Having trouble with one of your household appliances? There’s no need to panic. Despite rapid advancements in science and technology over the past twenty years, appliance problems are still almost as common as they were then. The difference is that now you have the Internet at your disposal, which means easy access to articles like this one that can help you identify and potentially resolve the issue without hiring an appliance repair professional.
A warm fridge is often cause by dirty condenser coils.
A warm fridge is particularly frustrating as it can feel more time-sensitive than some of the other problems in this list. You don’t want to have to throw away all the food in your fridge just because the repair person was late. While a warm fridge is one of the most common appliance problems that professionals are called to repair, it can often be resolved with just a little elbow grease.
Secondly, unplug the fridge so it is completely off. This is important so you don’t accidentally electrocute or burn yourself. Once the power is off, find the coils on your fridge and clean them thoroughly. A vacuum and brush will be immensely helpful. And that’s it! You’re done. You are free to turn on your fridge again and see if it works.
If your dryer is making a strange sound it should be investigated immediately.
If you hear an unusual sound when using your dryer, the chances are there is something wrong internally that should be fixed as soon as possible. Depending on the specific sound your dryer is emitting, it could be one of the following problems.
A rattling sound in your dryer may be a zipper or button that has fallen in to the dryer vent. Check below your lint filter with a flashlight and clean out anything you find in there. It’s a good idea to do this regularly to keep your dryer clean and healthy.
Dishwasher that Won’t Clean
A dirty dishwasher can be frustrating but is easily fixed.
Dishwashers have one job, so when they aren’t doing it correctly it can be very frustrating. The first thing you should do is make sure that you aren’t over estimating your dishwasher’s abilities. Try putting a smaller load on to wash; if the dishes still come out dirty, you'll need to do some more investigating.
The next thing you should do is give your dishwasher a thorough cleaning. Start with cleaning out the food filter, which you can locate by consulting your dishwasher’s manual. If your filter looks pretty good, the issue may be with the washer’s spray arms. The spray arms are designed to shoot hot water and detergent at the dishes, so it’s very likely they are responsible for the problem.
Spray arms typically have four or more holes that can be easily clogged by a buildup of food or scale deposits from hard water. Cleaning your spray arms can be difficult, but is certainly not a task you need a professional for. The spray arms are also easy to find and remove – most dishwashers have an arm at the top and bottom, but there may also be one in the middle. You can find a detailed tutorial for removing and cleaning dishwasher spray arms here.It’s also a good idea to confirm you are using the right type of detergent for your dishwasher. Using a detergent that is not recommended for your brand and model could be causing multiple problems. Don’t forget to clean out the detergent hatch as well, as a buildup in the dispenser could potentially be the root of your problems.
Gas Burner Not Lighting
Cleaning your gas burner regularly will help keep it functioning efficiently.
Problems with your gas burner are always disconcerting thanks to the omnipresent threat of a gas leak. Suffice to say, if you smell gas or suspect a leak, immediately evacuate the area and call 911.
If you just can’t seem to get the burner to light, there is a less cause for concern. Like a warm fridge or non-functioning dishwasher, the issue will probably be resolved with a little cleaning. It’s easy to spill food when cooking on a gas burner, and this can easily cause a buildup in the ignition port that prevents the flow of gas. By cleaning out your burner you can quickly get your burner working efficiently again.
To get started, disconnect the burner from power. After that, remove the grate and burner cap, both of which should come off easily. This should give you access to the burner’s ignition ports which you can now clean with warm water and soap. Vinegar or baking soda will help with more stubborn blockages. Keep in mind that these are general instructions, so it’s recommended that you consult the manual for cleaning instructions specific to your gas burner.
Replace the parts you removed and give the burner time to dry thoroughly before reconnecting it to power and trying to use it. Your gas burner should work perfectly now.
These are just some of the common appliance problems you can fix without the help of a professional, although the chances are you will still need help from a licensed repair person during the life of one or more of your appliances.If you do need an appliance repair person now, try using EZBZ – the free concierge service. Our team of local business experts can help you find and compare reputable repair professionals in your area. Simply post a request online or through the EZBZ app, or call us on 1-855-46-8619 for a local recommendation.
Christa Mruz is the owner and operator of Two Maids & A Mop of White Plains, a residential cleaning company serving all of Westchester County, New York. Prior to owning her own cleaning company, Christa had an extensive career in the corporate world. She is a PTA Mom and lives in Scarsdale, NY with her two young children and hardworking husband.
You gotta love spring. The weather is warm, flowers are blooming, and it’s time to put away the large winter coats and re-emerge outside. Many of us also see spring as an appropriate time to clean out the cob-webs in our home.
As the owner of a residential cleaning service in Westchester County, New York, I clean houses all year-round, and have learned plenty of lessons about how to do my job effectively and quickly. Here are my five top tips to help you with your own spring cleaning:
1. Declutter and organize your house first
Putting seasonal clothing in storage will help you save space
Over time, we collect things that we no longer need or find useful. We might have winter coats and sweaters that we don’t need during the warmer months, and need a place to store them. Take the time to go through your house and locate the items you no longer need, and the seasonal items that require storage. This not only makes you feel like you have more space in your home, but will help you get the most out of dusting, mopping, and vacuuming because you will have a large surface area to clean.
2. Dedicate a block of time to cleaning
Time-management will help ensure your clean is completed in one session
Cleaning can be a chore, but it can also be a satisfying experience once you see the fruits of your labor. Sometimes, if you only clean sporadically, the whole house never gets done; it becomes a protracted project with no end in sight. I recommend blocking off a specific time over a weekend or a few days to clean the entire house. You are more likely to finish and will feel much more satisfied.
3. Call in reinforcements to help
Cleaning together with your family can be a great bonding experience
There is nothing more daunting than cleaning an entire house by yourself. Whether you get your family to pitch in, or hire a professional to get the job done – a little help goes along way! It will make your cleaning time more manageable and could even turn into a fun experience to share with your family. My company – Two Maids & a Mop – always sends teams of two cleaners to ensure a prompt and consistent clean.
