Fireplace

10 Home Maintenance Tasks And Repairs Every Homeowner Should Know

We cannot all be masters at various DIY projects, nonetheless, all houses need to go through the occasional maintenance and repairs. If not, some of the problems that could be solved with a few dollars might turn into thousands of dollars in repairs, which is especially true if your foundation, roof, or water system gets damaged.

This is why you might now be wondering – what are some maintenance tasks and repairs that I need to complete every year? Fortunately for all individuals searching for an answer to this question, you’ll be able to find it in the article below. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you should do:

1. Fix The Dripping Faucets

Source:popularmechanics.com

Although a lot of people get used to dripping faucets, they don’t actually realize that leaving them like that can easily cause your monthly water bills to go up. It is not difficult to fix dripping faucets, however, you should not forget to turn off the water before you start dismantling everything. A drippy faucet could be fixed by getting a new O-ring, while a compression faucet might require you to buy a new rubber washer that will successfully seal the valve.

2. The Furnace Filter Needs to Be Replaced Regularly

Source:reddihvac.com

One of the easiest methods for maximizing the efficiency of your furnace is to ensure that you change its filter every 2 months. Naturally, you’ll need to purchase a filter that is suitable for your furnace model. Once you do, you can turn it off, remove the service panel, and then replace the old filter with a new one. Keep in mind, each model is different, which is why you should read and understand the manual first before opening the panel.

3. Hardwood Floors Need Attention as Well

Hardwood floors are one of the most appealing things about any home, and if you want to keep them in good condition, you’ll need to take proper care of them. Hence, you should only use cleaning products that are manufactured for hardwood since other products might actually damage it. Do not forget to use an attachment that will prevent you from scratching the surface, and that will take care of all the dirt and dust between the board.

4. Clean Those Gutters!

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Not cleaning your gutters can cause damage to your foundation, basement, and roof, which is why you must ensure that you maintain them at least two or three times a year. You’ll need a scoop, garden hose, and a ladder for completing the process, however, if you are ladder-averse, you might want to opt for hiring an expert that will help you. You can check this website out to learn more about gutter maintenance, repairs, and cleaning.

5. Are You Sick of Dirty Grout Joints?

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It can be quite annoying when the space between your tiles – also known as grout joins – get dirty. And, if this is something that has been bothering you, you should know that it will take you 20 minutes to completely clean them. You should mix water and vinegar and soak the tiles for approximately 10 minutes. After that, you should use a soft brush for cleaning the grouts and then dry the tiles with a cloth. You should avoid using bleach, wax, or hard brushes since it can damage your tiles.

6. Fill All The Gaps And Cracks

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If you noticed cracks and gaps around your windows and/or doors, you might want to fill them out as soon as you can. If not, it might become a breeding ground for insects and pests, which is something you’ll definitely want to avoid. Hence, you should purchase a caulk gun and start working on all the gaps – both indoor and outdoor ones. This won’t only prevent pests from entering your home, but, it will make your house more energy-efficient, meaning that it will be more Eco-friendly.

7. Prune Your Shrubs, Trees, And Bushes Regularly

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Maintaining your shrubs, bushes, and trees should be one of the most important landscaping tasks for any homeowner. It is actually quite simple and you’ll only need several tools such as a pruner, lopers, and a saw for large branches. Pruning the trees can also help you with keeping your gutters clean, which means that you’ll lower the chances of it getting clogged. Once you gather your equipment, start with all the dead branches, and then move on to shaping the plants as you want.

8. Always Inspect Your Fireplace

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Did you know that one of the most common causes of house fires is a malfunctioning fireplace? This is why you must schedule an annual chimney and fireplace inspection before winter arrives. Naturally, you should maintain it by always removing ash and cleaning the firebox, however, when it comes to inspecting the chimney and the structure of your fireplace, it is best that you always hire a professional.

9. Maintain Your Sump Pump

One thing that all people overlook is their sump pump and if you want to keep our functional, you must maintain it at least two or three times a year. So, you’ll need to turn off the power and unplug it. Next, you should remove the device from the pit and carry it to your backyard. Clean it with your gardening hose and if there is any debris, clean it out. Lastly, drain any remaining water from the pit and then return the pump when it completely dries.

