2 Reasons To Consider A New Furnace

One of the most important components in your home is the furnace, mostly because this device is responsible for keeping you and your family warm and comfortable throughout the winter. Listed below are just two reasons to consider replacing your furnace with a newer model.


Another reason to buy a new furnace, particularly if you have just purchased an older home, is that older furnaces can begin to develop cracks in the heat exchanger within the furnace. The heat exchanger is the portion of the furnace that heats the air.

If this part of the furnace becomes cracked, it will begin to leak carbon monoxide into the home and affect your family’s health. For example, if you or a family member is experiencing disorientation, nausea, or severe headaches all the time, then that can be a sign of carbon monoxide building up in your home. Most furnaces will last between 20 and 30 years, but it is often a good idea to replace the furnace at about 15 years in order to avoid the potential danger that an old furnace can pose as it degrades. 


Finally, a new furnace is a great way to keep yourself and your family healthy because it can help to filter a lot of the dust and allergens out of the air. Older furnaces will often not be very efficient when filtering the air, with some models in older homes not having any filtration systems in place at all.

One of the signs to look for in order to determine if your furnace is unable to filter the air is if you or a family member has been coughing, sneezing, developing rashes, or experiencing allergic reactions more often. In addition, you may find that you and your family may be getting ill more often than is normal due to the poor air quality in your house.

In addition, signs of a furnace being inefficient at filtering the air can also include a home that always smells stuffy. In some cases, the poor air quality due to your furnace’s lack of an efficient filtration system can also affect your plants and cause them to wilt prematurely.

Contact a heating contractor like Kohl Heating & Air Conditioning in order to discuss whether it is time to replace your furnace and what type he or she would recommend for your home and individual needs. A new furnace is a great way to make your home safer and healthier for your family. 

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3 BIG Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Having An In-Ground Swimming Pool Installed

Without a professional background in swimming pool installation or excavation, the idea of having an in-ground pool installed in your backyard may not sound like that big of a deal. Even though the best contractors will do their best to make sure the project goes as seamlessly as possible, installing an in-ground swimming pool could easily be one of the biggest property projects that you ever experience as a homeowner. There are three big questions that you need to know the answer to before you go out and find someone to install your pool. 

Do you know anything about the geological makeup of your planned pool spot?

Most homeowners know very little about the ground on which their home sits, but this is a useful thing to know if an excavator will essentially be cutting out a huge chunk of your property for a pool. The more dense and rocky or naturally water-rich your ground is, the more the swimming pool installation will cost because it will be a more time-consuming feat. Plus, lack of structural consistency in the ground could mean future problems with your pool. To find out more about your ground, you can have a contractor perform a soil test, which gives a good measure of information that will be helpful to know. 

Do you know where you are going to put all that dirt?

You may think you have a pretty good idea of how much dirt is going to come out of a spot where your pool will be, but most customers are actually extremely surprised to see just how much dirt and material there is to contend with after an excavator cuts out a spot for their pool. You have to remember, all that dirt is compacted tightly now, but once it is dug up, it falls to pieces, which usually means way more dirt than you are prepared to deal with. As the homeowner, it will be up to you to decide where you want this dirt to go. 

Are you prepared to have your landscape disrupted?

Installing an in-ground swimming pool requires a lot of tools, workers, and heavy machinery. You will be dealing with an excavator driving around the area and possibly even a crane to hoist parts into place. All of this work will mean some property and landscape disruption, so this is an aspect of the project that you must be prepared to deal with as the homeowner. While the project manager will do all they can to ensure things are put back like they were, you should expect everything to be a bit messy for a little while.  

For more information on excavation services, check out companies like Haas Construction.

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Fall Protection Equipment Safety Belts: 3 Areas Of The Buckle To Inspect

Having appropriate and proper fall protection equipment might be the difference between life and death. Safety belts are recommended for positioning and restraint systems. They are basically used to position workers in place to allow hands-free work or as a restraint to prevent workers from reaching an unprotected edge or any other type of fall hazard. Making sure that your safety belt is in good condition will help prevent any accidents or surprises from happening. In particular, you should inspect the buckle of the safety belt before every use. Here are 3 specific things to look for.

The Security of the Buckle’s Tongue

The buckle’s tongue should always be at the right position and overlap the buckle frame. The tongue is responsible for keeping the belt in place. If it is bent out of shape, you run the risk of the belt coming undone should an accident occur. If you want to take extra steps to make sure that your fall restraint and positioning system is fool-proof, choose double tongue buckles for extra support.

