Properly Clean Your Laminate Floor!

Laminate floors are a wonderful investment and look great. But there is a proper way to clean them to keep them looking great for years to come.

Like most floors you will have in your home, they are made up of different materials and different finishes and therefore require the right products to clean them. You do not want to use the same product as you would on tile or hardwood as you would on your laminate floor.

In the video below you will learn the proper way to clean your new laminate floor.

Armstrong_floor

 

 

Need of a New Floor?

Laminate Flooring

Thinking of replacing your floor? Today there are many types of flooring available to make your home look great without doing a major renovation or spending a fortune.

One option to consider is laminate flooring. It comes in many colors, patterns and sizes, making it an ideal and inexpensive way to make an old floor look brand new.

Installing a laminate floor makes a great do-it-yourself project, leaving you feeling proud and accomplished while saving you some money and making your home more enjoyable.

In this video you will see how quick and easy it is to tackle this project.

Once you have installed your new floor you will want to keep it looking new for years to come.

Click Here! for tips on the Best way to clean your Laminate Floor.

 

How to Replace Door Weatherstrip!

Winter is coming! One of the first things to check is your entry door weatherstrip. Worn or damaged weatherstrip will cause air leaks, costing you money. These leaks will also make the house drafty and uncomfortable.

Door weatherstrip around your doors is installed when the door is new to keep the elements outside where they belong.

Over time your house will settle and things like doors and frames will also move around, the weather strip on your doors will start to deteriorate, leaving gaps in the seal that keeps out cold and hot air and insects.

A visual inspection of your door weatherstrip once a month is good to have on your maintenance plan. To really check to see if the weatherstrip is doing its job, here a few extra steps you can do.

  • At night put the lights on in the house, go outside. See if there is light coming from the edges of the door. If you do then mother nature is also coming through.
  • Place a piece if paper in between the door and the frame, close the door and try to pull the paper out. If it slides out then you have a weak seal and need to adjust the door latch or replace the weatherstripping.
  • Use a fan or blow dryer, or wait for a windy day, and with someone on the other side of the door, check for air movement coming in around the door.
  • Use a candle, move it slowly around the edge of the door and see if the flame blows around.

Having good weather seal around your door will help keep out insects and reduce your energy bills.

Replacing weatherstrip

Here is a great video from Eric George of Building Performance Group on how to replace your door weatherstrip.

If you have a newer Steel or Fiberglass door with Built-in Weatherstrip, head over to the Next Page for directions on replacing this type.

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What Is the Condition of Your Roof?

House Roof

Your roof is one of the biggest home preventive maintenance items and is very often overlooked. Checking your roof for signs of wear and damage can prevent the need for major water damage repairs costing thousands of dollars.

Your roof is the first line of defense protecting you and your valuables from whatever mother nature throws at you. Making sure it is in good condition will help keep your home safe and dry.

Doing a general inspection from the ground and inside your home will give you some indication of the condition of the roof and whether or not there are leaks or other issues that will cause problems in the future.

For safety reasons, hiring a professional roofer or home inspector is your best option for making sure your roof is holding back the weather.

If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, here is a great list of things to look for, courtesy of IKO.com:

Exterior Roof Inspection

  1. Severely blistered, curled or split shingles.
  2. Loose or missing shingles.
  3. Loose nails.
  4. Exposed nails.
  5. Broken or loose shingles at the ridge and hip lines.
  6. Signs of missing caulk to seal flashing.
  7. Rusty or corroded metal flashing.
  8. Damaged or missing flashing.
  9. Sagging on the ridges.
  10. Broken seals on shingles.
  11. Excessive granule loss.
  12. Chimney cracks.
  13. Rubber boots at top of pipes for dry rot.
  14. Gutters and eaves for proper shingle overhangs.
  15. Review gutters and downspouts.
  16. Examine fascia board for any damage or rot.
  17. Survey the condition of siding above the roof.

damaged roof

Your roof can be one of the most expensive repairs needed on your home. But the damage that a leaky roof can cause can be a lot more expensive to repair. Check your roof or have it checked by a professional roofer at least twice a year.

