Is Your Air Conditioner Struggling To Keep Your Condo Cool? Here’s How To Clean Indoor Coils

If it doesn’t seem like your air conditioner is keeping your condo as cool as it should, it might be due to a clogged filter and dirty coils. Fixing this problem is an easy DIY job that you should do on a regular preventative basis, so your air conditioner works more efficiently. Of course, there are other things that can cause your air conditioner to stop chilling the air, and if you have faulty parts, you’ll need to call a qualified contractor like to make the repairs. However, you may prevent a service call by checking the state of your coils and filter first. This is how you do it.

Remove The Panel

You’ll need to remove the panel to your HVAC system. This is usually as simple as moving the latches that hold it in place. The filter is located behind the panel, so it is made to be opened easily. When you take the panel off, have a look at the vents that run along it. If they are filled with dust bunnies, be sure to clean them out before you put the panel back on.

Once the panel is removed, you’ll immediately see your HVAC filter. You’ll probably see a bunch of dust and debris collected in the cracks and valleys around the opening to your HVAC system too. All this needs to be cleaned out, so it doesn’t clog your filter.

Replace The Filter

You should replace your HVAC filter every one or two months. If you’re not sure how often to replace it, just pull it out and look at it every now and then. When it starts to look clogged with dust, you want to put in a new one. The filter sits on top of the air conditioner coils, and it protects them from dust and debris. If the filter isn’t performing well, the coils get dirty, and your air conditioner doesn’t keep your condo cool. Throw out the old filter and put in a new once you’ve cleaned the coils.

Clean The Coils

After you pull out the filter, you’ll see the coils. If they’re dirty, you may be looking at something that resembles a dusty, hairy rug. If you wipe off the mat of hairs, be sure to follow the directions of the fins on the coils. If you don’t, you might bend them and create an obstruction that gives you even more problems. The easiest way to clean your coils is to buy an evaporating coil cleaner at the home improvement store. All you have to do is spray it on and let it work. As water condenses on the coils, the spray is automatically rinsed off. While you want to get rid of dust and hair, your coils don’t have to be sparkling clean. It’s likely they will be discolored or stained, especially if they are old. You don’t have to scrub off the stains, just remove debris that could cause an obstruction.

Vacuum The Inside

The last step is to use the crevice tool on your vacuum to suck out all the dust and hair you see. Remember, all you remove to do this task is the outer panel that allows access to the filter and coils. You do not remove the inner panel that covers the electrical and mechanical workings of your air conditioner. That should only be done by a contractor. The dust you remove is what builds up along the seams where the outer panel fits, as well as what is shaken loose when you change the filter. The dirt that is shed along with the evaporating spray will slide into the drain pain and be passed out through the system. You’ll never need to work with the internal parts of your HAVC to keep the filter and coils clean and working properly.

After you’ve cleaned your air conditioner, you’ll hopefully notice it is chilling the air once again. If not, you could have a problem that requires professional air conditioning repair such as a malfunctioning thermostat, capacitor, or condenser.

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Fixing That Noisy Toilet

One of the most common homeowner projects is repairing a toilet that continues to run after it has been flushed. Not only is such a toilet noisy, it wastes water. For a few dollars in parts and with some simple tools, you’ll quiet that toilet and save a few bucks on your monthly water bill.

The Problem You’re Fixing

Plastic parts in the toilet control the amount of water coming into and going out of the toilet. Over time, these parts wear out and no longer create a seal against the water leaving the toilet. This lets small amounts of water to leak out of the tank. When the water level gets low enough, the filling mechanism kicks in to refill the tank. The noise you hear is this refilling mechanism working to replace the water that has leaked out.

The Parts and Tools You’ll Need

Your local home improvement or plumbing supply store will carry something called a “toilet flush repair kit.” It will have all of the parts you need to do this job. There may be two or three brands, but they will all fit your toilet.

These parts only need to be hand-tightened when attached to your toilet, but the old one may be stuck and need some force to be removed. The few tools you’ll need for this job are:

  • a pair of pliers or small pipe wrench
  • some old rags

Doing the Work

With your toilet kit and tools ready, you’ll be done with this job in less than an hour.