The Structure of the Frame

The tongue is not the only part of the buckle that is responsible for securing the belt in place. The frame of the buckle also plays a huge role in making sure that everything stays in place. If the buckle frame snaps, the entire belt would come undone and the buckle would not be able to support your weight. Although minor scratches and dents on the frame do not pose as a safety hazard, you definitely need to replace a frame that is bent out of shape.

You should also replace the frame if there are any large nicks or dents, as these areas will be under a tremendous amount of pressure in the fall restraint and positioning system. As a result, they are the most vulnerable areas and are at risk of snapping.

The Condition of the Roller

While working, you definitely want to make sure that the shape and position of the safety belt can adjust by itself to the environment. In short, the safety belt must be able to tolerate movement. The component responsible for this role is the roller. Before putting on the belt, inspect the roller to make sure that it can turn freely on the buckle frame.

Your safety belt might end up protecting you from severe injuries in the event of an accident. The most critical component of the safety belt is the buckle, so make sure that you inspect it carefully before you use it every time. If you are having any doubts regarding the condition of the buckle, just replace it with a new one from a company like Public Works Supply. Don’t take any chances.

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How To Have A Contemporary-Style Kitchen

There are many different trends for kitchens, including have a contemporary one. While renovating your kitchen, there are a variety of things you can add that will give you this style. Here are some ways to have a contemporary-style kitchen.

Use Natural Stone Countertops

One thing that many contemporary kitchens have in common is using natural stone for the countertops. One of the more popular materials is granite, which is moderately priced and provides a lot of great options. You can get granite countertops in a blue or green tint, natural and beige tint, or even a darker granite color. Granite works perfectly in a contemporary kitchen that is using a lot of neutral colors and clean lines, especially if you have stainless steel and chrome in the kitchen. Some other natural stone materials to consider include marble, travertine, and soapstone.

Add Stainless-Steel Appliances

Speaking of stainless steel, try to use it as much as possible in your contemporary-style kitchen. These appliances have a sleek look to them, which you definitely want in a contemporary or modern kitchen. Nearly every type of appliance comes in a stainless-steel option, such as refrigerators, stove and ovens, dishwashers, and microwaves. The great thing about this is since they are more modern and new appliances, many of them are energy-efficient and have advanced features you can’t get in older appliances. Stainless steel is also long-lasting and easy to keep clean, adding even more benefits. To avoid going too modern, add a white appliance here or there as well to get a good balance. So if you have a stainless steel refrigerator and stovetop, get a sleek, white dishwasher to balance out the kitchen.

Reduce the Clutter

A contemporary kitchen is both stylish and functional, but it is not filled with clutter. This is one of the things that can really take away from an authentic contemporary style. You want to have proper organizational methods in your kitchen that keep clutter to a minimum. Whether you install different types of shelving units in the cabinets for proper organization of spices and food items, to adding drawer sorters for your “junk”, it is important to keep all papers and random items off the countertops.

Add Some Color

Contemporary-style kitchens are similar to modern kitchens, but they have a little more color. You are not going for a chrome and white kitchen; you also want to add some personal touches. Don’t use too many colors, but choose a few colors you like and let them guide you toward your décor. These basic colors should be used for everything from your dishes and countertop appliances to the kitchen rugs and dish towels.

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How A Damaged Chimney Can Cause A Moisture Problem

Does the wallpaper near your fireplace continue to deteriorate no matter how often it is repaired? The problem might be due to there being an excessive amount of moisture in the chimney. Investing in getting your chimney inspected and repaired is the best solution. Find out in this article what can lead to a chimney having a lot of moisture and how it should be repaired.

1. There is Old Mortar Between the Bricks

If you have never invested in getting the mortar around your chimney bricks inspected, it might be wise to do it. Mortar is used to keep the bricks in place and can cause moisture problems when it becomes old because rainwater can sit in the joints when it rains. You might notice that some of the mortar is missing or discolored when it is old. A contractor can replace the mortar through a technique that is called tuckpointing. However, if the mortar damage is severe, and the mortar transforms into powder when it is scraped, you might need to get the chimney completely rebuilt.

2. The Crown is Damaged

When there is damage to the crown of your chimney, it can make it easy for rainwater to seep inside. The only way for you to find out if the crown is damage is by climbing on top of the roof because it is located on the exterior of your house, at the top of the chimney. It is in your best interest to get the crown inspected by a professional. He or she can determine if the crown should be repaired or replaced based on if there are cracks present and their size. Small cracks must be repaired in a timely manner because they allow rainwater to seep in, and they can get bigger with time.

