5 Basic Steps To Take When Cleaning Your Compressor/Condenser Unit

One of the many things that you need to clean and prepare for use in the spring and in the summer is your air conditioning unit. You may not immediately use it at the start of the spring season, but you will definitely use it when the sun is starting to feel hot and when all the snow has melted. If you have an HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) system which either has a heat pump, furnace, and AC, then this guide will be helpful for you. In this article, you will learn the basic steps to clean the compressor/condenser unit of air conditioning system the DIY way.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Shut it off. Before you start doing anything on your AC, be it cleaning or maintenance, make sure that everything is shut off. Make sure that everything is not moving and that the power supply, both in and out of the house, are shut off. For the exterior compressor or condenser, you can shut it off from the box near it. From the indoor of your house, turn off the breaker box that connects every power line in your home.

Step 2: Remove any debris. Use a screwdriver to remove the fan cage from the exterior condenser or compressor. You then need to remove the fasteners around it, then lift the cage from the unit. If you see debris in the interior of the unit, you can remove it by hand or by using a vacuum cleaner. Make sure that no debris is left inside so your unit receives proper cleaning.

Step 3: Hose the fins. The next thing you need to do after removing the debris inside your compressor/condenser unit is to hose the fins with a garden hose. Make sure that your garden hose is producing a decent amount of stream and pressure to help remove dirt, debris, and dust that has caught in between the fins. If you have a pressure washer, don’t use it. This will just destroy the fins of your unit. If you think that regular hosing is not enough to clean the fins, then you can buy a fin cleaning spray, which is available at any home improvement store. It may also be available in hardware stores.

Step 4: Straighten misaligned fins. A bent and misaligned fin will disrupt the air flow in the unit, which can reduce its efficiency. If you see fins that are bent or misaligned, carefully straighten them with the use of a butter knife or any tool that can fit in between the fins. Carefully do this as the tubing inside the unit may be damaged if you do this with force. This may be a taxing step to do, especially if you see a lot of bent fins. But, if you don’t correct the misalignment, the life-span of your unit will shorten.

Step 5: Clean the surrounding area of your unit. Once you have done the initial cleaning of your compressor/condenser unit, put everything back in place. If this is your first time cleaning your HVAC, then make sure that you know which part goes where. After everything is back in place, grab a rake and clean the surrounding area of the unit. This will help proper airflow around your compressor/condenser.

Once you are done taking the basic steps to clean your air-conditioning unit, then you are set to clean the evaporator coil, its evaporator drain, and the blower filter. If you are not confident doing this yourself, then you can always call for professional help.

Prepare Your Home For Spring With These Tips

The winter season is almost over. The sun is now shining brightly and it is starting to melt the snow that has stuck on the ground. Yes! It is time to prepare your home for spring. The winter season may have made you lazy and made you neglect certain parts of your home. It is for this reason that cleaning for spring is essential so you can prepare your house for a warmer season. This will also help you enjoy spring like you never have before. Though, winter is not officially over, it will not hurt to start planning your spring cleaning as early as now.

  • Start from the outside. The exterior of your home has surely taken a toll this winter season. It has been exposed to the coldest weather possible. When the time is right, take the time to examine the outside of your home. Check your windows and door for any gaps or cracks that needs to be sealed. If you see any cracks or weather stripping, then it is time that you replace them. But, your inspection should not be limited to this part of your house. You also have to check your gutters, tiles, or shingles. Check if anything is missing or broken. Make sure you also clean your gutters along the way.
  • Landscaping advice. It may not be the proper time to start planting flowering plants again, but it certainly is not too early to prepare your backyard and front yard for gardening. You can start readying your garden hoses, your footpaths, and areas near your garden. Remove any debris that have fallen in your yard. Rake leaves if they have piled up over the winter. If you see dirt that has stuck on your driveway, you can use a pressure washer to have this removed. Once all the snow has melted, it would be the best time to start planning and visualizing how you want your yard to look like.
  • Check your HVAC System. Not only is it important to check your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to prepare your home for the winter, but it is also important to do it for the spring season. You should always have a regular cycle to check your HVAC system to make sure everything is working properly. Make sure that your air filters are clean and safe. Replace them if you have opted for a disposal one. Your air conditioning unit should be at its prime condition to, so it is prepared for use in the summer. If your air conditioning unit needs repair, it will be less costly to have it repaired now, than having it repaired in the summer. 
  • Spring clean the insides of your home. As the spring season is approaching, your windows will be needing proper cleaning. It will surely be easier to see the view outside if you have squeaky clean windows. Also, clean your ceiling fans and fireplaces because you don’t want to spread dust all over your house the moment you turn on your fan. Because the weather will start warming up soon, it would also be time for you to check all your emergency alarm system. Test if everything is working fine. If not, you will have to replace or repair it. You can also have a professional to have it check for you.

