Feels like painting weather

The temperature can make you sweat or shiver while you are painting your house, but did you know it can also affect your paint job? Latex paints usually need about 24 hours of temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit to dry properly. Walls that are exposed to a lot of sun can adsorb heat in the summertime and cause your paint to blister. Your best bet is to paint when it is cool to warm outside, and to avoid painting during temperature extremes.


Off with the old

The first step in repainting your house is to wash it thoroughly. Painting over dirt will just cause the paint to peel off easily. If your house exterior is particularly dirty, you may save time and effort by renting a pressure washer. Besides leaving you with a clean surface to pain, it will help lift off old, peeling paint.

Scraping off loose paint is an important part of your preparation to paint, but don’t scrape off paint that is still firmly attached to the surface. An old fashioned puncture type can opener is ideal for scraping old paint or caulk from hard to reach crevices.

And on with the new

Painting a clean, flat surface is pretty easy – it’s the corners and funny angles that will give you problems. A few things to remember:

  • Use the correct size brush; it will take more than one. You can’t get into every little crack and crevice with a thick, wide brush – you need a small, skinny one. For wider areas that the roller won’t paint well, use a medium or large brush.
  • For a professional-looking finish, use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges that formed when you scraped.
  • If you use a high-quality roller, you shouldn’t have a problem with “roller fuzz” – loose fibers from the roller that get stuck in your paint. To be sure, wrap some masking tape around your hand, sticky-side out, and dab it all over the dry roller before you paint.

The wash cycle

Overload with temptation

It can be so tempting to add just one more towel or a couple of shirts to an already full washing machine. But to get clothes really clean, don't overload the washer. You need to allow lots of room for items to move. And they need plenty of water to carry away the dirt, so choose the appropriate water level for the amount of the clothing. When washing large articles like sheets, check from time to time to be sure they haven't wrapped around the agitator post.

A 'mitey' allergy aid

Do you or someone in your family suffer from asthma or allergies? If so, you know how miserable dust mite droppings in clothing and bedding can make you feel. You can get rid of both the droppings and dust mites by adding eucalytus oil to your wash. The Journal or Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that this " recipe" can kill up to 96 percent of dust mites:

1 part detergent

3 to 5 part eucalyptus oil

Make sure the detergent dissolves in the oil. If not switch detergents. Add this mixture to the washer after it's filled with water. Put in the items to be washed and soak 30 minutes to an hour. Wash normally.



Top-of-the line care for your washer

Taking care of your washing machine will make it last longer and run more efficiently. Protect the top of your washer by wiping up spills of laundry products at once. Some surfaces and plastic parts can be damaged by ammonia, chlorine, bleach, abrasives, and solvents. Use soil and stain-removers in the sink. Carefully follow the label instructions for clean up.

Be sure that water hoses connected to the washing machine are not bent or kinked. Hoses will last longer if you turn off the hot ans cold water faucets leading to the washer between wash-days. Water pressure puts strain on the hoses.

Vinegar can help keep the hoses clean. It also removes soap residue and reduces build up of mineral deposited in the machine. Add one to one and half cups of vinegar to a normal wash cycle(without any clothes) every couple of months. But be sure to continue through the rinse cycle. you don't want to leave vinegar on the surface of porcelain enamel tubs. It contains acid that can etch the surface  if it remains in contact too long. This can cause rust and rough spots that damage your clothes.

When you do a load heavily soiled or linty wash it may leave a residue in the washer tub. Wipe it out with a damp cloth, and leave the washer open to air dry.

The dryer cycle

Save $$$ in your dryer

Whenever you used your dryer, try to run it more than once. By the second time, the dryer will already be heated up from the first load, and it won't have to work so hard to dry the clothes. You get the most efficiency by drying several loads in a row.

You'll save money on both electricity and your clothes budget if you don't over dry fabrics. Unless you need to wear a garment immediately, take it out of the dryer while it's still slightly damp, especially in thicker areas such as pockets or waistbands. You'll find less shrinking, wrinkling, and static buildup. But to prevent the danger of mildew, let damp items dry completely in an open area before hanging them in the closet or putting them in the drawers.

Make Sure you don't overload the dryer. Clothes that tumble freely will have fewer wrinkles, so you may not have to heat up the energy burning iron. And use the permanent press cycle with its cooling down period. That will also reduce wrinkles.



Top-notch treatment for your dryer

Be sure to clean the lint catcher on your dryer every time you use it. For loads of clothes that have a lot of lint, stop and clean the filter in the middle of the drying cycle. You'll save money, improve the efficiency of the machine, and eliminate a fire hazard.


Clean the exhaust vent system at least once a year. Be sure it is never clogged. Never vent a dryer inside the house. It should always be vented to the out-of-doors.


Never dry items that have been used with solvents or waxes or that carry a warning label saying they could catch fire.

