Tag: Home Improvement

Covering Your Bases: 9 Things You Need to Do to Prepare for a Possible Power Outage

Homeowners get weather alerts on their TVs and smartphones when a storm is coming. Most severe storms increase power outages and define how long the outage will last. Steps for preparing for a power outage helps the property owner avoid dangerous circumstances and helps them keep their families safer in terrible weather.

  1. Purchase and Install a Generator

A generator provides adequate power for the home during a power outage. However, the homeowner has two options with generators, and they must choose either a gas-powered model or a product that uses solar power to light the home. Comparing the costs of each and the duration they operate helps the homeowner find the best product for their home.

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  1. Buy Plenty of Batteries

Batteries are a necessity during a power outage and provide power for flashlights, weather radios, and even battery-powered lamps. Homeowners need an ample supply of batteries on-hand when a storm is rolling in.

  1. Stock Up on Non-Perishable Foods and Water

Non-perishable foods and bottled water are the best choices for a storm or power outage. It is best to choose foods that are pre-cooked and don’t require the homeowner to heat the food before eating. An ice-filled cooler keeps the water cold during the outage.

  1. Fill Up Your Vehicles

Homeowners need to fill up their gas tank just in case of an evacuation. Strong storm systems are often a cause for mandatory evacuations, and the property owner needs to leave as directed.

  1. Purchase a Backup Phone

A corded phone gives the property owner a backup option for contacting emergency services and staying in touch with family. Cordless phones are useless in a power outage, and the owner can use the corded phone even if the power is off.

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  1. Lower the Temperature in the Fridge and Freezer

Reducing the temperature in the fridge or freezer keeps it colder until they restore the power. It lowers the chances of a complete loss of all the food stored in the appliances. It will also cause the freezer to generate more ice that won’t melt for several days.

  1. Make Your First-Aid Kits are Stocked

First-aid kits must be stocked with vital medical supplies. Experts recommended that homeowners replenish their medical supplies as needed. This ensures access to the supplies if someone is injured in the home during the outage or a severe storm.

  1. Buy Plenty of Flashlights

Flashlights are necessary for lighting the homeowner’s way through their home once the power is out. The size of the home defines how many flashlights they should have on-site. At least three flashlights provide emergency lighting during a storm and could prevent avoidable injuries.

  1. Keep Your Cell Phone Charged

Cell phones should stay charged before the outage. Once they are fully charged, the homeowner can use the phone to contact emergency services or family members. A car charger is an invaluable investment, too.

Homeowners must act quickly when a severe storm is approaching. Preparatory steps for a power outage prevent the homeowner from remaining in the door throughout the outage. If the storm lasts longer than expected, the owner could be without power for several days. Buying non-perishable foods and water helps the homeowner feed their family during the outage. Families that follow tips for preparing for an outage prevent injuries and keep everyone safer.

5 Dos and Don’ts of Proper Wooden Patio Maintenance

Wooden patios and decks add value to homes and increase usable living space. However, owners need to care for outdoor wood surfaces to extend their lives, keep them safe, and ensure they remain attractive. The steps involved in maintaining decks and patios are not complicated, but it is easy to make mistakes that create more problems than they solve. With that in mind, savvy property owners learn the dos and don’ts of power washing, repairing, tidying, and sealing wood surfaces.

1) Power Wash Surfaces Correctly

The simplest way to give outdoor wood a facelift is to power wash it. However, the process has to be done correctly and on a schedule that optimizes the life of the wood.

Owners should hire professionals for the task since experts have the necessary equipment and experience to ensure a thorough job. Technicians can use methods that are gentle on surfaces. For example, property owners who browse the Internet will be able to get more information about soft washing techniques that are safe for all types of woods.

It is best to avoid DIY power cleaning that can destroy patio materials. It can be challenging to gauge the pressure needed for various materials. Homeowners should also avoid power washing too often since overusing the process can take a toll on materials.

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2) Remove Debris Regularly

Something as simple as sweeping a patio or deck has a significant impact on its condition. When debris is left too long, it can get trapped and create the perfect home for mold and rot. Decaying foliage may stain surfaces.

However, it is essential to use tools that will not harm surfaces. For instance, scrubbing stains with a wire brush is abrasive and may damage the wood.

3) Routine Cleaning Is Essential for Good Looks

Washing a wooden patio helps keep it looking good between power-cleaning sessions. According to experts writing for Savvy Remodeler, plain water may be all that is needed, but a mild cleanser will also work.

Avoid using bleach that can change the wood’s color and damage nearby plants.

4) Repair Damage As Soon as Possible

Homeowners who want safe, durable wood patios and decks must stay vigilant and routinely examine surfaces for damages. Nails can come loose, and boards might crack or warp. Per home improvement publication Today’s Homeowner, it is also critical to inspect surfaces for dry rot.

As owners examine patios, they need to be careful not to ignore areas like railings and stairs. Damages often weaken these areas, turning them into safety hazards.

5) Seal Wooden Surfaces Instead of Painting

Even carefully maintained outdoor wood surfaces eventually need to be resealed to preserve them. Experts recommend using one-step products that seal and stain and are ideal for DIY projects.

Tempting as it might be to paint outdoor wood structures, building specialists advise against the idea. It is easy for moisture to get trapped during priming and painting. Painted surfaces also need much more care to look good than stains.

Wood patios and decks can last for decades with the proper care. Routine maintenance includes removing debris, washing surfaces, and scheduling regular power washing. It is critical to fix damaged areas quickly and ensure surfaces are sealed. However, owners should avoid harsh cleaning products and techniques. It is equally vital to seal rather than paint surfaces and ensure that wood is not power washed too often.

