8 Tips for Minimizing the Risk of Clogged Drains

Ugh! There is something quite frustrating about dealing with a clogged drain – regardless of what room of the house it is in. And, while this can occur anywhere there is a sink or tub, it often seems that the kitchen drain is the most likely place for a clog to occur. But thankfully, that is also one of the simplest places to minimize the risk of a clogged drain.

Since the beginning of the world of plumbing, dealing with a stopped up drain has been a part of its convenience – but it is a fair price to pay for not toting water inside for the hundreds of task made easier by. simply turning on a faucet. So, to make it easier for you to maintain your residences plumbing system, it is vital that you learn how to keep problems such as stopped up plumbing lines and clogs as a low risk occurrence. These tips can help.

  • Never pour grease down the drain. Pour excess grease into a jar that can be poured out, then use a dry cloth or paper towel to wipe out any grease still in the pan.
  • Dispose of items like chemicals, paint, and other items properly. Pouring them down the drain can not just cause it to become clogged, but harsh chemicals can also cause deterioration within the plumbing system and result in leaks and other plumbing problems.
  • If you do not have a garbage disposal, then get drain strainer in your kitchen sink to help keep the food out of the pipes.
  • Don’t force food items down the disposal. Large pieces should be thrown in the trash or compost rather than forced into the drain.
  • If you have a septic tank, have met cleaned by a professional at least once every 2 to 3 years.
  • Once a week, pour a kettle of boiling water down each of the drains. This is especially important for the kitchen as it will breakdown any collected build-up.
  • Clean out the drain traps and remove any hair or other types of “lint” that may have built.
  • At least once a month, pour 1 cup of baking soda down each drain – tub, sinks, stand up shower – followed by one cup of white vinegar. After the chemical process has happened, pour one cup of salt down each drain, then run hot water down the drain for several minutes to help continue the cleaning process.

Using these tips can mean the difference between dealing with a backed up, clogged drain, and not having to be concerned that the sink won’t drain when you need it to. Make them habits and then rest assured that you have done your part to minimize the need for a plumber.

Want to Build a Home in Three Days? Try a DIY Flat Panel Home

There is a growing demand in the United States for prefabricated flat panel homes. The DIY home building kits that are already big business in Europe and the UK are catching on in the states like wildfire for homebuyers that are purchasing them.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, a Do-it-yourself (DIY) kit is a prefabricated kit you can buy that allows you to purchase and assemble a house on your own. These homes are completely or partially built away from the owner’s actual building site.

A flat panel home, as it name implies, means that the house is manufactured in panels or sections allowing for the ease of shipping the parts to be built at the site of your choosing.

The DIY home kits offer some appealing features compared to buying an existing home, especially being able to have one in place on your building site in a very short time. The average traditional home can take three months to a year to construct and be ready to move in, depending on the complexity of the home. That’s not an ideal solution for many potential homebuyers, especially if they just want a small home.

What’s amazing about some of the better DIYs out there is that you can build a home on your own in a fraction of the time that it would take to build a home of equal size. Some can even be assembled in less than a week’s time.

Unity is a good example of a company that sells a DIY that you can assemble in a very short time. The company has been around forty years and offers several different models of DIY flat panel homes.

However, the most interesting ones for the homebuyer that want a home quick and cheap are the Xyla model cottage-style houses that Unity offers. These single-story models can be assembled in a little over three days. Think about it, you can have a house of your own-albeit a small one-in just over three days!

The Xyla starter models range in size from a two bedroom, one-bath model that is about 1028 Sq. Ft. to a three bedroom, three-bath model that is about 1591 Sq. Ft. The flat panels of the home are transported to your site by truck, and then assembled around a pre-dug concrete foundation with a small crane.

Unity saves a lot of construction time by installing the building’s siding off site. They use a decorative trim to give it an appealing uniform look instead of a façade of panels strung together that is common in many homes you see these days. The Xyla’s panels are put together on a rustic timber frame that crests in the center. The panels are then put together around the foundation.

Another feature of the Xyla flat panel home that makes it special is its upgradability. You can start out small and then upgrade to a bigger house by adding on flat panel modules. This gives a lot of pricing options that aren’t available with many static, traditional homes that are on the market.

Also, the longer you live in the Unity home the better your cost savings are because the DIYs require very little energy to maintain and run. When you get a home from them you are enveloped in a tight and heavily insulated envelope that nearly puts renewable energy options to shame.

There you have it-an energy-efficient house you can build in a short amount of time. It’s really hard to beat a 3-day lead time for a place that is extremely livable like the DIY flat panel kit in this article. You can also upgrade the inside of your completed DIY home using some helpful and creative home decoration tips from a professional (or yourself) to make it that cozy dream house you’ve always wanted.

