Archive for the ‘ Home Improvement ’ Category


In many ways, the fireplace is the heart of the home. It is typically situated in the most active part of the house where it offers warmth and comfort on the coldest days. Whether it’s for a romantic dinner, a holiday party or just some quality family time, a crackling fire sets the mood for many memorable occasions. Popular throughout much of the country, at least one fireplace is featured in the majority of new single-family homes. As the calendar turns to spring, however, many homeowners move the fireplace to the back burner. The warm weather months should instead be a time for important upkeep. Ensure your hearthside health with these helpful hints.

Sweep It Clean

The first step in your summer maintenance should be to clean the firebox of ashes that accumulated throughout the winter. From there, use a fireplace-safe cleaning solution and water to wipe down the area. Additionally, take the opportunity to clean your fireplace gate or doors of any soot buildup.

Sweep the Chimney

One of the most important things you can do to get your fireplace ready for the fall is to have your chimney cleaned and inspected. Damage to the chimney liner and buildup of creosote – tar-like accumulations of hydrocarbons resulting from wood smoke – can produce chimney fires that damage your home or lead to far more fatal consequences. Be sure to search for chimney cleaning in MD or your area to schedule a professional cleaning every summer.

Sweep for Debris

Some rooftop reconnaissance can help prevent future fireplace failings. Installing a mesh chimney cap can keep birds, animals, insects, branches and other debris from falling into your flue. While on the roof, check your chimney for signs of cracking or other damage. It is also advised to trim away any overhanging tree limbs to avoid the potential of a fire hazard.

Don’t let your family’s wishes for winter warmth go up in smoke. A little summer love can go a long way in keeping your fireplace in a fine place.


Owning a home comes with plenty of challenges. Upkeep, for example, can sometimes prove to be more frustrating than most assume when becoming homeowners. The roof on your home provides the very important service of protecting you and your family from the elements, but many people don’t know when the time is right to have work done on their homes.

When the shingles on your home start looking a little less than spectacular, it can open your house up to all kinds of lasting damage. Contacting a roofing contractor Palm Coast FL can be your best bet for a fix, but you still need to know when to make the call.

Curled Edges

A strong indication that your shingles need replacing is when they begin to curl or warp around the edges. Typically, this is caused by long-term exposure to the elements and indicates the integrity of the shingles has degraded significantly.

Matter of Time

When were the shingles installed? If it was more than twenty years ago, it is definitely time to look at replacing your roof. The average lifespan of a shingle is about two decades, but factors like weather can increase the wear and tear.

Growth

It stands to reason you aren’t walking around on your roof very often, if ever. Still, you may notice dark spots or streaks along your roof when observing from a distance. These are signs of algae and moss growth and are a strong indicator that you require the assistance of a professional contractor.

Time for a Change

Finally, you may feel like you’re tired of the way your current roof appears. Wanting something new to really get your home to look its best is a great reason to have your shingles replaced and update your home’s style.

Protecting the integrity of your roof helps to protect you and your family. When the time comes for a change, find a contractor and see what possibilities await.


It can be a little unnerving finding out what exactly is in the water we drink from public water sources. Tap water can contain lots of chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine. If you have your own property, you should consider the many benefits of having a well drilled on your land. A private well can be a great investment to make. Contact a reputable company of well drilling Tampa FL for more information, such as the company found at www.hillsboroughpumpandwell.com.

Free Water

After the initial cost of getting your well drilled and the pump setup, all the water you use will be free. Even though most public water companies charge affordable rates for water, those with big families see their water bills rising each month. The average adult uses around one hundred gallons of water each day.

Reliable Water

When you have your own well-drilled, you can rest assured you have a reliable water source. Municipal water utility companies often have to deal with boil advisories, broken mains and other unexpected water emergencies. An added bonus of having your own well is that you won’t have to wonder where the water you use comes from. Well water is pumped directly to your home from the well on your property.

Healthy Water

Most homeowners who get their water from local water companies do not have to worry about contaminants. However, while the water is being treated, a lot of the naturally occurring minerals are removed with the contaminants. Well water is filtered naturally and comes packed with nutrients and minerals your body needs. The water is also good for your skin when you take showers and baths.

As you can see, the benefits of having a well on your property are many. If you care about the health and well-being of your family, having a well-drilled should be a no-brainer. The initial cost of having the well drilled and the pump installed will be paid back through the savings you get by not having to pay for a water bill.

Winterize Your Fish Pond

posted by Vanessa

Pond management shouldn’t stop during the winter months, although you may be tempted to stay indoors. What can you do to help your pond ecosystem survive the winter and thrive in the new year?

