Freaky Fungus: How To Protect Your Home From Damage

Freaky Fungus: How To Protect Your Home From Damage

Mold and mildew are funguses that thrive in moist, warm conditions. These organisms reproduce by releasing spores that cling to organic materials in the home such as drywall, upholstery, cardboard, paper and carpeting. The spores are carried into the home by water and air, and they will continue to spread until the home is cleaned and dried out thoroughly. Fungus growth can cause significant damage to home materials and can also create health problems in sensitive individuals if they inhale or come into contact with the spores.

Fix Plumbing Problems Quickly

Any source of water can cause fungus growth in your home, so if one of the plumbing lines in the house develops a leak, it can lead to the development of smelly, unhealthy mold growth. Check the pipes under the sinks or connected to appliances to ensure the connections are secure. Some leaks can occur deep within the walls of your home. A professional plumbing contractor can use special equipment to locate the leak with the least amount of damage to walls and floors. If you notice moisture or if the rooms develop a moist, humid feel, call in a plumber to repair the leak before it leads to damage to your home’s construction materials and cause the growth of fungus. Professional companies, such E & R Exterminating Company, Inc. can apply wood borate compounds to eliminate fungus growth on wood components under your home.

Prevent Flooding Incidents In Your Home

Some areas of the country are subject to heavy seasonal rains that cause basement flooding or flooding of lower floors of homes. To prevent water damage and fungus growth from basement flooding, install a sump pump system that will automatically remove rainwater from the basement when water table levels rise. If you are in a low area, be ready to pile sandbags around the foundation when heavy rains occur that might flood your home.

Waterproof Your Basement

Even if you don’t experience flooding in your home, ordinary seepage into the basement from heavy rains or snowmelt can cause a constant state of dampness that can promote fungus growth on drywall, storage boxes, paper and other materials. Applying a waterproof seal to your foundation walls can help to minimize seepage and will help to avoid fungus growth in the basement interior. Contact a basement-waterproofing contractor in your area for more information on protecting your home from water damage.

Fungus growth can deteriorate the construction materials in your home. It can also result in health problems for sensitive or allergic members of your family. Use these tips prevent fungus growth in your home, and call in a professional contractor to minimize the damage when it occurs.

5 Ways To Improve the Security Of Your Front Door

exterior-door

The front door is the most likely point of entry for any home break-in. That means this needs to be the strongest part of your home security. There are many ways to increase the security of your front door, some of which are almost imperceptible. Other protections are costly and may affect the look and feel of the home. With such a wide range of options, there is no excuse to leave your home exposed, and there is no reason to spend a fortune making improvements. If you are renting, make sure to speak with your landlord before making any changes, no matter how small you think they are.

  1. Longer Screws

One of the simplest and most noninvasive ways to improve the security of your front door is to use longer screws to fasten your door hinges and strike plates. Most standard locks are installed with screws that are an inch, or maybe even an inch and a half, in length. This bites into the wood enough for alignment and functionality purposes, but it does not offer much security.

With just a three-inch screw, you are securing the strike and hinges to the wall stud. A screw that is biting into a stud will stand up to a significant amount of force beyond a simple set screw. This helps to prevent against kicking attacks on both the hinge and doorjamb sides of the door.

  1. Use the Right Lock

A front door should always use at least one deadbolt in addition to a keyed knob or handle. The deadbolt is immune to the widely known credit card method of surreptitious entry. When the bolt is thrown, it is not retractable without a key or a thumbturn on the interior of the door. This is different from the spring latch in a keyed doorknob, which can be depressed even while in the locked position.

If there is any glass on or around the door, it is very important to use a double-sided deadbolt. These deadbolts do not have a thumbturn, and require the use of a key when locking and unlocking from both inside and outside the home. Even if a criminal were to smash the glass near a double-sided deadbolt, they could not gain entry any easier. High-security locks are also necessary to prevent against more advanced forms of illegal entry, such as lock picking and bump keys. Make sure that lock installation is done correctly or the security of the lock will be diminished. In lieu of installing new locks, homeowners can also rekey locks (if they already have a deadbolt in place) to maximize their home security.

door

  1. Add Metal

In order to install a door lock, several holes must be cut into the wood of the door. These holes are not completely filled by metal, and therefore leave vulnerable areas, which a susceptible to violent entry attacks. This means the area of your door that holds the lock hardware is actually a weak point in the door. By placing metal sleeves around that area, these points cannot be as easily compromised.

The same is true for the doorjamb, which will almost always have a simple small metal strike plate to hold the latch and/or bolt of your locks. By having this strike plate be longer, and secured throughout the length of the jamb, the door is secured against forced entry. Some of these products are hidden by the closed door, so these measures do not need to change the look of your home.

