Home Repairs That Can Save You Money

Maintenance is the key to keep your cars running smoothly, your appliances working, and your house looking beautiful.  There are a few maintenance tips for your home that can help you avoid costly repairs later.  Cleaning the gutters of your home and making  sure they are not loose or clogged can save you repairs  due to leaking water to the basement, or damage done to the roof. Making sure the water downspouts adapters are firmly attached, and are taking the water away from the foundation of your home, can save you from having water sitting around the foundation and eventually finding a way to the basement. Prevention is the key to saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


5 Home Repairs to Make Now to Avoid Problems Later

If you put off fixing a wobbly fence post or squeaky door hinge, it’s probably not going to end in a homeowners insurance claim. Other home repairs, if left unchecked, can quickly domino into major disasters. Water is a factor—if not the primary cause—in the majority of high-risk situations. Here’s how to identify priority home repairs and handle them at their source:

Runaway Rainwater

Telltale signs: Rain pouring over gutters and puddling along foundation walls.
Why you need to act: Water can deteriorate siding and foundation walls, eventually finding its way to interior spaces and damaging them.
What to do: Inspect the entire gutter system for clogs and corrosion; you can clear clogs yourself, but if your gutters are corroded, you’ll want to talk to a pro about having them replaced. Check that the soil around your home’s foundation slopes away from the house at least 1 inch per foot for 6 feet or more. Regrade the soil if the slope is insufficient.


Tips from the happy homeowner playbook: Don’t let your cash go down the drain or out the window.

Whether your live in a 19th-century farmhouse or 1990s colonial, chances are you’re leaving real money on the table each year in the form of excessive energy consumption. Simple behavioral changes, such as turning off power-hungry video game consoles, can add up to serious savings. The following energy-efficiency advice also includes high-hanging fruit, like upgrading your water heater and making the investment in rooftop solar.

Eliminate Drafts

Here’s an easy way to pinpoint air leaks in your home that make for drafty rooms in the winter and can drive up annual heating costs by $100 or more. First, turn on every exhaust fan in the house, including a whole-house fan and kitchen range hood, and hold an incense stick up to suspected leaks around windows, doors, and even electrical outlets. If the smoke blows sideways, you have a leak large enough to undermine your home’s comfort and efficiency. For around $30 worth of caulk, weatherstripping, and expandable foam sealant, you can plug the leaks for good.


How to Afford All Your 2017 Home Improvements

A leaky roof or a sagging gutter can be hard to ignore. The same goes for some old-school wood paneling in your den or that hideous palm tree wallpaper you put up in a (misguided) attempt to recreate your honeymoon. Unfortunately, most home improvements don’t exactly come cheap.

In fact, it may even feel like you’re basically saving up another down payment on your home to fix it up. There are some ways, however, to sock some dollars away and have your new sink and bathtub in the new year, too.

Here’s how to work some much-needed home improvements into your 2017 budget.

1. Save

Sure, you may feel inclined to rush into renovations — and when it comes to certain home repairs, things must be readily done. But it still behooves you to save where you can before crossing things off the to-do list. One trick?

“[Set] an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account to take place every two weeks on your payday so that the money leaves your account before you ever have a chance to spend it,” Brian Davis, director of education for real estate blog SparkRental, said.


 

Is Your Sump Pump Working?

This winter in Northeast Ohio hasn’t been bad.  Temperatures are nothing compared to what they used to be a few years back, and snow accumulation has been minimal — my daughter is still waiting for enough snow to build our annual igloo — and unless February brings too much snow to make up for January’s, the climate in Northeast Ohio is not too shabby.

Spring will come sooner than you think.  The rains will undoubtedly come too, and with the rains come flooded basements in many homes around here.  We are humans, and busy humans to boot.  We don’t check many things around the home, unless we have an emergency or pay someone to do it for us.  For example: When was the last time you checked the sump pump to make sure it works? Do you know if you have one?  A sump pump can be an incredible help if you have a flooded basement, and making sure is in working condition can be very beneficial for your whole family.

If you have a sump pump and are wondering what to do, these are some of the basic things you need to check to make sure it’s working properly.

