General Contractors, Roofing Contractors and Handyman: Tips on Hiring Help

Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for Your Kitchen Filters

Rangehood filters are a critical part of the kitchen’s exhaust system as they draw away odors from the cook tops and keeps them looking fresh. However, poorly maintained and dirty filters can be unsightly in your kitchen. Also, they can create fire hazards due to the flammable grease that usually builds upon them over time. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance of your filters can make your kitchen a clean and safe cooking area. Here you will learn some basics about how kitchen filters work and ways in which you can keep them clean, healthy, and safe. How kitchen filters work As aforementioned, the filters are part of the kitchen’s exhaust system. The exhaust system gets rid of vapor, steam, grease, and food particulates from the cooktops by drawing them away through the filters and into the large exhaust system where they are released into the atmosphere. As these items are dispelled from your kitchen, the grease sticks onto the filters and builds up over time. If the filters are not cleaned, they begin to diminish in value, appearance, and functionality. To avoid this, regular cleaning and maintenance are critical. Cleaning tips for kitchen filters There are two options when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your kitchen filters. These are DIY and professional cleaning. Some types of filters can be cleaned in the dishwasher just you do the dishes; however, some cannot. If you have the type that’s dishwasher cleanable, the cleaning process should be easy and fast. However, for the ones that aren’t, or if you prefer to hand wash them, you will need the following items. Hot water in a large bucket where you can immerse the filters Dishwashing liquid Baking soda Scrub brush Follow the following procedure to clean the filters. Ensure that you remove them when cool to avoid getting burnt. Pour some dishwashing liquid into the bucket of hot water, and add a cup of baking soda. Use a spoon or scrub brush to stir the liquid. Soak the filters for at least ten minutes or more to loosen the dirt. Scrub the filters using your brush and ensure you get rid of all the grease and particulates. Rinse the filters and air dry them. You can also use paper towels if you need to cook immediately. Follow these steps for DIY cleaning for your kitchen filters. Ensure you do it regularly, especially fi you […]

Continue Reading

A Few Simple Tips to Ensure Your Bricklaying is Done Right

Laying bricks is not as easy as you might think; it might look like you simply add some mortar to the brick and stack them in a row, and you easily have a new retainer wall outside. However, the job is much more involved than that. To ensure you manage your next bricklaying job properly, note a few simple but very important tips, and remember that if the job seems overwhelming, you might be better off calling a contractor to ensure it’s done right. The mortar The mortar is not actual cement; mortar is usually cement with sand added to it. If you don’t get premixed mortar, be sure you check the right ratio of how to mix it properly rather than assuming that you can use driveway concrete or another similar material. It’s also good to add what is called plasticizer to the mortar. This makes it adhere better to the brick and also keeps it on the trowel more easily so you have less mess. Note too that if mortar dries up as you work, you want to throw it away and start a new batch. Adding water only makes mortar too runny to adhere properly to the brick. You also don’t want to start with mortar that is too wet; when you add bricks to the stack, you’ll need to push them down and into the mortar so it adheres, and if the mortar is too thin and runny, it will simply drip out of these layers of bricks and not be thick enough to hold them in place. The bricks Not all bricks will have holes in them but if they don’t, they should have an indentation on one side. This is called a frog, and you want to start your bottom layer of bricks with the frog side up; the smooth layer on the bottom will keep the bricks level. Continue to stack bricks with this indentation or frog on the top side; this allows the mortar to sit between the bricks. You can then put your last layer of bricks with the frog side down, for an even look across the top of the bricks. You also want to use a carpenter’s level often when laying brickwork; be sure you check the evenness of your work after putting down just a few bricks rather than at the end of an entire layer. This will […]