8 Basic Tools To Have In Your DIY Toolkit

If you are beginning to like Do-It-Yourself projects, then it is a must that you have these eight basic tools at hand. With these tools, you will be ready to start any new project at any time.

Basic Tool #1: SCREWDRIVER

This will help tighten or loosen any screws. You will need these three, to begin with:

  1. Philips (cross-slot) Screwdriver. Most toys and appliances are being held by cross-slot screws so having a Philips screwdriver would be very handy.
  2. Medium Size Screwdriver. This should be about eight inches with a flat blade.
  3. Smaller Flat-Blade Screwdriver. The blade of this screwdriver is narrower (1/8 of an inch) than the one in number two. This is also shorter in length from four inches to six inches.

Basic Tool #2: PLIERS

A slip-joint pliers can handle most projects because it can be adjusted from a small diameter to one that is large. However, it is a good idea to have a second set of pliers. You might also want to purchase a channel-type or offset type of pliers for this basic DIY toolkit. The two mentioned have adjustable jaws which can handle even larger diameters, which can be very helpful when repairing your plumbing. These pliers also have longer grips which allow greater power or leverage when grasping pipes or packing nuts.

Basic Tool #3: HAMMER

A carpenter’s claw hammer, small to medium in size, can be very handy when it comes to carpentry. It not only pulls nails out of a wood but it can also be used for pounding or hammering jobs. Choose one that is not too heavy to handle. A 10-ounce claw hammer should be good for a basic DIY tool. When buying one in the store, make sure to choose one that has a non-slip head so it won’t slide off when you are not able to pound dead center. The insides of the claw should also be a little bit sharp so it can grab the nail’s head easily.

Basic Tool #4: WRENCHES

Having an adjustable open-end wrench and a pipe wrench should be very handy in your home. The adjustable open-end wrench, which is also known as Crescent wrench, is about eight inches long. This type of wrench is good for gripping bolts, nuts, and other similar objects with flat sides or surfaces. On the other hand, the pipe wrench is good for gripping round objects because of its serrated jaws. This is about eight to 10 inches long.

Basic Tool #5: SAWS

For your basic DIY toolkit, you can start with one set of an all-purpose saw. Most of the more advanced DIY-er kits have more than one type of saw, but you can start with one. This type of saw allows you to change the blades for cutting metals, wood, and creating holes.

Basic Tool #6: FILES AND RASPS

These tools are not something that you may use on a daily basis or on a regular basis, but having them around would be very handy especially when a project calls for it. These tools can’t be replaced by other tools. Thus it is recommended that you have these two around. Files are used for polishing or smoothing surfaces of plastics or metals. This can also be used to remove burrs from surfaces or sharpening different tools like lawn mowers, scrapers, scissors, etc. A wood rasp is used to smooth edges of doors, drawers, and other similar surfaces. When buying a wood rasp, choose one with flat and curved sides.

Basic Tool #7: WOOD PLANERS

This tool is used for shaping, forming, and smoothing any wood. You can have a small wood planer which can be held in one hand. This is very handy when trimming doors or window sash and other light duty smoothing and trimming. You may also buy a planer that is normally used with both hands to handle larger woods and not-so-light projects, like smoothing a bench plane.

Basic Tool #8: DRILL

You can opt to buy an electric drill which can do most jobs that a hand drill could do. In addition, electric drills are priced in mid-range, which can be very good for your pockets. This type of drill can also be equipped with buffing and sanding pads, and larger diameter hole saws. This makes this kind of drill very versatile.

The tools listed above are the most basic ones that you can purchase to start filling up your DIY toolkit. You will find other tools in a tool shop when shopping, but you can start with the easy ones. Power tools can be purchased in the future for other big DIY projects that you may have.

