How To Clean Hardwood Floors?

hardwood floors clean

At the local club chapter one day, I was called upon to give a small speech on how to keep hardwood floors clean. It surprisingly caught me off guard and there was a lot of catching up to do. Incidentally, that same year, we had bought our own house on a mortgage and I was surprised that a chunk of our money went into laying of hardwood floors around the house.

I had completely made up my mind to not have anyone helping me around the house and so the initiative to begin to take care of such heavy investments had to start right from the beginning. I read up a lot about maintaining the wooden floors and this article is only a summary of all that I have known from speaking to the experts and a lot from my own experiences.

Floors are definitely an investment

If you can start from keeping your floors neat and scratch free from day one, I can assure you that you will have no complaints in a long time and that includes giving lengthy invoices from floor maintaining companies a miss.

cleaning the floor

Dusting and sweeping

Draw up a routine for dusting and sweeping your floors.  If you cannot afford to do it daily, you can create a cheat sheet where you can prioritize your work and you can definitely do one room at a time. if you are working like I was in the first few years, I can understand that maintaining the house can be quite daunting still as a matter of precedence, give your hardwood floor the attention it deserves. Believe me, it is well worth the effort.

Your best bet is microfiber dry mopping

My vote would be for an anti-static dry microfiber mop if you ask me in comparison to a broom because the broom can scratch your hardwood floor if it comes into contact with something that has abrasive or sharp edges. Besides, a microfiber mop is more convenient to use than a mop!

Vacuum is the best thing to have been invented

Let me confess that the best thing to have happened to a housekeeper is the invention of the vacuum cleaner. I don’t know where I would be without my turbo speed vacuum cleaner especially on the days that I was working two shifts back to back without breaking down.

Don’t overdo but do stick to your routine

This is a piece of advice to all those striving to keep clean without any kind of help around. Keep it realistic. And for heaven’s sake never ever overdo!

Using proper tools is extremely essential

Besides the fact that you need oodles of determination, there is also something that you very much need and that is the right tools to help you around the house and more so with the tacky hardwood floors. No, please don’t be scared. There is no need to. Just slip into the idea that you will need to be dedicated and you are already there!

Don’t use harsh chemicals. You’d rather go green

Try to avoid harsh chemicals and bleaches anywhere around the house. Besides the health hazard that they bring along, any spillage on the hardwood floor can spell doom in the form of a faded spot of a bubble. That can be irreparable and is definitely going to spoil the look. Avoid spills like plague.

Polish

Polishing your hardwood floor once in a couple of years is highly recommended. Do it earlier than later. Polishing allows the floor to rejuvenate and to do away with the layer of grime which may have settled but be invisible to the naked eye.

Deep clean

Deep cleaning of floors is recommended but make sure that you understand the porosity of your floor before you start using water r other solvents on it. Seek expert advice before experimenting with anything.

Mats

Use mats around the house especially around the entrance up to which people walk in with their footwear on. The mats will make sure that it grabs all the abrasive and sharp dirt before they walk n your precious floor!

Read and discuss

Read as much from the net about the maintenance and upkeep of your floors. Information is power. Discuss it with like-minded friends. It will also help you see the common mistakes that you do!

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HOW OFTEN DOES YOUR DRYER VENT NEED CLEANING?

clean dryer duct that is regularly maintained

There is no pain worse that knowing that a catastrophe could be avoided. Having your house burned simply because your dryer vent was blocked could be a nightmare. This one easily avoidable situation claims thousands of lives every year. Regular dryer vent cleaning can avoid all such damage.

How do dryer vents cause damage?

As clothes get dried in the dryer, the lint, dirt, and debris get accumulated into the dryer vent. This reduces the air flow and exhaust gases get stuck within the machine causing a potential fire.

This situation can be evaded by a clean dryer duct that is regularly maintained and removing any clogs that are formed.

Also having a blocked dryer vent puts extra pressure on the washing machine, thus cutting its life by half.

dryer vent cleaning services

How often must one clean the dryer vent?

