Make Your Garage Stand Out From the Rest

How To Update Your Kitchen Cabinets With New Hardware

Whether you’ve recently remodeled your kitchen with brand new cabinets, or are just trying to update your old cabinets, new hardware will really showcase your cabinets. Your drawer pulls and knobs will be the center of attention in your kitchen, so if your existing knobs and pulls are old or broken, it’s time to replace them. The knobs and pulls you choose should be based on your own personal style, and match with the decor in your room. See below for some helpful tips on how to choose your hardware and how to update your kitchen.

Choosing Your Hardware

There are quite a number of hardware choices to choose from. You can choose anywhere from oil-rubbed bronze to antique glass knobs, to a more modern chrome. Knobs and pulls come in all shapes and sizes too. When choosing your hardware, don’t be afraid to mix and match styles. You don’t necessarily have to have all of the same color or shape for your pulls and knobs. See below for some tips to help you choose based on your kitchen decor.

  1. Country/Cottage Style Decor. Look for softer looking hardware such as glass knobs mixed with black or white drop drawer pulls. Cup pulls give an old house charm as well. Oil rubbed bronze or brushed nickel work best with this type of decor style.
  2. Modern Decor. Chrome, black and brushed nickel look good with modern decor. Chrome bar pulls or flat bars for all cabinets and drawers is a very modern look. You can line them either vertically along the side of cabinets, or horizontally along the bottom of your cabinets.
  3. Traditional Decor. For homes with a more traditional feel, go with simple hardware such as simple antique bronze knobs and rope drawer pulls in the same antique bronze. You can use knobs for all cabinets and for drawers as well if you prefer a more streamlined look.
  4. Industrial Decor. Use grey or black hardware for an industrial style kitchen. Cup handles, or recessed handles and knobs work best with this decor. 

Installing Your Hardware

Installing your new hardware may seem like a simple task, but you want to be sure all of your knobs line up perfectly on each cabinet, and that each drawer pull is level. See below for instructions on how to install your knobs and drawer pulls with ease.

  1. For easy installation, purchase a template from your local hardware store. You can easily line up each cabinet and drawer using the template as a guide.
  2. Figure out where you want your knobs and pulls, and line your template up on your cabinet. Mark the hole with a pencil where you plan on drilling.
  3. Using your power drill and a small drill bit, drill a hole in your cabinet/drawer. You can either have your cabinet open or closed, but be sure there isn’t anything behind that can be punctured.
  4. Use a larger drill bit once you have your initial hole drilled. You use the small drill bit first so you do not crack or splinter your cabinet wood. 
  5. Repeat this for each and every cabinet, lining up your template and using the same hole for each cabinet.
  6. Finally, add your hardware.

Updating your kitchen with new hardware is simple to do, just find what you like and carefully install them on your cabinets. Enjoy the new look your hardware gives to your kitchen. Talk to experts like Leon Supply for more information.

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DIY Methods And Tools For Cleaning Your Drain

When a drain clogs, many homeowners reach for the chemical drain cleaner. While this may be an effective temporary fix, drain cleaners can have negative effects that create other long-term problems. In addition to the fact that chemical drain cleaners can cause some pipes to corrode, these products are made from toxic chemicals, which can give some green-minded homeowners pause. Fortunately, homeowners seeking environmentally friendly DIY methods to clean their drains have many options. Here are a few of the most effective DIY methods for cleaning drains.

Plumber’s Auger or Coat Hanger

A plumber’s auger consists of a long cable with a corkscrew-like tip, and a manual crank to wind and unwind the cable. To clear a clog, the cable is pushed into the drain until the cork screw end encounters the clog. When the end of the auger pierces the clog, the cable is extracted and the clog is removed.

Of course, you may not have a plumber’s auger on hand. If this is the case, an unfolded coat hanger can make an acceptable alternative, as long as the clog is not very deep down into the pipe. To use this method, straighten the coat hanger and curve the end into a hook. Next, push the coat hanger (curved end first) into the pipe, and then fish around until the hook pierces the clog. Pull out the hanger and the clog should come with it.

