Whether you're getting ready to sell your home or simply want the property to look more appealing, curb appeal is the first place to take action. When your house is on the market, the exterior of a home can make a big difference in whether or not someone takes interest in your property. An exterior that looks old and worn will almost immediately push away prospective buyers. Here are some quick and easy ways to make your home more presentable in a jiffy. Refresh Your Landscape One of the most effective ways to improve the curb appeal of your home is to make sure that the general landscape matches the quality of the rest of your home. There are a variety of small things that you can do to improve the overall quality of your landscape, which range from clearing any poison ivy that is found in your yard to removing old tree stumps. The latter of which is particularly important if you want to give the impression that you take care of your yard. Some of the additional ways in which you can improve the landscape of your property include mulching any plant beds, trimming your hedges to a uniform height, and removing any large rocks and boulders that are strewn throughout your yard. Once you make these small improvements, you can start looking at ways to alter the appearance of your yard for a more sophisticated or stylish aesthetic. Spruce up Your Front DoorImage Credit: www.bhg.com/ The front entryway of your home is among the most critical aspects of the house due to the fact that it signals to others whether or not they are welcome in the house. A spruced up door will send a welcoming signal to prospective buyers and can provide a warm and calming atmosphere to the place. There are many ways to spruce up a front door, which mainly depend on what issues are found with the door. For instance, a door glass that is covered with smudges should be cleaned with a heavy-duty window cleaner. If your door doesn't open smoothly, consider looking at the hinges and replace them if necessary. When you wish to improve the curb appeal of your home, you want the door to appear as though it's brand new, which is why it's highly recommended that you consider applying a coat of paint to the door. Select a New Roof The roofing on your home should last anywhere from fifteen to forty years depending on the material you've chosen as well as the quality of the material. If your roof has become battered and worn because of the weather, you may want to consider replacing or at least repairing your current roof. If a shingle has become misplaced or the gutters aren't working correctly, water damage could affect the structure of your home and cause mold. These problems can be hard to spot without regular maintenance. In the event that there are damages, it’s wise to repair and replace whatever you can as soon as possible. Not only for the sake of the future homeowners but for your own family’s sake as well. Water and mold damage can cause serious health problems, so it’s important to inspect your roof when looking over your home. Consider Decorative Concrete Solutions Adding decorative concrete to specific areas of your home can go a long ways towards improving the curb appeal of the house while also making it appear to be stylish and luxurious in design. Decorative concrete can be added to entryways, pool decks, and patios for a more earthy appearance. This concrete can come in a variety of patterns and colors, allowing you to select the options that fit well with your specific requirements. The concrete can also be laid in numerous ways, which provides you with even more variety when attempting to obtain the right look for your patio or entryway. Focus on Outdoor Lighting Outdoor lighting is one of the best ways to add to the curb appeal of your home, which is due primarily to the fact that there are many different types of lights to select from. You can hang string lights over your patio for a more lively and energetic look. You could also consider adding small solar lights along the main walkway that leads to the front porch or door on your property. These lights are inexpensive and can be installed into the ground in areas that are out of the way and won't provide problems when you're mowing the yard or tending to the garden. Make Sure Walkways are in Good Shape Whether extended family is going to be visiting soon, or you're close to listing your home on the market, the walkways on your property are among the first aspects of the house that people will notice, which is why it's recommended that you touch up these areas and make sure that they are in good shape. Consider washing the walkway to quickly remove any leaves and other particles that can make the walkway appear grimy. If some of the concrete or bricks on these walkways have become worn down or cracked, there are several options available to you as a means of repairing these problems. Broken pavement can be easily renewed to appear smooth once again. If the damage appears to be extensive, you may want to consider a repair company to assist with the job. Keep Your Lawn Fresh and Trimmed Nothing is worse for the curb appeal of a home than a lawn that is patchy and isn't trimmed properly. These issues can make it appear as though you as the homeowner don't care about maintaining your property. As such, it's important to mow the lawn at least once a week if you've had rain during the week. If there are any patches of brown within your green yard, make sure that you fertilize the lawn properly so that new grass can grow in the area. Apply water to the lawn a couple of days before placing the fertilizer in the area. After a day or two has passed, apply the compost and then lightly water the lawn. You should quickly notice improvements in the overall health of your yard. Rent a Pressure WasherImage credit: www.hgtv.com/   If you find that your driveway is stained or the wood on your deck has started to show signs of standard wear and tear, you may want to consider pressure washing these surfaces. Pressure washing is an easy way to clean any kind of exterior surface, which extends from siding to concrete. Doing so will provide you with a clean home while also bolstering your curb appeal. You can buy a pressure washer or consider renting one from a nearby home improvement store. Most of these stores will offer affordable one-day rental options that can be extremely useful for allowing you to complete a project while staying under budget. