Tag Archives: DIY

Control Moisture and Humidity in Your Home!

DHREA 22/05/2019
Living Room.

 

Excess moisture in your home can lead to damage and encourage harmful mold and mildew growth. Learn how to reduce moisture and prevent the problems it causes.

Indoor Moisture and Humidity

Moisture condenses into water droplets when warm, humid air contacts a cool surface. Activities such as cooking, bathing, clothes drying and dish washing add moisture to the air. Some heating appliances, such as unvented natural gas or kerosene models, also increase the moisture inside your home. During the winter, windows, walls and doors that lack proper insulation are common cool surfaces. Uninsulated cold-water pipes are examples of cool surfaces in the summer. Droplets can accumulate on these surfaces and run down into the walls, windows and structural components, causing rot and peeling paint, and providing a good environment for mold and mildew growth.

Controlling Indoor Moisture

Bathroom Exhaust Fan.

 

 

When you see moisture accumulating, dry it promptly and deal with the source of the problem. Two basic elements of controlling moisture buildup are minimizing cool surfaces and reducing humidity.

Storm doors and windows minimize cool surfaces in the winter by separating the interior from cold, outside air. Double- and triple-pane windows also insulate interior glass from the cold. In addition to reducing moisture, adding these improvements will make your home more energy-efficient year-round. Pay attention to window treatments as well. Opening drapes and blinds in the winter allows warmth to reach the interior glass. Some condensation may occur, but the improved circulation makes it less likely to accumulate. Insulating cold-water pipes eliminates a common cool surface in warm weather. Straight and angled sleeves let you fit insulation to your pipes — just slide on the sleeves and seal the slits and joints with duct tape.

Your heating and cooling systems can also help control moisture in the home. Gas and electric furnaces reduce humidity with dry heat. Air conditioning lowers the moisture level in the air as it cools. Keep registers open and unblocked to allow good air flow, and have the systems inspected and serviced regularly to make sure they are functioning properly.

Caulking and weatherstripping improve energy efficiency and prevent humid air from entering a home, but they also reduce the air exchange that allows moisture to move out of the house. Bathroom exhaust fans, dryer exhaust and ducted kitchen exhaust hoods that vent to the outside remove moisture that activities such as showering, bathing, clothes drying, dish washing and cooking create. Keep the devices free of dust, lint, grease or anything that could keep them from working efficiently.

Other simple ways to reduce air moisture include:

  • Covering pots while cooking, when possible
  • Leaving room doors open to allow good air circulation
  • Storing firewood outside
  • Covering aquariums

If high humidity is a problem you can’t overcome by other methods, remove moisture from the air with a dehumidifier. They’re effective in laundry rooms, basements, bathrooms and any room that isn’t air-conditioned or has poor air circulation. Look for ENERGY STAR® qualified models, which consume less energy than conventional dehumidifiers.

Good to Know

Humid air leads to condensation problems, but air that’s too dry can be uncomfortable or unhealthy and can lead to static shocks. Keep the relative humidity in your home between 30 and 50 percent. You can purchase a weather station that measures indoor humidity levels.

Other Moisture Considerations

Gable Power Vent.

 

 

Moisture in the home is not always as obvious as water beading on a window. Knowing other places it can accumulate can help you prevent problems.

Poor ventilation in an attic can result in condensation, promoting mold growth in the framing elements of the house. This can affect your home’s structural integrity. Keep eave vents clear of insulation and make sure you have adequate air flow.

A sealed, unused fireplace creates an opportunity for moisture problems. If air doesn’t circulate in the fireplace, condensation can accumulate on the walls and soak into the masonry. Make sure some air can flow through the fireplace, but rain cannot enter it.

If you have a crawlspace, moisture from the soil can enter your home, increasing the level of humidity. A vapor barrier over the bare soil blocks the moisture, keeping it out of your living space.

Rain that seeps into your home’s foundation can lead to moisture problems. Make sure your gutters work properly and direct water away from your home’s foundation.

Caution!

Some moisture problems require more complex solutions, and sources of moisture may be hidden. Consult a professional if you have serious condensation or mold problems or if you suspect you may not have adequate ventilation.

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Last Minute Winterization Tips!

