Show Notes: Rain Gutters, Hard Water and more – On the House

Show Notes: Rain Gutters, Hard Water and more

By on September 20, 2014
galvanised sheet metal gutters

This is the last weekend of summer for 2014. It’s time to get our homes ready for  cooler weather and rain. James and Morris had wise information on gutter maintenance, when is the best time to buy carpet, how costly hard water is on your home, and winter wood fence maintenance tips.

Thank you to our guest, David Gray, with Lamps Plus, for sharing his expertise on task lighting.


Fall is officially here and that means leaves are officially falling. Deep from within the Carey Brothers’ vault, we bring you ways to clear rain gutters with ease when they’re all clogged up with leaves. Think safety first. Use a sturdy ladder on solid ground, and use the right tools to get the job done.

First keep a bucket or trash bag handy topside so you won’t have to dump debris along the way. Special gutter cleaning tools are available like the handy gutter grabber on an 18-foot extension pole that safely pulls leaves in to you from both sides without dangerous over-reaching.

Then there’s the gutters getter scoop to lift leaves out once you’ve got them where you want them. Gutter cleaning just got easier, faster and safer (so you can watch football without feeling guilty). Look for these and other timesaving tools at your local hardware store.



You probably don’t think about your home’s gutters and downspouts very often, but a problem with your roof’s drainage system can leave you with a wet basement, a mosquito problem, puddles in your yard or even serious damage to your home’s foundation. Cleaning gutters isn’t on anyone’s list of favorite activities, but good gutter and downspout maintenance can save you a heck of a lot of headaches.

Now that fall is here and we are all beginning to prepare for winter the time is just right to clean and inspect your gutters and downspouts. Having things in good working order before winter arrives will help you keep your home dry and healthy.


A good cleaning is the first step to gutter and downspout care. The Foundation Repair Association recommends cleaning your gutters and downspouts every spring and fall, and more often if you have a tall tree near your house. Clean the gutters first, using a ladder and any tool that will work for scooping out vegetation, such as a garden trowel. Next, use your garden hose to spray water into the top of your downspout to make sure it is free of clogs. If the water doesn’t flow freely out of the bottom, clear the clog with a pipe snake. Finally, use your garden hose to rinse the gutter clean. Repeat the process with all of your home’s gutters and downspouts.


Once your roof’s drainage system is clean, it’s time to make sure the system is doing its job. First, check the gutters and downspouts for any holes, corrosion or other damage. Check the connections between the gutters and downspouts, and make sure the components are secured to your house so they will not blow loose in a storm.

Next, pour water from a bucket or spray your garden hose into the end of the gutter farthest from the downspout, and watch to make sure the water flows freely and drains completely into the downspout. If water pools anywhere along the way, adjust the gutter’s slope to get rid of high and low spots. Your home’s gutters should drop at least one inch vertically for every eight feet of horizontal length–anything less, and rain water may pour over the edge of the gutter during a storm.

Once you’ve made sure your gutters are draining properly, it’s time to check the ends of the downspouts. In order to drain rain water a safe distance from your home, the Foundation Repair Association recommends adding extensions to your downspouts that will release the water at least 5 feet from your home’s foundation. A splash block at the end of the extension will help prevent pooling.


If your spring cleaning includes ridding your roof of ugly and damaging moss, algae, lichen or mold, remember that using a bleach solution can lead to corrosive damage to your gutters and downspouts. Wet & Forget will leave your roof clear of ugly growths without harming your home’s roof drainage system.

Thank you  to our friends at Wet & Forget:



Carpet retailers have busy seasons and slow seasons. If you try to negotiate a better deal during their busy season, then you don’t stand much of a chance to beat them down on the price. However, if you negotiate wisely during their slow season then you stand a very good chance of getting a very sweet carpet deal for yourself.

The Worst Times to Buy New Carpet.

Here are the big three ”busy” seasons to steer clear of:

1.  Between February 20th and April 30th when people are expecting a tax refund

2. From the 4th of July through August 31st. During the hot summer months when people are remodeling an existing home or moving into a new home before the new school year starts.

  1. Mid-October thru mid December.  When people are getting ready for the holidays, and when out of town relatives and guests are coming.

The Best Times to Buy New Carpet

At the beginning of January when this slow season is in full swing.

The next slow season is from May 1st to June 30th. you to negotiate a great carpet deal. Try May 20th through June 10th for the best negotiating power.

September is a great time to negotiate a great deal on new carpet for your home. This window of opportunity is not very long.


How, And Where, Hard Water Impacts Your Home

  The ways you’ll notice hard water:

With hard water found in about 85% of US homes, you’re bound to have experienced the signs of it around your home. The high mineral content of hard water—specifically, high concentrations of calcium and magnesium—is what’s to blame for these problems. As water evaporates, these minerals harden themselves onto items as mineral deposits, also known as scale. The more scale present, the more problems that exist.