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint to Siding The painting on the siding of your home will invariably fade and decay over time, which can leave the sides of your home with a drab appearance that immediately turns off prospective buyers and lowers the curb appeal of the house. All you need to do to fix this problem is to apply a fresh coat of paint or two to the siding. Consider choosing colors that will brighten up the exterior of your home as opposed to the drab colors of gray and other similar hues. Before you paint the siding, make sure that the surface of the siding has been thoroughly washed so that any of the broken paint residue and dirt is removed. By taking these initial steps, you will be able to avoid issues wherein there are small bumps along the siding caused by pieces or dirt or old paint chips still being stuck to the siding. You want the area to be smooth and clean when applying the paint. Implement a Sprinkler System One of the best ways to keep your lawn fresh and healthy is to implement a sprinkler system that will water the lawn on a consistent basis. No matter where you live, droughts are common occurrences at different intervals throughout the year. A well-tuned sprinkler system will allow your lawn to get through these droughts without much issue. A sprinkler system will also be able to keep your garden fresh and your plants properly watered. If you already have a sprinkler system but don't believe that it works as well as it should, consider looking for leaks within the system. If you find any leaks, get them repaired immediately. Particular sprinkler systems can be programmed to only water the lawn at certain times of the day and will turn off if ever it starts to rain.Now that you're aware of some of the ways in which you can improve the curb appeal of your home, you can get started on making these improvements and will quickly be provided with the myriad of benefits that come from doing so. ...

After a flood, most homeowners want to restore their house to its original condition as quickly as possible. Those who live in older homes should understand that a post-flood renovation is more about safety than redecorating. You can take the torture out of post-flood renovation by keeping these tips in mind. Contact Your Insurance Company First Your first call should be to your homeowners' insurance agent to learn exactly what’s covered. Flood insurance is not included in regular homeowners insurance. You need to purchase a special policy offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Whether or not you live in a flood-prone area, you can and should add flood insurance to your homeowners’ policy. Floods don’t only occur in natural disasters. They can result from other causes such as broken pipes or a sewage backup. According to Bankrate, the average flood costs homeowners approximately $39,000 in damage, and this will not be covered by your homeowners’ policy. Hire an Emergency Flood Cleanup Company Water damage from a flood can be a hazard. The longer the water sits, the more dangerous it is to your home and to your health. A clean-up company can extract the water from your home quickly, thoroughly, and safely. They will have a team of professionals and the equipment needed to remove the water in a matter of hours. Getting the water removed quickly reduces the risk of mold, mildew, and bacteria growth from standing water. Also, the sooner the water is removed, the sooner everything will start to dry out. This could potentially reduce the cost of your total losses. Hire a Contractor with the Right Experience Find a contractor who has experience with water damage restoration. A quick internet search can lead you to an experienced restoration contractor. Simply search for “water damage company” followed by your location (your city and state or your zip code). You will get a list of all of the contractors in your area who specialize in water damage restoration. Alternately, your insurance agent or adjuster may be able to recommend a reputable company. Finally, ask around. Chances are if you have water damage so do your neighbors. They may already know the name of a reliable contractor.Before hiring anyone, check references with people you know and by checking for feedback from customers online. Finally, find a contractor that has been certified by The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) or is affiliated with industry organizations such as like the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), the Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians (SCRT), and the Indoor Quality Air Association (IAQA). These associations indicate that the company is trustworthy and employs trained damage restoration professionals. Hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor If the water rose high enough to reach your electrical panel, outlets, and switches, you have a safety hazard. Similarly, if water got into your fixtures and appliances, you need a contractor to check them before turning the power back on. Find a licensed electrical contractor, and check to make sure that they are familiar with electrical problems from flood damage. Hire an HVAC Specialist Find an HVAC Specialist that is certified by the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). Flood-damaged water heaters, furnaces, boilers, air-conditioning, ventilation, and