Show Notes: Autumn Home Overhaul – On the House

Show Notes: Autumn Home Overhaul

By on October 10, 2015

It’s time to get the autumn home overhaul and safety checks on. Join James and Morris is week for timesaving and serious tips for your winter weather home prep.

Thank you to our guest, Cesar Chavez of Cesar Chavez Design:


Buggy HVAC?

The most common reason for infested home comfort systems is poor care. In other words, some homeowners do not pay any attention to how bugs or rodents could get into their ducts, vents, returns, heating units, cooling units or other components.

If you live near a body of water or a forest area, you should take extra caution to avoid infestation.

How do I prevent HVAC pest infestation?

There are different answers for each threat, including:

  • Make sure that all grates on the outside of your home are secure to prevent small animals from wandering into your vents
  • Place bug repellents near heating or cooling units outside of your home or in the garage
  • Use a flashlight to check for and eliminate stray bugs before they can colonize

What sort of damage can HVAC pest infestation cause?

The biggest problem is any pest that can dig or cut a hole in your HVAC system. Leaks are very expensive, since they require your heating or cooling system to work harder to achieve your desired comfort level.

Other problems include:

  • Dead bugs and rodents can make your home stink
  • Air quality dips when the system is infested
  • Damage to HVAC components hurts the value of a home

What should I do if I notice an HVAC pest infestation?

Get in touch with an expert right away. You can take steps to eliminate bugs or small rodents, but it is best to let an expert assess the damage.


5 Simple Steps To Prepare Your Home For Fall Weather 

Getting a well maintained home ready for colder weather isn’t difficult, but it’s wise to start early, say experts at the Paint Quality Institute.  They recommend that homeowners tackle five simple projects as soon as possible.  Together, they can help protect your home from the elements, make it more comfortable, and help prevent expensive repair bills next spring:

  1. Touch up exterior paint.  Peeling or flaking paint can expose bare wood, subjecting it to moisture and possible rotting, so if you see bare spots, be sure to touch them up.  Scrape off any loose paint, sand the surface smooth, and prime the bare wood.  Then apply one or two coats of top quality 100% acrylic latex paint.  (Use leftover paint if you have it!)
  2. Don’t ignore rust spots.  If iron doors, railings, or fences show signs of rust, correct the problems as soon as you can; otherwise, things will snowball over the winter.  Use a scraper and/or wire brush to remove the rust, rinse away any particles that remain, and prime the surfaces as soon as they are dry.  Complete the work by applying two thick coats of 100% acrylic latex paint.
  3. Caulk cracks and gaps.  Any openings in your home’s exterior are not only energy sieves, but also serve as inviting entry points for insects and mice.  Deal with both concerns by sealing cracks, gaps, and open seams with a paintable top quality acrylic caulk.  Conceal the caulk by touching up with leftover paint.
  4. Keep out the cold and moisture.  Storm windows and storm doors are essential defenses against wind, rain, snow, and cold air.  If you have storm windows and doors, put them up early; if you don’t have them, buy some. They will help pay for themselves through lower energy bills and tax credits.
  5. Clean the gutters.  Keep a sound roof overhead by removing leaves, pine needles, and other debris from your rain gutters.  Otherwise, trapped water may form harmful “ice dams” that can damage roofing shingles and create leaks — problems you certainly won’t want to deal with when the weather is bad.

So, don’t delay getting your home ready for winter.  Take advantage of the pleasant fall weather and do these projects now.  That way, you’ll be able to rest easy and comfortably when Old Man Winter comes a-calling.

Source of these tips came via The Paint Quality Institute.


Stow The Mower

If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, you should be. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.

Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it.

  1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole.
  1. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring.
  1. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck.

Read more:


Everything You Need To Know About Gutter Repairs

Rusty rain gutters. Whatever the hue, rust is rust and rust ruins metal. When that happens leaks are inevitable. But don’t fret. We have a few tips on gutter repair that will leave you plenty of time to enjoy cultivating your spring vegetable garden.

