Dec 8, 2016
Winter is here again. I have not posted anything new in a while, so I thought the cold weather was a good time to start again. There have already been some broken pipes and irrigation system troubles. Don't forget, now that we are below freezing at night to turn off your sprinkler systems and shut off the water to the irrigation system all together until warmer temperatures are back next year. This is also important if you have a pool or water feature that uses pumps or above ground pipes.
This is the time of year also to make sure you have changed your air filters as you are starting up the heaters. Remember that your HVAC unit works constantly to keep your house warm or cool and keeping the air filters changed and the air flowing will help your system last longer and be as efficient as it can be. A dirty filter can slow up the flow of air and can burn out the motor or cause the unit to ice up when a/c is running, or overheat when heat is running.
While you are at it... check the smoke detector batteries. best to have fresh ones yearly and thest the smoke detectors. Don't wait until they wake you up at 3 am chirping with a low battery alarm. That seems to be their favorite time to start. If your smoke detector is over 10 years old, it may be time to replace them. Some ways you can tell is if they are stamped with manufacture date or a replacement date is written on, or if your ceiling is white and your smoke detector was white but is now yellow. Don't laugh, I see this alot, and they should be replaced with new ones. If any of your appliances or heating system runs on gas, you should also have a CO2 detector. This can be accomplished with a separate alarm, or by purchasing a combo smoke and Co2 alarm.
Hope you stay warm this winter season, and have happy holidays, with no household problems.
How to Find the Home of Your Dreams
It is not as easy to get onto the housing ladder today as it once was. Gone are the days of one hundred percent mortgages, now the lenders ask for deposits of twenty percent or more. Those who have moved a few rungs up the ladder are sitting pretty since the value of their home has increased significantly over the last three years.
If you are just starting out, you face an uphill struggle unless you are lucky enough to have a large nest egg to help you along. Here is how to find the home of your dreams.
Sort The Finances Out
Your financial history will need to be squeaky clean if the banks are to send any money your way. You records go back six years, so get copies of them from the three main players in the market. They are Experian, Equifax, and Callcredit. You need to know if there are any outstanding bills that you have forgotten about. It is not uncommon for someone to think that a mobile phone contract has ended, but still owe a few pounds on it, for example. If there is a history of late or missed payments, you probably won’t qualify for a mortgage. A default on your file will put you out of the market for six years from the date you received it.
Find A Location
You already have a good idea where you want to live. If it is on the housing estates of a sprawling suburb, you will have no trouble finding a house. Those who wish to live near the centre of a small town or in a village might have trouble finding the ideal home. Visit the estate agents in Sudbury or anywhere else, to see what is on offer. They are the experts and will give you the best advice. Perhaps they know of a property that will hit the market shortly; it might be worth the wait.
You must think about what you want from your new home. If you want to live in the country, should it boast a thatched roof? Chocolate box cottages are in great demand, so you can expect to pay a high price for one.
You might decide to compromise in order to buy a home in your favourite location. The only way some people can get into a picturesque village might be to buy a rundown property with a view to fixing it up. Double glazing, kitchens, bathrooms, and rewires are common home improvements that people undertake.
Consider the building. Maybe you are getting on in years; would a bungalow suit you better that a property with floors upstairs. Of course, many problems are not age related.
The internet gives us all the ability to shop around without leaving our armchair. Check what the local estate agents have to offer, and visit a property site too. Most agents are members of them, so you might see the same place advertised several times. Look on the social network sites too; there might be someone advertising a house themselves.
It might not be easy to find the house of your dreams, but persevere. Many trodden this path before you and succeeded. Sometimes you will become frustrated; that is a sign to take a break until the next day. It might be impossible to find a place that meets all of your criteria, in which case you will have to settle for less. It is an exciting time, and one that you will not forget.
Feb 6, 2014
It can be a pretty big project to paint. Normally it is thought of as a simple task, but you must think all the way through the project. It is very important what material you are painting, what elements it will be exposed to, what color it is now and what color you want to make it. For instance, we just had a house that had all black painted exterior doors, jambs, and trim.
This is the front door which is fiberglass with wood grain. We first sanded some on the door to see if it was painted properly to begin with. paint is all about adheasion. If we paint over a surface that is not sticking to the door, then our paint will not help it will make it worse.
To start the process we lightly sanded the entire surface to be painted. This was not to remove the paint, just to rough up the surface a little to accept our primer. There are many paints now that have primer in them, which may be great for covering, but in this case we are not only going from dark to light, but they are exterior, and we need good adheasion. For that reason, I decided to use a separate primer. After sanding and priming, we were then able to use an exterior semigloos paint on all 6 exterior door of this house. Skipping the primer is not a place to cut corners. In fact we were able to cut corners on this house, and I will tell you how.
