3 signs you might need to call a plumber

3 signs you might need to call a plumber | H is for Home

As a home-owner, you’ll sometimes be faced with repairs and other home improvement projects. While many of these fixes can be done without the help of a professional, some problems require expert knowledge. Plumbing is one area that often requires a professional and trying to fix plumbing issues on your own can turn into an even bigger problem.

Today, we’re going to learn a few signs that just might indicate that you need to call a plumber for backup.

Soldering a water pipe

You have a slight leak in your pipes

If you notice a small leak in one of your water pipes, you may think it’s no big deal. However, small leaks can turn into serious flooding in a matter of seconds. Small leaks can also be an indication that your water system needs a major overhaul. If you notice leaking pipes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Calling a professional plumbing service like Reckon Plumbing for those of you who are based in Los Angeles will ensure that your small leak is fixed before it’s too late. Water damage is a serious issue that could end up costing thousands. Get those leaks fixed so that your biggest investment is protected.

Shower head

You keep running out of hot water

When you take a shower, do you notice the hot water runs out before you’re finished? This could be a sign that your boiler isn’t working properly. In more serious situations, it could mean that your water heater is about to fail and should be replaced. But, only a qualified plumber can determine the condition of your boiler.

In some cases, boilers can be repaired. However, if your unit is more than 10 years old, you may want to think about having it replaced. If you do need to install a new boiler, you should allow a certified plumber to do the job. Boilers can cause house fires if they’re not installed properly.

Damp basement

Your basement always seems damp

If your basement is always damp or you notice water seeping from the walls, you should call a plumber. This could be a sign of a leaking water pipe or drain line that is hidden underground. While you can take measures to get rid of the moisture by installing dehumidifiers, you should have the problem checked out by a plumber.

As we’ve learned above, water damage is a serious issue that could cause many different types of problems. The worst issue you may face is a mould infestation. When there is moisture present in your basement, it will often attract dangerous mould. Once mould has taken over your basement, it can make your family sick and cost you thousands of dollars to remove. To play it safe, call a plumber as soon as you notice moisture in your basement.

These are just a few signs that it might be time to contact a plumber. Remember, there are many jobs that only a certified plumber can handle. They have the knowledge and tools to do these jobs properly, so when in doubt, always give them a call.

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Winter Wisdom – 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter Wisdom - 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter is a wonderful time of year for those of us not so keen on extreme heat and having bugs everywhere. In fact, many good things happen in winter. It’s the perfect season for hot food, woolly socks and crackling fires. The key to a good winter is to make sure your home is ready for it. For suggestions on how to get your house in good order for the cold months, read this list of 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter.

Bathroom shower

Household maintenance

Your house maintenance should be taken care of before winter gets its icy grip on your house, because when things suddenly or catastrophically go wrong it can take much longer to fix. It’s essential that your house is completely watertight – and pipes, drains and gutters are clear and free flowing. The endless torrential rain that often falls in winter and early spring can set back work on neglected pipes or other work that needs excavation…and bad weather can also prevent work being done on roofs or outdoor electrical appliances like water heaters. Imagine not having hot showers for a week in winter. No thank you!

Many companies clear blocked drains in Melbourne, for instance, and getting that done prior to winter’s arrival is a good idea, as some nights can get downright frosty. The last thing you need in the middle of a freezing night is a burst drainpipe.

Slippered feet up with a hot drink in front of an open fire

Light a fire

First and foremost, if your house has a real fire, then it’s time to break out the firewood! Make sure coal stores or log piles are well stocked during late summer and autumn. Organise deliveries early or get some wood chopped in readiness! Fires are a great, economical way to warm a house, and they can provide hours of entertainment. They give a room a real sense of drama and atmosphere. The additional burst of heat will also cut out any need for appliances such fan heaters.

Woollen blanket and patterned pottery mug

Scatter some blankets

Winter is a great time for snuggling up with some blankets. The best thing about blankets is that they not only keep you warm, but they can be dotted around your house and over the backs of sofas as decoration, then easily grabbed if you feel the chill. Distributing blankets around rooms in your home will mean you’re never far from a warm, cosy blanket in the dead of winter.

Bowl of meat stew

Roast away!

Arguably one of the best things about winter is the food that you begin to crave. When it’s 4ºC and raining outside, nothing satisfies hunger like a good roast dinner. Warming food like roasts, stews and hearty soups are perfect for not only warming you and dinner guests, but also make the whole house smell amazing.

Pair of thick, pale-coloured curtains

Heavy curtains

One thing that many people forget when winter-proofing their houses is how much heat is lost through the windows, even when the curtains or blinds are closed. If your house is freezing cold at night and you have large windows, consider buying thicker or lined curtains or blinds for them. This will keep more of the heat in and save you money through lowering electricity and gas bills.

