J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “repairs”

Guest Post by Julian Lane

Tips to Avoid Weather Damage to Your Home

Photo by Unsplash

There’s a reason we build shelters to protect ourselves from the elements—it gets brutal out there. Of course, the barrier that protects us from the heat, wind, and snow takes a beating from those extreme weather conditions. Over time (and sometimes immediately), your home can suffer weather-related damage.

While some damage can be easily fixed, other types of damage require further inspection. And in some cases, you’ll even need to boost your insurance policy. Consider the following tips if you live in a climate that’s prone to severe weather events.

These tips are brought to you by J.D.R. Hawkins, an award-winning and bestselling author of several fiction and one non-fiction book about the U.S. Civil War. You can find her Renegade series of novels on her website, JDRHawkins.com

Clean Your Gutters

If water can’t flow freely through your gutters, it can leak into your house, causing damage to the walls and even the foundation, compromising the home’s structure and stability. Remove any leaves or debris from the gutters, or you could hire a service to clean your gutters at least once a year. Another option is to use gutter guards to help prevent debris from getting lodged into the gutters in the first place.

If you’ve had clogged gutters, you can check for water damage yourself. Look for stains, warping, mold, and standing water. If you find any of these issues, you’ll want to have them addressed right away to avoid further damage.

Prune Your Trees

A dead branch (or even a live one) can break in a storm, causing damage to your roof, windows, or exterior walls. If you’re unable to do it, hire a tree service to remove dead branches and prune the trees to promote their healthy growth. This will also help prevent any unbalanced growth that could lead to the tree leaning or even falling against your home in the future. Dead trees can be a serious hazard, so consider hiring professionals to lend a hand. It’s easy to find reputable contractors via the members list of the LVBA.

Secure Items or Put Them Away

When the forecast calls for an event like a tornado, your best bet is to secure items like patio furniture, grills and the like. A flying chair could easily bust through a window and open your home up to more damage. Before snow season descends, make a point to clean and stow away any of those items so they come out good as new in the spring.

Protect the Pipes

When winter is on the horizon, you’ll want to keep your water pipes in mind. A burst water pipe can cause extensive damage to your property, and it doesn’t take much to help keep your pipes safe and warm. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or heat tape and seal any cracks or leaks. On severely cold days, leave a faucet or two dripping and open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.

The Time to Make Repairs is Now

Making needed repairs before a weather event can prevent more serious damage like installing storm windows and replacing cracked or damaged gutters. Keeping up with regular roof maintenance and repair is essential, as replacing an entire roof is fairly expensive. Also, if you live in a highly competitive market and intend to sell your home in the future, those repairs will pay off in the long run.

If your home endures a big storm, you’ll want to have a roof inspection, particularly if you know your roof was hit by debris or hail. While you can glance at your roof and spot a missing shingle or two, a professional will be able to see the bigger issues and details that can lead to major problems, like damaged flashing or how old the roof is.

Examine Your Insurance Policies

It never hurts to make sure you understand what your homeowner’s policy will cover—and what it won’t—in case of weather-related damage. According to Nationwide, nearly two-thirds of homes are underinsured. Living in an area that suffers extreme climate could be a compelling reason to boost your coverage. For example, you might need supplemental flood insurance to cover the costs of damage related to severe flooding if you’ve seen that sort of destruction in your community.

The adage about an ounce of prevention holds true when it comes to your home. To keep your home in top condition, address damage as it occurs and do what you can to avoid it in the first place. Your property value will thank you for it!

Guest Post by Jim and Dave Schuelke

I frequently feature guest posts by various authors. Here is an article discussing plumbing repairs, which I think we can all relate to. I hope you enjoy the article!

10 Tips to Help Avoid Emergency Plumbing Repairs

Your plumbing system needs regular upkeep to keep it working smoothly. Plumbing emergencies can cause serious inconvenience and often require expensive repairs. With a bit of foresight and preventive maintenance, it is possible to avoid emergency plumbing repairs. Read on for practical tips on how to prevent emergency plumbing repairs.

