Household Hacks: Tips For Clearing A Clogged Drain

A slow drain can quickly become a huge annoyance when it becomes clogged and will not allow water to flow through the pipes. When you’re facing a clogged drain, you’re sure to want a fast and easy fix. Try the following methods to clear your drain quickly. If you find that these methods don’t do the trick, you should contact a reputable plumber for professional service.

Boiling Water

Clearing a clog in a drain doesn’t get any easier than this! As a first measure against a clog, simply boil a kettle of water, and slowly pour the hot water into the drain. Pour a small amount, allow the water to seep in, and then continue pouring. In many cases the super hot water will break up the debris that is causing the clog in your pipes. 

A Wire Hanger

A plain old wire hanger can become an excellent DIY plumbing tool in a pinch. All you have to do is unwind it so you have a straight piece of wire with a hook shape on the end. Insert the hook shaped end into the drain and slowly push it down into the pipe. The hook of the hanger can be used to pull out hair and other debris that commonly causes clogs. After you have pulled out as much stuff as you can find, run the hot water to help clear out what is left in the drain.

Rent a Power Drain Snake

A drain snake is a type of plumbing tool that you insert into your pipes to clear out clogs. Depending on the nature of the clog, it will either break up debris, or attach to the debris causing the clog so you can pull it out. Most large home improvement stores rent drain snakes for an affordable rate. 

Make Your Own Drain Cleaner

No need to drive to the store- you most likely have the ingredients needed to make an effective drain cleaner in your kitchen. Combine equal parts baking soda and vinegar, and then pour the mixture down your clogged drain. These chemicals react when combined, and will begin fizzing immediately, so don’t combine them until you are right next to the drain and ready to pour. For best results, leave the mixture in your pipes for at least a couple of hours, or overnight if possible. After the baking soda and vinegar has had enough time to dissolve the clog, run very hot water down your drain.

If your clog seems to be impervious to your DIY tricks, consider calling places like Armstrong Services Inc for professional assistance. 

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4 Reasons To Use Propane Heat Instead Of Electric Heat In Your New Home

If you are in the process of building a new home, one thing that you might be debating about is the type of heat to use. You might like the idea of electric heat, but you should know that there is one better option — propane heating. These are a few reasons to consider using propane heat in your home instead of electric.

1. Your Furnace Can Last Longer

Did you know that propane heaters can last far longer than electric heaters? A lot of people don’t know it, but one great way to save money in the long run is to invest in a propane heater that will last your family for years longer than an electric heater. You probably won’t have to deal with as many repair issues, either.

2. You Can Use It in an Emergency

One main reason to consider installing a propane heating system in your home is the fact that it can still be used in an emergency. If your power goes out due to a winter storm, for example, you don’t have to worry about you and your family going without heat.

3. Propane Is Cleaner

Propane is a cleaner and more environmentally-friendly option than electric heat. Plus, along with being a better choice for the environment, you don’t have to worry about as much of a mess; since it is released as a gas rather than as a liquid, propane doesn’t spill or leave a residue. This can be safer and cleaner and can allow you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

4. It Gets Warmer

If you live in particularly cold temperatures or simply want to make sure that your home stays as warm and cozy during the winter as possible, then you should definitely consider the benefits of a propane furnace. Propane furnaces actually get much hotter than electric furnaces and operate in shorter intervals than electric heaters rather than releasing warm air over long periods of time. Not only will this help you save on your heating bill each winter, but you can also enjoy the benefits of a warm and toasty home.

As you can see, there are quite a few reasons why homeowners often choose propane furnaces rather than electric heat in their homes. If you’re in the process of building a new home, then you might find that a propane heater is your best option. Contact a company like Self Heating Cooling for more information.

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Special Considerations For Installation And Repairs On Composting Toilets

Because composting toilets require little to no plumbing, you are unlikely to need a plumber’s help for this kind of repair. However, composting toilets do need maintenance and an expert’s help to install them. If you decide that you want to replace your current toilet with a composting toilet, here is what you and your plumber need to do.

Relocate Your Toilet to an Outside Wall

If your current toilet is located on an inside wall in your home, the plumber will have to remove it, seal off the toilet stack, and relocate your toilet to an outside wall. A composting toilet empties waste immediately into a composting chamber located on the outside of your home, and there is no current design that will easily move the waste from an inside wall to a chamber underneath the outside wall.

