Changing a Furnace Air Filter

air filter

Regularly changing the air filter in your furnace can improve the air quality in your home and improve your HVAC system efficiency.  It is recommended that you change your air filter every three month.  However, if you have pets, smoke or have allergies you should change your filter more frequently.

Location of filter:

Before you purchase your replacement filter you need to determine the location of your filter. You then need to determine what type of filter and the size of the filter you need. The most common location of the filter is between the furnace air handler and the return air vent. Some furnaces have filters inside the air handler and the least common location is in the return air vents. The size measurements of the filter should be on the side of the existing filter. If they are not then you will have to use a tape measure and measure it.  You will need to measure the length, width and depth of the existing filter. Be sure to write the measurements down.

Type of filter:

There are several different types of filter available. Either the light weight or the high efficiency filters. For even better quality there are filters with the HEPA filtration and allergy reduction technology. These filters come in one inch as well as thicker two to four inch versions.  Less common types are electrostatic and re-useable washable filters.

When to change filter:

When you are ready to change your furnace filter turn your furnace thermostat to the off setting. Remove the old filter being careful to not knock the old dust off of the filter. Before you install the new filter write the date on it for a quick reference in the future. Insert the new filter and make sure the arrows are pointing in the direction the airflow flows through the system. Make sure your filter is secure and then turn your furnace thermostat back on.

 

Easy Steps For Tiling Your Kitchen Floor

Tiling is one job that most people would rather not learn how to do since it can be scary that you may make some mistakes in the process. However, it is actually a lot easier than what many might think. In fact, it can save you a whole lot of money in contrast to hiring a professional for the job. As long as you know the do’s and don’ts then this task is a no-brainer for you.

Choosing Your Tiles

To start off, you have to choose the tiles that you want to use. Tiles come in different sizes, colors, textures, materials and finishes. It can also depend on how you want the room to be and the overall design and feel of the room.

 Measurements and Computations

You will need to measure out your floor area. You will also have to deliberate on whether you want the tiles to go under any kind of fittings and units. Generally, it is better if you tile under the fittings. This is recommended so that if you have to move appliances in the future, like a fridge, then you do not have to lift it up and over the edge of your new tiles.

 Application

Be sure that you have an even coverage of adhesive placed on your sub-floor. The type of adhesive to use would depend on your sub-floor or the surface you are tiling. If it is a concrete floor, then you can use a rapid setting adhesive. However, be sure that you do not spread too much of the mixture at once, since it can set in as fast as 30 minutes.

If it is a wooden sub-floor, then you need a flexible adhesive. The bag or tub should say if the adhesive is flexible. If you have slate, then you need to use gray adhesive. If you’ll be using marble, then you need a white adhesive. This is so that no color coming from the underside would bleed and ruin your design.

Grouting

When you are done fixing your tiles on the floor, and after you have allowed enough time for it to dry, then you will have to do some grouting. If you have natural tiles, like marble, slate, limestone, granite, travertine, and porcelain, you need to seal them first before you can grout them. You have to use a specialized impregnating sealer so that they will be waterproof and can be more resistant to dirt and staining.

Mix up the grout and apply it using a grout float to your tiles. Try to work over the gaps until they’re all filled. If you have white marble tiles, then you need to use a white grout instead of gray since the gray kind can stain the marble.

To finish off, wipe out the excess grouts that are bulging from your tiles using a sponge. Also, use a grout finisher or your finger to smooth out the grout lines. After this, stand back, relax as you wait for your work to dry up!

Basic Faucet Replacement

Faucet replacement is a very easy task that anyone can do. Here are the basics that you should know about faucet replacement.

Being Prepared and Choosing Your Faucet

You should pick out a new faucet and have it on hand before you start to remove your old faucet. Having it on hand before removing the old one will make things easier and faster for you.  For your bathtubs and sinks, you can get single or double handled faucets. Generally, faucets have a standard size regarding their hook-ups, depending on their use. For kitchen faucets, you can usually find units with an 8 inch hookup. Bathroom vanity faucets usually come in 4 inches, while bathtubs come in 8 inches.