4. Assess each room and make a plan
Assess how much cleaning each room in your home will require prior to starting
Don’t just jump into cleaning a room! Go around your home first and take note of what needs to be cleaned in each room. Be sure to look at the ceilings, light fixtures, furniture, cupboards, and floor. Determining out how much you have to do (and what cleaning supplies you will need) before you start will help you save time and complete the clean in one session. After you’ve confirmed what needs to be done, gather your cleaning equipment and start with the hardest room first.
5. Use the Right Tools
A dust mop is great for cleaning hardwood floors
There are plenty of cleaning tools available that will last a long time, help you clean effectively, and won’t break the bank. We like to use high dusters to clean ceiling fans and light fixtures and to remove cob webs from corners where walls meet. If you have hardwood floors, invest in a good dust mop. It will make your floors shine without scratching them. A powerful vacuum will help you clean wall-to-wall carpet. Lastly, microfiber cloths are great for dusting. They pick up the dust easily while things like rags or paper towel merely move it around. Add a little furniture polish to your microfiber rag and your furniture will look brand new.
I hope these tips help you with the spring cleaning of your home, and any future house cleaning efforts. Now, get it over and done with so you can start enjoying this fine spring weather!
Looking for a professional to help you with your spring cleaning? Download the EZBZ App for free and we'll connect you with reputable cleaning services in your area, who will chat with you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
While we all learn as children not to judge a book by its cover, the same rule does not seem to apply when it comes to your home. Whether you like it or not, the landscape of your home says a lot about you to your neighbors, guests, and passersby. If this concerns you, fear not; we have compiled a list of five simple steps you can take to improve your landscape design.
1 Create a Focal Point
An example of an outdoor focal point
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on your front or back lawn, focal points are a basic principle of landscape design. They draw the eye and help define the character of your yard. Choosing a focal point is the first step to improving your landscape because it will influence many of your other decisions. It could be anything from a water feature to a park bench, or even the front door to your home. While you can have multiple focal points, it’s important not to have too many; a cluttered yard is never impressive.
Island garden bed
You may consider having an island or berm as your focal point. In landscaping, an island is an isolated garden bed surrounded by grass. They are often placed in the center of the yard to avoid corrupting the symmetry. Similarly, a berm is a mound or small hill made of dirt. They are great for dividing your yard into sections or even just giving you some extra privacy.
A popular garden pathway design.
A garden pathway will add a touch of elegance to your landscape. There is a plethora of materials to choose from when creating the perfect path for your yard, but popular choices include rock, gravel, wood, and brick. Combine materials or use a multi-colored variety to create patterns that will make it even more striking.
A path can also help you incorporate curves into your landscape. If you want a visually stunning outdoor area, curves are a must. Curves can add depth, intrigue and privacy to your outdoor space.
A well-kept garden.
In an article discussing the principles of landscape design, author and landscaper Rob Steiner says: “It’s better to plant a 50-cent plant in a $5 hole, than a $5 plant in a 50-cent hole.” Steiner’s point is, it doesn’t matter how expensive or exotic your plants are, if they aren’t planted correctly, your garden won’t last long.
Planting an edible garden is a great activity for families to do together.
The shape and style of your garden should also be considered. Every garden looks better when you consider the principles of geometry, especially symmetry & curves. We already discussed how important curves are, and your garden is a wonderful place to utilize them to your advantage. A symmetrical garden will look impressively tidy, even if you tend to neglect your plants.
A well lit outdoor area.
If you’re going to put a lot of time and effort into improving your landscape design, you should also ensure that the visuals can be enjoyed past sunset. Outdoor lighting can even be manipulated to accentuate the efforts you’ve made towards improving your landscape design. Shadows can be utilized to hide eye-sores, while assorted styles of lighting can be used to inject mood. For example, lanterns and fairy lights can be used to evoke a magical, playful atmosphere.
Solar powered lights bordering an outdoor path.
Check out this article from craft mom blogger, Jamie Saunders, for some other creative ideas about how you can light your outdoor space.
Maintaining your yard is the key to it's success.
9 times out of 10, the reason your yard looks a little lackluster is that you haven’t devoted enough time or energy to making it look good. And that’s okay – you’re only human, after all. If you don’t have time to maintain your yard, hire a professional who can – depending on the size of your yard (and budget), hiring a landscaper can be a cost-effective investment and will be well worth the results.
We’re nearing the halfway point of winter, and whether you’ve been dealing with rain, snow, or just colder temperatures, it’s time to see how your home and landscaping are making it through. Better to catch and fix any problems now before they escalate.
Here's a checklist to guide you:
Naturally, you’ll call a professional to repair the roof if you’ve already got any leaks, but if not, do a perimeter check (with binoculars if necessary) to see if you’ve got any missing or warped shingles or broken tiles and have them replaced as soon as possible before water finds its way in.
No one would suggest that you climb up on the roof yourself to check further, but if the weather has been particularly harsh where you are, schedule an inspection. Some companies will do this for free, others will charge and apply the fee to any repairs.
2. Gutters and Downspouts
Clear gutters of debris that could cause water to pool and cause leaks and mold. While you’re at it, check to see that they and the downspouts are still affixed firmly. The weight of snow and ice could have begun pulling them away.
3. Vents and Other Openings
Do a walk-around to make sure that all exterior vent covers are still in place. Cold and wet weather drives all manner of critters to find safe, warm places to nest, and you don’t need any freeloading tenants. Once you’ve finished examining the outside of the house, head on up to the attic and check vents and openings there, too.
4. Fireplace and Chimney
If you didn’t have your chimney cleaned before you began using the fireplace this winter, call a chimney sweep to do the job. If your fireplace gets a lot of use, it could have a dangerous buildup of creosote, the highly flammable oil produced by wood smoke, and that coating can ignite and cause a damaging fire that, as well as threatening your life, can cost thousands in chimney repairs.
