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How Rocks And Gravel Can Give Your Home An Amazing Drought-Tolerant Front Yard

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Rocks And Gravel Can Give Your Home An Amazing Drought-Tolerant Front Yard

If you are concerned about the recent drought and its associated rising costs of residential water, then you will be pleased to learn that there are many ways that you can use decorative rocks and gravel in your home’s front yard to make it look wonderful and save on your household water usage. If the term “landscaping rock” brings to mind images of ugly, single-color expanses of lava rock or white quartz, then you will be happy to know that there are many different types of rocks and gravel available today that you can use in your home’s yard. Below is some information about how gravel and rocks can be used to give your home an amazing-looking and drought-tolerant front yard: Decorative Rock Base Materials If you have beds or walkways that you would like to gravel rather than plant, you have many options for what type of base rock material that you use, such as: river cobble colored gravel pebbles polished pebbles pea gravel River cobble is the largest rock and is wonderful for use in rock gardens and around plants such as iris and tulips. Colored gravels are a nice addition to landscaping where you would like some extra color coordination between your home and your landscaping materials.  Pebbles and pea gravel are both smaller rocks than cobble and gravel, and can be purchased in their natural state or polished. Polished pebbles are nice because they appear wet even when they are dry. For a yard in a very dry climate, an oasis made of polished rocks will look wonderful when the sun shines on them. Install Uneven Numbers of Large Focal Rocks In order to bring people’s eyes to a focal point in your home’s newly landscaped front yard, you should have large focal rocks installed. Clustering the rocks in uneven numbers gives a strong visual appeal, as does mixing the types of rocks that you choose. For example, you can install a large piece of petrified wood and surround it with two smaller pieces of white quartzite. When these types of rocks are installed near a bed of base rock material, such as pebbles or pea gravel, they give an area of interest for your eyes and this stops you from concentrating on the base rock.   Conclusion By installing masonry products in your home’s landscaping, you will be able to conserve water and save money on your residential water bills. For more Information on using landscaping rocks in your home’s yards, contact a local landscaping contractor who can come out to your home and give you advice specific to your house’s...

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Common Ways To Unclog Drains

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Ways To Unclog Drains

If you are dealing with a clogged drain or toilet, then there are a wide variety of ways that you can approach the problem. Here are some common solutions to help you get started: Plunger First of all, you can try the classic plunger. With a plunger, you really need to remember to make a seal before you start plunging. To do this, you will need to make sure that there is enough water to cover the lip of the plunger when it is in place. If there is not enough water to do that, you will need to add some. Hot water will work best, since it is much more effective than cold water at breaking up blockages. When using a plunger, make sure that you pump more than a dozen times with each repetition. This will maximize the effectiveness of the plunger by applying repeated pressure to the clog. Plumber’s Snake If you are interested in rooting out the problem manually, then a plumber’s snake can be a great choice. Plumber’s snakes work quite well when dealing with a blockage that is made of compacted materials, but it is less effective when you are dealing with a single hard solid, like a toy that got flushed down the toilet. Using a plumber’s snake is pretty simple, since all you need to do is work the snake down to the clog and then twist the handle to actually drill through the clog. Once through, the clog should be compromised, but you can pull the snake back to break up the clog even more. Baking Soda and Vinegar If you want to use a chemical solution, but don’t want to deal with the toxic nature of more potent chemicals, then a simple combination of baking soda and vinegar might be more than enough. To effectively use this method, all you need to do is add half a cup of baking soda and some hot water to the drain and let it soak for a bit. This should let the baking soda permeate the clog and increase the effectiveness of the reaction that will come later. Once you have waited 10–20 minutes, you can add half a cup of vinegar and some hot water. You’ll want to cover up the drain if possible, since that will help force the reaction downwards. Once you have waited 20–30 minutes, check the drain to see if the clog is still there. If it is, you can try the reaction again, adding a bit more baking soda and vinegar this time (up to 3/4 cups). If you’re still having problems with your drains after trying these tips, contact a plumbing and heating technician to come take a look at them....