10. Clean The Fridge Coils

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Have you ever moved your fridge just to be shocked by the amount of dirt on the coils? Yup, when they are clogged from dust and hair, it won’t properly release heat, which means that your fridge will try to work harder, hence, consuming more energy. In order to prolong the lifespan of your fridge and save money on your electricity bills, you should utilize a soft brush and vacuum for cleaning the coils.

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Conclusion

Regularly maintaining your home will prevent some serious problems from occurring, which basically means that you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on fixing those issues. And, if you choose to follow some or all tips mentioned in the article above, you’ll be able to make all the maintenance and repair tasks easier, less time-consuming, and more importantly, less stressful.

Hence, now that you know what you should do and when you need to do it, you might not want to waste any more of your time. Instead, go back to the beginning of this list, go through it once again, and then determine which things you’ll do first in order to keep your home functional.

Chimney Inspection Checklist for Beginners – 2020 Guide

Having a fireplace in your home is always a precious asset, don’t you agree? Just think about all those winter nights you get to spend next to it, with a book and glass of wine in your hands, while staying warm. It does sound straight out of Christmas movie, doesn’t it?

However, just like any other valuable possession in your home, this one also has to be maintained regularly. Yes, we know, it is another item on your to-do list, but this one is really important because it is the only way to ensure that your fireplace doesn’t turn into a fire hazard. In the following article, we have created a checklist i.e. step-by-step guide on how to perform the chimney inspection.

Schedule professional inspection and cleaning

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If you thought that this is a guide on how to clean the chimney on your own, you are wrong. Yes, there are some things that you can inspect on your own and we are going to discuss them later, but remember, some tasks are better left to professional, and chimney cleaning is definitely one of them.

Go through the ads in local newspapers and online sources and find a reliable company that is in your area. You know what you need to look for, right? Someone who knows all the ropes, who has a lot of satisfied customers, and whose fee is within your price range. If you are unsure about the services these companies offer visit doctorchimeny.com.

What should you look for?

Before we begin our guide, let us tell you about a few things that you should be on the lookout for. First of all, if there is any kind of visual damage, using the fireplace until you fix everything is out of the question. When we say ‘damage’, we mean anything from cracks on the walls to broken tile pieces.

Secondly, if there are any strange noises coming from it, the absolute first thing that you have to do is call professionals. Unless you are in this line of work, too, you won’t be able to figure out what is causing that buzzing sound.

Where to start the inspection?

As we have already mentioned, visible damage and peculiar noises coming from the fireplace should be the first sign that something is not functioning properly and that you need to hire a team of experts to come and fix whatever is broken. Now, let’s begin with our checklist. What is the first item on it?

Chimney Cap

You should begin your inspection by investigating the chimney cap. It is of utmost importance to be thorough, and check every inch of it for any kind of cracks and even make sure that the whole construction is intact. If chimney cap is in any way damaged, debris or small animals can get lodged inside and if this happens they could prevent the smoke and fumes from getting out. As you can imagine, this can easily lead to fire or even carbon poisoning.

Flashing

While you are up on the roof, the next thing that you should check is the flashing. This thin piece of metal is what fixes the chimney to the roof, and over time, it can deteriorate or become loose. When this happens water and moisture can easily get inside the chimney where they can cause a lot of substantial damage.

The exterior of the chimney

Source:chimneyrepairbaltimore.com

Now that you have inspected the inside of the chimney, you cannot forget to check out the exterior. Once again, check if there is any damage, if some chips and pieces have fallen out of their place, and fix what you can. Surely, it doesn’t look as good as it did years ago when you bought the house, but noticing some small gaps and cracks isn’t the end of the world. Fix what you can, and move on.

The flue

The next thing that you should deal with is the flue. Over time, creosote can accumulate here and as you probably know, it is the leading cause of house fires. This is something that a professional will do, so all you might want to do is to inspect it. The chimney sweeper will thoroughly and carefully clean the walls and the liner to remove the soot, creosote, and other types of debris that have gathered there.

Cut down branches

You are done with the inspection of the chimney on your roof, but there is another thing that you should do before getting down. Are there trees or branches close to the chimney? If the answer is affirmative, you should remove them. Why? Well, first of all, these can turn out to be another fire hazard. Secondly, they can be an obstruction to fumes and smoke, and we have already mentioned how dangerous this can be.