  1. The electrical system of the sump pump can suffer from damages over time.  Power surges during storms can damage it and leave you with a sump pump that no longer works.
  2. If you are testing the sump pump, make sure you go outside to make sure that is discharging the water.
  3. Replace the battery every couple years.
  4. Make sure the motor of your sump pump is not making strange noises when running it.  If it is, follow the manufactures’s instruction to fix the problem, or call a knowledgeable company to fix it for you.
  5. Make sure the drain lines are clean, and will not block the water exits.
  6. Maintenance is key for your sump pump.  The manufacture’s instruction booklet can give you clear instructions on how to properly maintaining your sump pump, and keep it working for years.

If you have already one installed, checking it before the rains arrive can be a very helpful aid when you most need it. Look into the manufacture’s booklet to know what steps to take before you test it, or call a knowledgeable person or company to do it for you.

Looking at any Home Depot, or Lowes store, you will find that there are hundreds of sump pumps to choose from.  Make sure that if you are going to replace the one you have, you need to make sure it is the right one for your home.  A too little or too big sump pump for your home cannot be good and even shorten its life. Talk to a professional if you are unsure what to buy.


Flood Sensors and Other Solutions For Your Basement

When we offer articles in this magazine about cost effective solutions to waterproof your basement, and you think you can do the job by yourself, we want you to think carefully first about the problems that you are facing.  If your basement’s problem is only humidity, a humidifier will do wonders to the place.  If on the other hand you have water sitting on the basement floor or there is seeping as well, the problem is no longer as easy to fix.  A basement waterproofing company with a long history in your community can be the only solution you have.  Contact us, we will offer you a  hassle free consultation for your basement needs.


Flood sensors for your basement

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: D-Link’s Water Sensor is smartly designed and features all the important perks to make it an effective flood detector.

The bad: D-Link’s only real weakness is that it relies on being plugged in, which means power outages are its Achilles’ heel.

The cost: $57 to $90

The bottom line: The D-Link Water Sensor is one of the best flood sensors on the market. If you’re considering buying such a device, this should be the first option on your list — especially if you don’t already use a smart-home hub.

Fibaro Flood Sensor

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: The Fibaro Flood Sensor combines clever design with an open interface, allowing users to creatively pair it with sirens, complementary sensors and more.

The bad: The tilt sensor can be hit-or-miss, and the price is definitely steep, especially if you want to monitor multiple areas at risk of water damage.

The cost: $60

The bottom line: The Fibaro won’t be for everyone, but its versatility and reliable design make it one of the best water sensors for homes at risk of flooding.


Wet basement? Try these cost-effective solutions before calling a contractor.

Wet basement? Thinking about calling a basement waterproofing contractor? Stop.

Many contractors will propose the installation of expensive interior drainage systems — even if you don’t need one — when most moisture problems can be solved through less expensive means. You’re more likely to get good results and save a lot of money by exploring other solutions and hiring a basement waterproofing contractor only if absolutely needed. If your home was built within the past few years, check the builder’s warranty for clauses on seepage.

Most basements get wet when rainwater runs toward the walls of houses from roofs, yards and driveways. So your first step is to force it to run away from your home.

Start by cleaning your gutters, repairing holes, and making sure they slope toward downspouts and have not come loose from the house, allowing water to fall directly from the roof to the ground. Test downspouts to make sure they spill water at least four feet away from the house.


What To Do If You Have Water In Your Basement

There is an approximate rain precipitation in the Akron area of about 36.06 inch every year. That’s nothing compared to the precipitation that Aberdeen Reservoir, Washington gets of 130.6 inches of rain every year.  But, the 36 inches of rain a year that we get can still play havoc with your home if your basement has issues.  There are many homes in the Northeast Ohio area that are older homes, and their basements need work.  But, if you have a flooded basement after a heavy rain, do you know what to do first? Below there are three articles about basement flooding and what to do right away.  If you need help finding a solution to your basement problems, contact us, we will be happy to talk to you.