To snake a tough clog, or a clog deep within the pipe, some homeowners may even consider renting an electric drain snake from a home improvement center. Similar to the plumber’s auger, electric snakes have more power and are good for removing very tough clogs.

Boiling Water, Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda mixed with boiling water will flush sticky and greasy items down a narrow pipe. In addition, vinegar is an acid and will eat away at organic materials. To clear a clog, pour baking soda into the drain opening and then flush the pipe with boiling water. Next, pour vinegar down the drain and immediately plug the opening. The vinegar and baking soda will combine to create a bubbly, frothy mixture. Some bubbles from this chemical reaction may squeeze their way through the cracks around the drain plug. This is expected and acceptable. Repeat this process as necessary until the clog is removed.

Sometimes DIY methods just don’t work. When this happens, it’s time to call a plumbing service. For assistance with your toughest clogs, call a plumber in your area with a reputation for excellence. Visit sites like http://www.LewisPlumbingSantaBarbara.com for more info about drains and plumbing.

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4 Benefits Of Using A Mini Excavator Vs. A Larger One

If you have to move some earth for one project or another, you might be thinking about renting an excavator to get the job done. An excavator rental can be a great way to get the job done without having to make a major purchase yourself, but you might be unsure of which model to rent for your needs.

Many excavator rental companies offer both miniature and full-sized excavators, and you could be unsure of which one is best for your needs. Although there are some projects that require a large excavator, however, there is a good chance that you’ll find that a miniature one is your best choice. These are a few benefits to using a mini excavator rather than a larger one:

1. Easier to Maneuver in Small Spaces

If you are working on a residential project or another smaller excavation job, then you might find that a miniature excavator is the best choice. Because of its smaller size, it will allow you to easily work in smaller spaces without as much trouble with maneuvering around.

2. Offers More Precise Operation

Since miniature excavators are smaller, they typically offer a more precise operation. If you are doing a more detail-oriented job, such as if you are trying to excavate a very small piece of land or are trying to dig up the dirt in a certain shape, a miniature excavator can be a more solid choice.

3. Better for Beginners

If you are renting an excavator, then you might not have a whole lot of experience in using one. Although you might be able to figure out how to operate a larger excavator, you could find that a miniature excavator will feel safer and more secure. These excavators also generally have easier controls and are much easier for beginners to figure out.

4. Has Less Impact on the Environment

As someone who is concerned about your own impact on the environment, you may want to consider a miniature excavator. Since it uses less fuel and puts out fewer emissions, it can be a better choice if you are trying to do your project in an Eco-friendly manner.

Many people find that a miniature excavator is a far better option for their projects. Before you go out and rent a full-sized excavator, consider these benefits of a miniature excavator rental instead. Along with these benefits, you may find that you enjoy your choice in other ways as well. To learn more, contact a company like Burris Equipment Co. with any questions or concerns you have.

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Heat Waves: A Hot Reason To Fix Your Air Conditioning Unit

If you live in an area that does not see a lot of squelching temperatures, you might not place a priority on fixing or replacing your damaged air conditioning unit. Unfortunately, when an unexpected heat wave strikes, people without air conditioning units face a higher risk of dying a heat-related death. Here are the basics of heat stress, heat waves, and modern-day examples proving the importance of a working air conditioning unit.

What is Heat Stress?

Heat stress” comes in many forms, including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, cramping, rashes, and dizziness. Certain people are more susceptible to heat stress, like those over 65, people with heart conditions, and people who are overweight or obese. About 400 people die each and every year from heat stress.

What is a Heat Wave?

When a heat wave strikes, the average number of heat-related deaths increases. A “heat wave” occurs when temperatures in a certain region experience unusual and excessive heat, coupled with high humidity. Some experts believe that heat waves are occurring more and more frequently.

Heat Waves in the Modern Time

When you think of a heat wave, the Dust Bowl of the 1930s is probably the first thing that comes to mind. It is perhaps the most famous American heat wave, but hardly the only one. Two of the most devastating heat waves of the modern time occurred in 1988 and 1995. In both of these heat waves, people who were both more susceptible to heat stress and without air conditioning faced a higher mortality rate.

