Posted by Peggy Farber on 1/17/2018

It's many homeowners' worst fear to come home to a water disaster in their home. Water damage can cost thousands to repair and will include a lengthy process in order to adhere to safety standards, potentially disrupting your home life for weeks. In this article we'll give you tips on how to avoid water damage and what to do when you discover it.

Water damage vs. flood damage

Many people are unaware of the difference between water damage and flood damage. Water damage can occur when you have plumbing issues such as a leaking pipe or overflowing bath tub. Flood damage, on the other hand, is defined by FEMA as an "overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters," or even mudflow. Flood damage tends to be the more costly and the more dangerous of the two, as it puts home inhabitants at serious health risk. Part of the stipulation in differing between the two types of damage is insurance coverage; water damage is often covered by homeowner's insurance whereas flood damage is not.

Avoiding water damage

To avoid costly and time-consuming repairs, follow these steps to prevent water damage from occurring in your home:
  • Keep your gutters clean to avoid backups and drainage issues
  • divert rain water away from your house with downspouts
  • Disconnect hoses and turn off their water supply when temperatures drop to freezing overnight
  • Don't leave water using appliances running while you are away from home for extended periods of time
  • Keep up with maintenance on your dishwasher, washing machine, toilets, and tubs
  • Turn off your water main when you go away on vacations
  • Check the water pressure to your home. High water pressure can be nice in the shower, but pressures too high can cause your plumbing to fail
  • Check regularly for leaks. Some water damage may go unnoticed for weeks or months, which subjects you to another danger: mold

What to do if you have water damage in your home

If it's too late for prevention and you've discovered water damage in your home there are several steps you'll need to take to ensure the safety of your home.
  • Turn off electronics in the affected area. If possible switch off power to whole the whole section of your home at the circuit breaker. This first step is to ensure your own safety. Once you've turned off power to all potentially dangerous electronics, you can move on to the next step.
  • Remove electronics and other perishable items from the area. If you remove the items soon enough you might be able to salvage them by drying them out.
  • Soak up the bulk of the water. You can do this the old fashion way by using towels and buckets. Or you can use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up the water from rugs, carpets, and other surfaces.
  • Dry the area completely. To avoid mold, use fans and a dehumidifier to fully dry out the area.
  • Disinfect. Spray the area to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated due to moisture.
  • Contact the professionals. A contractor will be able to tell you the full extent of the damage and whether any serious repairs will need to me made.
 





Posted by Peggy Farber on 9/27/2017

Owning a home is expensive. Aside from your mortgage, you also have to pay for insurance, utilities, property taxes... the list goes on.

It may seem like there are few ways to cut back on the expenses of owning a home. However, one of the most effective things you can do to save money as a homeowner is to do your own maintenance. The cost of home repairs can add up, especially if you live in an older home or in an area where services like plumbers and electricians aren’t accessible or affordable.

With a little research and some hard work, however, maintaining your home can be a source of pride and of saving yourself money.

In this article, we’ll cover the basic home maintenance and home improvement knowledge that will save you money, and point you in the direction of some resources that will help you attain those skills.

Maintenance is key

To increase the longevity of appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers, you’ll need to perform some mundane tasks regularly. That includes cleaning filters, fans, and going online to order new ones when necessary. In the same way that failing to change your oil filter will result in a much more expensive issue, so will failing to properly maintain your appliances.

In a world where companies are making it increasingly difficult for consumers to repair their own devices, it’s more important than ever to learn the basic skills needed to make simple repairs.

What you should do before repairing anything

There are some precautions you should take before repairing or maintaining things like appliances. First, always be sure the item is turned off and unplugged before working with its components.

Next, refer to the manual first, but if that fails, search for tutorials online such as on YouTube for your particular model. Always keep in mind that sometimes warranties are void if you attempt repairs yourself,  so make sure the repair you’re attempting is easy enough so that you don’t risk losing your warranty.

The right tools for the job

It might be tempting to go down to The Home Depot and fill a cart with power tools when you buy your first home. Remember, however, that certain tools are more useful than others. Find out which tools you’ll be using most often. Odds are they’re simple, inexpensive hand tools that will fit in a small toolbox. Some power tools, such as a cordless drill, will probably be worth the investment as long as you take care of the batteries.

Don’t throw out good materials

Ample storage space is a problem many homeowners face. But if you can spare the space, hold onto materials from previous projects that might come in handy. Some examples include:

  • Paint. You don’t want to have to go back to the store and mix a new can of paint just for a touch-up.

  • Nails and screws that come with your purchases. Sometimes the screws are designed specifically for whatever you’re building. Save your backups so you don’t have to buy a new bag if one is lost.

  • Wood. Having extra wood around can come in handy for any number of home improvement projects.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 10/14/2015

In order for your home to maintain value and to continually look in good condition, it is important that you maintain it on a regular basis. However, to ensure that you get the best quality maintenance, it is important that you find the right type of service to fix up homes. There is the choice of doing it yourself, but remember that while small jobs can be easy, when it comes to more complex maintenance work, you are better off using a professional service, because this in turn will ensure that you do get the right results once your home has been maintained. Maintaining a home can range from keeping the roof in good condition so that it does not leak during those rainy seasons, to replacing your windows so that you keep your home insulated from the heat and cold, which in turn can save you a lot of money on energy bills. Of course, there are also those intricate jobs such as plumbing, replacing the floor, and unblocking the drain. By finding a reputable service that can fix up homes, you can feel comfortable knowing that you can use them over the years, because as they begin to maintain one area of your home, there will always be something else that will pop up later down the road. Therefore, take your time to do a good amount of research on one of these services, which can easily be done by going on the Internet. The reason for this is because many of these maintenance services now have an online presence, so you will be able to get a good idea of exactly what they offer and get an idea of what they are charging for that service.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 7/2/2014

With the recent growth in telecommuting, home offices are also becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. Home buyers are looking for a place where they can work, a place to pay bills or simply surf the net. Investing in a home office will help you now and may pay off later. Have you always dreamed of a home office? Do you have an office that is overrun with papers? A home office is usually the place where junk finds its home. Getting that room into a place where organization is king can be easier than you think. Implementing an organizational system that has you working in peace with everything at your fingertips is easy if you follow these simple tips. 1. Choose the space. Think of all the things that you'll need to work comfortably in your home office. You want to make sure the space will allow for your desk and chair and anything else you will need in your office. 2. Organize your space. Part of organizing means decluttering. If you have three staplers, six pairs of scissors you will need to get rid of anything extra. Clutter is very distracting and reduces efficiency. Identify a space for all the necessities. You need to identify a place for the printer, file cabinet, reference books and supplies. 3. Schedule the date and time for your office organization. Set aside a specific time and date to plan your space. If you have lots of files and file cabinets, make a decision on how much you want to get done in the initial session. You may need to plan several dates to complete the whole task. 4. Reorganize. Clean and organize your office at the end of each day. It will only take a few minutes and keep you on track to staying organized. Plan on reorganizing your office every three months or so. By planning your home office space and getting it organized you'll enjoy it more. Your work will be better, you'll appreciate being at home, and you'll have the perfect place to work--your home. Now focus on success!