Continue Reading

Common Questions About Applying Window Film

Applying window film to your home or office windows can have many benefits, one being that it can reduce the glare on monitors so that no one suffers from eyestrain after a long day on the computer. It can also work as an insulator so that your windows let out less hot or cold air during winter and summer. If you’re thinking of having this type of film applied to your windows, below are a few common questions and their answers, and this can help you determine the best window film for your home or office. 1. Can window film be washed? In most cases, you will need to wait a number of days for the film to cure or set before you can wash it, but then you can typically use any type of glass cleaner over the film. Abrasive materials may scratch at the window film, but if you clean the film just as you would glass, it will usually stay in good condition. Ask your salesperson about any recommendations they may have about the window film you choose in particular. 2. Does window film stop furniture from fading? If you’re considering film because you live in an area with lots of bright sunlight that is actually damaging your furniture, plants, and the like, note that film can be very helpful with this problem, but may not solve it entirely. This is because furniture, plants, and everything you have inside your home can be affected by humidity levels, the durability of the fabric of your furniture, the plants’ potential to thrive in your local area, and the like. You may need to install a dehumidifier in your home or have your furniture cleaned regularly to protect it in addition to adding film to your windows. 3. What if I want to insulate my windows but not darken them? Note that window film usually comes in a wide array of tints, and may also be perfectly clear. The thickness of the film and the material from which it’s made will determine how well it insulates your home, not just its tint or color. If you want to apply window film to your home in order to insulate it, add security, or for any other purpose, but don’t like the look of dark windows, ask your sales representative for their recommendations. You may find that you can get perfectly clear […]

Continue Reading

Smoke detectors for people with hearing loss

Fire safety equipment come in many different forms. One of the most important pieces of equipment for protecting your home against fires is the smoke detector. This piece of equipment can warn you and your family, long before you’re in any real danger, about a fire in your home. This small piece of equipment can also help save your home from destruction, as it can warn you in time for calling the fire department, before any substantial damage has been done. However, these devices are not as useful for people that for different reasons have trouble hearing. If you can’t trust that you’ll hear the fire alarm if that day comes, you should know about a few options for smoke detectors that can benefit even you. No hearing If you can’t hear anything at all, this is where you’ll need truly special solutions for you to benefit from a smoke detector. One solution is to get a smoke detector that gives away strong beams of light. However, as this might not be enough to, for example, wake you up in case a fire would start as you were asleep, you should also get a device installed under your pillow or mattress that vibrates as the smoke detector goes off. These devices are activated by the sound of a common fire alarm; therefore, all of the family members, including those who can hear, will benefit from the solution. Major loss of hearing If you can’t hear very much but are not completely deaf, the aforementioned solution might feel a bit too extreme for you. In that case, an accessory being put next to your bed that is also activated by a common smoke detector and that gives away a sound with an extra low tone of noise might be enough. The device makes a loud, low-pitched sound that is easier to hear than high-pitched noises. This can also be combined with a vibrating device under your pillow if you feel unsure about waking up by the noise alone. Small loss of hearing Lastly, for people that have their hearing intact, but that have discovered it has gotten worse as they’ve gotten older, a smoke detector with a low-pitched noise might be more effective than a common smoke detector. If you are still able to hear, then getting an accessory put next to your bed might feel unnecessary. There are smoke alarms […]

Continue Reading

3 Care & Maintenance Tips for Timber Windows & Timber Sliding Doors

When you first decided to have timber windows and sliding doors in your home, you may have been told there were some basic care steps to keep in mind. Most of these are common knowledge, such as keeping them clean of dirt and debris and checking for any leaks in the seals on the border of the windows. There are a few cleaning and maintenance tips you may not know that can actually help your timber windows and doors last longer. Here are a few of those tips. Routine Weather Sealing One of the steps that home owners overlook when it comes to the maintenance and care of their timber windows and sliding door frames is routine weather sealing. In fact, you may be under the misconception that the exterior is all that should be weather sealed. The truth is, you should have routine weather sealing applied to your timber frames according to the manufacturer suggestions. If you aren’t sure how often to weather seal your frames, or what type of weather seal to use, consider contacting a window contractor for this service. Wood Oil During Routine Cleaning Another care and maintenance tip that can help the life and beauty of your timber windows and sliding doors is to use wood oil during routine cleaning. You may be cleaning the window frames, but the cleaning may be deplenshing the natural oils of the wood. By using a wood oil that is designed for the type of timber you have, you can ensure the beauty and lustre of the wood as well as keeping the wood from drying out in extreme weather conditions. Use Antifungal Paint In some cases, the change in weather conditions can cause mould or mildew to form on the timber frames. One step you can take to prevent this, or reduce the chance of it happening to your timber frames, is to use an antifungal paint. This will help block the fungal properties that lead to mould or mildew and help maintain your timber frames during the year. This should be done at the time that you handle the routine weather sealing. These are just three of the many care and maintenance tips available for timber windows and timber sliding doors. If you need to know how to care for your specific timber products in your home, contact your local contractor that has timber wood experience. They […]