The Northeast Heat Wave of 1988

One of the most horrendous heat waves of the 20th century occurred in 1988. Drought conditions affected 40 states and heat levels were higher than normal throughout the country, but for those in the northeastern states, the heat was particularly dangerous.

In Massachusetts, temperatures averaged in the high 90s and broke 100 degrees on several occasions. In Pennsylvania, 694 people in Allegheny County alone died from heat-related causes. In Ohio, the elderly residents suffered the most, especially those without air conditioning.

Incredibly large number of heat-related fatalities occurred in these northern states, especially in urban areas. Those without air conditioning units–mostly elderly low-income residents–suffered the most.

The Chicago Heat Wave of 1995

In July, 1995, one of the worst heat waves to hit North America hit the Windy City. Temperatures reached 106 degrees, but because of the humidity, it felt closer to 120 degrees. Thousands of people suffered from heat-related illnesses, and nearly 740 of Chicago’s residents died.

In 1995, about one in four Chicago residents did not have air conditioning units. Chicago’s economically diverse population is one contributor to this statistic; even though some of the wealthiest Americans call Chicago home, a large number of impoverished people do as well. Chicago seldom sees such high temperatures; the city’s average high temperature for the month of July is only 84 degrees. Thus, many residents do not feel the need for air conditioning.

What Next?

Heat waves kill more people each year than any other weather phenomenon. They are hard for scientists to predict, so when heat waves strike, people have little time to prepare. Heat waves are also occurring more frequently than ever before.

If your air conditioning unit is not working, you should have it fixed as soon as possible. If an unexpected heat wave hits your area, you will probably not have time to schedule a repair, and replacements will be scarce. By preemptively fixing your air conditioner, you will be safe when extreme temperatures hit.

To learn more, contact a company like One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating (West Pasco) with any questions you have/

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Extending The Life Of Your Water Heater

Your water heater is an expensive appliance that you’ll miss if it’s not working well. Houselogic says you can expect to get from 10 to 13 years out of it, but that depends on the water conditions in your area. You can extend the life of your water heater with some simple maintenance every year. Learn how to flush out your water heater and  get a few more years of hot showers before you have to replace it.

The Sediment Problem

Water contains dissolved minerals that settle out into layers in the water holding tank. The sediment can look like sand or hard concrete, depending on the mineral composition. It may take several years to feel the effects of sediment deposits in your water heater. If you live in an area with hard water, it can happen much sooner.

The sediment reduces the efficiency of your water heater. Your water won’t feel as hot or it may take a long time for the water to get hot again once it’s been depleted. The worst damage is that the sediment can cause the steel water heater tank to rust, develop leaks or even rupture.

Flushing the sediment out of the water tank will extend its life. This is something you can do at home but it’s also a good idea to have a plumbing service come out periodically to drain and inspect the tank for damage. Don’t wait until you feel a difference in your hot water. Make this maintenance activity an annual event to get the most from your water heater.

Water Heater Flushing Procedure

The only tools you’ll need for this job are a garden hose, a bucket and a pile of rags to mop up any water.

1. If you have an electric water heater, turn the power off to it in the breaker box. For a gas unit, set the thermostat to “Pilot.”

2. Connect a garden hose to the drain located on the side of the unit, near the bottom. Run the hose outside or to a 5-gallon bucket. Don’t drain the tank into a household drain. The sediment could create a clog.

3. Turn off the cold-water supply to the water heater located on the top of the unit.

4. In a bathtub or sink, turn on the hot-water faucet and let it run. Return to the water heater and open the drain valve to drain the water out of the tank. Check that the hose is draining where hot water won’t cause a problem, such as a driveway or into a storm drain. If using a bucket, watch that it doesn’t overflow.

5. Once the water stops coming out of the hose, turn the cold-water supply to the water heater back on. This will flush any remaining sediment out of the tank.

6. When the water coming out of the hose is clear, close the drain valve on the water heater. Then turn off the hot-water faucet you turned on earlier in the tub or sink. Leave the cold-water supply to the tank on.

7. Allow the tank to fill back up with cold water for a few minutes then turn the electricity back on or the gas thermostat to “On.”

