4 Common Home Problems and Solutions

Among many other things, common home problems include high energy bills. Ask your utility company about an energy audit and use your appliances wisely.

Home is where the heart is. It’s your domain, your cove. Unfortunately, your home presents its own problems every now and then, leaving you tearing your hair out and dipping into your precious savings to fix them. Let’s take a look at some common home problems and their solutions so you can keep your cool and control of your kingdom.

Being smart about using your lights and appliances reduces your utility bills.
Being smart about using your lights and appliances reduces your utility bills.

1. A high utility bill

High utility bills are the bane of any homeowner’s existence, cutting into your wallet and making you wonder if you really need lights or running water. Utilities are especially pricey in the summer and winter, when the extreme temperatures have you cranking up the air conditioning or heater.

Whether you do or do not have an air system in your home already, consider a ductless air conditioning and heating system. The lack of ducts makes these more efficient than traditional air systems. Ducts are vulnerable to leaks and convective heat transfer, which overall means your system has to chug harder to keep the temperature regulated. Plus, if you want something better than a window unit but don’t have ducts already in your walls—no sweat, you don’t need ‘em!

There are many other ways to reduce your utility bill. Most of them just require being smarter about how you use your lights and appliances. Ask your utility company about auditing your home for maximum energy savings




2. Dust

Composed of skin cells, dirt, debris, bug parts, and all kinds of other things, dust is an inescapable part of any modern home. Increased dust could point to a dirty air filter in your furnace or air conditioner. Make sure you change out the filter once a month.

Your bedding is a major distributor of dust. The mix of skin flakes and fabric fibers tumble out of your bed every time you roll over. Wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly—ideally once a week. Take items that can’t be washed, like blankets and bedspreads, outside, give them a good shake, and hang them in the sun, which is the best disinfectant.

3. Dry indoor air

In the winter, indoor air tends to dry up, causing eye irritation, nosebleeds, countless bad hair days, and static shocks whenever you reach for the door. The best way to fix that dryness is to introduce some moisture into the air. Use a humidifier, vaporizer, or steam generator to lift water up and into your home’s air. If you don’t have any of those, a wet towel, bowls of water spread throughout the home, and a full bathtub can be just as effective—although wasteful. If possible, invest in a simple humidifier.

4. Cold floors

One of the most unpleasant feelings in the world is transferring your feet from the warmth of your bed to a freezing cold floor. Use plenty of area rugs on your hard floors or invest in a good pair of morning slippers. Cold floors may also point to an air leak or insulation issues.

Your home should present as little hassle as possible, so do your best to keep things comfortable and contact a professional if necessary.

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electric meter image by Wikimedia Commons

The Cost of a Leaking Water Faucet

Calculate the amount of water wasted of a leaking water faucet over time. It adds up. DIY or call a plumber if you are not comfortable in fixing it.

We have all heard the sound of a leaking faucet, and many have not calculated the cost of even a slow leak. The sound of slow and steady water droplets occurring repeatedly in the night can be enough to make a person go crazy. Aside from the annoying noise, this little terror of a plumbing problem can end up costing you hundreds. In reality, one drop of water is worth a fraction of a fraction of a penny.

Faucet Dripping
The water wasted from a dripping faucet can add up and will reflect on your water bill.

All it takes is a little mathematical skill to realize the effects that faulty faucets are having on your bill.

The numbers do not lie

With some help from the drip calculator (seriously it is a website where you can figure out precisely how much water is being wasted), we can have some fun. Let’s say one faucet in your home is dripping at a rate of 5 drops a second. Over the course of a year, it will have wasted 175 gallons of water. That water and the money spent letting it drip right down the drain could have been put to better use.

But what if we zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Maxing out the calculator’s variables to 1 million homes brings that annual figure to 173 million gallons! The cost? About $20 million or so. This is a substantial amount of water waste. It’s easy for us to forget that water is a valuable, precious natural resource.

