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.

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.

Flawless Facade: 4 Hacks to Make Your Home’s Exterior Pristine

Flawless Facade

Keeping your home sparkling clean is an ongoing process. You will need some basic equipment, such as a bucket, biodegradable detergent and a pressure washer. The time that you invest in keeping up your home’s exterior will add value to the home and provide you with a sense of personal pride.

Clean the Windows

Cleaning your home’s windows improves its appearance inside and out. You will need to clean both sides of the glass in order to achieve optimal results. Basic supplies needed for this project include glass cleaner, a squeegee, a bucket and newspapers. Work from the highest windows down and from the top of the window to the bottom. Do the same for the inside pane of glass.

Use a Pressure Washer

Using a pressure washer is a fast and efficient way to clean your home’s siding. Dirt, dust, and salt residue can mar your siding. Some companies, like Ben’s Cleaner Sales, know that things like bird droppings and pollen can also have damaging effects on the exterior of your home. Use a biodegradable detergent and your pressure washer to get rid of all of the grime. Spring and autumn are good times of the year to pressure wash your home’s exterior.

Paint the Trim

The trim around your home’s doors and windows is prone to chipping. Repainting it will boost the aesthetic appeal of your house. Unlike painting the whole exterior, touching up the trim does not take too long. Use a wire brush to remove any peeling paint. Apply a layer of primer. Allow the primer to fully dry. Use the correct type of oil-based exterior paint for the material you are painting. If you need a second coat of paint, wait at least eight hours between coats.

Get Rid of Roof Stains

Roof stains are unsightly, but they are rarely a sign of damage. Most roof stains are the result of a type of algae that thrives on damp asphalt shingles. A special detergent can be used to wash your roof and get rid of the stains. You can have a roofer install copper or zinc strips along your roof line. This will prevent new stains from forming. Trimming back tree branches helps to ensure that the shingles dry out after rain.

These four simple actions will dramatically improve your home’s exterior. You can do these activities on a clear, mild day. If you are getting your home ready for a special event, your guests will be thrilled at the flawless facade of your house.

 

Home Safety: Tips To Consider When Picking Your Windows And Doors

Home Safety Tips To Consider When Picking Your Windows And Doors

A home’s doors and windows are the first lines of defense against burglars and intruders. Doors are by far the most important because they are the main entrance to the house and logically where the burglars will try first. While taking simple steps, such as always securing the locks and repairing broken doors and windows is certainly important, there are a few ways that homeowners can go beyond the basics when choosing new doors and windows for the home.

Go Solid

Doors that lead to the outdoors should always be solid. While hollow doors are often used indoors for improved cost as well as a lightweight feel, front and back doors as well as doors leading to the garage should be made of solid wood or metal with inner reinforcements. Other good options include fiberglass and reinforced steel. Consider options like these attractive and inviting New Jersey doors that look beautiful and are sturdy as well.

Consider Windowless

Numerous doors come with decorative windows to let in light and to provide a curbside statement. However, these same windows also provide easy ways for predators to peep indoors or for intruders to reach into the home to unlock the door. Homeowners that must have windows in their doors should consider choosing ones with metal reinforcements or smaller windows that are quite far from the door’s lock.

Always Include Deadbolts

Instead of using only the small locks that are part of the doorknob, all homeowners should have deadbolts installed with their new doors. Deadbolts extend far into the doorframe, creating another layer of protection for the household. In addition, homeowners should ensure that the doorframe is sturdy to protect it from being kicked out by an intruder.

Choose Reliable Brands And Companies

Of course, any door or window is only as reliable as the company that sells it is. Homeowners should choose reputable companies to buy from. A reputable firm will be able to direct homeowners to the sturdiest doors and to the most secure windows for the home. A good installer will be able to make these recommendations without sacrificing the style of the home.

sliding doors

Beware Of Sliding Doors

Sliding glass patio doors are some of the easiest options for intruders looking to break into a home. Not only are these typically solid glass, but also many of them can be easily forced open. Homeowners that have these patio or balcony doors should only choose options made from reinforced glass or polycarbonate and should always install a sturdy, solid metal or wooden dowel in the track in addition to the door’s traditional lock.

Choose Reinforced Glass

Windows should be made from reinforced glass, such as laminated glass, or from polycarbonate or Plexiglas, which are quite difficult and time-consuming to break. All homeowners should consider installing reflective coatings on the glass to ensure that potential intruders cannot see into the house even if the curtains are open.

Add Window Bars

Homes that are built along the street or that have windows that are very low to the ground are at particular risk from intruders. Window bars can protect the home even if the glass is broken. Homeowners need not worry that these bars will ruin the look of the home. Many options are quite decorative with scrollwork and even shapes that can extend over window boxes.

Homeowners who do not know too much about the windows and doors that are currently on the market today should check with professional installers to determine what the most secure options are. While safe, solid doors and windows almost always cost more than the baseline models do, they are certainly worth it for peace of mind as well as for home and personal safety.

Things That You Should Avoid When Cleaning Grout and Tiles

Cleaning Grout and Tiles

Having a flooring that is nicely tiled and grouted is a great sight to see. However, not everyone is fond of cleaning it on a regular basis. Nonetheless, if you know what you should and should not do, you will be able to clean your grout and tiles with ease. Here are some of the things that you should avoid when cleaning your grout lines and tiles.

Grout cleaning and tile cleaning is a good idea, especially if you do so on a regular basis as this can actually prolong the life of your flooring and your tiles. Cleaning can maintain the flooring looking best all the time. You can find more about grout cleaning process here.

You also have to keep in mind that there are some activities which can actually shorten the life span of your tiles as well as the grout lines and some activities may even be extremely dangerous. Here are some of the things that you should avoid when doing tile and grout cleaning:

  • Avoid using too much water.

Only use the exact amount of water that you need. Do not use excess water, as grout is tremendously porous. Aside from weakening the grout, it can seep into the grout and be trapped there. Once water gets trapped in the grout, mildew and molds may grow their causing issues in the future.

  • Avoid using harsh chemicals and use light ones instead.

Bleach and ammonia are never good together if you meant to use them in cleaning your tiles and grout lines, as these two can create a type of gas – chlorine gas to be exact – which is quite poisonous and hazardous to your health. Do not use any harsh chemicals when other light chemicals can do the same job. Over time, these harsh chemicals can contribute in damaging your grout and tiles. Harsh chemicals can also weaken or lower down the durability as well as lifespan of grout and tiles.

Avoid using bleaching agents when cleaning, especially if your grout is colored. Bleaching it will wash away the original color of the grout by lightening or dulling the color.

  • Your scrubber matters.

Avoid using scrubbers,which are coarse as these can damage the grout and the tiles. In many cases, it is suggested that a brush would be used instead. This will help in making sure that the tiles and grout will last longer.

Cleaning tiles and grouts is not really as hard as it seem. You just need to know the basic do’s and don’ts of cleaning so you will not go astray or cause damage to your tiles and grout.

Jason McCoy is an experienced contractor who enjoys working on DIY projects of all kinds. He maintains a Guru For Grout Sealing Blog, which contains all sorts of information related to grouting, cleaning and sealing tiles.