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Three Ways You Can Protect Your Home From Electrical Fire

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Ways You Can Protect Your Home From Electrical Fire

Although up-to-date wiring can considerably decrease your risk of electrical hazards such as shocks and fires, you still need to stay vigilant if you want to prevent an electrical fire in your home. Some dangerous but common behaviors and some little-known risks can make all the difference in whether you have a high-risk home or a low-risk one. In addition to having a contractor inspect your wiring for safety every few years, you can use these safety tips to reduce your risk from electrical fire. 1. Use electrical cords and sockets only as intended If you’ve ever looked at the warnings on an extension cord and mused on how little they reflect real life, you’re not alone. But if you’re making the same common mistakes with these items that many others are making, then you’re not safe either. Be sure to heed all warnings about using extension cords only under supervision, never running cords under carpets or across pathways, and not overloading electrical sockets. Making any of these common mistakes could increase your changes of an electrical malfunction.   2. Enforce appliance safety precautions In addition to extension cords and electrical sockets, you also need to keep an eye on your appliances. In addition to making sure you only use new appliances (even if that half-century-old fridge came with the house, replacing it is the much better option because newer manufacturing standards are much safer), you also need to keep a special eye on certain kinds of appliances. Small lamps can fall over and start a fire, so be careful to only use them when you’re in the room. And make sure everyone in the family knows never to place anything on a lampshade, no matter how convenient it is. Electrical heaters are one of the most hazardous appliances because they’re actually designed to create heat, and heat is an intrinsic fire hazard. Be sure to only operate electrical heaters under close supervision and keep everything else in the room well clear of the heater while it’s operating.   3. Be sure you have both GFCI and AFCI outlets GFCI outlets are vital wherever water is likely to be present, but did you know that AFCI outlets can actually prevent electrical fires inside your walls? They do this by sensing when an arc fault develops and shutting off the power to that area. This is crucial because an arc fault can develop for any number of reasons, such as when you hang a picture on the wall and accidentally drive the nail into an area that damages the wire coating. They can also sense arcs that occur outside the walls. Even relatively modern houses may not have AFCI outlets installed (requirements to install them in bedrooms didn’t appear until 1999 and more widespread requirements were added in 2008), so if yours doesn’t, consider updating to these much safer outlets.   These three methods can help you keep your family and belongings safe from dangerous electrical fires. Be sure to follow the recommendations of your electrical contractor each time you have a safety inspection as...

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Are You Ready To Install A New Heating System In Your Home? Check Out Reasons To Choose An Oil Furnace

Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Are You Ready To Install A New Heating System In Your Home? Check Out Reasons To Choose An Oil Furnace

Making the right choices about the installation of your home’s new heating system is important for saving money. Oil heating systems have been in use for years and have seen many improvements for greater energy efficiency and safer operation. One the greatest benefits many people have experienced when using oil heat is its warmth, even during extremely cold weather. Check out these reasons to choose an oil heating system for your home. Greater Energy Savings Means More Money In Your Pocket Because of the improvements made to oil heating systems, your heating system will run less and provide more warmth than other types of heating systems that burn natural gas or run off electricity. Due to the system improvements, oil furnaces today take less fuel to reach higher levels of heat production. Oil burns 400 times hotter than other fuels, so your furnace will not run as much to reach your desired indoor temperature. Contact a heating system professional to learn how you can have an oil system installed in your home. When you talk to a heating professional, be sure to ask about contracts for maintenance so your furnace will always be in good condition when the temperatures start to drop. Heating With Oil Is Safe Many people assume because oil is a petroleum product, it is highly flammable and dangerous to use for heating their homes. However, did you know that if you dropped a lit match into a bucket of heating oil, it would go out? Heating oil must reach 140 degrees to become flammable and vaporizes before it does, so you can count on it to burn in safely in your furnace. Your heating installation expert can show you how your oil furnace will spray only a light a mist of oil for igniting inside a boiler for creating the warm air that comes from your furnace. If you have been hesitant about choosing oil furnace because you do not want to deal with running out fuel and having to call every time to have it delivered, you should know that you can have your deliveries scheduled with most oil companies. You will never have to worry about calling anyone when the oil runs out because your oil company will have it filled before it runs too low. Call around to locate an oil company that will set up a delivery schedule for you.  The investment you make in an oil heating system is one you count on for bringing you back money through long-term energy savings. For more informatioin, visit sites...

