10 July 2020

How to Avoid Outdoor Drainage Issues

Your outdoor space boosts the aesthetics of your home while playing other functions. Without the right drainage system, your outdoor space could be a total mess. Examples of damage that can be caused by poor drainage include soil erosion, plant damage, damage to your home’s foundation and a muddy lawn. It could also cause issues on the paved surfaces. Consider the following main causes and fixes for outdoor drainage issues.

Photo by ready made from Pexels

Causes of Poor Drainage

Most of the issues arise when drainage is not given a priority during the landscape design. For instance, if the paved surfaces are not at the right height and slope, drainage issues can happen. Gutter drain spouts that are not set up the right way, poor plant and flower bed layouts, and drain systems that are not designed properly are some of the major causes of drainage issues in homes. Some homeowners are able to identify these issues and fix them easily. However, for those without the expertise, it’s best to seek help from a qualified landscaping professional.

Getting the Right Drainage System Design

The key to avoiding issues in both the long and short term is investing in the right drainage system design for your home. Whether you are building a new home or renovating an existing one, consider working with professionals who specialize in drainage systems. When you hire professionals, they can help in creating the best design, or redesigning what you already have to create the best drainage system that will enhance the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space.

A professional can help you in choosing appropriate solutions such as French drains, rain gardens, rock beds, drain tube systems, dry creek beds, drainage swales, and retaining walls among others. However, note that you should not hire any professional you find. Check their experience and expertise, find out if they have fulfilled all the legal requirements for contractors in this class, and don’t forget to check if they have a good reputation.

Regular Maintenance

At some point, drainage systems can have blockages. Leaves and other substances can cause blockages, growing roots can affect drainage, and sunken spots in the yard can develop over time. It’s your responsibility to keep checking potential issues and having them fixed immediately. Other than your day to day check-up, you should also consider having a professional landscaping company come to your home every now and then for a thorough check-up and maintenance. The expert can diagnose issues that are developing slowly and fix them before they turn out to be huge problems. They can also advise you on some of the steps you can take to ensure you don’t face outdoor drainage issues.

With a proper and well maintained outdoor drainage system, you can prevent damage to your patio, keep away pests, keep your plants, trees and flowers healthy, and maintain your home’s foundation in a good condition. You have invested a lot to have a stunning outdoor space; don’t let poor drainage ruin your outdoor experience and the aesthetics of your home. And all this starts with a good plan and the right drainage system for the entire outdoor space.

01 July 2020

How to Make Your Home More Secure for Your Family

You need to feel safe inside your home. Increase home security to ward off or deter anyone or anything from harming your family with a few practical ways.

Photo by Gwendal Cottin on Unsplash

Your home has a chance of being targeted by criminals at any given moment wherever you live in the US. According to the FBI, a burglary happens once every 26 seconds, which accumulates to over 3,300 burglaries every day. And if burglars aren’t your cause for worry, there are also trespassers, people who simply destroy property for the thrill of it, and other types of criminals that could harm you and your family in the comfort of your home.

When you’re at home with your family, you don’t want to worry about these threats every moment. But you might not be able to relax, bond with your partner and binge-watch Disney princess movies in order with your daughters or sons when you’re thinking about your home security every waking moment. In this case, it’s best to follow at least one of these three ways to beef up your home security for some peace of mind.

Invest in Strong Door Locks

The first line of defense for nearly all houses are the locks on your doors. Your front door is the easiest point of entry, so intruders will first try to see how easy it is to break in through the front door. If you move into a home that was previously occupied, replace the locks as soon as possible. Not only is it a risk that they could still have a key to your home, but the door and window locks may be old and worn.

Your deadbolt should be your first line of defense when guarding your door, according to security professionals. Do not buy cheap or discounted deadbolts, and instead choose heavy-duty locks that will make it difficult for intruders to kick in. If your door has glass panels around it, do not use a single-cylinder deadbolt as burglars can easily break the glass and reach the deadbolt latch. Instead, use a double-cylinder deadbolt as it will require a key. If possible, use at least 3-inch screws to install the strike plates as it can make your door more difficult to kick down.

Use Motion-Sensing Outdoor Lights

Photo by Marie Bellando-Mitjans on Unsplash

Whether you buy a home in Tucson or any city in Arizona, night time will always be a vulnerable time for your home. Plenty of intruders will try to use the cover of darkness to their advantage to scope your property, watch your movement, and break in. Your porch or backyard light can protect your doors. But your windows and the other outdoor parts of your home can be prone to intruders.

Motion-sensing outdoor lights offer a layer of security. Rather than having lights around your house open the entire night, motion sensor lights will only light up when something big enough (like a person) triggers the sensors. This can catch your attention or the attention of neighbors who may spot the intruder and contact authorities for you. 

Always Look Like There’s an Adult Home

Never give the appearance that no one’s home. Those looking to enter and take your property will use this to their advantage. You can do this in many ways: for starters, always park your car inside your garage as the presence (or absence) of your car on the street or driveway is a dead giveaway that someone’s home. Always leave at least one indoor light on and an outdoor light if no one will be present overnight. If possible, install smart tech in your home that can allow you to toggle the lights even from far away.

