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Home Improvement Blog

How To Spot Water Leaks In Your Home

Water leaks can damage your health as well as the structure of your home. So it’s a smart idea for homeowners to learn the signs of water leaks and the damage they cause. Here in Houston, there are scores of plumbers and water mitigation specialists who can assist you. But paying heard-earned money to detect leaky pipes as a prevention technique is not the smart play. After all, the professionals may not find a leak in your home. Detecting the leaks yourself will save you money; call a professional when it’s mandatory.

Begin by searching for wet spots. Don’t get this confused with kitchen spills or bathroom puddles; wet spots indicate leaks. Turn off faucets, washers and dryers, and other water-using machines. Then, turn off the main shut-off valve outside. Popular locations are the garage and basement. Search the home thoroughly for wet spots in dry areas. Common leaks occur near faucets, toilets, flush handles, shower and tub combos, flapper valves, appliances, exposed pipes, hidden pipes, and roofs.

Some leaks are less obvious, and require a bit of work to discover. Appliances and furniture should be moved, for example, to ensure there’s no moisture underneath or behind them. Floors should be carefully checked for a warped or spongy appearance. Cabinets below sinks should also be checked for moisture. Examine exposed pipes for corrosion or moisture.

Take the search upward and examine the ceiling for discoloration. This can be an indication of roof damage caused by rain, wind, and hail damage – all of which can be common in the Houston area. In addition to inspecting floors and ceilings, examine the walls for discoloration. Touch the walls and floors for wetness and excessive condensation. Then, take the search outside and examine water in driveways, curbs, walkways, and in the street for water flow. Find dark spots in dry concrete and puddles that never dries up.

A leak detector can be a very helpful tool. It won’t tell you the exact location of the issue, but it will inform you if a leak is present. Turn off the water inside and outside, as well as the shut off valve. Look at the water meter’s leak indicator (a triangular dial or silver wheel) for movement. Moving indicators indicate a leak. Meters with no leak indicators still detect leaks. Write down the current reading now. Don’t use water for the next one or two hours. Check the meter again. If the number changes, a leak exists. If no leaks are apparent, the leak is likely behind a wall or crawlspace.

Once you detect a leak, the earlier you address the issue, the less damage it will cause. You should definitely call a plumber or a water mitigation specialist to fix the problem. The helpful information above will give an indication of the location. From there, the technician will fix the leak and prevent water and home damage. Searching the home for leaks is time-consuming and nobody enjoys doing it. But forgoing the process increases the chances of structural damage as well as mold and mildew popping up – that can cost your health as well as your pocketbook.

A leak search isn’t a onetime drill. Leaks can occur anytime. Continuous, routine checks can help prevent future leaks from causing damage. Keep this information as a reminder to check your home every so often.

How To Tell If A Carpet Stain Needs Professional Help

Even in glittery Las Vegas, sometimes life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In between the sun-drenched days and neon nights, we have to contend with issues like carpet stains just like everyone else. When carpet stains happen, we strive to eliminate them quickly and efficiently. Sometimes that carpet cleaning job requires help from a pro, and sometimes it doesn’t. Here’s how to tell the difference:

Your Carpets are Light and the Stain is Really Dark

Having a dark stain on a light carpet increases the odds that your stain won’t fully lift and will be noticeable. Culprits for dark stains include things such as red wine, coffee, or blood. Regardless of what it is, it’s extremely challenging to fully lift dark stains. If your carpet is dark, the stain may not be noticeable, which could be perfect for you. But if the carpet is light, you’ll likely need to call in a professional carpet cleaning company.

The Item That Caused the Stain Has A… Scent

We love our pets here in Vegas, but they can be tough on our carpeting. While you may be able to remove something like a vomit stain from the carpet, the smell may remain below in the padding. This will remain an issue no matter how many times you clean the carpet. And unfortunately, buying air fresheners or items to put in the carpet to get rid of the smell do not work for long. A professional carpet cleaner can deep clean the carpet and remove smells that you can’t.

When my normally trustworthy dog wrongs my carpet, I remove what I can as soon as possible. Then I immediately contact the local stain removing pros at Sahara Chem-Dry; if you have a reliable carpet cleaning company where you live, I suggest you do the same.