Cleaning Driveways and Sidewalks of oil stains

Driveways and Sidewalks

Make a clean sweep of it

You work hard at making your house look attractive. So why settle for the "permanent" grease or oil spot on your concrete driveway? Get rid of it by pouring mineral spirits or paint thinner on the dirty area. Make sure it covers thoroughly. Then take a bag of of cat litter, sand or large box of baking soda (even corn meal will work - you just want something dry and absorbent) and spread it on the top of the spot. Leave it there for 12 hours or so and then sweep it up. The oil spot should be "gone with the litter". Get up the final traces of the mineral spirits with warm water, regular detergent, and a mop. You can us this method with dry cement, too, but in that case, let is sit for a couple of days before sweeping it up.


Better safe then scar-y

If your not sure what surface material your're dealing with, it's best to play it safe. Many commercial products are available for cleaning concrete, blacktop, and various types of patio surfaces. These can be bought at hardware and some paint stores, and should tell you right on the bottle if they can clean your surface without scarring it.

Foil that dripping oil

Oil is a tough enemy to face in the trenches of stain warfare, particularly when it has  soaked in a good and deep. But here's a secret weapon that just might carry the day. Fix up a solution of one part TSP (trisodium phosphate) to four parts of water. Soak an old towel in the solution, lay it over the sinister stain, and allow it to sit. From time to time, you can work the solution into the stain with a scrub brush, but the best results will come from the towel leaching the stain out. Even if this does not completely remove a deep stain, it will reduce it.


A spot of trouble

For a stubborn grease spot, try scrubbing it with concentrated detergent suds. Use a very stiff brush, and then hose it down with water. Or you might try automatic dish washing detergent. Spread the powder onto a dampened surface and allow it to stand     for a while. Take a bucket of boiling water and rinse the area, then scrub it and rinse it again.





Leaks and Drain Problems

Don't let a leak sneak up on you

To keep your hot water heater in top shape, drain two to three gallons of water from the valve at the bottom to remove any sediment that may have collected. If you do this about every six months, you may save yourself the trouble of repairing a leaky faucet valve. Removing sediment will also help the heater work more efficiently, saving you money each month on your power bill.

The right jacket for the job

If the outside of your water heater is warm to the touch, it's wasting energy. Cover the outside of the tank with a specially designed blanket of installation. Home improvement stores carry water heater "jackets" that are either one and a half or three inches thick and fit any size water heater. Just wrap it around the heater, tape it, and trim off the excess.



The weekly steep

The simplest method to keep drains from becoming clogged requires no harsh chemicals or hard work. Just heat about a gallon of water to boiling, pour half down the drain, wait a few minutes, and pour in the rest. Don't risk cracking a porcelain basin-pour directly into the drain. repeat this procedure once a week.











Directing the rain away


The first step in fighting weeds is to know your enemy. Get a county extension agent to help you identify the weeds in your yard, or get a field guide to common weeds and grasses and identify them yourself. Then follow these simple steps for killing weeds:

  • Pick the herbicide that is right for your particular weed.
  • Always wear protective clothing, safety glasses, and gloves when you are applying herbicides.
  • Use weed killers on days when the wind is not blowing.
  • Do not mow your lawn just before or just after applying herbicides.



When you’re applying herbicide to individual weeds, you want to keep it off everything else growing nearby. So try this idea to make your herbicide stay put. Cut off the bottom of a plastic two liter soda bottle. Put the bottle over the weed you want to kill. Insert the spray nozzle of your chemical sprayer or garden hose into the top of the soda bottle and spray away. Wait a few seconds for the chemical to soak in, then move on to the next weed.



If you have a problem with perennial weeds, don’t try to kill them with a rototiller. All you’ll really do is break up their root system and give their runners a chance to spread. It’s a lot of work to dig them up, but if you have the patience, it’s as effective as herbicides. You just have to do it carefully and thoroughly. An old apple corer does a good job of digging up weeds. It will dig down deep and cut the roots at the same time.


Gutters and downspouts


It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s….something from your gutter

Gutters may not be the most attractive part of your house, but they perform a useful service, directing water down the corners of your home instead of letting it pour off in all directions to slowly wash away your foundation. Unfortunately, they’re also a magnet for anything else that might blow around on your roof, including leaves, sticks and acorns. This leads to clogged downspouts, backed up rain water and eventually a rotting mess on your roof. Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year, particularly after autumn leaves have accumulated.



What is the scoop on gutters?

A plastic sugar scoop or a garden trowel makes an excellent tool for scooping up leaves from your gutters. When you’re done, install a leaf strainer into each downspout opening to help eliminate clogs that cause water backup.




Good gutters gone bad

You can tell if your gutters are overdue for a cleaning by a few telltale signs. Walk around your house, checking for gutters and downspouts for twigs and debris sticking over the top or out from between cracks. The place where gutters turn or change direction are common problems areas for clogs. Water marks and discoloration on your siding are signs that rain has backed up and leaked into the wrong places. On the ground, check for erosion around the foundation of the house. Also, pay close attention to any leaks that appear in your basement. Water seeping into the house should tell you that the rain in not being properly directed away from the foundation.