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Wood Might Be The Right Choice After All! Dispelling Common Concerns About Wooden Roofs

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Wood Might Be The Right Choice After All! Dispelling Common Concerns About Wooden Roofs

Cedar can be a beautiful, rustic roofing option for many homeowners. Yet, many steer away from cedar roofing because they’ve heard some unsavory myths or have some major concerns. Rather than rule out cedar entirely, read on to learn what’s actually behind these untrue myths and unwarranted concerns about cedar. Concern: Cedar roofing won’t last very long. No, cedar won’t last for 100 years like slate or 80 years like metal, but its life expectancy is not short by any means. You can expect a cedar roof to last about 30 years—maybe more if you live in a mild climate. This is about the same life expectancy as the ever-popular architectural shingles, and a longer lifespan than you can expect from most standard asphalt shingles. Concern: Bugs will invade your cedar roof. Cedar is actually very unappealing to insects like termites and wood bees. This is why cedar is the roofing wood of choice. Its natural oils repel insects, so you don’t even have to get your roof sprayed with an insecticide. Birds will stay away from cedar roofing, too, since the bugs they use as a food source won’t be present. Concern: A wooden roof poses a fire hazard. While you probably don’t want to risk it with a cedar roof if you live in a forest fire zone, cedar roofing is not a major fire hazard in other areas. That’s because most of today’s cedar roofing shakes are pressure treated to resist fires. They come with a fire rating of either A, B, or C. A are the most fire-resistant, and as long as you choose them, you really don’t have to worry about a thing. Concern: A cedar roof will rot or mold. Just like it is resistant to insects, cedar is also resistant to rot and mold. It does not absorb and hold onto water like most woods, so it won’t develop rot. Mold does not enjoy the natural oils that cedar contains, so it won’t grow well. When your roof is well aged and in its last years, you may have to have it sprayed to protect against molding, since most of these oils will have dissipated. However, this is a rather straightforward and effective process that you won’t have to even worry about for many years. If you like the look of a cedar roof, you can rest assured that it is a safe, durable, and long-lasting option. Speak with a roofing contractor like David Construction, LLC to learn...

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Problems With Your Furnace? It Might Be Your Ventilation

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Problems With Your Furnace? It Might Be Your Ventilation

If you’ve been having problems with your HVAC lately, then you might be dealing with a blockage in your ventilation. However, there are a wide variety of factors that can cause these blockages, and finding the cause of a blockage can make the removal process easier and can help you prevent similar problems in the future. To help you out, here are some of the most common causes of blockages in your air ducts: Blocked Vent Covers One of the easiest problems to diagnose is a blocked vent cover. You might have unwittingly moved a sofa or desk so that an air duct is now completely covered up. This can result in diminished air flow into the room, or even a total lack of any air flow. However, a more insidious cause might be vent covers that appear to be unblocked, but are actually blocked from the other side. In other words, you might have way too much dust inside your air ducts, which can build up on the vent cover itself. This layer of dust can compact and prevent any air from moving, and if the air does manage to get through, it could take a lot of the dust with it, distributing frustrating dust throughout your room. Therefore, you should check the vent cover manually, possibly with a flashlight to identify clumps of dust. This is also a good idea if you haven’t used your heater or air conditioner in a while and are planning on turning either of them on in the near future. A lot of dust can build up during periods of non-use, and you don’t want all that dust to come flooding into your room the second you turn on the central fan. Old Filters Air conditioners and heaters are both frequently equipped with filters that are used to block out dust and debris, to prevent such substances from entering the ventilation system. However, these filters need to be either cleaned or replaced on a regular basis, and if you fail to do so, then they could prevent the flow of air into the ventilation system. Ultimately, this will make it seem like you have a blockage somewhere in the air ducts, when you are actually dealing with a problem at the source. To rectify this, you just need to take a look at the filters and clean them out once every few months. You might need to clean them more frequently during periods of intense usage. Contact a repair contractor, like Hayes Heating & cooling, for more...