5. Heating System
You probably don’t have to check to see if your heater is working, because you’d be reading this with mittens on. But if the system has been going full blast for several months, it’s a good idea to replace the filters. If you’ve been making do with an old non-programmable thermostat that doesn’t regulate the temperature evenly, it’s also wise to replace it with one that maintains the temperature and saves you money.
6. Plumbing and Pipes
If your area has seen below-freezing weather, water could have built up and frozen inside pipes and begun to cause cracks. Creaking and odd noises from the plumbing could indicate impending breaks and leaks. Get the plumber out there now to check things over before you wake up to a flood.
Winter is a hectic time. Investing in a professional lawn service is a great idea for homeowners who are too busy to devote hours of work to their yard as even in locations with a mild winter season, your landscape can take a beating.
To make sure your lawn is in the best shape possible to survive and thrive during the wait for spring, pick up fallen branches and any other objects that will add to soil compression, keep the lawn raked as possible to remove hiding spots that encourage pests and disease, and avoid foot traffic on snow-laden or soggy soil. On the other hand, if there hasn’t been any precipitation in a while, don’t forget to water.
Broken or damaged branches can pack a wallop if they go flying during the strong winds of a storm. It’s dangerous to prune large or high branches yourself, so hire professionals who are experienced in climbing and using heavy equipment.
If you’re doing any pruning yourself, avoid stressing the tree and lop off just what’s necessary, like damaged or diseased branches, branches that are crossing each other or growing inward, and branches that are growing in odd directions. Never remove more than 25 percent of a tree’s branches.
It’s better late than never to lay a good cover of mulch around all of your plants to protect roots from harsh temperatures that are still to come as well as keep weeds from sprouting later. Don’t cover the trunks of shrubs and trees, though, because mulch holds moisture and can cause rot.
If you’re looking for a local professional to help you with any of the above tasks, consider asking EZBZ – the free concierge service. You can request a service through our app or website, or call us toll-free for a local business recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
But what about the unexpected? With family on their way and the turkey in the oven, you don't have time to deal with a clogged sink or busted water heater.
Here's the thing. Once you have a professional on the way to fix what broke, you can get back to your preparations. The repair person shows up, and you show them to the way to where they need to go. You can leave them to their work while you to yours. The hard part is getting in touch with that repair man or woman, especially for an emergency job.
That's where EZBZ comes in. Especially around the holidays, you are way too busy to be searching on Google and filling out web forms and making calls. Let us make it easy for you. Just put what you need in the concierge box, and let us do the rest for you.
What about those real emergencies where you absolutely must get in touch with a business? EZBZ offers a Personal Assistant service. For only $5, EZBZ guarantees 5 responses in 2 hours or your money back. When we put "Your Problem, Solved" on our web site, it's not just a tag line. It's a promise.
Not every home needs a regular, professional cleaning, but often the benefits are well and truly worth the cost. Click here to learn more about the positives of hiring a cleaning service or house keeper.
Not every home needs a professional cleaning service, but in a household with two or more working adults and dependents (e.g. children, pets), chores can quickly become a time-consuming and stressful aspect of everyday life. Hiring a cleaning service is obviously going to cost money, but it may be more affordable and worthwhile than you expect. Here are some of the benefits of investing in a house keeper or cleaning service:
While the average cleaning service costs somewhere between $20-$50 an hour, it is possible to find services that can work with smaller budgets. You can also cut out some of the costs by planning ahead what you need assistance with. Prepare a list of the jobs you would like completed, and be sure to omit the chores that aren’t necessary or that you are happy to do yourself, for example making beds or ironing. By specifying exactly what you need and expect from the service, you are more likely to be satisfied with the cost and quality of the job. By utilizing a regular cleaning service, you are also ensuring your home is consistently clean, which can help you save money on repair, pest control, and even your health.
If every adult in your household works full or even part-time, it can be hard to find the time to take care of the day-to-day maintenance that every home requires. It has been scientifically proven (not really) that after a long day at work, the last thing anyone feels like doing is household chores. Hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service to take care of these tasks means that you can come home from work and focus on more important things. If you’re still unsure, compare quotes from several cleaning services and ask yourself the following question: is your time worth more than the cost of a cleaning service?
Don’t be Afraid to Entertain
One of the best perks of having a neat and tidy home is the confidence it gives you to entertain guests whenever you want. If you don’t have the budget for a weekly clean, you may just want to hire a service to clean your home before and after every event you host. This gives you more time and energy to focus on other, more important aspects of planning an event, such as the food or your outfit.
Experts do a Better Job
While you may take pride in your mopping skills, there’s a good chance you’re not very passionate or excited about cleaning if you’re considering hiring a cleaning service. A professional cleaner will typically have access to professional-grade equipment, not to mention a wealth of experience, when they come to clean your home, which means they will ideally make your home cleaner than you’ve ever seen it. Of course, it’s also a good idea to ensure that the professional you are hiring is actually a professional – be sure to check out any reviews they have online, and if they don’t have any, ask them for a reference or two. It’s worth your while to be thorough in the hiring process to ensure you don’t hire someone that can only clean your home as well as you do.myezbz.com is a great way to find and compare professional cleaning services in your area. Simply submit a free request, and local and recommended cleaning companies will reply to you directly with their information, availability, and pricing. It’s a great way to see what your options are and ensure you hire a professional that will do right by you and your home.
Chores are an unfortunate reality for everyone – especially for those of us that live in a house with kids. If you’re a parent, it’s important to remember that cleaning and maintaining your home should not be your duty alone. In fact, studies show that teaching children the importance of chores is vital to their development.
Research from the University of Minnesota found that chores help children build a lasting sense of responsibility, mastery, and self-reliance. The study also found that adults who began chores at ages 3 or 4 were more likely to be self-sufficient, have strong relationships with friends and family, and achieve early academic or career success than those who didn’t start chores until their teenage years.