Thus, it is the responsibility of every homeowner to ensure their plumbing systems are in top shape. If you don’t care about saving money, do it for the environment. If you don’t care about the environment, do it to save money. And if you don’t care about either of those things, do it so you don’t lose your mind!

Fix Those Faucets:

If you are not comfortable with a diy fix, call a plumber and watch him do it. You can fix the next leak. Fixing a leaky faucet isn’t too hard of a plumbing job, but it can be frustrating if you don’t know the proper steps.

      • The first thing to do is shut the water supply valve off.

      • Proceed by plugging the drain to prevent nuts and bolts from accidentally falling inside.

      • Carefully remove the sink’s fixtures.

      • Replace the O-rings if they appear to be worn out, as this is a common cause of faucet leaks.

      • As well, check all the seals and clean the internal components of any mineral deposits before reassembling the faucet.

      • Make sure all connections are snug; test to see if the leak is still present by turning the valve back on. If you are lucky, the slow drip will be history! If not, call a professional or try, try again.

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dripping faucet image by Wikimedia Commons

Get to Know Your Plumbing

Hiring plumbing services to assess your pipes will help to prevent leaks, high water bills and extensive water damage to the home when the pipe bursts.

It is important to get to know your plumbing so you will know how long your pipes will last and when they should be replaced. The lifespan of the pipes in the average home is probably only a few decades. Sometimes they last longer and sometimes they don’t even last the first 10 years. This greatly depends on the material used to make them as well as ground conditions and location of the home.

Hiring a plumber to inspect your plumbing will make you aware of potential problems and future improvement projects.
Hiring a plumber to inspect your plumbing will make you aware of potential problems and future improvement projects.




Eventually, all pipes will either rust, burst or suffer from corrosion. Replacing the pipes in your home will help to prevent leaks, high water bills and more extensive water damage to the home when the pipe bursts. Prevention here is key, after all pipe replacement costs considerably less than repairing the water damage.

Hiring plumbing services to complete the inspections will help to ensure that no possible problems to the plumbing are missed by untrained eyes. As mentioned above the life-span of various piping materials varies. PVC pipes can last up to 40 years. For pipes that will last nearly 100 years, use cast iron, brass or galvanized steel. Copper piping can be expected to last nearly 80 years.

It is important to note that there are many factors that can change these estimates, such as elements of the environment and physical impacts. One good example is hard water. Hard water has been known to cause much greater wear and tear on a home’s plumbing.

When Should You Replace

If you are moving into an older home, it is a good idea to have the plumbing inspected so that you can be aware of the condition of the home’s pipes. Look at the piping material to make sure it is not dangerous. Also look for leaks and tubing that is starting to rust. Hiring a plumber to complete the inspections will help to ensure that no possible problems to the plumbing are missed by untrained eyes.

Dangerous piping material, such as polybutylene and lead should be replaced before moving in. If the home is quite aged, chances are that there are lead pipes still being used. Hazards to a person’s health can be caused by lead that enters the drinking water through the pipes.

Having the polybutylene pipes replaced is not because they are toxic. Rather, these pipes can be easily broken. By replacing them before they are damaged, you will save yourself a lot of trouble that water leaks and damage can cause. When replacing pipes, materials such at PVC, PEX and copper are acceptable.

What Else To Look For

Corrosion can be discovered by looking for discoloration, flaking and staining. Metal piping is well known for becoming corroded and this corrosion leads to leaks. If you discover any of these things within the plumbing system, replacement should be highly considered. Water leaks can also happen for other reasons, such as fittings that need tightened. Once it is determined that the tubing is good, the joints should be checked if leaking continues to be a problem. Sealing or tightening the joints could be an easy fix.

What Benefits Are There to New Plumbing

By putting in new pipes, you will be cutting your chances of leaks and water damage down. The new pipes will also increase the amount of time you can expect before you have problems with your plumbing. You should continue regular inspections of your pipes even when you have new ones as this will ensure that they will last.