Roof gutters are made out of plastic, aluminum, galvanized steel, wood and copper, to name a few. As you can see most are metal and therefore are subject to rust. When a rusty area turns into a leak try this quick repair. Envision the repair as a two part process: 1) removing the rust, and 2) stopping the leak. You’ll need a few tools: a wire brush or a wire wheel mounted on an electric drill, a throw-away paint brush, strips of tin foil (or plastic), rust converter paint and roofing cement. A second type of repair will require the addition of small pieces of sheetmetal instead of the tin foil.

The most important part of any leak repair caused by rust is – you got it – to get rid of the rust. First, use a wire brush or a wire wheel on a drill to remove all loose rust. The experts will tell you that once the loose rust is removed a rust converter can be painted on and the rust will not come back. Wrong! Get rid of as much rust as possible by brushing thoroughly. For extra special results use a liquid rust remover (phosphoric acid) to eliminate the rust that is left after wire brushing. Finally, clean the damaged area completely and paint on a coat of rust converter. What’s left will become inert and should not be a problem in the future. 

With rust removed and converted the next step is to stop the leak. Be sure that the rust converter has dried completely. Then, apply an eighth-inch thick coat of roof cement around the leak. Before the cement dries add several strips of tin foil. With the tin foil in place use a can or a jar on its side to roll everything flat. Once everything is smooth and flat add a final layer of roof patch. It is important to remember that the total thickness of the repair should not exceed about three-sixteenths of an inch. A dam can be created if too much roof cement is used.

For larger repairs the tin foil should be replaced with a piece of sheetmetal. Heating contractors typically have at least a trash can full of scraps that are perfect for this type of repair. Chances are you can get the scrap you’ll need for a hand shake and a thank you. This repair is made exactly like the first one. Simply use the sheetmetal where the foil was used.

For really badly damaged areas sheetmetal plates can be pop-riveted into place and sealed with liquid aluminum. This is one that you may want to leave to the sheetmetal contractor. Another alternative is the replacement of damaged sections. You would be amazed at how little gutter shapes have changed over the decades.

If a gutter is sagging repair the mounting brackets before fixing leaks. You will not want the gutter shape to change once the leak has been fixed. This could cause a patch to open.

Wood gutters can be fitted with a metal liner, patched, sectioned or preserved. Preservation is the aspect of wood gutter maintenance that you can do yourself. You can use store bought wood preservative or make your own by mixing one part of boiled linseed oil to one part of paint thinner or turpentine. Add a mildicide to the concoction as if it were exterior paint. Mildicide can be purchased at your local paint store. Clean the gutters with a pressure washer and when dry use a garden sprayer to apply the oil. Now, get to that vegetable garden! And, good luck! 


Prune Plants

Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

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Smoke Detectors: Ionization vs Photoelectric Or Both

The two most commonly recognized smoke detection technologies are ionization smoke detection and photoelectric smoke detection.

Ionization smoke alarms are generally more responsive to flaming fires.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering (called “smoldering fires”).

It’s time to replace your old smoke detectors and replace them with a Dual-sensor smoke detector that’s easy to install and has few false alarms. It uses both ionization and photoelectric technology, and experts say you need both of those for comprehensive detection of all types of common household fires.

Certification. Only buy smoke detectors that have passed certification by a recognized testing authority. In the United States, Underwriters Laboratory certification carries the most weight.

Long warranty. Smoke detectors can malfunction, but the best models come with five-to-10-year warranties. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing the entire unit every eight to 10 years.


Storing Gasoline Safely

If you have to store gasoline for an emergency generator, your lawn mower or for other purposes, it’s important to follow simple safety rules. Fire codes typically restrict gas storage to no more than 25 gallons.

Store the gas in containers of 5 gallons or less that have been approved for gasoline. Approved containers will include a label or wording directly on the container that says it meets specifications for portable containers for petroleum products

Never store gas in unapproved or glass containers. Fill the containers no more than 95 percent full to allow for expansion. And keep the cap tight on the container.

Store the container:

  • At least 50 ft. away from pilot lights and ignition sources such as the heat, sparks and flames from a water heater, space heater or furnace.
  • On the floor in a place where children can’t reach it.
  • In a garage or shed rather than in the house, out of direct sunlight.
  • On concrete, place a piece of plywood under the container.

When you buy gasoline to store for your generator, always add a fuel stabilizer right away. Stabilizers contain antioxidants and biocides to prevent compounds and microbial growth from forming on the gas.


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