heat pump systems will likely need to be replaced, not repaired. Similarly, ductwork associated with central forced-air systems will likely be contaminated and need to be replaced. Natural gas and propane furnaces and boilers have valves and controls that are especially vulnerable to water damage. Coils and fans on electric furnaces may be corroded. Heat pumps, air conditioning systems, and radiant heat systems all have coils, pipes, and wiring that may have been damaged by the flood. Prepare to Replace Your Flooring All of your floors and subfloors will probably need to be replaced, not repaired. Laminate and hardwood floors will have absorbed flood waters, causing them to swell and warp. If you have carpeting or tile, it will need to be replaced. Even though synthetic carpet does not feed mold and tile does not absorb water, the wooden subfloor will likely have been soaked through. Since wood is a food source for mold, it all needs to be ripped out and replaced. Dry Out the Walls Make sure your contractor opens up all of your walls. Most walls in newer homes have wood studs and drywall. Walls in an older home may be made of plaster. These materials will get soaked in a flood and may grow mold. A contractor will need to open up the walls to let them dry out.Drywall should be removed from at least one foot above the water line all the way to the floor. All insulation should be removed because it will never fully dry out, leading to poor air quality, along with the growth of mold, mildew, and rot.Once all the drywall and insulation have been removed, the contractor should leave the cavity open so that the walls completely dry out. It may take several weeks for everything to get completely dry. Even if the wall seems dry to the touch, the studs can be wet on the inside. Moisture Testing A licensed water damage restoration company can use a meter to test for moisture in all areas (North, South, East, and West) of your home. Industry standards dictate that the moisture level must be lower than 17% before it is safe to rebuild. Air Testing Although you can purchase air quality tests that you can do yourself, a professional air quality test would be more thorough. They will tests samples for airborne mold spores, use specialized meters to assess temperature, humidity, and toxins, and visually inspect the heating, ventilation, and filtration system for combustion safety concerns and filtration issues. Redo the Basement You probably should replace your entire basement. The last thing you want is to have mold growing in your basement after having renovated the rest of your house. Have your contractor tear your basement out right down to the foundation and rebuild it with mold-resistant drywall and insulation.For those with older homes, a flood renovation doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With the right professionals working on your side, you can rest assured that your home will not only look as good as it once did but that it is also safe for your family to live in....

If you are looking to invest in a home, it is probably important to you to be able to protect your investment. As a new homeowner, however, you might not really be sure of what you need to do in order to protect your new home. These are a few tips that can help. Make Sure You Buy in the Right Area For one thing, when buying your new home, it's important to be careful about the area that you buy in. Consider checking the crime rates in the area first. Additionally, you will probably want to make sure that you purchase a home that isn't in a flood zone. Check your home’s risk by visiting FloodTools.com. Refinance When Possible You have invested a lot into your new home and you are still making payments for it. Part of being able to protect your investment is being able to refinance at the appropriate times in order to improve your payments and make it a better investment in the long run. Invest in Insurance Coverage Insurance coverage is there to help you protect your investment. First of all, you will need a good homeowners insurance policy. Not only is this probably required by your home lender, but it can help you in the event that something goes wrong with your home, such as if it's damaged due to a fire or a natural disaster.When purchasing your policy, make sure that you carefully check over your coverage to ensure that you and your home are covered against the various things that can go wrong. For example, you may have to add additional flood coverage, since many homeowners insurance policies do not include it. For many homeowners, it's worth the extra cost to make sure that their homes are protected against floods. You'll also want to make sure that your home is protected against fires, break-ins and more. Lastly, make sure that your homeowners insurance deductibles are low enough that you will be able to pay them quickly, without putting yourself in a bad financial situation, in the event that something goes wrong. Install a Security System As ADT-FL puts it, “A home is supposed to be a safe place. However, with the possibility of home invasions, fires, hurricanes, and other emergencies, a state-of-the-art security system is required.” Home security is very important if you want to protect your home, family, and belongings. Working with a home security company and installing surveillance cameras and a security system is an important thing to do if your home is not already equipped with these things. If you work with a professional, he or she can help you with choosing and installing your system.As you can probably see, there are a few things that you can do as a new homeowner if you would like to protect your home. Follow these tips, and you can gain peace of mind and feel good in knowing that your home is as protected as possible.RELATED:https://www.johnbrooksrealty.com/Home Remodeling Services in Washington, D.C....

