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16
Sep

The Essentials of Fall Landscaping and Lawn Maintenance

Posted by on in Homeowner Tips

Fall Landscaping Maintenance TipsFall is one of the best times of the year to spruce up your lawn. Temperatures are dropping, but it’s not too cold – the perfect weather to work outdoors! Plus, the beautiful changing leaves are easy on the eyes while you’re out there working away.

 

As experts in home and landscape maintenance, we’ve gathered several fall lawn care tips over the years, which we are thrilled to share with you now:

 

  • Adjust the height of your lawn mower: Many people raise the height of their mowers in the summer, so now in the fall it’s time to lower those blades back to a normal mowing level. Around 2 inches tall is your best bet for most types of grass. Lowering the mowing height will cut your grass a bit shorter, a necessity to prevent grass from matting down under fallen leaves or snow. Read my best self propelled lawn mower guide if you need to buy one.

 

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19
Jun

Removing an Old and Heavy Cast Iron Tub by Proven Helper

Posted by on in Homeowner Tips

Cast iron tubs can weigh over 300lbs easily depending on the size, shape, and wall thickness, which makes them very difficult to remove. Depending on what your plans are for the tub, you have several different methods you can use to remove one. I've tried both methods in the past so I can help you prepare for what you're in store for.

 

Plumbing Preparation Prior to the Tub Removal

Cast-Iron-Tub-Plumbing-DiagramNo matter what method you choose from below, you will need to makes sure that you disconnect any plumbing running to the tub. Usually this entails disconnecting the drain waste and overflow pipes from the tub itself. Sometimes these are the only things keeping the tub in place due to the tubs weight alone.

You may also need to cut caulking around the tub using a utility knife, if the tub is located next to one or more tiled walls.

Sometimes a special tool called the "Tub Drain Remover" is required to unscrew the bottom drain from the tub's plumbing below. I typically used a massive screwdriver and wedged it into the slot in the upper portion of the tub drain, then unscrewed that drain strainer counterclockwise if my memory serves me right. The tub drain remover tool just makes it easier, you can pick one up for $10.

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27
Jun

Lawn Care Tips for the Summer Season: Mowing, Watering & More

Posted by on in Homeowner Tips

b2ap3_thumbnail_Summer-lawn-care-tips_20140627-180428_1.jpgThe summer is in full swing, which hopefully means you’re spending more and more warm, relaxing evenings and weekends enjoying the outdoors.

If you have a grass lawn of any size, you know that summer is about maintenance for lawns. While spring is about reviving your lawn from the cold, winter months, summer is all about helping your healthy, green lawn thrive.

Summer can be very tough on our lawns – it’s hot and in many areas of the country there are often droughts that can cause a lot of damage to both lawns and gardens. But no one wants brown grass in their lawn in the summer; this is the time when we all want lush, green lawns to play in, host BBQs in, and generally enjoy while we can.

 

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11
Oct

Top Tips for Home Maintenance in the Fall: A Checklist

Posted by on in Homeowner Tips

Home Maintenance in the FallTemperatures are dropping and leaves are changing colors all over the county – fall is here, and soon winter will be on its way. With lower temperatures and the chance of inclement weather (experts are predicting a long, cold winter for three-quarters of America east of the Rocky Mountains), homeowners need to take extra precautions to transition their home from summer to fall, and then from fall to winter.

 

These expert maintenance tips and tricks will help keep your home in top notch condition going into the fall and winter seasons:

 

  • Clean the gutters: Fallen leaves can easily clog gutters, which are a major cause of ice dams in colder months. Be sure to regularly clean your gutters while checking for old or damaged gutters. Replace damaged, worn out gutters before winter hits, and consider installing leaf guards to block leaves and debris – it will make your life a bit easier in the long run!
  • Seal openings around doorframes and windows: Caulk is an easy, inexpensive fix to seal openings, and it will greatly help in preventing heat from escaping your home.
  • Inspect your roof and chimney: Damage to the roof is one of the easiest ways for rain, snow and ice to find its way into your home. This fix could be as simple as replacing a few shingles, or it could turn into a larger project of replacing the entire roof. Either way, it will be worth it to take care of this sooner rather than later. Also take a look inside your chimney and double check that it is free of obstructions such as debris or animals who have taken up camp.
  • Repair damaged driveways, walkways and steps: The last thing you need is a huge crack in your driveway while you’re walking to and from your car during a fall rainstorm or a winter snowstorm. Check for cracks that are 1/8-inch or wider, uneven sections or the disintegration of asphalt.
  • Turn off outside faucets: Drain outside faucets and close shut-off valves to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during colder weather.
  • Inspect your fireplace or wood-burning stove: In order to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, be sure to clean and repair a fireplace before its first use each fall/winter. While you’re at it, make sure you stock up on wood to keep those fires burning!
  • Check insulation in the attic: Make sure attic insulation is intact and installed properly. The vapor barrier of the insulation should be facing down.
  • Clean your dryer vent: This should be done each season or at least every six months. Be sure to clean the lint out of the dryer vent, and if possible, move your dryer and vacuum around it and behind it. If you can, remove lint and build-up from the outside dryer vent, too.
  • Reverse your ceiling fan: Many people don’t know that you can change the direction of your ceiling fan. Reversing your ceiling fan pushes warm air from the ceiling down into the rest of the room.
  • Regularly clean your humidifier: Humidifiers can be life-savers in dry, cold weather, but be sure they are clean in order to operate properly. If needed, clean the pads or filters within the humidifier with a laundry detergent and water solution and steel wool.
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09
Sep