While there is no exact time gap between cleaning dryer vent, one must at least check it once in a year. Or whenever you have the time, it never hurts to keep the dryer vent free from any accumulation.

How does one know that it is time to clean the dryer vent?

Even if it is less than a year, one must watch out for certain warning signs that show that your dryer vent needs attention. Let us check these warning signals.

More and more time is taken for drying of clothes

When the clothes take the double time or longer to dry, you must check the dryer vent for any lint blockage. The dryer is ideally supposed to push hot moist air out to dry the clothes. If this does not happen your clothes will end up still being wet even after the dryer. This is a warning sign for checking your clogged dryer vent.

checking your clogged dryer vent

This inevitably puts extra pressure on the washing machine which can reduce its life substantially.

The machine and clothes are very hot at the end of a cycle

If you find your clothes coming out of the dryer and being very hot. IF yes, you must check the machine, and if this is also very hot then probably there is a problem in your dryer vent. When the vent is not exhausting as expected it will leave a lot of heat which is felt on clothes and the machine itself.

A burning smell emanating from the machine

This is one of the most important warning signs. If you notice a burning odor coming from the dryer each time you use it. You must immediately stop using the machine and check for lint blockage. Lint stuck in the dryer vent tends to burn easily. This gets stuck in the exhaust tube, lint trap as well as the drum it can potentially burn and cause a fire.

The machine requires urgent dryer vent cleaning services.

The vent flap doesn’t open

Yet another red flag is when the vent flap does not open properly and you see lint outside the vent opening. It means lint has blocked the dryer vent and is now blocking the flap. The flap does not open and shut like it did. This means the air flow is restricted and the dryer vent is screaming for attention.

It has been over a year

Even if your machine is not showing any warning signals, but it has been over a year since your last check. You might want to do it.

Why wait for a blockage to occur before you check.

A regularly well-kept machine will work for years without any extra maintenance issues.

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Do You Need To Insulate Your Garage?

garage door

Are you speculating about whether you need to insulate your garage or not? After all your garage is an extension of your home.  Insulating a garage depends on a lot of factors like whether the rest of the house is insulated, is the garage attached to the rest of the house, do you use your garage for any other work like carpentry, play area for the kids a storage space, car tinkering or anything else?

Most homes have two or more vehicles and the garage space is a fairly large are which mostly doubles as other important areas depending on the need of the moment. Take a look aa couple of reasons as to why you must consider insulating your garage too

insulated the garage

Comfort

It is more than appropriate to insulated the garage if the rest of the house is completely insulated. Moreover, your garage is an extension of your house – a place where kids play, you have your modified gym, someone likes to do woodworking or you might just decide to have a garage sale here. For all these reasons making the garage comfortable is very important.

Prevents heat from escaping

Even though the shared walls of the garage may be insulated, it doesn’t really do much when it comes to keeping the cold air out. Every time the connecting door or the main garage door has opened the cold from the uninsulated garage will seep in and the nice and warm air from inside the house escapes out and further reduces the inside temperatures and also increase your electricity bills. So, to prevent this from happening it is quite important to insulate your garage too.

Protect plumbing

Many households do their laundry in the garage and have installed their washers and dryers here. During the colder months if the garage is not insulated the pipelines might just get frozen and cause a lot of damage to all the plumbing and the equipment too.

uninsulated garage

Protect and preserve valuable items

Garages are often used as storage spaces for expensive equipment and sports gear like bikes, cycles, exercising treadmills, and other motorized gadgets. Some of this equipment is not humidity and dampness and may get damaged due to lack of insulation. Often exposure to long periods of moisture may cause metallic objects to rust and ultimately loose functionality too.

Reduces sound transmission

In case your garage in the venue for your teenager’s next party or they are planning to use the garage for their next band practice or your kid is planning to surprise everyone with his next carpentry project where he needs to hammer and saw a lot, you can spare you’re the ordeal of listening to all this unwanted noise by insulating your garage and sitting comfortably in the confines of your living room.