Flooding can cause severe devastation to all types of businesses. If you are a business owner yourself, then this might be something that you are concerned about. If you would like to ensure that your business is as protected and prepared for flooding as possible, consider these tips. Protect Important Items First of all, it's important to do what you can to protect your employees, goods, tools, and machinery. Consider lifting merchandise or other items off of the floor with racks or risers; this can help protect it against flood damage in some cases. Keep important paperwork in a safe that is watertight. Then, if a flood does strike your business, you can know that your most important documents are not ruined beyond recovery. Invest in the Right Insurance Coverage Right now, it's a good idea to invest in good commercial insurance coverage. With the right coverage, you can help ensure that your commercial property will be restored after flooding and that you will be compensated for damaged items, loss of business because you had to shut down due to floodwaters and more. Just make sure that your insurance policy covers flooding since not all do. If you talk to your commercial insurance agent, you can find out more about the different types of insurance coverage that are available, and you can help ensure that your business is as protected against floods as possible. Plus, along with helping with floods, commercial insurance can protect your property in a variety of other scenarios as well. Hire the Right Cleaning Crew If you do find yourself dealing with flood water in your commercial building, then you may want to try to tackle cleanup as soon as possible so that you can reopen your doors. However, failing to clean up properly after a flood can lead to all sorts of issues, from electrical problems to mold and mildew growth. Instead, consider hiring a professional water damage restoration company to help you restore your place of business after a flood, even if the flood damage does not seem significant.As you can see, there are a few tips that you can follow if you would like to protect your business from floods. Of course, no matter how hard you might try to prepare for flooding, it can still happen and can still cause devastation within your business. If you follow these tips, however, you can help ensure that your business is as protected as possible. ...

Household electrical fires potentially cause extensive property losses, painful injuries, or even deaths every year. A number of 45,210 household fires occurred in the United States from this cause during the period spanning 2010 to 2014 alone. Creative Electrical Safety Supply lists the following safety precautions when working around electrical systems: 1. Always assume wires are energized, 2. Leave Power Lines to professionals, 3. Be aware of water, metal, and other conductors, and 4. leave repairs to the professionals.Homeowners benefit financially by preventing these unwelcome events, so be sure to read these five way to prevent electrical fires.[RELATED: How to Extinguish a Small Fire]  One: Always Assume The Presence of Energized Wires First and foremost, most electricians recommend never minimizing the power of energized wires to convey an electrical shock. The electricity in household circuits harbors the "oomph" required to ignite powerful blazes, in fact. Shocks transmitted by even very ordinary appliances (such as hair dryers, dishwashers, and television sets) may cause serious injuries or even deaths. The bottom line: should you discover an exposed electrical wire in a wall, ceiling, or floor of your home, don't think this material cannot transmit a powerful electrical charge. Always assume wires are energized! Two: Leave Power Lines to Professionals One essential point to remember in safeguarding your residence against electrical malfunctions involves the dangers of ordinary power lines. These structures may pass over your home and enter the interior near electrical boxes on the exterior of the residence or near attic locations. If these wires become loose, or if they break during a severe storm, do not touch them! Contact your local power company for assistance instead. In general, residential power lines convey significant quantities of electricity, far more than an unprotected human being may safely encounter. Never, ever, attempt to touch these lines! You should also take care to avoid contact between power lines and hand-held tree pruning or cleaning equipment (including power washing equipment and water from garden hoses). These kinds of unintentional contacts could kill someone. Three: Beware Water, Metal, And Other Conductors As you assess the issue of household electrical fires, remember that some materials will conduct an electrical charge much better than other types of substances. Extensive evidence testifies to the excellent conductivity of water and some metals, for instance. Copper, in particular, transmits electricity quite well. Allowing these materials to come into contact with exposed electrical wires may easily spark the outbreak of a house fire. (It might also result in the delivery of a lethal electrical shock under some circumstances.) If you wonder whether or not a hazard