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21
JUL
2014

How to protect your home from damage during a Vacation

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If you’re lucky enough to be able to go on a vacation during the summer months, you need to be aware of a few maintenance tips for your home while you’re away.

This post will focus on water lines in particular.  The last thing you want to find after a nice relaxing vacation is water streaming through a ceiling and/or come home to flooded rooms.

This is caused when pipes burst inside the home and send water from the main line all throughout the home until the water supply is shut off.

Prevent this from happening in one easy step. Simply turn off the main water supply line which is usually located in the basement along an exterior wall.  The main water line will be a pipe with either a round turn-type or a straight lever type shutoff.

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It is also a good idea to turn the water heater onto a lower heat setting. This will save you money while you’re away and will prevent damage if the water level gets too low.

Thanks for tuning in,

The Neighborhood Handyman

16
JUN
2014

Time to change your air filters!

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This week’s blog post is going to focus on the air filters in your HVAC system.  HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and it is what keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Each HVAC system has an air filter which is used to catch any particles in the air that come through the system.  These particles can be anything from dust, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, mold spores, etc.

Depending on a variety of factors like how clean you keep your home, the number of pets you have, and the time of year, the frequency with which you should be changing the air filters will vary.  A good rule of thumb is to change the filter every 1-3 months.  Usually there will be visible dirt/dust on the filter to give you a good indication that it is time to put in a new one.

Clean air filters will not only help keep the air in your home cleaner but it will also help the HVAC unit to run easier and therefore will help keep energy costs low.

 

How to change a filter :

1) You can either check the owner’s manual or the side of your existing filter to figure out the correct number/size

2) Be sure the unit is turned off before taking the old filter out

3) The filter should pull easily out of the slot which is usually located on the right side of the unit

4) Use the arrows on the filter to properly insert the new one

If you don’t feel confident changing the filter yourself, a professional can always handle it for you!

Thanks for tuning in,

The Neighborhood Handyman

 

21
MAY
2014

How to choose the right ceiling fan

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Spring time is in full swing which means the hot and humid summer months are right around the corner. To keep your AC bill down to a reasonable amount during the next few months, you might want to consider installing one or two ceiling fans in your most used rooms.  Choosing a ceiling fan can seem daunting with all of the factors to consider, but with the right information it can be quite painless.

The first thing to consider is the ceiling height.  For safety reasons, the fan should hang from a ceiling that’s at least 8ft in height. 

-If your ceiling is low or close to 8ft, you should consider having the fan on a flushmount or also called a ceiling hugger. This will mount the fan to the ceiling without any extra attachment

-For ceilings 8ft and higher a downrod mount is needed to place the fan at the correct height to ensure proper air circulation

-For ceilings that are higher than average, extension rods are available in a variety of lengths to ensure the fan hangs at the ideal 8-9ft position

Room size also plays a big part in choosing the correct fan.

-In a small room, up to 75 sq ft the fan should be 36 inches or smaller

-In a room up to 144 sq ft a fan up to 42 inches should be used

– In a bigger room up to 225 sq ft a fan from 44-50 inches should be used

-And for the largest rooms in your house (up to 400 sq.ft) a 50-54 inch fan will provide the best air flow

Some small things you should also think about when buying a fan is if you want it to come with a light kit or not and control options (e.g wall switch, remote control, or a pull chain).

One last important thing to mention is during the hot summer months you want to make sure your fan blades are rotating counter-clockwise ( as opposed to clockwise during the winter months). This will push the cooler air down and can keep the room up to 8 degrees cooler.  If your fan isn’t operated by a remote, you can manually switch the direction of your fan with the switch located just below the blades.

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18
APR
2014

Part 3 : Getting your home ready for Spring

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The last part to our series (and the best in my opinion) is how to make sure your outdoor areas are ready to go for the warmer weather!  This means patio parties, pool time, and cooking burgers on the grill!!

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The most obvious of places to start is to talk about your lawn/grassy areas.  Be sure that you pay extra attention to making sure all leaves and branches have been removed from the lawn that have been collecting over the past months.  Clearing off these areas will allow the grass underneath to breathe.  Winter months also have a tendency to affect the pH levels of the soil, and it is recommended that you treat the grass with an herbicide.  This will prevent weeds from growing and it will basically push the ‘restart’ button on your soil heading into the Spring.

You should do a quick inventory check of all of your outdoor tools, check that your sprinkler systems are working properly, and make sure your lawn mower is in good working order if you plan to mow your own grass.  If you plan to plant/grow any sort of a flower garden, you may need to spend some time pulling out weeds and making sure the beds are ready to go.

Most importantly if you have any sort of deck or patio, you need to do a careful ‘once over’ check for damage and now is a good time to clean/sweep off the entire area of leaves/other debris that may have collected.  If you have any sort of wood on your patio or deck, early spring is the ideal time to clean, stain, and reseal it.  Hose off or wash any fabric lawn furniture and if any of the metal parts have rusted a simple cover with spray enamel will make it like new again.

Last but not least is checking your gas or charcoal grill.  For gas grills you should focus on the burner jets, making sure the hoses/connections are secure, and check the level of propane.   For charcoal grills, make sure it’s clean and without any old ash or grease from last season.

By doing all of these simple yet effective checks around and outside your home, you should be ready to transition into the warmer weather without any major issues!

– The Neighborhood Handyman

 

02
APR
2014

Part 2 : Getting Your Property Ready for Spring

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This week’s blog post will focus on the interior of your home and what you can do to ensure a smooth transition into the warmer months ahead.

First off, make sure the interior of your home gets a thorough ‘general’ cleaning, especially for those with seasonal allergies.  If cleaning isn’t your style, there are plenty of good and reliable cleaning services that you can hire.   If you’d rather save the money and do it yourself, focus on areas that often get neglected.  You should vacuum the floors and any upholstered furniture you may have.  Window drapes collect more dust and dirt than you realize and should be sent out for dry cleaning.  Wipe down any wood surfaces which includes window frames, ceiling fans, and any sort of mini-blinds (wood or vinyl).  When cleaning the bathrooms, make sure to check for grout that is worn or missing.  If not repaired, water can creep into these areas and cause serious damage.

It is crucial that all AC units are in good condition as the temperatures increase.  Do a once over visual check of the unit with focus on the hose connections and drain pans.  Be sure to change the filter to help it run more efficiently. If you have any doubts, now is the time to call out a professional.

Speaking of hose connections, spring is also a great time to check the pipes in your home. This includes sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, and hot water heaters. Check to make sure none of them are leaking or clogged and that the connections are sealed properly. A quick once-over for rust and corrosion is beneficial as well.

Basements have always been notorious for being damp and stuffy with not a lot of air circulation.  This creates a perfect place for mold and insects.  Be sure to check for any cracks in the walls and for any signs of unwanted water.

Lastly, do a quick check over of the Attic making sure there are no signs of mold or animal inhabitants.  It is important to make sure the attic has proper insulation and ventilation especially as the temperatures rise.

Stay turned for part 3 next week!

-The Neighborhood Handyman-