Pest Control

What to Do When You Discover Termites

What to Do When You Discover Termites

What to do when you have termites is another common question. You’re probably already familiar that termites live primarily in the soil or in underground tunnels that are connected to the forest where they’re feeding, but that’s not the only place termites can be found. Sometimes termite can be found in the wood used to build your home.  If you aren’t sure that you have termites or not then here is what to look for.

Getting an Inspection

You should have your home inspected for termite damage at least once a year to see if there is any trace of an infestation. You should call a technician to come out and assess your situation and see what the best course of action would be if treatment is needed. There are a few things you can do to prevent termite damage from occurring, and a good contractor will work with you to make sure that those things are taken care of.

Termite Treatment

The first thing that you want to do when you have termite problems is to make sure that you have the proper equipment and manpower on hand to deal with the problem. Professional termite technicians are equipped to handle the most difficult cases, so don’t hesitate to call in one if you think you have a termite problem. There are several different kinds of equipment that can be used to manage termite infestations, including baits and liquid termite treatments.

Once the professional pest control technicians arrive, you can determine which areas of your property need to be treated with chemicals. Termite damage is often caused by the female termites laying eggs in the wood. The best way to exterminate these creatures is with a liquid that is applied through hoses to the area where the termite problem is occurring. This liquid will penetrate the wood and will kill off the termite that is in it.

Termites in Older Homes

Termites are a bigger problem if you own an older home rather than one that has been constructed in the past 10 years.  Newer homes are built with less wood and the wood has been treated so that it repels termites.  If you have an older home or you’re considering buying one then make sure you get a termite inspection.

The last thing that you want to know about when you have termites is that they don’t go away on their own, they aren’t seasonal like ants. The slow-moving termite species can actually eat through wooden foundation walls, and this could result in your house leaking or even sinking if you are not careful.

One of the best things that you can do is call a licensed contractor who is familiar with termite damage, since this is one of the most common causes of structural problems. A qualified contractor can easily determine whether your house is suffering from subterranean termite infestation and then can recommend the best methods of treatment to solve the problem.

HVAC

5 Signs that Your Ducts Need to be Cleaned

5 Signs that Your Ducts Need to be Cleaned

Most homeowners rarely give their HVAC systems or the ductwork a second thought, the heat comes on in the winter and the AC in the summer so everything must be fine.  That isn’t always the case, most problems you don’t even notice until something big goes wrong.  Part of regular maintenance on your home is keeping your HVAC system running smoothly and your ducts cleaned.  If you haven’t the first clue when the ducts were cleaned last or if it is time to get the done again then here are 5 signs that you need your ductwork cleaned.

Signs You Need the Ducts Cleaned

  1. Constant stuffy nose or cold.  If you wake up every morning stuffed up or you feel like you might be getting a head cold all of the time then it may be time to check your duct work.  If the ducts are dirty and the forced air from your furnace is blowing that dust and debris all through your home it can affect your sinuses and even trigger asthma attacks.  Cleaning your ducts can dramatically improve the air quality in your home.
  2. Signs of pests. Insects and even vermin can get inside your ductwork and make a mess.  If you check the registers or ductwork and seen scratches, feces or what looks like husks or shells it may be time to have them cleaned.  It may also indicate you need some pest control done at your home as well.
  3. Signs of mold: Mold is a huge problem and you need to deal with it immediately.  Mold in your ducts can causing breathing issues and make you sick.  If left untreated it can cause massive structural issues with your home so don’t mess around.  Mold also indicates that you have a moisture problem in your home that needs to be looked at as well.  Contact an HVAC contractor right away and get the issue looked at.
  4. It has been a year or more since they were cleaned: Many HVAC companies will tell you that ductwork should be cleaned seasonally, but that really isn’t the case.  The EPA actually recommends that you do it once a year or on an as-needed basis.
  5. Clean the heat registers regularly: When you clean or vacuum around the house make sure that every once in a while you take the registers off and clean them out with just a damp cloth.  You may want to vacuum around them to get rid of unwanted dust before putting everything back together.  It will give you the time to do any inspections that are needed.

Hiring Someone to Clean Your Ducts

When you bring an HVAC contractor to clean your air ducts make sure they do a complete job.  This should also include replacing filters in your furnace or central air unit, they need to also clean the vents that lead to the outside of your home.  Be cautious of any chemicals they may be using and that they are safe for you and any pets in the home.

Remodeling

Garage Remodel to Increase Your Living Space

Garage Remodel to Increase Your Living Space

If the amount of living space in your home seems to be shrinking as your family is growing then you might want to consider a garage remodel to increase your living space.  Not only does this give more room for your family to use it also adds to the overall value of your home.  It is easier to do than adding an additional storey to your home and you may not have the space on your property for an addition.  The construction costs will be far lower than an addition, the space is already there it is just a matter of converting it to the type of room that you can use.

Planning and Prep Work

Just like any home renovation project if you want things to go smoothly then make a plan and stick to it.  Start by cleaning all of your existing stuff out of the garage that may be stored there.  This will give you a better idea of the space and what you can do with it. Do you want to add another bedroom, a home office or some type of family room?  Once you figure out how you’re going to use the space then you can make a reasonable budget for  the project.  If you’re unsure about quite what to do with space then here are some ideas.

Finding a Contractor

The easiest and fastest way to get the job done is by getting a professional into to do it for you.  If you want to make your renovation dollars stretch as far as you can then you can take on some of the work yourself.  Don’t overestimate your abilities or the amount of time it will take to get completed.