DHREA 19/11/2018

There are two kinds of home winterization tips. The first variety often involves spending a load of money to upgrade your energy efficiency. While definitely worthwhile and timely, these fixes can still be very costly (think adding insulation, getting a new energy efficient furnace, energy efficient windows, etc.).

The other variety of home winterizing tips focus on the things that you can do on a weekend afternoon for very little money (or free) with a little bit of elbow grease. The cost savings of doing such work generally comes in the form of preventing costly fix-it repairs that come from neglect. Since the weather in the Steel City will probably fluctuate for the next 3 or 4 months, take advantage of one of the more temperate days we have coming and keep your home warm for the rest of winter!

Clean Out Your Gutters

Gutters that are dammed up with leaves can result in ice dams, which can lead to all kinds of costly outdoor repairs (damaged shingles, roof leaks, broken gutters, etc). Additionally, if your gutters are clogged up, water could be falling right next to your foundation and leads to possible flooding in the basement.

Drain Your External Faucets

Water that is sitting in pipes that lead to outside faucets can freeze and burst, ultimately flooding your basement and leading to possible water damage and mold problems. Simply close off the interior faucet valves by turning them clockwise all the way to the right. Then go outside and make sure that every last drop has come out of the faucet.

Caulk

Search for drafts around windows and doors on a cold windy day. Place a tissue paper over the suspected draft area. If the paper flutters, you’ve probably located the draft. For drafts under doors, you may have to buy a rubber draft stopper to place at the bottom of the door.

Repair Your Shingles

If you have cracked, missing, or otherwise damaged shingles, have them replaced immediately so that you don’t get roof leaks. Strong winds, falling tree limbs, and sun weathering can all lead to damaged shingles. You might as well check them out while you’re up on your roof cleaning out your gutters.

Flush Your Hot Water Heater

You can flush a hot water heater any time of year, but you might as well throw it in with the other maintenance work you’ll be doing since you really only need to do it about once a year. If you don’t, sediment can build up at the bottom of your water heater and cause it to lose efficiency or even leak.

Simply take one of your water hoses and fasten it to the water faucet at the bottom of your water heater. Turn off the water heater so that you don’t get burned by hot water accidentally. Run the hose outdoors, preferably, but if you can’t do that, then a laundry tub should be sufficient. Open the valve and let the water drain out completely, rinsing out the sediment with it.

 

 

 

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DHRE DIY Blog: Make A Home A Home!

DHREA 14/11/2018

welcomehome

 

The key to any living situation is making “a home feel like a home”. Whether you own or rent, a little elbow grease and creativity can go a long way. Here’s some quick and easy examples of how to make your home feel more like a home.

1. SHOW YOUR STRENGTHS

If you are someone who is crafty and clever, don’t take for granted your skill. If you own a staple gun, update you bedhead, armchair, or dining chairs at the cost of the fabric only. Competent sewers should consider recovering lampshades, cushion covers and whipping up some curtains. You might have a knack at photography or be a gifted artist. Here again, don’t undervalue your skills. Instead, consider creating some pieces for your wall. You will be updating your space at a low cost and can also have the satisfaction of knowing it is the result of your own handy work.

2. PERSONALIZE

Displaying photos in the house is a no-brainer for personalizing your home, but how you do it can make or break your space. Group photos together to create a gallery wall for an effective contemporary look. Avoid using small photos which can get lost on the wall and create clutter. Similarly, your book collection is uniquely yours so empty your books out of their storage boxes and display them in your home. Whether stacked on bookshelves, piled in a tower on the floor or plumping up a vignette, books are an ideal way to personalize your space.

3. GO GREEN

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times: Greenery in the home provides life. While some will argue this, we all need more plants in our interiors. A large plant is an ideal way to fill out a corner and there’s no reason to stop at one. A collection of different plants in varying heights and in varying pots creates interest, lushness, and vitality.

4. BE A SOFTY

A home to me should be a like a big fuzzy bear hug – a place you feel comfortable and at ease. Pay special attention to the soft furnishings in your home to simply soften up your space. Cushions, rugs, curtains, bed quilts, and towels, are those pieces that create a layered, welcoming, and homely look and feel. And strive for diversity in your materials and patterns to create added interest.