exists, don't take chances: contact a licensed electrician for immediate assistance. Be aware of conductors to avoid electrocution in specific settings. These materials transmit electricity, and they may pose a threat in some situations. Four: Leave Electrical Repairs to Professionals In that vein, experts recommend adopting a pragmatic, conservative approach to any household repairs which potentially involve electricity. By contacting a licensed, trained electrician to resolve these types of issues, you'll gain many advantages. You'll prevent potentially painful (or even hazardous) electrical shocks, and you may also avoid the outbreak of unwelcome and costly residential fires. Correctly wired electrical systems offer many comforts and benefits. Skilled electricians know how to install, troubleshoot, and repair or replace these systems without endangering human beings or property. Leave repairs to professionals to avoid liability stemming from wiring problems! Five: Maintain Your Home's Roof in Good Condition Finally, as you contemplate the issue of household electrical fires, remember that roofing systems play an essential role in preventing damaging water leaks. You may help prevent household wiring from coming into contact with damp conditions by ensuring you maintain your roof in excellent condition. Water entering the residence through undetected leaks in roofs sometimes travels inside interior residential walls; it may contact electrical wiring in the home in these locations. If an exposed electrical wire remains in close contact with rainwater under these circumstances, your household might encounter fire hazards. It makes sense to repair leaking roofs as quickly as possible to minimize this risk. The Best Advice: "Play It Safe" By keeping these five critical issues in mind, you may help prevent the outbreak of some potentially damaging household electrical fires - and if you can’t, make sure to contact professionals who can safely restore your home. But prevention is always going to be the most important thing. Remember that guests that are subject to unsafe conditions could get injured while on your property. Aside from any potential embarrassment or strain on friendly relationships, this is especially important if you run a business or have frequent meetings in your home. There could be legal issues involved, as guests could acquire a personal injury attorney to make a case on the unsafe nature of your home if they have been injured while on your premises. It’s best to just play it safe, and keep your home free from potential hazards and dangers. Everyone will grateful for it. Remain alert to conflagration threats. It will help safeguard both your property and your loved ones from harm. ...

One of the most panic-inducing issues any homeowner can experience is a burst pipe or even a leak. A burst pipe can be expensive to repair, cause significant water damage, and lead to additional issues in your home as well. Whether you’ve sprung a leak or have a burst pipe, it is important you act quickly, as this can help to reduce the amount of damage your home incurs. Here are four important steps you should take in case of a significant leak. Turn off the water The most important thing you will need to do after a pipe bursts is to turn off the water to your home. If you are able to identify where the pipe is located, you may be able to turn off only a portion of your water. However, to minimize the risk, you should turn off the water to your whole home until you can better identify the source. Make Minor Repairs If the pipe is accessible, you could also try to make some minor and temporary repairs. With a burst pipe, you could often make a quick repair by using duct tape, plumbing glue, or other simple solutions. If you are in a pinch, use rubber bands, nail polish, or even glue to plug the leak until you can get a more professional repair. While these are not meant to last for a very long time, they could help you to handle the problem until you are able to get a professional to your home. Plumber As soon as you are able to, contact a local plumber. If the issue calls for it, it may be worthwhile to pay extra for emergency plumbing service. These plumbers will be able to come to your home at any time of day or night and will be able to handle the problem on the spot. This can include fixing the broken pipe, replacing the pipe entirely, and making any additional repairs necessary to ensure future repairs are not needed. Water Damage Repair While fixing the pipe is the most important step, you also need to clean up any water damage as soon as possible. Through the help of your insurance company, you should be able to identify a contractor that will be able to dry up the water and replace any drywall, carpet, or other elements that need to be replaced. Drying techniques and drying equipment today is significantly better than what was available even 5 years ago. Even if you’ve got a bit of a flood on your hands, new water extraction techniques should be able to sort your home out.Once you notice a leak, it is important to start reacting as quickly as possible. By following these four tips, you can help to minimize the damage of the broken pipe and start the repair process....

