Audio Everywhere

The new components available these days allow all kinds of cool setups. If you’re a music lover (or even if you’re not) and you like projects, consider wiring your house for audio and controlling everything by remote control with your smartphone. Sound esoteric? It used to be but with today’s products it’s not only do-able, you do-it-yourselfers can have fun, get creative and wind up with sound everywhere.

Only a few years ago, a project such as this would have not only been fairly complex but expensive. Today, you can do it for a very reasonable cost. The most common system today uses A-bus technology. There are several manufacturers of A-bus components. Such a system uses the same cables as the ones you use to connect to the Internet, the so-called cat-5e cable. Its eight wires can do everything needed for the task. This article is too short to describe the details. You can get the help you need where you buy the components. From a cost standpoint, you can probably do a reasonably comprehensive system for somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000.

The most difficult part of the project is running the wires from a central location without destroying the walls or giving yourself a new plaster and paint project. Once that’s done, installing the locak connector boxes is not very difficult for our handy readers. However, choosing the right location for the components and hence the terminals should be thought about carefully. Be aware that you’ll need an electric outlet nearby to power the central transformer. Most installers put the central unit in the basement, out of the way. Each room with sound needs a low voltage box. The cat 5-e cables and speaker wires are mounted in the box.

If you look on-line, you can find several good descriptions of a system. with wiring diagrams. Many suppliers will even give you suggestions about which manufacturer’s components you should buy. They would probably love to sell you the components and would even like to contract with you to do the job. But if you want to do it yourself, find a company that represents] a line of components and check their willingness to be available to answer questions when you get stuck. Most companes are happy to do so. They want you to be satisfied since most of their customers will add capabilities as they improve and recommend them to their neighbors.

A Handy Guide on How To Install a New Chimney Flashing

Rainstorms are always a good reason to stay home and spend all day with your loved ones. One of the many reasons why a storm can ruin your day is when water leaks out from your ceiling. There are many causes for this to happen. Foremost among them is a roof that has a few or many holes in it. While this is the most common reason, your chimney can also be a culprit to your water leak problems. If this is the case in your house, one chimney component you should check first is its flashing.

Basically, a flashing is pieces of sheet metal that connects the chimney to your house’s roof. Apart from creating the aforementioned connection, the chimney flashing also prevents water and other harmful elements from entering your home. Although it should withstand all kinds of weather conditions, its lifespan can deteriorate as time passes by. When this happens, you should take some time off to remedy this problem before it can affect your residential living experience.

Before you start on the task itself, you will need to gather the necessary materials and tools to replace your old chimney flashing. First off, it is essential you obtain a large piece of sheet metal. Go for sheet metal with a 26 gauge and is prefabricated to ensure quality. Plus, you can have this piece of metal bent and customized according to the measurements of your chimney. Next, you will need Polyurethane caulk, roofing membrane, and a couple of roof brackets. When it comes to tools, you will need to obtain a ladder, cutting snips, a pencil, hammer, chisel, tape measure, a spirit level, and a grinder. Of course, don’t forget safety gear like gloves, eye goggles, and a roof harness.

Get rid of the old flashing in your chimney

Once you have determined your house’s chimney is causing trouble, you need to take it out right away. Set up your trusted ladder and use a roof harness to prevent any accident from occurring. Then, locate the chimney flashing and pry it out using a hammer and a chisel. Chip away at the roof cement that’s holding everything together until you have removed the defective flashing.

Customize the size of the base and step flashing

Now that you have cleared your chimney from its old flashing, you should take out your tape measure, pencil, and spirit level. You need to take the measurements of your chimney so you can cut accurately through the sheet metal you purchased.

Once you have those measurements, step down from your roof and cut the customized sheet metal using the snips. Make sure the metal is bent accurately at 45 degrees to ensure its durability. Afterwards, cut several other pieces of metal for the step flashing and saddle. Use your grinder to smoothen out the edges and make everything equal. Do remember to visualize how these separate pieces of metal will come together on your chimney so they will turn out alright.

