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2 Important DIY Condenser-Cleaning Jobs

Posted by on Oct 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Important DIY Condenser-Cleaning Jobs

If you run your air conditioner on a daily basis during the summer, it is going to need some extra maintenance. Most importantly, you need to ensure that the condenser unit is properly serviced. Of course, you will need to hire an HVAC professional to service the inside of your unit, but there are a few things you can do to the outside of your unit that could greatly affect its productivity. This article explains two important condenser-cleaning jobs. The Electric Box On the backside of your condenser unit is a small electric box. This box is easy to identify because it has wires that come out of it and enter the wall of your building. This is obviously the main power supply to the condenser. However, inside this panel there are also some other vital components. It is not necessarily important for you to know what these components are, but you should keep them clean at all costs. First of all, you want to shut down the power to your condenser unit. Since condensers don’t have a typical on/off switch, you will need to find the designated breaker switch. When you do flip the switch, it will be safe for you to work on your condenser. The electric box has a removable access panel. Usually, you just need to loosen a couple of screws to remove this panel. Once you have access to the box, just make sure there is no dust or cobwebs inside it. Be careful that you don’t knock any of the wires loose. When you reattach the access panel, make sure you tighten the screws all the way to prevent insects and spiders from getting inside. The Condenser Exterior Next, you should clean the outside of the condenser unit. You will notice that within the protective metal cage are sheets of aluminum. These aluminum sheets are attached to the condenser coils inside the unit. This is a vital part of the condensing and heat-transfer process of a central air-conditioning system. If this aluminum is dirty or rusty, this can affect the heat transfer. Basically, you want to use some basic household clean liquids to help break down the dirt. Then, spray down the aluminum with your hose. Feel free to turn up the pressure, but be careful to not put it too high. The aluminum can actually bend if you spray it too hard, so definitely don’t use a pressure washer. These two simple cleaning jobs can have a drastic effect on the productivity of your AC system. Luckily, these jobs are easy and basically free to perform. Don’t put them aside, or you could end up with hefty AC repair bills. Talk to a company such as Bob Bergen Heating & Air Conditioning for more...

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Everything In Its Place — 6 Keys To Location In Your Kitchen Remodel Layout

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Everything In Its Place — 6 Keys To Location In Your Kitchen Remodel Layout

Planning a kitchen remodel gives homeowners a unique opportunity to correct things in the layout that make kitchen activities harder. But, if you’ve never designed a kitchen, how can you know how to make it work the best? Here’s a handy guide to 6 keys to putting everything in the right location. Know the Triangle. Kitchen design generally starts with what’s known as the “work triangle”—the sink, stove/range, and refrigerator. These three vital cooking elements should be the most carefully thought-out part of your early designs. Place them in a sort of triangle shape where each is a point. Avoid obstructing this triangle, such as by placing islands or counters inside it. Make the triangle compact so you aren’t running around the kitchen while cooking. Measure Swing Doors. When deciding where to place everything, make sure you measure out space for opening doors without banging or obstructing traffic. This includes all cabinets, the refrigerator, the dishwasher, entry and exit doors, the pantry, island drawers, and slide-out shelving.  Divert Traffic. As much as possible, plan for foot traffic to lead away from the main cooking areas. Position doorways so that their natural paths don’t cross the work triangle or lead down the main cooking aisle. If you design a galley kitchen, for example, make the aisle wide enough that through traffic passes easily behind the cook. Get rid of unnecessary doors to cut down on pass-through traffic. And consider placing snacks or coffee stations on the outside of the main work areas. Mind the Garbage. Garbage and recycling are often afterthoughts in kitchen design, which leads to poor placement. Avoid placing the garbage under the sink, as this will make it a bit of a dance to try to use it while using the sink. Work with your contractor to create a special, hidden location near the work triangle to house both the trash and the recycling. Keep Food Together. When designing your pantry, try to keep it close to the other food storage location in your kitchen—the refrigerator. Pairing these items will help you be more efficient from the moment you come home from the market to the moment you finish preparing a meal with those ingredients. Keep the Fridge Cool. Speaking of the refrigerator, keep in mind that this appliance wants to be cold. Placing it next to the heater, vents, windows, or the oven can waste energy from overworking either item… or both.  If you are unsure about the placement of any kitchen element, be certain to talk with your home remodel contractor about any questions or concerns. By knowing where to put things in your kitchen design, you can turn an ordinary kitchen into the work space of your...