Here are some of the most common problems you may experience around your home due to hard water:

Around the home

  • Crusty, white scale buildup on faucets, shower heads and water-using appliances
  • Dishwasher that no longer cleans dishes well
  • Reduced water flow due to clogged pipes
  • Hard-to-clean film and scale on bath and kitchen fixtures, shower walls and toilets
  • Spotty, filmy glasses and dishes—even after washing
  • Soap that refuses to lather no matter how much you use
  • Gray, dingy clothing
  • Towels that feel hard and scratchy after washing

Financial hits over time

  • Higher Utility Bills
  • Hard water requires up to 29% more energy to heat your water over the life of a water heater
  • Estimated cost in energy bills over a 10-year period: $1,500
  • Decreased efficiency of major water-using appliances, including big-ticket items like water heaters, dishwashers and washing machines
  • A 30% to 50% decrease in the lifespan of major appliances
  • Increased purchases of items such as laundry detergent, bath and kitchen soaps, lotions and household cleaners
  • Estimated annual cost without a softener: $1,039
  • Estimated annual cost with a softener: $225 (75% to 80% savings)

 Personal well-being

  • “Squeaky” skin after washing
  • Excessively dry skin
  • Dull, limp hair
  • Razor burn
  • Hair color that quickly fades

To help solve the problems you’re experiencing before deciding on a more permanent solution, there are ways to outsmart hard water. While you can’t fix everything, like protecting the inside of your pipes, these helpful tips will provide some temporary cosmetic relief:

Stains, spots and scale buildup

Vinegar (white or apple cider)

Vinegar’s acidity can cut through the minerals left behind by hard water. Create your own cleaner by mixing a 50–50 solution of distilled water and vinegar to spot-treat scale (for example, on shower doors,  faucets). Combine vinegar with baking soda for a more powerful scrub (for example, in bathtubs, sinks).

Lemon juice

Like vinegar, the acidity in lemon juice is able to cut through the hard water minerals deposited on water fixtures.

Commercial products

Chemical cleaners can help eliminate scale buildup and rust stains left behind by hard water.

  • Dull hair

Vinegar (preferably apple cider)

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) acts as a hair clarifier, removing mineral and hair products’ buildup and maintaining hair’s color and shine. After you shampoo and rinse, do a final rinse with the ACV.

Chelating shampoos

Chelating shampoos are specifically designed to prevent and remove mineral buildup in your hair. A chelating agent (preferably one that contains EDTA) chemically binds to minerals, removing them before you even have a chance to notice their presence. Because a chelating shampoo will strip your hair, it should only be used about once a week and followed up with an intensely moisturizing conditioner.

Gray, dingy clothing

Special additives are available that you can add to your laundry. These additives bind to the hardness minerals and soften the water during the wash cycle. However, those additives are drained away with the wash water, leaving your clothes to be rinsed in hard water and undoing some of the additives’ benefits.

Find a permanent fix for your home

A water softener can do the heavy lifting for you. The softener eliminates your hard water problem and distributes soft water throughout the home. All you have to do is monitor the salt levels and conduct some basic maintenance checks.

If you’ve noticed any of the hard water signs in your home, the best way to know for sure if you’ve got it is through a hard water test. It’s quick and easy and it tells you how hard your water is. Knowing your estimated water use (for example, how many loads of laundry are done in a week, the number of times you run your dishwasher in a week) and answering basic household questions (for example, how many bathrooms are in the home) will help you focus on the best water softener solutions for your home.

Thank you to our friends at:



Garden Compass Plant / Disease Identifier App and it’s free

By TeamSOA, Inc.


If you have a plant, pest or disease you need identified…look no further. The Garden Compass Plant and Disease Identifier app allows you to take a photo and submit it to our team of expert horticultural garden advisors who will identify it for you, as well as provide you with specific product recommendations to resolve any problems you may have.



Regular maintenance is also the best way to extend the life of your fence.

Physical Inspection: Look over every aspect of your wood fence. If you notice any damage, address it immediately. The longer you wait, the worse the damage can become.

Remove Overhanging Limbs: Tree limbs and your wood fence do not mix. When these limbs fall, they can cause a lot of damage to your fence. So take the preemptive approach and trim overhanging branches before they cause damage.

Trim Shrubs: There should be some space in between your shrubs and your fence. This will help extend the life of your fence and minimize damage.

Remove Debris: Be sure to remove debris from around your fence. This debris, when wet, can increase the risk of mold, mildew, and other fence damage.

Consider a New Fence: If your fence is falling apart, routine maintenance and repairs may not be enough. It may be time to invest in a new fence.


Websites Mentions:

Miracle Seat:



About onthehouse

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest