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12
MAR
2015

Time to clean out those Gutters!

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I think it’s safe to say Spring is officially here for the most part. One important thing a lot of people overlook is the importance of having clean gutters going into the rainy season.

When gutters are clogged and water cannot be directed away from the house, many issues can arise.

Basement leaks can be caused by water seeping into the ground around the house.

Water can also weaken the foundation, especially if the temperature drops below freezing causing the water to expand. This causes cracks and breaks in the foundation which leads to even greater issues.

Not only can water cause cracks in the foundation, it weakens the wood around your home and is a wonderful environment for wood eating bugs to take up residence.

Here is a great short video and article from Lowe’s that gives you tips for cleaning out gutters.
http://www.lowes.com/cd_Gutter+Cleaning+and+Repair_1394476291897_

If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, there are tons of great professionals out there who can do it for you!

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-The Neighborhood Handyman-

27
FEB
2015

Stain and Seal 101

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Spring is just around the corner and is a perfect time to put a fresh coat of stain on wood fences and decks that are exposed to the weather elements.  Doing so will help preserve the natural beauty of the wood and the life of your fence or deck.

There are a couple of options that you can choose from depending on the type of wood you have and personal preference.

Solid stains only have to be applied every 2-3 years and are less maintenance.  The two downfalls of this type of stain is the fact it hides the wood grain and can build up after multiple applications and can start to chip/flake.

Semi-transparent stains will allow most of the natural wood to show through. This type isn’t as weather resistant as the solid stain so it will need to be reapplied every 1-2 years.

Clear deck stains are best for high quality/premium woods that are used for both functionality and looks.  This type of stain needs to be reapplied every year and requires the most maintenance.

A good go-to website to find the best stain type of your choosing is Consumer Reports. Here’s a quick link.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/wood-stains.htm

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-The Neighborhood Handyman

12
FEB
2015

Water Heater Temperature

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This is the time of year that our furnaces and water heaters are working over time.

So how hot is too hot for your water heater?

According to the US Department of Energy, anything over 120 degrees can cause instant scalding.

Some people think keeping it at 140 degrees kills off bacteria, but it just isn’t practical or worth a trip to the ER for burns.

For a gas water heater the temperature valve is usually located near the bottom of the tank on the gas valve.
For electric water heaters there are usually 2 thermostats located on the upper and lower regions of the tank.

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As a precaution, be sure to turn off the electricity to the water heater before changing the temperature.

-The Neighborhood Handyman

20
JAN
2015

Change those Furnace Filters!

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Hello 2015!

This is the time of year when most furnaces are running full force and because of this the systems get overworked and breakdown.  Yet, most of the issues people run into can be prevented with basic maintenance.

A lot of professional HVAC companies will give discounts and deals to do a yearly inspection of your system to make sure everything is running properly.

A tune up may require a professional, but one thing YOU can do to help your furnace run efficiently is to change the filter!

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According to Energy Star a filter should be changed every 3 months, more or less often depending on number of pets or people with allergies in the home.

Filters are available at almost any home improvement store.  Just be sure to turn off your furnace before changing out the filter!

-The Neighborhood Handyman-

 

29
DEC
2014

Water Leaking 101

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Unknown water leaks are a major cause of wasted water and money for households all over the country.

Water leaks can be found in a dripping faucet, a constantly running toilet, phantom toilet flushing, and other leaking valves around the home.

According to the EPA the average household water leaks account for over 10,000 gallons of wasted water each year.  Just to give you perspective, that is enough water for about 270 loads of laundry.

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Be sure to have any thing with a leak repaired and/or replaced to save you money in the long term and to eliminate wasted water.

Don’t forget outside water drips as well such as the spigot for the garden hose. Sprinkler system repairs are also a must during the spring to prevent even more wasted water.

 

-The Neighborhood Handyman