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Remodel Kitchen

Home Maintenance Management: Skills Homeowners Can Learn Fast

It became apparent in the aftermath of the home-market crash that there would be winners and losers; rich parents and poor parents, buyers at wholesale and sellers at loss, savvy homeowners and homeowners-no-more.
Homeowners that are known to be savvy, by friends and neighbors, are known as the ones who “did their homework” prior to signing on major purchases. To our surprise it was not major purchases they excelled at, but the many minor ones in fact. Major purchases are usually covered by consumer and government reports. Neighbors talk about major purchases because they can hide behind its many variations. Major purchases are well covered, while minor ones rarely make the news.
Some of you might describe mechanical repairs (air conditioning, heating, appliance repair) as a major expense. Let us be frank, it is minor compared to building a pool or replacing a roof or re-doing the bathroom. Studies have shown that most homeowners are not candid to others about repair technicians working at their homes, so true even when neighbors inquire about it. It is for that reason that knowing who and how to call a contractor for your home mechanical repairs is important. This is a Home Maintenance Management skill, probably the most important one of them. It requires savviness as no one will help you do it. Sad, but I will tell you this “IT CAN BE LEARNED”.
One of the best things I have done in college was take a series of classes on interviewing skills. In fact I ended up graduating with a degree in Communication alongside my intended degree in Engineering. A skilled homeowner knows how to ask the right questions. There are open-ended questions and closed-ended questions (with many variations). When you call a local contractor, you learn few things from the way they answer your call. At first you may ask the dispatcher a series of typical short closed questions; cost of service call, extended warranty, how soon they can come out, etc. That makes them know that you mean business. After a dispatcher spends one or two minutes talking to you, you may then casually ask your open-ended questions. Listen carefully to how they answer them. Only a good contractor will have time and good demeanor to answer yet another one or two deliberate open-ended questions. Examples of deliberate open-ended question are: What happens if the cost was above my budget; What causes appliances to break down all at once? Tell me about your experience in repairing central air conditioners; Tell me your experience in appliance repair.
I hope that explains my idea.
In a future article, I will shed some light on communicating with a repair technician at your home, smartly, and for good results.…

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House Improvements

Springtime Home Maintenance

Spring is in the air which is time to get outside and make the place look really good all over again.
The maintenance and upkeep for your property is extremely important and Spring Time is usually when we all want to get outside, making everything look nice.
Most of these inspections are not time consuming or very expensive. If you discover issues above your ability to repair, contact a trained specialist since safety is Number one on the list. The intention of home maintenance is to protect against smaller situations becoming large, highly-priced ones.
Have you conducted your own springtime home maintenance yet? If not, generally there’s virtually no time such as the present.
• Clean your gutters and make certain your gutter extensions are clean and allowing water be turned away from your house
• Investigate each window and simply caulk and / or seal any cracks; windows for stone or brick homes commonly have small spaces across the intersection with the window allowing water along with pesky insects to get inside. Synthetic stucco homes usually are susceptible to water intrusion around windows; be sure all the interruptions and / or crevices are properly water tight. This is an excellent time to look at your windows for moisture inside the glass and fully clean all of your windows
• Inspect all of your exterior entrance doors including the garage area service entrance to ensure that they are shutting and latching completely; you should search for damaged weather seals and / or any wood damage, mostly on the patio door trim at the lower part and make any needed repairs
• Cut shrubs and plants back away from the home, particularly around the HVAC unit
• Trim overhanging tree limbs away from your residence especially when they’re in contact with your house or roof; trees and shrubs will cause significant problems and permit pesky insects a new way directly onto the home. Don’t forget Safety First
• Clear any trash off your roof top or all-around the chimney, and then be on the lookout for nail pops as well as any type of missing or loose roof shingles
• For those who are adding any kind of mulch; be certain it’s not coming in contact with your exterior siding and wood or composition type trim, this will create a large amount of issues which includes wood rot and termites
• Test outdoor faucets or garden hose bibs; particularly frost-free faucets, if the barrel bursts water is going to flow in the wall any time the faucet may be turned on. An easy method to check without any tools; just turn your water on a bit, then attempt to hold the water back just using your hands then listen to see if you can hear water spraying in the walls and look to see if any water running out of the wall
• Make certain deck and porch hand rails are secured. Repair any loose or damaged deck boards, and drive any screws or nails which happen to have backed out.
Continue to keep water away from your house period. Water pounding on the foundation of the house or just being diverted towards a basement or crawl space can result in foundations troubles, entice termites and produce a suitable natural environment for mold. Make all the necessary repairs or just call a specialist to prevent this from happening.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Home Maintenance – Get the Right Wife

