Archive for the ‘Preventative Maintainence’ Category

Preventive Measures to Do This Fall to Keep Your Fireplace Safe for Winter Use

Fireplace Ensure the safe use of your wood-burning fireplace this winter by doing these preventive measures before the end of fall.

With leaves turning orange and starting to fall, winter is definitely getting closer. And with temperatures dipping, you sure want to seek comfort inside your home. However, with the prices of natural gas and propane rising, you are most likely considering using your old fireplace to keep your home cosy for winter and to whittle your energy costs.

Before you spark up the first logs, though, know that fireplaces and chimneys are among the top culprits of house fires every year. So to help ensure your home fires would burn safely this winter, here are some important safety measures you should attend to.

Give the fireplace and chimney a good sweep

One of the leading causes of fireplace and chimney fires is the build-up of creosote, a flammable residue from burnt wood that condenses and accumulates inside the chimney flue as well as fireplace walls. As a rule of thumb, you need to have your fireplace and chimney swept at least once a year at the start of winter to remove creosote.

When sweeping your fireplace and chimney or have a professional do it, do not forget to inspect them to see if there are cracks, loose masonry or missing mortar that must be repaired or replaced. You or the chimney sweep should also inspect the flue liners for cracks or other signs of deterioration.

Clean the areas surrounding the chimney, too

As you or the professional do the sweeping, do not forget to look after the areas surrounding the chimney as well. Branches that grow too close to the chimney should be cut back and needles and leaves within the perimeter should also be removed as they are at risk of catching fire should a spark escapes from the chimney.

Nests in and out of the chimney should be removed, too. Critters like squirrels, birds and raccoons are notorious for accessing residential roofs and building their nests or staying inside chimneys during summer, thereby creating a fire hazard come winter time. To prevent unwanted critters from nesting inside the chimney, it is a good idea to install a chimney cap or replace one that is missing. Apart from blocking animals, this addition will prevent debris from getting lodged inside the chimney that could cause carbon monoxide to flow inside the house and will likewise protect its interiors against water damage.

Arrest the spark

A mesh screen or spark arrester is another helpful accessory that will make your fireplace safe to use. Apart from preventing embers and sparks from escaping the fireplace, such a cover also helps contain wood inside the safety of the firebox so it does not tumble into nearby rugs, tiles and flooring. For a safer option that does not heat up, you may opt for a glass fireplace door, which can also help improve the energy efficiency of your fireplace by keeping warm air inside.

Mind the damper

A damper is a small, movable steel or cast-iron door tucked inside the throat of the firebox. It allows you to close the chimney from the fireplace and its primary role is to prevent cold air from getting inside the house when the fireplace is not in use. When the damper is loose, cold air could seep through, requiring you to crank up the heater or thermostat to keep the room warm, which in turn could increase your energy bills. When the fire is burning, a loose damper may even cause smoke to spread inside. To avoid that from happening, clean it out along with the firebox and open it up to allow airborne ash to go up the chimney. That way, the damper’s flap will not get stuck and rust out.

Burn the right wood and do not overload

It is recommended that you use dense woods, such as oak and hickory, in your fireplace. These woods when split and dried for at least six months are proven to burn better and last longer than softwoods. They also do not produce too much flammable creosote that can build up in the fireplace walls and chimney and cause fire.

When using wood, avoid overstuffing the firebox and place the logs at the back of the fireplace on a metal grate. You should also use kindling when starting a fire instead of flammable liquids to keep the fire small. A fire that is too large or too hot can result to creosote build-up and may also cause the chimney to develop cracks that may lead to its early deterioration.

Mollie Fitzgerald is a writer with a strong interest in home improvement. Her passion for the said subject allows her to contribute content for Home Coatings. Visit to know more about the company.

October and Early November To-Do List to Ready Your Home for Winter

Storm Window Installation for October and Early November To-Do List to Ready Your Home for Winter ArticleBefore October ends and before winter sets into full swing, be sure to prep up your house by including these home improvement tasks in your to-do list.