The ash

We are moving on to the inside of your house i.e. the fireplace. The initial thing that you have to do is to remove all the ash. Yes, we know, a little bit of it can be very helpful in lighting the fireplace, but if there is too much of it, the moisture will actually cause the flames to burn out sooner.

Damper

Source:chimneykeepers.com

Moreover, you have to be certain that the fireplace damper works perfectly. What do we mean by this? It means that it has to open and close properly and that it seals tightly. If this is not the case, the hot air from your home will escape through these gaps and the cold one will get inside which is only going to increase your heating bill over the winter.

Smoke detectors

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Even though your fireplace has just been inspected by professionals and it is in perfect condition, you have to remember to check the smoke detectors. Unfortunately, accidents can happen and the only way to ensure yours and the safety of your family is to regularly change batteries in these devices and check them frequently so that you could be certain that they work perfectly.

Finally, don’t forget about the fire extinguisher. Having one in your home is of utmost importance. Make sure that it is charged and that it can be used at any moment.

Want to Install a Fireplace? Here’s What You Need to Know

Fireplaces are no longer standard in all homes. With the advent of central heating, many builders opt not to include them in their construction. But just because you don’t have one in your home, doesn’t mean you can’t add one. But you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re doing. Here are some things to consider:

  • Types of Fireplaces

The very first step is to decide which type you want in your home. Generally speaking, there are four basic categories:

  • Wood-burning – With a wood-burning fireplace, natural logs are used as the primary source of fuel. Because there’s no need for gas or electricity, there are no utility costs associated with having a fire (though you do have to source the wood from somewhere). The downside is that you must have the chimney cleaned frequently, otherwise, it can become a safety hazard.
  • Gas – With a gas fireplace, a natural gas line runs into it and supplies the flame. Because it burns cleaner than a wood fire, there’s less maintenance involved. Installing a gas line can, however, be expensive. You’ll also notice an increase in your gas bill during the months it’s in use.
  • Electric – Finally, you have electric fireplaces, which are powered purely by electricity. You simply flip a switch or press a button and have a fire. The only downside to this is that electricity can be expensive when used in significant quantities. 
  • Ethanol – The newest “type” is known as an ethanol fireplace. The flame requires no venting, which means it can be used anywhere in the house. It doesn’t put off much heat, either, but provides a pretty neat aesthetic. Depending on how much it’s used, it can require frequent refilling.
Img source: fireplaceltd.net

The type you go with will be dependent on a number of factors, including personal preference, cost, and practicality. 

  • Budget

You can narrow your selection down fairly quickly by figuring out how much you’re willing to spend on the addition. Electric ones are the cheapest (typically a few hundred dollars). Gas models are considered the middle of the line in price. (Unless you don’t already have gas running to the house. In this case, you have to connect your house to the gas line on the street, which makes it very expensive.) Then you have wood-burning types which, because of the chimney requirements, can cost a few thousand dollars to have installed.

  • Choosing the Location

Where will it be installed? Saying a particular room isn’t specific enough. You need to pick the right spot, which means accounting for the existing construction of the home.

According to eFireplaceStore, “It is important to know the overall width, depth, and height of the intended installation area, as well as the overall ceiling and roof height. Most gas fireplaces will list the approved venting components in the instruction manual, and it’s crucial that only those components be used.”

Img source: valcourtinc.com
  • Designing the Fireplace Surround

Installing the fireplace is only part of the equation. In order to make it look good, you also have to design the surroundings to help it blend in with the aesthetic of the room.

Do you want a clean, modern look where it sits flush in the wall? Or do you want a classic style with a massive brick hearth and a big mantel? Is a tile surround more your style? There are lots of considerations. Meet with a designer if you aren’t skilled in this area. The last thing you want to do is lower the value of your house because of a poorly designed addition.

  • Hiring the Right Professionals

At the end of the day, this isn’t a job you want to do on your own. You need to buy from the right people, have the right folks install it, and have someone help with the design. Hiring the right professionals – i.e. ones with experience in the industry – is an absolute must.

Img source: thefirehouserockwall.com

Making the Right Decision

Installing a fireplace may not seem like as big of a deal as some other home improvement projects – like renovating a kitchen or adding more square footage – but it’s arguably just as important. The wrong choice in style, where you locate it, and how you install it could cause serious problems. Sit back and give yourself time to make a smart, informed decision.