This simple procedure reduces the chance that the steel holding tank will rust through. If you have any reservations about doing this yourself, have a plumbing services company (such as Lenny’s Plumbing) flush the water heater every year for you. They will also check the thermostat, heating elements and pressure relief valve to make sure they are working properly.

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What Is The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Prevent A Brick Chimney Repair?

If you have a brick chimney and use wood in it, even occasionally, you are at risk of a Creosote buildup. Creosote is the natural result of burning wood and can appear in a number of different forms. Unfortunately, if it is left untouched in the chimney, there is a very real possibility of expensive brick repairs or even an uncontrolled chimney fire.

What Is Creosote?

When wood burns, it releases different substances. Some are obvious to the naked eye, such as smoke or wood particles that did not burn.

Other, less obvious substances, include:

  • Smoke
  • Tar fog
  • Hydrocarbon
  • Water vapor 
  • Gases  

After burning, those substances will fly into the chimney, causing condensation,. The build-up that attaches to the inside of the chimney is called Creosote, which can be a dangerous substance. If it is not removed and the entire area is not cleaned of its traces, an accidental fire could easily result.

A licensed chimney sweep will be able to determine the presence of Creosote and remove it, before it causes a fire. If you are unsure whether or not it is there, look for an unknown substance that is dark in color. It may be crusty, thick, drippy or shiny or a combination and It is not unusual to see different examples of Creosote within the same chimney.   

What Will Creosote Do If Left Untended?

It is first important to understand that Creosote is very flammable. If the temperature within the chimney flue is hot enough at the same time that Creosote is present, a chimney fire will often occur. In addition, if there is not enough air movement within the chimney, there is a larger chance of Creosote developing.

When you are trying to delay the development of Creosote, the use of unseasoned wood will be helpful. It is important to note that a brick chimney repair of any type should have at least a basic examination of the chimney walls and that  cleaning should include checking for the presence of Creosote. 

In conclusion, chimney fires are responsible for injuries to both people and homes every year. Much of that damage could be prevented, through an annual chimney cleaning prior to the first use of the fireplace. Therefore, it is essential to not only plan ahead, but to regularly examine your wood-burning fireplace and make sure that it continues to be safe to use throughout the winter, particularly if you use it frequently. Talk to places like AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing for more information.

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Tips To Get Your Air Conditioner Ready For Summer

Spring is fast approaching, and so is the warmer weather! Now is the time to get a jump start on your air conditioner maintenance so that your unit will be ready to run when the first hot days of the year arrive. Heading off problems now will help to ensure that your air conditioner will be in good working condition by the time summer is here.

Change the Air Filter

Your HVAC system has an air filter that cleans the air for the furnace and the air conditioner unit. This air filter prevents the HVAC system from clogging with contaminants and dust, helping to ensure that the system runs efficiently. Changing the air filter on a regular basis can prevent the system from circulating dust through the home and may also help homeowners avoid the need for expensive air conditioning repair. The EPA’s Energy Star program recommends changing your air filter every 3 months at minimum. This means that if you changed your air filter at the beginning of the winter, it will be time to change it again when winter is over and spring begins. 

Get a Tune Up

Schedule a tuneup with your HVAC repair person in the late winter or early spring. By the time mid-spring arrives, many air conditioner repair people are busy installing new systems and repairing broken units. The best time to schedule your annual tuneup is at a time when the repair people are least busy.

When your air conditioner repair person comes to your home, he or she will inspect the condenser, mechanical parts and wiring, test the thermostat, inspect your ducts for leaks and lubricate any moving parts. He or she will be able to tell you if your air conditioner is unfit for use and what repairs need to be made before  summer.

Clean the Condenser

Clear the area around the condenser of weeds and leaves to ensure adequate air flow to the unit. Cut the power to the condenser, then spray it with a forceful stream of water from your hose. Use a fin comb, available for sale in home improvement centers and hardware stores, to remove leaves and other debris from the fins on the exterior of the condenser.

Homeowners who fail to perform these annual maintenance tasks may find themselves seeking air conditioning repair at the height of the summer, when HVAC repair people are busy and prices are high. Get started on your air conditioner maintenance today (with a company like Bob Bergen Heating & Air Conditioning) to ensure that you’re ready for the warmer weather later on this year.

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