10 Home Hacks You May Not Know!

Home tips

Our day to day life seems to flow along nicely, we have our daily routines and we are happy.

But wouldn’t it be nice to have some little tips and tricks that can make your life just a little easier?

Little things like keeping a garbage bag in place or getting it out of the can easier.

Saving money on things like air fresheners or cleaning solutions.

The wonderful folks over at Money Talk News put together a list of 10 such home hacks that could do just that. Check them out!

 

10 Hacks you need to know

We hope you found these Hacks useful in your life. You can head over to the Next Page to see some more.

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Getting to Know Your Home.

Your House

CONGRATULATIONS! You are a Home Owner!

Being a home owner is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But even if you live in an apartment it is good to know this information. As a Home Owner or tenant, there are some things that you may overlook but really need to know about your home.

We have put together a list of 10 critical things that will help keep you safe in an emergency or prevent major damage to your home that can be very costly.

Electric Panel – Knowing the whereabouts and having some knowledge of what you are looking at when you open it will be very helpful if a circuit goes out or there are sparks coming from a light fixture or outlet and you need to kill the power. Some older homes still have fuses protecting the electric supply, but most homes today have circuit breakers. Both are designed to stop the power in case of an overload. While a fuse will need to be replaced if it blows, generally a circuit breaker just needs to be reset by turning it off and then back on. If the issue that caused the problem trips it out again, turn it off and call a professional to repair the problem. For more information on locating and understanding your Electric Panel, Click Here!

Main Water Shut Off – The water main will shut the water off to your entire home. Knowing where the shut off is and how to operate it – before disaster strikes – can save a lot of money and headaches by minimizing damage to your home in case a water pipe breaks or an appliance malfunctions. Turning off your water main when you leave your home for an extended period of time could keep your home from becoming flooded while you are gone. For guidance on locating and operating your Water Main Shut Off, Click Here!

Gas Shut Off – Over 57% of the homes in the US use gas for heating and cooking. If you use Natural Gas or Propane (LP) for any appliance in your home, knowing how to shut it off in an emergency could save your life and your home. People take for granted that their appliances work just fine, until one day something goes wrong. Everyone needs to know how to cut off the gas supply. For help finding and understanding your Gas Main Shut Off, Click Here!

Filters – There can be many kinds of filters in your home. Water and Air are the most common and these need to be changed regularly to keep things working properly and to make your living environment more pleasant. Whether your water comes from a well or from the city it is a good plan to filter it as it comes into your home. A main filter will help take out sediment and minerals that are in the water. Here is a guide to helping you locate and change these filters when needed, Click Here!

If you have a furnace or Air Conditioner they will have air filters that collect dust, pollen and other stuff floating in the air to keep it out of the equipment and the air that you breathe. Here is a guide to helping you locate and change these filters when needed, Click Here!

Attic Access – Knowing where there is access to your attic is important, even if you decide you do not want to use it for storage. Being able to access the attic if you see water stains on your ceiling or hear noises coming from up above is essential. Even if you call someone else to investigate, you will need to show them the way.

Escape Routes – Knowing the best way to get out of your home in an emergency before it happens could save your life. This is something that is very easy to overlook when you are excited about moving into your new home but is a very critical area to plan out. As they say on the airplane, “the nearest exit may be behind you!” A good exercise is to blindfold yourself and crawl out of your home as being blinded is disorienting but often common in a power outage or a fire.

Water Heater – You turn on the faucet and you get hot water, but do you know where it comes from? Knowing where your water heater is, and some basic knowledge of how it works, can prevent disaster before it happens. A water heater can break and flood your home and even explode if not properly maintained. For great tips on the operation and maintenance of your water heater, Click Here!