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Reasons To Choose Stucco For Your Commercial Siding

Posted by on Jul 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Reasons To Choose Stucco For Your Commercial Siding

Stucco siding is usually a mixture of sand, cement, water and other aggregate materials for color and structure. If you’ve been thinking about giving your commercial building a more rustic appearance, stucco siding may be a great option. Here are a few things that you should know about stucco siding before you make a decision. The return is worth the investment. If you have the room in your renovation budget to spend a little more up front in exchange for a longer lifespan and more reliability, stucco siding is a great choice. When properly installed and cared for, you may find that your building’s stucco siding will last nearly a century. It’s a durable mixture. From the concrete to the gypsum and the synthetic fibers found in stucco, all of the components are designed for durability. Stucco is resistant to fire, impact damage and even color wear. The surface can be sealed so that it doesn’t absorb moisture, allowing water to flow right off the siding surface. This is ideal if your business is in a particularly wet climate, like tropical areas or the Pacific Northwest. Stucco is breathable. That means that any moisture that does seep behind the stucco is going to be able to dry out. This reduces the risk of any mold or mildew growing behind the siding and damaging the structure of the building. The material is energy efficient. Since stucco is made from multiple layers of things like cement and sand, you’ll get solid layers of insulating barrier material. This can help you to keep the inside of the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. When overhead costs can fluctuate, anything that eases the strain can be worthwhile. It can save you on insurance. Durable siding materials like stucco protect your building from many hazards. Insurance companies recognize the reduced risk of damage from things like fire, hurricanes, weathering and other concerns. In response, you might find that you get a lower rate on your commercial property insurance just by investing in stucco for the siding. With this information, you can see why many people opt for stucco siding for their commercial buildings. Understanding these benefits can help you see why it might work well for your building, too. Talk with a local contractor about commercial siding in your area to see what your options are for stucco mixtures. He or she can help you find the best stucco composition to fit your building and even help you prepare and install...

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Use These Two Tips To Add Some Charm To Your Landscaping

Posted by on Jul 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Use These Two Tips To Add Some Charm To Your Landscaping

A well landscaped yard has manicured bushes, mowed lawn, colorful flowers, trees, and shrubs. If these things are all maintained, they will make your home look beautiful. You can go beyond these things to make your yard look even better. Below are two ways you can add some charm to your landscaping. Use Decorative Rocks Decorative rocks can be used in your landscaping in many different ways. You could lay the rocks over the mulch in your flower garden to add a decorative element to your garden. If you do not use mulch, you can use only the rocks as mulch. Use larger rocks as a stepping stone path going to a door or another area of your yard. Surround the stepping stones with smaller pebbles with a color that complements the color of the stepping stones. These are just some of the ways you can use decorative rocks in your landscaping. If you have different sized decorative rocks, the ideas are endless. Use Water Fountains Water fountains are relaxing as you sit back and listen to the sound of running water. No matter if you choose a large or a small water fountain, it will add charm to your landscaping. When you start shopping for water fountains you will find different types such as: Spouting A spouting fountain works well when placed in a pond or even a swimming pool, as well as any area of your landscaping. With this type of water fountain, water sprays up into the air through a pipe. You can find these water fountains that look like a statue. For example, you may have a frog and the water will spout out of its mouth. Wall If you have a small yard, a wall fountain would work well for you as it does not take up very much space when compared to other types of water fountains. There are freestanding wall fountains that feature a flat back with a basin attached to it. You can place the fountain flush against a wall or a fence. There are also self-contained wall fountains that you hang directly on the wall. Cascading With a cascading water fountain, a decorative vessel holds the water. Tubing or hoses spray the water up into the air. The water is then pumped at the top of the tubing or hoses and then the water cascades down tiers of rocks or cups. If you do not want to buy a cascading water fountain, you can make one yourself.   If you need help with this or want to learn of other ways you can add charm to your landscaping, contact a landscape contractor to help you. Contact a business, such as A & A Materials, for more...

