A Simple Guide to Successfully Inspecting Your Own Home

A Simple Guide to Successfully Inspecting Your Own Home

Being proactive is a good policy in general. It’s especially important in home maintenance. Performing regular maintenance and catching minor repairs before they become major can keep your home and its systems in optimum condition.

How often should inspections be done? Most home repair experts suggest every six months. A Spring inspection can catch any damage done by cold and winter storms. An early Fall inspection can make sure that heat or open doors and windows haven’t done any damage. In addition, of course, frequent inspection causes any normal wear and tear that needs to be addressed.

Here’s a simple guide to home inspection.

      1.  Heating and Cooling Systems

Your heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems can be checked by careful examination of components.

First, look at the air filters. They should be cleaned or replaced regularly. If they are dusty and dirty, they definitely need to be replaced. Your system will not run at peak performance if the filters are dirty.

Second, look at your air ducts. Do you see any duct tape? Is it in good condition, or peeling and drooping? Replace it if so. Any dirt or dents can indicate problems. Look for any torn or collapsing sections if you have flexible ducts.

Third, turn on your furnace and eyeball the flames. It should be a steady blue. If you see yellow or orange flames that flicker, there may be issues with its combustion. Call a professional to resolve.

Fourth, thermostats need to be cleaned. Take the outer covering off and clean any dirt and dust with cloths or Q-tips.

If your air conditioner compressors are outside, check to see that shrubs or vines (or trees!) haven’t grown over them. If they have, they need to be cut off or they can severely impair the life and function of the unit. Make sure shrubs, vines and trees are pruned. If this looks as if it will be a chronic problem, it’s a good idea to move the landscaping to a different place.

     2.  The Water System

Check every water faucet for signs of leaks and signs of rust. Leakage can cost you in lost water, but they also lead to bigger leaks. Have them fixed at the first sign of leakage.

If you have rust or signs of rust from leaking water, such as reddish stains, have a professional inspect the pipes.

Basement converted to a gym, White Plains, NY

     3.  Attics and Basements

Attics and basements can both be subject to water damage, either from minor flooding or saturated ground in basements or roof leakage in attics. Most of this inspection can be done by carefully eyeballing your attic and basement. Do you see any sign of water damage to stored boxes, for example? Check any wood for signs of rot or water by poking with a screwdriver. Look for signs of mildew. If you see any signs that water leakage is a problem, call a professional who can find and fix the source.

Check your basement and attic for signs of pests as well. Mice, termites, ants and other pests can enter your home by crawling in from the ground through areas in the basement, or from the roof to the attic. Termites leave termite tubes, ants leave trails and mice will chew almost anything. If your insulation or stored camping food has been chewed, you may have mice.

    4.  Roofs

Roofs can lose shingles due to age or winter weather. Other materials can degrade due to the same factors. You also want to make sure that, whatever the composition of your roof, you don’t have birds or other animals nesting on it. They can cause damage that will cost you plenty to repair if the creatures aren’t proactively removed.

Inspect your roof carefully for signs of wear and tear. Roofs in the natural course of events will need to be replaced every 20 to 30 years, so be sure to keep them well maintained to ensure maximum long life.

     5.  Foundations

Look at the foundation for signs of cracks. Hairline cracks are normal, but if they become larger, it’s wise to keep an eye on them. Keep a notebook and note the size of any cracks. If they become noticeably larger at the next inspection period, call a professional for a thorough inspection.

decks and patios

     6.  Decks and Patios

Examine your deck or patio for any sign of wear and tear. Harsh weather may cause damage to either. Both decks and patios, of course, will require maintenance as time goes on. Do you need to remove any vegetation growing around or through cracks in the patio? Does your patio or deck need power washing or a sealant to look its best? Both should be part of regular maintenance. If they have not been, it may be time to institute them every six months.

     7.  Paint

The exterior of a home will need to be painted roughly every ten years. While not strictly speaking a repair, faded or peeling paint can expose your home’s materials to the elements more than if the paint were in good repair. Look at your home’s exterior with a stranger’s eye. Does it look fresh and appealing? If not, it’s time for a new paint job.

Maintaining your home well ensures that minor repairs remain minor, both in cost and in effort needed to fix them. Routine home inspections will ensure that you find any repairs that need to be made.

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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How to Keep Rodents and Other Pests out of Your Home for Good

How to Keep Rodents and Other Pests out of Your Home for Good

If you own a home, you know how hard it can be to keep rodents and other pests out of your home, especially in certain weather conditions, such as rainstorms and cold temperatures. Though it’s impossible to totally keep pests out of your home, there are some things you can do to greatly reduce the chances that the invaders will find their way inside.