In general, the words homeowners insurance automatically makes you assume that it covers only the things in your home. However, the truth is that home insurance is going to cover you for more things than you could guess, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with you being at home sometimes. In this list today I am going to cover the top ten things that a homeowners insurance policy covers that you probably didn’t know it did. [ Flood Doctor Water Damage Restoration ]1. Counterfeit Money   I am not sure if you have ever experienced the embarrassment of being told that your money is fake when you attempt to pay for something. However, I can assure you that it isn’t a good feeling.   You feel embarrassed, and some people will even start to treat you like a criminal. But fear not, your home insurance may cover that. You should check your policy specifics to see under which policy provision counterfeit money is covered and how much of it your policy will cover.   2. Kidnap & Ransoms   If you are a movie fanatic like me then I am sure you have seen the movie Ransom, it’s probably one of my favorite movies. The truth is, however, that none of us know what we would do in that situation or how our family would react to us being kidnapped. Fortunately, your homeowner’s insurance may cover your ransom up to a certain amount to assist with getting you back home safely. It isn’t something you want ever to happen, but it’s great to know there is some help if it does.   3. Identity Theft   Have you ever looked at your credit report and noticed that you had a credit card or new home that you didn’t know existed? Ever received a phone bill in the mail for a phone you don’t own. More than likely, your Identity has been stolen, and you might not be prepared for the time and emotional rollercoaster that is to come when you try to fix it. Your homeowner’s insurance considers your identity as personal property and may cover you for it, so learn how your policy works and how it may cover you.   4. Mortgage Payment Protection   If your home is destroyed by a covered loss, like heavy snow, hurricanes, or a meteorite falling from the sky. The mortgage company is still expecting their monthly payment to come through.   Paying for anything that you aren’t using is always a bummer, but could you imagine the nerve of a mortgage company looking for payment when they know you just lost the complete use of your home? Well, the truth is that you actually still owe them for the loan. But don’t worry, your home insurance coverage has a clause called “loss of use,” and that will cover your mortgage payments.   5. Court Settlements   Let’s face it; you aren’t going to win everything in life. Most of us are surprised when we win anything, but on the off chance that you lose a lawsuit filed by your neighbor or your ex-best friend, your homeowner’s has you covered. Your policy has a liability clause that will cover your court costs as well as money for your attorney or any settlements you have to pay. It’s best to read your policy to understand its limits.   6. Spoiled Food   If you have ever thrown out spoiled food because of a power outage, then this is going to drive you crazy. You could have been reimbursed for that food if it became spoiled due to a covered loss. Did a tree fall and knock out your power? Did a storm knock out your power? Since those are types of covered loss, and the food is considered personal property, it is covered by your homeowner’s insurance. So, before you throw out your spoiled food, take pictures of it, even if it stinks. You probably can be reimbursed.   7. Tenant Rent   Owning a duplex seems like it would be fun.   I mean, you get to live rent free because the tenant in the other unit is paying for both your mortgages. What happens if neither you or your tenant can occupy your home due to a covered loss? Well, your loss of use provision kicks in again, and they will pay you (up to a certain amount) the loss of income from your tenant. As always, check your policy specifics.   8. Student Property (On Campus)   More than 40% of students live on campus.   If you are one of that 40%, then be happy to know that your parent’s homeowner's insurance has you covered if your property is stolen, lost or broken. If you are a parent, you can rest assured that your homeowners' insurance is traveling with your student to protect you and them for a covered loss of personal property. Most people would never think to reach out to their home insurance for a case like this, but, it’s probably covered so start reaching out.   9. Parents Property (Assisted Living)   If you are financially responsible for your parent and they live in an assisted living property, then, just like for your student, your homeowner’s policy will cover them. If they lose something, have something stolen, or it’s broken by a covered loss, your home insurance policy will cover the item. Our parents are significant to us, and the last thing we want to do is hear something they cherished was lost or stolen so knowing that they are protected is always great to hear. Read your policy specifics for how your policy will work.   10. Crime Scene Cleanup   I can’t imagine coming home to a crime scene.   We all have our favorite episode of CSI, Dexter, or Criminal Minds, but in reality, I am sure none of us could actually stomach a crime scene and definitely wouldn’t be able to clean it up. Whatever the crime scene is, your homeowners will help you with covering the cost to have it cleaned up. If this happened in your home either to you or your loved ones, the last thing you want to do is have to clean it up. Check your policy for all of the details. Has your Sump-Pump Failed? Read this...