Protect your vehicles

Though your vehicles may be tuned to starting soon even in the cold weather over a period of time the engine does start to crank up a lot before it starts and until the time your car starts you have to sit and shiver in the cold.  Insulation in the garage prevents this and keep your vehicles and you warm and protected.

So, do yourself, your family and your vehicles a big favor and invest in insulating your garage too.

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Top 5 Bathroom Renovation Mistakes To Avoid

Bathroom Renovation

Your bathroom is a room too- in fact, it is an extension of the living spaces in your house. The bathroom is one room which most people use as a place to unwind, relax and rejuvenate. Design, plan and renovate bathrooms in such a way that not only are they more inviting to all who use them but they are also good to look at and easy to maintain. Bathroom renovation also needs a lot of thought and planning. Often people tend to overlook few important aspects and ignore many functional changes that cannot afford to be neglected. Check out these 5 common renovation mistakes that people often and which be easily avoided.

Bathroom Renovation ideas

Not having a proper plan and design

If you are clear as to what are the necessary and important changes that are absolutely essential whether it is plumbing, electrical work, tiling or ventilation, then things can be planned easily and that too within the budget you have set aside for the renovation purpose. Knowing exactly what are the changes needed to make your bathroom more innovative and functional solves most of your problems.

Ignoring Storage spaces

Having adequate and concealed storage spaces for cosmetics, medicines, shavers and dryers, bathroom cleaning products, bath linen and more makes your bathroom look less cluttered and makes it look bigger and roomier.  Adding in towel rails and holder near the shower for soaps and shampoos are space savers and very handy too. Trending these days are mirrored shaving cabinets and storage spaces that are cost effective and have an aesthetic look.

Bathroom Renovation tips

Not taking care about proper lighting

Choose lights that will enhance the look of your bathroom, make the tile colors look original and not too dull or too bright. The lights near the sink area should be bright enough for you carry out our daily activities like shaving, hair styling, and waxing, applying makeup and some quick touching up too. The inclusion of well-designed task lighting is very crucial. Placing a large mirror over the sink or vanity area helps direct some lighting onto the face too. Sleek and purposeful lighting are the preferred choice of lighting to make space look good.

Don’t forget to ventilate properly

No one likes damp and moldy bathrooms. To spend time in a place that doesn’t smell good and has visible patches of dampness is really gross.  This can be easily avoided by taking caring to provide adequate ventilation and circulation. Ventilation can be provided in the form of windows placed a little high up – this also ensures adequate light during the day. In case this is not a feasible option, installation of skylights can allow natural light as well as fresh air to enter and make the bathroom more airy, fresh and comfortable.

Poor drainage and plumbing

It is highly essential and critical to take care that the drainage gradient is looked into careful. Bathrooms are the most likely areas where people are mostly in a rush and tend to slip and fall on wet floors. Efficient draining of water allows for drier and nicer smelling bathrooms. It is worthwhile getting all the faucets and pipelines checked and replaced if they have a tendency to leak or do not have a proper flow or water pressure.

A nicely renovated bathroom translates to a room that has better functionality, is cost effective, more efficient to maintain and offers you much more for very less.

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What Factors To Consider Before You Renovate Your Living Room?

talk about living room renovations

Home renovation is not just for the home contractors anymore. To add value to your home as well as to drastically change its looks renovation is a great idea. Your living room is definitely the one room that brings out the unique character of your interiors. Adding small home decor elements, a new furniture, and any renovation done to the living room, small or big can create a visible impact. If you are planning a living room renovation, here are some of the factors to remember:

The purpose and the end objective

The actual reason why you are renovating would help finalize your budget. It would also help pick out the elements that wish to alter in the room. Remember that renovations not just make your living room look better but also improve the value of your property. Another common reason why people renovate is to change the theme and the character of the living room. If you start living room renovation without a clearly laid out objective you might get distracted and ultimately not achieve much. Lack of clarity would also make it difficult to decide what is needed.

living room renovation

Do you have a plan?