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For the best plumbing in Cleveland TN, visit Bill Owens Plumbing.

plumbing image by Wikimedia Commons

Comparing Solar Shingles and Solar Panels

In capturing solar energy for your home, solar shingles are thinner and lighter than solar panels, making them much easier to install and adjust.

When it comes to solar energy, you have a choice with solar panels and solar shingles. Many people have heard of solar panels, but have no idea what solar shingles are or the benefits they provide.

Solar panels can be an obnoxious and often very heavy hassle during installation.
Solar panels can be an obnoxious and often very heavy hassle during installation.

The federal government gives you a 30% Federal Tax Credit to install a photovoltaic device on your house (this includes solar shingles). There may also be more credit if you put in solar thermal or hot water unit.  Additional tax credits are given by state governments also give tax credits.  Energy state tax credits differ by state. Please check with the IRS, your state tax board or your accountant. Tax laws continually change.

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3 Benefits to Starting Your Own Garden

Starting your own garden gives you fresh, healthy vegetables in your back yard. It is also relieves stress, reduces depression and a great exercise.

Starting your own garden is a good idea. You not only get healthy food from your back yard, but it is also a great exercise. Gardening has a history that dates back to ancient times, before humans even had a written language. Archeological sites show that Homo sapiens not only gathered various vegetables, fruits, roots, and nuts, but also grew and cultivated them.

Gardening can be therapeutic and can alleviate depression on top of getting food readily available in your back yard.
Gardening can be therapeutic and can alleviate depression on top of getting food readily available in your back yard.

Gardening certainly has its roots in survival, but it has survived even in the modern world, where food is readily available in the grocery store. So why would anyone have a garden of their own? Here are some benefits of starting a garden of your own.

1. Stress relief

Sure, there are times when the plants just aren’t growing right, moments when you need to contact pest control services for an infested garden, but for the most part, gardening is a wonderful way to relieve the stress in your life.

It all has to do with directed attention, which is your ability to voluntarily focus and direct your thoughts to performing a certain task. However, long, sustained directed attention is difficult and tiring, leading to directed attention fatigue, something that far too many people suffer from—just imagine all the emails, tweets, status updates, phone calls, and work that’s thrown at you throughout the day. This fatigue leads to irritability, distraction, stress, and the classic brain fart.




Fortunately, this fatigue is reversible, and that’s where gardening comes into play. Gardening requires involuntary attention, which means it doesn’t take much mental effort to tend to your garden or enjoy nature. Placing yourself in such a natural environment and taking part in easy, repetitive, soothing tasks gets your eyes uncrossed and your brow unfurrowed (albeit a little sweaty).

2. Alleviate depression

If you’re feeling down in the dumps, planting a garden may be just what the doctor ordered. The lift in spirits could come from a wide range of factors associated with gardening. Spending time in the sun is known to increase production of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found primarily in the gut that helps to boost mood, among other things.

Gardening also poses an element of care-giving. You’re responsible for turning these few seeds into large plants, flowers, or veggies. This is just like caring for a pet. Being charged with the growth and well-being of something outside yourself increases your sense of worth and purpose, both of which can help comfort depression.

Other scientists have a slightly more radical idea about how gardening can ease depression. Soil is rich with a variety of natural chemicals and bacteria, including Mycobacterium vaccae. This harmless strain of bacteria has been shown to trigger the release and metabolism of serotonin, improve cognitive function, and potentially treat a variety of diseases. Digging around in the soil may actually make you feel good at a physiological level.

3. Exercise

While it’s not as strenuous as training for a marathon, gardening certainly gets your blood pumping and sweat moving. Weeding, planting, digging, sifting, and all the other repetitive tasks of gardening present excellent low-impact forms of exercise that require some strength and stretching. This makes gardening a great activity for those who can’t perform more vigorous exercises.

The best part: you’re more likely to stick to this exercise because it’s not exercise just for the sake of it. There’s a reason for doing everything. You’re motivated to want to perform better as it means being able to pull up weeds better or dig faster.