And no matter how responsible your younger children may be, never make it clear that they’re alone at home. Some children can be taught not to let strangers inside your home, but many children may not know what to do when intruders try the brute force method.

You may not need a high-end security system to protect your property and family. For most situations, an affordable and practical system works, giving you and your loved ones some peace of mind.

29 June 2020

5 Tips for Designing Your Dream Kitchen

If you're a fan of cooking shows like "Hell's Kitchen," "Chopped," or "Top Chef," you may find yourself dreaming of the day when you can renovate your kitchen. Designing a new kitchen comes with a lot of decisions to be made since at every step of the process you'll need to weigh the cost of each choice against aesthetics and functionality. These five tips will help you make the most of your budget and renovation, offering you the kitchen you've always wanted at a price you can afford.

Make sure you're ready—financially, that is

Before committing to any major home project, it's important to take a look at your finances to be certain that you have enough money to perform the work yourself or pay a contractor. Regardless of who's going to be performing the work, you'll want to make sure you've accounted for any potential surprises—if you've seen those reality shows where people flip houses only to discover mold, termites, or dry rot, you'll definitely know why. A good rule of thumb for budgeting for contract work is to add about 10 percent to their initial estimate, while a cushion of 20 or even 30 percent may be necessary if you're taking a DIY approach.

Once you've determined how much you'll need for your project, it's time to fill out your home loan application in order to refinance and tap into existing equity in your home. The application process will require you to provide proof of income as well as an overview of your existing loans and expenses. In order for your refinance loan to be approved as quickly as possible, be sure to stay current on all other credit card payments and other bills to illustrate your trustworthiness to your new lender.

Wow your visitors with perfect cabinetry

Perhaps the most important choice you'll make when designing your ideal kitchen comes down to the cabinet style you choose. Beyond storing dishware, glasses, and food, your kitchen cabinets have a vital role to play in the overall direction the design of your kitchen takes, too. From wall cabinets to cabinets underneath your countertop, the wood grain and finish of your cabinetry is similar to paint color in another room, as it takes up the most visual space in any kitchen.

Once you've settled on a finish and style of cabinet, you'll want to think about the different kinds of customizations that will really make using your kitchen each day a dream. For example, if you hate the sound of noisy cabinet doors shutting, soft-close hinges for doors and under-mount glides for drawers are definitely worth investing in. Another helpful feature is opting for an easy-to-clean material for the interior of your cabinets such as melamine. If you're worried about getting lost in the details, a company like Polaris Home Design can assist you in choosing the best features for your needs and budget.

Pick countertops for durability before looks

While everyone thinks that marble makes the best countertop style, it's always a good idea to look at other options, too. For example, quartz provides an equally-durable option and looks just as elegant, as do granite and travertine. If you're looking for an accent material for a wet bar or island that won't be used as often as other parts of your kitchen, onyx can provide a striking statement to any kitchen. Although it isn't as durable as some of your other options, for renovators who love a bit of flair it's a beautiful choice.

Invest in appliances that'll last

When upgrading items like your refrigerator, oven, or microwave, durability and style are both two important facets to consider. The last thing you want to have to do is repair or replace an oven every few years because you've chosen a bad brand. Some of the top brands to consider include LG, Whirlpool, Sub-Zero, Philips, and Samsung, among others. Marketwatch has broken down a variety of brands' strengths and weaknesses so that it's easy to do your own research based on what features and functionality you're looking at.

Don't forget your backsplash!

While your countertops, tile, and cabinetry provide the most color in any kitchen, that isn't to say you can't add a pop of color with a backsplash, too. Often, a backsplash can become another focal point in your kitchen, perhaps in a color that ties in with your colorful Le Creuset pots or pans or Fiestaware dishes. Beyond adding to your kitchen's style, a backsplash also protects your wall near the sink and oven, where water and other liquids may otherwise damage or stain the material.

24 June 2020

Options for Aging Parents: From ADUs to Assisted Living

As your parents age, they may need a little more help. This is always a delicate conversation, especially because some parents believe that if they're put in an assisted living facility you'll never visit them and will forget about them. Although it can be a sensitive subject, it's important to begin having a conversation about your parents' wishes and what you can afford as their child.

The sooner you can start talking about this topic, the better as it will help normalize the idea of them getting to a point where they may no longer be able to care for themselves independently of somebody else. Here are just a few of the solutions you may want to discuss as you look into different options for aging parents.

Are you or your parents willing to relocate?

One important factor to consider when chatting with your parents about the future is whether or not they're willing to relocate as they get older. If they are deadset on staying in the home they've raised you in, but are starting to need some help around the house, you may want to see about paying for a caregiver to come and check in every few days to help them out. That being said, if you or your parents are willing to relocate, there's a possibility that you could become that caregiver.

What should you know about assisted living facilities?

Although they get a bad rap, there are benefits of assisted living facilities. If you do your research and read up on reviews from current residents, you can avoid low-quality senior living facilities and find an assisted living facility that works well for your parents and other family members. This gives everyone peace of mind that your parents will have a level of independence even as you have the assurance that if they need help it will be close at hand.