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Window Care Tips For Oceanfront Business Owners

Posted by on Jul 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Window Care Tips For Oceanfront Business Owners

The oceanfront is a great place to invest in commercial property, but it also comes with some unique challenges. One of the things that many new business owners overlook when buying property on the ocean is the threat of salt and water spots on their windows. Here’s a look at what you need to know about taking care of your new building’s windows so you can enjoy that ocean view and ensure that customers can see inside as they stroll along the sidewalk. Tips For Removing Salt Residue One of the biggest problems for buildings along the ocean is salt accumulation on the glass. Salt can leave an unsightly white haze on the glass, which can make it hard for people to see inside and makes your business look poorly maintained. Luckily, for one or two-story buildings, you can do some of the upkeep yourself. If the salt buildup is significant, start with a brush that’s made from soft plastic bristles. Don’t push hard on the glass, though. If you push the bristles against the glass too hard, you’ll scratch it. For salt accumulation that’s been there for a while, you might find that you need to treat the windows with a lime removal spray. Then, create an equal-part mixture of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Use that mixture to clean the outside window surfaces. Vinegar is good at breaking down mineral content, so it will dissolve a lot of the salt residue and mineral deposits from the water. Wipe the glass with a lint-free cloth. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get the surface completely clear the first time, especially when there’s lots of residue. Keeping up with it regularly can prevent this from happening again. Reasons To Call A Commercial Window Cleaner If you’re dealing with a particularly aggressive accumulation of salt and other minerals on the glass, it’s often best to leave the cleanup to a window cleaning company. If you scrub the glass and damage it, there’s a good chance your commercial insurance won’t cover replacement, leaving you to foot the bill. On the other hand, if a commercial window cleaner happens to crack a window that’s been weakened by the mineral buildup, the insurance will typically pay for its replacement. In addition, you’re less likely to have problems like breakage when you leave the cleaning to a professional company. Consider having a local commercial window cleaning contractor come out on a regular schedule to keep your windows free of salt spray and looking their...

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Budget Bathroom Brush-Ups For Any Landlord

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Budget Bathroom Brush-Ups For Any Landlord

If your rental property is aging and needs some updating, completing a full remodel might be outside your maintenance budget. However, failing to update rooms like the bathroom or kitchen can cost you money when it comes to trying to attract new renters or increase the rent. The good news is that you can remodel a bathroom with less money than you might expect. Here are 5 great ways to freshen it up while saving money. Paint. One of the cheapest makeovers you can do to a bathroom is to give it a fresh coat of paint. If it’s a small room or lacks much natural sunlight, try using a light base color — ivory, cream, bright white or pastel — with just accents or trim of a bolder color. Use a high quality paint with a satin finish to maintain the best look without succumbing to moisture damage. Change Fixtures. Swapping out old, damaged or outdated fixtures throughout the bathroom can also give it a fresh look. Such hardware — including faucets, cabinet and drawer pulls, shower heads, towel racks and light fixtures — can usually be found in a home improvement store relatively inexpensively.  Refinish Instead of Replace. If the rental unit’s bathtub is old but solidly constructed, consider redoing it instead. Having a bathtub refinished, such as by Carefree Koatings, or professionally relined(if your budget is a little bigger) can save you a lot of money and still provide a tub that looks new. Refinishing involves sanding, repairing cracks or chips and then repainting the tub itself — a good choice for budget-minded landlords.  Upcycle. If you can’t afford all new pieces, try adding some vintage chic by shopping for one-of-a-kind pieces or used fixtures. You can often find antique hardware or a unique light fixture at local home goods recycling stores. You may even be able to locate a replacement tub or toilet that looks better than yours! Make a Focal Point. Draw attention away from how small or basic the bathroom is by adding an eye-catching focal point. This could include a fun hanging pendant light, bold stripes on an accent wall or a piece of eclectic wall art.  Whether you can accomplish just one of these suggestions or all 5, the end result will be an improvement that potential renters will appreciate. And because you can do most of these updates in as little as an afternoon’s worth of work, it’s an improvement you and your wallet will appreciate as...