Home Improvement Tips To Make Your Home Winter Ready

make your home winter ready

The new season has started and a lot of families are already feeling the Christmas season. You may even see families starting to decorate and prepare for Christmas. However, in this season, Christmas is not the only thing you should be prepared for. The winter season can not be only brutal in terms of the weather, but can also be brutal with your bank account. Thus, it is a must that you make your home winter ready, and in return, keeping your wallet intact all through next year. The tips that you will find below may be of help to you when it comes to keeping your home ready for winter.

Keeping Warm. Keeping your home warm in the winter is probably on top of your priority list. If you already have a fireplace installed in your house, it is just a matter of keeping the wood burning or turning your fireplace on to keep your house warm in the winter. However, it is a must that you inspect your fireplace and see if it is clean and ready for use. If not, there is a risk of fire and carbon monoxide build-up.

For your heating system, make sure that every filter and air duct is thoroughly cleaned. Having them cleaned before using them for winter will make them ready for hot air circulation. In addition, your heating system will not work as much because warm air can easily circulate around the house as a result of having clean filters and air ducts. Also, you should make sure that your house is properly insulated in the winter. Check if your insulation is in good shape. If not, have it fixed or replaced.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors.  Before the winter season starts, you should see to it that your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are functioning properly. These detectors are must-haves especially when you have a fireplace in your home. If you don’t have these detectors installed, then you should find some time to shop for one. You can easily have this installed in your home. These detectors should come with an easy-to-understand-manual that you can easily follow. If you are not confident installing these detectors on your own, you can always ask help from someone who knows how to do it for you.

Plumbing. Your plumbing and pipes are susceptible to freezing and bursting in the winter season. It is a must that you are ready and equipped to have your exterior pipes insulated. You can use heat tapes or heating lamps to keep your pipes warm in the winter. You can also cover your exterior pipes with heating foam to keep them from freezing. Insulating your pipes does not really guarantee that they are freeze-proof. However, proper insulation will slow down the freezing process giving you the chance to address any freezing pipes.

Window and Door Seals. The cold weather is never friendly to anyone or anything. This means that your windows and doors may also suffer from it. Cause and effect will tell you that you will also suffer if this happens. Thus, you should check the seals of your windows and doors. Make sure that cold air is not leaking from the seals of your doors or windows. If it does, you can address this by using a bead of caulk to cover the cracks. Putting on your storm windows will also provide added protection from the cold weather. Having this done will also be friendly to your heating system and insulation.

There are numerous home improvement tips that you can try to make your home winter ready. However, the items mentioned above are the most common and simplest tips that you can apply to your home. Good luck to your home improvement, and keep warm in the winter!

5 Quick and Easy Home Improvement Fixes for this Weekend

easy-home-fixes

Contrary to what many people believe, home improvement doesn’t have to involve extensive overhauls or big budgets. A home improvement fix can be anything for as long as it solves a problem and, therefore, make living in your home much easier and convenient. If you’re looking to give your home a quick fix but only have a weekend to do so, we’ve got you covered. Below are some handy tricks that makes use of everyday objects that will surely simply your life at home.

  1. Hang a tennis ball from your garage ceiling to tell you exactly where to park. This way, you will never hit the wall when you come in to park your car. There are actually electronic versions with this purpose, but the simple tennis ball should be enough to get the job done.
  2. We all love our furry pets, but sometimes they make cleaning much harder for you with all their fur. When bathing your dog, clip a mesh scrubbing pad to your shower or bath tub drain plate. This will allow water to flow through while collecting fur.
  3. Many people have that can or drawer filled with a mix of nails, screws, connectors and fasteners that do come in handy when needed; it’s just a pain to look for that particular thing that you needed. Transfer them in a re-sealable bag so you can immediately find what you’re looking for without dumping everything out on the table.
  4. If you have those price tags, bumper stickers and labels that you want to take off but can’t, let a hair dryer help you. Heat will soften the adhesive, making it easy to remove them without leaving that annoying sticky residue behind.
  5. Almost all the time, it’s easy for you to fit a caulk nozzle into those tight spots. And when it isn’t, get the wires out of a piece of cable, slip the sheathing over the end of the caulk nozzle, and caulk away. A hollow cable works well as a bendable extension.

