure it’s safe. While it is a contractor’s job to build the basement correctly to protect the inhabitants, it is the homeowner’s job to make sure it stays safe and free of moisture for years to come.

Five Key Signs That You Might Need To Renovate Your Home

You’ve set up your home just the way you like, and have been enjoying it for a while. Then all of a sudden it doesn’t seem to be quite right. The caulking gun and duct tape aren’t doing the trick to fix the problems that have been coming up. Is it time to renovate? Here are five signs that you might need to renovate your home and the general contractors that you can get in touch with to help you with the projects.

Sign #1. Cracks in Your Foundation 

One of the most important elements in all of residential construction is the foundation of your home. If you are seeing cracks in your foundation, you need to have a licensed foundation crack repair expert come and look at it immediately. There could be many reasons for the cracks, and you need to be sure the structural integrity of your foundation has not been compromised.

Sign #2. Wind Whistling Through Your Closed Windows and Doors

You’re sitting in your family room, and enjoying a nice refreshing breeze. Then, you realize the windows are shut and the wind is still coming into your home. This scenario might be an indication that it is time for you to consider a home window replacement project. Replacement windows are available in a great assortment of styles, and add to the aesthetic appeal of your home. Be sure to ask the general contractors or replacement window contractors about giving you a deal if you replace the doors at the same time. This may save you some money. Home window replacement will probably help your energy bills go down, and at the same time help the resale value of your home go up.

Sign #3. Tiles Detached From Floor or Wall

When tiles begin to fall off the wall or detach from the floor, it is time to call a tiling contractor. This is a professional who will be able to assess your situation and tell you how extensive the renovations are that you will need to undertake. Please, please, do not try and save money by hiring a carpenter or handyman or general contractors to do this type of project. It is too specialized and it needs someone who works specifically in this area. Yes, it is disruptive, but if it is not done correctly, you risk having leaks behind your walls or under your floors (or worse). This could create even worse problems, such as wood rot, mold, mildew, staining, and decay. And don’t underestimate mold, when it finds a moist, untreated situation. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to start growing in that environment.

Sign #4. Lack of Space 

Your home might have seemed like a spacious palace when you initially moved in. And you may still consider it to be your palace. But now it seems that the walls are closing in. General contractors have a lot of experience in residential homes with this type of situation. Call them for a consultation; they may have an idea about how to remove a wall in one area of your home and create a large closet or even another room to solve your space issue.

Sign #5. Remodeling for Accessibility 

Things can change in our circumstances, but we may still wish to remain in our homes. Awareness about accessibility seems to be growing every day. As a result of this, there is a strong need for renovating and remodeling. Especially in homes, handicapped accessibility and renovations such as a bathroom remodel, for instance, are becoming more and more common now. General contractors and a good local plumbing contractor will be able to handle these types of projects successfully.

The more you know before a project begins, the more prepared you will be for events that occur during the course of the renovation. And when your renovation is complete, you will have a nicely remodeled area in your home. Plus, you will have added to the resale value of your house, as well.

3 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Countertops

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, making it one of the most important rooms. Because of this, having a stylish, welcoming kitchen is important for a lot of families. So if you’re one of the 76% of homeowners choosing to change the style of their kitchen during renovations, you may be thinking about getting updated countertops. Choosing new countertops can be a difficult decision, so we’ve compiled a few simple tips to help get you started.

Consider your lifestyle. One of the first things you need to think about when choosing updated countertops is how you use your countertops. Do you do a lot of cooking and meal prepping? If so, you’re going to want some durable counters. Do you have kids who tend to make a mess? Then you might want to stay away from the lighter colors. All in all, thinking about how you plan to use your countertops and your overall lifestyle will help ensure you choose the right material for your new countertops.

Think long-term. It’s important to keep in mind that kitchen designs can change over time. And because you probably won’t change your countertops every time you do kitchen renovations, it’s a good idea to think long-term when choosing countertops. Instead of choosing a material and color to match exactly with your current kitchen colors and theme, choose a material that will go with a variety of colors and themes. This way, having a neutral countertop will allow you to redo your kitchen however you please.

Don’t forget the details. It can be easy to only focus on the big picture and choose countertops quickly. But there are a lot of important details to think about too. For example, you should consider the undertones in your kitchen area so the countertop color doesn’t end up clashing with them. Additionally, you should think about countertop fittings and edges, as these elements can completely change the look of the countertops. All in all, don’t forget the small details.