  1. Turn off the water to the toilet with the shutoff valve. It is on the water hose that runs between the wall and the bottom of the toilet. If you don’t have a shutoff valve installed, it’s time to stop and contact a plumbing services company to put one in for you. Not only is it handy for this job, but if your toilet overflows, it is the quickest way to stop the water from flooding your bathroom.
  2. With the water off, flush the toilet to let all of the water drain out. Take the lid off of the tank and mop up any water remaining on the bottom of the tank.
  3. Unscrew the water hose from the bottom of the tank.
  4. Inside of the tank, remove the small rubber hose running from the flushing mechanism to the water inlet tube. Detach the chain or cord running from the tank handle to the rubber flapper valve on the bottom of the tank.
  5. Unscrew the large plastic nut underneath the tank that holds the flushing mechanism in place and pull the large tube up and out of the tank. Gently use the pliers or wrench if the nut is tighter than what you can loosen with your fingers.
  6. Remove the rubber flapper covering the drain at the bottom inside of the tank.
  7. Wipe out the tank completely, removing any depots around the openings where you just removed the parts.
  8. Take the flushing mechanism out of the parts kit and place it in the tank, through the large hole in the bottom. Look at the instructions to see how to place the washers onto this part before securing it to the tank. Using the new plastic screw that comes in the kit, tighten it on the mechanism just hand-tight. Before completely tightening it, turn the flushing mechanism so the small water return tube points to the large water inlet tube in the tank.
  9. Attach the short rubber hose from the water return on the flushing mechanism to the water inlet tube. Place the new rubber flapper valve to the bottom of the tank and attach the chain or cord to the tank handle.
  10. Attach the water supply from the wall to the bottom of the flushing mechanism sticking through the bottom of the tank. Hand tighten this connection.
  11. Slowly turn on the water supply at the shutoff valve and allow the tank to fill. You may need to adjust the flushing mechanism to allow more or less water into the tank to clear the bowl completely.
  12. Try the handle to make sure the toilet flushes easily. You may need to adjust the length of the chain or cord between the handle and flapper valve on the bottom of the tank so it’s easier to flush.

Now that you’re done, your toilet will be quieter and won’t waste your money leaking water. For more information, contact a plumber like Biard & Crockett Plumbing.

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Going Frameless: How To Remove Your Old Shower Doors

Have your old shower doors become dingy or cracked? Are you looking for a way to brighten up the appearance of your bathroom without trading in your glass doors for a traditional shower curtain? If so, the installation of a frameless shower enclosure could be the perfect solution for you. However, before you will be able to upgrade your shower glass, you will first need to effectively remove your old or damaged shower doors, along with the frame that holds them in place. The good news is, by following the simple steps below, you will be able to complete this task on your own rather than hiring a contractor to do the job for you.

What You Will Need

  • Utility knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic scraper
  • Silicone caulk
  • Caulk Remover
  • Caulk Gun

Step 1: Remove Doors

Glass shower doors can be incredibly heavy. Consequently, this step is best completed by two people unless you have an unusual amount of upper body strength.

In order to remove your shower doors from the track, simply lift the door upwards and then outward. Once the door is free from the upper track, you will be able to simply lift it out of the lower track. The weight of your doors will quickly become apparent as soon as they are free from the upper track, so be sure you are ready to receive this weight.

Step 2: Remove Frame

Begin by removing any screws from the side rails that are holding your door frame in place. In some cases, there may also be screws located in the bottom rail; however, these screws are rarely used since they can damage the tub.

Once you have freed the frame of any screws, use your utility knife to gently cut away any caulk that is between the side rails and your tiling. This should be done using vertical cuts in order to avoid damaging your tiles in the process.

Finally, begin wiggling the side rails back and forth until they break free from the wall. Once the side rails have been removed, the bottom rail will simply need to be lifted out.

Step 3: Remove Old Caulk And Fill Holes

Using a plastic scraper, begin removing as much of the old caulk as you can on both your tub surface and tiling. If you run into a few stubborn spots, just be careful not to scrape so hard you damage the surface.

After removing as much caulk as you can manually, apply a generous amount of caulk remover to the remaining caulk and allow it to sit for several minutes before scraping it away.

