Category Archives: Home

Home Maintenance Tasks: DIY or Seek a Professional?

Completing DIY household maintenance tasks can save you a lot of money. Some projects, however, are best left to the professionals for safety and cost purposes. When should you do it yourself versus calling in a professional for your home maintenance tasks?

Plumbing Maintenance

Many homeowners do not realize the cost of a single plumbing problem. While dumping some drain cleaner into the basement toilet that keeps backing up might fix the problem temporarily, it could end up costing you thousands of dollars later. Of course, you could take a DIY approach to minor plumbing problems like a leaky faucet or a slow draining toilet. But any plumbing problems that could indicate larger plumbing problems require a professional. Otherwise, you risk damage to your floors, walls, and even furniture.

HVAC Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is extremely important to maintaining the quality and efficiency of your HVAC unit. The homeowner should complete some of the necessary maintenance tasks such as changing the air filter regularly. Other tasks, such as inspections, tune-ups, and duct cleaning, should be left to someone who is knowledgeable about your HVAC system. Proper maintenance on a routine schedule can extend the life of your system while also offering you comfortable and efficient heating and cooling.


You have a folder full of dream backyard pictures. Now what? Depending on the complexity of your project and your comfort with landscaping tools, you might be able to handle your project alone. More extensive landscaping projects, including those involving retaining walls or outdoor kitchens, might require the services of a professional. Tree removal should also be completed by a professional with the right tools. Consider your skills, your project budget, and your comfort level when deciding whether to bring in a pro.

Painting Projects

There are many reasons you might choose to paint your home, including chipped paint or simply a design refresh. Although you could hire a professional to paint, this can be expensive, and most people are capable of doing it on their own. Stock up on all the necessary paint supplies, grab a friend, and get to work. You might even find it somewhat enjoyable. Besides, the worst that could happen is that you might need to touch up places or repaint the room.

Roof Maintenance

Your roof is very important to your home, and it requires routine maintenance. While major roof repairs should be left to the professionals, homeowners can handle other tasks related to the roof, such as keeping the gutters cleaned. Some homeowners might be comfortable with replacing single shingles on the roof, but it’s important to have the appropriate safety precautions in place. Roofing contractors are used to scaling high heights and are insured.

It’s important to keep in mind that while many DIY projects can save you money, some can end up costing you more. Additionally, taking on a household project that’s best left to the professionals can put you in a dangerous situation. Always weigh the pros and cons before jumping into a DIY household project.

Creating Your Home Utility Emergency Plan

Most homeowners rely on the comforts of their home utilities. When your HVAC system, electrical wiring, plumbing, and other utilities are running smoothly, it’s easy to take them for granted. When a problem does occur, you’ll want to be able to solve it as quickly as possible. By putting a home utility emergency plan in place that addresses the following issues, you’ll have a shorter downtime when essential systems in your house experience problems.

Keep a List of Contacts

When a problem occurs with one of your utilities, you don’t want to waste precious time looking up phone numbers and comparing companies to find the best service for your needs. Instead, look up reviews and get recommendations for companies and technicians you can trust to take care of repairs before you need them. In addition, note the contact numbers for your utility providers. Your list of emergency utility contacts should include:

  • 24-hour plumber
  • 24-hour HVAC service
  • Water company
  • Gas company
  • Electric company

Post this list in an easily accessible place (such as on the fridge) so you can quickly make a call in an emergency.

Locate Your Utility Controls

If an emergency does occur, you might need to shut off your utilities as quickly as possible to avoid damage to your home or for the safety of your family. That’s why it’s critical to know the locations of each of the following utility controls:

  • Breaker box/electrical fuse box
  • Heating fuel shut-off
  • Main water shut-off
  • Individual shut-off valves for toilets, sinks, and washing machine

Know how to use each of these controls. If any tools are required to operate them, such as a wrench, keep one nearby.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

One of the best ways to avoid sudden problems with your utilities is to have the main systems in your household maintained routinely. By checking for problems regularly and taking steps to improve efficiency, you’ll reduce the risk of more serious breakdowns later on.