Over the knee winter socks

Dress for the occasion

What will keep you warm in winter, no matter where you go? Woollens and waterproofs are the obvious choice for the cold season, but even within the protected environment of your own home there are things you can wear to keep the chill at bay. Thick socks on your feet will keep cold, tiled floors from freezing your toes off – and a quilted robe can mean the perfect combination of comfort and warmth.

Blue fleece electric blanketcredit

Warm the bed

Your bed will likely be too cold at night before you hop in, and even with pyjamas on this can cool you down before your body heat manages to warm up the bed and duvet. An electric blanket is the perfect addition to a winter bedding ensemble, and all you need to do is switch it on an hour or so before you hop into bed to ensure a nice, toasty night’s sleep.

Radiator thermostat

Radiate heat

Finally, there are ways of keeping heat in the less used rooms, like your bedroom.

While most of the evening might be spent in the common areas of your house, your bedroom will be where you retire to and unless you have put something in place to heat that room, it will likely be freezing cold. A radiator heater can be a great option for this, as it uses very little electricity and stays warm for long periods of time. Turn in on when you get home from work and your room will be toasty by the time you get to bed that night. Or perhaps fit timer switches that can activate heating systems precisely in specific areas.

With these tips in mind, the cold of winter doesn’t stand a chance at infiltrating your abode – so get out there and start winter-proofing your house today.

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How to refresh your out-dated home and be proud of it

How to refresh your out-dated home and be proud of it

When we’re proud of who we are, we reflect in the space we live in. When we’re proud of the home we’ve built for ourselves, we feel at home. Homes, however, require constant maintenance. It’s hard! When wear is starting to show in your home, it’s time to consider some easy DIY projects. When your windows or your doors are rotting and in disrepair, you need to reinvest in your home for more than just its kerb appeal. Your home means so much to you. Put a little love back into it (and maybe save some money in the long run).

Painting wood

Repainting

Nothing is a better instant fix than a fresh coat of paint. If your home has beautiful features like wood or brick that you absolutely do not want to paint over, a good power wash is the way to go. For wood, however, remember that unless you treat and take care of it, it will rot. Constant upkeep is an absolute must! In most cases, however, especially if your home or fence was already painted, a fresh, clean coat of paint will instantly brighten the look and feel of your exterior.

Tip: Ce sure to fill holes, fix cracks and other sources of disrepair before you paint!

Brass dolphin knocker on a bright blue door

Installing new fixtures

Rusting fixtures, or even just out-dated ones, can really bring down the look and feel of your home. Installing a uniform set of doorknobs, door knockers, and outside lights will really make your home look like new. Having a set of fixtures (meaning they all look similar, or are sold as a set) will make your home look like a professional did the job!

Cream room with light streaming through a window

Install new windows and doors

Single glazed windows and doors that let a draught in are often not only a bit old and sad looking, they can also cost you a lot. Updating them is an absolute must! This investment can save on heating bills in the long run, too, so over time, your investment will have paid for itself! Choose energy-efficient doors and windows, and find the right scaffolding equipment and installation team for you. Sourcing a lot of the materials yourself, instead of through a builder, is a great way to save money (if you have the time to find the best deals). Just make sure that everything is to the correct specifications!

Watering plants in a garden

Landscape your garden

Nothing will make you feel more relaxed and at home than having a perfect getaway in your back garden. Fixing the cracks and getting rid of the weeds between paving is a quick and easy way to make your garden look well cared for. Replace any dead or sad-looking plants with architectural or flowering plants for a new look!

Tip: Buy flowering plants that will bloom throughout the year, so you’ll always have colour and interest!

Being proud of your home is something for which to strive. It means coming home and loving the feel of it. Keeping your home fresh and updated is how you’ll continue to be proud of your home throughout your life.

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3 Ways to decide if you need residential air conditioning repair or a new system

3 Ways to decide if you need residential air conditioning repair or a new system

It’s really frustrating when your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of a hot summer afternoon as countless people who it has happened to can attest. The first thing to do, of course, is to call in repair services. However, in some cases, the air conditioning system is beyond repair and the home-owner will need to replace it. It can be a dilemma making the decision between having it repaired or shelling out and buying a new air conditioning system. Choosing between the two can be confusing especially when you don’t have technical knowledge of how these systems work. Often, people opt for the wrong one – costing them much more than necessary.