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2 Insects That Can Infest The Crape Myrtle Tree

Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Insects That Can Infest The Crape Myrtle Tree

Crape myrtle trees have become a popular ornamental addition to yards because of the vibrant, fiery flowers that permeate the tree’s simple green leaves offset against shedding dark bark. Do you currently own a crape myrtle or plan to invest in a tree in the future? You need to learn to recognize the symptoms of an insect infestation that can cause cosmetic or structural damage to your tree. Here are a couple of the common insects that can infest and damage your crape myrtle tree. Work with your tree care service, such as Mead Tree & Turf Care Inc, or pest control company to minimize long-term damage.   Crape Myrtle Aphids Crape myrtle aphids are tiny yellow-green insects that feed on the saps within the leaves. The feeding leaves behind little feeding holes that can look like indents or pock marks on the leaves. Saliva left behind during the feeding will turn the area around the indents a more yellow color than the surrounding leaf. Due to the small size and the targeted feeding, aphids pose mostly a cosmetic concern for the crape myrtle tree as long-term structural damage is unlikely. Your tree trimming service can prune away areas of damage to improve the cosmetic appearance of your crape myrtle. Chemical controls can be used if the aphid infestation is particularly active or damaging, but chemicals aren’t always a necessary step since the tree is fully capable of surviving the infestation.   Japanese Beetles Adult Japanese beetles have distinct, shiny coppery bodies and green heads. The larvae of the beetles come to life in the grass surrounding the tree and eat through the grass until strong enough to make it up into the tree’s branches. The Japanese beetles are skeletonizers, which means they feed on all of the leaf tissue except the vascular system. The left behind “veins” resemble the skeleton of the leaf. A major infestation of Japanese beetles can lead to mass defoliation of your crape myrtle tree. The defoliation can lead to failure to thrive or even death on younger or weaker trees that can’t fight against the feeding. Dead trees will require a full removal from a tree removal service to prevent the beetles from spreading to other trees. Your tree care service can trim away the already eaten leaves and use a couple of different controls to target the Japanese beetles depending on the life stages present. Fungal controls work well on the larvae on the surrounding grass while pheromone traps work better on the adult beetles. A multi-pronged approach can completely eliminate your beetle infestation and prevent more infestation-related problems from occurring later...

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Addressing A Couple Of Questions Concerning Glass Shower Enclosures

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Addressing A Couple Of Questions Concerning Glass Shower Enclosures

The condition of your home’s shower is one of the more important factors for determining the overall comfort that you will enjoy. However, there are some upgrades that can be made to your shower to further enhance its comfort. In particular, installing a shower enclosure can be an excellent upgrade to make to your home. Yet, if you have limited experience with shower enclosures, you will likely benefit from having the following couple of routine questions answered. Will Your Bathroom Require Modifications To Install The Shower Enclosure? Some individuals may be concerned about needing to have major modifications done to their bathroom to accommodate the new shower enclosure. However, this may not always the case. Often, the installation of a shower enclosure will only require adding the glass enclosure to the existing shower unit. However, if you have shelving or other items extremely close to the shower, they will need to be removed to ensure that there is enough space for the glass of the enclosure. In some instances, the shower unit may not be compatible with these enclosures. Unfortunately, this will require completely replacing the shower, but only an experienced contractor will be able to determine whether or not this is necessary for your bathroom.   Why Should You Opt For A Frameless Glass Shower Enclosure? When you are evaluating options for a shower enclosure, it is important to consider the benefits that can come from opting for a frameless enclosure. These enclosures lack a metal frame around the front door. Rather, they are designed to be made almost entirely of glass, outside of the hinges that will allow the door to swing open. Due to the lack of frame, it is less likely that water will seep out of the enclosure while you are showering. Also, it is less likely that the enclosure will experience rusting as there will be less metal. While these enclosures may cost more than one with a frame, these two sizable benefits can make this additional cost more than worth it. If you are wanting to upgrade your bathroom, the installation of a glass shower enclosure can be an excellent addition. However, it can be easy for individuals to overlook this upgrade if they are not properly informed about it. By appreciating that your bathroom may not require major structural changes to install the shower enclosure and knowing the benefits of opting for a frameless enclosure, you will be better able to make informed decisions about having this upgrade done to your property. For more information, contact local professionals like South Jersey Glass &...