Schedule biannual maintenance for your HVAC system to make sure it’s ready for the winter and summer seasons. This is one of the utilities you’ll want to have checked more frequently since it directly affects your comfort at home. Periodically, you might also want to hire a plumber and electrician to inspect the utilities for potential issues. There are also several home maintenance tasks you can handle yourself, such as keeping drains and gutters clear of debris, trimming trees away from the house, and replacing or cleaning air filters.

Set Aside Funds for Repairs

Home repairs can happen at unexpected times, and many are inevitable. Part of being a homeowner is dealing with repairs and replacements as the systems and materials as your home ages. Make sure you’re ready when the time comes by saving money in a fund specifically set aside for home repairs. You’ll be happy when you have money available to pay for a utility emergency rather than having to use credit or dip into other savings.

Don’t let a home utility emergency catch you off guard. Prepare for the unexpected with this list of planning tips.

Surface Protection in Home Projects: Cover Things Up the Right Way, Right From the Start

Whether an area is being washed, painted, stained, sanded, or any other such messy task is being performed, most often these will be in areas in the vicinity of the work area that will need to be covered up and protected. Before the job even gets underway, task performers should be equipped with an ample supply of Surface protection products to make sure all areas that can be affected by the job being done have proper coverage.

Covering and protecting furniture, counters, equipment, flooring, and other areas should not be a more-or-less afterthought in this job. Improper planning and preparation in this regard could result in quite a mess later on in the project. The extra time in cleaning up unprotected areas, not to mention additional expenses that may be incurred in any unnecessary extra cleanup, can be avoided if the proper steps are taken to cover things up the right way, right from the start.

Consumers that are unsure about what their coverage needs may be, and what materials would be best for their job, should look to a company, like Trimaco, that specializes in an extensive array of job site protection products sales. Companies that focus only on selling such products carry the most superior products for all the needs the customer may have, all across the spectrum of personal and job site protection coverage.

Highly respected, leading companies in this industry feature their supreme products prominently on their easy to use website, with live chat help right there in the event any questions arise while customers look products over.

In order to make product selection very clear and easy, online catalogs should be featured on the company’s homepage. With a simple click, consumers should be able to view wide varieties of products to look at within moments. Such online catalogs should feature such needed items as:

  • Heavy-duty protection for surfaces
  • Heavy duty tapes
  • Masking tapes
  • Masking products
  • Protective films
  • Rags and Wipers
  • Dropcloths
  • Protective wear
  • Flooring paper
  • Masking paper
  • Gloves
  • Paint strainers
  • Dust containment
  • Envirosolutions Envirowash System
  • Various miscellaneous other items

Comprehensive websites, in addition to providing specific product descriptions and specs, will enable the user to download their catalog to conveniently always have right on hand. Users should be able to simply flip through the catalog online. Brochures and additional details about specific individual protection products should be provided through sales sheets. And to really aid the customer, videos that showcase provided products in the catalog should be able to be viewed right then and there.

Preventative Maintenance and Your HVAC System

In order for your home to maintain a welcoming atmosphere, you need to dedicate time to specific tasks. Your HVAC system, for example, plays a pivotal part in providing the right temperature for your space. When you want your family members and guests to feel comfortable while in your residence, the HVAC system is the most important component to pay attention to. Of course, there are going to come times when your units are not performing in the way you’ve come to expect. To keep control over the situation, you need to perform regular HVAC maintenance.

Taking care of your HVAC system and all associated equipment can be a great way to protect your home from disaster. Give yourself a moment to explore these tips on how to best maintain your system. With a little bit of help, you will have no trouble putting in the effort to protect your HVAC system and keep it running in an optimal way.