  1. Better Door Composition

If you secure your hinges, hardware, and the doorjamb, then there is still the concern of the door itself breaking. All doors are not created equal. For exterior doors, and especially front doors, you need a product with a solid core. These doors are heavier, as they use more material and stronger wood in their construction.

For additional security, there are steel core doors, and even iron core doors, which add metal content to the door itself. The addition of a new door would be the most costly and visually dramatic change proposed so far, but it is a must if the wrong type of door has already been installed.

house-exterior

  1. Security Screens

A security screen changes the look of your home from the exterior, but it provides a vast range of protection. Firstly, it will have more locks installed, which is an obstacle for anyone trying to bump or pick the locks. There is also another door, which is made out of metal, so forced entry is going to take at least twice as long as it would with just a standard door.

Residents can also open their door to see who is outside, without exposing themselves to a threat. And opposed to traditional woven screen doors, there is still a layer of security if you would like to leave your front door open for some fresh air.

Tips for Renters:

If you are renting, it is not so simple to make changes to the home. Often you will need to suggest your ideas to the landlord, who will then make the final decision. So it is important that you have been acting in compliance with what your landlord wants. Try not to be difficult or demanding. You are trying to present a solution, not a problem. So find a solution that works for your needs, and that you believe your landlord would be open to. For example, you may know that they do not like changes that alter the look of the home. So you would not suggest overly visible changes such as a security screen or new door.

Come to them with a full proposal. If you force them to come up with their own answers, the process will be much slower. The less work you make for them, the better chances of a quick and positive response. Who you want to pay for the changes will also affect your success. If you are looking to pass the cost onto the landlord, the offer to only charge the cost of materials will be more appealing than including the cost of labor. Try to anticipate their issues, and appeal to them on matters they care about. For example, even attempted burglary would result in many replacement costs as well as insurance issues, and general repairs. Be personable, and try to be positive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your AC Ready to Handle This Summer’s Heat?

Is Your AC Ready to Handle This Summers Heat

It is tough to imagine when the weather is mild, or even cold, that there are sweltering days of summer on their way. You know, those days when the sun is beating down and the humidity is so high your lungs feel like you are breathing through a wet sponge. This is when you need your central air conditioning to be operating at peak efficiency, but is your AC ready to handle the coming summer heat?

Central AC Cleaning

It is the air blowing over those aluminum fins that cover the coils of the condenser and evaporator that slowly build up grime that can drastically reduce AC efficiency. The part outside with the big fan and large surface area of aluminum fins is the condenser. It is the hot side of the AC system that dissipates the accumulated heat from inside your home to the outside. Oxidation, debris, insect nests and airborne particulates can block airflow. The evaporator is the cold side and is usually housed inside the main air duct of your furnace. These coils get wet with condensation that is drained away, and dust is the main offender that leads to blocked drains and coils that freeze up to block airflow. Your central AC system may be in desperate need of cleaning.

Low Refrigerant

Your central air conditioning system relies on a specific amount of refrigerant to operate at peak efficiency. The compressor has a low refrigerant sensor that will shut it off once the compressed gas drops to a set point. However, the system can operate for years with slightly low refrigerant levels that keep it working but at a considerably reduced level of efficiency. Also, low refrigerant can lead to evaporator coil freezing. If you notice your AC system is not pumping out air as cold as it did a few years ago, it is time to call professional AC technicians to have it tested. Getting your AC system back to operating at peak efficiency saves you money in energy costs.

Home Additions

Many homeowners have had a contractor add an addition onto their home. In some cases the ability of both the furnace and central air system to handle the extra square footage has not been taken into consideration. Each furnace and AC unit is designed to heat and cool a specific area usually determined by its volume in square feet. If you have noticed that your furnace or AC system is not heating or cooling your home like they did before the addition, then contacting an HVAC professional who can look up the specifications of your system and calculate the total square footage of your home can be useful. Also, there just may be a problem in how the air is distributed or a problem with returning air back to the system that just requires adjustments and not equipment replacement.

Tree Cutting and Insulation

Things can change around and in your home that affect the ability of your air conditioning system to be able to cool your home properly. Cutting down a large shade tree on the southern side of your home exposes it to more heat from the sun. This can make rooms on that side of the house hotter than they were before a tree was cut down. This can often be corrected with some fine tuning of the air distribution system. Insulation is usually only considered when it comes to keeping the heat in during the winter months, but good insulation is needed to keep the heat out in the summer as well. This may involve something as simple as installing solar films on windows on the sunny side of your home to block out some more of the sun’s heat in the summer.