Install the step flashing and chimney saddle

After cutting your sheet metal, you can now return to your roof to install them onto your chimney. First, lay down the base flashing on your chimney and seal it with some roofing membrane. Use your spirit level to keep your base flashing equal to the roof. Then, place the metal saddle and seal it with more roof membrane. Allow it to dry and you can move on to the next step.

Add step flashing on the base flashing

Now, get your tape measure and pencil to mark where you’re going to install the step flashing. Afterwards, attach it to the side of your chimney on the markings you made using roof membrane. Focus on how each step flashing overlaps with one another to ensure water won’t seep in through them. Complete the installation process by hammering down roofing nails on the base flashing to secure it.

Apply a coat of paint on your new chimney flashing

Once you have installed a new flashing to your chimney, it’s now time to make it more presentable. Get a primer and apply it on your chimney flashing to help the paint stick on it. Afterwards, apply the main coat of your chosen paint color and allow it to dry. When the paint has dried up, your chimney flashing installation work is now down.

INSULATION 101

Finding leaks where much of the heat is dissipated is the first thing you should do. But definitely, you should consider the effects of lack of insulation on your heating bills. The worst culprit in a home is the attic. Keep in mind that insulation materials are relatively inexpensive and are a worthwhile investment. First because a modest investment can have dramatic results. Another thing to consider is that reduction in energy use has an effect on air pollution.

There are several types of insulation and what you use depends on where you have to put it. There’s fiberglass that comes in rolls or sheets of varything thickness. Cellulose has to be blown in. And finally, there are several types of foam. Fiberglass is rated with an R number. When you’re ready to go ahead, your supplier can tell you what rating you need. It’s likely to be different for a floor, wall or ceiling.

If your house is old, likely it is not insulated enough and you’re energy bills are likely to be high. If so, begin in the attic. That’s where you are likely to be emptying your wallet. If you don’t use your attic for storage, things get easier. The best is to lay fiberglass on the attic floor with the vapor barrier (which is on one side of the fiberglass sheet) toward the living area. A thickness of about twelve inches should probably be used. This gives you double duty because not only does the fiberglass insulate but you also get an air area which is effectively a second insulation. If you have to insulate the attic ceiling which is the roof, you need to install spacers to keep the fiberglass from contact with the roof.

The skill set required for fiberglass insulation is minimal . You have to be able to measure and cut. So you will need a tape measure and sharp blade . For safety reasond, in addition, you should have a mask to protect against inhaling fiberglass particles, safety glasses and gloves.

Insulating walls requires blowing in a foam which is another task entirely and needs different equipment. You can usually rent blowing equipment. Esssentially you have to drill a hole, usually in the outside siding big enough for the tube to fit. You also have to be aware that vertical beams separate sections of the wall so a hole has to be drilled for each section to blow in the insulation. After you finish, plug up the holes.

Insulating your basement has two results. First of all, it makes the basement livable for whatever use you want to put it to – storage, ping-pong, playroom etc. Secondly, an insulated basement helps keep the rest of the house warm. Before insulating the walls you should insulate the spaces between the joists in the ceiling with fiberglass. Insulating the walls requires installing a vapor barrier by taping it to the wall and then putting furring strips horizontally and vertically over the barrier to hold the insulation. The details on installing the basement wall insulation is for another time.

What You Can Do When Your Kitchen Sink is Clogged

A kitchen is an integral part of your home. This particular area of your house provides ample room for you to prepare your meals without the fear of disturbing anyone. That’s why maintaining your kitchen at its best condition is very crucial to the overall integrity of a house. Otherwise, you would have a hard time feeding your family if there is something wrong with your kitchen. One of the many problems you might encounter in your kitchen is a clogged sink. Rather than spend your precious time and money on hiring a plumber, it would do you well to know how to solve this predicament on your own. Don’t worry because this task is simple enough to accomplish.

Gather the Necessary Tools

First and foremost, you would need to the proper tools to remove anything that’s clogging your kitchen sink. You would need a plunger, clamp, wrench, a drain snake, and a pair of pliers to effectively remove any kind of clog in your kitchen sink. At the same time, don’t forget your protective gloves as well. Anything inside your kitchen’s drainage system is sure to be dirty and exposing your bare skin to them can be really harmful. Do yourselves a favor and don’t allow that to happen by getting a pair of gloves.