If you’re looking for a healthier, happier life, your best solution may be to plant yourself a garden. Good luck and happy planting.

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home grown tomato image by Wikimedia Commons

 

Hiring A Professional to Repair Your Boiler

A boiler repair specialist can change filters, ensure proper maintenance and fix your boiler malfunction more quickly than you can do yourself.

One project that you might want to pass onto a professional would be repairing your boiler. Keeping your home running properly can be challenging in a tight economy. There are many projects that you can tackle on your own to keep the costs down.  If you find that your boiler stops working properly you might want to take the time to contact a specialist in boilers. They can help you find answers to your boiler malfunction issues far more quickly than you could do yourself.

If your boiler stops working, contact a professional to make sure all of the moving parts are properly oiled and not broken.
If your boiler stops working, contact a professional to make sure all of the moving parts are properly oiled and not broken.

Taking the time to make sure that you get the job done right is essential. Hiring a specialist in boilers provides you with the professional support you need to get the repairs made.

A specialist in boilers will want to look over the boiler to be sure that all moving parts are properly oiled and not broken. If they find any parts that are broken they will work hard to make sure that they are replaced. In addition to making sure that all moving parts are working properly the professional will take the time to change any filters in your boiler so that there is no contamination getting into your boiler so that it is working properly. The debris can cause your boiler to malfunction and cause damage with time. In addition, it is wise to have the specialist in boilers change any filters in the duct work of the home. This will insure that the air you are breathing is clean.

If the professional in boilers find that your unit is old and inefficient, he or she might recommend that you consider replacing it with a newer unit. This expense can be easily offset by the savings that you will see from using a new boiler to heat your home. As your boiler ages it begins to work less efficiently causing your energy bills or fuel bills to rise dramatically. In addition, as the boiler gets older it is going to need more and more repair work, which can also get expensive. You can save these expenses by having a professional in boilers install a new boiler that is going to be more efficient.

When the professional installs the boiler they will likely want to install new thermostats as well. These are typically digital and programmable in style. This means that you can set the thermostat to go to a specified temperature during certain times of the day. This is a good way to save money by only using the amount the heating that you need at the given time. In addition, digital thermostats can more accurate in their readings. A more accurate reading means that your boiler will not need to work as hard to get the job done correctly and to provide you with reliable heating throughout the home.

Before you decide whether to replace your old boiler or not, make sure that you get a couple of estimates on the job. You want to see the materials that will be used, including the boiler itself, as well as the labor costs on the page. Make sure the boiler that is going to be installed has a warranty on it and that you understand the limitations of that warranty. The professional should also guarantee their installation and be willing to back it up. Hire a professional with a good reputation to do the job so that there is no mistaking that they will do it well. You will want to make sure that you hire a licensed contractor that carries insurance to handle the work ahead.

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boiler image by Wikimedia Commons

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About Garage Door Repairs

You should not do your garage door repair yourself. You might cause more damage. Many garage door issues can be fixed without buying a new one.

When you have a problem with your garage door, the last thing you want to do is buy a new door when you have the ability to have your garage door repaired by a professional. There are many different problems that can occur and cause you to need garage door repairs, and the type of repair that you’ll need for your garage door depends on the type of door that you have on your garage. Two of the biggest mistakes that people make when they have a problem with their garage door is trying to fix the door on their own, or buying a new door instead of having the current one repaired.

If your garage door is damaged and in need of repair, do not be too fast in getting it replaced. Trying to fix it yourself can be dangerous. Contact a garage door professional.
If your garage door is damaged and in need of repair, do not be too fast in getting it replaced. Trying to fix it yourself can be dangerous. Contact a garage door professional.

The first mistake of trying to fix the door yourself can end up resulting in even further damage, which will end up costing you more on the repairs than it would when you hire a professional for your garage door repairs. The second mistake of buying a new door will end up costing you a lot more money, because more often than not, the issue can be fixed, and the cost of fixing the issue may be very cheap.

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