So how did I get out of doing maintenance around the home? I married the right woman. Here is how it happened.
I had been divorced for about ten years, living in a town home in Nebraska. I had a very responsible job and worked long hours. This left little time to do home repairs around the house. In fact it was so bad, I could not lock the front door. All you had to do was push on the door with your shoulder and it would open.
I met my current wife and after we got engaged, she moved in. Shortly after she moved in, I came home from work one night, put my shoulder to the door and almost broke my shoulder. The door was actually shut. I turned the handle and the door opened normally. My future wife met me at the door and said she had fixed it. Even though I was not looking for a woman to do home repairs, I knew then I had found a diamond in her abilities.
After we got married I asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Out came this list of tools she wanted to do maintenance on the home we lived in. Such items as levelers, saws, drills, jig saws, etc. was what she wanted. And that is what I got her.
So if you want to get out of the honey do list, find a women who wants to do maintenance around the home like I did.…

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Home Repair

Home Maintenance 101 – Keep Your AC at Its Best Condition

Air conditioning units play vital roles in every home. These devices would help regulate the atmosphere of the place especially during summer season. Even if these ACs are musts in the house, there are still homeowners who fail to take good care of their units. They end up incurring double, or even triple, the expenses of buying a unit and repairing it. Hence, it is necessary that every homeowner should learn how to observe proper maintenance of these cooling systems to make them work efficiently.
As you continue reading the remaining paragraphs, you will find easy suggestions on how to keep your AC in good condition.
Normally, it is the condenser that needs much cleaning. This part of the AC is usually seen outside the house. Hence, this is probably be covered by fallen leaves, twigs and other things that come from up above. To protect it from all of this fallen debris, make sure that nothing is blocking the vents. Condenser is very important as this greatly affects the cooling capacity of the unit. It makes the coil, which has water in it, to be cooler. Thus, there the unit blows off the cold air. When the coil becomes colder, so is the air that comes out.
Aside from the condenser, the entire unit will have to be cleaned regularly. The AC can quickly gather dust and dirt particles that can make later on block the openings where the air would come out. Hence, the unit will have a hard time to make the room colder even if you put it on the highest temperature. However, the cleaning process will not be that easy. Before you continue your plans of cleaning the AC, do not forget to read the user’s manual first so you will not have problems later on.
Another point to remember is to to make the unit to become cool. You need to do this so that the unit can effectively cool off the place. When you install it in the areas where it is directly exposed to the sun, you really have to transfer it and find an area where it is shaded. This makes the unit safer and keeps its best performance.
It would be best to have an AC which gives off air with consistent temperature all throughout the usage. As much as possible avoid turning the thermostat as this can somehow ruin the unit. When you have just switched it on, do not expect the room to be cold immediately. These cooling systems would need time before they can completely make the room cold.
Air conditioners are one of the appliances that are used almost the entire day. Thus, it is just right that they are properly cared and maintained so that they can function effectively. Beside, you bought this to make the environment at home relaxing and cool, so you should be aware of how to fully maximize its uses.
Monitoring your AC regularly is a must, especially if you use it the entire day. These machines also need rest. Thus, if think that the temperature is not that bad, you can try turning off the AC and use electric fan instead. This sounds cheaper and better alternative. This is one way of helping you to save up more.…

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Remodel Kitchen

The Loft and Condo Life – Liberation From Home Maintenance Responsibilities

Young people are climbing a mountain as they forge into adulthood, and sometimes it can be hard to see the summit. Leadership experts agree that having an ability to let go of good things can be a giant step toward reaching things that are better. Nowhere is this wisdom more relevant than in the selection of your first home.
If you are open to living in the city, a condo home can help keep your life simple while offering an opportunity to meet very interesting neighbors. Even if you do not mind yard work in and of itself, is there anything else you would rather be doing? Volunteering your time at a charitable organization? Planning and taking a vacation? Getting enough rest? Spending more time with your family, extended family and friends?
Sometimes first-time home buyers who express interest in condos are told that condos have poorer resale value than traditional single-family homes. This pressures them to take on massive home maintenance responsibilities.
Yet the topic of resale value is highly debated among Realtors and other investment professionals. For condo sellers, there may be more competition in the sense there can be more homes on the market of an equal style. On the other hand, the newer finishes and newer construction of condos can be quite a draw against suburban homes built in the 1970s. Very few home buyers relish the prospect of unpredictable and costly repairs.
The magnitude of home maintenance responsibilities should never be dismissed lightly. Homes usually do an exceptional job of shielding people from nature, but they take quite a beating in the process. Many first-time home buyer education programs are available to explain the responsibilities in detail. There are both expensive projects and dozens of chores that span the entire calendar year. For a very brief list:
• Fall: Mowing and raking grass; caulking walls, weather-stripping windows. Repairing, cleaning and checking furnaces or boilers.
• Winter: Shoveling snow from driveways or alleys, plus sidewalks. When you travel, making arrangements for someone to check your home’s heating system; otherwise, the water pipes in your home could freeze and burst.
• Spring: Repairing roof from snow and ice damage; fertilizing lawn, cleaning and repairing gutters; monitoring basement and foundation for cracks and insects.
• Summer: Painting the entire exterior every three to six years; mowing grass, trimming trees and shrubs; removing weeds and small trees.
As a condo owner, the rewards of these toils are still visible. However, most of them are shared by a substantial pool of homeowners and paid for by home owner association dues. The dues are a monthly expense, but they do work as a built-in savings plan for expensive repairs.
Even professional carpenters sometimes eschew most home maintenance responsibilities by choosing a condominium, rented apartment or townhome. They find this is one way to bring balance into their lives-and that can be a beautiful choice!…