Continue Reading

Reasons to Fit a Whole-Home Air Filtration Unit in your Home

If you live in a place with significant air quality contamination, it may be wise to consider installing a whole-home air filtration unit rather than rely on multiple portable air purifiers. Whole-home air filters can be integrated with any air conditioning system, whether retrofit or new build and they are available in a range of types, sizes and prices. While these require a significant upfront investment, the benefits from whole-home filters extend far beyond anything you can get using portable filters. 1. Instant multi-room filtration HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are designed to push conditioned air into all rooms of the house simultaneously. For homes using portable air purifiers, this implies that every room of the house would need its own purifier to get rid of pollutants before room occupants breathe that air. A whole-home filtration system integrates with the HVAC system to draw out harmful particles and allergens before pushing air into your rooms. Unless you intend to stay in the same room with a single portable purifier, having the whole-home unit would be more efficient. 2. Quiet operation Most portable air purifiers are rather noisy, even those which are optimized to be more silent. Whole-home filtration units, however, being installed alongside your HVAC system, create no more noise than you regularly have when turning on your air conditioning unit or heater. 3. Cleaner air Most HVAC systems work by circulating air between different rooms of the house multiple times. When you have a whole-home air filtering unit installed, this air will be passed through the filter every single time before recirculation. In turn, you and your loved ones will breathe in cleaner air. 4. More efficient HVAC systems Particles in the air circulating through your HVAC system not only diminish the quality of air fed into your house, they can damage your air conditioning system. Loose particles, dirt and dust can easily clog ducts or get into the compressor, reducing the level of efficiency of your HVAC system. In time, your air conditioner’s components will have to work harder to maintain the same internal environment, which uses up more energy and causes parts to run down faster. You will see the results of this in much higher heating and cooling bills, as well as more frequent breakdowns and a shortened lifespan for your equipment. Using a whole-home filtration system will ensure that the air circulating in […]

Continue Reading

The Pros And Cons Of Spiral Staircases

If you’re remodelling your home or building an extension, one thing you’ll need to think about is the type of staircase you’d like.  Spiral staircases are a very popular feature in modern home design, and you might like to consider the pros and cons of opting for one.  Read on to find out more. Advantages of spiral staircases Space maximisation A big advantage of spiral staircases is that they consume much less space than traditional straight ones.  Some people are fearful that a spiral staircase will be steeper or narrower than a straight one, making it more difficult to climb.  This is not the case as the same building regulations regarding rise must be observed in both styles, and that steep and narrow feeling is just an optical illusion. Space-saving spiral staircases can be sited in places where a straight staircase would simply not be an option, for example in corners.  This makes a spiral staircase a great idea for a cellar or loft conversion where space is at a premium. Versatility A good contractor will be able to customise a spiral staircase to suit your home.  The staircase can wind clockwise or anti-clockwise, have either closed or open treads, and be made of a number of different materials.  Traditional wooden spiral staircases are timeless and classic, whereas metal, coloured or even glass options can add an interesting design twist to a more contemporary home design. As well as giving an interior design flourish, a spiral staircase can add elegance as well as practicality to the outside of your home.  For example, a steel, aluminium or iron spiral staircase can be used to connect your ground-level patio decking to a balcony, without obstructing your view or cutting out the light.  Metal staircases are usually low maintenance as they are specially treated to resist temperature variations and water.  Safety Spiral staircases are actually safer than straight ones.  If you trip on a straight staircase, you are likely to fall right to the bottom as there is nothing to break your fall.  However, a slip on a spiral staircase will probably see you fall against the balustrade or be caught at the first curve making it much less likely that you’ll hurt yourself. Disadvantages of spiral staircases There are a few reasons why a spiral staircase might not be suitable for your home.  Their design can make it rather awkward for carrying […]