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Do You Think An Intruder Entered Your Home When No One Was Home? What To Do

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do You Think An Intruder Entered Your Home When No One Was Home? What To Do

Have you found that things have gone missing in your home, and you’re almost sure that someone came in without your knowledge? Are you dealing with an intruder, even though there wasn’t a lot of physical evidence that someone broke in? If so, you want to do your best to make your house more secure, and to protect yourself from the person or people coming back. Here are a few of the things that you’ll want to consider doing right away. Lock Changes You don’t know if someone picked the locks or found another way into the house. Either way you should have concerns and get the locks changed, along with have a property security evaluation.  An emergency locksmith can come at any time of the day or night to install deadbolts on the existing doors that are still in good condition. If you think you need to replace the door, choose a door with a kick plate for protection. Security System A security system is a must, since the person who broke into your house had no problem getting into the entrances. You want to have the locksmith install a security system, to monitor all activity throughout the day and while you sleep, so you can see if someone is trying to get in your house when you aren’t there. You can choose how technical your system is, if you want something with wireless options or IP cameras, this helps you detect problems easier. Identity Theft Prevention You should put a freeze on your credit so no one can take out any debt or open accounts if they got your personal information while they were inside your home, and because you don’t know if they took your personal information. Call the credit bureaus and they will do this for you. Also, enroll in an identity theft protection program so you can monitor all of the activity with your social security number and the current accounts that you have. These are just a few of the things that you should do when you have the suspicion that someone was in your home without your knowledge. You may even want to go to the extreme to have a security company drive by your house randomly when you aren’t home, because there are companies that offer this type of service. If your gut tells you someone was there and things are out of place or missing, take these precautions to make your property safer right away. Contact a business, such as Security Locksmiths, for more...

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Two Tips For Caring For A Commercial Boiler

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two Tips For Caring For A Commercial Boiler

For those that are responsible for managing large apartment buildings, a boiler can be the most effective way of ensuring that the building is properly heated. Unfortunately, it can be common for individuals to make mistakes when it comes to caring for these complex devices. These errors can both compromise the performance of the boiler as well as put it at a higher risk of suffering extensive damage. Luckily, you can use these two tips to care for your building’s commercial strength boiler.  Monitor The Water Level In order to function, a boiler must have the correct amount of water in it. Unfortunately, it can be possible for leaks to form, which can cause the water pressure to drop. If this occurs, the system may be unable to produce enough heat from the building, and it can suffer extensive damage because these devices rely on the water to absorb the heat being applied to the system. Without enough water, the internal components, such as seals and reservoir tank linings, can weaken. To minimize the risk of the system suffering this type of damage, it is important to check the water level of the boiler at least once a week. If the water level is found to be too low, it will be critical to contact a boiler repair professional to determine the source of the leak as well as to safely add water to the unit.  Keep Any Air Vents And Flues Clear Boilers use vents and flues to help ensure that the system is receiving sufficient air flow for the pump and burner. Unfortunately, making the mistake of overlooking the need to keep the vents clear can result in the boiler experiencing extreme wear, which can lead to essential mechanical components failing. To prevent this from occurring, you should make sure to remove any dust or debris that is accumulating around the vents at least once a month. Additionally, the flues are responsible for allowing the exhaust of oil burning boilers to escape the structure, but they can also become clogged over the course of time due to residue and ash gathering on the interior. To keep the flue clean, you will need to have it professionally cleaned each year as these professionals will have the tools needed to clean the entire length of the flue.  Getting the most from a commercial strength boiler does not have to be a difficult or challenging task for an apartment manager to do. By making sure to check the water level as well as keeping the flue and vents clean, it will be possible to avoid some of the more common causes of...