You’ve Tried and Tried and Just Can’t Lift the Stain

There are many products you can buy at stores to remove stains from your carpet: Detergent, club soda, carpet cleaning solvents to name a few. But some stains set in, and no matter what you try, they don’t budge. If you have tried to lift a stain at least three times, and have failed, it’s time to call in a professional. Continuing to attempt to lift the stain yourself can ruin the carpet fibers, so give it a rest when it isn’t lifting.

The Stain Lifted But Now You Can See Where You Cleaned Your Carpet

Sometimes your carpets are dirty and you don’t even realize it. That is until there is a stain that you clean. The area you have cleaned looks fresh and light, while the carpet surrounding the spot cleaned area looks dark and dirty. In this case, the carpet should be professionally cleaned for a clean, even appearance.

Professional carpet cleaning can help remove dirt, dust, spots and stains from your carpet. While you may be able to spot treat some stains, not every stain will left. And in other instances, you may be able to tell where the stain was removed because the rest of your carpet was dirty. If you encounter these issues, call in a professional to clean your entire carpet and get it looking uniformly clean and fresh.

Choosing The Right Generator For Your Home

How To Choose The Right Generator For Your Home

Although our local power company, Dominion, works very hard to ensure that folks here in Glen Allen have power at all times, outages can and do occur – especially during extreme weather events such as hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, and snowstorms. Fortunately, a backup generator can ensure you have power in the event of an outage. Here are some of the key things you need to consider if you decide to shop for a standby generator:

Wattage Needs

Choose a power generator that can fulfill your wattage needs. This simply means a generator that can adequately power your electrical appliances including the television, mobile device chargers, refrigerators, light fixtures and radios, among others. On average, a microwave and a space heater run on 1,000 watts and 1,800 watts of energy, respectively. A TV consumes about 500 watts of energy, whereas a coffee machine requires 1,500 watts to run. To power a laptop, you need about 800 watts. For a light bulb, you would require the amount of wattage specified on the label.

Overall, the average American household requires anything from 5,000 to 7,500 watts of electric power. Any of our local electricians would be happy to help you determine your Glen Allen home’s particular needs.

Power Ratings

Generator manufacturers provide two important power generations specs: maximum power and rated power. The maximum power refers to the maximum power output a generator can sustain over a short period (about 30 minutes). On the other hand, the rated power refers to power output over an extended period. With this in mind, focus on the rated power because this figure will give you a good idea of the power output you can expect under certain conditions.

Type

The common types of generators available in the market today include standby, portable, and inverter generators. Out of these, standby generators are the most powerful and can generate anywhere from 7,000 to 22,000 watts. These generators run on fuels such as propane or natural gas and are installed to turn on immediately the mains power goes off.

Portable generators produce 1,000 to 10,000 watts, meaning they are not as powerful as standby generators. As such, they only provide limited power during power outages. Finally, inverter generators have the smallest wattage capabilities (800 to 3,000 watts). Nevertheless, they are quieter, more energy efficient, and easy to move around compared to standby and portable generators.

If you would like to learn more about standby generators, this electrician has provided me with some good insight.

Price

The price of generators varies depending on factors such as the power ratings, brand/manufacturer and type. Small inverter-style generators cost anything from $400 to $1,000. For mid-size portable generators, expect to pay anything from $800 to $1,800. A large portable generator will set you back about $2,000 to $3,000. If you would like to buy a standby generator, prepare to part with about $5,000 to $10,000. This is in addition to the installation fees, which will definitely push this figure higher. More importantly, ensure you pick a generator that is not only within your budget, but also able to meet your wattage needs fully.

Conclusion

Some of the main factors to consider when shopping for backup generators for domestic use include wattage, price, power ratings and type. The best approach would be to create a list of four or five promising generators and then compare them against each other.

Winter is coming to Glen Allen – and last winter’s snowstorms caused several power outages. If you think you might need a backup generator, get one now before the snow arrives.

My Two Little Carpet Wreckers

mud boyI have a busy house hold of 2 boys, ages eight and nine. They are very lively young boys and always seem to be getting into trouble. If they aren’t breaking something, they are making a mess somewhere. They love the outdoors and are constantly getting muddy from biking, running, playing soccer, and any other activity that involves getting dirty. Last week they decided that they were going to construct a fort for them and some other boys in the neighborhood to play in. They dug a gigantic trench around a few trees and hitched some logs up on some surrounding trees to build a platform. Over the matter of hours, the walls were coming up and it was actually pretty impressive…until they all came back for dinner.  Before I had a chance to say wipe your feet, they were already fling mud all over. The worst part was that the mud was actually mixed with bright red clay that penetrated deep into our bright white carpets.  Cleaning these carpets were going to be a challenge and from the looks of it, it looked like we were going to need the help of a professional carpet cleaning company.