Choosing countertops doesn’t have to be difficult. By considering these few factors and taking your time, you’re sure to find the perfect countertops for your new kitchen in no time.

These Home Fire Protection Mistakes Could Put Your Safety at Risk

Each property, whether commercial or residential, should have a fire protection system and protocol in place. This means that property residents should have a fire escape plan, but just as importantly, you need to know how to prevent fires in the first place. Fire protection encompasses a wide range of services, but you as a home or commercial property owner should know how to take your own measures to minimize the risk of fires. With that in mind, here are just a few mistakes to avoid if you want to protect your property from fires and increase personal safety.

 

Using electronics with frayed cords.

This is one of the most common mistakes people make on a daily basis, and it can impede safety. The fact is, even with modern technology, frayed or otherwise damaged cords can spark and cause a fire if an outlet becomes overloaded. If a cord becomes frayed, dispose of it responsibly and invest in a new one — it could save you thousands in the long run, but more importantly, your safety is priceless.

Not deep cleaning your dryer’s lint trap.

Shockingly, 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Fires started as a result of dryer lint clogs are much more common than you think. And contrary to popular belief, cleaning the part of your dryer’s lint trap that’s reachable isn’t always enough to minimize the risk of a fire. You’ll need to consult the professionals for dryer vent cleaning services to make sure the lint that’s trapped in hard-to-reach areas is removed safely.

Not consulting a professional.

Even avoiding all the mistakes listed above doesn’t keep your property completely safe — that’s where the fire protection experts come in. Property losses are 85% less in residences with fire sprinklers compared to those without sprinklers, and fire protection experts can form a customized sprinkler system plan based on the layout of your home.

Ultimately, you’ll have to work alongside the experts to achieve the optimal level of fire protection your property needs. For more information about residential or commercial plumbing and fire protection, contact us today.

Finishing Your Basement? Avoid These 3 Mistakes

Is your basement dark, damp, and overall unused? If so, you may want to consider giving it a bit of a makeover. Recent surveys from the National Association of Home Builders show that over the past two decades, finished basements have become one of the most popular home improvement projects. And while basement finishing can give you more functional space in your home, there are some easy mistakes that can be made. So to ensure your finished basement comes out as best as possible, let’s take a look at a few mistakes you should try to avoid along the way.

Using wood materials: When you’re choosing materials for your basement remodeling project, it’s important to remember that basements generally hold more moisture than the rest of the home. And because of this, materials like wood should not be used. Wood and other materials that aren’t moisture-resistant will not hold up well and will show signs of mold growth after being exposed to the added moisture in the basement. So when you’re choosing materials for flooring and studs, choose materials other than wood.

Overlooking draining: Since they’re underground, basements to pose the risk of getting flooded. This is why it’s important to plan for drainage during a home remodeling project. When you’re planning your new basement design, make sure to have adequate drain systems in the flooring — and don’t cover them up! If there is an existing draining system, make sure it stays exposed so it can do its job. But all in all, remember that basements can get wet so you should plan for draining as needed.

Forgetting about functionality: If you’re planning a basement finishing project, it’s important to have at least a general idea of what you want to do with the finished area. Otherwise, you may end up with a design and floor plan that doesn’t work with what you want to do with the area. You can use a finished basement for almost anything — a home office, a workout area, an entertainment area, and more. So before you get started with construction, make sure to map out the area as to how you want to use it.

Basements don’t have to be dark, scary places that you only use for storage. With the right basement finishing contractors, you can have a basement area you love. So keep these common mistakes in mind to ensure your basement remodeling project goes smoothly.

How Long Does a Roof Last? Your Guide to Exterior Lifespans

Living under the safety and comfort of our home’s walls and roof, we often forget that the exterior of our house faces the brutality of the elements almost constantly. Year round, rain, sun, wind, snow and more constantly batter your home’s protective shell. To ensure that the outside stays outside, and to keep your family warm and dry, regular inspection, maintenance, and replacement of exterior materials are crucial.

Here’s a quick guide to caring for your exteriors.

Roofing

The best way to know if your roof needs to be fixed it to check it regularly. Ideally, your roof should be inspected once or twice a year. Signs a roof needs repairs include:

 

    • Sagging

 

    • Leaking

 

    • Mold and rot

 

    • Missing shingles

 
Determining the lifespan of a roof is tricky– it depends on the material and climate. For example, a wood-shingled roof can last 25 years, but a metal-shingled roof can last 75. Frequent inspection and good research can help you know when your roof needs replacement.

