3 Tips for Maintaining Your Chimney

A lot of homeowners are surprised to learn that they should be maintaining their chimney. They think of it as such a permanent and unchanging fixture of their home that they don’t even realize how much upkeep it requires to function at full capacity! If you don’t want to make this mistake, here are just three tips for keeping your chimney in good working order.

1. Clean It Regularly

Do you see all of that black stuff caked on your interior chimney walls? It isn’t just dirt and soot. It’s a chemical compound that’s actually quite bad for your lungs, especially when it gets heated. You’ll need to clean your flue on a regular basis if you don’t want your fireplace to start having negative consequences for your health. This is particularly important if you live with children or the elderly.

2. Get It Evaluated

What if you don’t even know where to start with chimney cleaning? It might help to call in the professionals. A lot of people think of chimney sweeps as something out of “Mary Poppins,” but they’re still around and still providing a valuable service to homeowners with natural gas fireplaces. Contact a chimney sweep Washington DC to help you restore your blackened chimney to its original state.

3. Keep Out the Animals

Animals love chimneys, so you might want to take a broom to your flue every now and then. Birds are the most common interlopers; they love the heat and the darkness for their nests. Spiders also like to hang out and build their webs in the cracks of the brick, and even bats have been known to fly into chimneys during cold winters. It’s this last critter that’s especially dangerous since bats can carry rabies. Be careful when you grab that broom.

These are just a few tips for a smoothly-running chimney. If you have any more questions, contact your local chimney cleaners. They’re a rare breed in a world of electric fireplaces, but they still exist, and they can help you with your natural gas chimney.

5 Tips for a New and Improved Backyard

Backyards are supposed to be relaxing places where you can enjoy a bit of fresh air without having to truly leave the comforts of your own home. But what if your backyard is a bit lacking? What can you do to spruce it up? Here are just five tips for a better yard.

1. Add Seats

If you want to spend more time in your backyard, seating should be one of your first priorities. You won’t enjoy yourself just standing around! Think about chairs, stools and benches. Think about decks and patios. The sky is the limit.

2. Improve Your Lighting

This is especially important if you like hosting barbecues and pool parties that last into the night. Without adequate lighting, you’re just asking for accidents, so go ahead and invest in some lanterns or light posts. You could even string some fairy lights in the trees if you’re feeling creative.

3. Protect Yourself from Bugs

It’s hard to relax in a yard where you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes. The good news is that you can keep the bugs away with zappers, torches, misting systems and enclosures that include screens or nets. Consider something like a screened gazebo MA if you’re truly tired of insects.

4. Have a Central Feature

What do you want people to notice when they first come into your backyard? Maybe it’s the shimmering pool. Maybe it’s the gigantic fire pit. It doesn’t actually matter what your centerpiece is; just make sure that the rest of your backyard decor is arranged around it.

5. Add Some Flowers

You don’t have to be a gardener to bring some colors and scents to your backyard. There are flowers that you can plant and promptly forget about; they’ll thrive on their own, so you’ll get to enjoy them without any effort at all. Doesn’t that sound nice?

These are just a few ways to improve your backyard. If you’re tired of looking at the same landscape with the same features, it’s time for an upgrade! Use these suggestions to turn your backyard into an amazing recreational space.

Choosing the Look of Your Home’s Exterior

Your home is something to be proud of. That is why it is important for it to look as good on the outside as it does on the inside. If you are considering changing the look of your home’s exterior, you have a variety of options to choose from, including materials, colors, shapes and more. Here are some things to consider while you are making this decision.

The Style of Your Home

Not all homes are fit for certain types of siding or other exterior treatments, but many are. The key is to know what type of home that you have, then you can choose whether siding is the best option, or whether you should choose a different type of fa├žade that better matches the shape and style of your exterior.

Rules and Regulations

No matter what type of siding you choose, it is important to check with your local government and your homeowner’s association if you have one to make sure you are following all of the rules and regulations that may pertain to your property. Some local governments may require a permit to do this type of work, and homeowner’s associations could have specific rules when it comes to the type of siding or color you can use.

Making It Your Own

Once you have consulted with any rules and regulations that may apply to your home, you need to consider what type and style of siding options best suits you and your home. Because there are so many options, you may want to also consider additional aspects of your exterior that you can change as well. These include your front door, trim color and landscaping to best coordinate with your new siding.

Once you are ready to choose your new siding option, you can find professionals that install siding in Pittsburgh so you can get the home of your dreams in no time.

How to Check Septic Tanks Should be Pumped

A big part of having a septic tank on your property is knowing when it’s time to have it pumped. You can certainly find a good company that can do this simply by Googling “septic pumping Orlando,” but you still need to know when to call them. Ideally, a septic tank should be pumped every one to two years depending on how many people you have living in your home, but there are some other signs that will tell you when to have your tank serviced.

Sluggish Appliances

The first sign that you need to have your septic tank pumped is that your toilet or washing machine is more sluggish than usual. You might notice that your toilet doesn’t drain as easily as it used to when you flush it, or even that your sink seems clogged sometimes. This could mean that your septic tank is full and should be de-sludged sooner rather than later.

Drainage

If you’ve gone longer than you should without servicing your septic tank, you might start to notice the contents of the tank seeping through the ground surrounding the tank. You might see some standing water or unusually green grass in the area even when the weather has been particularly dry, and you might even notice an unpleasant smell. This might mean that your septic tank is so full that it is overflowing. This is a potential emergency, so call a professional to have it emptied as soon as possible.

It’s Been Too Long

Finally, you might be able to determine when it’s time to empty your septic tank simply by thinking back to the last time you’ve had it pumped. Whenever you have your tank serviced, make a note of the date so you can refer to it later. If you see that it’s been over a year since your last service and you notice slow drains or some leakage, it’s definitely time to have your septic tank pumped.

Best Siding Repairs in Chicago IL

Situated next to gorgeous Lake Michigan, many residents in Chicago strive to keep their homes looking great. Some storms become so powerful, though, that the wind rips a home’s exterior protective layer away in areas. Other locations suffer through other types of weather that brings damage-causing elements to a home’s exterior. Siding comes in many different materials and gives a home a major part of its unique appearance. When it suffers damage, its loss also harms how the home looks.

Other mishaps can damage siding on a home. An inexperienced person power washing your home can cause multiple areas to become damaged. Rodents and insect pests can also eat away at the wood siding. Some termites can also invade a home through vinyl siding. Graffiti ‘artists’ can also do a number on a house’s siding, particularly when occupants leave for extended periods.

Finding someone reputable who does excellent siding repairs in Chicago IL can help homeowners restore their house to pre-loss condition. Skill and experience can save money by reusing materials in undamaged areas and rearranging them, which reduces the need for new materials.

Rearranging wooden shingles can allow the use of newer ones that have not achieved the same color as undamaged shingles. Spread out, the mixture of old and new shingles keeps the installation of new ones from resulting in a patch-like appearance on a home’s exterior. This option does not work well with other types of wooden siding. Continual problems with mold growth, maintenance, and other issues common to wood siding often cause many property owners to switch over to a more durable vinyl siding.

Restoring a home’s siding by installing vinyl siding after removing less fire-resistant wooden siding can help you enjoy your home more. With a lowered need to maintain the exterior, and a decrease in possible threats to your home’s exterior, you can turn your attention to other, more enjoyable tasks and activities.