Choose the Right Landscaper for Your Home

Landscaping your yard is a great way to make your home more beautiful. It may increase its value by as much as 15%. For both reasons, you want to make sure to do the best job you can with your yard. Thankfully, landscapers are available to help.

The Perks of Landscaping

Landscaping makes your yard more attractive. This helps you get more money for your home when you decide to sell it. In fact,

many people won’t bother to look at a house without “curb appeal.” Curb appeal, made commonplace by the HGTV show, is how nice a house looks from the road. Landscaping increases curb appeal by creating a great first impression. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home any time soon, it helps make you feel better about the way your home looks.

Deciding on the Right Landscaper

A landscaper will be able to help you improve the look of your yard. He or she does this by doing more than just choosing plants. They also build additions such as decks, patios, gazebos, and retaining walls. They can even help you by planning and installing lighting systems. This type of landscaping is called hardscaping. If you need a landscaper to help you with hardscaping, be sure the person you choose has the skill to do this.

Years of Experience

In addition to having the right knowledge, your landscaper should have experience. Find out how long he or she has been in business. A company that has been in the business for many years is more likely to do a great job. Also, find out how much experience the landscaper has with the type of design you are interested in. A landscaper who has years of experience building retaining walls is not your best choice if you are

building a gazebo.

Professional Groups

You should also look for a landscaper who is a member of national or state landscape organizations. One who is involved with these organizations is more likely to know more about the

latest trends and ideas, because they share important industry information. In addition, some organizations only allow member with proven track records to join.

Licenses and Certificates

Licensing is also important when choosing a landscaping company. In fact, many states require landscapers to be licensed or certified. The license helps guarantee the landscaper is knowledgeable. For these companies to be licensed in some states, they also must show that all their employees are

knowledgeable. Choosing a licensed landscaper increases your chances of getting one who will do a great job.

Budget

Of course, your personal budget is important. When choosing the right landscaper, you need to know how much money you have to spend. When deciding this, be sure to find out what is included with the job. For example, a landscaper that provides his or her own insurance is ideal. You do not want to be responsible for any accidents that may happen in your yard.

References

The way to find the best landscaper is to talk to references.

Visit the homes of other customers. Ask if they were happy with the final outcome. If possible, visit a yard still in progress. This will help you see how professional the company is. It will also give you an idea of how the landscaper works and if it is compatible with the way you doing things.

Getting the Best Heater for Residential Use

Choosing the right heater for your household can be a challenge, especially since they are an essential utility that will be regularly in use. However, finding the right type of heater for your home is easy as long as you know the primary use it will have. There are two primary types of heaters you can purchase for your home, ovens, which are primarily used for cooking, and furnaces which are used for heat. Both of the heaters available for residential use can be used with both gas and wood for fuel, depending on availability in your region and budgetary allowances.

If you are in the market for a heater to use as an oven, then a wood fire oven is a good choice to get a rustic smoked flavor to any dish cooked in it. A wood fired oven is a nice touch that helps to make your food seem more high-brow and authentic. A disadvantage to wood fired ovens however is that they require a consistent supply of wood as fuel if they are to be your primary method of preparing dishes. If you value having readily available fuel and low maintenance then a gas powered oven is probably a safer investment for your home. Gas ovens are readily available and can be installed into any home with no hassle which is a good choice for people who are busy but still want rich tasting food.

However if you are using a heater as a furnace, there are a lot more choices. Heating a house can be done with a discreet gas furnace or a comfortable modern fireplace that is as much décor as it is a utility. Gas heated furnaces are often used as more of a utility than as décor so they will often be out of the public eye. This is a helpful feature for those who don’t have a lot of space for their heater and it also offers a great convenience in fuel supply. While the accessibility of wood is still an issue with fireplaces, there are solutions for areas without constant access to firewood. Pellet based heaters use readily available wood shavings formed into pellets in order to create a highly efficient clean burning fireplace that can heat a home for close to thirty hours. While pellet heaters don’t have the nostalgic image of a log roasting in a fireplace, they can still be designed to fit very well into your house to look natural and comfortable.

The amount of heaters on the market is nearly endless, allowing for a model that is the one for your home and needs, but it can be difficult to determine which one is the best investment for your life is. With a clear idea of what the market has to offer and the help of local specialists, it can be painless to get the perfect setup for your household.

Boiler Servicing Procedure

What actually is a boiler service and what does it involve?

The boiler servicing procedure is very different for many companies.

For some, no names, it’s just, inserting the flue gas analyser probe into the flue, printing off the readings.