If your AC system is not performing up to your standards of comfort on the hottest days of summer, it may just need cleaned and adjusted to get back to keeping your house cool and comfortable on those miserable days. The best time to ready your home for the heat of summer is to get your AC system inspected and serviced before that first hot day when you really need it.

Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Spring with These Trends

Spring is coming! You see all sorts of articles in magazines and blogs online about fashion and interior design trends for the season.

But what if you want to update the outside of your home? Below are 7 of the hottest trends in home exteriors for Spring 2017!

Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Spring with These Trends

1) Covered and Screened Decks and Patios

Take your outdoor living space up a notch by adding pergolas or covers to your deck or patio. Besides providing shade, it will beautify and define the space.

Screens are another way to make the exterior of your deck or patio look great for your neighbors and people driving by. But they also provide you with the privacy that makes your outdoor space actually feel like a retreat. You can buy ready-made screens or get creative and design your own. In any case, the neighbors will get a nice view and you will get your spa-like retreat.

2) Fancy Pools

There is nothing like a swimming pool to beat the summer heat and provide a fun gathering spot for friends and family. So, if you’re considering building one, why not follow the current trend of building a luxury pool?

If you have the space and budget, you can build a rooftop pool that looks out over your city. Or you can build one that combines indoor and outdoor living by installing a retractable wall of windows that lead to your pool. Or you can invest in an infinity pool that makes it look like you’re swimming in the sky.

Whether you use the contractor’s established designs, or come up with ideas of your own, a pool will add a splash of curb appeal.

swimming-pool

3) Structured Gardens

Make your garden appear larger and more stylish with garden structures. First, design a layout for your space that includes where you want to place the pieces. The type of garden you want, whether it be cottage style, a Zen retreat, formal or an eclectic mix, will determine what type of structures you use.

You can go the traditional route and choose brick walls or concrete fountains. Or you can use sleek modern vine-climbing walls or garden sculpture. Buy your pieces or make your own. Either way, you can create your own enchanted garden that you and passers-by will enjoy.

4) Home Additions

Another growing trend is home remodeling. Porches are a popular exterior addition. Or, if you already have a porch, you can make it up-to-date by adding design details like those on Craftsman or Victorian homes. Cornice moldings, thick porch posts, finials, urns and much more can be added to your porch to make it stand out. Also, most of these porches display boho-chic furnishings.

Another popular remodel is replacing builder-grade garage doors with garage doors that match your home’s style. If you’re replacing an old door or adding a brand-new garage, don’t skimp on this item. Whether your garage is front-facing or not, the look of its door can have a major impact on the appearance of your home.

porch

5) Limiting the Colors in Your Garden

Another trend for gardens is using a simple palette of only 2 or 3 shades. It’s a modern, almost minimalistic look. But for those new to gardening or don’t want to be bothered by too much planning, it’s any easy way to go.

So how do you keep your garden from looking boring? One way is to have 1 color be the feature color and have the other shade or shades be highlights. And choose a variety of plants of the predominant color or colors. For example, have white roses, white hydrangeas and a white dogwood tree in your landscape.

Limiting how many shades appear in your garden will make it look classy, modern and sophisticated.

6) Grand Entrances

Even if you don’t have or want a porch, fabulous entrances are all the rage. The recent trend of red doors is now being replaced more imaginative front entries.

Some doors that are growing in popularity are Dutch doors and doors made of glass encased in intricate iron work. The symmetrical look of matching topiaries or marble benches on either side of the front door is trending. As are wreaths made for each season, banners and wind chimes.

All of these elements will make people say “Wow!” when they are about to enter your home.

7) Stone and Brick Exteriors

This trend piggy-backs on the natural, sustainable materials movement. If your home is already built with brick or stone, you can use paint to give your home a new look. Just be sure to choose the right type of paint and that it is applied properly.

If you just want to add a stone or brick accent to your home, you can choose between the real thing or an artificial alternative. Man-made options can look just as good and are usually cheaper.

Out with the old and in with the freshness of the season! Follow these trends so your curb appeal will pop this spring!

Author Bio:

Kacey MyaKacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

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Home Security Tips-Infographic

Every year 2 million home burglaries are reported in the U.S.  If homeowners were to take a few extra security measures, this large number can be reduced. It is very important to know what you can do to prevent break-ins as this is not only a matter of your personal belongings being taken, but also a violation of privacy and that can have many emotional effects on a person that last a lifetime. A few measures you can take include installing motion lighting, locking all doors and windows, and preparing for out of town trips. Please see the infographic below for more information.