With all the caulk removed, all that is left to do is fill in the screw holes in your tile with a small amount of silicone caulk. Now your shower is ready to receive its new frameless enclosure. For assistance, talk to a professional like Griggs & Son Glass & Mirror.

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Important Things To Know About Water Damage And Your Homeowner’s Insurance

When something goes wrong in a home, the first things that most people think are, “How much is this going to cost?” and “How am I going to pay for this?” With water damage, the losses can be devastating, as water has a way of finding its way everywhere. If you’re facing damage from water, here are a few things to know about your homeowner’s insurance policy.

There’s a difference between flood damage and water damage.

Flood damage is considered to be the result of a natural phenomenon, whereas water damage involves water harming your property as a result of a sudden and unexpected accident, like a burst pipe. Another way to think of it is this: flood damage results from water originating from outside your house, and water damage results from water originating somewhere inside your house.

Typical policies cover water damage, but flood damage needs to be purchased separately. This is because damage from flooding is incredibly expensive to fix. For example, flooding damage totaled $8.41 billion in 2011, an amount impossible for companies to cover given the relatively low insurance premiums on basic policies.

There are a few exclusions to water damage coverage.

As expected, you’ll run into considerable fine print on your policy. One of the major sections of fine print is the section covering water seeping up through your foundation. Insurance companies don’t want to give you a free pass for not addressing something so potentially dangerous in your home, so they normally don’t cover this type of damage. Because there’s no financial protection from this situation, homeowners are rightfully motivated to address any type of structural foundational concern on their own.

Another common exception is that most policies do not cover damage from sewer or drain backups. The main reason for this is because these are commonly occurring problems that are ultimately the homeowner’s responsibility to fix. If people could file claims and get reimbursed every time their toilet clogged, premiums would increase significantly.

You can probably get assistance with filing your claim.

Many reputable water damage restoration companies can assist you during your claims process. After all, they are the experts in the field and deal with this type of situation every day. They can help you catalog your loses, and their detailed reports will be your key to receiving adequate compensation. Make sure you keep track of the company’s descriptions of the damage, photographs, and invoices so that you can show these to your insurance company.

No matter what the cost, the reality is that you have to hire a professional, such as Flood Damage Restoration, to assess your damage as soon as possible. This is necessary to avoid any health risks to your household and structural risks to your home.

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Items You Should Never Send To Your Septic System

If you live in the country or a rural area, you probably use a septic system to dispose of your waste water and sewage. This type of system uses microbes and organic filters to process the water you use for washing dishes, doing the laundry and flushing the toilet, among other things. A septic system works on a delicate balance. To avoid upsetting this equilibrium, it’s important to be careful what you flush, rinse and otherwise dispose of.

What not to put down your drains

1. “Flushable” products. Just because a product says that it’s “flushable” doesn’t mean that you should send it down to your septic system. So-called flushable diapers, hygiene items and paper towels will not only clog your plumbing, but can fill your septic tanks with products that take a long time to dissolve. The only thing you should flush other than waste is toilet paper.

2. Cleaning products. Common household cleaners, such as drain cleaner, bleach, tile cleaners and other solvents, can destroy the bacteria in the septic tank that helps to dispose of your household waste. Use these sparingly, if at all.

3. Coffee grounds, cereals and other food scraps. Although you can use a garbage disposal when you have a septic system, the best policy is to dispose of all food items in the garbage rather than down the drain. Cereals are especially troublesome, as these substances absorb moisture and expand, clogging the system.

4. Oil and grease. Not only will oil and grease solidify in your pipes, but these substances will add an oily, rancid scum to the top of your septic tank.

5. Paint and paint thinner. Even a small amount of latex or oil-based paint can destroy the balance in your septic system. Make sure to squeeze any excess paint into newspapers and clean your paint brushes with paint thinner or water disposed of outside of the drains.

6. Cigarette butts. Dispose of cigarettes in the trash rather than flushing them. Contrary to popular belief,cigarette filters take a long time to dissolve.

7. Anti-bacterial soaps. You may not consider that while these soaps kill bacteria on your hands, they also destroy the helpful bacteria in your septic system. it is best to use regular soap and (non-rinseable) hand sanitizer if you must.

Keeping your septic system healthy requires diligence. Be careful not to dispose of anything like cleaning products, cigarette butts or kitchen grease that will compromise the workings of that eco-system. if your septic tank needs to be cleaned, contact a local company like Kulp and Sons.