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3 Reasons Why Your Toilet Won’t Flush

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Reasons Why Your Toilet Won’t Flush

Your toilet is an integral part of your home. You expect it to work each and every time you use it. But, what happens when you go to flush the toilet and it doesn’t work? Not only is this stressful, but can definitely create a foul odor inside of your home if not rectified quickly. To help you determine what might be causing your toilet not to flush properly, here are a few of the common reasons and what you can do to fix them. Low water level in your tank. Water levels should be about an inch below the rim of the overflow tube. When the water isn’t high enough, you need to look at the water valve first. There is a good chance that the valve got turned off. If that is the case, you want to turn the valve back on and watch as the water comes back into the tank. Check to see if it fills it up where it should be. Then, flush your toilet again and check to see if the levels return to where they should be again. Warped or bent flapper. Take the tank off the toilet and look at the flapper. The flapper is supposed to release water from your tank when you flush it. After it pushes enough water into the tank, it will close the intake hole and allow water to fill your tank again making sure you always have the right amount in the tank at all times. If the flapper is warped or badly damaged, you need to replace it. These items are pretty cheap and can often be picked up at just about any hardware store. To replace it, you need to turn the water off to the toilet. Drain your tank and put the new flapper in. Turn the water back on and try flushing it again. See if that corrects the problem. Faulty lift chain. The lift chain is what secures the flapper to the handle of the toilet. If it has too much slack, the handle won’t be able to raise the flapper high enough to push the water through. To correct this issue, you simply need to shorten the chain to provide sufficient pull on the flapper. Instead of trying to guess what might be the problem, you can always turn to a licensed plumber who can come in and help figure it out for...

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Slate Roofing Will Save You Money In The End

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Slate Roofing Will Save You Money In The End

When you choose a roofing material for your home, you need to fight the urge to solely focus on the initial cost of your roof. If you want to keep installation costs down, all you have to do is choose the least expensive material on the market—asphalt shingles. If you want to decrease maintenance and repair costs at the same time that you increase the value of your home, then you should choose a premium roofing material such as slate.  Maintenance Costs Slate is a metamorphic rock with good resistance to weather abuse. Because slate is so heavy, even gale force winds will not be able to blow it off your home. Furthermore, a good thick slate tile will not break under hailstorms. The UV rays of the sun can leach out the volatiles in asphalt shingles, leaving them brittle and prone to cracking, but the sun will have no effect on slate. Thus, slate is one of the most durable roofing materials you can use on your home.  Replacement Costs An asphalt-shingle roof will last between 15-30 years. This may seem like a long time, but slate shingles can last for 75-200 years depending on what type of slate you get. The longevity of slate will depend on whether you get hard or soft slate. Longevity will also vary from quarry to quarry. Thus, you need to talk to roofing contractors to make sure that you get something that will last. In the best case scenario, you will get a roofing material that you never have to replace.  Value Slate shingles are a premium material that cannot be mimicked with any other type of roofing available. If you want to give your roof some character and curb appeal, slate shingles are a good way to go. Not only will they increase your home’s aesthetics, but slate should hold its value over time. Thus, while you pay more to install slate on your roof, you will also get more for your money when it comes time to sell your home.  As a homeowner you have to consider more than how much it will cost to install a given material. You have to look at the big picture and choose a material that will give you good value over the life of your roof. Slate may cost a lot of money to install, but it is well worth the money that you spend on it.  For more information, talk to a roofing company like Acoma...