Siding

Siding, like roofing, has a variable lifespan depending on the material. Vinyl siding can last up to 60 years without much maintenance, while wood or aluminum siding may last less time. Still, there are pros and cons to each siding type. Regularly checking your siding at different locations around your house is the best way to notice problems early. Watch out for:

 

    • Infestation

 

    • Rot

 

    • Missing panels

 
Any of these signs may indicate a section of siding, or the whole surface needs to be replaced.

Doors

Unlike your roof or siding, your door is used directly by people almost every day. Though they are swung and slammed frequently, doors can still expect a lifespan of about 30 years. Keep an eye on your door for these warning signs that it needs repair or to be replaced:

 

    • Rusted handles, hinges and edges

 

    • Gaps between the frame and the door

 

    • Cracks

 

    • Peeling

 
Your door may also need to be replaced if it’s just not doing its job. If you have to put blankets in front of the door to keep out cold air, if you need a towel to mop up puddles, or if you have to pull and push hard to pass through, it’s time for a new door.

Windows

Quality windows bought new can be expected to last anywhere between 15 and 20 years. However, at around the 15-year mark, windows will begin to show signs of wear and will likely need regular maintenance and repair. Caulking, new insulation and retightening can all temporarily fix windows, but eventually, they will need to be replaced. Signs your windows may need to be replaced include:

 

    • Fogged glass

 

    • Cracks in the frame/glass

 

    • Difficulty opening or closing

 

    • Poor heat retention

 

    • Soft wooden frames

 

    • Drafts

 

    • Dampness near edges

 
By inspecting your exteriors regularly, maintaining them often, and replacing them when necessary, you can protect the rest of your home from outside damage for generations to come.

What You Didn’t Learn in the Last Post: 3 More Rules for Flood and Drain Hydroponics

In the last article, we explained four rules for flood and drain hydroponic systems. Rule one told you that you need to pick the right growing media, which is ultimately up to your own preference. Rule two stated that you need to keep a base layer of clay pebbles in your pot. Rule three referred to what considerations you should make regarding your flood cycle and rule four was all about keeping your system clean.

In this next part, you’ll learn about a few more rules for flood and drain hydroponics.

Rule #5: Don’t Plant Too Deep

Like you would in traditional farming methods, you want to place your young plants just two to three centimeters into your chosen growing media. If you place your plants too deep into the growing media, then when you flood your pot the water level will rise too high above the transplant block. A transplant block, if you’re not using one, can be an extremely effective means of potting young plants without damaging their roots.

Rule #6: Don’t flood too quickly

Typically, you should wait for your plants to absorb the remaining water from the growing media before you flood them again. In fact, your next flood should be at the very minimum 30 minutes after you turn on your grow lights. There are generally three types of grow lights you can use for your indoor setup, including fluorescent, HID, and LED. You really don’t need to flood your plants while the lights are off but you might need to do so once at most.

Rule #7: Rotate Pots

You don’t want the plant roots to clog your feed tube, so it’s important to rotate your inner pot every two to three days. You can check for a blockage by pouring nutrient solution (this is why you buy in bulk) into the pot. If it drains away quickly, you most likely don’t have a clog. However, if it drains slowly then you most probably have a blockage.

It’s not really a rule but a good tip is to buy bulk nutrients. You’ll end up going through more than you think, especially if you have a frequent flood cycle. Use these rules to ensure that your flood and drain system produces healthy plants with high yields.

Looking for grow supplies or merch? Check us out today.

Indoor Plants Versus Outdoor Plants: The Pros (and Some Cons) of Grow Methods

The never-ending debate about which type of crop is better, indoor or outdoor, has been argued for decades in the agricultural community. Growers who swear by indoor crops and hydroponic systems will argue that indoor crops are certainly superior, and traditional growers who grow outdoors will forever insist that sun-grown crops are the natural ideal.

So which is it? Are indoor crops better or are outdoor crops better?

The truth is that it depends on the location, plant, and grower. There are merits to both methods. So rather than trying to find out once and for all which crop is better, it might be more beneficial to list the pros of each. That way, you can make a decision about which is better for you.

Outdoor Crop Pros

For the purist and eco-friendly conservationist, outdoor planting seems to provide the best means of growth.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Since sun-grown crops are grown outdoors and with natural light, they require fewer supplies and resources to flourish. The natural light removes the need for high-intensity lighting that requires lots of energy to operate. That also goes for dehumidifiers, air circulators, flood and drain hydroponics, and most of the other energy consuming grow supplies. Outdoor plants don’t typically need as much fertilizer, pesticides, and fungicides either, making them better for some environmental conditions. Water consumption is also a plus, considering that natural precipitation can supply a source of water.