If they are within the limits, that’s the boiler serviced.

To me, a boiler installer, that is not a boiler service, it’s just a combustion check and nothing else.

The boiler servicing procedure that I use goes a little like this.

Arrive at the property at the arranged time, if running late, contact the client to keep informed, nothing worse than waiting for someone to arrive.

Once at the property, introduce yourself, show the client the Gas Safe ID card, explain how to check the card details.

This will reassure your client that you are a professional registered gas safe engineer.

Now the card is out of the way, politely ask the client to show you the boiler location.

Ask if they have experienced any problems with the boiler recently, has anything changed on the heating system, has the system been drained, any radiators replaced.

This will give you an idea of what to look out for.

Now The boiler Servicing

First, we carry out a visual inspection of the boiler.

1 Check that the boiler is installed correctly, and to current regulations.

2 Is the flue connected to the boiler the correct way and safe for use?

3 Look for any damage to the boiler that may impair its operation.

4 Ensure that if ventilation is required it is the correct size.

5 Check for any signs of water leakage within the boiler.

6 Look for any former repairs.

7 Make sure the boiler is right, for the size of the property.

8 Run the boiler in both heating and hot water modes before commencing the service.

By running the boiler, this proves that both the hot water and heating were both working at the time of the service.

Some scrupulous customers try to say the boiler was working before you carried out the service, when in fact is was not.

By carrying out this check you can confirm if the boiler was working or not.

Now onto Checking The Gas Meter

Check over the location of the gas meter, carry out a risk assessment, making sure it all conforms to current gas regulations.

Does the Emergency Control Valve have a handle fitted, so the gas can be isolated and made safe should a situation occur?

Check the Protective equipotential earth bonding is connected to the outlet side of the gas meter and is the correct size.

Check the gas for leakage

Carry out a let by test to establish the emergency control valve is not letting gas through when switched off.

Now carry out the gas tightness test over the prescribed times, once complete, print off the results and attach to the boiler service certificate.

The Boiler

Some makes of boiler have a fault memory that can be checked, they normally store up to 10 faults, this will tell you what has been happening and what to look out for.

Check the gas operating and working pressures, making sure they are within the limits.

Isolate the power supply to the boiler, while at the same time check that the fuse fitted is of the correct size.

Depending on the make and model, follow the boiler servicing procedure as per instructions in the boiler manual.

If you don’t have access to the boiler manual you can download a copy from the internet, just search for the make and model you need, and download it.

Turn the boiler power back on, recheck both the hot water and heating are still working.

Now we move on to the gas rate, this needs to be checked to make sure the boiler is getting enough gas. There are many apps available to help you carry out a gas rate.

We now carry out another gas tightness test at the meter to ensure there are no gas leaks.

Boiler Servicing procedure Certificate

Now that the boiler service has been completed, remove all tools and any dust sheets from the site, making sure the working area around the boiler has been left clean and tidy.

Enter all the details of the boiler service on the certificate.

If needed, attach any warning notices to the boiler, fill in a warning notice certificate and inform the client of your findings.

Explain why the boiler has failed, and what is required to bring it up to regulation standards.

Finally, hand over all the paperwork to the client including the invoice.

Ask the client if they are happy with your service, and would they be so kind to leave a review for you.

Every company has their own way of carrying out a boiler service, the above is our boiler servicing procedure.

Top Well Water Problems

If there is a time that well waters fear is when the water that comes out from the tap has become discolored, cloudy or foul smelling. There must be something wrong with their well.

Luckily, there is a solution to most common well water problems. Well users just need to identify the cause of these water issues so they can take action and restore water supply immediately.

Common Issues and How to Solve Them

Hard Water

Hard water is caused by high levels of calcium and magnesium dissolved in the liquid. It is very common to find hard water in the US as it affects 85% of the people who live there.

Hard Water Symptoms

  • Clothes lose their original color and feel rough;
  • Skin is dry and hair is flakey;
  • Low pressure because of the buildup of minerals in clogged pipes;
  • Buildup of scale on faucets and appliances;
  • White residue and spots on dishes and dishwashers;
  • Stains on sinks and bathtubs.

Acidic Water Well Issues

Acid rain, drainage from mining operations as well as plant decay can lower the pH level to under 7.0 pH. Low well water pH level can also be caused by low total dissolved solids or TDS.

Acidic Water Symptoms

  • Blue-green color or rust stains in sinks and bathtubs
  • In some cases, cloudy water
  • Metallic, bitter taste
  • Small leaks in plumbing
  • Worn down faucets and fixtures
  • Hydrogen Sulfide

As organic material decomposes, the flammable hydrogen sulfide enters the water. The gas can be produced by the infestation of sulfate-reducing bacteria or chemical reactions with the anode rods inside water heaters.