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Tips To Keep Your Air Conditioner Free From Problems

Posted by on Nov 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips To Keep Your Air Conditioner Free From Problems

An air conditioning unit can be essential for keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, but these devices are often far more complicated than many people realize. This can result in a number of issues if proper maintenance is not performed. If you find yourself uncertain about what is needed to keep your air conditioner running smoothly, these two tips should help to reduce your confusion. Keep The Coil Fins Straight You may notice a series of small metal fins along one side of your air conditioning unit. These are the coil fins, and they are designed to help prevent dirt and debris from entering the unit without restricting airflow. However, these fins can be easily bent, and when this happens, the airflow through the unit can be drastically reduced. To avoid efficiency problems stemming from this issue, you should consider investing in a coil-comb from your local hardware store. These are tools that are specifically designed to straighten bent coil fins. By simply running the comb through the fins, you can quickly repair any that have become bent. If you notice that many of these fins are missing, you should contact a professional to replace this part of the unit. Without this form of protection, it is possible for dirt and debris to cause serious mechanical problems. Clean The Condensation Pan And Drain Your unit’s condensation pan and drain are critical for removing any moisture that forms from cooling the air. However, these components can become clogged as time passes. These clogs can often be a mixture of dirt and algae, and if they are not removed, your entire unit may flood. When cleaning out your condensation pan, you should use a disinfecting cleaning agent to help neutralize any mold or algae spores that may be in the pan. Also, use a rigid wire to pull out any material that may have fallen into the drain. These two simple steps can help you avoid the unpleasant and expensive problem of having a flooded air conditioner. Maintaining your air conditioning unit can be a more complicated task than you may realize. However, if you do not perform this work, you may find that your unit is far more problem-prone than necessary. Luckily, knowing that you should keep the coil fins straight and regularly clean the condensation pan and drain will help you to ensure these two problem areas do not cause major issues for your...

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6 Tricks for Keeping Thieves Away

Posted by on Nov 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 6 Tricks for Keeping Thieves Away

A thief may end up in your neighborhood looking for a house to break into. You want to do everything in your power to make your house one that they will pass by. There are a lot of tricks you can use and things you can do to make your home look less attractive to thieves, and here are several of them:  1: Don’t advertise what you have Don’t leave your shades open to display your big-screen TV or other expensive items. Don’t leave possessions like bikes and tools in your yard. When you purchase an expensive item, tear up or flatten the box and put it in a black trash bag or trash can where it can’t be seen. 2: Don’t allow your house to look vacant Make it look like someone is home and awake, even if you are away or asleep. You can do this by leaving certain lights on and something that generates some noise, such as a TV or radio. If you are out of town, consider asking a neighbor to park their car in your driveway and make sure you put a hold on your newspaper delivery so they don’t pile up on your driveway—a sure sign of vacancy. 3: Have a loud dog The size of the dog won’t matter as much as the amount of noise the dog makes. Thieves shy away from houses with barking dogs because they can bite, and, more importantly, they will alert everyone within earshot to a break-in going on at your home. 4: Use a variety of motion detectors around your property You can install motion activated lights and sprinklers around your yard to alert you to a potential intruder and to help chase them off. Another benefit to placing these things around your yard is they will also give you the added bonus of chasing off unwanted wildlife from your property. 5: Have a security system installed One of the biggest things that you can do to keep thieves from considering your house is to have a security system installed. This system will protect your home in many ways. It will send off a loud siren in the event of a break-in that lets everyone around know what’s happening. It will also allow you to monitor your home and record what’s going on with a security camera. 6: Have a locksmith come out A locksmith is someone who is very knowledgeable about getting past locks, and having one come out and look at your property to test its security is a good idea. They will be able to educate you on weaknesses in your doors and windows. They will also be able to fix those problems for you by setting you up with more secure knobs, hinges, and locks. Speak with a representative from a company like San Pedro Lock & Key for further information or to set up an...