Guard them well

You can buy mesh guards for your gutters that will let water through, but catch the debris. However, most experts say these don't eliminate your need for cleaning. They may even make cleaning more difficult than in unguarded gutters.

A better home for your ‘Better Home”

If you absolutely can’t bear to part with those magazines you spent so much money on, cut out the articles that interest you the most and keep them. Get several file folders, and label them with the names of your specific areas of interest. Go through each magazine and rip out the pages that contain articles in these areas, then staple them together and put them in the file folders. Start working on the magazines you already have, and any time you buy a new one, go through the same procedure. You’ll be amazed how little space the articles take up compared to entire magazines. Soon you should be free of magazine clutter.



Messy stacks of magazines every place you look? Tired of the clutter? Make magazine holders for free by diagonally cutting off the top parts of empty cereal boxes and neatly storing your magazines upright on a bookshelf. To add a decorative touch, cover the boxes with pretty contact paper or wallpaper


Take the pain out of painting.

Painting the wood near the glass panes on your windows is definitely a pain. This trick is so easy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of before. Take a cotton swab or small applicator and rub petroleum jelly on the glass next to the wood. Any stray brush marks won’t stick to the glass, so you can easily wipe away your mistakes. This works for painting around doorknobs and hinges, too.

Believe it or not;

To prevent white paint from turning yellow, stir in a drop of black paint.

Stop flushing your money away.

If you don’t already have a low-flush toilet, consider installing a displacement device in your toilet tank. This nifty gadget save you one to two gallons per flush by reducing the amount of water your tank will hold. With a small plastic bottle, such as a juice or a laundry soap bottle, you can make your own displacement device. Remove the bottle’s label. place a few stones in the bottom for weight, and fill it with water. Place the bottle in your toilet tank, being careful that it doesn’t interfere with flushing mechanism. You may have to experiment a little to see what size bottle your tank will hold and still have enough water to flush effectively.


Check the back of your toilet bowl, in front of the tank: there should be a label there telling you how many gallons per flush it uses.

Some low-flow toilet models bare the EPA’s Water-Sense label and use less than 1.6 gallons of water per flush and can save at least 14,000 gallons a year.

Low-flow toilets can be purchased from your neighborhood hardware store for a couple hundred bucks. Your municipality might even have a rebate program in place.

Dual-flush toilets, which have long been common in Europe, are now being introduced to the American market. With them, one method of flushing creates the standard 1.6-gallon flow, while another, which is reserved for liquid waste, allows half that amount, 0.8 gallons of water, to flow through. Brand new dual-flush models can be purchased for around $300.

Pressure-assisted toilets use water pressure to compensate for the smaller amount of water going through. Flush water surges through the bowl, 1.6 gallons or 1 gallon at a time.

The simplest way to economize on water with an older, high-volume toilet is to place heavy objects – such as a weighted plastic bottle – inside the toilet tank to reduce its capacity. Don’t be tempted to place a brick inside the tank, however, as they tend to break down and screw up the plumbing.

A slightly higher-tech solution is to purchase a toilet water dam that is attached inside the bowl and reduces the space to be filled up with water after a flush.

You can also purchase a water displacement bladder bag for your toilet. With the Flush-less water-saving bag, you simply fill it with water, hang it in the toilet tank, and start saving up to 2 ½ quarts with every flush.

Consider the composting toilet, a highly engineered technology that uses microbes and sometimes heat or electricity to break down human waste into a nutrient-rich material that can eventually be used as safe fertilizer for trees and non-edible plants.

If your water bills are suspiciously higher than normal, you may have a leaky toilet without knowing it. Find out by putting a small amount of food coloring in the tank, then wait 20 minutes. If you see color in the bowl, you’ve got a leak. Contact your plumber to have it fixed so you can stop wasting 200 gallons a day!

philadelphia roof repair

Home Exchange PA – Roof Repair

If you own a home, and you have a flat roof, just because you have a leak does not mean u need a new roof. Home Exchange Roof Repair Services has a solution to extend the life of an existing roof for up to 7 years or more for a fraction of the cost of a new roof. This roof repair system is done over the existing roof with rubber coating and rubber flashing all around the entire roof and other penetrations existing on the roof. Besides saving you money it will save you energy. Home Exchange Roof Repair System covers Philadelphia PA and Camden NJ with a 10-mile radius, For any information about this roof system please give us a call.
Home Exchange Roof Repair Service uses a super product called Henry 587 Durabrite white elastomeric roof coating which is a premium, high-solids formula offering better weather protection, solar reflectivity and longevity than economy-grade reflective roof coatings. The cured coating forms a permeable membrane that prevents liquid infiltration but allows moisture vapor to vent or breathe out of underlying substrate. This is a great roof repair product to use for a fantastic end result.
· White surface reflects sun rays and releases 91% of the sun’s heat for energy efficiency
· Resists ponding water
· Recommended for use on metal roofs, weathered, previously-coated white and aluminum roof surfaces, smooth-surface built-up roofs, stucco, masonry parapet walls and more
· Up to 10-year warranty
· Elastomastic to expand and contract without cracking