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Four Reasons To Keep Your Restaurant’s Grease Trap Clean

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Reasons To Keep Your Restaurant’s Grease Trap Clean

As a restaurant owner, it’s imperative that you keep your grease trap clean. Not only will failing to tackle this issue cause problems within your business, it can also have a wider impact. Here are just some of the reasons it is important that you have your grease traps cleaned by a professional. Bacteria Grease traps don’t just contain waste; they often contain high levels of bacteria. One of the most dangerous things about these bacteria is that they can easily spread. The bacteria that forms in the grease trap from waste accumulation can eventually travel and make its way to other surfaces, including your food prep area. This is especially dangerous as bacteria will only create a health hazard for the food you serve.  Keeping the grease trap clean will minimize bacteria buildup and help prevent this issue.    Plumbing Keeping your grease trap clean can also help keep your restaurant’s plumbing system in better condition. Grease traps contain fat, oil and grease from the foods you prepare. The problem is that once these solutions cool, they solidify. In this state, this creates a clog or blockage in the trap that prevents water from properly passing through. When the water is unable to pass through, it can cause a backup not just within your restaurant, but also for other businesses that you share plumbing connections with.   Environment Grease trap cleaning is also important for the environment. When the trap is clogged and water backs up, it ends up spilling over. This contaminated water can eventually make its way into bodies of water, grass and other areas where it can have a negative effect on wildlife and the environment. Again, regularly cleaning the grease trap is a way to avoid this and better protect the environment. Citations If nothing else moves you to clean your grease trap, the idea that you could be cited for failing to should move you in the right direction. In some states, you are required by law to have your restaurant’s grease trap cleaned on a set schedule, such as once every 60 days. If you fail to have this service performed, you run the risk of being cited and fined by your local municipality. Should your failure lead to a widespread plumbing issue, you could face harsh fines. Make sure you aren’t overlooking the importance of this service to keep your business in better condition and your customers healthier. For more information about cleaning your grease trap, visit or a local...

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Lanscaping Basics That Are Worth The Splurge

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Lanscaping Basics That Are Worth The Splurge

Whether you are creating a landscape from scratch on brand-new property or you are giving your existing landscape a revamp, you may have a certain budget that you are trying to adhere to. Some supplies for your landscape, such as decorative plants, road base gravel, and even fertilizers, can be purchased cheaply and used without compromising the end results of your yard in quality. Some landscaping basics are worth whatever cost, and should be purchased with high quality in mind. Here are a few landscaping basics that make your property beautiful that are worth the splurge. Topsoil You may have traditional garden soil confused with topsoil. Garden soil is a mixture of compost, fertilizer, and sand that is found deeper within the earth. Topsoil is soil found within the first several inches of the ground and is the soil used to ‘set’ your landscape property to allow grass and other plant life to grow successfully. When it comes to topsoil, you want moist, high-quality dirt that is free of weeds and pesticides, so don’t be afraid to have your contractor use the best variety on the market. Decorative gravel  If you are simply covering an existing gravel driveway or filling in an uneven space, you may not worry so much about the appearance of your gravel, so road base is a great basic choice. If you want a more decorative appeal, you will want to splurge on long-lasting, vibrant gravel varieties, such as granite or sandstone. Your contractor can help you choose decorative gravel that matches your home’s exterior and your existing landscape for a beautiful appeal you will be happy you paid extra for. Fruit trees If you are adding fruit trees to your landscape, you want varieties that will thrive in your climate as well as produce healthy fruit within 3 to 5 years.This means you need to be picky about the foliage you choose, even if you have particular trees in mind. Your contractor can help you select fruit-bearing trees that will complement the conditions of the property’s soil for optimum results. Avoid purchasing wilting trees or too-young shoots, as they can be difficult to transport into your yard and may not survive without a lot of care.  Your landscape is important to you, and even if you have a budget, there are still supplies and materials you should be willing to spend a bit of money on. From your topsoil to your gravel, your contractor can help you choose quality supplies to make your landscape amazing for...