Making Repairs to the Compost and Drainage Chambers

If you do not dig your chambers to the necessary and specified depths for your composting toilet, you will have problems with leaks as well as odors. It is the biggest reason for hiring a plumber to install the toilet and avoid these issues later. Not all composting toilets are the same, either, so save the instructions that come with your toilet.  It will help your plumber accurately install the toilet.

Fixing Flushing Problems

Many composting toilets rely on just a little water in the reserve tank to flush solid waste into the chamber below. If you cannot get the waste to go down by simply pouring a bucket of water into the toilet basin, then you might have an overflowing chamber. Your plumber can open up the chamber and use a camera scope to see what the blockage is about.

Maintenance Is Easy

Usually the only maintenance required for a composting toilet is cleansing the bowl inside your home and emptying out the “fresh” compost outside. If you garden a lot, you never have to buy fertilizer because of the frequency with which you clear the composting chamber. If you go on vacation, be sure to empty the toilet’s composting chamber before you leave and then you will not have to call a plumber when you return.

One Last Simple Fix

Either you or the plumber you hired to install your composting toilet will need to seal the base with plumber’s grade caulk. The caulk will keep any liquid waste from pooling around the base. It will also seal the composting odors from escaping through any cracks in the floor around the toilet.

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Creating Beauty Where None Existed Before: How You Can Make Chain Link Fencing More Attractive

Consumers who purchase and install chain link fencing do so because it is one of the least expensive fencing options. Even though it might keep everyone else out and off of your property, it provides little for privacy and adds almost nothing for decorative value. Here is how you can change the appearance of your chain link fence and add curbside appeal to your property.

Vinyl-Covered Chain Link Fencing

Rather than go with drab steel, consider spending the extra dollars on vinyl-covered chain link fencing. Several manufacturers, such as Elrod Fence Co, offer about one half dozen colors: forest green, brown, yellow, dark blue, white, etc. If you do not see a color you want, some manufacturers will also create a custom color of vinyl and wrap your chain link fence in it. This option is available from professional fence contractors, who can place your order for you and install it when it comes in.

Planting Vines or Climbing Roses

The open spaces in a chain link fence make it ideal for growing decorative, leafy vines or climbing roses, which naturally curl around and through the chain links. The real beauty behind choosing the roses is that you can select from several different colors of this popular climbing flower and have a virtual flower-built fence all around your property. It ends up looking like you have ringed your yard with perfectly manicured rose hedges rather than a chain link fence. Additionally, your neighbors cannot see everything you are doing in your yard when the vines or roses are so thick.

Using the Fence as a Seasonal Decoration Support

Now that you have a fence, you can decorate it for all of the holidays you love to celebrate. Lights and light strings of all kinds are easily strung over the top or woven through the chain links when you want to create a fun light display. Other lighted decorations, shiny ornaments and even favorite sports team items on display can take a boring, see-through chain link fence and make it more private and cheerier. 

The Original Beauty of a Chain Link Fence

Although you may not think there is much beauty in a chain link fence, there is. The original beauty of a chain link fence is that you can do whatever you want to it to make it your own. Whatever and however you want to decorate it ends and begins with your imagination. Create your own decorative ideas based off the ones listed above and make changes as often as you like. 

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Steps To Installing An Exterior Drain Tile

If you live in a flood-prone area, have a basement or otherwise want to keep your home safe from flooding, installing exterior drain tile, which is also known as a French drain, is a smart idea. Although you might have decided to install one of these drains to help protect your home, you could be unsure of the process of installation. Luckily, there are only a few steps involved. This is what you can expect if you are planning on having an exterior drain tile installed on your property soon.

Trench Digging

First of all, a trench will be dug around your home. During this process, any landscaping or sidewalk will need to be temporarily removed. The trench will be dug to the bottom of the footing and out to the drainage point and will be the future home of your new exterior drain tile.

Placing of Drain Tile

Obviously, once the trench around your home has been dug, the exterior drain tiles will need to be placed.

Pouring of Gravel

After the French drain has been put in its proper place and inspected for any potential problems, a layer of gravel will need to be laid on top. This gravel is designed to protect the French drain; basically, it’s an extra layer of protection in the event that the dirt on top is washed away.