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Tips On Crane Safety During Periods Of Hazardous Weather

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips On Crane Safety During Periods Of Hazardous Weather

Even in perfect weather, operating a crane can be dangerous if certain precautions are not taken. In the wintertime, hazardous weather like high speed winds and low temperatures can make safe crane operation even more challenging.  Yet contractors know the importance of being able to avoid delaying project completion because of weather hazards. If you’ll be busy with construction projects throughout the upcoming winter, you might want to be aware of the following tips on safely operating a crane despite extreme weather: Know wind speed ratings for equipment you use A crane is generally given a wind speed rating indicating the fastest wind in which it can safely be used. You’re running severe safety risks if your using a crane in high speed winds that exceed this rating.  Decrease the wind resistance of loads Anything you can do to decrease the drag of your crane load will minimize the effects wind has on crane operations. If you can reduce wind resistance by somehow packaging or encapsulating your load more aerodynamically, you can improve safety.  Always be aware of wind direction You can minimize the challenges of operating a crane in wind if you’re aware of how wind direction can affect crane operation. If you’re operating a crane in winds coming from the side or rear, the load may create an increased strain on the crane that should leave you operating with a reduced maximum load capacity.  Be aware of the fact that winds get stronger at higher elevations Winds pose a more severe risk if you’ll be operating a crane at high elevations. The higher up you ago, the more wind speed tends to increase. If possible, operate low to the ground if you need to get a job done in heavy winds.  Understand the relationship between temperature and tensile strength Cold temperatures can detract from a crane’s tensile strength by causing materials in the crane to contract or become more brittle. If you’re concerned about tensile strength in crane components, you might want to discuss the issue with the crane manufacturer before operating a crane in cold temperatures.  Consider a cold weather finish Cold weather finishes can fortify crane materials so that they stand up better to cold temperatures. These finishes typically consist of hold-dipped galvanized steel or two-part epoxies.  Use an enclosed track system Enclosed track systems can be used to surround the moving parts of a crane for added strength. They are especially effective at preventing the buildup of ice on the crane trolley, and this prevents ice from obstructing the movement of crane components.  For professional crane services, contact a company such as Winslow Crane Service...

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Repair Flashing Around Roof Dormers Before Winter

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Repair Flashing Around Roof Dormers Before Winter

Now is the time to make sure your roof can withstand another harsh winter. You should inspect the roof to see if the flashing around your attic dormers is still in good shape. Flashing is a narrow piece of tin or aluminum used to seal the joint where the exterior walls of the dormers meet the roof. If the flashing is damaged by the elements or falling tree limbs, you should remove the old piece of flashing and replace it with a new one to prevent water from leaking into your home over the winter. Here is how you can replace a section of flashing along the bottom seam of a dormer. You Will Need: New Flashing Tin Snips Roofing Tar Roofing Nails Caulk Caulk Gun Putty Knife Hammer Small Flathead Pry Bar Degreaser Rags Old Paint Brush Gloves Remove Old Flashing Take your utility knife and cut through the roofing tar and/or caulk along the top edge of the flashing resting against the dormer. Slide the flathead end of your pry bar in behind the flashing. Take your hammer and put it between the dormer and the middle of the pry bar. As you push the top of the pry bar toward the dormer, the flathead end will push the flashing and nails away from the bottom of the dormer in a “see-saw” motion. Repeat the same procedure when removing the flashing that lies on top of the roof.   Use your putty knife to scrap off any remnants of tar and caulking off of the roof and dormer. Wash down the area where the flashing was with a degreaser to remove any grease that could interfere with the adhesiveness of the caulk you will put down, and then rinse the area with water. Install New Flashing You want the piece of replacement flashing to be a few inches longer than the piece you removed. Take the piece of tin or aluminum and bend it to create a crease in the middle. Slide the one end of the flashing up under the existing flashing facing the peak of the roof. Place the other end over the top of the flashing facing the edge of the roof. Liberally place silicon caulk behind the flashing. The caulk will create a barrier moisture. Nail the sides of the pieces of flashing into the dormer and roof with roofing nails. For extra protection against water leakage, cover the seams around all four sides of the piece of flashing with a thick coat of roofing tar. To learn more, contact a company like Truss Components of...

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