We were new to Indianapolis and didn’t really know too many people to gain a referral from so we checked around the internet. We were able to find a reliable carpet cleaner called All Brite Chem-Dry that assured us they could get any stain out. We made sure to check out their online presence and we found a lot of really great reviews leading back to these guys. We decided to give them a try and they told us they could be out early the following morning so the stain doesn’t have time to set any further.

They were at our doorsteps right on time and with everything they needed to clean up my boys mess. As they were setting up they explained to me why their carpet cleaning techniques were the safest around. Their main substrate used to clean up the stains was their patented solution called “The Natural©”. It was all natural and composed up of bio-degradable plant proteins that wouldn’t harm the eco-system and was perfectly safe for both kids and pets.

Their carpet cleaning method was hot water carbonation which is a form of hot water extraction. This is far superior to other steam cleaning methods because it leaves behind small trace amounts of moisture and a 2-hour dry time opposed to the 2-day dry time of standard steam cleaning.

As he worked, my smile began to grow. He lifted up stains that I didn’t realize were there. It turns out that my carpets were actually as true white as I thought they were. Now I have my carpets back and I better not catch my boys messing up the house again. Thanks All Brite Chem-Dry!

Choosing the Best Replacement Window

Window Types

Though usually taken for granted, windows are an essential element of the home.  They have a great impact on temperature, lighting, ventilation and on the overall coziness of the space.  In addition, they convey period and style while contributing to architectural identity of the house.  When choosing replacement windows, ensure that the styles suit the home both visually and functionally.

A number of different types of windows are available in Cleveland, Ohio.  Traditionally, the majority of windows were sliding sash windows and side-hinged, casement windows.  However, pivot hinges, friction hinges and other newer opening mechanisms are becoming increasingly popular.  The sizes, shapes and materials of window replacements vary considerably.  For older homes, replacement windows typically need to be custom-built.

Choosing Windows

Normally, the mechanism and material of a replacement window is picked to match the existing ones.  However, some exceptions are there.  For example, new sash windows are usually outfitted with modern spiral balances.  Fortunately, they look similar to the original lead counterweight versions.

Most styles of available windows are made from many different materials.  Every material has benefits and drawbacks in terms of appearance and maintenance.  Windows were predominantly made of wood which remains popular due to its versatility.

Hardwood is costly; however, it is durable and needs only the protection of oil.  Hardwood windows can also be painted or given a natural finish.  A natural wood finish or paint is needed to protect softwood and it needs regular maintenance as well.

Below are some other materials from which windows are made:

Aluminum

Aluminum windows are ideal when maximum light is necessary.  This material is strong and big pieces of glass can be supported in a thin frame.  However, aluminum is prone to condensation and carries heat away from the home.  To reduce heat loss, double glazing could be required.

Vinyl

Vinyl windows, especially those with double glazing, offer exceptional sound and heat insulation. Often, old windows throughout a house are replaced by newer vinyl windows.  Besides white, wood-grain and other finishes are available.

Other Materials

Windows are also made from a blend of materials.  For example, aluminum windows typically have a wooden nucleus.  Additionally, wooden frames sometimes house steel casements to reduce heat loss.  There are also frames with maintenance-free fiberglass exteriors and decorative real wood interiors.

The same windows have varying prices among dealers; therefore, it is wise to shop around.  Furthermore, better deals are usually available in late fall or during the winter and manufacturers run specials from time to time.

If the windows in the kitchen, living room or other communal areas of the home are dilapidated or broken, you can think about replacing the windows for only those areas instead of waiting for a long time to do the entire house.

Additionally, if you are planning to install replacement windows, think about using double glazing, triple glazing and other energy-efficient methods.  After installation, ensure that caulking is placed between the wall and the window.  For best results, opt for professional installation.

Final Home Improvement Touches

kitchen 23Having lived in Northern Virginia for quite some time now, my wife and I have finally decided to buy a home. We searched all around from Fairfax to Alexandria and out to Arlington and Sterling VA. We ended up finding the perfect home but decided that there were some minor home improvements that were necessary before moving in. We were both fans of granite countertops and we wanted all the surfaces in the kitchen and bathrooms to be made of this wonderful stone. We set out to find a reliable granite distributor and installer that could create the counter tops of our dreams; this is when we came across Granite Source Inc.