Here in the United States, we tend to take indoor plumbing for granted. If you’ve never traveled in underdeveloped countries or gone backpacking in the wilderness, it’s easy to forget that some people live without toilets, sinks or showers. Indoor plumbing allows us to live easier and more hygienic lives, but without the proper maintenance, you could find yourself in the middle of a major plumbing disaster.Along with being a major pain, plumbing issues can also be very expensive and wasteful. According to the EPA, a leaky faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water a year. That’s hard on the planet and your wallet, and that’s just one of the potential issues that can come from ignoring plumbing problems.You don’t have to sit around and wait for a plumbing disaster. You can take preventative measures into your own hands. 1. Each Day Daily maintenance is all about ensuring that the water flows freely through your pipes and drains. Preventing clogs is a lot easier than dealing with clogs once they happen.In the bathroom, be sure to use screen traps in the sink and shower to keep hair and other materials from going down the pipe and creating a clog. It’s also wise to avoid oily or creamy beauty products in the shower as much as you can.In the kitchen, your garbage disposal will help keep the drain clear, but everything you allow to go down will have the potential of creating a clog. This is especially true of foods that contain grease or are particularly fibrous, such as banana peels. If you do use the garbage disposal to handle small amounts of food particles, be sure to run the water before and afterward to ensure that everything goes down.You might think you can rely on chemical clog removers in the event of a clog, but this isn’t always the case. Not only do these products often fail to do the job, but they can also cause corrosion that can seriously damage your pipes over time. 2. Each Week Your weekly maintenance checklist should include keeping an eye on water pressure and checking to ensure nothing is leaking. Keep in mind that leaks don’t always come from the faucet themselves. If you see unexplained puddles, water stains or mold, you have a problem. Don’t let it go. Aside from the waste factor, water damage is often more extensive than you think.When looking at your sinks and faucets, check to make sure that water isn’t leaking from the handles or valves beneath the sink. 3. Each Season In the fall, before the weather gets too cold, drain your outdoor hoses and sprinklers before shutting off their water supply. This will prevent sitting water from freezing, expanding and causing damage. If you haven’t already, be sure to insulate any piping that isn’t protected by the warmth of the house.This is also a good time to look at your washing machine and dishwasher. Both of these major appliances can develop leaks that can lead to plumbing disasters, so look for cracked, twisted or otherwise damaged hoses, and make sure that no water is leaking. And don’t forget to check your dishwasher screen — according to House Method’s seasonal maintenance guide, blocked dishwasher screens reduce the machine’s efficiency over time.It’s wise to have a plumbing professional visit for an inspection during this time. Making sure that everything is okay with your plumbing and water heater will help you enjoy a smooth ride through the winter months. ...