Fall is already in full swing, and that means the temperatures are dropping. While you may have probably prepped yourself up for winter, can you say the same thing for your home? Do not forget that with October about to end, winterization for your house should be near its completion. So before the last leaf drops and the daylight is still clear, it is good idea to check these chores off your to-do list.

Beef up the windows

No matter how strong your window seems, they can be damaged by the wind, snow and water that winter brings. As such, give them a light scrubbing and wash them with clean water to eliminate dirt, bird droppings and other build up that could be covering damages. After this, caulk gaps and cracks on frames and apply weatherstripping. Adding storm windows is also recommended to protect your windows from winter damage. If you have single-pane windows, however, install a heat-shrink plastic to both their inner and outer frames for added insulation that will help you save on heating cost.

Repair the siding

The last thing you want to deal with during winter is unwanted critters getting inside your house. So your best defence is to do an inspection on your home’s siding to see if there are warped or split wood, cracks or holes and missing or loose panels where pests could enter. If you find any problem, remedy them immediately. Patch up the holes, repair damaged paint and apply a coating or sealant to keep it safe against water.

Fix the roof

Know that your roof is your first line of protection against wind, water and snow. So you want to make sure that it is in good condition for it to properly do its job come winter time. When checking your roof, do it during a warm day so you can easily notice issues that need to be addressed. If there are loose, curled, torn or cracked shingles, reattach them with roofing cement and roofing nails.

Do not forget to attend to your roof’s drainage system. Clean gutters and downspouts and be sure that they are not obstructed by debris so they can properly direct water away from your home’s roof, exterior walls and foundation. It is also necessary to ensure that the gutters and downspouts are secure in place so they won’t give in to the weight of water and snow.

Cut those greens

Before you store your gardening tools for the cold season, walk around your house with a pair of pruners and start cutting brush, weeds and branches that are in contact with your house. You should also remove piles of logs or wood away from your home. These simple chores will ensure that there will be no access points for pests to get inside your home and the plantings won’t scrape your siding during windstorms.

Winterize your outdoor plumbing system

If you do not want to end up dealing with frozen and busted pipes, floods and costly plumbing bills, the most important job you can do before winter sets in is to winterize your outdoor plumbing system. Drain all your underground sprinkler systems, garden hoses as well as outdoor pipes. If it is not possible to drain your outdoor water pipes, cover them with heat tape or foam insulation so they are protected from the cold. Exposed spigots should also be protected with foam covers or layers of newspaper capped with a plastic bag and sealed with duct tape.

Attend to the maintenance of your fireplace and chimney or your heating system

If you will be using the fireplace to warm your home this winter, be sure that its damper is working properly. Equally important is to have both your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned, especially if you burn soft woods that produce more creosote, to prevent chimney fire.

If you use a heating system, however, give it a tune-up before winter begins. Keep its furnace clean, properly adjusted and lubricated to ensure its efficiency and help you save up to 5% on your heating cost.

Mind your safety indoors

In addition to the fixes mentioned above, you should also pay attention to your safety indoors once winter arrives. To prepare for that, install a carbon-monoxide detector, especially if you keep a gas heater, as well as a smoke detector and ensure both devices have working batteries. Also, make sure you have medical kits available and a good working, fully pressurized household fire extinguisher in place.

Jessie Moore is fulltime writer who enjoys writing tips on home improvement. She also contributes for McIntyre Masonry. Visit for more info about the company.

Foundation repairs can safeguard the structural damage of your house or property

cracked wallNecessity of foundation repairs

As we all know that house is the lifetime asset of an individual and makes him proud of its possession. A well maintained house can only remain strong and beautiful but also serves you for your lifetime. Besides, a well maintained house has a greater market value and attracts the appreciation of all. Hence it is very essential to maintain your house or building at regular intervals and guard it against any damage or destruction so that it remains strong, durable and long lasting. Therefore the most important part of house maintenance is to guard the foundation of your house from any types of damage caused by moisture penetration which may cause cracks in the walls, stains or deterioration and may even cause risk to the health and safety of your family members. Foundation damage due to moisture penetration can cause damage to the entire structure of the building and may cause bacterial infection, increase in molds and insects which may develop chronic health problems and respiratory troubles. Besides, you have to spend a huge amount of money for repair and maintenance of your house caused by foundation damage and the loss is irreparable.