Clear Away Junk

Some tasks associated with keeping your HVAC system functional will be easier than others. In the summer, you want to keep your home nice and cool. This means you are going to rely on your air conditioning units to help you cultivate an inviting atmosphere inside your residence. As air conditioning units draw in air for reticulation, the units often wind up collecting nearby dirt and debris. When leaves or dust start to collect in a unit, it can lead to all kinds of complicated problems.

To avoid a total malfunction with your unit, you want to dedicate a certain amount of time to keeping your air conditioners clean. Set aside some room in your schedule each week and focus on cleaning each unit of anything that might have gotten sucked in while the air conditioner was running. Should problems persist, take time to contact NATE-certified experts to come and take a look at your system. Learn more about what NATE-certified means by reaching out to local professionals who have experience with keeping HVAC systems in excellent condition

Examine the Unit

Preventative steps can get you far, but there are going to be some issues that are more difficult to solve. When you notice your air conditioner is not running the way it used to, it can be a good idea to take a closer look. Examine the unit for any glaring problems. You might want to look at the refrigerant lines, coils, and filters to begin. Any breaks or fissures in the refrigerant lines, for example, can be a big cause for concern. A leak prevents the coolant from flowing around the unit, stopping cool air from being produced.

Should you not be able to discover the source of the problem, you might want to reach out to those who can help you. Experts in the HVAC industry have seen all kinds of problems before. Contact professional assistance and find a solution to your issue as soon as possible.

Replace Filters

Finally, you definitely want to focus on the filters of your air conditioning unit. These fixtures are responsible for keeping recirculated air clean. When the filter clogs, it can lead to more serious problems for the entire HVAC system. Avoid these problems by taking time to change the filters roughly every ninety days. Some filters need to be changed more frequently than others, so be sure to check the specs on your unit to know the exact duration you should wait.

There are many different ways to go about maintaining your HVAC system. As long as you take your time and focus on a few basic tasks, you are going to be able to get more from your system. Contact professionals for additional assistance and give your home a feeling of comfort at all times.

Getting Rid of Household Insects and Pests this Spring

Spring is the season of home maintenance and spring cleaning. It is also when most people begin to spot insects and pests in their homes. While a common annoyance, it’s important to address before it can get worse. Though they are tiny, invasive pests have had a serious economic, social, and environmental impact on our way of life. In order to combat these pests, it is useful to gain a better understanding of the options you have.

Assess the Situation

First and foremost, you want to spend a little time learning about what kind of pests you are dealing with. Ants and termites may look similar from above, but there are drastically different ways of dealing with them.

If you are not entirely sure what kind of species you are battling, then you might want to look towards professional help. Some pests can be treated without the help of professionals, but you always want to contact the experts when you have trouble finding the exact cause of an infestation. To get rid of pests for good, you are going to want to speak with someone in the industry and have experienced technicians check out your space.

Call in the Professionals

When an infestation is caught early enough, you might think you can take care of eliminating the threat without assistance. While this might seem like a simple task, you never know how intense the issue is until you start digging around for the source. By leaving it up to the experts, you are more likely to find the source and destroy it once and for all.

Getting rid of invasive species in your home is not going to be easy. In order for you to see the threat completely eliminated, you have to act fast. As soon as you notice there might be invasive pests in your home, contact the professionals who can come and take a look. The sooner you respond to the problem at hand, the easier it will be to get your home back to normal.

4 Home Maintenance Tasks for Spring

It’s that time of year again. Spring is in the air! While you may have a spring cleaning checklist, there are some areas of maintenance that you may be forgetting. It’s time to dust off your air conditioner, your washer and dryer, and even the top of your house. Use these maintenance tips to keep your home in tip-top shape throughout spring, summer, and beyond.