Less Expensive
The other positive to outdoor growing, which is really just a byproduct of the last section, is that it is much more cost-effective — at least for smaller projects. Fewer supplies, equipment, supplemental nutrients, and energy consumption means you don’t spend as much per plant. Which, for the serious growers, can be a big positive. Although, an indoor grower will be able to plant four times the number of crops in a grow area using hydroponics rather than soil farming, so it’s a cost/product situation.

Indoor Crop Pros

Indoor plants provide a steady growth cycle for the year-round growers who like to control every aspect of their crop to get substantial yields.

Not Seasonal
A really nice aspect of indoor growth is the fact that they can be cultivated year-round, which means that an adept grower can essentially grow anywhere and at any time. Even in areas where growth would seem improbable, if not impossible, indoor plants could theoretically be cultivated by a skilled grower. Of course, these areas present more variables in the growth cycle and proper climate control.

Controlled Growth
In some limited scenarios, an outdoor plant may produce a higher yield than an indoor plant due to a more natural growth cycle and the inability for a grow light to duplicate the sun’s light. However, there are numerous other factors of growing conditions that can be controlled with indoor plants, and therefore adjusted to change the outcome. An indoor grower will need to closely monitor and adjust aspects such as humidity, air circulation, stalk support, lighting, nutrients, and watering, to name a few. Of course, if this is done properly, the yield for an indoor plant can be much, much higher. The more skilled the grower, the better the chances for a superior product.

Since there’s no one right way to grow, and despite those who may insist their way is best, it’s ultimately up to you. If you want natural crops with less work (less, not zero) and a better impact on the environment, then you might choose outdoor. Then again, you may not have the capability. So find the method that works best for you.

Whether you choose outdoor or indoor, you’re going to need nutrients and grow supplies. Contact us today for bulk nutrients and the best hydroponic grow equipment around.

3 Popular Kitchen Countertop Trends for 2018

Every time you look at one of your countertops, you feel a tinge of disappointment. They aren’t what you want them to be and they definitely don’t properly reflect the design and style of the home you’ve worked so hard to create. You haven’t made any efforts to replace those old, ugly counters with new ones yet because you don’t have the time to figure out what works.

Well, we’re here with some countertop inspiration. If you’re ready to finally upgrade your kitchen countertops, here are some trending tips for kitchen design in 2018.

Go quartz

When it comes to modern countertops, there are so many different materials that you can use, which is why you’ve had such a hard time picking one. Wood has reappeared in the past few years, but you aren’t sure if that’s the right choice for your kitchen. Granite has always been a popular choice, and natural stone can really class up your space. However, this year, more homeowners are opting for the clean and stylish appearance of quartz instead. Quartz is becoming increasingly popular due to its elegance and aesthetics, on top of the fact that it is one of the most hygienic options and doesn’t require re-sealings. That means it is super resistant to stains as well. Quartz can even come in multiple colors and patterns, which means you can match it exactly to your kitchen decor.

Go for character

Today, many homeowners are looking for character in their countertops. Veining and burl patterns are becoming more of a popular demand with homeowners everywhere due to their unique ability to draw the eye. They also add a bit more personalization and character to the kitchen as well. In general, homeowners are looking for accent features that draw the eye.

Ditch the bright colors

Bright colors are on their way out of kitchens all over the world, so it’s time to forget about millennial pink, mint, and summer pastels. Homeowners are instead choosing to utilize more neutral tones and colors. Neutral colors can easily fit into any home decor and create a uniform yet visually appealing accent to any kitchen. The transition to neutral colors and tones is typically matched with lots of natural lighting to give the perception of a much larger space.

When it comes to kitchen remodeling projects, 95% of homeowners update their countertops, making it the most popular feature to upgrade. Whatever your choice for countertop material, don’t feel as though you have to follow this advice. You can opt for soapstone, laminate, bright colors, and patternless options if you want to. If you still aren’t sure which direction to go, then it might help to consult an expert to make your kitchen look absolutely flawless.

Keep Cool And Carry On: How To Keep Your Costs Down This Summer

Summer’s nearly here and the temperature continues to rise. Soon, your air conditioning unit will be running day in and day out to keep your family cool.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing cool about a high electric bill at the end of each summer month. But how can you keep your cooling costs down without sweating the summer heat?