Measures to prevent foundation damage

In order to assess the cause of foundation damage of your house or building and also the volume of damage, it is always advisable to appoint an expert who can suggest preventive measures to arrest the same. There are many ways to undertake foundation repairs of your house or building. Firstly, the entire drainage system and the exterior and interior walls should be coated with thick fiber wrapping. Besides, the cracks in drain pipes have to be repaired and new pipes have to be installed in order to prevent leakage of water. For foundation crack repair, drain tile repair is also suitable. Moreover, low grade bi-product like asphalt should be routinely applied on the exterior part of the basement walls in order to prevent water from entering through the basement walls. Other than the above, you also have to apply waterproofing material like epoxy or such other material which are specially meant for waterproofing.

Foundation Repair companies

For solving your problem of foundation damage, you can certainly contact a reliable company who can suggest ways and undertake job of foundation repairs. They have efficient techniques to prevent water from entering the foundation of your house or building through leakage in the basement walls by using sealers and also by making proper drainage system. Their experts can assess the cause of water leakage and can repair the leaks in order to prevent water intrusion, dampness and structural damage to your house or building. Such renowned companies who provide efficient foundation repair services also offer a variety of patented and warranted products in order to fix your cracked, settling, leaning or bowing foundation walls. Using their unmatched experience and thorough professionalism, they always ensure to provide quality work adhering to the safety methods. Their well trained and experienced staff are always ready to solve your problems so that your investment is long term and you are totally satisfied with their services.

Right time to keep your house safe

MouseIt’s right time to keep your house free from all kinds of rodents but in all the cases that’s not an easy work as it needs lots of hard work as well efforts. Your house is a heaven to you and it’s your responsibility to keep your house free from the rodents. You may like or detest mice but at the same time you need to keep in mind that the mice are the rodents that need to be taken care of.


Mice can consume papers, timber, furniture as well as food and all the bad factors are linked with it although they do not transfer any bacterial infections. Mice can enter from little cracks or crevices that are there in your house but you may overlook it. They cause lots of damages to the property. You have to check very minutely from where the mice are entering your house or else you will be in great trouble.


You will be not allowed to keep any cooked food open and specially if there is a new born babe in your house, mice can act dangerous to them as the babies are in a habit of eating anything from the ground. The best preferable climate for the mice is the moist places where they can live peacefully.


Recently there is a new trend in the market and that is the use of the ultrasonic tools that are helpful to drive out the colonies of mice from the house. This special tool has a typical noise that makes the life of the mice including rats miserable and they no more able to live in that place. Hence the usage of the ultra sonic sound is of great importance to human kind.


Another trend in the market is the Electric mouse zapper, that is electric charged and helps to eliminate the mice. These animals can easily transmit and transport unpleasant sickness that you or your loved ones need to be far away from.  Another tricky method is to trap these dangerous rodents by mixing poison with the food that can be used as baits as the food is highly attractive to the mice.


You need your house to be rodents free so that you can live there peacefully. If the mice are dead inside the house, the foul smell coming from them makes it difficult for you to survive. So try to keep your house clean as well tidy by sealing all the cracks or crevices so that they can no more enter the house. These poisonous rodents need to live far away from your reach so can also call rodent control New York.


Mice are biodegradable elements and so disposing them off is easy. But all that you need to take your own protection and so you can wear disposable gloves and wait for the garbage collectors to carry them off.  After getting rid of the mice, make sure that they do not return anymore and so take care of your house, sanitary by using good pest controllers. Make sure that you have covered your garbage bin.

5 ways to winterize your home

Spring time isn’t quite here yet, which means winter still has a hold on our heating bills. So while we’re all thinking about it, let’s review just a few simple ways that you can winterize your home and make sure that you have everything that you need to save money on heating and more for the rest of this season and when it comes time for the next winter cycle.

