Organizing for Spring Cleaning

SpringCleaning650

We all understand spring cleaning comes around every year but have you ever thought about the best way to get the job done? One of the easiest ways to start spring cleaning is to organize the house into sections or rooms and clean one every day. If you begin in one room and work on it before moving on, you can see your accomplishments quickly. It also makes cleaning more efficient. Some people go between rooms and wash the walls, and then move to doing all the baseboards and dusting before taking on the floors. This sounds logical, but in reality it takes a lot more time to clean that way.

The first step is to pick the worst room in the house. If you take care of the hardest room to clean, then the rest will be easier to complete. If the kitchen is large, has a lot of cabinets and appliances, or has a lot of built-up dirt, then start in the kitchen. If the basement, garage, or attic is the largest mess, begin there for the best results. Okay so splitting the house into rooms is the best way to divvy up the cleaning, so how do you go about cleaning the room quickly and effectively?

The second step is to get rid of all the trash, laundry, and items that go in other places. Give back things you borrowed, put furniture and other items in the rooms they came from, give away things you have not used in six months, and throw away anything that is damaged. Once you have the clutter eliminated, then you can move onto washing the walls, pictures, cabinets, and fixtures. Empty out all cupboards and thoroughly clean them inside and out. Make sure to check the expiration dates of food items in the kitchen when you are cleaning out your cupboards and refrigerator. Be sure to dust the ceilings and wash them if possible.

After washing the walls and everything that goes with them, the next step is to dust all the surfaces in the room. This means cleaning and scrubbing all the appliances, furniture, and shelves in the room. Be sure to dust books, knick-knacks, and pictures as you put them back. The last step is to give the floors a thorough cleaning with a steam cleaner, carpet cleaner, or scrub brush. It is best to do the baseboards at this point because you have already cleaned from the top down, and all the dirt is on the floor. When your rooms are finished, then sit back and relax.

Home Energy Tips for the Winter Months

polar vortexTemperatures in the single figures … not one, but numerous reports of arctic vortex climate in 2013 … the weather condition in Chicago can be severe. Sustained icy climate could be the standard for people living much to our north, but not for those of us here! Not only does extreme climate wear on us literally, it wears out our pocketbooks, also. When temperatures dip down into the adolescents and below, our home furnace are forced to work harder. So just what’s the best way to keep your household warm and comfortable and also not blow your budget on energy expenses? I have a couple of handy suggestions …

Insulate

The # 1 method to keep the chilly temperatures out, and also the warmth in is insulation. And when it involves shielding your residence, there are numerous locations to pay very close attention. I’ll begin with the best down.

roofing insulationAttic Insulation– The biggest location of heat loss in most houses is with the roof. Heat rises, so normally the first place it will attempt to get away will be your attic and the roof. Purchasing excellent quality, high R-value insulation won’t cost a fortune and also it will offer a sizable power cost savings. I advise checking out Budget Construction – Chicago roofing for more information about installing, replacing, or repairing a roof.

siding insulationSiding Insulation/ Wall Insulation– When houses are built, contractors protect the room and indoor walls from the outside with either blown-in or rolled insulation. This significantly reduces air’s capability to come in from outside, and it help keep plumbing from getting cold. Pretty standard stuff. Yet did you know about shielded siding? Unlike standard vinyl home siding which is made from a single layer of formed vinyl, insulated exterior siding is backed with a foam-like element. This added layer works like a covering, obstructing cold air from making its way behind siding. One more included advantage of insulated home siding in noise decrease. Shielded siding acts a little bit like the foam wall surfaces you view in recording centers, aiding to block outside sound. Find out more about different types of siding Chicago.

Change Drafty Windows

window replacementPower Efficient Windows– If you have old or cost-effective windows, you have probably at one time or an additional been shocked to stand near a window and really feel a ‘breeze’… when the window is shut! Inadequately installed windows, windows with single pane glass, and home windows that have wood or non-insulated frameworks are at risk to power loss. In winter, not only does cold air get in to your home through reduced effectiveness windows, your priceless warmth is able to escape! Today, technologies in power performance have blazed a trail for replacement window Chicago that help keep your house cozy in winter season and also cool in summer. I recommend double-paned windows with insulated structures for maximum performance. Equally as vital as the window itself is its installation. Be sure to have substitute windows mounted by a professional.