Windows and Doors

When spring cleaning your windows and doors, it isn’t enough to simply wipe them down with some glass cleaner. This is also a good time to perform maintenance. Check the tops, sides, and bottoms of your windows to feel for any drafts and visually determine if any of the seals are coming loose. If you detect issues, repairing them now could help you save money on your utility bills. This is also a good time to double-check that doorknobs and window locks aren’t loose or working improperly.

Roof and Gutters

Grab a ladder and some gloves and get up on the roof. Winter weather likely left twigs, leaves, and other debris all over your roof and in your gutters. Clogged gutters mean spring rains can’t trickle off the top of your house and into the yard, which could cause water to sit and even cause leaks. Remove any debris from the gutters and your roof, double-checking for missing shingles or cracks in the gutters as you go along. If you are unsure about getting on your roof yourself, call a professional to help you.

Washer and Dryer

Even if your friends and family don’t see them, it’s important to spring clean your washer and dryer. Doing so can add years to their lives. Remove the detergent and fabric softener dispensers from the washer to clean them. While you’re doing this, let a cup of bleach and a full tub of hot water soak in the machine and then run the long cleaning cycle. Rerun the cycle with hot water and vinegar. Finish with one more cycle of just hot water. If you have a front-loading machine, you should also clean the door seal with a bleach solution and a small toothbrush to prevent debris buildup.

When it comes to your dryer, it is important to remove lint buildup. Remove your lint filter and use your vacuum’s nozzle attachment to suck any lost lint out of the body of the dryer. Ensure there are no holes in your filter before putting it back into the machine. Wipe down the inside of the dryer with a rag and a mild detergent. If your dryer is automatic, you should clean the moisture sensor nodes as well. Don’t forget to remove the vent from the back of the dryer to remove any lint buildup.


Your HVAC unit is an essential part of your spring maintenance checklist. The quickest and easiest thing to do is to replace your unit’s filter. It is also important to turn your unit on and off, listening for any strange noises. Don’t forget to check the outside unit, either. If you notice anything that seems amiss, call someone to provide a professional inspection. If your HVAC unit hasn’t received an inspection in the past year, call a professional regardless.

By providing maintenance on the often forgotten parts of your home, you help to ensure their safety and longevity. A few hours on a Saturday afternoon can make a big difference to your wallet.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Natural Light

Sunlight pouring in through windows or a skylight can give a room a warm, comfortable atmosphere. So, you want to make the most of the natural light flowing into the rooms of your home. Check out these five tips that can help you accentuate the sunlight entering your rooms.

Paint the Walls

Do you have beautiful, large windows in your living room, dining room or bedroom? If so, you can enhance the sunlight coming through them by painting the walls a light color. Walls in white, beige, ivory or even a light pastel color serve to reflect sunlight coming into a room. This makes the room appear open and airy. If you don’t want solid white walls, try putting up a wallpaper border with an interesting design. A wallpaper border adds more color to the walls while still allowing the walls to reflect the sunlight.

Lighten Up the Carpeting

Do you have dark carpeting in a room with windows? If so, try replacing it with beige, white or light-colored carpeting. Like your walls, the carpeting can reflect the sunlight coming through the windows spreading it throughout the room. If you don’t want to tear up the dark carpeting in your room, you can put down a light-colored area rug on top of the carpet.

Put Up Some Mirrors

Hang a large mirror across from a window that lets in a lot of natural light. The mirror will reflect the light creating a more pleasant tone in the room. One of the best things about this tip is you can find a mirror with an elaborate gold, silver or wooden frame. This adds even more elegance to the room’s décor. Hang another smaller mirror on another wall of the room for added effect. Express your own creativity while choosing your mirrors!

Install Blinds that Accentuate Sunlight

Blinds or window coverings from a place like Next Day Blinds can go a long way to enhancing the natural light in any room of your home. For instance, blinds in light-colored wood can reflect the light that’s coming in the windows. Next Day Blinds shades with a roller design enhance the natural light while adding elegance to the décor of a room.