5. HAVE FUN

When styling any space be willing to play around with your furnishings until you can stand back and feel a sense of pride and satisfaction. There are interior styling ‘rules’ which you can apply to help you in the process, but it is largely intuitive and requires a lot of play. Add, delete, shift, delete, shift, add, shift, delete, delete, delete! I suggest waiting until you’re home alone, playing your favorite tunes, getting in the zone, and then play the day away.

6. LOOK FOR UNIQUE BARGAINS

It might be time to step out of your comfort zone and seek out some fun and interesting furniture and homeware retailers. Not only can discovering new suppliers provide a fresh source of inspiration, but often the more diversely you shop, the more diverse your space becomes. And don’t be afraid of second hand stores and antique dealers…sometimes the most obscure find can really satisfy your taste for unique decor.

 

 

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Getting Ahead of Simple Winter Projects

DHREA 24/10/2018

doorhinge

Accomplishments, even little ones, go a long way toward a sunny outlook. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy, quick home repair chores you can do when you’re mired in the thick of winter. For max efficiency, make a to-do list ahead of time and shop for all the tools and supplies in one trip. On your work days, put the basics in a basket and carry it from room to room, checking off completed tasks as you speed through them.

What to Look (and Listen) For

In each room, look around and take stock of what needs fixing or improving. Focus on small, quick-hit changes, not major redos. Here are some likely suspects:

Sagging towel rack or wobbly toilet tissue holder.

Unscrew the fixture and look for the culprit. It’s probably a wimpy, push-in type plastic drywall anchor. Pull that out (or just poke it through the wall) and replace it with something more substantial.

Squeaky door hinges.

Eliminate squeaks by squirting a puff of powdered graphite alongside the pin where the hinge turns. If the door sticks, plane off a bit of the wood, then touch up the paint so the surgery isn’t noticeable.

Creaky floor boards.

They’ll shush if you fasten them down better. Anti-squeak repair kits feature specially designed screws that are easy to conceal. A low-cost alternative: Dust a little talcum powder into the seam where floorboards meet…the talcum acts as a lubricant to quiet boards that rub against each other.

Rusty shutoff valves.

Check under sinks and behind toilets for the shutoff valves on your water supply lines. These little-used valves may slowly rust in place over time, and might not work when you need them most. Keep them operating by putting a little machine oil or WD-40 on the handle shafts. Twist the handles back and forth to work the oil into the threads. If they won’t budge, give the oil a couple of hours to penetrate, and try again.

Blistered paint on shower ceilings.

This area gets a lot of heat and moisture that stresses paint finishes. Scrape off old paint and recoat, using a high-quality exterior-grade paint. Also, be sure everyone uses the bathroom vent when showering to help get rid of excess moisture.

Loose handles or hinges on furniture, cabinets, and doors.

You can probably fix these with a few quick turns of a screwdriver. But if a screw just spins in place, try making the hole fit the screw better by stuffing in a toothpick coated with glue, or switching to a larger screw.

Safety Items

You know those routine safety checks you keep meaning to do but never have the time? Now’s the time.

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

If you don’t like waking up to the annoying chirp of smoke detector batteries as they wear down, do what many fire departments recommend and simply replace all of them at the same time once a year.

Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets.

You’re supposed to test them once a month, but who does? Now’s a great time. You’ll find them around potentially wet areas…building codes specify GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and for outdoor receptacles. Make sure the device trips and resets correctly. If you find a faulty outlet, replace it or get an electrician to do it for $75 to $100.

Exhaust filter for the kitchen stove.

By washing it to remove grease, you’ll increase the efficiency of your exhaust vent; plus, if a kitchen stove top fire breaks out, this will help keep the flames from spreading.

Clothes dryer vent.

Pull the dryer out from the wall, disconnect the vent pipe, and vacuum lint out of the pipe and the place where it connects to the machine. Also, wipe lint off your exterior dryer vent so the flap opens and closes easily. (You’ll need to go outside for that, but it’s quick.) Remember that vents clogged with old dryer lint are a leading cause of house fires.

Drain hoses.

