Entries in Repairs (7)

Thursday
Mar012018

March is here and the winds are howling. Make time to check these 4 items around your house.

March To-Do List for Your Clients

Homeowners who’ve been through multiple winters know that this time of year isn’t a time to be slacking in home maintenance. There’s more to March madness than just basketball—in housing, it’s the time to make sure owners are staying proactive in tending to their homes through these next few springtime months. 

HouseLogic shares four tasks all owners have to do in March:

  1. Patch up spots on the lawn. As spring showers start to arrive, be sure to cover any bare areas on your yard. This is a crucial task to take care of as snow and ice continue to melt away, and doing so will keep mud and water out of your house.
  2. Use binoculars to inspect the roof and siding. It’s important to look for signs of damage on your home’s roof and siding. To save time and as a safer alternative to a ladder, use a pair of binoculars to spot these signs: loose or curling shingles, damaged gutters, peeling paint, or cracks in the foundation. Stop these signs from turning into money-sucking problems and start setting up repairs before anything gets worse.
  3. Install window screens. Window screens last longer when removed and stored for the winter. Whether or not you removed your screens last fall, March is the time to fix any loose screens, frames, or holes. This way, windows can be opened up to let in a clean breeze and keep bugs out. 
  4. Replace smoke detector batteries. Smoke detectors should have batteries changed once a year, so why not now? Another tip: The “test” button on detectors is meant to see if the alarm sound works, not whether it actually detects smoke. To test its functionality, light a match and blow it out near the device to see if it goes off. 

Source: “4 Tasks That Veteran Homeowners Know You Gotta Do in March,” HouseLogic (March 1, 2018)

Monday
Mar282016

5 Money-Saving Tips for Spring House Projects

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2016 

Spring is a common time of year to begin work on a home. The following five project ideas from Howmuch.net are designed to not only help a home look its best, but to also save your clients money:

1. Siding repair

A home’s siding is important both for its optimum function and for curb appeal. But repairing the siding in a timely way can help home owners save money too. The longer a home owner waits to repair their siding, the more likely it is that water can infiltrate, rotting the wood beneath and causing problems like black mold. At the same time, the home could be losing value if the curb appeal is going down.

For the latest information on the value of remodeling, check out our Remodeling Impact Report.

Costs: The average cost to repair siding of nearly any type is about $300, with a full range of up to $1,000 for more invasive types of repairs.

Money-saving tips:

  • Do your best to color match the new siding to the old. If you’re able to do this, it can save you a lot of money on painting the section to match.
  • Remember that it’s always possible to paint any material from aluminum to fiber cement to help it match better and enable you to replace a smaller section.

2. Gutter Cleaning

The gutters do a lot to help protect your home. They help carry away moisture that could back up beneath your roofing shingles, damaging the wood below and causing leaks. Things like pine needles and leaves can clog up your gutters, causing them to overflow, which can lead to more costly repairs. By keeping the gutters clean, home owners can help save money on things like roof and foundation repair later on.

Costs: The average cost of cleaning gutters is between $100 and $140 for a two-story home with a normal amount of debris. Total costs range from $60 for a one-story home with short gutters to $500 for a multi-story home with clogged gutters and downspouts.

Money-saving tips:

  • Install a gutter guard over your gutters to help prevent them from clogging. This will save you money year round as it eliminates the need for cleaning and helps prevent the damage that clogged gutters can cause.

3. Attic insulation

Most homes are under-insulated, particularly those that were built prior to the 1960s. And even those that did have adequate insulation installed may not have the right amount any longer. Insulation can degrade over time, or be moved by contractors or pests. Having the right amount of insulation in a home can save home owners a lot of money on energy bills each year. At the same time, a well-insulated attic can help protect a home from problems like ice dams in the winter, which are one of the biggest causes of the need for roof repair. Adding additional insulation to an attic will also help keep a home more comfortable as well.

Costs: The average cost for installing attic insulation is around $897 for blown-in insulation of R-19 in 1,500 square feet. Total costs range from $617 for roll in insulation of R-13 installed DIY to $1,501 for fiberglass roll insulation of R-19.