3. Water Penetrates Through the Bricks

When the surface of bricks becomes damaged, spalling occurs and makes it easier for moisture to penetrate through them. The bricks can then begin to deteriorate and develop cracks. You might also notice that the bricks are crumbling. When spalling occurs on the exterior of the chimney, the bricks need to be replaced. Make sure the bricks are treated with a sealant after they are repaired if you want to prevent spalling in the future. Get your chimney inspected by a company like Clean Sweep as soon as you can so you can find out what kind of repair is needed to prevent the moisture problem.

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3 Plumbing Must-Knows For New Homeowners

As a new homeowner, there are a number of things you’re likely still trying to get the hang of. If plumbing is one of those things, consider the three must-know plumbing tips listed below.

1. Just Because It Fits, It Doesn’t Mean It Belongs In The Disposal

Garbage disposals are a useful kitchen tool, but unfortunately, many of the things you put down it can cause more harm than you think.

While it may be easy to toss the bacon grease down the drain or wash your plate’s remains into the sink after dinner, neither of these are good for your garbage disposal and you’ll soon be dealing with a clogged, under-performing disposal. There are a number of items that shouldn’t be put down there, such as egg shells and fats.

2. You’ll Likely Need to Shut Off Your Main Water Valve At Least Once

Whether you’re dealing with a frozen pipe or a leak behind the walls, you’ll likely need to know where your main water valve is located at least once during your time as a homeowner.

While you hope to never face a plumbing emergency, knowing the location of the main water valve can save you from thousands of dollars worth of damage in case there is one. Your home’s water valve is typically located in the basement, as this is where the pipes will flow into your home. If you don’t have a basement, two other likely locations are near the water heater or under the kitchen sink. Be sure to ask the previous homeowners or realtor for this important piece of information.

3. It’s Important to Know Your Limits and Ask for Help When Necessary

While there’s nothing wrong with do-it-yourself plumbing fixes for small plumbing issues, you need to know when it’s time to step away from the project and call the professionals for help.

Even if you think doing a big plumbing project yourself will save you money, if you make even a small mistake, it can actually end up costing you more than it would have to just hire a plumber in the first place. There are certain plumbing projects, such as repiping or anything having to do with the gas pipes, that should be left to the professionals.

If plumbing repair isn’t your thing, there’s no need to worry. Ask your realtor, the previous homeowner, and new neighbors for referrals to a local plumber in your area.   

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4 Roofing Problems To Fix Right Away

The roof that is over your head is a fragile system, but also an important system to protect your family and allow you to live in your home comfortably. Since roofing systems are fragile, you will want to be sure that you are aware of any potential problems that you should fix right away. When you do this, you can ensure that your roof lasts longer and prevents you from having to spend a great deal of money on extensive repairs. Here are four roofing problems that you should fix right away:

  1. Growing Moss: Once you see that moss has grown on your roof, you will need to have it removed right away. This is because moss holds in moisture, which can cause rotting to the shingles on your roof. At some point, you will have to replace this section of the roof entirely if you continue to let the moss grow. In order to prevent moss from growing in the first place, you will want to trim trees to prevent areas of the roof from being too shaded and damp. You should also be sure that the gutters are cleaned regularly to prevent water build up on the roof. 
  2. Missing Shingles: Missing shingles should be replaced right away. If you let a missing shingle go without replacing it, you will end up with a larger problem. This is because just one missing shingle can cause damage to the rest of the shingles on the roof. This is because the area of the roof that is exposed is susceptible to water damage, which will spread under the rest of the shingles that surround it. Eventually, you may have to replace the shingles on your roof completely and treat the roof for water damage, as well. 
  3. ​Deteriorating Flashing: If you notice that the flashings that surround any sky roofs, the chimney, or other roof structures is starting to deteriorate, you need to have it replaced right away. This is because flashings that are not tight around these roof structures will allow water and other outdoor elements inside of the home causing water damage to the insulation, walls and ceiling of your home. 
  4. Building Up of Leaves: When you notice that a heavy amount of leaves are built up on the roof of your home, you will need to take immediate action. Not only should the leaves be swept away, but the tree that is causing the problem should either be removed or trimmed to prevent it from happening again. A heavy build up of leaves retains moisture on the roof, which causes rot and other structural damage. 

By knowing some roofing problems that you should fix right away, you can be sure that you know what to look for and when immediate action should be taken. Call a contractor like Ray’s Harford Home Improvement Contractors Inc to help you.

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