Continue Reading

Cooling Tower Maintenance Tips To Help Save Energy

Over a period of time, a cooling tower that has not been properly maintained will be unable to operate at its optimum performance level. To be more specific, the temperature of the water that leaves such a cooling tower will slowly increase, leading to a less efficient tower and increased energy costs for the company. It is vital that a proper maintenance schedule is developed and adhered to in order to get the most energy effective performances from the tower. This article examines some tips to help keep the tower operating as efficiently as possible. Preliminary Checks Before any hands-on maintenance is carried out, inspect the general condition of the tower. As you do so, listen out for any abnormal operating noises. Identifying an issue before it becomes a major problem will save time and money. Before attempting the following tips, ensure that proper safety procedures are followed, such as disconnecting motor switches and adhering to lock out procedures. Inspections There are several areas that can be checked to make sure they are operating normally. Begin with the strainers and check to make sure they are clear of debris. The water distribution system should be checked next. Look at the coils and check for any scale build-up. If the water is not being distributed correctly over the coils, scale will build up. If this is the case, inspect the water nozzles for clogs or cracks. Move on to the water supply and check that the water is at the correct pre-determined level. The correct water level here will reduce air entrainment and conserve water. Inspect the quality and quantity of oil and shaft alignment of the gears and refill or adjust if necessary. Hands-On Maintenance The bleed rate can be adjusted to ensure the build-up of solid matter in recirculating water is avoided. Adjust it according to the quality of the local water supply and the regulations regarding water evaporation rates. Any dirt or debris that has accumulated in the cold water basin can be carried through the sump of the tower. Flush the cold water basin to prevent this. Move on to the drive belt and check and adjust if there are any tension problems. The correct tension ensures the drive belt system works as it should. Finally, shaft bearings should be lubricated around every three months to ensure optimum performance. Automatic bearing greasers can also be installed, cutting […]

Continue Reading

5 Minutes to Savings on Heating

When it comes to saving money on your heating bill, you’ve likely reviewed countless tips on installing window film and replacing your weather stripping, and even buying a new programmable thermostat. However, there are some very basic things you can do right now to save yourself on your heating costs. Each one takes far less than 5 minutes! Ceiling Fans Many people shut off their ceiling fans at the beginning of each winter, with the thought that they are only made to cool the room down. However, look closely at your ceiling fan’s base. You’ll find that it has two settings: one which will pull air up, and one that will push air down. You want to set your blades to pull air up at a slow rate, forcing the warmer air near the ceiling to mix with the cooler air that has settled below. Use the Sunlight Pay attention to when you open and close your drapes. Thick drapes over your windows will keep heat from escaping in the evenings, but may prevent warming sunshine from coming into your home and saving you money. Make sure to open your curtains that face the sun as soon as it rises, and you’ll be taking advantage of the most basic form of solar power out there. Replace Your Filter If you’re a renter or new to home ownership, chances are you’ve never taken a look at what is trapped in your furnace filter. These should be changed at least once a year, and after any construction projects take place in your home, to maximise the efficiency of your furnace. Make sure to keep a few filters on hand so that you’re not traipsing off to the hardware store every first snowfall. Close the Chimney Though most people love cuddling up next to the fireplace in the evenings to warm their toes and relax, there are many who put out the fire before bed and leave the flue open. This an invitation to cold wind to come right in and make your house a home. Turn Down Your Water Heater The average household expends quite a bit of energy heating huge tanks of water all day long for intermittent usage. You don’t have to invest tons of money in a tankless water heater to save some money, however. Simply turn the heat down a few degrees. You’ll have plenty of water for […]

Continue Reading

The Dangers of DIY Gas Ducted Heating Installation

The rising cost of electricity has prompted many people to switch to gas-powered heating systems. Some of these people opt to install the new system without the help of a certified professional. This article discusses some of the risks you are likely to face if you choose to install the gas ducted heating system by yourself. Higher Purchase Cost A layperson doing a DIY gas-ducted heating installation may not have the knowledge to determine the correct size of the furnace needed to heat his or her home. As a result, they are likely to try and “play it safe” by buying the largest unit they can find. That oversized furnace will cost you much more than is necessary for the size of your home. This means you will have wasted money yet that money could have been saved for something else like doing a kitchen renovation. Higher Operating Costs Inadvertently getting a larger or smaller heating unit than you need may result in higher operating costs. For instance, a bigger unit will burn more gas than is needed to heat the home. This will force the system to have lower duty cycles (shorter durations when the system is off) and that frequent on/off cycle will result in more wear on parts like the controller and the thermostat. You will incur higher costs of repairing or replacing worn parts. Inadequate Insulation Most DIYers are not always capable of picking the right insulation products for gas ducted heating systems. As a result, the system they install will have serious leaks that will make it hard for the family members to get the full benefits of the heating system. Higher Noise Levels Gas ducted heating systems emit some noise as they work. This is because each system has a heat exchanger that has a fan to push air through the furnace and the ducts. A wrongly-sized furnace will require a large fan and that will set you up for high noise levels as your oversized system is working. Installing a gas ducted heating system is a big investment that should not be ruined by the limited skills of a DIY installation attempt. Get a professional to take charge of the entire process from designing the right system to installing it correctly so that you enjoy the benefits of your heating system. For a second opinion, you can always contact companies like Climatrol before […]

Continue Reading