Tools That You Need

wrenches

channel lock pliers

or a basin wrench

Steps to a New Faucet

First, you should turn off all water supply lines that are linked to your faucet.  Once you have shut off your water supply you can remove the supply lines coming from both sides of your faucet. After that you should remove the large retainer nuts that are holding your faucet to the sink. When you are done with this, remove the old faucet from the sink.  Clean up the area where the old unit was. Once you are done cleaning up, get your new unit and place it in the holes. Then you can tighten the retaining nuts and hook up your water supply lines. Use plumbers putty or thread tape to prevent leaks or dripping on the joints, specifically in between the faucet and sink, or the supply line and the faucet. Turn on your water supply and do some tests for leaks and other defects. If you have some leaks, try reinstalling it again and make sure that you tightly place each part where they should be.

Three Ways To Help Maintain The Efficiency Of Your Air Conditioning Condenser Unit

air-conditioning unit

Today, we are going to take a look at three ways to help maintain the efficiency of your air conditioning condenser unit. These tips will help keep your home cool during those hot summer days and can also help lower your monthly utility bill.

Top 3 Tips To Keep Your Home Cool

1.) The first step is to make sure there is proper air flow to the unit. To do this make sure plants are trimmed back two feet in all directions.  Also remove any mulch that has built up around the unit.

2.) Now check to see if the fins on the coil are straight. The fins are the thin parallel metal strips on the unit. They are commonly bent by weed eaters and hail. Bent fins can impede air flow to the unit. To correct the fins, simply take a butter knife or other thin utensil and gently bend them to allow proper air flow.

3.) Finally, it’s time to clean the unit. The first step is to shut off the power. This is important and is done by removing the pull switch from the service disconnect. When the power is off, use your garden hose to clean off debris.  This may prolong the life of your unit by making it making the cooling process easier.

After it is clean, restore the power to the unit and enjoy your more efficient and cost effective air conditioning.

 

How to Unclog A Slow Sink Drain

Pea Trap

If your bathroom sink is slow to drain you may need to unclog the U shaped drain under your sink called a pea trap as well as remove the plunger to clean out the drain. The tools you will need are a small bucket and a large sized bucket as well as an old toothbrush. You should remove everything from under your sink to ensure you have enough room to work.

The first thing you will need to do is to place the small bucket under the pea trap to catch any water that may still be in the drain. You will want to remove the pea trap that is the U shaped pipe under the sink.  There will be two nuts that you should be able to unscrew by hand unless there is a lot of buildup on the nuts.  It there is build up you will also need an adjustable wrench. Loosen the nuts and slowly remove the pea trap from the drain.  Be careful because any water remaining in the drain will start dripping into the bucket. Clear away any visible debris from the drain. Then take the pea trap to a different sink and clear out any remaining debris. Then scrub the pea trap with the old toothbrush and rinse it out well.

Now remove the plunger from the sink by unscrewing the rod attachment from the back of the drain under the sink. Pull the rod out of the attachment. The plunger should be able to be removed from the sink basin now. Look down through the drain even if you can see all the way through the drain may still have hair and other particles in it. With the large bucket under the drain run a small stream of water and gently scrub the drain with a tooth brush. Do this at the basin entrance and from the bottom of the drain. Put the plunger back into the basin carefully aligning the notched opening to the back of the sink.  Then insert the rod back through the opening in the drain and then tighten the nut. Place the cleaned pea trap back onto the drain and tighten the nuts.

Attic Renovations That Give You a Big Return on Investment

attic-bedroom

Whether you are selling your home now, planning to in the future, or are just looking to increase the value of your home, you can do so with relatively simple attic renovations.

One of the most recommended upgrades for attics is finishing the space so that it can be an additional useable and livable area in your home. Doing so can increase the value of your home, giving you an excellent return on investment.

  1. Finished Attic

There are many things you can do with a finished attic. Depending on the size and shape of the room you have to work with, a finished attic could act as an additional office, playroom, man cave, sitting area, or living room.

  • Attic Bedroom

Renovating your attic into another bedroom is an excellent way to use the space and get a big return on your investment. Another finished bedroom is always a perk when it comes to the value of your home, and a creative use of attic space as another bedroom is a great seller.

  • Efficiency Apartment

If you really want a huge return on your investment, go the extra mile when renovating your attic and add a bathroom and even a kitchenette to the space. In doing so, you are creating a second complete living space that can be used as an efficiency apartment. The extra bathroom and kitchen area will add extra value to your home and is extremely useful as well.