Money-saving tips:

  • Have insulation applied to the underside of your roof decking as well. This area is commonly under-insulated, but can save owners a lot of money on energy costs by preventing your attic from becoming super heated in the summer and letting your warm air escape in the winter.
  • Check for local subsidies or grants for energy improvements that may help offset costs

4. Pest control

Pests may seem like just a nuisance, but they can cost home owners lot in time, money, and health if they don’t take care of them in a timely way. Pests can spread diseases, contaminate food, and eat the structure and integrity of a home. By taking care of pest problems as soon as they’re detected, home owners can help prevent more serious problems and repairs in the future.

Costs: The average costs of hiring an exterminator to deal with pests is between $250 and $300. Total costs range from $50 to $1200 depending on your location, the type of pest, and how extensive the infestation.

Money-saving tips:

  • The sooner you deal with a pest problem, the less costly it will be to contain. Consider using things like traps or diatomaceous earth to deal with minor issues yourself, before they become larger.

5. Stain the deck

The deck is an important part of a home’s curb appeal and enjoyment of the space. After a long winter, the deck may have sustained damage such as peel stain, which could lead to further problems down the road. By staining the deck in the spring, home owners not only are helping to maintain its good looks, but also preventing future problems like rotting wood, which could cost a lot more to repair.

Cost: The average cost of staining a deck is around $2 a square foot, assuming a deck of around 500 square feet. In most cases the cost will not be any higher than $400 for the total job.

Money-saving tips:

  • Power wash the deck yourself the day before it’s stained to help save on labor fees.
  • If you’re comfortable doing the work yourself, staining the deck DIY could help save you between 4 to 5 hours of labor costs.
Thursday
Nov192015

Getting Ready for Winter

Fall Maintenance Checklist

By: John Riha

You’ll be ready for winter’s worst and head off expensive repairs when you complete this checklist of 10 essential fall maintenance tasks.

 

Fall maintenance checklist

1. Stow the mower.


If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, you should be. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.

Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it. 

1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole. 

2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring.

3. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck.

2. Don’t be a drip.

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet. 

While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

3. Put your sprinkler system to sleep.

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve. 

2. Shut off the automatic controller.

3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.

4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.

4. Seal the deal.

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around  your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

5. De-gunk your gutters.

Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement. 

Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.

6. Eyeball your roof.


If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.

Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately. 

Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.

A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar -- called a boot -- that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.

7. Direct your drainage.

Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.

8. Get your furnace in tune.

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.

An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.

Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter. 

9. Prune plants.

Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees -- when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.

10. Give your fireplace a once-over.


To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.

Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.

You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.



Read more:  http://members.houselogic.com/articles/fall-checklist/preview/#ixzz3rx9E9H00 
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Thursday
Aug062015

99-Cent Store Solution #3: Patch Drywall Hole

Fist through drywall- ouch

You're not "winning" if you have a hole in your drywall, but an easy fix can be done for about $10. Image: fstop123/iStockphoto

If Charlie Sheen is a friend of yours (no judgment), you’re probably ready for most anything, i.e., you keep a defibrillator in your living room. But do you have a drywall repair kit to patch the holes he’ll punch in your wall during your annual Labor Day party? Scrap the call to a handyman or the police, and stop by the dollar store for what you’ll need to set things right post-bacchanal.

Supplies:

  • Wire screen, 99 cents (actually an envelope sorter made out of screen — a big savings since a roll of screen at the big box store is about $20 or more)
  • String, 99 cents
  • Pencil, 99 cents
  • Joint knife, 99 cents
  • Masking tape, 99 cents
  • Sandpaper, 99 cents
  • Drywall compound, 3.58
  • Sizzle cologne, 99 cents (to get party-ready)

Total: $10.51 (if you can’t resist the Sizzle)

What you do:

  • Cut the wire screen 2 inches larger than the hole.
  • Tie one end of the string to the pencil and thread the other end through the middle of the screen—then bend the screen, and insert it and the pencil into the hole.
  • Pull the string until the screen is flat against the hole (the pencil helps push the screen flat against the drywall) and hold it taut while you apply the drywall compound.
  • Tape the string to the wall to hold the screen in place as the compound dries.
  • Cut the string when dry.
  • Sand and smooth compound with joint knife.



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Saturday
Jan172015

When to Repair or Replace Your Appliance

Consider age, repair cost, pricing, energy efficiency, and whether to modify your kitchen to accommodate a new unit.

When an appliance is old and isn’t working efficiently, it’s easy to decide to replace rather than repair the machine — may it rest in peace. 