How to Update Your Bathroom without Breaking the Bank

Posted by on in Homeowner Tips

Dream Bathroom on a BudgetUpdating and renovating a home can be a very expensive and time consuming project and some rooms of the home outweigh others, especially in terms of cost. For instance, both kitchen and bathroom renovations can be daunting to amateurs and professionals alike. More often than not, homeowners find themselves rolling in debt after renovations when a room like the kitchen or bathroom is included – but that doesn’t need to be the case.

For now, we’re going to focus on the bathroom – after all, the bathroom is one room that everyone has to use, and it should be a relaxing environment that both looks and feels nice.

First, it’s important to realize there are several different paths to take when renovating a bathroom. Depending on your skillset and budget, you could go for simple aesthetic updates or a complete overhaul. For our purposes, we’re focusing on updating a bathroom without breaking the bank. After all, money can be tight in this economy, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to revive an old, drab bathroom.

To get started, let’s look at bathroom updates that do break the bank:

  • Rearranging fixtures (moving a toilet, sink, tub, etc.)
  • Redesigning the plumbing and electrical

In most cases, the layout of a bathroom can be worked into your renovation plans without having to change where fixtures are located. Instead of moving the toilet, sink or tub, think about how you can work with the space that you do have. However, if you have plumping and/or electrical issues, it’s a totally different story. These types of upgrades can be costly, and we recommend that they are completed by a professional. If you are on a budget you do need to fix up the plumbing or electrical, focus on that first. Once the bigger issues are resolved, move on to the design and décor of the bathroom at a later date, so you’re not shelling out too much cash at once.

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02
Sep

How-to Remodel a Smelly Basement into a Finished Space

Posted by on in Homeowner Tips

a1sx2_Smelly Basement_fixing-smelly-basement-problem.jpgSmelly, musty basements are a common problem in houses new and old, especially in areas where the humidity rises in the summer, like the Northeast. Even without heavy humidity, any basement can become musty for a number of reasons. For instance, if the previous homeowner places carpet immediately on top of the basement’s cement floor – boom – you could have a musty basement.

For years, homeowners have struggled with eliminating that moldy, off-putting smell in their basements. From inexpensive DIY attempts to costly services – you name it, someone has tried it. After all, who wants a smelly basement?

If you’ve noticed a musty smell in your basement this summer, we’ve found the solution for you: a new product that goes in between the basement floor and whatever flooring you choose to put on top of it. This ingenious product works under carpet, hardwood, tile, or whichever flooring option you choose.

After hours of research, we’ve nailed down the best option on the market, the DRIcore subflooring system. This one-step engineered solution is specifically made for basements to address the moisture released by concrete – the root cause of that musty smell.

According to the DRIcore product overview, the sub-floor panels were designed with an air gap technology that keeps basement floors dry, therefore keeping you comfortable, warm and cozy throughout all seasons of the year. DRIcore’s air gap technology allows air to flow constantly so that the moisture radiating from the concrete base is able to evaporate.

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18
Jun

There's a 90% Chance Your Central AC System Is Installed Wrong, Sad But True

Posted by on in Homeowner Tips

b2ap3_thumbnail_bad-central-air-conditioning-installation.jpgDid you know that about 50% of all the money we spend on heating and cooling is due to inefficiencies in the way these systems are installed?

It's a sad but true fact. A whopping 25% of your hard earned money is literally leaking out of the duct work. The other 25% comes from other installation problems with the units themselves.

 

The biggest problem according to John Proctor of Proctor Engineering Group is that the vast majority of heating and cooling systems are improperly installed to being with. A poor installation leads to wasted energy, future reliability problems with the units themselves, and of course a whole lot of wasted money. 

 

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04
Jan

A Cold Weather Checklist: How to Winterize Your Home

Posted by on in Homeowner Tips

cold weather outbreak

No one likes a cold home or paying outrageous utility bills trying to keep warm in cold weather. This checklist helps you beat the cold and keep your heating costs down.

As we move past first day of every winter on December 21, Americans across the country are begin to experience colder temperatures and winter weather, some even experiencing severe snowstorms and dangerous, icy conditions. Time to whip out the Cold Weather Checklist, written by a general contractor who transformed many older homes in New England into much more modern and efficient houses.

 

When snowflakes start to fall, Americans match up their mittens, dig up their winter boots, and buckle down to weather the storm. But if you’re like many people, you might not always think about adding your house to the winter-weather checklist.

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