How To Beat The Summer Heat While Keeping Your Cooling Costs Down

Some homeowners believe you need to suffer through the heat to keep your cooling costs down. But that’s not true.

You can keep your family comfortable this summer by following these three tips:

  1. Make sure your HVAC system is ready to run. Approximately 42% of homeowners will call a professional to perform HVAC maintenance. Yet, many homeowners will wait until their system needs an HVAC repair before calling a professional. Waiting to get a repair done can make your air conditioning unit work harder to cool down your home. The harder your AC works, the higher your electric bill. That said, have a professional take a look at your system before the summer officially starts.
  2. Set your AC a degree or two higher. It may be uncomfortable to set your HVAC system to 78 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 72. So instead of making yourself sweat to save money, set your system only a few degrees higher. You won’t have to worry about sweating through your clothes, but you won’t have to worry about your bills as much either.
  3. Save cleaning activities for the evening. It can be tempting to get your housework done during the day. But your home can quickly become an oven with so many machines running. When your washing machine, dishwasher, and oven are all going at the same time, you can really heat up the house. This makes your HVAC system work overtime to keep things cool. Try to keep your housework to the evening when the sun’s gone down and isn’t cooking your home. You can also do your dishes by hand to keep the dishwasher from heating up your house.

Homeowners’ Guide To Optimizing Air Conditioner Efficiency

In the last post, we discussed some maintenance steps necessary for your AC unit to work as efficiently as possible. Studies show that regular maintenance of your commercial HVAC system will reduce unexpected breakdowns by about 70% to 75%, and having an understanding of the full range of maintenance procedures can help your air conditioner work as efficiently as possible throughout its entire lifespan. Here’s part two of our homeowner’s guide to optimizing air conditioner efficiency.

Clean The Coils

Near your air conditioner’s evaporator are the condenser coils, and both of these components of your air conditioner need to be cleaned every so often, as they accumulate dirt and debris over time. When too much debris gathers around the coils, it not only reduces air flow, but it insulates the coil and makes it harder for it to absorb heat. Look at the area surrounding the outdoor condenser coils; if it’s particularly dirty or dusty, or if there’s a lot of foliage in close proximity, chances are the coils will build up dirt faster than normal. It’s best to consult an HVAC professional to assess this problem and help you find and maintain a solution, but fortunately, the cleaning process tends to be relatively simple.

“Use a soft brush to dust off the coil, then spray the coil with commercially available no-rinse coil cleaner (available at home improvement stores). The spray will foam up and then drip into the drain pan. Clean out the drain pan with soap, hot water, and a little bleach. Then, pour a cup of 50% bleach/50% water down the drain. To keep the drain clear longer-term, place a commercially available drain pan tablet in the pan. This will inhibit future algae growth,” writes Jeff Wilson on DIY Network.

Readjust Coil Fins

Finally, it’s important to mention that over time, it’s not uncommon for the aluminum fins located on the evaporator and condenser coils to bend and affect airflow. Straightening the coil fins isn’t too difficult, but unless you know exactly what you’re doing, it’s best to consult an HVAC professional.

Ultimately, understanding these essential maintenance tips is the key to maximizing the efficiency of your AC unit.

5 Reasons Everyone Loves Granite Countertops

granite countertopsDid you know that 93% of homeowners are considering a countertop update as part of their kitchen renovation? Most of them are planning on implementing natural stone materials. One of the most popular stone materials to use for kitchen countertops is granite. Here are a few reasons why.

  1. Durability
    Since granite countertops are made from thick slabs of rock, you know immediately that they’re going to be tough. Granite doesn’t chip or scratch easily, and if you drop a cup or dish on your granite countertop, guess which will break. Having a tough and resilient material for your countertops is essential to all the chefs out there.
  2. Style
    Made from interlocking crystalized minerals, granite has a rich depth to its aesthetic. From deep, consuming blacks and grays, to fair flecked tans, granite can span the color spectrum for that extra personal flair.
  3. Depreciation?
    Nope. Granite countertops don’t depreciate. In fact, they often add value to a home. This is due in part to their overall quality and durability, and to the visual appeal they provide in the kitchen.
  4. Heat Resistance
    Perhaps the best feature for all the chefs out there, granite has incredible heat resistant qualities. This means if you want to take a hot pan off the heat and set it somewhere to cool, your countertop is an acceptable option.
  5. Permanence
    Some people might see this as a negative, but once you install granite countertops, you’ll never have to worry about them again. This is because of their durability, their labor-intensive installation, and the fact that they glue onto your cabinets. That said, you can consider these countertops a one-time investment that can save you big in the long run.

