Preventive Maintenence

Preventing Basement Mold

Mold can sometimes be hard to find in your basement. This is especially the case if you do not use your basement often. Black mold, which is a dangerous type of toxic mold, often hides out in dark places that people do not check often. Black mold is generally found near water condensation or water leaks. If it is not addressed, the mold will continue to grow and may cause significant health problems for your family.

Letting black mold take root in your basement can lead to thousands of dollars in black mold removal costs. It is a problem that is much easier to prevent than to fix. Here are a few ways that you can keep mold out of your basement.
* Look out for appliances that give off moisture. Stoves and clothes dryer give off a lot of moisture, as the create steam. If not vented the steam will not be able to escape and it will go into your ceiling and walls. If a moisture-producing appliance is being used often it will be spitting out that moisture to the same space. This can create conditions that will cause mold in your basement.

* Invest in a humidifier. If you have a very large basement it may even be a good idea to buy two humidifiers. The basement is probably the most humid place in your home, because it is below ground. The humidifier does not need to be running all day, but if it runs for a few hours a day it can help reduce moisture in your basement. This will make it harder for mold to take hold on your ceilings, floors, and walls.

* If you have either faucets or a shower in your basement you should vent them. You should at least open windows and use a fan to blow the moist air out of your basement.

* Fix pipes that are leaky. If you have efficient plumbing it will keep moisture in your basement in check. Mold has all the food it needs in your basement with the wood and drywall. If your pipes are leaking it can give a supply of water, which the mold will need to survive and flourish.

* Make sure not to over water your plants. If you do have plants in the basement do not water them so water will spill over onto the floor. Basement mold thrives off a wet floor.

* If your basement has cold surfaces cover it with insulation. This includes covering pipes and walls. Without having insulation cold surfaces can create moisture, which will only bring about mold.

* Use sealant for basement windows. This will make sure that the windows will be airtight. This will reduce the risk of moisture in your basement.

* Regularly check your basement’s relative humidity. A good humidity monitor will only cost around $30. When you monitor your basement’s humidity be sure that the relative humidity is always about 55% or less.

If there is dirt and grime in crawlspaces cover the dirt and grime with plastic. You also have to make sure that the crawlspaces are ventilated well.

How To Make Your Outdoor Furniture Last Longer

Your outdoor furniture can be a large investment and most people can’t or don’t want to have to replace it every spring. Outdoor furniture can last for many years if you take care of it properly. Patio furniture comes in several types of materials and each needs to be cleaned in the correct way.

If you store your patio furniture out of the weather during the winter months, it’s the perfect time to clean it before putting it away. But, to keep it looking it’s best, most manufacturers recommend that you clean it once a month or so.

Most outdoor furniture can easily be cleaned with a little warm water and soap. You can get the furniture much cleaner if you use a pressure washer, but only use PSI from 1200 to 1350 so that you don’t wash the paint right off. The lower pressure you use the better, of course using a pressure washer depends on the materials that your outdoor furniture is made of.

Wicker is very popular for outdoor furniture, but it can get really dirty. Dust and grime flying through the air can get trapped inside all the little holes and be very hard to get out. If the wicker isn’t excessively dirty, you can usually just clean it with a water hose.

If you need more than just water to get it clean, use a mild soap in cold water and a sponge or soft brush. Once you’ve gotten it cleaned, allow it to completely dry then apply a coat of paste wax to retain the shine and help it resist water. Wicker should at least be well covered during the winter months, but it’s best if you can store it in a shed or garage.

If you have wood furniture that has been varnished, soapy water will generally clean away all the summers dirt. Make sure that you rinse all of the soap off of the furniture and let it thoroughly dry. Wooden furniture also needs to be stored inside through the winter, the damp, cold weather can cause it to start rotting pretty quickly.

Hammocks and other items made of fabric such as chairs, can almost always be washed in the washing machine. Make sure that you use cold water to minimize shrinking. You can also place the fabric back on the furniture frame to dry to keep it from shrinking. Wash fabric items on the gentle cycle, with a mild detergent and you can add a little bleach to white items. Clean the frames depending on the material and store fabric items indoors.

The umbrellas on your patio table can be cleaned with a soft brush and mild soap in cold water. Umbrellas require a little extra care as their joints will also need oiled. You can use a spray lubricant, but you have to be extra careful to not spray any on the fabric. Just use enough oil as needed for the shape that the joints are in, if they’re really stiff and looking like they’re starting to rust, apply several coats of oil over a few days.

Always remove acrylic furniture cushions before cleaning them. And, only spot clean them if you can. Some soapy water and a soft brush or sponge usually will be sufficient to remove the dirt. When you store your cushions for the winter, never place them in plastic bags, it will cause them to mildew and rot.

Some newer patio sets and outdoor furniture pieces are made of resin. Resin requires less maintenance than any of the other materials. You can usually just spray the piece with a water hose, but if you have any scuff marks, use a soft cloth with a gentle abrasive to remove them. If there’s any mildew, add about one cup of bleach to a gallon of water and two cups of soap.

If you have wither iron, steel or aluminum outdoor furniture you can generally clean it with just soap and water. Most newer metal furniture is treated to be rust resistant. But, if the set or pieces you have weren’t treated or their older pieces, you can apply some paste wax to restore the shine and protect them form moisture.

Preventative Maintenance For Your Driveway

Having your driveway paved with asphalt is quite an investment. It’s an investment that you will want to do all you can to protect. Right now is the perfect time to do some preventative maintenance to help your driveway survive the harsh winter weather. With a little preventative maintenance, your asphalt driveway should last for years.