Of course, knowing that kids should do chores, and actually making them follow through, are quite different things. Children are notorious for very bluntly voicing their objection to anything and everything that they don’t feel like doing. It would almost be admirable if it weren’t for all the screaming and crying.
Here are some tips for making average household chores more bearable for kids:
Make it a Competition or Sport
Kids are naturally competitive, so if you have more than one child, adding an element of competition to a chore is a sure-fire way to get them excited about completing the task. This can sometimes be harder to pull off than just asking, “who can finish first?”, though. The more enthusiasm you can contribute to the task, the more your kids will embrace it. Avoid rewards as well, at least in the form of money – some psychologists have suggested that money can minimize a child’s desire to pitch in, turning a good deed in to a transaction.
Watch Your Language
While you may think using slightly different words or phrasing couldn’t possibly have an impact, you may be surprised by the results. For example, studies have shown that thanking a child for being a “helper” rather than just “helping”, can significantly increase their motivation. Referring to the chores as “ours” rather than “yours” also reiterates that doing chores is a way of helping one another, rather than a mandatory duty.
We all know how powerful the imagination of a child is, so it’s no surprise that you can use it to your advantage when trying to complete some jobs around the house. Providing a story or make-believe scenario as the context for completing a job is a great way to engage younger children. Instead of washing up dishes, maybe you are the captain of a sinking ship, cleaning and offloading heavy cargo; or instead of cleaning a cluttered bedroom, you are removing land mines from a dangerous battlefield. Cater to the interests of your child/children, and it’s hard to go wrong.
Behavioral Control Not Emotional Control
Regardless of how fun you can make your household chores, you’re still going to hear some complaints. But that’s okay – kids are entitled to complain. Trying to coerce your child in to enjoying a chore, using guilt, or any other emotional tactic can have an extremely detrimental impact on their mental health.
Instead, as a parent it’s your job to calmly explain that if they’re living in a house, they have to contribute to the everyday maintenance requirements. This parental advice will help them for many years to come, in particular when they move out and have their own home to look after.
While a recent study showed that over 80% of adults participated in regular chores as a child, only 28% of them reported asking their own children to complete chores. This is one of the few generational differences in parenting that is predicted to have a negative impact on the development of children in the modern era.
By requiring your kids to help around the house, you can have a very positive impact on their future development. By making chores bearable, you make life easier for everyone now.
Summer is home improvement season for a reason. While some jobs will always require you to hire a contractor or licensed professional, there are countless home repair projects you can quickly complete yourself in the warm weather. Many of these jobs are not so easily fixed in fall or winter, and ignoring the job until next summer isn’t a great idea, either, as the problem could worsen and become an expensive project that you can no longer complete yourself.
Here are some easy jobs you can do around the house during summer to avoid expensive repairs down the road:
For a big painting job you may wish to hire a contractor, but for small touch ups to the outside or inside of your house, even an inexperienced homeowner should be able to the do the job themselves. Summer is the best time to paint outside as the heat will help it dry faster, and there is less chance of rain, snow, or leaf litter disrupting your progress. If you’re painting inside, summer allows you to leave the windows open to ventilate the house and speed up the drying process.
While this job can be outsourced to a professional, you may be able to do it yourself for little to no cost. Gutters are the first line of defense for your home against water damage. Leaving them to accrue debris and dirt could lead to a big, wet, and expensive headache for you down the road. There are also plenty of insects and pests that love to make their home in debris-filled gutters, which can quickly lead to an infestation. Cleaning your gutters twice a year is a great way to avoid a buildup of debris, and also gives you an opportunity to check for any other issues such as a leak.
Spring and summer are the best months for gardening and/or landscaping your yard. By planting shrubs or plants in the warmer months, you give them a chance to settle and grow before the harsh fall and winter months. The ground is also easier to dig in to while it’s hot, so if you’re thinking of installing a new irrigation system or in-ground pool, summer is the time for it.
TLC for Your Outdoor Surfaces
Come fall and winter, your outdoor surfaces are going to be hit with rain, leaf litter, and snow… So summer is a good time to prepare for the months ahead.
Refinishing your deck in Summer will not only help protect it from the weather, it will make it look brand new, which is perfect if you’re planning on using it throughout the summer. Refinishing once every year, or even every two-three years, is a project you can do yourself and will help you elongate the life of your deck. Avoiding a regular refinish could mean having to replace your deck within a few years, which would cost thousands of dollars.
Another outdoor surface that might need some TLC is your driveway. It’s a good idea to inspect your driveway and make sure it’s ready for the tough months ahead – if it is due for repaving or replacement soon, be sure to get it done in summer. You don’t want to have to replace your driveway in rain or snow. Finally, if you have a lot of outdoor concrete surfaces, look out for cracks. If they’re small enough, you can caulk them very easily and save yourself a lot of time and money. Bigger cracks will require a concrete patch.
Inspecting and improving your home during summer may feel like hard work now, but can be extremely beneficial to the longevity of your home, not to mention potentially saving you thousands of dollars. When working outside, however, be sure to stay hydrated and use sunblock. Health and safety should always be your priority when completing home repairs.
If you require professional assistance for any project you want to complete this summer, request it for free through EZBZ. We will send your request to local professionals, who will reply to you directly with their information and pricing. It’s a great way to compare your options and find the best deal available.
In some locations, the heat of summer is almost unbearable. And with increasing temperatures worldwide due to global warming, it’s clear the heat won’t be letting up any time soon. In many areas all over the US, families are choosing to remain inside their cool, air-conditioned homes as long as possible. The irony of this is that every home with an over-active air conditioner is contributing to the carbon emissions that are held partially responsible for rising temperatures.