Their website showed us great examples of the beautiful work that they do. Their extensive list of stones was also very helpful because we weren’t aware of all the different styles out there. Some of our favorite stones were Antartide, Amba White, Crystal White, Carra Gioia Venatino- Honed, White Carra, and our most favorite, Haisa Light. This only touched the amount of high-quality granite offered by this company. We decided to fill out the online form which allowed us to save a hundred dollars on our services with them. After completing the form, they called us back within the hour. We spoke about what our expectations were and they were very helpful in assisting us. They ensured us that our project was easily achievable and that they could have someone out there the following day for a free quote.

They came out the next day and we did a run through of our house. They brought some sample stones so we could see how well it paired with our interior décor. The granite installer sketched out a few ideas and we eventually came to an agreement with a very affordable price. We ended up going with a Haisa Light stone in our bathrooms and the Crystal White stone option in our kitchen.

With the contract signed, they began working the following week. I was very surprised how quick they managed to complete our granite countertops and I made sure to give them an excellent rating on yelp! With everything in place, we now feel at home. Not only do we love our brand new granite counters, but our friends have commented on how nice they turned out. Check out Granite Source’s website if you folks find yourself in the same position as us.

 

 

Money Saving Improvements for Your Home

Where to Begin?

questioningThe first step to start making your home more energy efficient is to find out what is causing this wasted energy. There are hundreds of reasons why your home may be exhausting unnecessary energy and I’m here to help you out with just a few. I will go through some techniques, like proper sealing, carpet cleaning methods, and window tinting, that helped me out with my homes across the Greenwood, Carmel, and Indianapolis, IN region.

Maintain All of Your Appliances

refrigerator repair guyWhether it’s your refrigerator, oven, or air conditioning, it’s important to make sure that they are all well maintained so they can run properly. If your refrigerator has a damaged or missing gasket seal then cold air is easily leaked out. When this happens, the fridge’s compressor has to work harder and more energy is used up. If your air conditioning components aren’t working properly, then that can also result in having your a/c run hard and building a larger energy bill. By reading the manual, you can usually find out how to properly maintain all of your appliances and if not there is always the internet.

Window Upkeep

slidingIt is also very important to make sure that your windows are up to date and doing the job they are meant to do, provide comfort from the outdoor elements. If there are cracks in the framework, broken panes of glass, or worn seals, then this could be a problem. It’s important to make sure no air is getting through so you can properly conserve your heating and cooling. New windows are always a good idea and they even make new framing that is more durable and insulates better than conventional wood. Double paned windows also help maintain a consistent internal temperature as well. If you want to further increase your energy efficiency then a quality 3M window tint might be right for you. These window films also help maintain the internal temperature and control the amount of sun glare that enters your home. The best window tint company that I call on time and time again is Solar Concepts.  They have always been very reliable.

D.I.Y. Carpet Cleaning

If you’re trying to remove stains there are many ingredients that you can find around the house. The best homemade carpet cleaning solutions that I have come across are mixing baking soda, vinegar, and water. This natural mix always does the job for me. I have also found that using Windex mixed with water helps if you have a light stain in which you don’t want to involve any soapy residue. If all else fails, call Indianapolis’s best carpet cleaning company, All Brite Chem-Dry.

If you have any thrifty home improvements that you would like to share, contact us and we can post them in our next article. Thanks everyone!

Evaluate Your Home’s Systems

When Was Your Last Electrical and Plumbing Inspection?

When many people first purchase a home, they go through certain inspections to make sure they won’t have to put in extra work. This also helps validate the market price to see if you are going to get your money’s worth. However, it is also important to get plumbing and electrical inspections regularly, especially if you have lived in your home for several years. Things break or leak all the time, and sometimes people don’t notice a gradual change.

Electrical Inspections

Safety– The primary reason to have an electrical inspection is to make sure that your home is wired in a safe way. Did you know that the leading cause of fires in the home is from appliances plugged into the wall? Little bugs in your electrical systems can cause a great deal of harm, and it is essential to have regular checks to improve safety and prevent dangerous situations.