Niles homeowners say flooded basements a recurring problem

NILES, Ohio –

Flooding on Thursday caused some problems for Niles homeowners, and they say this isn’t the first time.

21 News arrived at a home on Brown Street after the rain had passed but, water was still gushing out from the home’s basement pump.

The owner Joan Grusha said the pump became necessary after she spent $14,000 waterproofing the basement but, still experienced flooding.

“Every time is rains real hard we get it,” said Grusha who has lived at the home for 48 years. “I have had water in my basement, I don’t know how many times I’ve had to go down there and clean it up even after I had it waterproofed.”

Just around the corner on East First Street, Pamela Wolfe said her flooding problems are also on repeat.

“My furnace is out, my hot water tank is under water, my washer, my dryer, they’re all brand new because I had to replace them from the last time,” said Wolfe.

And although she said she followed advice to have her drain cleaned out, she fears that only paved the way for more overflow. Her main concern is that the flooding comes with more than just water.

“It’s sewage and water. Somehow they’re connected together, they said ‘Oh when these houses were built they probably hooked your sewer and your storm sewers together.’ There’s been things floating in my basement that weren’t from me,” said Wolfe.


Draining the water too fast could cause the collapse of the cellar walls, floors, and foundation of the house. The water must be drained slowly to equalize pressure on both sides of the wall.

Although the flood has receded, water still in the ground outside your house may be pushing hard against the outside of your basement walls. The water in your basement is pushing back. If you drain your basement faster than the water in the ground is draining, the outside pressure may be greater than the inside pressure and may cause the foundation or the floor to crack or collapse.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Iowa Emergency Management Division (IEMD) recommend the following procedures be followed when pumping a basement to avoid serious damage, collapse, or injury:

  • Begin pumping when floodwaters are no longer covering the ground outside.
  • Pump the water out one foot at a time. Mark the water level and wait overnight.

Water & wind could lead to leaky basement

The tiniest bit of ice can create the biggest problems. For the second morning in a row, the commute was slow because of slick roads. Now, incoming rain could lead to problems inside your house.

Columbus resident, Robert Giehl gave a tour of his basement while it was being waterproofed. A crew had to do repairs on the inside and outside after he discovered water had seeped into his walls and floor. He smelled mildew and knew there was a problem.

Scott Seneff of EverDry Waterproofing says water in the basement is more common in the winter than you might think. The ground is expanding and we are also seeing a triple threat this week of melting snow, power outages and rain.

Scott says you need to attack the water from the outside and inside.

“You should have a sump pump with a back up battery system attached to it, that you can get a few hours up to a day or two in case you lose power.”


 

Buying A New Home in 2017?

 

Handymen Services; Are they Right For You?

pioneer (10)Handymen services are a very inexpensive way to fix those small projects that you didn’t have time do, or do not have the skills or tools necessary to accomplished them.  For many people, having someone they know recommend a handyman is the best way for them to feel confident the job will be done, and the person in question trustworthy.  There are many companies out there that offer the services of a handyman, with license and insurance to back up any project they do. But, regardless of what choice you make, the recommended handyman or the company offering the services of a handyman, be choosy and do a bit of homework before any project you start.


Rosie on the House: Jobs a handyperson can do for you

Lots of times you have little jobs around the house that you don’t have the time to do. Or maybe you don’t have the skills or tools to do the job. So you think you want someone you might describe as a handyman or handywoman.

How do you find this handyperson? You can ask friends and neighbors, of course. You can ask your homeowners association if they have lists of people other neighbors have hired. You can look online.

Many times a contractor or remodeler you have used in the past has someone on staff that does these “handy” jobs. There are also licensed contractors who run handyman services of one kind or another. Of course, you want to find someone who has experience in the kind of job you want done.

There are some rules and regulations about what work a handyperson can do. Arizona law does allow unlicensed handymen or -women to do small home repairs or fixes if the value of labor plus materials does not exceed $1,000 and does not require a permit from your city or county. This handyman’s exemption means almost anyone can do small jobs in your home.

But the state does say that a contractor must have a license before he or she can do any electrical or plumbing jobs in your home. And you must always hire a licensed and insured contractor if your repair or renovation requires a building permit from the city or county.