If you are planning to alter more than one aspect of the room, say the furniture, walls and the flooring, you should lay down a vivid plan. Without a plan, you would not be able to follow the right sequence of steps. For example, if you buy new furniture first and then choose to alter the walls and the flooring, then you would have to find a temporary place to store the new furniture. If you alter the floor first, you might have to protect your floor from spills etc. might occur during wall repainting. So it would be a better idea to get the walls done and then the floor renovation. Finally, you could buy new furniture and place them in their spots.

planning a living room renovation

What should be new and what should be recycled?

Renovations don’t always mean replacing old with new. Even giving the old stuff a new look would make a big change. Even if you repaint an old arm chair, alter the upholstery of the couch and throw some colorful cushions you would be able to create a lot of difference in the looks of your living room. You can also recycle and reuse old furniture to give a rustic charm to the living room.

A small change can create a big difference

When we talk about living room renovations, they are often misunderstood to be large scale activities that should be done by pros. There are several ways to make minor amendments to give a new look to your living room. For example throwing in few extra cushions can make an old couch look new again. Adding a bench, few indoor plants can all make your living room instantly look like a cozy nest. The curtains, carpets and area rugs are other elements that influence the appearance of the living room.

Start small. You can always take help later. But if you choose to do the renovation activities yourself and get the results desired, it gives a sense of satisfaction like no other.

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Which Garage Door Springs Do I Need

garage door

The Importance of a Garage Door Spring

Being a homeowner, you will have by now realized the true importance and the vitality that the door spring plays in the opening and closing of a garage door. Now, these doors are not light weight by any standards. They are heavy and bulky and need to be handled with care.

What is the role of the spring in the garage door?

It plays a very integral role in the door. It balances the door and enables smooth operation.  Such large springs could be very dangerous. Performing a broken garage door spring is asking for trouble. The door cannot be used when the spring is broken. When the door does not work efficiently, the problem is more often than not, the spring. It should be checked immediately. The door ought not to be operated until the spring is repaired or replaced.

Garage Door Spring

What happens when the spring breaks?

When the spring breaks, the garage door simply cannot open or close. This leads to various issues relating to the security of the house and the basic inability to remove the vehicle from the garage or park it back. Being unable to complete your daily routine is a very serious consequence. Thus, it is very vital to pick the right garage spring door so that your daily life routine does not come to a standstill.

How does a door spring break?

A door spring in the garage door could break because it is rusted or due to depreciation and wear and tear. If regular maintenance has not been done, the life of the spring reduces. Over a spring’s life span, it will become weaker making the door harder to operate.

A good quality door spring will prevent a lot of damage. A broken spring could lead to the door falling suddenly and causing serious consequences.  Actual deaths have been recorded because of poor quality or poorly installed garage door springs.

How long does a spring normally last?

In the case of residential doors, the assumed life span of a garage door spring is said to be about 10,000 cycles. One open and one closed forms one cycle. On an average, this spring can last about six to seven years.

broken garage door spring

What types of lift springs are used on a garage door?

The Torsion spring system that is located either at the end of the horizontal tracks or right above the garage door opening is one of the types of a lift spring.

The extension spring system can be installed over and above the two horizontal tracks.

Which Garage Door Spring Do I Need?

The Torsion spring system is believed to be quieter than the extension system. The torsion spring is able to last twice as longer. It is known to support more weight. The overall balance offered by the Torsion spring system is greater and that makes this spring a better choice in many ways. The balance enables easy opening and closing of the door. They have fewer exposed parts, unlike the extension springs. It is safer to use because of this. But then the flip side is that this spring is more expensive.

The extension springs are usually more economic in nature. They end up being the most popular cost because it is cheap. It must also be noted that where there are more parts exposed, they are also likely to be that much more dangerous.

It is vital to note that both the springs operate utilizing extreme tension.

Conclusion

The torsion spring seems to be the better choice and hence those are the springs that one could use. Despite being more expensive, the safety also must be taken into consideration. It is silent while in operation and the good overall balance is something that enables smooth working of the garage door.