Seal up Entryways

One of the best ways to keep pests out of your home is to take away the places they use to get inside. This means you need to go over your house with a fine-toothed comb to find every little crack, slit, crevice, and hole. Start by checking around your doors, windows and utility boxes and caulk or weather strip any gaps. You also want to seal any foundation cracks or cracks in your basement floor. If you have a fireplace, have it inspected to make sure critters aren’t already using it, and have it sealed if needed. You also should check your roof vents and look in your attic to find any possible means of entry.

Don’t Invite Them In

Pests are attracted to food, so you need to make sure you are not leaving uncovered or opened food out on your counters and shelves. You also want to make sure that you are not leaving pet food or water outside for long periods of time. And, of course, you want to make sure that any trash you throw away outside is in sealed bags and that the trash can lid is firmly secured.

Take Away Their Shelter

Pests are always looking for a place to live, so you don’t want to attract them to your home by giving them one. Some companies, like American Pest Control Inc., know that keeping trees and shrubs trimmed back away from your home and cleaning up piles of branches or debris around your yard can also help. If you have a deck, don’t store anything under it that might provide a hideout.

Use Pest Treatments

In addition to all the other measures mentioned, it’s still a good idea to treat for pests to help keep them out. You can use commercial products that you can buy on your own, but if those don’t work, it’s worth it to call a pest control service.

Pests are a nuisance and can be a health hazard. Following these tips will help to keep them out of your home and keep you and your family safe.

4 Quick Plumbing Fixes Anyone Can Master

4 Quick Plumbing Fixes Anyone Can Master

Even though plumbing systems can be relatively complex, there are a few fixes and repairs that everyone should master. Major issues such as cracks in the sewage line will need to be taken care of by a professional, but minor leaks and clogs can easily be fixed with basic tools and a little bit of research. Whether you are renting your first apartment or have just purchased a brand new home, here is a look at some simple repairs you should know how to do.

Dealing with Clogs

If only one of your sinks or showers is clogged, then the debris is most likely not that far down the sewage line. That means you should be able to take care of it with an over-the-counter clog remover. Those who don’t want to use harsh chemicals can also make their own clog remover out of baking soda and vinegar. Homeowners should immediately call a plumber like Knights Plumbing & Drain if multiple sinks, toilets, or showers become clogged at the same time. Deeper clogs can only be broken apart with specialized tools.

Fixing a Leaky Faucet

A single leaky faucet in your home could end up wasting hundreds of gallons of water a month if you don’t take care of it right away. Fixing a leak might seem intimidating, but this job is relatively straightforward as long as you are careful and meticulous. Most leaks can easily be fixed by tightening a handle or replacing an O-ring. Before fixing a leak, you must first shut off the faucet and plug the drain to prevent water damage.

Relighting the Water Heater

One of the most common problems that homeowners run into is the water heater’s pilot light going out. The vast majority of water heaters have a visible valve with a “pilot” position. After turning the valve to that position, you then need to use a lighter with a long neck to relight the flame. Homeowners should never attempt to relight a water heater if they smell gas.

Replacing a Shower Head

Upgrading or replacing an old shower head requires nothing more than an adjustable wrench and some plumber’s tape. The old shower head can be removed by loosening the single connecting nut until the entire shower head comes off. You must then wrap the exposed threads with plumber’s tape to prevent leaks. The final step is to attach the new shower head by turning it clockwise on the threads before tightening the connecting nut.

In order to carry out most plumbing repairs, you are going to need a decent set of tools. At the very least, every homeowner should have a combination wrench set, a plunger, pliers, an adjustable wrench, duct tape, and a caulking gun. These few tools will allow you to take care of minor clogs, slow leaks, and other basic repairs.

Going for Modern? Top Tips to Bring Your Home Into the 21st Century

A cozy home offers a relaxing setting for your family. However, that home might appear to be a bit outdated in regards to the doors, windows, and decorations. There are a few tips that you can use to bring your home into the 21st century so that it’s modern while still keeping the beautiful look and comforting feeling.

Going for Modern Top Tips to Bring Your Home Into the 21st Century

Update the Electrical

Whether it’s the lighting in the home or the outlets, one of the things that you might want to update for the safety of the home is the electrical system. Consider installing a charging station in a central location of the home. The station could feature everything from car chargers that you might need to get while traveling to cords for the laptop. Everyone in the family can charge their devices without anyone losing cords. The lighting is another aspect that you want to look at changing. Install lights that are brighter to offer a glow that you would get from the sun while ensuring that they don’t use a lot of electricity.