Home Help: Keep your home safe without compromising style

TIP OF THE WEEK

Home accidents cause nearly 13 million injuries a year. Some simple updates to your home can help you avoid these accidents, as well as give your rooms a facelift.

The less clutter, the better: Sometimes the bulky knife block can be an eyesore or take up too much space on small countertops. If you are looking for new and interesting ways to store sharp knives, try installing magnet strips on the backsplash in the kitchen. This will not only keep your counter clutter free, but give your kitchen some flair.

Step it up: Have kids at home? Put a stepstool that slides into the toe kick beneath the sink so that your kids are able to roll it out like a drawer and step up to wash their hands. This is also great for parents who have young chefs in the house who like to help out in the kitchen.


Home Repairs That Can Save Your Budget

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Doing a little bit of maintenance around your home every year can surely prevent costly repairs that you are not expecting. A list of yearly chores for the fall is a good way to keep you organized, and keep your home healthy thought out the year. Here are 4 chores for you to do this year.

1.Tree branches that are too long around your home can be trim to a good size, and help you keep them from damaging your home during a good storm.

2. Cleaning the gutters, and making sure they are debris free, can help you keep the water flowing well.  Water sitting around the foundation of your home will eventually find a way to the basement, and   give you a new set of problems.

3. Inspecting the roof for loose shingles, or other problems can help prevent further damage to the roof.  Inspect the foundation of the home as well.

4.Change your smoke detector batteries, and carbon monoxide detectors as well if you have them.


Six Expensive Home Repairs You Can Avoid With A Little Maintenance.

The cost of owning a home goes well beyond the price you paid for the house itself. When something breaks, you have to fix it, and those repairs can be costly. You can’t foresee or avoid every home repair, but some regular maintenance can save you hundreds — maybe thousands — on some of these big ones.

Inspect Your Roof Every Six Months to Avoid a Costly Roof Replacement.

If you have a loose shingle or a leak in your roof, it will typically cost you several hundred bucks to fix the problem. That’s not exactly spare change, but if the problem goes unaddressed, the damage will cost a lot more in the long run.

When you neglect a leak, water can seep into the insulation and other parts of your attic, which can lead to mould growth and structural damage to your attic’s decking, beams and joints. At this point, you may have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to fix the problem. Duh, that’s what homeowner’s insurance is for, you might think. Bad news, though. Typically, homeowner’s insurance only covers damage that is sudden and not preventable. Most policies won’t cover any expenses you could have prevented with proper maintenance.


Quick Fix Home Repairs You Can (Really!) Do Yourself

Did you know…

There are some quick fix home repairs you can do yourself, at little to no cost?

Patching up those small holes in your wall from nails and screws can be a cinch…with a just a little toothpaste! Squeeze a bit into the hole, and simply use a putty knife or playing card to scrape off the excess!

Scuffed linoleum floors can also be rejuvenated with a little toothpaste just apply some to a dry towel and buff out those scratches. An old tennis ball fitted at the end of a broom handle can also do the job!

Finally, if you have any loose laminate tile that needs to be adjusted, try using an old hair dryer! Hold the dryer a couple of inches away from the tile and move it around until the laminate’s glue softens up. Then, simply reposition as needed! Just be careful not to hold the dryer too close for too long or you’ll burn out the motor.


Video: How a Sump Pump Helps Protect Your Home from Flood Damage

If you’ve ever been the victim of water in your home then you know how much of a hassle and how costly it can be to repair the damage. Having a sump pump in your house is the best defense against flooding. A plumber can install one for you or replace your broken one.

Brad Isley, L.E. Isley & Sons Inc.:  “Anybody that has a sump pump pit needs a sump pump. If you have a basement you have a sump pump pit and if you have a crawlspace you’ll have a sump pump pit so you’ll need a sump pump. Older homes sometimes do not have a sump pump pit and there are companies out there that will put those pits in and run the piping. There are a lot of different model, sizes, and horsepower on a sump pump. It’s based on your application. A traditional home uses a 1/3 horsepower sump pump. Some of your larger homes or large commercial buildings use 1/3 or 1 horsepower sump pump.