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10 Tips To Keep Your Home Mold Safe

Mold remediation

If you think your home is the safest place on earth, think again! If it is affected by mold, then it certainly is not the safest place. The extent of damage that molds can cause in homes and even commercial buildings is very extensive. What may begin as a small problem, involving a small area, may soon turn out to be the worst nightmare. Home mold remediation plans can literally be too big for you handle at times if the damage is not controlled in the beginning stages itself.

Mold Is Everywhere

A few things that you must know are: mold thrives in environments which have moisture, food and air/oxygen. If these conditions are present, they can reproduce rapidly, growing in huge numbers. And homes are the places, where one can find these conducive conditions for mold growth.

home mold removal

A Mold Free Home

Household mold removal process need not be cumbersome. You can always follow the following tips to keep your home safe from molds.

  • Routine cleaning – Instead of cleaning the house once in a few days, if your home is cleaned routinely, then getting rid of germs and molds is practically very easy.
  • Eliminate clutter– Any hindrance to the air circulation system allows damp or humid conditions, which makes it great for mold growth.
  • Reduce Moisture – Try and reduce the moisture buildup in your homes, especially the basements. Ensure that there is good ventilation. Avoid carpets in the basements, as they are prone to be damp and may encourage mold growth.
  • Warm Vs Cold – Ensure that the basements of the homes are warm and not cold places, even when not in use. Cold basements can certainly attract mold growth which becomes difficult to tackle if not treated immediately.
  • Keep Dry – Use fans in high moisture areas so that they dry up the area faster and keep it dry for a longer time. Excess humidity can be removed by these fans and prevent mold and bacterial growth.
  • Remove Moisture – Try to use a dehumidifier, which removes excess moisture from the air.
  • Mold Resistant – Use building materials that do not support mold growth. A wallpaper will attract more mold than a fiberglass. Depending on the location, try and use effective building materials that help in preventing mold growth.
  • Ventilation – All the damp spaces in the house, like kitchen and bathrooms, should have proper ventilation. This vigorous ventilation helps in preventing the molds and also in the removal of mold. Ventilation plays a major role in home mold removal.
  • Air Filters – Using an air filter to filter the indoor air is also a great idea, to keep the air quality good. These filters help in eliminating bacteria, mold and other minor dust particles, making the indoor air quality much better.
  • Insulation – Ducts should be insulated well so that condensation does not form on the pipes. Otherwise, molds can grow and spread, rather fast.
  • Leakage Free – Any water leak should be fixed immediately. Wet carpets that have been spoiled should be discarded. Otherwise, molds can grow and spread the spores.

Even though molds occur naturally, it is always better to prevent their growth. Apart from damaging the stuff around the house, they also cause some serious health issues. Mold remediation is your best bet.

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5 Ways To Clean Your Dryer Vent

Cleaning a dryer vent ensures that the clothes dryer works effectively and efficiently. But there is another reason to keep the dryer vent clean – safety. Do you know that one of the main causes for house fires are clothes dryer and washing machines? To avoid such accidents, it is important to have the dryer vents clean. There are many ways of cleaning dryer vents. The best thing would be to call dryer vent cleaning services at least once in a year but if you want to do it yourself, then here are 5 ways to effectively clean the dryer vent.

Whatever method you follow, make sure to

  • Unplug the dryer
  • Turn the gas off if it is a gas dryer
  • Be in a comfortable position while cleaning
  • Check for any damage in the vent

Using Broom, Towel and Bowl Brush (Toilet Brush)

This method works best if you are running on budget and can’t spend much time or money on dryer vent cleaning. A broom, Towel and Toilet Bowl Brush are common things found at home. After you unplug the dryer, move it away and then detach the vent. Now take the toilet brush and insert it into the vent and move it in such a way that the excess lint is removed. Now take the brush out. Now attach the towel to the ends of the broomstick using a tape or string. Insert it into the vent and move it so that you are sure that the vent is clean. It is important to check the outside dryer vent for any obstructions. Take off the outside dryer vent, use the same towel and broomstick to clean the vent gently. Clean the vent cover and attach it again. After reattaching the dryer and vent, switch it on and check if there are any lint or obstructions left uncleaned. If it is clear, then the dryer duct cleaning is done.

clogged dryer vent

Using Vacuum

Vacuum is also considered as one of the best dryer vent cleaners. After switching off and detaching the dryer from the vent, insert the vacuum head into the vent and suck the lint out. There is a wand attachment available for the vacuum and it acts effectively in removing the lint. Do the same when you are cleaning dryer vent from outside. Before finishing, check whether any lint is left inside, using a torch. As usual, clean the outside cover and then close it. Check for any blocks by turning the dryer on.