To determine whether you should have your air conditioning repaired or invest in a new one, consider the following factors:

Air conditioning unit

  1. Age of the unit

This is the first factor you need to consider. Age greatly affects the performance of your air conditioning system. Air conditioning units often come with a longevity recommendation. When your air conditioning has a 15-year mark and it’s only 10 years old, you may opt for repair services like air conditioning repair in McKinney. However, if it’s nearing the 15-year mark, a replacement may be the best decision. Trying to repair a unit way past its recommended year of service can be a false economy, costing you more in the long run.

Air conditioning maintenance

  1. Cost of repair and replacement

Air conditioning repair may sound cheaper than having to buy a new one, but this isn’t always the case. Some repair costs, including service charges and buying spare parts could add up and may cost you more than a new unit. In a case like this, opt for a replacement. Or, when the need to repair seems to occur more often than the usual, the total cost can be overwhelming. Hence, replacement is the wiser thing to do. Be practical on this one and look at it over the long term.

Air conditioning repair

  1. Energy efficiency

There are a lot of contributing factors when it comes to energy efficiency. First is the working condition of your unit. If the unit doesn’t produce as much cold air as it used to even after series of repairs, it’s probably time to buy a new one. Energy efficiency is also about your electricity bill. If you notice your bill is starting to sky-rocket over time and the air conditioning is the only possible suspect, invest in a new one. Finally, consider your space and the traffic in the area. If an additional person or persons are using the room or if the space became bigger due to home improvement projects, it’s may time to buy a new one. However, if the above cases are not among your current situation, you might consider repairing it first.

When you opt for air conditioning repair, make sure you hire the best repair service firm. If you decide to buy a new one, find the unit that is right size and output for your needs. Also, check for the Energy Star label that proves that the unit is energy efficient.

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How to keep your heating oil costs as low as possible

How to keep your heating oil costs as low as possiblecredit

For many home-owners, the winter months are a worrying time. They worry about how much they’ll need to pay for heating oil. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep the cost of heating your home down, which is why we’ve written this post.

Buy from commercial sellers

Instead of automatically buying from your local domestic oil company, try commercial fuel suppliers as well. Many of them are happy to sell to domestic customers, as well as business owners. Usually, their prices are very competitive.

Buy your oil early

When possible, buy your heating oil early. Buying before the rush is the best way to avoid paying more than you need to.

However, you need to bear in mind that the cost of heating oil fluctuates throughout the year. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that buying your oil in the summer actually doesn’t work out to be cheaper.

However, most years, this approach does work. Because demand is lower during the warmer months the cost of heating oil usually dips during the summer.

Oil tank maintenancecredit

Look after your boiler

It is also worth having your boiler serviced during the summer. Many heating engineers are not so busy then. As a result, many self-employed engineers offer a discount to those customers who have their boilers serviced during the warmer months.

Having your boiler serviced on a regular basis will also save you money. This is because a properly maintained boiler works more efficiently. It’s also less likely to break down and need replacing.

Not to mention the fact that an unserviced boiler represents a safety hazard. Every year, hundreds of people die because they breathe in carbon monoxide emitted by a faulty boiler. Dozens more die in boiler explosions. In most of these cases, it turns out that the boiler involved hasn’t been properly maintained.

Don’t overheat your home

An awful lot of home-owners waste heating oil by keeping their home too hot. Studies show that if you turn your thermostat down by one degree every couple of weeks, most people will not notice the difference – at least not at first. Often, by the time they do realise that the house is cooler, the thermostat has already been turned down by four or five degrees, which significantly reduces the amount of oil that’s being consumed. Typically, for every degree you reduce your thermostat by, you save 1 or 2% on your fuel bill.

Basement oil tankcredit

Keep the heat inside your property

The other step you need to take is to insulate and draught-proof your home. It doesn’t take long to do, and it’s a job that many people can do themselves. You can find out more about how to insulate a house from this page. The information in this article will prove especially helpful for those who are living on a tight budget.

Buying your heating oil at the right time and shopping around for the best price are both important. However, it’s being careful not to consume too much fuel and making the best use of the heat that you generate that makes the biggest difference, and keeps your costs down.

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4 essential ways to care for your tech devices

 

4 essential ways to care for your tech devices

You need to care for your tech devices in much the same way as you do your own body – looking after both inside and out. Whether it’s your mobile phone, desktop, laptop or tablet; games console or smart watch you need to look after both its hardware and software. These items can be pretty expensive to buy and to fix; having to live without them is unthinkable for some! Here are the top 4 things you need to do to properly care for your tech devices and keep them in tip-top condition.

Invest in screen protectors, covers and cases

Black leather iPhone cover

If you’re anything like us, you use your computer and phone whilst eating or drinking at the same time. Even if you think you’re being really careful, they still tend to get a bit sticky and grubby. Keep your devices clean with anti-bacterial spray cleaner and a specialist cleaning brush set for getting between the spaces on your keyboard.