If It Freezes

Oxygen levels can be hugely affected by temperature. With plant activity low and the potential for freezing, winter is the season to take extra steps. Consider installing aeration systems to increase oxygen levels and prevent stratification through mixing. Mixing just references the movement of the water between layers- in the winter the coldest layer will be at the top and the warmest at the bottom, opposite from the warmer months.

If You Feed Your Fish

If you provide supplementary feed for your fish, you should stop when you notice that they are no longer eating. It is important to monitor this so you notice when the feed sticks around. If enough of it decomposes in your pond, it could change your water chemistry and create problems for you in the spring. To avoid wasting any time and money, most fish sit very still at the bottom. They aren’t technically hibernating, but it’s close.

If You Keep Records

Now is the time to go over all of your data, analyze what you can and crunch the numbers. How are your pond statistics changing? Are you producing the amount of fish you need? This could help you create a more efficient pond management plan for next year, tailored specifically to the current needs of your pond. Cozy up to the fire with your spreadsheets, your body of water will appreciate this yuletide thought. 

Just as you winterize your home, you should prepare your pond for the hazards of the coldest season. This is especially important if your livelihood depends on it. Your wallet and your fish friends will thank you!


Windows are workhorses, insulating your home, keeping out drafts in the process, and even saving you money on your utility bills. While the expense of replacing your windows can’t always be avoided, some issues can be solved less expensively.

Fog Between the Window Panes

Usually the culprit of fog between window panes is a failed seal; it’s perfectly possible, not to mention much less expensive, to get a window repair La Grange IL that will replace the foggy pane and fix the seal. That said, if fog between the panes becomes a repeated problem, it’s time to replace the window.

Small Drafts

Drafts can hurt your home’s energy efficiency, but they’re so easy to fix that you can fix small drafts yourself. The culprit is usually caulking or weather stripping peeling off your window. A simple trip to your local hardware store and a tutorial will help you fix it. Try checking all of your windows for this issue once a year, as it will help you catch it early, saving you money on utilities.

Minor Rotting

Most homeowners take a glimpse of rot on any part of the window as a sure sign that it’s time to replace it. Depending on where it is, however, a little bit of rot isn’t a death sentence for your window. You can generally seal the rotted portion with epoxy and an exterior-grade vinyl patching material. If it’s a little more serious, consult a carpenter or window repair company to compare the costs of repairing the window versus replacing it. Check to see if the rot has an underlying cause, such as water from storms pouring onto the window, and remedy it if you can. More major rotting, of course, will involve a bigger repair or a replacement.

Keeping your windows in great shape and only replacing them when it’s necessary is a good way to save money. With regular upkeep and repairs, you’ll rest easier knowing that your windows are doing their jobs well.


The task of keeping your home comfortable in extreme temperatures can seem like an uphill battle. You get hair-raising humidity in the summer, bone-chilling drafts in the winter and unpredictable indoor conditions the rest of the year. Being in your home becomes less enjoyable, and you typically dread the long cold months when you would rather hibernate than engage in any activities. Something that all homes should have is good insulation. There are several different types to choose from, all of which can have a different impact on your home depending upon what kind of climate you live in. Most can be combined for maximum effect.

Cushion Your Nest With Fiberglass

The installation of insulation is an excellent way to block unwanted air and noise from entering your home. A Pittsburgh fiberglass insulation company will be able to help you assess what areas of your home are causing the most discomfort, test for air leaks and formulate a plan for getting your comfort level to where it should be. With current installation methods, the process is often quick and mess free.

Reflective Materials

Another commonly used insulation type is reflective. These sections of a foil-like substance are often used in warmer areas of the world because they direct heat away from living spaces. It can help to keep your house cooler and is often installed in upper-level areas of the home. Because they deflect hot air, they are not as beneficial for colder climates. 

Spray Foam

As the name implies, spray foam is applied by squirting a liquid into cracks and gaps. It then expands and hardens into a thick coating, which acts as a barrier to air, dirt, noise and pests. It can be used in new construction and existing structures and is best installed by professionals, as it does require precise injection and protective equipment in order to prevent damage to flooring and other interior surfaces. 


My wife gave me a pair of polarised Oakley sunglasses for my daily cycle to the train station and back recently. It’s part of her job to spread the word about the brand, so I just said thank you and wandered off to read the paper. I wasn’t in the mood to be a guinea pig. But she’s not so easily put off. In the space of three days, she asked me seven times if I’d had a chance to try them. That’s her counting, not me. I explained that it had been cloudy, but my wife is nothing if not evangelical. So, she launched into an explanation of low light and glare, and how glare can be just as bad on overcast days as when the sun shines. Arguing seemed pointless, so I tried the sunglasses.