Think about an Alternating Heat Source

electric fireplaceFireplaces — One more method to combat high power expenses is through the installment of an alternating source of heat– namely a gas, wood or pellet fire place or oven. Fire places and stoves can quickly as well as successfully warm rooms such as living rooms and even huge bed rooms, allowing you to keep your thermostat at a reasonably reduced price. (Not also reduced, though– you want to make sure that those water pipes don’t freeze!) Fire places and also ranges are available in a wide variety of styles from ultra contemporary to down-on-the-farm conventional.

So while I cannot resolve the problems caused by arctic weather, I hope these ideas on how you can enhance your home’s effectiveness will be able to help you out. As always, if you have any concerns relating to external house renovations, please contact me.

Stay warm Chicago!

DIY Home Improvement Tips

Home Improvement

home improvement tipsSometimes, getting started can be the hardest part. Here are some tips you should know before you start tearing your house apart.

  • Save those phony pre-approved credit cards you get in the mail– you could utilize them as glue spreaders or shims.
  • When driving screws into dense woods, lubricate them with wax or soap to prevent stripping.
  • Double-sided carpeting tape works wonderfully for temporarily securing design templates without leaving screw or nail holes.
  • If you happen to dent your wood while performing a task, utilize a damp rag as well as a iron to steam out the dent.
  • Conserve that old electric carving knife. It’s the ideal foam viewed for upholstery projects.
  • When repainting a surface area that should be keyed– new drywall or timber– tint the primer to match the finish coat, lessening your painting task from 3 coats to 2.
  • Sand the face of the hammer head with sandpaper to assist the hammer hold the nail and also avoid the nail head from sliding.
  • Wrap paint rollers and brushes in a plastic bag between coats to keep them full of paint and also prevent them from drying out.
  • Don’t attempt to work with electric or plumbing jobs if you are not confident. It frequently sets you back even more to mend later on and can be hazardous.
  • When drilling though ceramic tile or natural stone, put masking tape on the surface. This makes marking the ceramic tile less complicated and also makes the drill bit stay in one area.
  • When renovating your house, consistently print a budget malfunction. If you’re not sure ways to do one, buy an expert estimator or amount land surveyor to do it for you. The printout will certainly reveal you the price of every trade, nail and screw, offering you an exact number to base your spending plan on. This info is excellent for contrasting quotes as you will have done the homework and understand the expenses!

Tips for Restoration Projects

  • home restoration projects + tipsExpect the unexpected. Merely when you assume there isn’t really termite or water harm, it exists. Have the determination to work through these issues and also expect that budget costs will transform.
  • Research on your own before diving in. The main reason numerous projects are left uncompleted is an absence of understanding of exactly how everything fits back together.. Discover the history, structure, codes, security as well as visual appeal prior to tearing apart your house over the weekend.
  • Do not skimp when it comes to replacing the work that needs to be brought back. Buy the right tools and products for the work. That will guarantee that the initial stability will be restored.
  • Play the part of a good detective. When dealing with a historical project, look for “ghosts,” or aged remainders of the past such as aged wallpaper, paint marks, and even molding and also trim items. These will certainly help you to restore your project to its initial quality.
  • Regularly scheduled maintenance is key to preservation. Keeping the outside aspects away, such as water, wind, cool and warmth, is vital to maintaining a treasure from the past.

Air Conditioning Unit Maintenance & Spring Season Cleaning

air conditioning unitIt takes good air movement to cool your home efficiently and also properly. If you have an outdoors air-conditioning system, you need to keep it obstruction-free as well as tidy by doing some straightforward upkeep at least once a year:

  • Keep a 2-foot room around and a 4-foot room above your condenser free from plants, branches and also debris.
  • Place a common kitchen blade in between the thin metal fins of the condenser and correct any type of bent fins. Glide the knife between any kind of fins not uniformly spaced to clear out debris.
  • Disconnect the power to the condenser system as well as spray off any kind of added dirt and also debris on the unit with your garden hose.
  • Inspect all the ducts as well as vents for leakages. Spot them with heat-graded foil tape. Don’t utilize duct tape; it dries out and also splits. Even with the name, it’s not implied for ducts.

Click here to learn how to clean a chimney.

Cleaning a Chimney

Chimney-BrushWith the winter months upon us, it is necessary to keep your chimney and fireplace performing properly. You could always hire a professional chimney sweeping service (check out chimney sweep cost), but if the thought of being covered in dirt, grime, soot, and whatever else doesn’t send you scrambling for a phone, then you can always try to complete the job by yourself. If you think you might have unstable masonry, then you should contact a tuckpointing professional immediately. Please see Capital Chimney Chicago tuckpointing for more information about masonry issues. Read how to get started on your home improvement project for tips.