Of course, not every household can afford an air conditioner. This is good for the environment, but not so great for those of us who hate the heat. Here are some tips for keeping your home cool in summer without an air conditioner:
Windows Open; Curtains Closed
When you know it’s going to be a hot day, open your windows and close your blinds or curtains as early in the morning as possible. If there is a breeze, the open windows will allow a cool draft to flow through your house. By closing the blinds/curtains, you prevent the greenhouse effect – i.e. light from the sun super-heating your home. When combined, these tips can dramatically lower your energy bills, and the temperature of your home. The natural air will also help keep your home smelling fresh, and is a nice change from breathing in recycled air from a conditioner.
In today’s market, it’s easy to find fans that are effective at cooling you down while consuming minimal energy. They’re a great way to keep the temperature down inside without resorting to using an air conditioner, and if you’re strategic about their placement, you can create a wind tunnel that feels similar to a natural breeze. By placing a bowl of ice in front of the fan, you can also cool the air that’s being fanned.
For some people, trying to sleep in the heat is nearly impossible. If this is you, it’s important to ensure you are using sheets that won’t retain heat and will keep your body temperature as low as possible while you sleep. Cotton sheets are the best choice. Using pillows with buckwheat hulls won't hold heat as much as normal pillows, so they are also great way to keep your bed (and body) cool.
It probably goes without saying, but using your oven on a hot day will make your entire home feel like a sauna. Using your grill instead is a great way to ensure your home can stay as cool as possible – by setting up outside under some shade, you can also take full advantage of any cool summer breezes that happen to blow your way.
Ultimately, there are numerous things you can do to help keep cool during summer – the most important thing to remember is to focus on lowering your body temperature, rather than the temperature inside your home. It’s much easier to change your body temperature, and it is also a more accurate indicator of how you feel.
If you’re looking to hire a HVAC or insulation contractor, or purchase a fan, air conditioner or other product that will keep your home cool, consider submitting a free request through EZBZ. EZBZ will connect you with reputable providers in your area within minutes - it's a great way to compare your options and ensure you get a fair price.
Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, a well-kept garden can also help you feel more relaxed and at peace. One of the secrets of keeping a healthy, green garden is a good mulch. Mulch is a layer of material placed in your garden to help promote healthy growth. While most mulch is organic, there are also artificial options available.
Some gardeners make the mistake of using white wood chips as a mulch – these chips absorb nitrogen from the soil, starving your garden. Several good organic mulches include manure, bark and compost. As the mulch breaks down it improves soil structure, breaks down sticky clay, increases the soils ability to hold nutrients and water, and improves the aeration of soil for plant roots. In gardens that have consistently used a compost mulch, you will notice strong plant growth and earthworms – symptoms of a healthy garden. Organic mulches will decompose slowly, and should be replaced once a year.
Inorganic mulch can also be used to help your garden – they provide a protective sheet that stops weeds from sprouting through the soil, but still permits water to soak in and hydrate the plants. In addition to stopping weeds, however, it can also prevent the growth of some plants. Be sure to avoid using a plastic sheet on your garden – this will stop rain from reaching the roots of your plants and flowers, and the soil will suffocate.
It is a good idea to rake and remove old mulch from your garden bed, before introducing new mulch. The mulch should be two-four inches away from the plant stem or tree trunk, and watered regularly. Water will sink below the mulch and be soaked up by the soil. Ensure you also only ever lay mulch on soil that is moist, not frozen or waterlogged.
Mulch is a great landscaping asset, even if you’re not interested in gardening. Mulches like pine straw can be placed on soil patches to not only help them look neat, but also prevent the growth of unwanted weeds. Mulch doesn’t always smell fresh, but it’s a great way to boost the health of your garden and trees, and in doing so, improve the air quality of your yard. A healthy garden will also attract wildlife such as bees, that are vital to our ecosystem.If you’re interested in finding a local mulch provider, submit a request through EZBZ here: www.myezbz.com/category/mulching. EZBZ will instantly send your request to local landscaping and garden services that can help you mulch your garden, who will reply in minutes with their information, availability and prices. It’s free, quick, and easy.
Many homeowners consider their deck to be the best feature of their home. However, decks are also constantly subjected to weather, wildlife and leaf litter that can have detrimental effects. Here are some tips for maintenance that will help ensure the longevity of your deck.
As an external feature of your home, your deck is constantly exposed to the elements. Harsh weather conditions, wildlife, and leaf litter can all have detrimental effects on your deck, so it is is imperative to take measures towards its cleaning and maintenance. There are contractors that specialize in this work, but you can also attempt to do it yourself.
Regular cleaning is very important. A soapy water solution will work fine for general cleaning. If your deck need a thorough cleaning to remove mildew and stains, there are cleaning agents available that are specially designed for decks. These products are designed to safely clean the wood without bleaching or warping. They are available in most hardware stores, and can also be purchased directly from some deck contractors.
When using the cleaning agents, it is important to wear gloves as you scrub and rinse your deck. A pump up sprayer can be used to apply the agent. A scrub brush can then be used to scrub the deck, and a garden hose can be used to rinse. Allow a few minutes between the scrubbing and the rinsing. It is advisable to avoid using pressure washers when cleaning a deck, as the water may penetrate the wood and cause it to rot.
You should take note to remove any leaves or natural debris on your deck. Organic matter can collect moisture, causing the wood to rot. Clean all dirt, grime, and any other debris that may stain the deck or cause the wood to rot. There are tools that are specifically tailored for the use of removing dirt and debris between the floor panels without damaging them.
To prevent direct contact between the deck and any surrounding bushes or plants, some basic trimming may be necessary. This will also help avoid the collection of moisture on the deck that could lead to wood rot.
A sealer or stain can be applied on the deck after the washing. This should be preferably done when outdoor temperatures are a little lower to avoid the stain from quickly drying up. The finish needs to be absorbed into the wood and will help protect it from the elements. It’s also advisable to check on the nails and screws of your deck, and to tighten any that may be loose. A sander can be used to even up any raised boards.Regular cleaning and maintenance of your deck is very important for homeowners, and even renters, as it can extend the longevity of the deck and help avoid costly repairs. The online concierge service, EZBZ, can instantly connect you with deck contractors and cleaning product providers. Simply go to www.myezbz.com/category/deck-cleaning-treatment and submit a free request.