 

The Fun Part of Waterproofing the Basement – Decorating It

stock-photo-3164773-executive-home-bar-and-entertainment-roomYou finally got your basement waterproofed.  It’s dry, looks good and smells even better.  Now it can be used as an actual living, working, and storage space.   This is where the fun starts; it’s time to decorate.

Basements can be a decorating challenge because they’re usually used for a variety of different functions (i.e. workshop, crafts, kid’s play area, storage, media room, workout equipment, laundry, meditation).  Some of these uses are utilitarian and straightforward, while others are more esoteric and personal. 

Here are some decorating ideas to make your spaces functional and uniquely your own.

Use the walls

Too often walls are used only to hang pictures on or put furniture against; there are other uses for them.  Think about using your storage needs as a decorating opportunity.  Depending on the function of the room consider using bookcases, cubbies, lockers, storage units or shelving.  Add corresponding baskets or plastic totes and you have a functional as well as decorative feature. 

Exercise room – metal shelves for weights, workout DVDs, fitness balls/mats and clear plastic totes for smaller items.  Kid’s play room – shelving (sturdy and secured to the wall) painted in primary colors for books, games, baskets and colored totes for toys.  Media room – bookcases for DVDs, electronic equipment and baskets for remotes.

Consider the ceiling

People don’t consider the ceiling when they’re thinking of decorating.  But, the basement can be different – like the walls, the ceiling can be used for decoration and function.  If you have overhead space there are some creative ways to use it.

Kid’s play room – string a net from the ceiling between 2 corners and use it to store balls.  Workshop – save garage space by hang bikes or golf bags along the wall, out of the way, with ceiling hooks.  Storage room – that Christmas tree doesn’t have to take up valuable self or floor space; some overhead hanging units can hold up to 250 lbs. 

Remember the stairs

The space under the stairs is usually left to spiders and bugs.  There are many pre-made cubbies, shelves and bookcases that fit under standard basement steps or you can get built-in shelves or cabinetry. 

Getting to decorate after your basement has been waterproofed is exciting, and there are a lot of good ideas you can use.  Just keep in mind that simple and uncluttered never goes out of style.  Cluttered and disorganized will make even an Architectural Digest room look bad.


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 

Dry Basement Means Healthier Living

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Pollen, dust, grasses, and in some instances mold are some of the ever present allergens in our homes.  Healthier living in these cases is very difficult.  Children with allergies have a very difficult time living in these conditions, and can develop respiratory illnesses due to these air pollutants.   The United States Environmental Protection Agency – epa.gov — has many resources for businesses and individuals concerning clean air in businesses and homes. And you can follow the links below if you need more information about clean air in your home.


Dry out the foundation for a cleaner and healthier basement

Even if you only visit your basement infrequently, you can easily tell when you have issues with moisture. Damp spots might be spreading along the floor, or beads of water will be sweating out of the walls.

This moisture can be particularly concerning if the basement is closely connected to the rest of the home through ductwork or if you plan to finish the space. John Carmody and Brent Anderson, writing for the University of Minnesota Extension, says the water can lead to the formation of mold or mildew, which can be harmful to your health.

If you finish your basement without first taking steps to dry it out, the floor and wall coverings will eventually start to molder and rot. To avoid this problem and keep your basement from getting too damp, you’ll need to find out how moisture is getting into your home and work to keep it at bay.

Causes

Moisture in the basement might be the result of condensation or water leaking into your home. The water could be coming from rainfall, snowmelt, a rising water table, or an interior water leak. During the summer, moisture might stem from the condensation of humid air on cool surfaces in the basement.


Are Growing Molds in Your Flooded Basement Something You Need to Be Worried About?

All households with flooded basements share the same concern and that is on how to pump the water out. However, there are other problems that they need to be more anxious about and these are the growing molds that seem to inhabit on their basement’s walls. This is a common problem if basement waterproofing was not done. If the problem lingers, it will cause so much hassle and this does not only limit on the wall’s aesthetics. Molds will cause problems to your family’s health as well.