Another benefit of moving your parents into an assisted living facility concerns specific medical conditions for older adults. Having nurses to keep track of medication or help your parents navigate any complications of their disease could be especially helpful as your parents get older. It's easy to find assisted living facilities in your parents' hometown or nearby other family members, too, whether you're looking for an assisted living facility in Boonton Township, NJ, Santa Fe, NM, or Louisville, KY.

Are you able to build an accessory dwelling unit?

If your parents are willing to move, it may be worth looking into building an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, in your backyard. Sometimes you can even convert your garage into an ADU, letting you keep the same square feet in your main house and yard while having a place for your parents to live that's much closer to you than a senior living community. Garage conversions require special permits, so it's crucial that you find an expert in building ADUs, such as Levi Construction if you're serious about having your parents move onto your property.

One of the major benefits of using companies like Levi Construction, who specialize in helping others build an ADU in Los Angeles, is that they can navigate any local laws and regulations about ADUs while still delivering an excellent building with great amenities. If your parents aren't quite convinced, a firm like Levi Construction can even draw up digital blueprints and 3D walkthroughs that let them imagine what their life could be like living on your property. Offering a wide range of options, from detached and attached ADUs to internal ADUs and garage conversions, you're sure to find what you need when using a professional builder.

22 June 2020

Choosing the Perfect Washing Machine Repair Technician

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

A broken washing machine can lead to increased monthly costs as dry cleaning bills add up quickly.

Choosing the perfect washing machine repair technician may appear daunting at first, as countless types in all price points are readily available. However, this does not have to be a difficult process.

Highly professional and affordable washing machine technicians are available in all major North American cities.  Many offer other types of appliance repair as well.

Washing machine technicians are often available year round on weekdays and weekends, with extended business hours for emergencies.

Types of Washing Machines

Machine machines come in a variety of types.

  • Front Loading – Front loading washing machines are perfect for smaller areas, as a dryer can easily be stacked on top. In addition, front loading machines consume less water and energy than top loading machines.
  • Top Loading – Top loading washing machines most common and often less expensive to buy or repair. Their main benefit is ease of loading and unloading without having to crouch down.
  • Portable (Compact)– Portable washing machines can only do very small loads at a time. However, their small size makes them perfect for dorm rooms or small apartments. They are easily transported and often come with a handle.
  • Washer and Dryer Combo – Washer and dryer combos range from small and ultra-compact models to full size. Many of these combos are ventless, which means that they do not require an external venting connection to function. In addition, certain models are available with a variety of energy saving features, such as “delay start” and “sensor dry.”
  • Integrated – Integrated washing machines, which are often hidden behind cabinet doors, are space saving and aesthetically pleasing. The standard dimensions are approximately 825 x 595 x 540 mm (H x W x D) or approximately 32.5 x 23.5 x 21.3 in inches (H x W x D).

Other types of washing machines include heavy-duty washers and stackable units.

Washing Machine Problems 

Although durable, washing machines may inevitably begin experiencing problems over the years. Common issues include:

  • not turning on/no power
  • not draining 
  • leaking water
  • not finishing the cycle
  • making noise
  • starting to smell
  • not spinning
  • not dispensing detergent
  • shaking and moving
  • washer door is locked/will not lock
  • stuck on rinse/wash/spin
  • has communication errors
  • control panel not responding/broken
  • mould build up
  • lack of cold water
  • leaving soap in clothing

Often these problems are related to the motor, lid switch, lid plunger, timer knob, drain hose, fill hose, drain pump, water-inlet valve, door seal, switches and settings, belts, drive spindles, transmission mode levers, foreign objects, and incorrect detergent.

Cost of Washing Machine Repair

The cost of washing machine repair varies and depends on several factors. These include geographical location, with larger cities often more expensive than smaller towns, distance of location from technician, make and model of washing machine, faulty component, and type of problem. In particular, the rarer the type of broken part, the more expensive the repairs will be.

Average repair cost in the United States ranges from approximately$50 USD for minimal repairs to $350 USD. One’s bill can increase for $400 USD for complex problems, such as repairing the washing machine’s motor or transmission.

Basic top loading washing machines are often the least expensive to repair, while new high efficiency loader washing machines are most expensive. Certain brands of front loading machines also tend to leak more than others. In contrast, some brands of top loading washing machines have problems with spinning.

A machine with a motor that stops working can cost approximately $95 to $250 USD.

If the motor is running with no agitation, the cost can be approximately $95 to $145 USD, while water leaks and problems with drainage can be approximately $120 to $225 USD.

A washing machine that vibrates will cost approximately $65 to $185 USD.
In Canada, rates are similar. Costs range from $50 to approximately$350 CAD. These costs often include labour, diagnosis, and replacement parts.

Choosing a Washing Machine Repair Technician

Business review sites are a great way to start searching for the perfect machine repair technician. Examples include Yelp and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which offer customers ratings of various technicians in all major North American cities.

Another way to find a great washing machine repair technician is to ask friends, coworkers, and neighbours for recommendations.

In addition, customers are encouraged to look at company websites and compare brands, types, and prices. Many of these website also offer customer testimonials as well.