Check your insulation

InsulationFirst, check your insulation with the help of a professional, to ensure that you truly do get the most out of your work, and that you don’t lose any money with heat bleeding through the walls. Strong insulation can help ensure that you and your family gets the most out of your winter experiences, and can save you a ton of money on heating bills over time, as well.

Check the heating system!

Have a professional HVAC person who is experienced check on your heating system to ensure that it is efficient and working at full capacity. From your heating system to your water heater, you need these things to work – and work efficiently – come wintertime, in order to save money on bills and get the most out of your systems to keep you and the family warm no matter the weather.

Dress Right

It may seem crazy, but one great way to save on winter heating as well as winterizing your home immediately is to dress the right way! Dress in layers and make hoodies and sweatshirts your best friend as you move forward dressing well in a way that can help you winterize yourself, and in turn, your home. Plus, it’ll get you prepared for cold temperatures while winterizing your living space and saving you money!

Watch out for frozen pipes

FireTalk to a pipe or water specialist about frozen pipes before the first freeze of the season, and make it a point to clean out and close off the pipes for things like your outdoor irrigation system if you are concerned with its impact after the first freeze. You don’t want a pipe to burst and create problems, so winterize your home by cleaning out and closing off pipes right before the season starts.

Got fire?

Finally, use that fireplace if you’ve got it! Without a fireplace, though, things like space heaters and heated blankets can go a long way to helping you out and giving you a great experience when it comes to winterizing and improving conditions around your home, all while keeping you warm, safe, and cuddly during the coldest of cold temperatures.

Winter is still here, so make a point today to get prepared and get ready when it comes to winterizing your home as you suffer through the rest of this winter season and prepare for the cold weather of next season!

Kelly is a stay at home mom that likes to stay warm through the winter. Her office is a little chilly some days as she writes for two of her clients, bankruptcy lawyers in Lebanon, PA and evergreen growers near Harrisburg, PA

The Importance of using Exterior Wall Coatings on your Home

HouseTaking extra care of the home is something that is very important because you want to live in a beautiful house that you are proud of and comfortable. There are a number of options available when it comes to decorating the home with applying exterior wall coatings being on top of the list. There are lots of benefits that portray the importance of using exterior wall coatings such as:

Wide variety

Home owners have numerous options that they can choose from to get the one that works best for their house. These can either be gotten online or from traditional stores depending on the avenue that a person is most comfortable with. The exterior wall coatings can be used on any type of wall surface thus no one is locked out. It is also available in a variety of colours allowing homeowners to choose their favourite. This includes transparent for those people who are not so wild when it comes to colours. They are also various finishes available allowing you to pick the one that suits the home best. These ranges from coarse to smooth to achieve the exact look you are looking for.

Eliminate dampness

If you have been suffering from dampness, this might provide a practical solution. There are specific wall coatings that are designed to stop dampness both on outside as well as inside walls. This also helps to prevent condensation in the house.

Reducing bills

These types of bills can also help you save some money especially when it comes to utility bills. This is done through cutting down on the effects of wind chills. This is not the only way that can be used to save on costs as there are some options that also protect the home from various weather elements. This means that you don’t have to waste time, money, effort and other resources that are used to repaint the house every year.

Proof of performance

Before the wall coatings are applied, a skilled installation team usually repairs the walls so that it is done in the right way. This gives you more than 24 years of top notch performance making it a worthwhile investment. For this reason however, it is important to conduct market research so that you can only work with skilled personnel who know what they are doing.


Using wall coatings gives the home an incredibly beautiful look that you will fall in love with. This creates a good impression of the home when used on the interior as this is the first thing that people see when they are in the drive way. This is especially important especially when planning to sell the house in the future as this can be used as a great selling point to move the house out o the market fast. These remain in great condition for a long time with a guarantee of more than 15 years that the paint will not fade, crack, chip or even peel. This will give you peace of mind to enjoy a gorgeous home for a long period of time.