Choosing new countertops for your kitchen is like choosing new carpets for your living room. They both cover a lot of surface area, and once you make the decision, you’re mostly stuck with what you decide. That’s why it’s important to spend some time considering what you want the most. If you have any questions about how to choose a countertop, don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information.

Benefits To Using a Real Estate Company

real estate company Buying or selling a house can be very stressful. A home buyer may want to consider looking into a real estate company before researching homes for sale. About 30% of couples looking to purchase a home will be first time home buyers. Some of the advice a real estate service can provide may be helpful in understanding the details of when and where to buy, and how a mortgage works. Some of the benefits of going with a real estate company when purchasing house for sale are:

  • A real estate company can put you in contact with knowledgeable real estate agents. They can give you information regarding the area you are looking to purchase in. They also do a large percentage of the leg work for you. Since their one occupation is real estate, you get to benefit from their time and resources. A real estate agent can be invaluable when purchasing a home.
  • A real estate company can provide you with a listing of homes for sale. They can give you detailed information that you may not find online. They can also put you in contact with homeowners in your area who have their houses listed and maintain contact for you if needed. This can be especially helpful when moving to a new area or city. They can also help in negotiating the price.
  • The real estate company can provide you with services tailored to meet your needs. For example, they can help you find places for you to purchase within your price range, and with the precise features you have in mind (studio, two-story, pool, etc.). This particular feature of a real estate company can save you so much time that may have been wasted looking through places you would never consider.
  • A real estate company can make the overall process of buying a home easier and faster. Since the real estate company’s main profession is in helping sell homes, they know the process and how to do it efficiently and quickly when needed. After all, time is money.

Regardless of which real estate company you decide to go with when buying your home, make sure to check their credentials and that their real estate agents are licensed. Often, a good sign of a real estate company is how long they have been in business.

How Trees Make Life Better

tree service northern vaWhen people buy a new house, they might appreciate the aesthetics of the trees on the property. But besides making sure that none are tall enough to flatten their house in the event that a lightning storm or lumberjack comes through the neighborhood, most people treat trees like just another brick in the wall.

However, there are many advantages to having trees on one’s property– provided that you take care of your trees correctly. Whether it’s by hiring a plant health care specialist or professional tree care services, or by learning how to go about tree pruning and stump grinding yourself, it’s crucial to practice proper tree care. Here are the reasons why the tree care industry is such a big one– why trees are important and useful.

Trees Cut Down On Heating Costs
Having a good windbreak of strong trees can reduce residential heating costs by 10 to 15 percent. The next time you’re tree pruning, think about the winter wind hitting the side of your house. Maybe that line of elms isn’t so bad after all. Having a tree on the west side of one’s home can save you a lot of money on energy bills in the summer, too, as the evaporation has a cooling effect comparable to 20 air conditioners.

Trees Shield Your House From Noise
Similar to above, trees also serve as great barriers against noise pollution. Having a belt of trees 100 feet wide and 45 feet high between your house and the nearest highway can cut down on traffic noise by 50%. If you’re concerned about lightning protection issues resulting from such large trees, an arborist can recommend the best trees for the job.

Trees Add To The Value Of Your Home
No one wants to live in a house with no trees nearby– it’s simply human nature. It’s been found that homes with trees on the property sell faster and at five to 15 percent higher prices than homes without.

The Importance Of Having The Right Trees
With all this being said, there are many factors to consider when choosing trees– height, size, species, location, and many other things need to be taken into account. A tree specialist can recommend how to go about tree pruning, tree removal, root fertilization and everything else that you need to know to optimize the trees on your property.

Trenchless Sewer Repair, While Not Well Known, is a Less Invasive Option

Trenchless sewer line replacement

According to experts, how long a sewer lasts varies because of several variables. If, however, your sewer is more than 40 years old, chances are it is in need of repair or replacement. If you are faced with the repair or replacement of your aging sewer system, chances are you are imaging broken concrete, ruined sod and piles of dirt that become a muddy mess if it happens to rain during the lengthy process. This, however, does not need to be the case. Did you know that there is a process called trenchless pipe bursting that will not create the mess that usually comes to mind with sewer repair? Trenchless pipe replacement is a method that does 90% less damage Continue reading “Trenchless Sewer Repair, While Not Well Known, is a Less Invasive Option”

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