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3 Best And Worst Roofing Materials For A Gothic Revival Home

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Best And Worst Roofing Materials For A Gothic Revival Home

Gothic Revival homes were romantic, ornamental structures favored among architects in the American Northeast in the mid- to late-1800s. Distinctive features of the style include pointed Gothic-style windows, wooden ornamental trim and visible support beams, and a steeply pitched roof that’s either a single gable roof or two gable roofs forming a cross gable. If you have a Gothic Revival home, choosing the right roofing material can help cement the overall look of your home while also providing the best protection. There are a few roofing materials that can provide the best – or worst – fit for a Gothic Revival home. Here are some materials to discuss during your next residential roofing contractors meeting. Best: Wood Gothic Revival homes have abundant wood trim, ornamental accents, and visible bracing beams that help define the look and the lines of the home. It makes sense, then, to continue the wooden materials on to the roof in the form of wood shingles or shakes. Wood roofing comes from cedar trees that are cut thickly to form shakes or thinly to form shingles. Both types of roofing are textured and can be stained a variety of warm- or cool-toned wood shades. Wood roofing adds a cottage or storybook look to any home, which works nicely with the overall look of a Gothic Revival home. Wood roofing can be rather higher maintenance than some other roofing materials due to the fact that wood can warp with frequent temperature changes and can suffer insect infestations. But maintenance and occasional repairs can keep these problems at bay and the visual look of the roof might be worth the added effort. Best: Slate Gabled roofs typically aren’t good matches for slate due to the fact that gables tend to lack enough bracing to support the heft of slate tiles. But Gothic Revival homes tend to have more bracing under the roof particularly when a cross gable is involved. You will still want to have your roofing contractor double check to make sure the bracing is there, or able to be added, before you order your slate tiles and end up with a collapsed roof. Slate is low maintenance and durable with pleasing natural colors that can compliment the wooden elements of the home. Slate is one of the higher priced roofing materials so project costs can get steep, particularly with a cross gable, but that’s only a concern if you need to stick to a strict budget. Worst: Asphalt Gable roofs have steep pitches, which mean the sides of the roof are great for accelerating oncoming wind. The wind can then pose a damage risk if you use asphalt shingles, which are one of the lightest weight roofing materials around. You could end up with broken, ripped, or removed shingles. If you have a single gable roof and a lot of windbreaks around your home, and need to stick to a strict budget, you might be able to use asphalt shingles with a smaller risk of damage. But cross gable roofs or single gable roofs without windbreaks are much harder to protect and you should really only use asphalt if your current roof is shot and asphalt is the only material you can afford at this time. Click here for more on residential roofing or do an...

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How To Repair Dents In A Metal Door

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Repair Dents In A Metal Door

Metal doors are a great way to improve the security of your home. Compared to their wooden brethren, however, they offer one significant drawback: unsightly dents. Luckily, repairing dents in a metal door isn’t as difficult as many people think. If you have a metal door in need of some TLC, read on. This article will teach you how to get it looking good as new once more.   Prep Work The general idea of this repair is that the dent is going to be filled in using a special patching compound. Yet unless you properly prepare the surface, you may find your patch failing down the line. Therefore, always start the patching process by giving the dents in question a good cleaning with soapy water.  Once dried, roughen the surface of the paint using a piece of medium grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand the inside of the dent very carefully, as this is where a strong bond will be most critical. Wipe away any paint flakes left behind before proceeding.  Filling The Dent You are going to be filling the dent in your door using a patch compound specifically designed for metal. Such compounds should be readily available at your local home improvement store. However, if you’re having trouble tracking it down, or simply want the most heavy-duty option available, you can also use a two-part body filler designed for automobile repairs. Regardless of the particular patching compound you select, the only tool you are going to need is a good clean putty knife. Use this to press the compound firmly into the dent. Then, holding the putty knife at a close angle to the door, use the edge to smooth the edges of the patch. If you’ve ever patched drywall before, this part of the process should be a snap. Yet those who lack this experience needn’t be intimidated. Don’t be scared to continue reshaping and smoothing the putty until you have achieved the desired results. Finishing Touches Wait several hours until the patch compound has completely dried. Now use a piece of fine grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the patching compound. This can be trickier than you might imagine. To make the job infinitely more easy, try wrapping your sandpaper around a flat wooden block. This will help you achieve an even pressure when sanding. Now all that’s left is to apply a coat of primer to the patch and repaint the door.  For further assistance or replacement, contact a local outlet, such as Callahan Door and...