As the sun rays become warmer, the days longer, and the trees begin to blossom, one thing is clear: spring is here. This is the cue to open the windows wide and start the cleaning. After fall and winter, it’s time to give your home some fresh air, and perhaps give it a little bit of a makeover. Whether you are living in an apartment, or a home with garden, here are some general tips to help you prepare your property for a warm & wonderful spring.
Before you start the spring cleaning, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t need any home repairs done. You can start with the basics, such as checking the electrical outlets for potential fire hazards or the water heater for leaks. If you own an air-conditioning system, now is the best time to have it inspected and its filters cleaned, but don’t do this yourself; it’s safer to hire a professional. Another great tip is checking and changing the light bulbs; fluorescent bulbs produce less heat than other types, so they’re recommended for spring and summer.
If you live in a house, it’s important to check the exterior too. Make sure to check your roof – after a season of heavy snow, there could be some damage, which may not be easy to see until after all the snow has melted. Most gardens will also need a little landscaping this time of year – removing the dead vegetation and planting some new flowers will make your garden flourish! Well, at least until winter returns. A new coat of paint on the door or exterior walls can also help to make your house look fresh and homely. Finally, if you’re planning on having some barbecues this spring, it’s a good time to pull out the grill and give it a good clean.
Now, moving back inside the house, it’s a good idea to do an effective, overall cleaning. If your rugs or carpet are stained, the beginning of spring is a great time to have them cleaned, as it’s warm enough outside to open the windows, and moisture from outside won’t be tracked inside nearly as much as in the winter months. With the windows open, it’s probably a good time to have your curtains cleaned as well.
Another reason to clean the house is that spring is a great time for insects to thrive. They love the dirty and dusty crooks and crevices of your home, so a thorough spring cleaning will make sure you don’t gain any unwanted tenants. The heat of spring and summer means it’s also a good idea to take out the garbage more regularly, to keep your home smelling nice and roach-free.These are just some of the tips that you can keep in mind when preparing your home for spring. If you need any assistance when looking for home repairs, landscaping, or cleaning services, www.myezbz.com is a free, online concierge that can connect you with the reputable businesses that can help. It takes thirty seconds to submit a free request, and EZBZ businesses will reply to you directly with their information, availability and estimates.
The cold air that comes along with winter is another issue that affects senior citizens. The freezing temperatures create conditions that make it difficult to take in deep breaths. They also further challenge already limited mobility. With cold air comes icy door steps, road ways and sidewalks increasing the risk of falling. When someone who is older falls they are at a greater risk for serious injury over someone much younger. Our bones become more brittle and prone to breaks and sprains as we age.
When it comes to the population of seniors amongst us, now we are aware their nature is one of a more independent nature. This can be seen with the increase in the number of seniors choosing to age in place. This is where many winter-related problems stem from when it comes to the elderly.
Despite the number of warnings shared with the aging population many still attempt to continue providing their snow removal services. They continue to shovel, salt and snow blow on their own as they have an overwhelming fear of entrapment as well as a fear that is not continuing to do these so called normal tasks makes them appear fragile and weak. Another reason may be because of issues that arise from living within a fixed budget.
If you know anyone that falls into this category that remains either too stubborn to ask for help or financially unable there are a few things that you can do to help.
Of course, if you are able bodied consider shoveling their driveway and sidewalks for them. If it is a loved one you are concerned about that lives too far for you to travel call upon their neighbors to ask for assistance. Sometimes the people around them are afraid to insult them by offering to help or are unaware a need is prevalent. Another option is to call upon a local snow removal company that services others within the community in which a loved one life and asked them what type of services they can offer within a limited budget. It will shock you how many snow removal companies will clear the sidewalks and walk ways a bit more carefully when they know the service is being provided for an elderly citizen.
In the winter months, it is so important that we take extra good care of our loved ones that are aging. Snow removal, side walk shoveling, ice removal and laying down an extra layer of salt are ways we can all chip in to help create a safer environment for senior citizens.
Water damage repair should be started as soon as possible as it might not be possible to repair or fix certain objects if too much time is taken. Water damage can cause growth of mold in the house if the house is not dried properly within 48 hours. Water can damage furniture, documents, carpets, walls, woodwork, basement and more. Being aware of the cause of damage can help you deal with water damage repair better.
Water damage repair should be started as soon as possible as it might not be possible to repair or fix certain objects if too much time is taken. Water damage can cause growth of mold in the house if the house is not dried properly within 48 hours. Water can damage furniture, documents, carpets, walls, woodwork, basement and more. Being aware of the cause of damage can help you deal with water damage repair better.
Water damage can be caused due to floods, water leakage through pipes or a burst pipe. A house can suffer water damage because of improper maintenance, faulty construction or humidity and moisture level of your house. Water damage commonly found in houses usually include:
Collection of moisture on the inside of the exterior wall, this moisture could weaken the wall and cause mold at a later date. This usually happens in cold weather and lack of enough insulation. For its water damage repair, you would need to insulate the inside of the exterior wall by putting up a vapor barrier to prevent collection of moisture.
Plaster erosion or sheet-rock erosion could be caused by rain, leak, plumbing or lack of vapor barrier. In this case the leakage area must be fixed and an insulation-material should be installed to the inner surface of the outside wall as water damage repair.
Wet foundation walls caused due to high humidity level in the basement or when the foundation is not damp-proof or waterproof. A dehumidifier must be installed and the foundation should be made damp-proof.
Wallpaper peeling in rooms are usually caused by high humidity. Wallpaper can be prevented from eroding if proper ventilation is provided. Wallpaper peeling is usually found in the bathroom or kitchen because of high humidity. Wallpaper can be simply glued back but in case of formation of mold, fungus or bacteria, you must wash the wallpapers with detergent ammonia and rinse.