I was actually surprised what a difference they made. I leave pretty early in the morning, about 7:15, but on a bright day in the summer, the glare reflected from the road is intense. On cloudy days, it just seems hazy and thick. The sunglasses seem to cut right through the glare – which helps me see the road more clearly – whether there’s direct sun or just a haze. We live in a rural area, and the roads are pretty pitted and narrow. Seeing more clearly makes a difference – and so does having sunglasses that don’t slip down my nose. I’m a commuter and I use a Brompton folding bike, so I can’t carry a lot of extra stuff. I have to be able to wear my sunglasses to a meeting or during my lunch break. So, I don’t want a massive pair of goggles that make me look like, well… an insect. I need a pair of sunglasses that will last the whole day. The Oakley sunglasses are good for cycling because they cover my eyes completely and I feel protected. But they’re also good for walking around town in.

Actually, I may ask my wife for a pair of sunglasses to leave at my desk. I have my eye on the Frogskins, because I think I’m young and cool at heart. I wonder how many times I’ll have to ask…


Pool cleaning is one chore that no one seems to enjoy or volunteer to get done. Take advantage of the latest pool cleaning technology with a handy automatic pool cleaner that gets the chore done without complaint. You can set it free in the pool and take care of other business as it cleans.

What is an automatic pool cleaner?

An automatic pool cleaner is a device you can set loose in your pool and it will skim across the surface and pull in any debris it runs into. You can put the old nets up and let the automatic cleaner do all the work for you.

Does it have to be monitored?

You can turn the automatic pool cleaner loose and leave it to do the job it’s designed to handle well. You can set it up to clean the pool while you tackle other chores. It can be done every morning and will keep your filter system from clogging with leaves and insect debris.

Does it provide good results?

You’ll find that the automatic pool cleaner is as thorough as doing the job by hand. You can leave the cleaner in the water whenever the pool is not in use and provide an ultra clean water experience. Cleaning out the debris is a breeze.

The Perfect Tool for Busy Schedules

When your schedule doesn’t allow enough time to do some of the more detailed cleaning chores the automatic pool cleaner is a handy helper. You can set it loose in the pool and let it take care of the job for you. Relax poolside and sip an iced tea or head to the grocery store for a little shopping.

Freedome comes from all the tools available that free up time for other, more interesting activities. Check out the selection of automatic pool cleaners Pittsburgh pool owners depend on to keep their water cleaner on a consistent basis.


Whether you are working on a new construction or remodeling, when it comes to flooring, you may be wondering should flooring be the same throughout the house? Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion on this matter, but there is no real reason that you need to have the same flooring throughout the house. While it isn’t necessary, or even desirable to have the same flooring through your entire home, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your layout.

Include Transition Pieces You can technically start one type of flooring right where the other type ends but for a professional appearance, you should use transition pieces. The transition pieces are often made from one of the materials you are using. For example, if you are going from hardwood to carpeting, your transition piece may be a strip of hardwood. Transition pieces create a polished look and make the different types of flooring look intentional.

Consider Height Differences Moving from one flooring surface to another shouldn’t present too much trouble, but if there is a height difference you may increase the risk of trips and falls. If there is a height difference between two rooms, make sure that it is clearly visible to reduce the risk of tripping.

Think About the Future Flooring has a long lifespan, so you should choose something you like. If you feel strongly that all of your flooring should match, but can’t swing it quite yet, go ahead and choose what you love in the areas you can afford. You can always change out other rooms later. You may actually find that you enjoy the visual interest that different flooring selections provide.

As you can see, there are no rules when it comes to flooring. Selecting the style that you like, installing it neatly, and using transition pieces will create a polished look. Flooring is a significant investment, so it makes sense to choose something you love.


Your AC system is critical to your comfort. It’s important to maintain your system throughout the year. With the presence of an HVAC system St Charles IL residents know the importance of scheduling maintenance checks at least twice a year.

Check the Integrity of the System

One of the main reasons for an inspection is to make sure that the system is running the way that it should be. If you need more refrigerant, for example, it is important that a technician provides this to you during the call. You can also find out whether your air filters are being replaced as often as necessary. If there are areas that need to be cleaned, the technician can take care of this during the call, too.

Keep the Unit Working Efficiently

A lot can go wrong in an HVAC system, causing the system to work considerably harder than necessary. When this happens, you are likely to see a spike in your electric bill. During a routine maintenance inspection, a technician can reset your thermostat, make sure that the system is running efficiently, and make adjustments that will help you.

Catch Problems Early On

Additionally, technicians will be able to catch problems early on. If there is damage to an evaporated or coil, for example, it will be much easier to get this replaced sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you could end up spending a considerable amount of money on repairs if the problem continues to get worse over time.

Your goal should always be for your air conditioning system to work efficiently. By scheduling a technician to come out twice a year, you can avoid problems with your system.