Garage Door Opener – If your garage door has an overhead garage door opener, as most do these days, it will not operate when there is a power failure. To prevent someone from being locked inside, all modern openers are required to have a manual release to open the door in this situation. Normally it is a cable that hangs down from the mechanism that attaches the door arm to the track. Pull on this cable handle to release the arm, allowing the door to be lifted open.

Fire Extinguisher – Having a fire extinguisher in a few places in your home could save you from a complete disaster. Check to see if there are any in your home!  If not, go and purchase a few, depending on the size of your home. Unfortunately, there are more homes without them than there should be. After finding or acquiring them, you need to understand where to store them and how to operate them.  For are a great guide on using your Fire Extinguisher! Click Here!

Water Drainage – Understanding how water drains around your home when it rains is really something you need to know. Water can seep into your home and cause extensive damage if it does not drain away properly. Even if you don’t see water in your home, poor drainage can be causing issues of rotting wood, cracking foundations and creating an environment for mold to grow. There are 2 major things to look for as far as drainage around your home is concerned. The first is that the soil around your home is pitched away from the foundation at least 1 inch per foot and at a minimum of 6 feet away from the house. The second item is that the downspouts from your gutters also end up at least 6 feet from the foundation.

We hope you enjoyed this article and that we have helped you make your home a better and safer place. Click on the subscribe button on the top of the page to be kept informed of more great tips.

 

 

Understanding Your Electric Circuit Panel

If you do not know where your electric circuit panel is, this article will help you locate it and understand what you need to know about it.

The electric panel distributes electric power to lights, outlets and appliances throughout your home and protects each circuit separately with a fuse or circuit breaker, which shuts off the power in case of an electrical short.

Your electrical panel can be located in many different locations in a home, it generally has a greyish or white cover with a swing door, although you may find that your panel has been painted a different color, boxed in or covered with a painting or something else to hide it.

If you have an overhead power line coming to your home from the utility poles along the street, you can follow that line to find the electric meter (which most of the time will be on the outside of the house), this will help in locating your electric panel.

Places to look to find your electric panel:

  • Outside of your house – You may find the Circuit panel next to or attached to the meter.
  • In the Garage – If you found the electric meter and it is on the outside garage wall, there is a good chance the circuit panel is in the garage on the same wall.
  • In the Basement – If you have a basement, look for the panel in the same area as you found the meter outside.
  • In a Closet – In many smaller homes, that do not have garages or basements, you may find the panel in a utility closet or pantry.
  • In a Hallway – In older homes and apartments, you may find the electric panel in the hall way leading to the bedrooms or den.
  • In the Attic – On the rare occasion, where the home owner wired their own house before building codes, you may find they installed the panel in the attic.

If after you have exhausted this list and you have not located your electric panel, please call a professional, as it is important for you to know where it is located.

Now that you found your panel, you will want to open it and see what is inside. You will have either fuses or circuit breakers.

Fuse Box
Fuse Panel
circuit_breaker_panel
Circuit Breaker Panel

If a fuse blows you will see a small piece of metal under the glass that will have a separation in it. It then needs to be replaced.

When a circuit breaker trips, the lever should go to the center position and feel loose if you move it. You need to  move the breaker to the off position before turning it back on.

One of the issues with many panels is they are not properly marked, so when you need to turn off the power to a particular circuit or appliance in an emergency you have no clue where to start. In this situation, hopefully the Main Breaker is marked and you can cut power to the whole house.

Making sure that your panel is correctly mark is a fairly easy process but takes some time and best done with 2 or more people and some testing equipment.

Some of the tools that can help in this process are listed here, but you can just use a light you know works or a radio.

A Plug-in Circuit Tester works well for checking if there is power to an outlet.

An AC Voltage Detector will check outlet, light and wiring for power.

My favorite is a Circuit Breaker Finder, which will not only show you if the circuit is working but will show you which breaker belongs to which circuit.