Filter Fabric

Although it isn’t necessary, in many cases, filter fabric is laid on top of the layer of gravel. This fabric is designed to help keep large pieces of debris out of the way. Basically, it helps prevent large particles from passing into the pipe and causing clogs or other serious problems. This is important because these types of clogs can cause your drain to stop working, and there would be a lot of excavation necessary to unclog or replace the pipe. If your contractor isn’t planning on laying down filter fabric, this is something you should ask for.

Covering with Dirt

Finally, a thick layer of dirt will be placed on top of the filter fabric, gravel and French drain. The dirt should be laid thickly enough that you can plant flowers and shrubs, add a sidewalk or walkway and do anything else that you would normally do with your landscaping.

As you can see, the process of installing a French drain isn’t too complicated. This is what you can expect when your contractor like one from Rite-Way Waterproofing comes out to install your exterior drain tile.

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3 Mistakes To Avoid When Caring For Your Air Conditioning Unit

Practically every home or building has an air conditioning unit now. Many people think that these units need little or no maintenance to work properly. That is simply not the case. In fact, a high number of people do not care for their AC units properly, which can cause the units to need expensive repairs or replacement earlier than they really need to. Here are a couple of mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Allowing Dirt To Get Into The Unit

One common mistake that homeowners make is not properly cleaning the unit. This can come in a couple different forms. First, you should be changing the air filters monthly. The filters catch all the dirt and dust that come through the unit. You can severely decrease your unit’s productivity by forgetting to change the air filters often enough.

Second, you should make sure that the areas around the outdoor unit are clean and clear of debris. If you plant flowers, trees shrubbery or even grass around the unit, it could potentially suck those things in and clog the unit. In addition, any dirt that does creep in will be circulated throughout the house. Thus, it’s important to keep the unit clean.

2. Not Getting Regular Professional Maintenance

Even if you do your best to keep the unit clean, there will always be things that go wrong. As the unit ages it will need to be repaired and maintained. As a general rule you should be getting your AC serviced once a year. Most people do it in the spring or summer before they start to use the unit regularly. But you can have it done at any point in the year. By getting the unit serviced regularly you can prevent expensive problems and repairs.

3. Ignoring The AC Unit In The Winter

Just because you aren’t using the AC unit in the winter doesn’t mean it doesn’t need attention. If you don’t properly care for the unit in the winter it could become damaged so that it won’t work right when you need it. During the winter you should cover the outdoor console so that no snow and debris gets in it. If the unit is exposed to all the elements it could become damaged beyond repair.

Don’t make these mistakes when it comes to your AC. By protecting your AC unit you will keep your house cool, keep your air quality clean, and save yourself money. For more information, contact an HVAC company like McFoy Refrigeration, Inc.

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Cedar Fencing Can Give Your Home A Classic Look

When you are designing a fence for your home, you should think about how you want your fence to function. If you only need a boundary line, then a split-rail fence can give your home a bit of rural beauty. If you want a bit of privacy, a cedar-plank fence will help to keep prying eyes out of your yard. While a vinyl fence can serve the same purpose, the cedar fence will have a look that you just can’t mimic with any other material. 

Why Is Cedar Better than Other Types of Wood?

All woods do not resist rot in the same way. Some trees will have naturally occurring chemicals or extractives. Cedar is one of these types of trees. While you can take pressure-treated pine or birch and get good, long-lasting rot resistance, cedar will resist rot naturally.

What Type of Cedar Should You Use for Your Fence?

While there are some people that will say that old-growth cedar is better than second-growth cedar, research shows that second-growth cedar is just as good. What does make a difference is the type of cedar tree you use and what part of the tree you harvest wood from.

There are two main types of cedar wood on the market: red and white. Red cedar is generally recognized as being more rot resistant. 

A further consideration is if you use sapwood or heartwood. Sapwood will not have the same concentration of chemicals as heartwood will. While you can save money by buying cedar fence planks cut from white cedar sapwood. 

How to Get the Most from Your Cedar Fence?

Even though cedar will naturally resist rot, it is not indestructible. If you want to preserve the color of your wood and help it last longer, you should treat your fence with a coating of linseed oil or some other natural preservative. You should retreat your fence with stain from time to time. Depending on how exposed your fence is, it will deteriorate at a different rate. 

The natural color and grain of wood fencing cannot be mimicked by vinyl or any other material. If you like the natural beauty of wood, a cedar fence can be a good investment. In order to protect your investment and get the most from your fence, you will need to enhance the natural rot-resistant qualities of cedar by treating it with a stain or wood preservative. 

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