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The Advantages Of Cove Heating Over Baseboard Heaters

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Advantages Of Cove Heating Over Baseboard Heaters

If you want to use electric heat in your home, most people go with baseboard heaters. This has more to do with tradition than with designer superiority. If you are willing to stray from the norm, you can get better performance, comfort, and safety from cove heating.  Safety Baseboard heaters get their name from the fact they they are installed along the base of the walls in your home, where your baseboards typically go. They use a heating element to warm air that flows through them. As hot air rises from the furnace, it will displace cold air in your room, which creates a current as cold air rushes toward the heater to replace the hot air rising from it. The problem with this system is that the heating element can be damaged and/or obstructed by placing furniture right up against it. Furthermore, small children and pets are at risk of bumping into heaters and getting burned. Cove heaters, which get their name from the fact that they are installed along the top of your walls where cove trim usually goes, present none of the risk associated with their baseboard counterparts.  Comfort Unlike baseboard heaters, which use an element to heat air, cove heaters use a panel coated with vitreous enamel to radiate heat around a room. You might think that placing your heaters at the top of a wall will prevent them from properly heating your home. This is not true. Heat can be directed because hot air, not heat, rises. Thus, from its position high on a wall, a cove heater can direct heat through your home in much the same way that the heat from the sun can warm your home. Thus, sitting beneath a cove heater will give you the same feeling of warmth that you get from sitting in a sunlit window.  Performance The radiant heat provided by cove heaters is more efficient than the direct heat provided by a baseboard heater. The reason for this is that they are more effective in distributing heat, and as they warm objects in your home, these objects will act as heat reserves to continue heating a room even after the heater turns off. Thus, if your only interest is saving money, cove heaters are still a better choice.  Electricity is cheaper than natural gas, so it makes sense to use electric heaters in your home as you try to keep your heating costs down. To get the most efficient, safe, and comfortable heat for your home, you should choose cove heaters instead of baseboard models. For more information about your heating options, contact a company like Erickson Plumbing &...

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How To Replace AC Refrigerant Line Insulation

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Replace AC Refrigerant Line Insulation

The AC condenser coils located outside your home are responsible for cooling the refrigerant running through them so that it is ready to cycle back to your evaporator coils and provide cooling to your home. In between your condenser coils and your evaporator coils, you will have two refrigerant lines—one to carry the refrigerant to the evaporator unit, and one to carry it back to your condenser. If these coils are not properly insulated, they can reduce your system efficiency and drive up your cooling costs. Thus, an important part of AC maintenance is inspecting the insulation on these lines and replacing it as needed.  What Damaged Insulation Looks Like The insulation on your coolant lines should look like a foam tube. An intact tube will be smooth in appearance and free of cracks. On the other hand, as the insulation ages, it will get brittle and prone to cracking. Insects may also see the need to carve off pieces of foam to use in their various building projects. Thus, damaged insulation will be pitted and cracked.  How to Replace Insulation If your insulation is damaged, it will vaporize and extract heat from the outside air before it has a chance to reach your evaporator coils and cool the air in your home. Thus, you need to replace any damaged insulation in order to optimize the function of your unit. Use these steps to make the repair: ​1. Use a utility knife to cut a slit in the insulation. Be careful to not puncture the line itself as any leak in the line must be repaired by a properly trained HVAC technician. 2. Carefully peel back the insulation, trying to keep it in one piece. You may need to use a scraper to remove any chunks of insulation that stick to the refrigerant lines.  3. Buy a tube of replacement insulation. 4. Your tube should have a slit on one side. Slip your coolant line through this slit until the tube covers the full length of the line.  5. Remove the protective film which protects the adhesive found on one side of the slit.  6. Press the two sides of the slit together to form a seal.  7. You may choose to wrap your tube of foam insulation with reflective tape to provide further insulation as well as to protect the foam itself from damage.  ​As you can see, replacing foam insulation is not difficult, but it is necessary. If you are looking to save a little bit of money, replace your insulation on your own so you don’t have to call a repair expert. On the other hand, if you doubt your ability to do a quality job, call a technician like those found at Bob Bergen Heating & Air Conditioning to make sure your...

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