Keep them clean, but also make sure you keep them covered… especially if you’re clumsy and prone to dropping things! Start with a clear screen protector – they only take seconds to apply, but they stop the glass getting scratched and can help save it from shattering. Enclose your mobile in a leather iPhone case, it safeguards from daily wear & tear and makes it look great at the same time. I use my iPad for following recipes as I cook; I use a case with integral stand to keep it upright and clean… save a few buttery fingerprints here & there!

Install anti-virus software

Install anti-virus software on your tech devices

One of the most stressful and scary things that can happen to your tech device is unknowingly installing a virus, Trojan horse or some other kind of malware. It can completely disable your machine and can cost a lot of money to get someone to put it right. And you may even unintentionally infect the devices of friends, family and work colleagues. These situations can be easily avoided by installing anti-virus software – and there are some good, free ones available.

AVG Anti-virus (AVG AntiVirus for Mac® | AVG AntiVirus FREE | AVG AntiVirus for Android™)

AVG AntiVirus includes real-time security updates, scans for both malware and performance issues, and even catches malicious downloads before they reach your device. It blocks unsafe links, downloads and email attachments.

Avast Security (PC, Mac & Android)

Avast is one of the largest security companies in the world using next-gen technologies to fight cyber attacks in real time. They have an immense cloud-based machine learning engine that receives a constant stream of data from our more than 400 million users.

Keep your hard drive spick & span

Snail on a keyboard

There are a few, simple things you can do to keep your devices running quickly and smoothly. By freeing up disk space you not only stop your device becoming sluggish, you also extend your battery life. Always keep your apps updated, developers are always tweaking them, fixing bugs and improving performance. Quit, don’t just close apps that aren’t being used. Don’t simply put files into your trash – delete them completely by emptying the ‘trash’/’recycle bin’. Keep anything that you don’t need every day on an external had drive – especially large files such as images, music and video.

There are lots of useful apps that can help you keep many of them are free or cost very little. Here are just a few.

AVG Cleaner (AVG PC TuneUp® | AVG Cleaner™ for Mac® | AVG Cleaner™ for Android™)

It quickly finds any hidden clutter you may have accumulated and clean it with just one click.

MacBooster (Mac)

This is a Mac maintenance tool to clean up junk, boost performance and remove malware and viruses.

AppZapper (Mac)

Everybody loves the drag and drop nature of OS X. Drag an app into your applications folder, and it’s installed. You’d think it would be that easy to delete an app – just a matter of dragging it to the trash. But it’s not. Apps install support files on your computer that generate clutter. Introducing AppZapper. Simply drag one or more apps onto AppZapper. Then, watch as it finds the extra files and lets you delete them with one click.

Reno Uninstaller (PC)

Has powerful features to uninstall programs scanning for left over files, folders and registry entries after uninstall.

Disk Diag (Mac)

Disk Diag is a free, simple and efficient tool for cleaning your Mac. It takes the hassle out of finding which files are clogging-up your Mac hard drive by instantly scanning and discovering what’s taking-up space.

Monolingual (Mac)

Monolingual is a program for removing unnecessary language resources from macOS, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least macOS 10.12 (Sierra).

Removing unused language packs is different for Windows® operating systems. Read about going about it here.

Prepare for if it gets lost or stolen

Mobile phone lost in undergrowthcredit

No one wants to think about the possibility of their device getting misplaced, lost or stolen; but it happens to people every, single day. There are things you can put in place if, in future, you need to locate a lost or stolen device.

For Mac products – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch and MacBook – the Find My iPhone app is a security essential.

Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map, remotely lock it, play a sound, display a message, or erase all the data on it.

For missing iOS devices, Find My iPhone also includes Lost Mode. Lost Mode locks your device with a passcode and can display a custom message and contact phone number right on the Lock Screen. While in Lost Mode, your device can keep track of where it has been and report back so you can view its recent location history, right from the Find My iPhone app.

If you have an Android phone, you need to enable the ‘Remotely locate this device’ and ‘Allow remote lock and erase’ settings in the Google Settings app. You’ll find them under Security → Device Manager. If your Android device goes missing, log into the Android Device Manager on the Google website and it’s location will be mapped out. From here you can ring, lock or erase your phone’s data.

Windows phones also have built-in settings to track missing mobile devices. You will find them here: Settings → Privacy → Find my phone. Tick the box to ‘Save my phone’s location periodically and before the battery runs out to make it easier to find’. So long as you have done this you will be able to search for your phone’s whereabouts via your Microsoft account. From here you’ll be able to ring, lock or erase it’s data.

Doing these four simple things will ensure that your tech devices will enjoy a long and prosperous existence!

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