Faulty plumbing or a leaky roof can cause windows and doors to rot. Moisture can affect your wood very badly therefore for its water damage repair you need to take immediate action. After fixing the leaky area, the wood must be treated with disinfectants like creosote or cuprinol. The wooden area that has already begun to rot must be repaired with wood fillers.
Mold or fungus on the interior surface of the walls can be found after a flooding. The high moisture content in the air after flooding could lead to high moisture content in air, which again leads to the growth of mold. Water damage repair in such a case would involve reducing relative humidity by installing a dehumidifier, disinfecting the walls and ceilings with proper chemicals before applying paint to the wall.
You can carry out minor water damage repair in the house on your own but in case of major water damage, it is best to seek professional help. You can always submit a free request to EZBZ for water damage repair companies in case you need them.
Energy conservation is often on the minds of home owners and renters for financial and environmental reasons. As we strive to reduce our personal carbon footprints, we also seek to save money wherever possible! Effectiant energy use can enhance natural qualities of a home while maximizing savings. Here are some tips for conserving energy:
Simple Ways of Conserving Energy at Home
- Set the thermostat to its lowest temperature for comfort when there are people in the house.
- When there is no one in the house, set the thermostat to a very, very low temperature.
- When the fireplace is not in use, close the damper.
- Close the doors and reduce the heat in rooms that are not being occupied.
- During the heating season, replace the furnace filters (doing so once a month would be good).
- To reduce the leakage of air underneath exterior doors, use a door sweep (you can get a cheap one).
- Turn off any devices and appliances that are not in use; e.g. shut down computers, turn off the lights in rooms that aren’t occupied.
- If it is possible, crack a few windows at night so as to bring in cooler air at night.
Physical Modifications to Conserve Energy at Home
One very easy way to conserve energy at home is to eliminate all phantom loads. The term “phantom loads” refers to those electrical appliances that are plugged in to the power but are actually not doing anything. These appliances are turned off but are still consuming energy.
- When you go buy new appliances for whatever purpose, look for the most energy efficient ones you know are going to be energy efficient. You can ask for assistance when you go shopping or alternatively, you could look appliances with the Energy Star. These are usually energy efficient and will help you conserve energy at home.
- Light bulbs are another option if you want to conserve energy. It is one of the most cost efficient methods of conserving energy that you can think of. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are cheap and easy to replace. This will save a lot of energy as compared to traditional light bulbs.
- If you want to conserve energy in your home, get a programmable thermostat. These will adjust the temperature of your home according to the schedule you set. This way, your thermostat will do its work only when you need it and not when, for instance, there’s nobody at home.
- Install weather stripping on your doors and windows if it isn’t there already.
- Have insulating gaskets installed behind the electrical gaskets. You can also do this for the switch plates on the exterior walls.
- Where there are unheated areas, insulate the floors.
- Ensure that the stand alone freezer is always maintained at 0 degrees.
- Make a note to replace all the ageing major appliances in your house such as the refrigerator, TVs.
Signs your Gutters need Repair or Replacement
There are a few clear signs that are certain to draw your consideration towards the requirement for gutter repair:
• If there are any leaks in the corners or flooding of water, or there is rust in the steel gutters
• According to the essential gutter structure, they ought to be hanged level. In this way, if they inclining towards one side, there is doubtlessly a major issue with them.
• If you see water coming from behind the gutter
Counteract Gutter Clogging
Keeping in mind the end goal to prevent obstruction in your gutter chambers, you can decided to introduce different sorts of defensive watchmen. They help keep your gutters free of twigs, leaves and different materials. There are a range of different gatekeepers available, including:
• Hinged Covers
• Solid Covers
• Snap in Filter Guard
• Plastic Gutter Guards
• Downspout aluminum strainer
Additionally, you have the alternative of introducing a defensive screen inside your gutter. This will evade any sort of debris from entering the downspouts. This may particularly be useful as these downspouts are purging into the drain lines, subsequently diminishing the likelihood of these lines filling with debris.
Life of a Gutter
These days, the vast majority of the gutter specialists advocate the utilization of aluminum gutters. If maintained appropriately, they can last for decades. You simply need to keep them consistently clean and keep the corners and end tops appropriately fixed. This is on the grounds that they accompany a lifetime warranty.
The resolution for home owners is a consistent maintenance of gutters. Though a few owners may consider to take this on themselves, people who haven't got time, energy or ability to bother with the work may hire someone. Gutter repair and maintenance will be performed by handymen or gutter maintenance specialists.
Keep in mind, gutters may not be the best piece of your house, but rather they perform an imperative capacity. In this manner, keeping them in the best conceivable condition by getting them consistently cleaned is the best way to avoid costly repair or maintenance fees down the line.
If you need help locating a gutter clearning service, you can submit a free request to www.myezbz.com!
A home septic system can be considered a minor scale sewage treatment system. Homes separate of a typical municipal sewage program have a septic system; this system like others within the home requires attention to maintain optimum performance. An occasional examination and maintenance of the septic tank can help avoid unnecessary repair expenses and can even stop alleviate potential environmental.
When the home septic system is planned properly, it acts as an excellent long-term waste treatment system. The water that comes from various domestic activities can be processed through the system without much thought otherwise. An optimally functional system will ensure your waste is eliminated, while also protecting against pollution of soil and groundwater. On the other hand, if the system is not looked after properly, a property owner could be confronted with significant repair expenses.
Many homeowners tend to forget about the septic system in their homes, taking for granted how the system functions and assuming it will always do so without faltering. As a result, they don't give much thought to preventive maintenance. However, it is important to maintain the septic system at regular intervals to avoid major issues. Emergency issues can be disastrous and costly, including resulting issues in sewage entering the home, polluting landscape areas and even affecting the neighbors and their water supplies.