You can see how weathered the trim is on this door. This door faces southwest and gets the afternoon sun as well and there not being much of an overhang from the roof, so the very bottom of the trim is very weathered due to water as well. Remember cost of what you are painting. It was not worth tring to bring this trim back to life, so for $17.00 we were able to replace the trim around the door. If you buy a wood trim kit already primed, you can install it, and it is already white and primed, ready for paint. The outcome for all of the doors was a great waterproof paint job that we know will last much longer than the first time these doors were painted black.
Jan 9, 2014
We have talked about checking smoke detector batteries. Most of the time smoke detectors are required to be hard wired, and in many areas, required to be interconnected, which means they are hooked up together so if one goes off in a back area of the house the one near you in the front of the house will sound as well.
Make sure you know what you have, how it works, and an what is required before making changes. Weather battery or hard wired with a battery back up, the life of a smoke detector is between 7-10 years. When changing batteries, that is a great time to check the age of your smoke detectors. Most of the time they will be stamped with the date on the side that mounts against the wall. If date is not present, use your judgement. if your white plastic on your smoke detector has started to yellow, this is a good indication you are well past time to replace.
When you replace your smoke detectors, lookinto what your local code is for your home or building type. If you are required to have interconnected smoke detectors, they now make battery operated smoke detectors that are inter connected wirelessly, or if you already have wired smoke detectors, you're best protection is to replace with the same. When interconnectin you must use the same type throughout the home, as they communicate with each other to work properly.
If you are able to replace with simple battery only smoke detector, they now make lithium battery smoke detectors with a 10 year life. You simply install it, and there is no battery to change for 10 years. When the smoke detector chirps due to low battery after 10 years, you simply replace with a new one. Some smoke detectors can be expensive, depending on your requirements, but if you keep it in perspective that its a pretty cheap way to save your home, belongings, and quite posiibly your life.
While testing or updating smoke detectors, the same should be done with carbon monoxide alarms. Some smoke detectors have a dual purpose with carbon monoxide alarms built in as well. If your home uses gas at all for heat, or hot water, etc., I would recommend installing a carbon monoxide alarm if you are not already required to have one. Don't put off at least checking that these items are all working properly in your home and taking action right away when in doubt. If you are reading this blog, then you know how to use a computer, and most areas code requirements are posted online, or even have a fire marshall page with suggestions for your smoke alarm requirements. Happy New Year!
Dec 14, 2013
There is a reason we talk every year about the preparation of the warmer and colder weather as the seasons change. There are many things that can help maintain your home and its mechanical systems, and make energy efficiency better. There are others that we talk about just to avoid damage. If you live in a place has regularly has freezing temperatures, or even has the potential for freezing temperatures, ther are some preccaution you should take to avoid freezing pipes. Although we talked about this at the beginning of the season, I want to re-address this with some examples of problems.
This is a common vacuum breaking backflow preventer feeding the irrigation line to a home.
This one was covered by a fake rock. I am sure you have seen these, which cover the ugly of having pipes stick up in your front yard, however, they don't offer much insulation from temperature by themselves. Most of the time there is an easy to access shut off valve to turn off watger to this system for the winter, as you cannot water the plants and grass below freezing or with snow on the ground anyway. This one was left on and forgotten for the winter. Here are some pictures of what can happen to pipe when it freezes.
You can see the the pvc pipe is crack and broken cross and lengthwise. The ice expands inside the pipe as it freezes and can destroy the pipe. This is not only true of the pvc, but brass, cast, steel, copper, and really most types of pipe have a point where they will break under the expansion pressures of ice. Here is a picture of the same backflow valve where the brass shut off is.
You can see the side wall split right open. Ice can be very powerful as it slowly expands with great force. This might not have happened if the water hd been shut off to this system for the winter, but even if there was still a pipe break, it would not have destroyed all of the pipe that it dit in this case and there would have been no water after the shut off, so the expese to fix would have still been less.
I would suggest that for pipes like these
...you should wrap them in any number of pipe insulation types or even heat tape which plugs in and heats the pipe from freezing when it detects below freezing temperatures.
They also make insulated covers for set ups like this
Due to the cold, you can put this type of insulated cover right over the insulation wrapped pipes. Then if desired you can finally add the fake rock over the cover, like this one...
This can obviously be pretty extreme on exterior pipes, but when it is very cold, pipes can freeze for the inside of the house as well. Be prepared ahead of the cold, and remember that a frozen pipe can be warmed slowly with a hair dryer to get it flowing again if you catch it before there is any damage done. Always know where your water sut off valves are located for just such an emergency. Hope this will keep some of you out there from having the same issues in the future.
Nov 28, 2013
Nov 20, 2013
There are benefits to both, but the biggest differences between them are maintenance and cost. You can probably get a wood fence installed (depending on where, length, and type) for $25.00 per linear foot, or possibly less. Vinyl can be closer to the $35.00 per linear foot (again depending on where, length, and type.)