Fixing up an older house can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Creating a plan of action based on what is affordable, while keeping in mind the features home buyers are looking for, will result in a much easier task to undertake. The following list contains a few straightforward ideas which are relatively inexpensive to complete.The Yard The yard is the first area a prospective buyer will notice when visiting the home. Trim the grass, rake the leaves, eliminate weeds, plant some flowers, or put a few potted plants near the front of the home. Also, be sure to trim the trees and bushes so they appear well-cared for and rid the yard of any trash.  De-Clutter The less clutter in the home, the better. Home buyers want to imagine how their furnishings will look, and how it could become their own. This is easily accomplished when there is a minimum amount of the current owners’ possessions in the home. If necessary, consider renting a storage unit temporarily. This not only helps to reduce clutter but also results in fewer items to pack when it comes time to move.  Paint A fresh coat of paint throughout the house, preferably white, not only brightens up a home, it causes it to feel cleaner inside. Home buyers appreciate this, as it would be one less task they would need to complete when settling into their new place.  Kitchens and Bathrooms These are the most important rooms for most buyers, so they should be as clean as possible, from top to bottom. If the counters are old and out of date, visit a home store or check online pricing for a replacement. Laminate, for example, would be an ideal choice as it is inexpensive. New counters or even simple hardware changes give the appearance of a fresh, clean home.  Flooring If the carpet has seen better days, it should be replaced. Any odor in the home will cause a prospective buyer to turn around and leave, as does the appearance of dirty floors. Be sure they are clean, especially around trim and in the corners. Also, if any of the floors are tiled, a fresh layer of grout can give the appearance of a brand-new floor.  Repairing Fire or Water Damage If the home has been damaged by water or fire, it should be repaired immediately. Take advantage of restoration services, usually covered by homeowner's insurance, to rid the home of any damage. There are several restoration companies available for this type of work, so feel free to contact a few for an estimate. It is important to find one that is trustworthy and will work well with the owner of the home. In summary, these are among the simplest fixes which help an older home sell quicker than it would otherwise, and often for a much better price. For additional ideas on how to fix up an older home to place for sale, walk through it, room by room, through the eyes of a buyer and try to get a feel for any further improvements they may appreciate, and then determine whether they are worth the expense....

Imagine waking up to a strange sound. You walk through your house, searching for the source of the sound. With further inspection, you realize it is coming from straight from your water heater. What do you do? If you want to avoid the frantic frenzy and costly repairs that a broken water heater will bring, learn the signs that your water heater is about to burst, how to turn it off if you suspect a problem, and what you should do if it does end up failing. The Cause: Whether gas or electric, water heaters usually last 10-13 years – if maintained well. Sometimes, a water heater will start leaking near the supply lines, and if you don't correct the leak, it won't just damage the surrounding floor and drywall but also lead to corrosion and failure. Other common causes of water heater failure are internal rust, sediment buildup, and high water pressure. Improper sizing can also cause your water heater to burst unexpectedly, leaving you with a huge, expensive mess. How to Prevent a Water Heater from Breaking: As with any appliance, frequent inspection can make your water heater last longer. Set an annual reminder to check for moisture or pooling water around the water heater, and tighten any loose fittings you find. If you see signs of water or mold damage or can't find the source of the leak, call the experts at Flood Doctor immediately. The faster you fix the issue, the less damage and cleanup you'll have. What should I do if I think my water heater might break? First thing's first – turn it off. If you notice any signs that your water heater is about to burst, including any strange noises, immediately shut it off. If it's a gas water heater, twist the dial on the top of the thermostat from the ON to the OFF position. If it's an electric heater, switch the circuit breaker to the OFF position. After you turn off your water heater; follow these instructions:Turn off the water supply. Turn the water valve located on your water heater clockwise until it stops. If it doesn't move or turn off, shut off your home's main water supply. Drain your water heater. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of your water heater's tank. Run the other end of the hose to a lower area where you can drain dirty water without risking more damage. Then, open the drain valve. You may need to use a screwdriver or another tool to open it. Open the pressure relief valve. Flip the relief valve handle to prevent a vacuum from forming while the water heater drains. Be careful – the water may be hot. Rinse with cold water. After your water heater is finished draining, open the water supply for a few minutes to flush any remaining sediment out of the water heater.Even if you think your water heater is in good condition, you should drain and refill it once a year as part of your regular water heater maintenance to keep it working properly and efficiently. Simply follow the steps above, and then close the relief and drain valves and turn the water supply back on to refill it. What should I do when my water heater breaks? If your water heater is broken, find a professional to assess the problem right away. If your water heater has burst or you know there's water or mold damage to the area, call the experts at Flood Doctor. Our water damage services are available 24/7/365 to ensure you get the help you need, right when you need it....