All Dried Up: How To Install A Whole-House Humidifier To Add Moisture Back Into Your Home

The dry indoor air that results from winter’s cold, dry weather and your home’s furnace can lead to a variety of discomforts. Many people suffer from persistent dry skin, bronchitis and even increased instances of cold and flu in the dry air. A study published in the Public Library of Science indicates that indoor humidity levels of 40 percent or greater can actually help reduce the spread of viruses. If you want to help improve the humidity levels in your house, here are some tips to install a whole-house humidifier on your forced air system.

Mounting the Humidifier

You’ll need to find a space to mount the humidifier unit that’s directly next to the furnace. Choose an open space on the wall where you can place it without obstructing anything or having anything else in its way. That way, you can easily get to it when you need to. Use the mounting screws provided with the humidifier to secure it to the wall.

Connecting it to the Duct

Pull any insulation away from the outer surface of the air duct. Then, use the hole template provided with the humidifier to mark and cut a hole in the duct. You can mark it easiest with a grease or chalk pencil. It’s usually easiest to do this by drilling a pilot hole into the duct so that you can cut the hole with tin snips.

Install the Steam Wand

Use self-tapping metal screws to attach the steam wand to the duct. Make sure that the screws are tightened enough to keep it in place. Then, connect the steam hose to the open end of the wand by pushing it into place. Connect the remaining end of the steam hose to the humidifier. It should slide over the hose outlet. You might want to use cable ties or a hose clamp to lightly secure it. Attach the drain hose to the drain outlet on the humidifier unit. The hose just slips over the outlet.

Run the Water Pipe

Attach a copper drain pipe to the drain outlet, then run that pipe to the floor drain or your basement’s sump pump. Shut off the water to the supply line that you’re going to use for the water to the humidifier, then cut the pipe with copper pipe cutters.

Solder a “T” shaped fitting into the pipe to add an outlet for cold water to the humidifier. Screw a copper water line to the “T” fitting’s outlet, then connect it to the water inlet on the humidifier. Restore the water flow and make sure there are no leaks.

Supply Power

If you don’t already have an electrical line that you can wire the humidifier to, talk with a local electrician to run new wire directly to the humidifier. It’s best that you have a professional do this to ensure that it is done according to the electrical code.

Set the Humidity Levels

Set the maximum humidity level you want in the house on the high-limit humidity switch. This tells the system how much humidity is too much. Then, set the actual humidistat to the level of humidity you want and the system should start to run.

As you can see, installing a humidifier is easier than you might think. If you’re not comfortable doing any part of this process on your own, an HVAC technician can help you. For more information, contact Lakeside Heating & A/C Inc. or a similar company.

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Get Your HVAC System Ready For Summer

You may still be using the furnace now, but it won’t be long before you’ll be switching to the AC. With spring just around the corner, it’s time to prepare your HVAC system for warmer temperatures and regular AC use. By getting a jump-start on your AC repair and maintenance, you can take control of your home’s indoor climate and ensure your own comfort throughout the warmer weather ahead. 

Schedule Your Tune Up

Call the HVAC repair person in the late winter or early spring to schedule your AC tune up appointment. Doing this early in the year, before the temperatures have become consistently warmer, will help to ensure that your AC repair person will be available on your schedule. You may even enjoy some slow-season discounts, as prices on AC repair can be more competitive when AC repair people aren’t as busy. 

Protect Your Condenser with Smart Landscaping

Soon you’ll be starting your spring landscaping, and when you do, it’s important to build-in special measures to protect your air conditioning condenser. Two things that you can provide for your air conditioning condenser to help it run and function at its best:

  • Shade cover
  • Air flow

Keep all shrubs and plants at least two feet away from the condenser to allow adequate air flow around the unit. To prevent weeds from growing in the bare space around the unit, lay down heavy rock mulch. Avoid using wood mulch, as it can create debris that will clog the fins of the condenser.

To provide your unit with shade cover, install a wall of tall shrubs just beyond the mulch, or install an attractive fence to hide the condenser and protect it from the sun’s rays. With well-planned landscaping, your air conditioner will be properly protected.

Replace the Air Filter

Your HVAC system’s air filter should be replaced every 90 days or more often. Since your furnace and AC use the same air filter, you should plan to replace the air filter as soon as the winter is over. This will ensure that the spent filter your furnace has been using will be thrown out and the AC will have a fresh filter this spring.  

These preparations will help to ensure that your AC unit will be up to the task of cooling your home when temperatures rise. For more tips, speak with your AC repair professional from places like Davis Repair Service when he or she arrives for the tune up. 

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The Myths That Surround A Hail Damage Insurance Claim

As a homeowner, the roof above your home is extremely important to care for. This is because the roof keeps the weather outside and even helps to keep your home insulated. Unfortunately, roofing can be expensive, which is why you need to be sure that you have insurance to help cover the cost of damage that may be caused to your roofing system, especially hail damage. There are many myths that surround hail damage and insurance claims, which is why you need the facts so you can better understand filing a hail damage claim with your insurance company:

Myth One: No Missing Shingles Indicates No Damage

After a hail storm, you want to inspect your roof for damage. During this inspection, many homeowners think they need to check for missing shingles and if there aren’t any, then they believe that no damage has been done. However, missing shingles are caused by wind, not by hail. Hail can cause leaks in the roof from small indentations in the roof that they leave behind.

Myth Two: You Only Have a Year to File a Claim

Most of the time, obvious signs of hail damage are not noticed right away, which worries homeowners since they believe they only have a year to file a claim. However, in cases where a hail storm has hit a wide region, then insurance companies typically extend the amount of time that you have to file your claim.

Myth Three: Hail Damage Is Covered by Roof Warranty

Homeowners who have recently had a new roof installed believed that hail damage will be covered under their roof’s warranty. However, typically, roofing warranties specify that they do not cover hail damage. You should do a thorough check of your warranty to be sure that you really do not have to file a claim in order to receive coverage for damage caused by hail. 

Myth Four: If You Don’t File, Your Rates Won’t Increase

One reason homeowners do not file for hail damage is because they believe it will increase their insurance rates. However, in the case of a disaster that has hit a wide region, insurance companies will raise everyone’s rates in order to cover the damage costs. This means that if you do not file, your rates will still rise and you will be paying for everyone else’s damage except your own.

By knowing the facts that surround these myths about roof insurance claims, you can better understand what you need to do after a hail storm.

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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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