Choose Furniture Items with Care

Look at the furniture in your rooms. If you have a coffee table, end tables and dressers in dark wood, they aren’t really helping to enhance the sunlight that’s coming in. Replace some of your furniture items with some made of glass. For example, swap out your coffee table of walnut wood for a table with a glass top. The glass tabletop will reflect the sunlight flowing in. Get a glass display case for all of your miniature collectible figures or photos. Any piece of furniture with glass in its design can help to accentuate the sunlight.

Lastly, when you’re lucky enough to have a lovely window that lets in a lot of light, there are steps you can take to bring as much of it inside as you can. A full afternoon of filtered sunshine moving through a room can make your home an extra special place to be.

Maintaining Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

If you struggle with seasonal allergies, it may be tempting to blame them on outdoor triggers like pollen, mold, and ragweed. In many cases, poor indoor air quality in your home may be the culprit behind your itchy eyes or a runny nose. Prolonged exposure to these triggers may contribute to serious conditions such as bronchitis, asthma or respiratory issues.

Many Americans spend the majority of their lives indoors. Indoor air pollutant levels can be up to 100 times higher than pollutant levels outdoors. While it may initially be alarming to think about the number of toxins you are likely exposed to on a daily basis, there are a few things you can do to improve the indoor air quality of your home.

Restrict Smoking Areas

Exposure to secondhand smoke is dangerous for a number of reasons. Smoking indoors just one time is enough to contaminate the entire home. Avoid these indoor air contaminants by eliminating smoking in indoor areas.

Open a Window

Many heating and cooling units are designed to circulate the air inside your home. Opening a window allows fresh air to enter the home.

Wash Bedding Frequently

Sheets, comforters, and pillows can be breeding grounds for indoor pollutants. You can reduce exposure to these allergens by washing your linens thoroughly and often.

Regular AC Maintenance

Ensuring that at your AC unit is regularly maintained is key to improving your indoor air quality. Professional air conditioning installation West Chester companies like Mattioni Plumbing provide a wide range of services to help keep your unit running smoothly all year long. A visit from a professional AC maintenance technician may include services such as:

  • Duct Cleaning: Ducts may be cleaned to ensure that air can flow freely. When the air becomes trapped, the blockage can cause damage to the unit.
  • Thermostat Checks: An AC maintenance technician can check your thermostat to ensure that it is registering the correct temperature. When the thermostat is not working properly, it may push too much or too little air.
  • Coolant Level Checks: If the coolant is leaking into your AC unit, it can prevent it from operating properly. It can also cause damage to any parts that it leaks on. A professional air conditioning installation technician can identify the cause of the leak and then repair it.
  • Unit Inspection: During a routine maintenance appointment, a technician may inspect the inside of your unit for chipped, broken or damaged parts. In many cases, these failing parts may not be immediately noticeable. Running the unit with damaged parts can cause serious damage to your unit.
  • Check Seals: The seals of your AC unit are designed to keep air from leaking. An air conditioning repair technician can identify and repair seals that have become loosened over time.

Frequent Pet Grooming

Pet dander is a common indoor pollutant that can trigger allergies. Ensuring that pets are frequently washed and brushed can help control this issue by decreasing the amount of shedding.

Change Air Filters

In order to keep your air conditioning unit running as efficiently as possible, it is important to change your air filter frequently. The filter helps remove indoor pollutants from the air as it circulates through the unit.

Have Air Ducts Cleaned

As part of your cooling and heating system, in-home air is pushed from your unit and through air ducts. Without regular cleaning, these ducts can quickly become a nest for mildew, microbes, bacteria, dirt and lots of dust. Having your air ducts regularly cleaned by an AC professional can help remove the build-up of these harmful allergens.

Get a Humidifier

When your home has too much humidity, toxins like mold, mites, and dust can easily accumulate. If a home has too little humidity, it can leave your body vulnerable to infection. Proper humidification levels can help prevent symptoms like sore throats, viruses or respiratory infections.