Get Rid of Any Clogging Materials Using a Plunger

After you have obtained the required tools, get the plunger first. Hold it with a firm grip and place the other end on your kitchen sink’s hole. Do remember to place the plunger using a 90-degree angle and push it down gently at first. Exert a little effort as you gradually push down on the aforementioned hole. The plunger will remove some of the food waste or trash that’s stuck in your kitchen’s sink and make this job a whole lot easier. Keep in mind to have a waste container nearby so you can place the waste inside it right away.

Eliminate All Traces of Dirt in the P-Trap

Even after using a plunger, there will still be a lot of waste left in your kitchen sink. To remedy that problem, you will need to disassemble the P-Trap under your sink. Basically, this pipe resembles the letter J and transmits all waste from your sink to your house’s drainage system. For starters, place a basic underneath this kitchen plumbing fixture to catch all waste when you disassemble it. Loosen the slip nut that’s holding the P-Trap in place with the help of a wrench. Once you have loosened the P-Trap, take it out and clean all the waste you see with soap and water. You might need a powerful detergent because there will be grease in it.

Clear the Remaining Clogging Materials in the Kitchen Drain Pipes

Along with your sink and P-Trap, your kitchen’s drain pipes can also contain waste in them. If you have done the previous steps, you might need to clean these drain pipes as well. Better get the drain snake and insert it into your drain pipes. Continue inserting this plumbing tool until it hits an obstruction. Once it does, crank the drain snake until its tip digs into the clog. You will be able to pull the material that’s clogging your pipes and clear your drainage once again.

 

Wallpaper

Getting Started

Hanging wallpaper yourself is a project but with the right attitude it can be fun, but you have to be careful. The first thing to do is pick out the paper. There are sample books in the stores that won’t quit. Sometimes I think picking out the paper is the hardest part of the job. Get yourself a kit of tools if you want to do the job without pain. Most stores will have such a kit and some tools to supplement the kit. Let the store personnel advise you. If you don’t have the tools you need, the job will be more difficult.

Removing the Old

If there is already paper on the wall, you should remove it. Sometimes you can paper over it if it’s in great condition but I’ve found those situations rare. And why would you want to take the chance? There are several ways to do it. Use a spray bottle of vinegar and water or commercially available removers. But before spraying, it’s a good idea to remove the outlet and switch covers and turn off the circuit breaker. Then use a puncture tool which will make holes in the paper without damaging the wall behind it. Spray the old paper well and the old paste gets very wet. Wait fifteen or twenty minutes and use a scraper to get the paper off. This is the worst part about papering, – removal. Re-spray if you have to. After removing the paper, wash the wall down thoroughly. Plaster any bumpy spots and make the wall as smooth as possible.

Paint the Ceiling First

Take this tip. If you plan to paint the ceiling, do it before papering. You don’t want paint dripping onto freshly hung paper.

How Much Do You Need

The next step, although you probably would have done this first is to measure and estimate how much paper you need. You don’t want to add paper later. It may not come from the same printing batch and be just different enough to drive you crazy. The best thing to do is measure your walls and take the measurements to the place you’re buying the paper. They’ll be able to give you a proper estimate of how many rolls you need. Get a sample to put on your wall to see how it looks. Also, depending on the pattern, you need a sample to plan how the edges should match up.

Enjoy it

Finally, take your time and enjoy it. It can be a fun project for a family. And if you have any questions, the store personnel will be happy to advise you. They love do-it-yourselfers. If they can make it easy for you, they’ve got you as a customer.

When to Call a Plumbing Service and Repair Professional

The plumbing that is inside of a home is essential for a healthy environment and the proper functioning of many different systems. Problems with the plumbing are sometimes hard to detect. Some problems may seem simple but often becomes more serious when it is ignored or not remedied properly. The idea that these problems will somehow fix themselves is not correct and can be very harmful to the pipes. There are several common situations inside of a house that should not be ignored.