“The presence of humidity, regardless of the amount causes mold spores to attach to the wall’s surface and grow”, Philadephia’s Director of Environmental Protection Agency Christina Schulingkamo said. They are the ones dealing with Sandy’s aftereffects this October, totaling to billions of dollars damages on the East Coast.

Anyone who is allergic to molds will manifest symptoms when exposed to mold spores. The person may experience irritation of the nose, eyes, airways and skin. It will start with a mold growth on a damp corner which will ultimately release tiny spores that float on the air. Once this will be inhaled by someone who is allergic to it, the person will start rubbing one’s eyes and sneeze. It can even trigger asthma attack.


Ten Things You Should Know about Mold

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

 

Keeping Your Basement Dry This Summer

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Keeping your basement dry and free of mold is something that as a homeowner  are constantly battling. Humidifiers are a great way to get the moisture out of the air, and prevent the mustiness that comes along with too much humidity.  Keeping your basement dry after a storm is usually easy if the drainage in your home is good.  Making sure the water does not sit by the foundation of your home, and eventually finding a way to your basement, is something we can do every year with no cost. Keeping your basement shouldn’t be difficult, read the following articles below for more information about this topic.


So, You Want to… Waterproof Your Basement

Basement waterproofing can be a confusing (and expensive) process. But if you’re dealing with leaky foundation walls or water welling up from the floor, finding an effective means of managing these problems could save you a lot in the long run. Here’s a quick rundown of your options for keeping downstairs dry.

Unless your plan is to install a swimming pool in your basement, you probably cringe at the idea of water trickling in beneath your house. While the best time to waterproof is during new construction, if you live in an older structure, you don’t have that luxury. There are, however, a few measures you can take to protect your home from water, running the gamut from inexpensive safeguards to high-dollar professional remedies. Here’s all the information you need to choose the best solution for your basement.

EXTERIOR REMEDIESThe most effective way to waterproof a basement is from the outside. Doing so, however, involves excavating the soil away from the exterior of the foundation on all sides and installing drain tile (a flexible perforated pipe covered with mesh or fabric) at the base of the foundation.

You’ll most likely need a permit before starting, and some building authorities will allow only a licensed contractor to do the job. Digging a 7- or 8-foot-deep trench around your foundation is dangerous; it comes with a high risk of collapse, so it’s usually better to seek out an excavation contractor who employs safe digging techniques and trench bracing, anyway. Timing is essential: Schedule your contractor during a relatively dry season, or you could end up with a trench full of water that will have to be pumped out before work can continue.


Proper drain installation will keep your basement dryMy last house had a basement that leaked water. I’m building a new home and want my basement as dry as the Atacama Desert. I’m confident that my drain tile was not put in correctly at my last house. What are the best practices when installing drain tile around a foundation? What materials would you use? What are the biggest mistakes you can make when installing foundation drain tile? — Beverly H., Fall River, Mass.

You’ve touched on a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. My college degree is in geology with a special interest in two things: geomorphology and hydrogeology. Those are fancy words for the study of the surface of the earth and the study of groundwater. Both of those disciplines are in play when it comes to foundation drain tile.


How to Keep Rain Out of Your Basement

Last May was one for the record books, when severe storms slammed the Front Range, bringing snow, hail, tornado warnings and heavy spring rains. More than eight inches of rain fell, making for the wettest single month ever recorded in Colorado Springs.

Those who suffered landslides, sink holes and flooding in their basements won’t soon forget this experience. Yet, despite 2015’s unrelenting rainfall, many Front Range homeowners remain unprepared to deal with the consequences of outsize storms.

“We had an unprecedented amount of rain last year and chances are high we’ll be hit hard again this year,” says Dave Correa, supervisor at Peak Structural, a waterproofing and foundation repair contractor in Palmer Lake, Colorado.

Basement flooding is a problem that does not go away on its own, he points out. “Once water finds its way into a basement or crawlspace, it creates a path that excess water can follow for years to come,” says Correa. “Unless you take steps to address the problem, you’ll be stuck battling the rainfall, and fearing the nightly weather report, year after year.”