Hydrogen Sulfide Symptoms

  • Rotten egg smell and taste of water;
  • Stains on clothes;
  • Stains on bathroom fixtures;
  • Discoloration of silverware, brass and copper;
  • Iron and Manganese.

Iron and manganese, which are naturally found in bedrock, can dissolve in groundwater when mining operations cause a disturbance.

Iron and Manganese Symptoms

  • Black stains or specks;
  • Orange, red or brown stains on sinks, bathtubs;
  • Cloudy, orange water;
  • Bitter, metallic taste;
  • Oily water surface;
  • Grey/black staining water;

Turbidity.

Drilling, runoff or other forms of earth disturbance can let high total suspended sediment levels enter well water. High levels of sediment may show the presence of pollutants, microbial life, or oxidised metals like iron and manganese in water.

Turbidity Symptoms

  • Dirty or cloudy water

Fluoride

Fluoride occurs in all natural water in a range of amounts and can be detected by testing well water. EPA recommends a 0.7 mg/L level for fluoride but it can be higher when it comes to well water

Fluoride Symptoms

  • Dental fluorosis: Brown or dirty white stains on teeth, children in particular.

Fecal Bacteria

Fecal bacteria like E. Coli is found in human or animal waste. These can find their way to well water by means of agricultural runoff, well wall cracks or overflowing sewage lines and septic tanks.

Fecal Bacteria Contamination Symptoms

Symptoms of Fecal Bacteria Contamination

  • Gastrointestinal illness happens more often
  • Water may/may not have an odor

Decide Your Space

One of the biggest decisions you need to make while opting for a self storage is space. Yes, you need to decide how much space you require to store your goods. Self storage provides a variety of sizes and units ranging from size of a box to a ware house. If you decide for a very small storage unit, you will not be able to keep all your goods. If you opt for a big unit, you will be wasting your money on the area which you are not using.

You can always increase or reduce the space at self storage according to your needs. If you are planning to store your goods for a short term, you may require a considerable unit.

Self storage providers lease different variety of units to residential and business tenants. Mostly the sizes of a self storage include –

1. 5X5: This holds very well, if you have very less number of items to store for a very few days. It can accommodate chest of drawers, office files, clothes, mini house hold items etc.

2. 10X5: This is approximately the size of a large wardrobe. This can hold good, if you are using the storage for storing outdoor furniture or small furniture, small boxes, motor cycle, books for students, business documents etc.

3. 10X10: This is size of a Kid’s bed room or a mini bedroom. It can accommodate furniture and belongings of one bed room.

4. 10X20: This can hold all the items that can fit in two to three bedrooms with other appliances as well. It can accommodate a one big vehicle or a truck as well.

5. 20X20: These spaces usually will be available for limited basis. It can accommodate two big vehicles. This is usually used for business purpose.

Since, you have many options, the only thing you need to do is to decide which self storage unit suits your need. The best source of advice would be your self storage provider itself. Usually the self storage providers will be extremely experienced in giving the best estimation.

A few tips to decide the space at your self storage:

1. Prepare the list of items which you are going to store.

2. Take measurements of the largest item in your list. This will help you in deciding the average unit you would need.

3. If you are going to store your entire house, you can provide the room count in your house to the storage provider, they can estimate your space.

4. If you are going to shift your storage room alone to a storage space, you can provide the measurements of the storage room to the service provider.

Self storage often will provide package facilities to their customers. If your belongings are packed by them, they can estimate the space by the size of the boxes and the count. So, plan well and decide before saving your belongings at your self storage.

DIY Water Heater System Maintenance For The Homeowner

Water heaters are among our most valuable appliances at home. They provide us with warm, relaxing baths; help us thoroughly clean our dirty clothes; wash our greasy pots and pans and many more. This appliance is indeed worthy of every penny we’ve invested on it, considering the convenience that it consistently brings. And with proper care and maintenance, it will surely last for more than 10 years. Here are some tips that you have to follow when taking care of your water heating system at home.

1. Check the Temperature and Pressure Valve (T&P valve).

The water heater tank seals in high amounts of temperature and pressure to keep the water warm. Once in a while, you’ll have to relieve the pressure to prevent the tank from exploding or leaking. To accomplish this maintenance task, locate the T&P valve which is commonly situated at the side or on top of the heating tank. Carefully lift the rocker arm. If it won’t budge at all, it needs to be replaced immediately. If it won’t snap back down after lifting, it must be loosened.

2. Keep the temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Setting the appliance’s temperature higher than that may result to accidents such as scalding. Also remember that for every 10 degrees that you lower the temp, you’ll be saving up to 5% on your energy consumption.