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Beyond Appearances: 4 Reasons to Clean Your Windows Regularly

Windows give us a view of the world when we are indoors, protect us from the elements, and allow us to let in air and sunshine during the day. When the windows are dirty, it prevents the sunlight from coming in and makes the place look poorly maintained. Going beyond appearances, there are four more compelling reasons to clean your windows regularly.

A Window to the World

Besides looking good, clean windows provide a priceless view of the world outdoors. If you stand at the kitchen sink washing dishes, the time goes much faster when you are watching the scenery outside. Anyone who works in an office recognizes the value of having a desk near a window to get mental breaks throughout the day. Looking away from the computer screen to watch the sunshine and trees helps people to relax and refocus on the tasks at hand. Plus, letting in the natural light helps to reduce electrical costs. Turning off the lights and opening the windows floods an area with light at no additional cost. The professional window cleaning Montreal homeowners want is just a phone call away, helping people save time and enjoy clean windows all year round.

Keep Mold Out

Condensation forms on windows, which can lead to the formation of mold. Known as a silent killer, mold is damaging to both structures and people. Plus, the formation of mold is unattractive and difficult to remove once it takes over the frame and surrounding areas. Rather than trying to get rid of persistent mold, it makes sense to take steps to avoid it. Regular window cleaning is the easiest way to keep mold at bay and stay healthier.

Improve Curb Appeal

When the windows are dirty, people wonder if anyone is taking care of the premises. Clouded windows make a place look neglected and old. Washing the windows regularly instantly improves the overall look of a house or building. Clean windows boost curb appeal and make passersby look twice. If the property owner is looking to sell faster, hiring a professional window cleaning service to wash the interior and exterior of all the windows makes sense. Potential buyers will instantly notice the windows and view the property as well-maintained. If the windows are dirty, it could deter buyers from looking at the place.

Reduce Maintenance Costs

When windows are neglected, it becomes problematic over time. The formation of mold and buildup of dirt and water can compromise the window frames and structures. The more damage that occurs, the costlier it becomes to remedy it. Years of neglect can leave windows looking dingy, chipped, and shoddy. In many instances, the windows and surrounding structures must be replaced. Instead of facing that expense in the future, hire professional window cleaners today. Keeping the windows clean and properly maintained reduces the risk of costly damages that require fixing or replacement in the years to come.

Windows are an investment in a home or building. Functional and attractive windows are a major asset and can be a selling point when the owner is ready to market the property. Neglecting your windows leads to problems that can become expensive to fix. Cleaning the windows regularly, or hiring a professional to do it for you, ensures this investment is in great shape for a long time to come.

In Nature’s Embrace: 6 Simple Tips for Making Your Backyard More Private

Lucky homeowners who live in rural areas or on large plots far from neighbors have a measure of built-in privacy. However, those with homes in cities or neighborhoods with houses built close together often feel that anyone can peer into their backyards. Living close to another home can also mean having a clear view of a poorly tended yard or one littered with unsightly materials. Fortunately, landscaping and fencing professionals offer a variety of ways to make yards more private, block unwanted views, and create beauty.

1) Enhance a Professionally Installed Fence

Many homeowners create a more private space by arranging to have contractors install wood, metal, or vinyl fences. Contractors help clients select the best styles and materials for their goals. For example, when customers get services from Illinois Fence Company, experts can show them wood fencing that increases curb appeal as well as vinyl styles that mimic the look of wood. Once fences are installed, owners can use their creativity to enhance them. Some people plant flowers at the base of fences, paint them an eye-catching color or hang planters on boards.

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2) Grow a Living Fence

While most people associate fencing with wood or metal, it is possible to enclose a yard using plants. Bob Villa points out that hedges have been used to create privacy for centuries, and they offer attractive benefits. Homeowners can choose the plants they want to grow into hedges. It is effortless to reach the ideal height. If hedges are too short, just let them grow. If plants get too tall, they are easy to trim.

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3) Create a Personal Enclave

When it is not possible to fence off a yard, building a private outdoor space can be a terrific compromise. Homeowners may choose to create an elegant walled-in enclosure or use a slatted design that obstructs the view without creating a feeling of being closed in outdoors. Experts writing for The Spruce suggest designing a nook with open-pattern walls and plants that increase privacy.

4) Design a Multi-Purpose Wall

When the object is to block the view of an eyesore, an attractive wall does the job and can serve other purposes. For example, when space is at a minimum, a lovely cedar wall with sockets for plants creates privacy and becomes an architectural element. Build it next to a backyard patio to form a serene outdoor dining space. One or two bamboo walls can be the perfect beginnings of a tropical retreat.

5) Add a Pergola

Build a pergola to add some privacy without obstructing stunning views. A basic pergola doesn’t block views as well as walls or hedges but will make it harder to see what’s going on. Adding plants can also increase the sense of seclusion.

6) Build a Trellis and Add Climbing Plants

A favorite trick of landscape designers is to use climbing plants to create walls of color. Combined with a trellis, a climbing plant can also add privacy. Most climbing plants grow quickly and fill in trellis spaces, creating a fresh, lovely natural wall that blocks prying eyes. Trellises have the benefit of interrupting sightlines without preventing breezes from circulating in outdoor areas.

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There are dozens of ways to make backyards more private using both traditional fencing and more creative options. They include adding hedges, trellises, and climbing plants. A wall with room for plants can provide privacy, as can a pergola.