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Home Maintenance

Be Careful Cleaning Your Water Heater – Home Maintenance Tips

You should always be careful when ever you clean out your storage tanks. I would like to share some home maintenance tips with you that could save you a lot of money. If you’re planning on cleaning out your water heater, to remove calcium deposits, it’s time to start paying attention and to put your thinking caps on.
It was about 20 years ago, and I had just purchased my first home. I was a young general contractor on a mission to maintain the house that I was living in. We bought the house from the government and it had been sitting vacant for a few months as all of the local skateboarders used the swimming pool as a community skateboard facility.
This should give you, a pretty good idea what the condition was of the house. Knowing what I knew, I decided to clean out the water storage tank, even though there wasn’t anything wrong with the water heater. This is where you need to pay attention, especially if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, who’s looking for a few home maintenance tips.
I hooked the garden hose up to the water tank drain valve, but when I went to turn the drain valve on, it wouldn’t budge. I noticed that there was a little bit of corrosion around the water heaters drain valve and this was a good sign, that the inside of the water storage tank could be damaged also.
I got some channel locks and proceeded to turn the drainage valve on, only to find out that I had just broken off the handle. I looked at that drain valve and it was something that I could replace with an ordinary hose bit. This is where things get a little more interesting. When I went to remove the water heater drain valve it was corroded enough to break it into small pieces, with out removing it from the water heater tank.
By the time I had assessed the damage that I had done to the water heater and the water heater drainage valve, it was time to go purchase another water heaters. I purchased another water heater and installed it, but I needed to know how bad the old waters heater was damaged.
I took a saw and cut the waters heater in half, only to find out that the inside of the heater storage tank was clean and there wasn’t any calcium deposits for lime damage. I had just wasted an entire day and spent around $200 for a new waters heater and it just didn’t make sense.
The moral to this story is, “If it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it.” If you have a water heater drainage valve that won’t turn, don’t force it to open. If you do, you could find yourself in the same situation that I was in 20 years ago.…

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Home Renovation

Home Maintenance Tips – Wet Basement

Grading & Drainage
Any system of grading or landscaping that creates positive drainage(moving water away from the foundation walls) will help to keep abasement dry. Flowerbeds, loose mulch areas, railroad ties, and other landscaping items close to the foundation trap moisture and contribute to a wet basement. To establish a positive grade, a proper slope away from the house is 1″per foot for approximately 5 to 6 feet. Dirt should be 6″ to 8″ below wood surfaces and/or sill plates. You should also trim back shrubberies that are close to the home.
Defective or missing Gutters & downspouts
Watch for leaks in gutters and downspouts, If your grading is poor, you should have a downspouts with up to 10′ extension.
Also Check both the top and bottom of downspouts for evidence of debris blocking the water.
Dripping water pipes
Condensation or sweating on the pipe in your basement is forming due to the temperature difference between the pipe and the air. This has an easy fix: Just insulate the pipe!
Drain tile issues
If you get water in your basement after heavy rainfall, and your drain tile isn’t draining much water to your sump pump, you should consider having a contractor over to make sure your drain tile is not missing or defected.
Installing an exterior drainage system at an existing building is the most costly, but also the most effective water control approach. This requires digging up the area around the foundation and rebuilding it similar to a new house installation.
Window well
If you have a window well, make sure the base of it is sloping away from the house, not towards the house.
Foundation cracks
Concrete and concrete block foundations usually develop some cracks, and water can seep through the cracks and in to your basement. If you suspect that there is water seeping through foundation cracks, it suddenly became a job for your contractor.
Cracks less than 1/4″ wide, with or without displacement in any direction, are not likely to be signs of serious failure unless they are active.
Cracks over 3/8″ wide should be examined carefully as an indication of a potentially serious problem.
Cracks that are still active should be noted as major defects. Active cracks will have sharp edges, will break a new painted surface or mortar repair. They indicate a failure in progress and a situation that can grow worse. If you have cracks with sharp edges wider than 3/8″,you should have someone looking at your foundation as soon as possible.…