Improving your home doesn’t have to be so hard. Follow the tips above over the weekend and you will have a house that you can better appreciate. And when you do get the time, you can move on to working on the more complicated aspects of your space. If you need more tips, contact a reputable home improvement company in your area now.

Your Home Improvement Loan

home-improvement-loan

When you need a substantial amount of money, you normally borrow from a bank or a loan provider. Seems simple enough, but nowadays, the process has become a little bit more complicated and the options have doubled. There are personal funding, secured financing, credit loan, auto financing, and home renovation loan, flexible loan, etc. Each one of these can be availed from a wide array of lending institutions and at various interest rates.

Other home improvement loan options:

Home equity credit lines – a variable rate line of credit which allows you to lock in up to3 fixed rates.

Home equity fundings – a fixed rate loan which allows you to use the equity in your house for major house enhancement projects.

Personal line of credit history – a smarter option than using a credit card, this revolving credit line provides quick access to funds.

Home improvement loans will certainly provide you with a dependable groundwork to build the house that you’ve been dreaming of. They come in very handy when you need to do some house renovation work but your budget is limited.

Home improvement loans can be used for any types of renovations or house expansion. You can avail it to do work on double glazing, build a brand-new conservatory, repair HVAC system, add a new kitchen, do some rewiring and plumbing works or any other home improvement projects that you need to do in your house. The cost of house renovation is generally paid by savings or rotating credits on your credit cards or store cards. Using credit cards mean you don’t have to apply for a loan. In many ways, it is ideal for there are no repayments to be made. But credit cards could be a costly choice especially if the credited amount exceeds the credit rating limit.

So in most situations, a loan intended for house improvement is a less expensive option because you can set the limit on the amount that you will spend.

Couple of important suggestions before you apply for home improvement loans:

Spring is the excellent time to begin home improvement projects because of low interest rates which make loans attractive. But don’t commit to anything till you’ve made a thorough evaluation of the work that needs to be done.

Home improvement can definitely add value to your home, but some enhancements repay greater than others. You should consider when deciding how much you need to borrow and which part of the house you should invest the money in.

Remodeling of your kitchen can add up to 150% of cost of the renovation to your house’s resale value. If you construct a second bathroom, your resale worth will certainly increase by 90 percent. Room upgrade such as living room enhancements or an additional bedroom, will give 60 to 80 percent return in investments. Other enhancements though, such as new windows and doors, or changing the air conditioning unit or heater, may be useful but they don’t always convert into upgrade in resale value.

Winter Plumbing Advice

Winter Plumbing

Some homeowners forget that wintertime can wreak havoc on their plumbing. Here are some winter plumbing tips that will help you avoid problem!

1. A common problem that occurs in the winter is when the kitchen sinks on an outside wall have pipes that freeze up. Should this happen to you, keep the doors of the cabinet open to let warm air in.

2. For outdoor water faucets, begin by disconnecting your hose. Next, switch off the valve for your outside office for a bit. Then, turn on the faucet so that whatever water is left will come out. Have the faucet in the “on” position throughout the winter. Also, your outside faucet’s piping ought to be pitched away from the home, as water will build up in your piping if you fail to do so.

3. It is a proven fact that water heaters tend to fail more during the winter season than other seasons. Incoming water will be significantly colder than it is during other times of the year. In turn, your water heater will be forced to work harder. To prevent turning small problems into big ones and to get the most out of your heater, schedule your water heater tune-up.

4. Contrary to what many believe, most scenarios involving frozen pipes can be prevented. Many problems can be easily detected by simply inspecting the outdoor areas of your home where water pipes are found. The sill between the first floor and basement wall ought to be insulated. Expandable foam insulation can be used for any cracks or gaps you find. The insulation will prevent cold wind from getting into your pipes. Lastly, keep faucets on during the nights in which it is frigid outdoors. Though a bit of water will be wasted, letting it drip will prevent it from freezing up.

5. You may be shocked to know the amount your sump pump discharges, even if there is snow on the ground or the ground is frozen. This could pose a serious threat for your basement. Freezing can occur if the piping’s discharge is partially plugged or back-pitched. The water you will be attempting to pump out will have nowhere to go. Additionally, long discharge hoses ought to be disconnected and replaced with those that are shorter; this will also prevent freezing.