3. Maintain a clearance space of 2 feet around the tank.

Unless otherwise stated on your appliance’s user’s manual, you have to set a clear space of 2 feet around the unit. This should avoid the onset of fire-related accidents.

4. Inspect the anode rod.

The anode rod is that piece of magnesium or aluminum stick that’s dipped into the water heater tank. Its main purpose is to protect the water storage from corrosion. Rust cannot be prevented but instead of letting it eat away on the tank, it will instead eat away on the anode rod. Make sure that the rod is replaced when about 6 inches of its core wire is already bare; when it’s coated with calcium or when it is less than half an inch thick.

5. Insulate the pipes.

Insulating the pipes will help improve the appliance’s efficiency. While this is a must on older water heating units, you should know that new ones already come equipped with insulation. You should never skip this part especially during cold winter months, when heating water becomes a bit difficult for the appliance.

6. Insulate the tank.

To lessen the amount of standby heat loss and instead keep the water in the storage tank warm, you should also insulate the tank. You can use an insulating jacket, a R.4.5 foil-covered bubble wrap, for this task. Just don’t cover the top part of your gas or oil water heater.

7. Flush it!

Don’t forget to drain your water heater tank two to three times a year. As you can see, every time that water fills the tank, sediments, minerals and debris also get in and accumulate at the bottom of the water storage. These sediments should be removed to help the appliance perform efficiently and also to keep it in good condition.

DIY Shed Blueprints – The Right Plans Can Make Your Work A Lot Easier

Shed building plans are always there to help when you are thinking of building a shed on your own. Some people may prefer buying ready-made sheds or utilize shed building kits. But using a plan lets you make a shed while keeping your budget low. Ready-made sheds are pretty expensive and might not be exactly what you are looking for. Pre-built kits are easy and convenient but building your own shed from scratch is also a good solution.

First of all look in your building department or local zoning if a permit is required to build a shed. Then decide upon a place in your backyard or garden where the shed is going to be. Make sure that the shed doesn’t block an important view or a window from your house and also that it’s not positioned over important lines like phone or water lines.

Next you have to come up with a design for your shed. You can design it yourself or you can buy shed building plans. There are plenty of different plans available in the market as well as online. Second option is recommended if you don’t have much experience of construction. The plan will come with full instructions and diagrams that will help you throughout the construction.

Now for foundation of the shed you have two options. One is concrete foundation and the other is skid foundation. Skid foundation is cheaper and simpler as compared to concrete one. It will require some lumber and gravel which stabilizes the shed. Concrete foundation is more permanent and lasting. It’s also more durable and sturdy.

If you are building a wooden shed then you can utilize two pieces of plywood with a lattice between them to make the wall. Doing this will provide better insulation and the walls will be more sturdy. You can start with making frames of joists and skids which will lead to the entire construction.

You can build the roof in gable or barn style because it’s functional as well as beautiful and not too complex when it comes to construction. First you need to make roof trusses which you have to position at 5 to 15 inches in order to support the roof. Over the top you can place PVS sheets, iron sheets on bituminous compounds.

Building the door is the last step and the most important one. Calculate the size of the door accurately otherwise it will give you trouble while opening and closing. Door must be sturdy because it’s moved and utilized more often. Shed door can be made of boards that are armored by diagonal and horizontal beams for more robustness.

Now once the door is installed you can build in drawers, cupboards or anything that you think you will require in your shed. It will take a couple of days for shed to complete so be patient. Using shed building plans always make the job easy and you will know where you stand through the entire process.

Bathroom Renovation for a Modern and Aesthetic Home Space

Kitchen and bathroom renovation in lieu of more expensive complete home renovation is in vogue amongst homeowners. This is not only because of the cost factor but also because these small projects take less time and do not disrupt your routine life. Bathroom renovation can add a touch of modern home décor to your home interiors and also add to its market value.

Hire a bathroom renovation contractor for best bathroom remodeling results. The contractor will suggest and with your approval implement the new floor plan and décor theme for the bathroom. Your bathroom renovation can be as simple as just plumbing repairs and as elaborate as complete bathroom revamping. In any case hiring a contractor lessens your hassles.

Bathroom renovation makes sense especially for those who like to keep abreast with the changing home interiors trends. It can really adds to the value of your bathroom and house. These days people like to have two sinks in the bathroom to completely separate the toilet from the bath area. Also, in the bath area the showers are fast being replaced with bathtubs that double up as shower. These pronounced bathroom renovations enhance the functionality of the bathroom, turning it into a modern and aesthetic comfort zone.

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