Inspect your clothes washer, dishwasher, and ice maker. If you see any cracks or drips, replace the hose so you don’t come home to a flood one day.

Electrical cords.

Replace any that are brittle, cracked, or have damaged plugs. If you’re using extension cords, see if you can eliminate them. For example, replacing that too-short lamp cord with one that’s longer. If you don’t feel up to rewiring the lamp yourself, drop it off at a repair shop as you head out to shop for your repair materials. It might not be ready by the end of the day. But, hey, one half-done repair that you can’t check off is no big deal, right?

 

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Preparing Your Gutters For Autumn and Winter!

DHREA 22/10/2018

gutters

 

Home exterior upkeep has gone from mowers and hoses to rakes and ladders. No other outside component of your house is as susceptible to the conditions of autumn than your gutters. Leaves, twigs, rain, and low temperatures are locked and loaded and ready to put your gutter system to the test. Now that it’s the last week of October and you’ve procrastinated enough, it’s time to officially prepare your gutters for the season!

CLEAN AND INSPECT

The first rule of fall season gutter preparedness is clean and inspect. Unravel your garden hose one last time before it’s tucked into the garage until spring and flush out your gutters and downspouts. Give it a high pressure hosing and then put on your outdoor work gloves to pick up and wipe away any remaining debris. If it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned your gutters you will want to fill up a bucket with warm water and liquid dish soap and wipe them down with a sturdy sponge. Only when your gutters have been thoroughly cleaned can you perform a proper inspection. The reason for the subsequent inspection? To check for loose brackets/screws, uneven sections, leaks, or any form of excessive wear and tear.

REPAIR WHERE NEEDED

Once you’ve cleaned and inspected your gutters you will have a good idea of where repair is essential. This can’t wait. Buy exact-fit brackets and screws and then replace and secure them where needed. If you’ve uncovered leaks, it may be possible to patch them. For good measure, clean the area surrounding the leak again, but this time using a wire brush and water, then scrub with an abrasive pad once it has dried. Apply plastic roofing cement over the hole with a putty knife while smoothing out the edges of the cement. If the hole is too big, you can apply a strip of aluminum flashing to the area, and seal the edges with the cement. If the repairs are significant enough that they have impacted the appearance of your gutters you can always paint them when the weather forecast permits.

KEEP COLD WEATHER INTRUDERS OUT

Autumn doesn’t just bring falling leaves and rainfall, its cold snap sends rodents (mice, rats, squirrels and raccoons) packing for higher ground. The cozy beds presented by your concave gutters and downspout exit points gives them a place to nest. Pay a visit to your local home and garden store for humane rodent repellent and check your gutters often through the season to ensure they are free from nesting intruders.

INSTALL GUTTER GUARDS

No matter how well you’ve trimmed your trees and raked the yard leaves will still find their way on to your roof. It’s what they do. If you don’t yet have them, autumn is prime time to finally install gutter guards. A gutter guard, is a fitted screen with pinpoints wide enough to allow rainwater to collect within and funnel through while preventing leaves and twigs from entering. A sound leaf protection system will accommodate both vinyl and aluminum gutters, will be maintenance-free, and can be installed on your existing system by a professional without hassle to you, the homeowner.

WHEN IN DOUBT…INSTALL A NEW GUTTER SYSTEM

Ok, so this isn’t the answer for everyone. However, if your inspection, cleaning, and attempts at repair may have hinted that your gutters need replacing in the near future. If that’s the case, then it may as well be now. Delaying the inevitable and waiting another year or two can spell big trouble. One harsh autumn storm could deal the final blow that results in significant gutter damage, damage that will impact your landscape, home exterior, and worse…the interior. The good news, is that you are entering the best season to make your decision on a new system.

Depending upon the height of your roof and exposure to foliage (trees in close proximity) a new standard system may be all that you need to get you through numerous autumns to come. A 5 or 6-inch continuous or eavestrough system can be professionally mounted on your fascia board with relative ease and in time for autumn’s first bite. A 5-inch fascia or eavestrough gutter system (for roofing without a fascia board) can also be installed with minimum turnaround time. Don’t delay your installation…contact a professional as soon as possible, before the weather catches up with the calendar!

 

 

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Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

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Visit our affiliates!

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Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

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