Preventive maintenance helps save money that can be lost in emergency repairs. The primary purposes of septic tank maintenance are to be pre-emptive and to assist in sewage backups, curtailing overflow and help detect and avoid potential health hazards. Septic tanks should be drained once every 2-3 years depending on frequency and volume of usage.
Look for a good company:
It is a simple to remain on top of this central maintenance system of your home. The foremost thing to be aware of is how the entire system generally works so that it will be helpful for you to recognize any problem easily when one arises.
An experienced professional will look at overall state of the septic system, determine if any repairs are needed, make suggestions and provide other services as needed. They have experience in handling virtually any situation that may arise. These same professionals can also assist you if it’s necessary to install or replace a septic tank. They know the appropriate precautions to take to ensure the installation is carried out correctly and every aspect of the field is looked after. To have a long lasting septic system with good functionality, one needs to go for correct installation of the system, overall system design, and regular maintenance.
Protect your septic system from issues:
Routine maintenance will help you in reducing the risk of water contamination and also will save your money from costly repairs and installations. All the wastewater that come from tubs, sinks, toilets, floor drains will pipe out to the tank. If any solids enter the system, they will settle down at the bottom of the septic and can lead to clogging the drain areas. You need to be cautious about it, and if you see any such sign of water draining or leakage then immediately you need to take action.
If you need assistance finding a septic repair or maintenance contractor you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com.
For any homeowner the first question that comes to mind is the cost of the fuel they are consuming. To be very frank, the costs vary a lot owing to the variation in its price in the international and local markets. So, to begin with, it is very important to explore pricing and think about the various pros and cons of propane and oil as a part of home heating, to decipher which is better for your individual circumstances.
Since we are concerned about propane vs.oil in this article, let us see why propane fares better than oil when it comes to choice of fuel:
•Propane cylinders don’t need any chimney since it doesn’t emit smoke.
•An outdoor reset control’ adjusts the firing temperature of modern propane gases. It also regulates the required output matching the load on the gas.
•Propane emits less CO2 in the air in compared to oil fuel, it is less than 24% than traditional fuels.
•Propane pulls the combustion from the outdoors and burns at 15% more efficiency than traditional fuel which makes cooking and heating fast, thus reducing the cost of the consumer.
Above are the salient characteristics of propane gas which makes it more saleable to the consumer. What are the positive signs of propane for which it is the first choice for people in the West when it comes to home heating?
•You can easily afford propane gas which costs 30% less than oil boiler.
•With propane gas, you can heat and power up your appliances, thus making your electric consumption less and your savings higher.
•It heats up oil fast and the heating system is warmer than other electric or oil pumps.
•With propane gas, it is easier to maintain, as it doesn’t need to be cleaned often. The average longevity of a propane gas is 20 years.
•Moreover, propane gas is environment friendly when compared to other heating systems. It dissolves easily in water, thus providing no harm to soil or water per se.
To be clear, propane does come with some disadvantages like:
•Propane gas stations have not yet been set up, so refilling poses a problem.
•It is highly inflammable if exposed to any spark or flames.
•It becomes dysfunctional in freezing temperature because propane being a gas, shrink in the winter months.
Considering the above said points, it is best left to you which one will you choose- propane or oil as a home heating equipment. But if you really need the cost cut, which everyone does in general circumstance, it is best to rely on propane. It will also accelerate the heating and cooking process which will also help you save your time. It is both environment-friendly and pocket-friendly at the same time.
If looking for a heating company or contractor, you can always submit a free request for assistance to www.myezbz.com.
When engaging in spring-cleaning activities in your home, it is imperative that to practice proactive pest control by looking around for signs of infestation. Although pests are good at hiding, there are certain telltale signs indicating an infestation. Below are some of the obvious signs to look for prior to calling an exterminator.
Shredded, scratched or torn food packaging is often an indication of pest infestation. Such signs usually indicate that pests are getting into the cabinets and eating your stored goods. If you spot any evidence that food items in your pantry have been tampered with, discard the affect items, make a smart decision about anything remaining and call a pest control expert promptly. It is recommended to transfer and store any sugar and flour based items into airtight plastic or glass containers, as this will prevent future infestation. Also, always remember to empty your garbage receptacles on a regular basis and clean the pail with an astringent to eliminate lasting odors and bacteria. Failure to do creates an opportunity to attract even more pests into your home.
Cockroaches, rodents and other numerous pests can be clever when identifying good hiding locations in the home; however, their droppings can be spotted in open locations around the home. When doing regular cleaning, check under appliances, inside cupboards, under furniture and behind boxes and other dark areas. Some obvious things to search for include urine stains and rodent pellets. If you spot any of these, call a pest control expert immediately. Pest are also known to produce odd sounds and smells. Experts say bed bugs produce a sweet but musty odor. Mice emit a musty and urine smell while rats produce a mild ammonia smell. Rodents produce pattering sounds when moving around the house. You can even listen carefully for sounds like squeaking, gnawing, scurrying or scratching within the walls, attic and crawl spaces.
Mice and rats travel using the same routes everyday and they usually leave obvious tracks and food evidence on their paths. Rats run next to walls and leave grease marks. Urine trails, fecal droppings and footprints on dust paths are all signs of possible infestation. Both mice and rats can also leave obvious signs of nesting behind appliances or inside cabinets. Rodents use shredded papers to build nests in hidden places; therefore you can look for these in the kitchen cabinets.
Insects that destroy wood like carpenter ants can be hard to detect, unless the insects themselves have been viewed. However, observations of a powdery residue or sawdust piles near windowsills are strong indicators of wood-destroying pests being present in the home. Pest control professionals should be called immediately since these invaders are capable of causing major structural damage to your house. Other signs of pests that destroy wood are sagging floors, loose trim, and wavy or blistered wood or mud tubes.
All the above signs clearly indicate that your home is experiencing pest infestation. Consequently, you will find it necessary to call in your preferred pest control firm to carry out inspections and eliminate the pests. It is not advisable to purchase over-the-counter pesticides since this make the situation worse.