Update the Doors

One of the ways that you can make a significant change without spending a lot of money is to change the doors. A bi-fold door, like those from Nu-Look Glass & Aluminum Windows, is ideal for an entryway to a deck or patio. You could also install this kind of door leading from the kitchen to the living room or another section of the house as a way to keep one room completely different from the other. Another simple way to change the doors is to install ones that have an intricate design, like frosted glass with a flower etching.

Make the Home Open

Most older homes are clearly divided into rooms using either walls or counters. Consider removing some of these barriers in the home to create an open space. This will allow for easier travels from one room to another. You’ll be able to see the people who are in the home instead of walking through a door or being separated by a wall, which can make you feel secluded at times.

Change the Flooring

The flooring of the home can make a statement about the overall appearance of the house. If the floor hasn’t been changed in some time, then now might be your opportunity to upgrade your floors so that they are a bit more modern. One of the things that you want to do is remove as much carpet as possible as this is often an outdated look in many homes, replacing it with laminate that looks like hardwood or tile. These materials can make rooms seem larger and are easier to clean.

Your home is where you likely spend a large amount of time during the day. It’s a safe haven for your family. That doesn’t mean that it should stay shrouded in the commonplace designs of the 20th century. Use a few simple tips to update your home so that you want to live there.

Factors To Consider During The Air Conditioning Installation And Maintenance Services

Air conditioning installation and maintenance is a service provided in order to facilitate proper installation of an air conditioner unit. In order to ensure that it provides you the guaranteed improved and quality air with optimal and ideal energy usage. The installation of a unit varies according to the different types of AC units available. Selection of an AC unit depends on different parameters such as the space to be cooled and the total amount of heat generated within the enclosed surface. Based on the above-mentioned criteria, the AC units are classified as:

Air Conditioning

  • Window Air Conditioner
  • Split Air Conditioner
  • Packaged Air Conditioner
  • Central Air Conditioning System

The primary factors to consider during the installation and maintenance services of air-conditioning, which affect the performance of an AC unit, are:

  • Correctly sized
  • Sufficient airflow operation
  • Appropriate amount of refrigerant
  • Tightly sealed ductwork

The proper installation and maintenance service of an air conditioner unit helps you obtain the optimal comfort. There are many firms, who are rich in industrial expertise provide high quality air conditioning installation and maintenance services. The air conditioning installation process comprises of different steps such as:

1. Indoor Unit Location

The positioning of the air conditioner plays a pivot role in its installation and working. The air conditioner front vents shall not be obscured in any way that may cause hindrances in good air circulation.  In addition, an AC unit should be always away from any doorways or any pipes.

2. Outdoor Unit

With regards to outdoor units, there shall be enough of space around it and shall always be installed in a flat and secure surface. If the air conditioning unit installation is done on a roof, it needs to be fastened on a wood to prevent it from being blown by the high wind.

3. Water Drainpipe

In the case of an indoor unit, make sure the water pipe is at the end of the tray and rubber bung is at the hole on opposite side. The drainpipe should be angled at a good distance from the location, as water drainage would be much more during extreme summer.

4. Pipe Connection

While connecting the pipe to the unit, do not over tight them and they need to be covered with a foam insulation to prevent from any refrigerant leaking.

Purpose of Maintenance Service of an Air Conditioner is:

  • Control bacterial growth in cooling water systems.
  • Avoid scaling and corrosion of pipelines that come in contact with the circulating water in an AC unit.
  • Maintain perfectly cleaned and sanitized drain pans to prevent stagnant water.
  • Prevent increased consumption of energy source due to corrosion products and deposits within the compressors.

Furthermore, regular maintenance of an AC unit is important for proper functioning of the unit at its top efficacy. Routine air conditioner maintenance helps to avoid any major breakdowns in the future and perfect functioning throughout the changing seasons to come.

For efficient operation, the unit shall be maintained effectively and efficiently throughout its usage. The negligence of necessary maintenance can cause a steady decline in the performance of the unit with a steady rise in energy consumption. The primary objective of maintenance is to mitigate the consequences of a failure of the unit.

Important Steps in Air Conditioner Maintenance Service are:

Routine cleaning and replacement, if needed, of air conditioner filters, coils, and fins. Clogged filters prevent good airflow. Unclean coils reduce the unit’s ability to absorb heat and the condenser coils bent easily, which needs to be replaced to avoid blocking of airflow.

  1. Clear clogged drain channels – as they prevent the air conditioners from lowering the humidity levels.
  2. Correct checking of the amount of refrigerant.
  3. Checking the thermostat accuracy.
  4. Measuring airflow in the evaporator coils.

Thus, proper care ensures the efficacy of your air conditioner.