Dealing with allergies is never fun, but luckily, there are a few things you can do to manage them. These tips will help you control your allergies by reducing indoor pollutants in your home.

4 Ways to Create the Interior Design Look of Your Dreams

Virtually every homeowner has a vision of what they want their home to look like. It does not do the eyes justice to just put up a hodgepodge of window coverings, cover the floor with some carpets, and then put in a smattering of furniture and call it a day. There needs to be some type of focus to a home in order to make it visually appealing and to allow you feel comfortable and free. Keep reading to learn about four ways to create the interior design look of your dreams.

Colors Do Matter

While that hot pink color you have your eyes on right now might look great today, you need to think long term. You do not want to get so creative that you will be left wondering what in the world you were thinking a few years from now. Choose a color pattern that is rich in color, but is neutral enough to allow for a great deal of variety in terms of your household furnishings. We are not saying that you can’t be bold here, but you do want to temper your enthusiasm just a little bit.

Choose the Furniture Wisely

If you really want to be comfortable in your own home, you need to consider the furniture. From an interior design perspective, this is one of the most important aspects of the decision making process. You need to choose furniture that meets with your personality from a visual perspective, but that which is also comfortable and functional at the same time. With Joybird Furniture, you will realize a functionality that will transcend time. You will find that Joybird is able to give you that level of comfort that you need, while providing you with the look that will complement virtually any design feature as well. This is a win win situation.

What About the Floor?

While carpet seems to be on its way out, you will want to consider what works for you. If it is tile or wood, choose your colors wisely. You will want to make sure that it meshes well with your walls and furniture. Also, remember that you can add some extra interior design touches by throwing down some strategically placed throw rugs. Make sure that they match the overall decor of the home as well and you will find that the look is complete.

The Windows Need Some Love

You do not want to forget the windows. It is important to make these centerpieces of your home. Allow plenty of light to come in during the day, while accenting them well with drapes or blinds. This is often an individual preference, but this is also an area where you can really get creative. Visit several different showrooms to decide on the just the look that complements the style of your home.

These are four areas that you will want to focus on in order to create the interior design look that will make you the envy of all your neighbors and friends. It simply takes a bit of planning on the front end before you will reap the tremendous rewards on the back end. You will end up with a living space that will be pleasing on the eyes for years to come.

Shopping for the Best Coverings for Your Home’s Floors

Even if your home comes with wall-to-wall carpeting, you still might want to cover up some or all of the floor space with throw or area rugs. Local retailers often sell a limited selection of lesser quality rugs. You may not like anything that you can find in big box stores or at the mall. Instead, you might want something that no one else in your neighborhood has when it comes to this type of floor covering. When you shop online, you can find unique choices of area carpeting, Roth rugs, runners, and more for anywhere in your home.

Selecting the Best Rug Style

If you are new to shopping for floor coverings, Modern Rugs for Sale, runners, and other home floor coverings, you might wonder how to choose the style that will look best in your home. You do not want the colors or patterns to clash with other fixtures like the drapes or under carpeting. You want to create a stylish yet seamless look in your home. Shopping online makes selecting the best rugs for your house easy. The website above features resources like an online quiz and Kate’s Picks that you can use to figure out how to decide what look is best for your home and which ones you might want to avoid.

You can also simply browse the pictures of each available rug on the website. If you see one that you like, click on the picture and read more about it. You can then add it to your online shopping cart if you choose.

High-quality rugs sometimes are priced a bit higher than their retail store counterparts. You might want to save some money to keep your costs low. The website offers online coupon codes that you can use to cut down the price of the rug you want to buy. You can find out what those codes are at the top of the website. You can also shop by what room in which you want to put the rug. The website shows you all of the top choices for spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and more. Throw rugs and runners add a touch of color and style to your home. You can select ones that will look great in your house and also be priced within your budget by using the resources for shopping on the website.