But appliances often break before their time, making the repair-or-replace decision harder.

If money is tight, you may have to repair the appliance and hope for the best. But if you’ve got some coin, then replacing with a new, energy-efficient model often is the better way to go.

That’s a lot of ifs, and the repair-or-replace dilemma often is hard to resolve. Here are some guidelines that will help you decide.

Is It Really Broken?

When appliances stop working, we get so rattled that the obvious escapes us. Before you panic, make sure:

  • The appliance is plugged in.
  • Circuit breakers haven’t tripped. (I once replaced a blender only to discover that the circuit needed resetting.)
  • Flooring hasn’t become uneven, which can stop some appliances from turning on.
  • Vents and filters aren’t clogged with lint and dust.

Related: How to Help Your Appliances Last Longer

Is It Still Under Warranty?

Check your owner’s manual or records to see if the sick appliance is still under warranty. Most warranties on major appliances cover labor and parts for a year; some extend coverage of parts for two years. If it’s still covered, schedule a service call.

Related: Is an Extended Warranty Right for You?

Is It Truly at the End of Its Useful Life?

Appliances have an average useful life — the typical lifespan after which the machine is running on borrowed time. The closer your appliance is to its hypothetical past due date, the wiser it is to replace, rather than repair.

Here are the typical lifespans of major appliances.

Appliance Average Lifespan (Years)
Compactor 6
Dishwasher 9
Disposal 12
Dryer 13
Exhaust Fan 10
Freezer 11
Microwave 9
Range, electric 13
Range, gas 15
Range/oven hood 14
Refrigerator 13
Washer 10


How to Follow the 50% Rule

In 2014, the average cost to repair an appliance was $254 to $275. Should you pay it?

If an appliance is more than 50% through its lifespan, and if the cost of one repair is more than 50% of the cost of buying new, then you should replace rather than repair.

To do the math, you’ll have to know the typical lifespan (see above), and get a repair estimate. Most service companies charge a “trip charge” to diagnose the problem. These charges vary widely, so be sure to ask when you arrange the appointment.  If the company repairs the appliance, the trip charge typically is waived.

DIY Whenever Possible

If you know your way around a socket wrench, you may be able to make simple appliance repairs yourself and save labor fees. YouTube has lots of DIY repair videos, and user manuals can help you troubleshoot. 

Can’t find your manual? Search online for “manual” along with your appliance brand and model number. Most manufacturers provide free downloadable PDFs of appliance manuals, and there are several online sites that specialize in nothing but manuals.

However, there is a downside to repairing appliances yourself.

  • Many electrical replacement parts are non-refundable, so if you misdiagnose the problem, you’ve wasted money.
  • Large appliances are heavy and bulky. You risk injury if you don’t know how to move, open, and lift the machine property.
  • Some appliance warranties are voided when you mess with the machine yourself.
  • If you forget to unplug the machine before making repairs, you can electrocute yourself (making the money you save a moot point).

How to Calculate Whether Energy Efficiency is Cost Effective

New water-saving and energy-efficient appliances can be cost effective: A modern refrigerator, for instance, uses roughly half the electricity of one built 20 years ago.

But replacing energy clunkers that still have miles left on them may not be a money-wise move. You might spend thousands on an appliance in order to save hundreds (if you’re lucky) on your energy bill.

Jill A. Notini of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers says if you’re planning on staying in your home for 10 to 15 years, upgrading appliances is a good idea. However, if you’re planning on moving soon, you’ll save money by keeping your older appliances, and letting the new owners upgrade to energy-efficient models.

Are There Hidden Costs When Replacing Old Appliances?

The cost of replacing an appliance may include more than just the price of the machine. In fact, the price tag could be the least of the money you’ll spend to upgrade an appliance.

  • A new refrigerator may not fit in the old spot. You could have to modify cabinetry to fit the new appliance (be sure to measure accurately).
  • Gas ovens and ranges will save money only if your home already has gas connections. If not, you could spend thousands bringing a gas line into your home or hundreds rerouting the lines you already have.
  • Upgrading from a simple gas range to one with all the bells and whistles may require upgrading or adding electrical wiring and circuits.



Read more:  http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/appliances/when-to-repair-or-replace-large-appliances/#ixzz3P65v2czl 
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