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4 Ways To Keep Your Customers’ Personal Information Secure

Recent security breaches on high profiles retailers that resulted in customers’ credit and debit card information being stolen has businesses on the alert for ways to protect their customers. As a small business owner, you more than likely share the same concerns. Here are some tips on how to protect your business and its customers.

Secure Business Records

Even though a large share of the national security breaches occurred online, you still need to secure the physical records that your business keeps. There are still identity thieves that rummage through garbage bins to find information that can be used for the wrong purposes. 

Keep an inventory of the records that your business keeps and then store those documents. Look for a secure location either at your business or at a storage facility. If you choose to use a storage facility, choose one that has a security guard and that offers around-the-clock surveillance of the facility.

Properly Dispose of Records

Educate your employees on the proper manner to dispose of business records. You should never have a situation in which employees are tossing documents in the trash. Instead, contract with a shredding service to dispose of the documents. 

A shredding service such as Document Demolition LLC offers you the security of micro shredding and safe disposal of the documents. Some services even offer to pick up the documents for you to ensure they are safely transported from your business to the shredder without incident. 

Secure Your Online Business

Sensitive information, such as account numbers or debit card numbers, should never be shared through email or any other Web-based service. You can adopt a system in which only the last three to four digits of an account number are shared when necessary.

If it is absolutely necessary for your employees and customers to conduct business online, ensure that the site you are using is secure. Secure websites start with “https” in the URL. If that is absent, do not use the site for personal or financial information.

Monitor Your Business

It is important that you stay on the alert for any signs that your company’s security has been breached. For instance, if a customer reports that his or her information was stolen and suspects that the breach happened as the result of an interaction with your company, take it seriously. 

Review your financial reports and the customer’s account to determine who has accessed it. You should also consider hiring a professional security assessor to come in and help locate the possible leak. 

Your customers will be reluctant to stay customers if you have major security issues. Taking steps, such as shredding, can save your business and keep you in good standing with customers. 

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3 Solutions For A Broken Concrete Driveway

Concrete is a classic, practical solution for driveways that stands up fairly well against wear and tear. But time and mother nature can eventually give your driveway a worn appearance thanks to cracks,  chipped pieces and sunken sections. There are a few different ways you can improve the look of your existing driveway – or know when to throw in the towel and get a new one.

Patching Compound

If your concrete driveway only has a few minor to moderate cracks, you can likely tackle the project yourself if you have some do-it-yourself experience. For minor cracks, clean the area well with a wire brush to make sure you don’t trap any dirt or debris in the crack. Then apply vinyl patching compound using a putty knife, ensuring you completely cover the crack. Let the area dry according to manufacturer directions before parking over the cracks.

For cracks that go a bit deeper or wider – or both – you want to first use a chisel to try and make the opening a bit more smooth on the sides. Clean the area with the wire brush then apply the compound with either a putty knife or a trowel, depending on the size of the crack.


If the concrete has broken because the slabs have settled deeper into the ground, slabjacking might be able to solve your problem.  Slabjacking involves a concrete contractor putting expanding grout foam under the existing slabs to boost them back up. This is an intricate process requiring specialized concrete supplies and should always be left to the professionals.

First, the contractor will put tiny holes throughout the tops of the sunken slaps. This helps prevent pressure cracks when the foam lifts the slab. Next, the foam is injected below the slabs, where it will expand into any empty spaces that caused the sinking and raise the concrete.

Slabjacking is usually one of the more cost-friendly options for major repairs. But even with precautions, the lifting can cause significant cracking in the concrete. If you’re fine with having your contractor do some minor patching after the slabjacking, this might not be a concern for you.

New Driveway

If there are major signs of damage to your concrete, there comes a point where it’s better to simply start over. The concrete will be broken up and carried away. Your contractor might take this chance to see if there are any underlying issues that caused the damage, such as soil erosion that caused sinking, and suggest any solutions.

The new concrete will likely have better reinforcement than your original, particularly if you have an older home. Fiberglass and mesh reinforcement exists to keep your new driveway safe and secure for years to come.

For more information, contact a local concrete supplier, like Small’s Sand Gravel Inc.

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