City Guidelines– It is important to stay in compliance with your city’s electrical standards and codes for legal and safety purposes. It is nearly impossible to know if your home will pass inspection without having a professional come in and take a look.

Energy Savings– Having a thorough inspection can also save you energy by helping your household run more efficiently. Some companies, such as Mr. Electric in Warner Robins, offer whole home electrical inspections at affordable rates.

Plumbing Inspections

Safety- A plumbing inspection can help you detect sanitation issues. For instance, leaks can let in outer bacteria and dirt that you wouldn’t want to end up in your glass of water.

Energy Savings– The main benefit of getting a plumbing inspection is to save energy. Leaks may go unnoticed. If your water pressure is slowly changing over time as the result of a leak, you probably will not notice. Only an abrupt change is easy to catch, and most people will go long periods of time without calling their local plumber.

Overall, getting regular tune-ups in your home is a good idea to prevent disaster and help keep your household on track. Energy savings are just an added benefit of being responsible.

Ensuring Safety at Your Daycare

kids on playgroundWhen owning a daycare, there are many things you can do to provide a safer experience for all of the little guys and girls. I have owned my business in Aurora, IL for a while now and I feel like our building could use some upgrades to not only secure the safety of our children but to make it more accessible to any special needs kids. We also wanted to make some improvements to bring us up to the current digital age we are living in by incorporating state of the art security systems and more media learning platforms for our children to progress.

Our first area of focus was to have a central security system installed, where everyone that enters the building must check in with their fingerprint. We have put cameras in all of the rooms to ensure the safety of everyone in our daycare and alerts are sent out to all of the parents and staff’s phones during emergencies. There is a new fence being built that has more privacy in the back play area and a perimeter sensor is linked to the security system.

In the learning center, we decided to incorporate more computers and televisions so we can display more interactive media to the children. We intend to get all of our children up to par in this ever changing digital world by teaching them how to teach themselves and how to validate the information they find on the World Wide Web.

To make certain areas a little more accessible to our kids, we built many pull out steps around areas like the sink or high storage cubbies. We also built more art stations in the creative center room. They have desks over there that transform into art easels and dry erase boards that fold down into group tables. Our lunch area was also redesigned to have drop-down lunch tables that can go up when we need more space in that room.

To accommodate our special needs students we made sure to provide extra storage cubbies at lower levels and added more assistance bars in the bathrooms. We painted the front and back wheelchair ramps to make them seem more fun and we bought alert monitors that our special needs students can press for immediate help.

After all of our improvements, I feel our daycare is set for success. It’s important to provide a positive atmosphere for your children to learn in and I hope this helps out other child care business around the nation. Thanks!

Senior Safe Home Improvements

old farmerNo one likes getting old, but it comes whether you like it or not. When it does comes, it brings many people discomfort and hinders their mobility. I am learning this first hand and I would like to share a few home improvements that helped out greatly. My situation starts near Phoenix, AZ not far from Sun City. I have been struggling with my own personal mobility issues and had hired a senior care assistant, but he can’t always be there for me so I needed to take some action. I did some online research on what I can do with my home and I discovered many helpful tips.

The first thing I installed was a central intercom system that was linked up to voice command via blue tooth on my phone. I could make phone calls from sitting on my couch which could be really helpful in times of emergency. I could also talk with people that were in other rooms if I had friends or family over. It was also set up so I could ask Siri random questions throughout the day. A smart watch that I wore also analyzed many of my vitals and would alert me and my doctor if there was anything wrong.

To help me get up and down the stairs, I decided it was time to invest in a stair lift. My senior care helper is beginning to have problems helping me up and down the stairwell so I thought this could help us both out. It was quite the expensive purchase, but I don’t know how much time I have left and I didn’t want to die of a heart attack due to going up and down those blasted stairs. To avoid having to go up and down frequently, I have relocated my bedroom to the first floor.

My next focus was in the bathroom. I had a walk in shower installed with a high power hand shower head that could reach all of those hard to reach places. It even had a pulsating water flow that was great for working out any strained muscles. Around the toilet and shower, I also got my contractor put safety railings in so I could assist myself getting up and down.

To finish off my home, I have put slip resistant mats all throughout any hard floor surfaces. This will aid in providing more traction so I can’t fall and break my brittle bones. Make sure to cater your home improvements to your senior care needs. If done properly, you will have the opportunity to lead a long, healthy rest of your life.

 

 

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