Whether you decide to clean a chimney yourself or hire a professional, you will want to make sure a good job is done. Cleaning and maintaining a chimney is essential to prevent chimney fires that could cause serious damage to your chimney, fireplace, and home. These fires will also cause extremely hazardous conditions for you and/or your family. For these reasons the cleaning must be completed properly and thoroughly. Remember, you’re not just clearing out the soot and dust from your fireplace, but you also need to scrape and remove creosote that has built up on your chimney walls.

Before you begin cleaning your chimney, it is essential that you make sure the fireplace and chimney are structurally safe. If it is not, the chimney can fall over if when a ladder leans on it. There are a couple of things to look for to ensure your chimney is safe:

  1. Water damage. Water damage is incredibly harmful for chimneys. If water gets between the bricks of the chimney or fireplace the bricks may start to flake or deteriorate and cause instability.
  2. If your chimney is leaning to the side, it might be time for a chimney repair or rebuild. Please see Chicago chimney repair for more information about fireplace repairs.

In order to clean your chimney, you will need:

  • A chimney brush
  • Fireplace cover
  • A tarp, drop cloth, or other covering for the floor and furniture
  • Tape
  • Mirror
  • Metal bucket
  • Shovel and broom
  • Shop vacuum
  • Flashlight
  • Dust mask/goggles
  • Ladder

The most preferred method of cleaning a chimney will be scraping it with a wire chimney brush. The brush may seem expensive, but for people who frequently use their fireplaces and need to clean their chimney a couple of times a year, a wire chimney brush gives the best results.

Now that you have your tools you will need to start scraping your chimney with your brush. Before you begin, cover anything near the fireplace i.e. furniture, flooring, TV, etc. with the tarp to protect these items from becoming dirty and damaged. Then set up your fireplace cover to keep the soot inside of the fireplace when you are sweeping the chimney.

Chimney-Sweep_CleaningShovel the soot out of the fireplace into the bucket and vacuum up anything that is left over. Use the mirror and flashlight to look into the chimney to see if there are any areas you might have missed. The dusk mask and goggles will keep your eyes and your lungs safe from particles floating in the air. Viola, you have just cleaned your own chimney, how does it feel? It’s not so hard, right?

If this process seems too comprehensive to you, then consider hiring a professional for chimney cleaning services.

Source: http://nasdonline.org/document/246/d000047/cleaning-stovepipes-and-chimneys.html

Welcome!

Hello, thank you for checking out my blog, CS Wraith. My name is Ralph Hodge and I am the owner, operator, and creator of CS Wraith. I am really excited you have shown interest in my website. If there is anything I can help you with please make sure to contact me. This page is where my blogs will be updated. I will update them as frequently as I can. Please take the time to read other blog comments or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ by following the links on the bottom of this page. I look forward to networking and communicating with you.

homerepair-handyman Ralph Hodge

How to Get Started on Your Home Improvement Project

Since this will be my first blog I wanted to talk about the first thing you need to do when starting home renovations: think. The best advice I have ever received and now give to everyone who is looking for advice for their next project is to think carefully. Think about what you want the end result to look like. Carefully consider how you will get their. Will you hire someone to do the work for you? Will you try to attempt to do it yourself? Are there certain laws/codes in your area that prevent you from doing the job on your own or doing it the way you want to? In order to get started on your home improvement project the right way, you MUST take into consideration all of these things. Most mistakes/accidents happen because people do not properly plan out the work ahead of them.

Obviously if you are going to hire a contractor to do the work for you, which is usually the better, more expensive option depending on your level of expertise and the company’s experience, you don’t do much of the planning. However, it is necessary for you to communicate to the contractors what you want and when you want it by. By telling them this information they will be able to give you a more accurate estimate. Your best bet when hiring contractors is to perform research on each company in question, i.e. check out their Yelp and Google them, or ask your friends or family. Usually, word of mouth is the best way to get an honest opinion about a home improvement company in your area. You cannot trust the majority of stuff you read online or see in the paper.

When a company comes out for an estimate make sure you ask them questions like, “Have you done anything like this before?” or “What would you do if this happens….?” in order to find out the skill level and on-the-job experience of the workers.

For more information please reference the video below from Lowe’s about getting started on a kitchen home improvement project.