MOLD AND MILDEW

Certain homes experience problems with mold and mildew on a regular basis because of the seasons or the climate in an area. When mold and mildew suddenly appear when there was none before, this is a potential sign of plumbing troubles inside of the house. This is an indication that extra humidity and moisture are entering the air. Extra moisture that triggers the growth of mildew and mold is frequently caused by a leak in a pipe that releases water into the walls, under the floors or into other spaces. Leaks are not easy to detect, and the extent of the damage is difficult to assess without experience. This is a situation where a professional plumbing service and repair contractor should be called in to fix the problem.

SLOW DRAINS

Everyone experiences some clog or slow drain at some point which is normally caused by a physical obstruction in a pipe. It is also caused by problems deeper in the pipes and drains of a home. Drains that have been running slow even after cleaning the entry points in sinks and tubs usually require the attention of a trained plumber. Several issues could be taking place including breaks in the line, clogs that have moved down to the primary drainage point and a buildup of materials inside of the pipes. All of these problems require the special skills of a plumbing service and repair professional.

UNPLEASANT ODORS

There are special mechanisms in place that are intended to trap gases, remove waste and prevent municipal sewage from entering the pipes in a home. One sign that something is wrong is when unpleasant odors begin to emanate from faucets, drains or other fixtures attached to the pipes in the house. This is a sign that there might be a severe problem with the drainage system or the connections to the municipal system outside of the house. The only way to fix this problem is to contact Best plumber and repair contractor who will be able to diagnose the problem and stop the odors accurately.

No matter, whether it is a leak, unpleasant odors, slow drains, mold, and mildew, or anything else, professional plumbers of this company are always there to help you out. You can call them at any time as they offer 24-hour emergency plumbing service.

Tips for Choosing the Best Contractor to Repair Broken Pipes

When upgrading a home, one of the things that you will be looking at is the drains. You want to ensure that after renovations, you have a properly functioning plumbing system. This is because apart from making the house more comfortable, it can also increase its value, and reduce insurance costs. So, how do you find the best contractor to repair broken pipes? Consider the following factors.

Choosing the Right Plumber

It all starts by choosing a plumber to work on your drainage pipes. Regardless of where you live, you are likely to find many contractors for this job. However, it is unlikely that they all will be suitable. You need to find out what they are capable of. For example, you may ask for some of the projects that they worked on and see if they reflect what you want. You also should talk to them about your unique needs so that they understand your project.

Latest Plumbing Technology

If you look at some of the leading plumbing companies in your area, you will notice that they have invested in the latest technology for broken pipes repair. Some of them use video inspection to find faults in pipes and fix them accordingly. This is the reason they are always fast and accurate in what they do. If you choose a company that still relies on ancient techniques, you will only end up a disappointed customer.

When looking for a contractor to repair broken pipes, you should insist on experience. During their work, plumbers acquire unique skills and therefore, they become better with time. At the end of the day, what you need is a home with the perfect drainage system.

Entrust the repair of your broken pipes to the professional plumbers of this company. They are available 24/7, including holidays and weekends. They also offer water damage restoration services. 

Toilet Auger vs. Top Snake vs. Plunger

The right tool for the job makes all the difference when you’ve got a clogged toilet drain. No matter what the clog is, if it’s in a toilet then it’s probably tough on the nose, not to mention disgusting. There’s no reason to fear the toilet clog though! With the right tool, you might not even need to call a professional plumber.

Toilet Auger

A common and often effective tool for unclogging a toilet is the trusty toilet auger. These can be found at major home supply stores, and it’s a tool that can be invaluable if you find yourself getting regular clogs. The tool moves through the toilet drain in order to remove the clog or whatever else may be causing the obstruction. The unique design of the toilet auger makes it more effective at removing clogs than most other options like toilet snakes. Toilet augers have a coil head that hooks objects to free them from the toilet. The long, flexible shaft has an auger bit at one end of the tool, with a crank on the other end that allows the user to turn and push, removing the drain clog.

Top Snake

You don’t’ always need something big to unclog a toilet, or to unclog any kind of smaller opening. A top snake is most effective on stubborn clogs in tubs, showers, washing machines, and sinks. The shape and the size can vary widely, leaving you with lots of options for your plumbing needs. The wire coil of a top snake has a corkscrew-like tip that goes into the pipes to hunt down the clog. With a long cord that’s made from tough cable, top snakes are perfect for drains that don’t have too much build up.