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Add Space To Your Home Without Stress: Tips For Making Your Home Addition A Reality

Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Add Space To Your Home Without Stress: Tips For Making Your Home Addition A Reality

If you could use a bit more space around your home, it might be time for an addition. Deciding what to do and how to proceed may be challenging and, at times, the choices may seem overwhelming. Start planning your home addition with the following tips: Create a home addition wish-list. Start your project with a thorough wish-list. Outline everything that you need and hope your addition to feature. Some other suggestions when drafting your list include the following: Evaluate your needs. Determine what you need your new addition to provide and document this on your project wish-list. Take plenty of pictures. Take pictures of existing spaces that you hope to change. This can serve to help you narrow-in on your own vision for your addition. Draft your list. Create your list on your cell phone or keep a copy on-hand to use when shopping. This will allow you to make changes or add to it when inspiration strikes.   Gather ideas for your addition. Get inspired about your home addition by taking in as many ideas as you can find. Some ways to gather and organize your visions for the new space include these tips: Tour homes. If you notice an open-house in your neighborhood, take a look to see what others are doing with their home spaces. Look online. Check out the designs and lay-outs found online, typically offered by designers or contractors and even real estate sites. Create a scrapbook. Start documenting your ideas by keeping a scrapbook of pictures, descriptions, and fabric swatches. Talk to the experts. Sometimes simply talking with experts can inspire you and help point you toward the best ideas for your home’s addition. Furthermore, this can help you identify any potential issues and formulate your working budget. Some experts to consult with about your home addition are as follows: Contractors. Construction contractors are the best resource to address concerns about your addition. They can also provide you with estimates of initial costs for budgeting your addition. Retail home improvement salespeople. These experts are on the front-lines and are likely able to provide you with valuable information pertaining to your project that proves helpful. Designers. Even if an interior designer isn’t something you have budgeted for, you can take advantage of their expertise through publications, television shows, and photos. Look online for additional resources from your favorite designers to garner inspiration for your project. The library. Books and videos at your local library can be an invaluable resource to find materials, designs, and even contractors for your addition project. Plus, it is a free resource for residents! Don’t let plans for your new addition stress you out; use available resources to figure out a plan and budget for your project. Use these tips to help you fine-tune your home addition‘s design and to decide how to best use your new...

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What Is Sealcoating? And Other Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Is Sealcoating? And Other Frequently Asked Questions

If you have an asphalt driveway, you may have heard the term “sealcoating” in the past. Knowing what sealcoating is and how sealcoating can help you maintain your driveway is an important part of caring for your asphalt pavement. What is sealcoating? Sealcoating is a liquid mixture that closes the pores of your asphalt driveway. This prevents the asphalt from absorbing water, oil and other liquids that rest on the surface of the driveway. What are the benefits of sealcoating your driveway? Sealcoating prevents your driveway from absorbing moisture, like rain and snow. Moisture that is absorbed into the driveway can destabilize the surface that the asphalt rests on, which can cause your asphalt to become cracked or develop potholes. In this way, sealcoating helps maintain the surface of your driveway. Good quality sealcoating may also prevent your driveway from becoming stained with oil from your vehicle. If your driveway is already cracked or has a pothole, will sealcoating repair the problem? Sealcoating is not a crack filler or a patching agent. These problems must be addressed before the sealcoat is applied. How can you tell if your driveway needs to be sealcoated? Driveways that need sealcoating will be fully cured (which takes two years), and will absorb water very quickly. To find out if your driveway could use a sealcoat, spray down your driveway with water from a hose. On a properly sealcoated driveway, the water will bead up on the surface of the asphalt. If the water flattens out into a wet spot that is absorbed into the asphalt, your driveway needs to be sealcoated. Can you sealcoat your driveway as a DIY project? Sealcoating can be done DIY. You can purchase sealcoating at a hardware store or home improvement center. To apply the sealcoat, pour it onto the driveway and use a squeegee to spread the sealcoat around on the asphalt. Start in one corner and work your way across the surface of the driveway until the entire driveway has been covered. Wear old clothes that you don’t mind ruining, because this project is very messy. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions during the sealcoating process to ensure a successful application. If your driveway has many cracks and potholes, these issues will need to be addressed before sealcoating. This damage could be indicative of a moisture problem beneath your driveway. At the very least, your driveway will need to be repaired before it is sealcoated. If the damage is extensive enough, it may need to be resurfaced. Talk to an asphalt contractor to find out if your driveway needs repair or resurfacing. If you don’t feel comfortable doing your own sealcoating, contact a business such as Star...

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