1. Watch What You Pour Down the Drain

Your drainage system isn’t designed to handle everything that fits. Don’t treat your drains as trashcans.

Foods such as potato peel, eggshells, pasta, and coffee grounds can clog the drains. Oils, fats, or grease solidify and form a sticky mass as they flow down the drainpipe.

Even a small chunk of sticky mass can attract other material and clog the drainpipe.

Allow fats, oils, etc., to solidify instead of flushing them down the drain. Dispose of food chunks and anything greasy in the trash can.

2. Avoid Harsh Drain Cleaners

When you notice that your bathtub or kitchen sink is draining slowly, you may feel tempted to visit a local hardware store and grab a chemical drain cleaner.

On the surface, it seems like a quick, easy, cheap, and convenient solution. Harsh chemical drain cleaners will sure work in the short term, but such chemicals can also corrode your drainpipes over a period of time.

Corroded pipes are likely to develop leaks when the water pressure goes up or burst on their own.

So don’t reach for chemical drain cleaners too often, or you might have to deal with a plumbing emergency in the near future. Chemical drain cleaners also have a serious negative impact on the environment.

3. Know Where Your Main Water Shutoff Valve Is Located

Despite preventive maintenance, it is possible that your plumbing springs a leak due to a hidden issue. On such occasions, you need to turn off the water flow immediately to prevent flooding.

Knowing how to handle the main water shutoff valve can help prevent major water damage and reduce the scale of a plumbing emergency till plumbing specialists arrive at your doorstep.

4. Fix Minor Plumbing Issues Immediately

Don’t ignore minor leaks and drips. You may think that a leaky pipe or a dripping faucet won’t cause significant water damage – but you cannot be more wrong.  

First, there may be other, hidden leaks in pipes behind ceilings or walls. Second, even small leaks can wreak havoc on your home’s foundations, ceiling, and floors. Mold growth in the attic, basement, or on the walls and ceilings is one of the earliest signs of a plumbing leak.  

So, don’t let seemingly minor plumbing issues go unattended. Call in a professional and get a leak investigated and fixed as soon as possible.

5. Use Drain Screens

Get drain screens for all your drains. Drain screens in your kitchen and bathroom can help avoid plumbing emergencies.

Human hair deposits in the pipes can get entangled in solids flowing through the drainpipes. Such deposits can quickly slow the water-flow and even lead to complete blockage.

Similarly, without a drain screen in your kitchen sink, many solids such as food scraps end up in your drainpipes.

6. Monitor Water Pressure

Reduced flow from faucets or showerheads can be due to sediment build-up. So, the low water pressure should be considered a red flag.

High water pressure, on the other hand, can stress your plumbing system.

7. Inspect Your Septic Tank

Be sure to inspect your septic tank regularly; watch out for water leaks, overflows, corrosion, etc., especially after heavy rains.

8.  Avoid Using Flushable Wipes

Do you use ‘flushable’ wipes? Most of the flushable wipes available in the market will not biodegrade quickly. So, they can clog your drainpipes.

If you want to continue using wipes, avoid flushing them down. Just because something can be flushed down the toilet doesn’t mean it should be disposed of this way.

Flushing wipes, cotton balls, paper towels, sanitary napkins, and other trash can lead to a plumbing emergency.

9. Keep an Eye on Your Water Heater Tank

Water heater tanks have an inner lining that helps prevent rusting or corrosion.

Over a period of time, your water heater tank is likely to develop a sediment build-up.

When this happens, there’s a possibility of overheating. Beyond a point, excessive heat can rupture the protective lining, thus resulting in a major leak.

So, make sure to drain your water heater tank at least once every year to get rid of sediment build-up.

It is equally important to regularly inspect your water heater for any signs of a water leak.

10. Use Stainless Steel Hoses

Do you use rubber hoses? They lose flexibility over time and develop leaks. Consider using stainless steel hoses instead. They are more durable and less likely to develop leaks. 

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