Labeling your panel to include as many items or rooms on a circuit is best. See the video on the next page for tips on accomplishing this task.

 

https://youtu.be/Km_ULHtWOKw?t=4s

 

Got Water Filters?

whole house filter

As much as you may think the water coming into you home is safe. It is still filled with all types of micro particles that can be bad for you. Even most bottles water, which is just filtered water can contain elements that can harm you, and it is costly.

There are different types of water filters that you can have in your home. Adding one for the whole house will take most of the large particles out, but not all of it. I you want great drinking water, you will need to add more filtering some where in your home.

The Whole House Filter: This type of filter will filter all of the water that comes into your home to help remove sediment and minerals found in the water. You will find them close to where the water enters your home. These filters will need to be changed on a regular basis, usually every 1-3 months. The length of time between changes will depend on the quality of the water coming into your home. Here you will find a great video on these filters.

While a whole house water filter is great to have in your house, they are only designed to take out large particles in the water which help keep your fixtures from clogging.

If you wish to use your water for drinking and don’t want the expense and hassle of bottled water, you will need a Point of Use filtering system.

These systems come in many sizes and shapes. You can attach them to your fridge to keep your ice and water clean or to your faucet to completely filter out all of the impurities in your water.

Here you will see how to change the filters in these systems.

Changing Air Filters

With the changing of yet another season comes time to change the air filters in your heating or cooling system.

Your air filters in your heating and air conditioning systems need to be inspected and changed at regular intervals depending your usage of this equipment. These filters are generally simple to change but it is important to change them as part of your regular home maintenance plan.

The location of your filters is pretty standard, heating filters will be located some where around the furnace. There will be a slot or a cover on the duct work for the filter.

Heating system

Here is a great video on how to change the filter in your heating system.

In many cases the heating system and the air conditioning systems use the same air handler to spread the treated air throughout your home. In that case the same filter works for both heating and cooling.

Air Conditioning

If you have a separate unit for your air conditioning, the filter will be inside the return grate. This can be located in the ceiling or an a wall, generally in the center of the house.

Check out this wonderful video to see how to change the filter for your a/c unit.

 

Changing your air filters regularly will keep the air in your home cleaner and let your equipment work efficiently.

Locating Home Main Water Shut Off

Getting it the habit of turning off your main water valve when you leave home for any amount of time, is a great way to prevent severe damage.

If the power goes out or your heating system goes bad, Your pipes are going to freeze. Turning off the water supply to the house will prevent more damage from flooding once they thaw out. Even in summer if a water line breaks or a toilet valve goes bad it can be disastrous.

Locating your main water shut off could be challenging, but something you really need to do.

Types of water valvesGenerally when you are looking for your water main indoors

you will have one of these types of valves.

A 1/4 turn ball valve with a lever type handle

or multi turn gate valve with a round handle.

Both valves will turn in the clockwise direction to close the valve and turn off the water supply.

If you have a well, the main shut off valve will be located close to your water storage tank.

If you have city water there will be a valve somewhere by the road for water company access, but there should also be one inside or close to the house near the water meter.

The location of your main water shut off will depend on a number of circumstances such as the type of foundation you have, the distance from the road, the climate you live in and sometimes just on the mood or thinking of the person who installed it.

In Cold Climates the meter and shut off valve will be indoors in a basement or utility closet, usually along the the wall facing the street or driveway.

In warmer climates it could also be in a garage, crawl space or outside.

Once you have located your main water shut off, it is a good idea to make sure that the valve is operating correctly before you need it when a water pipe springs a leak. Start by turning the valve off, then open a sink faucet and see if the water stops completely. One way to know for sure if it is completely off is to look at your water meter and see if the small dial is moving, if it is then you still have water leaking thru the valve and it should be repaired or replaced.

Head over to the Next Page for tips on locating the main water shut off.

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