Even the asphalt used on highways deterioriates with wear and weather, but the grade of asphalt the is most commonly used on driveways is much worse.
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your driveway is by sealing it. The heat and use during summer can damage your asphalt, but the freezing and thawing during the winter can wreak havoc on your driveway.

Your driveway should be sealed at regular intervals to protect it all year round. There are many benefits that come with sealing your driveway. It will make your driveway water resistant, it can help repel both rain and melting snow and ice. Water is the most destructive element for driveways, it can cause cracking which allows even further water damage.

The hot sun can also damage your driveway, it causes it to become overly dry and makes it more suseptible to cracks beneath the heavy weight of vehicles and also allows water seepage. But, even air can damage the surface of your driveway by causing corrosion.

Most professionals recommend that you apply a new coat of sealant to your driveway every one to three years. But, you can often tell when sealer is needed just by the color of your asphalt. If it appears to look really dried out, it’s time to add a new coat of sealant.

You should never apply driveway sealant to any new asphalt surface. When first paved you should allow the asphalt at least six months before applying a sealer. It generally takes that long for all of the oils in the asphalt to evaporate. And, as the oil evaporates out of the asphalt, your driveway will become harder and much more durable.

Applying a sealant will prevent the oil from being able to evaporate and the asphalt will remain soft. You also need to apply sealant only if the temperature is at least 50 degrees. In weather that is below fifty, the sealant won’t be able to adhere properly. Once applied, the sealant needs at least 48 hours to properly dry. So, you should also check the weather to make sure that you’re going to have several days of dry weather before sealing your driveway.

Before sealing your driveway you should also inspect it for any signs of cracking and repair them if you find any. You can purchase products to repair cracks in your asphalt, or call in a professional to do the work. Either way, it’s vital that any cracks or holes are properly repaired before sealing.

Applying a sealant to your asphalt driveway offers other benefits besides protection from the weather. It will also make your driveway much easier to clean and sweep. And, it will create a repellant for oil and other chemicals that might get spilled onto the surface.

Preventative Care To Maintain Your Septic System

Septic systems are brilliant inventions that eliminate waste and add nutrients to the soil at the same time! Microorganisms in the waste works inside the septic tank to break the waste down into a liquid form. When the septic tank gets full, the liquid overflows into the drainage pipes that lead to a leech bed or field. The liquid then seeps through the holes in the pipes and back into the soil adding nutrients!

Problems with septic systems occur because not everything that gets flushed down the toilet can be broken down into a liquid form. Problems can also arise when the septic tank is filled to quickly for the organisms to process the contents into a liquid form. Eventually, all of these solid waste products will fill the tank and you have a serious problem on your hands.

Once the septic tank has gotten to that point, you will probably have to replace it or have it pumped out by a professional septic service. It costs thousands of dollars to replace a septic system, but with a little preventative maintenance your septic tank will last for many years.

Having your septic tank pumped out every few years can prevent the mess and expense caused by a clogged system. It’s also a really good opportunity to have the septic maintenance personel to do a visual inspection of the septic tank to check for any physical damage. Have him look for any cracks, loose pipes or any other problems with the system.

You should never spend the whole day doing laundry! The water used during a couple of loads of laundry each day is easier for the system to handle than the amount of water that accumulates from washing clothes all day long. A septic tank that is full of water can’t process the waste properly and is one of the most common causes of a clogged system.

When you shop for detergents and automatic dishwasher soap, always choose liquid. Powdered detergents contain fillers that can quickly build up and clog up your whole system. And, never allow grease to enter the system. The grease will gather in the holes inside the pipes of the leech field and you may have to dig up your whole yard to find the clog.

Many products that are labeled as “flushable” should never be flushed down the toilet! Products such as diapers and femine care products will fill the system up very quickly. They may actually be made of materials that can be broken down into liquids, but it takes a long time for this to occur. In the meantime, they will sit in the system and eventually cause lot’s of problems.

When you’re doing your landscaping projects, you should never plant anything larger than flowers over the septic tank or the on top of the leech field. It may take awhile, but roots from trees and shrubs will grow large enough to do a lot of damage to the tank and pipes.

While there are many commercial products on the market that make claims of clearing your septic system, you really shouldn’t use them. Most of these types of products contain chemicals that are severely damaging to the soil. Many of the chemicals in these septic products are even reported to be carcinogenic.

Never park your car, a boat or any other vehicle on top of your leech bed. Even though the pipes are several feet under the ground, the weight can be very damaging to the pipes, especially if the ground is soft. It’s just best to not take any chances of having a busted pipe.

Properly maintaining a septic system is fairly simple. It basically comes down to just watching what gets flushed into the system and limiting the amount of water that goes into the system at one time.

Preventing Water Damage in Your Kitchen

Many times people neglect their kitchen even though it is cleaned often. Too much moisture and possible water damage are overlooked all the time. If you inspect the following sources of moisture it can help you prevent water damage in your kitchen. By following these simple steps you can keep your kitchen looking good and also prevent damage to things such as your dishwasher, refrigerator, and the sink and countertop. (more…)

How to Care for Your Mattress

Making sure that you get the most out of your bed is very important so you can sleep well for several years. You should take care of your mattress so it will extend the life of it. There are some easy things that you can do to care for your mattress. (more…)

How to Conserve Water in Your Home

In many parts of the country water is a precious resource. In these area water can cost more to use so it is advantageous to save water in your home. It is not only important to the environment that you conserve water but it can save you money as well. (more…)

Protecting Your Wood Furniture

There are assortments of furniture cleaner products on the market that can remove  wax buildup on wood furniture. If you have been applying a beeswax application to your wood furniture, than you should only have to wax the furniture once or twice a year. There are some ways you can keep your wood furniture looking great by removing the wax buildup periodically. (more…)