Plunger

Everyone has a plunger! This stalwart tool has helped Elizabeth homeowners get stuff unstuck for generations. Most people don’t realize that there are two types of plungers – flange plungers and cup plungers. Flange plungers are perfect for toilets, with their lipped design, help create a better seal in your toilet to get the drain moving. Cup plungers are what most of us thing of as a regular plunger, and their rubber cup is perfect for sinks and tubs.

The more you know, the better you’ll be able to get the right tool to help you unclog your drain easily and without having to resort to calling a sewer service!

Looking for quality tools to unclog your toilet? If you need just a little pressure to get things flowing, check out this shop that carries toilet plungers, auger, and other plumbing supplies. 

6 Things that Invite Bugs to Your Home

Photo credit: insightpest via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Most of us don’t want to think about getting bugs into our home. However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to getting bugs out of your house.

Just like all animals, bugs want food, they want water, and they want shelter. You’re probably unknowingly giving bugs an open invitation into your home! The good news is that there are ways to for Jersey City, NJ families to prevent bugs from getting into the house in the first place.

Screens/Doors

Sealing off screens doors can help prevent cockroach infestations, flies, mosquitos, and all kinds of bugs!

Crevices/Cracks

Sealing off crevices and cracks, particularly in older homes, prevents bugs from ever getting in in the first place.

Food

This one is obvious, but it’s worth noting anyway. Cleaning food debris away from dining areas, including washing dishes, cleaning counters, mopping floors, etc. cuts off the food supply of cockroaches and ants, preventing major pest control issues.

Trash cans

Of course, trash cans are a major draw for pests, which is why it’s important to make sure they’re sealed tightly and cleaned out regularly.

Pet food

Pets like to eat food, and so do pests. Don’t leave pet food out where pests can get to it, and always be sure to clean up your pet’s feeding area after they’re done eating.

Papers and boxes

Bugs like cockroaches love to hide in papers and piled up boxes. Don’t let clutter get out of control, as it offers the perfect place for pests to hide!

 

If you’ve got a pest control problem, check out this company that offers professional bug extermination services. With their help, you will live in a house that is absolutely bug-free!

How to Powerwash Your Driveway – DIY

Driveways tend to gather a great deal of muck and stains over time. Luckily, cleaning your driveway is easy to do and effective with a power washer.  

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Broom
  • Stiff brush
  • Spray on degreaser
  • Pressure washer cleaner
  • Pressure washer (rent one or borrow one, you don’t have to buy)
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Painter’s tape
  • Garden hose

Instructions for pressure washing your driveway

  1. Clear debris and dirt from the driveway using a broom.
  2. Cover exterior surfaces that are nearby using the painter’s tape and the plastic sheeting.
  3. Read the manual thoroughly before starting to use the pressure washer.
  4. Spray the surface degreaser on tough spots and scrub with the stiff brush. The pressure washer is going to do most of the work, but elbow grease is still required.
  5. Connect the pressure washer hose and its wand to the pressure washer according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Choose the tip that’s specifically for washing, it might be labeled “soap”.
  7. Connect the hose to the pressure washer and the garden hose to the water supply portion of the pressure washer.
  8. Turn on the water.
  9. Place the siphon tube (this should be supplied with the pressure washer) into the pressure washer detergent container and attach the pressure washer.
  10. Hold the spray handle and turn the pressure washer on. Keep your distance 10-18 inches from the driveway surface.  Use a smooth, back and forth motion along the driveway, overlapping strokes about six inches.
  11. Allow the detergent to sit on the driveway surface for five minutes.
  12. While the detergent is sitting, change the tip on the pressure washer to the “25 degree” tip. Detach the detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  13. Work your way back along the driveway now with water to remove the detergent in the same manner as you sprayed on the detergent.
  14. For tough stains, hold the tip just three to four inches from the surface and use even, slow strokes to remove the stain.

Once your driveway is clean, consider sealing it to protect it from future stains.

Need help in cleaning your driveway? No worries! Click here to check out companies that offer professional power washing services in Troy, MI.