Finding a good contractor is always a challenge, but take your time to vet any of the contractors that you speak with to make sure you find the right company.  Ask for references, look at online reviews, proof of insurance and ask to see some examples of past work.  You can never be too careful when it comes to hiring any type of contractor.

How Long Will the Renovation Take

A garage conversion is a fairly big job even when you are converting it into a simple room.  If you are adding things like bathrooms or even a kitchen then it is even more complicated.  It can easily take two to three weeks for the conversion to be completed. Renovations need to be done in a orderly fashion and at any point you can be waiting for electricians or inspectors to show up before you can move on to the next phase of construction.  That being said a garage refit isn’t anywhere as intrusive on your daily life as a kitchen or bath renovation.

Converting your garage into usable, livable space is an ideal solution for a growing family that needs more room.  Not only that it will increase the overall value of your home while being one of the more cost effective renovations that you can do.  Talk with a contractor and see what you can to for the space.

Plumbing

Benefits of a Tankless Hot Water Heater

Benefits of a Tankless Hot Water Heater

When your hot water tank dies and you’re looking at replacement models you might want to consider going with a tankless system instead.  The benefits of a tankless hot water heater are many.  To start with you don’t have to worry about the tank leaking and flooding your home.  An even better benefit is that you will never run out of hot water.  So you never have to worry about starting your day with a cold shower because you didn’t get up early enough to beat everyone to the shower.

Why Choose a  Tankless Hot Water System?

Tankless systems are often referred to as an ‘on demand water heater’ where your supply of hot water is virtually unlimited.  It is there when you need it and you can use as much of it as you like.  It differs from a tank system where your hot water is limited by the amount of water that the tank can hold.  The average sized hot water tank is 36 gallons, meant for a home of 4 people.  If you’re the fourth person in the shower in the morning then you are about to have a miserable day that begins with a cold shower.

More Energy Efficient

With a conventional water heater, the tank fills up and the water gets heated and then the tank has to keep that water heated until someone uses it.  You waste a tremendous amount of energy keeping water hot that nobody is using.  You’re water heater is wasteful and expensive to keep running, there is a better way. A tankless system is so much more efficient in that it doesn’t heat any water until you actually need it.

If you want a greener and more energy efficient system to keeping your home in ample hot water then a tankless system is your best bet.  The water doesn’t have to constantly run nor sit for hours.  You don’t have to leave the hot water running until it is too cold.  You also don’t need to worry about the water turning cold when someone runs the tap.

Cost Versus Benefits

There are tons of reasons to have a tankless water heater so why aren’t they already in every home in America?

Because of the high cost.

The initial price is a lot higher than a traditional hot water tank.  But before you balk because of the price bear in mind the money that you are saving on both energy and water consumption. A tankless water heater uses up to 35% less energy than a traditional water heat.

If you aren’t sure what type of water heater is best for your home, you need to first determine how many people are using the hot water, how much hot water you consume and where you will be putting the tank. Take a look at your current energy bills and what you are spending every month.  Yes, the initial costs are going to be more but you can recoup the expense on what you save on future energy costs.

Remodeling

The Average Cost of a Basement Remodel

The Average Cost of a Basement Remodel

One  of the most common reasons that homeowners choose to renovate is so that they can increase the amount of living space in their homes.  You can do this a couple of ways, by putting an addition on to your home, renovating the attic but the most common is to finish off the basement.  If you’re contemplating finishing your basement but you’re wondering about the cost then you’re not alone.  The average cost of a basement remodel can run you anywhere from $5,000 for a basic finish to more than $100,000 for a state of the art man cave with all of the bells and whistles.  Let’s take a look at what you can expect to spend based on the type of remodel that you choose, bear in mind that none of this is written in stone and your costs can vary a great deal.

The Basic Finish

If you have a basement that has absolutely nothing in it and you want to turn it into a livable space then you will be doing a basic finish. This is actually easier and cheaper than renovating an existing space.  For this you are going to have to frame in the walls, insulate, moisture proof, add in the ceiling and floors and install whatever electrical and plumbing that you need.  To do most of the work yourself you will be looking at roughly $7,000, if you are planning on hiring a contractor to do the work for you then you can expect to pay upwards of $20,000.  You can increase that budget if you plan on adding a downstairs bathroom to the space.  This estimate is based on a home of 2,000 square feet.

A Full Remodel

If you have a basement that has already been finished but it looks like the set of That 70’s Show you may be ready to rip it all out and update the whole thing.  If you want to change the layout and add spaces like a home office, playroom, rec room or an additional bedroom then you can expect to pay $20,000 – $30,000 for the whole project.  You can save yourself some money by taking down the existing walls.  If you need additional plumbing or an electrician to add some outlets then expect to pay a bit more.

A Finished System

There are companies that will use prefab walls and other parts to create a finished basement in no time flat.  You don’t have to do any of the work yourself, it is quick and the work comes with warranties that your basement will stay warm and dry.  The materials are proprietary and an installed system runs $40 – $50 per square foot.  It can get pricey pretty quickly, if you have a 2,000 square foot home can cost you nearly a $100,000 to finish.

Renovating your basement isn’t a cheap endeavor but it is one of those projects that will payoff.  One of the best investments you can make to increase the value of your home is to add to the living space.  Basements give you the chance to add family rooms, bedrooms or a home office.  Bear in mind that these estimates are just that, estimates.  The actual cost can run higher especially if you need to hire in plumbers and electricians, it will all be worth it in the end.