Rod and Brush

As the vent is a flexible one, we need to attach a chimney brush to a rod that is flexible and then clean the inside of the vent. The chimney brush effectively scraps the lint away. But take care not to poke too much as it is a flexible vent. Repeat the same for the outside vent. You can use more rods depending on the length of the vent. Check for any blocks by turning the dryer on.

dryer vent cleaners

Vacuum, Rod, and Brush Together

This method is very effective provided the vacuum you are using is high powered. You also need a cordless drill in this method. The first step is to attach a 3-way elbow bend pipe to the vent. Now, attach the hose of the vacuum to one of the holes of the pipe. In another hole, attach the flexible rod (attached to the chimney brush). After attaching the drill to flex-bend, turn the vacuum and drill on, and clean dryer duct.

Buy a Kit

If you are still not sure about following these methods for cleaning your clogged dryer vent, buy a vent cleaning kit available online and try it out.

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How To Keep Your Air Ducts Clean?  10 Tips To Keep Them Clean

air duct cleaning

Keeping your home clean and dust free has many benefits. One of the foremost things that you can observe is that the quality of indoor air becomes good. The air is more breathable. But, what about the cleaning of the air conditioning or heating systems in the house? Should they be cleaned at all? Is it necessary to do air duct cleaning? After all, they do carry air and there are many chances of dust particles entering from outdoors to the indoors through the air ducts and vents.

When To Clean?

According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), air ducts should be periodically cleaned, when they show the following signs:

  • The presence of substantial and visible mold growth inside the components and ducts of the cooling system.
  • There is an excessive amount of dust and debris in the air ducts.
  • Dust and debris are released into the homes through the supply ducts.

Apart from these reasons, cleaning the air ducts also helps in efficient functioning of the heating and air conditioning system. It also has benefits of saving energy bills as well as repair costs.

Air Ducts Clean

Helpful Tips

Here are some tips to keep your air ducts clean. Always take the help of professional and reliable air duct cleaning services. The entire system should be cleaned and not just the peripheral parts. Duct cleaning services, which do just the peripheral parts, should not be considered, as they can do a shoddy job.

Keep Vital Parts Clean

All the vital parts of the heating and air conditioning system should be kept clean. These various parts include fans, cooling coils, filters and heat exchangers, vents, ducts etc.

Filters Are Essential

  • Good filters that are highly efficient must be used for the heating and cooling system. This prevents dust and debris to get accumulated inside. Periodic cleaning of filters is a good idea.
  • Filters must also be changed at regular intervals if they are not working efficiently.
  • There should not be any missing filters. These allow the air to pass without going through the filters, thereby bringing along with them dust particles.

air duct cleaning services

Protect From Dust

  • The supply and return registers should be sealed, when any renovation work is going on in your home. Renovation and construction process brings with a good amount of dust that can enter into the ducts. Once the renovation work is complete, clean up the entire heating and cooling system and before you start using it.
  • Using a HEPA cleaner, remove the dust in your home. Regular vacuuming also ensures that there is not much dust that enters the air ducts.

Moisture Free

  • Air ducts should not have moisture in them. Otherwise, they will lead to the growth of molds, mold spores etc., which can cause allergic reactions in many people. Hence ensure that the air ducts are moisture free.
  • Any water leak/damage should be repaired immediately.
  • There should be proper insulation of the heating and cooling system, to prevent water condensation.

Your home air duct cleaning and vent cleaning should be undertaken by professionally certified air duct cleaning companies. Ensure that they are reliable, trustworthy and have good credentials.

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