Wood fencing starts to become more expensive around the 3-5 year mark when the weather starts requiring your maintenance costs to add up on the fence. You can spray your fence to protect it with a water proofer, or sealer, but again, these products generally require a fresh application yearly. Depending on your location and the climate, the water, weather, and sun can really work quickly on a wooden fence to cause damage. Even you own sprinlkers for your yard can work against you on a wooden fence. Here is a picture of a wooden fence herre in the St George, UT area that Wright Way Contracting, LLC. just recently replaced with vinyl fencing.
Here is a picture of the fence replaced with vinyl fencing.
Vinyl fencing is mostly maintenance free. It is water proof, UV resistant, and can be installed in pretty much the same way as wood fencing. While the panels are pretty light weight, the posts are cemented in just like a wood fence. You can cement the pressure treated wood posts with the vinyl sleeved over the wood and cemented with it for greater support, or the vinyl posts can be cemented as stand alone posts with no wood posts under. I have heard of some installers not using cement. This installation is not recommended, and beware of any installer stating that cementing the posts is not necesary.
The bottom line is, make a decision that is right for you. My opinion is that it is well work the extra up front cost to save money on mantenance and replacement down the line, but as you can see there are different looks also to be aware of. They are now starting to use vinyl that looks more like wood instead of the plain white, like shown above.
Nov 4, 2013
Storm doors can be a great way to bring in light, air circulation, to help regulate temperatures inside the home, and to protect doors from weather. Most people are capable of installing a storm door on their own by following the manufacture's instructions. This is not a job for everyone though, and there are some things to be aware of before getting started. Most of the standard Emco, Anderson, and Larson type storm doors install on the exterior trim around the door as opposed to the door frame itself, so be aware of your door set up. If you have a set up like this ... the stucco is wrapped right up to the door frame with no trim. You will need to cut back the stucco and install a brick molding trim. Once done it should look like this... ... and only once the trim is installed in the proper location can you then install the storm door itself which should look like this... This can be a pretty big project for the do it yourselfer of you have no experience on working with the stucco.
Another thing to consider is the swing of the door, or which way you want it to open, and how install the storm door handles and locks in a way that does not bump or interfere with the main door handle or locks.
If you are careful about thinking your project through and taking these and doors sizes and options into consideration prior to installing, then you should be able to get through this on your own. The most important thing to consider in my opinion, is the reason for the door. Are you looking to add security, add light, add air flow, or just decoration. Knowing this first will help guide you in the direction of which door is right for you, and then ultimately will you be able to install this door yourself. Remember, there are pros out there to help you with this installation and that may be a great way to go if this all sounds too complicated, or if you have no experience with any of the above items. There can also be specialty tools depending on the door selected. Storm door installs can run between $120 and $260 per door, plus the cost of the door and materials, depending on how involved the install is and what type of doors are being installed. The pictures above are storm doors Wright Way Contracting, LLC installed on a home in the St. George, Utah area.
Oct 23, 2013
We are committed to sharing information and getting hints, tips, tricks, and industry secrets added to our blog. The goal is to educate the public, ourselves, and expand our reach of knowledge in the home improvement and repair fields. The more information we share with each other, the more projects we all go into with a library of information behind us, and the fewer mistakes are made. We would love to hear from you on items you would like to have more information on, upcoming projects you have that we can address, and subjects you would like to learn more about. We will be adding pictures, videos, and more info to our blog as quickly and often as we can, so if you have ideas for us, or would like to share youself, or would like to be a guest blogger on our site, please contact us or leave a comment here
Oct 14, 2013
We are coming into the cooler weather, and winter is fast approaching from the property maintenance standpoint. Now is a great time to make sure heaters are fired up and working as well as changing air filters for the new season of use if you haven't done it yet. We mentioned previously flushing and mantining water heaters, but really all water systems should be evaluated now as the cool down starts. Watering your grass or garden varies during this time of the year and you should be thinking about changing your sprinkler timers, or in some locations they can be turned off the entire season. If you are not using outdoor, exposed hose bibs or irrigation, most have shut off valves that you can turn off completely for the season so that water is not sitting in the exposed pipes to freeze, and break the line or cause damage. Most of you will have some type of irrigation valves that look like this.These valves should be covered in an irrigation valvebox where freezing is possible and where temperatures regularly dip below freezing, you can also surround the valves with insulation around them in the box to keep them from freezing and breaking. Remeber that water standing in the freezing temperatures is prone to freezing and can do lots of pipe damage. This can apply if you have pools, hoses, irrigation, or even if you are in a home that is not well insulated against this such as mobile homes. The best bet is to keep any pipes that normall have water, drained during this time. One tip I have heard out there regularly if you are having an extreme cold spell and you are prone to freezing pipes like in a mobile home, is to leave the faucets running slowly over night when it is coldest as water is les likely to freeze in a pipe when moving, then when still. Just remember with this to take into account your drain. Make sure if you do this, that your drain line is not exposed to the elements, as it too can freeze, which would block the drain and cause an overflow in a faucet left running. Contact us for questions, or for a property evaluation, and or help insulating your pipes or home, and for help finding your shut off valves.