 

  1. Smaller Projects with Big Payback

If you’re wanting to make some changes to your attic but are not wanting to complete a project as big as finishing the space and making it another living space, or if your attic is not large enough for another room, there are other options.

  • Attic Insulation

Redoing the insulation in your attic and using Energy Star rated insulation products can increase the efficiency of your home, which can save you a lot of money in heating and cooling costs. The more energy efficient your home is, the more money you save.

Approximately 40% of home energy loss occurs through the roof of your home. You can cut this down exponentially by properly insulating unused attic space. Make sure to add insulation not only along the attic ceiling and walls, but also along the floor to seal off the attic from the living areas of your home.

  • Attic Fans

Another way to save a lot of money with a small renovation is to add an attic fan for home cooling. These fans circulate and disperse cooled air throughout your home, and in most climates can reduce the need to run your air conditioning systems.

All of these attic renovations can provide you with a large return on your investment. Finishing your attic and converting it into a usable living space can greatly increase the value of your home, and energy saving smaller renovations can save you a lot of money on heating and cooling.

Another helpful tip from Choice Home Inspection Services; call us for all of your home inspection needs (770) 490-6911.

 

Easy And Safe Gas Furnace Repairs That You Can Do

A lot of people consider the furnace as one of their home’s most important piece of equipment, which is very much true most especially during cold winter months, when getting some heat intake is very important. Additionally this is the very reason why knowing how to fix your furnace in case some problems arise can be very invaluable. Below are some easy and safe gas furnace repairs that you can do.

If your furnace keeps on turning on and off, this is usually just a simple problem with the unit’s heat anticipator. To start repairing, simply locate your thermostat and open it. When you open the box, you will see inside a small disk that is located in the middle. Take a good look at the disc. You will see that it has a number of calibration notches. Take a closer look and you will find the word “LONGER” on it. Then, try to find a small handle that touches a wire. Once you locate that small handle, turn it towards the word “LONGER”.

After completing the steps, turn on your furnace and let it run for a few hours. If it runs without turning off, then you’re done. However, if the furnace is still turning on and off, just repeat the steps given above. Continue doing so until the problem stops.

Shutdown Problems

This problem is also an easy one, which is similar to the first problem. All you have to do is remove your unit’s thermostat cover, then follow the said steps in the first problem. But, in this case, what you have to do is turn the clockwise to “SHORTER”, instead of moving it toward “LONGER”. This should fix your problem. If it doesn’t just repeat the steps until you get it working.

No Heat Generation

If your unit is not generating heat, then the problem is most probably the pilot
light. Try checking out your pilot light and see if it is turned on or if it is out. If you find it to be out, then you would have to relight it. In case you do not know how to relight it, simply consult your unit’s manual or contact your manufacturer. This is a relatively easy task that you can do by simply following some simple instructions.

No Air

If your unit is running but doesn’t blow any air, it is probably a belt that needs to be replaced. First, you should turn off the power of your unit. Also, you should turn off the gas from the gas valve which is serving your furnace. Then, remove the door of your furnace cabinet so you can have access to your blower. When you have full access, check out the number that is stamped on the belt of your furnace. Then, go to your local shop and get an exact replacement of the belt. Once you’ve got the replacement belt, then go back to your furnace cabinet and install the new belt. Generally, you can just slip it on your motor’s smaller pulley then put it on your motor’s blower pulley.

Try rotating the blower pulley using your hand, while you hold the belt in place. Be careful from having your fingers caught though. If you get this right, you should be able to get the belt right in place. If it looks a little too tight, then you may need to adjust the motor mount so there can be more slack in the fixture. After adjusting, try to retighten the tension again, once you have the belt in the right place. It would be better to check your manufacturer’s specifications regarding the proper tension needed for your unit. Generally, your belt should deflect at least about an inch whenever you press it down.

If you have any problems or questions please contact Choice Home Inspections at (770) 490-6911.

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How to Unclog a Sink Drain

How to unclog a slow sink drain

If your bathroom sink is slow to drain you may need to unclog the U shaped drain under your sink called a pea trap as well as remove the plunger to clean out the drain. The tools you will need are a small bucket and a large sized bucket as well as an old toothbrush. You should remove everything from under your sink to ensure you have enough room to work.

The first thing you will need to do is to place the small bucket under the pea trap to catch any water that may still be in the drain. You will want to remove the pea trap that is the U shaped pipe under the sink. There will be two nuts that you should be able to unscrew by hand unless there is a lot of buildup on the nuts. It there is build up you will also need an adjustable wrench. Loosen the nuts and slowly remove the pea trap from the drain. Be careful because any water remaining in the drain will start dripping into the bucket. Clear away any visible debris from the drain. Then take the pea trap to a different sink and clear out any remaining debris. Then scrub the pea trap with the old toothbrush and rinse it out well.

Now remove the plunger from the sink by unscrewing the rod attachment from the back of the drain under the sink. Pull the rod out of the attachment. The plunger should be able to be removed from the sink basin now. Look down through the drain even if you can see all the way through the drain may still have hair and other particles in it. With the large bucket under the drain run a small stream of water and gently scrub the drain with a tooth brush. Do this at the basin entrance and from the bottom of the drain. Put the plunger back into the basin carefully aligning the notched opening to the back of the sink. Then insert the rod back through the opening in the drain and then tighten the nut. Place the cleaned pea trap back onto the drain and tighten the nuts.

Once the hardware is reassembled your sink should not have any problems draining.

If you have any questions about home repair and home inspection call Choice Home Inspection Services 770-490-6911.

Upstairs Laundry Room – Tips to Avoid Flooding

Upstairs laundry roomAn upstairs laundry room can create a lot of water damage if there is ever a problem with flooding.

Four Tips to Protect Your Home from Damage

Follow these four simple steps and you can help prevent flood damage to an upstairs laundry room in the event of a washing machine malfunction.

  1. Install a Washing Machine Outlet Box:  These washing machine outlet boxes provide quick, safe, water supply shut-off access.  Complete with knockouts for waste or water lines, the box provides a recessed space for your supply valves.  These boxes are designed to install in panel, drywall or plastered surfaces, and provide a finished look to your installations.  These are available at most local home supply/hardware stores.
  2. Install a Washer Pan or Tray:  This is a pan with a purpose.   A washer pan or tray is typically a rectangular piece of plastic that is placed beneath the washing machine so that it can catch water from any spills or leaks.   Pans are often equipped with a hose that can be connected to the drain pipe so that the water is easy to remove.   Washer pans are made of plastic and not metal to resist rust and other forms of damage.  While these trays are also thin, homeowners can be assured that the quality of the material is unbreakable and does not easily crack even under the weight of the washer.
  3. Check Water Supply Hoses:   Check older hoses for cracks and replace when necessary.  A burst hose can spell big, costly trouble.  If you’re buying new hoses, consider purchasing “no-burst” hoses.  These type of rubber hoses are sheathed with braided stainless steel.  Replacing the hoses can save you a lot of time, money and frustration.
  4. Turn off the Water to Supply Hoses:   For additional peace of mind, turn off the water supply to the washing machine.  This is easy to do with a single-lever shut off valve.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact Choice Home Inspections Services at 770-490-6911, or click here to contact us by email.

Home Inspector Helps You

home inspector

If you’re thinking of buying a home, then you’re probably aware that you should get a qualified home inspector to examine it.  In fact, most offers will include a condition that the property be inspected before the sale becomes final.

A good home inspector will go over the property from top to bottom, inside and out.  The home inspector will look for things like cracks in the foundation, out-dated wiring, repairs that need to be made, and any aging components, such as the roof and furnace.  The inspector will also provide a timeline for replacement of any major components including HVAC, windows, roof, etc.

Basically, a home inspector helps the potential homeowner understand the condition of the home and the related costs expected.  This valuable service is also very beneficial for the seller as well.  By having your current home inspected before you list it for sale can help sell your property faster and for the best price.

For instance:  Say you put your home on the market and you get an offer.  The offer is conditional on the home inspection.  The inspector may uncover a major issue that you weren’t aware of, and the buyer could potentially walk away from the deal.  If, however, you hired a home inspector first, you would know about those issues in advance and could deal with them appropriately.

A good home inspector can be more valuable than you think!  If we can be of service or if you would like more information or have any questions, please contact Choice Home Inspection Services at 770-490-6911.  Or email or text us:  http://chisvc.com/contact-us