Hydro Jetting or Snaking Your Drains

If you’re a homeowner then at some point you have had to deal with a clogged drain.  Grease, hair and minerals build up along the walls of your pipes and over time the drains slow down or stop draining altogether.  You have probably tried plunging or using a product like Liquid Plumber yet you still have a clog that won’t go away. Plumbers use two different processes to clear out your drains, hydro jetting or snaking your drains.  Both are effective but which is your best option, let’s find out.

Using a Snake

A plumbing snake is a long tube that has a cable inside with blades at one end and a crank for you to turn at the other.  You put the end with the blades down your drain and turn the crank to push it forward.  It will move through your drains smoothly until it finds the clog, then you will feel some resistance.  Once you find the clog, keep cranking the handle so the blades at the other end can cut through the clog until eventually it flows down the drain or you can pull it out.

What is Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting works differently, it uses a high pressure stream of water to clear the clog out of your drain.  Hydro jetting is far more powerful than using a snake and using it for a small clog may be overkill.  Hydro jetting will clean out everything, it is powerful enough to handle regular clogs but plumbers also use to clean out mineral buildup, it will cut through grease and it is even powerful enough to remove tree roots that invade your pipes.  Before you resort to hydro jetting make sure that the pipe is inspected with a video camera first to see if the clog is caused by damage.

When to Use Each One

If you try a plunger first and that doesn’t get rid of the clog your next step is to try snaking your drain.  A snake will usually get rid of most household clogs like hair and grease.  You can buy a plumbing snake at a hardware store and try it yourself before you have to call a plumber.  However if the snake doesn’t get the job done then it is time to call in an expert.  Hydro jetting is not a  project you take on yourself.  Hydro jetting is a lot more thorough than using a snake, it will take care of the clog and everything else that is in your pipes.  You also need to be cautious, hydro jetting can damage your pipes if they are old or weak.  A plumber can determine whether hydro jetting is your best option or if you need to replace some of your pipes.

So What is the Best Choice

There really isn’t one, both are highly effective tools that are used to clear clogs.  It really will depend on the problem that you are having, that being said try snaking your drains first and if that doesn’t work it is time to bring in the big guns and for that you will need a professional plumber.

 

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Top 5 Flooring Choices

If you are sick of looking at your old floors and want something new to make your home look fresher then you have an endless array of choices to pick from.  You want flooring that is durable, affordable and more importantly looks good.  New flooring is one of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home.  The amount of options you have can be overwhelming so let’s look at your top 5 flooring choices.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors look amazing and they will make a huge impression on everyone that comes through your front doors.  Solid wood flooring doesn’t tolerate moisture well so they don’t belong in your kitchen or bathroom.  You can get the planks in thin strips or wider planks, and there are a variety of stains that you can use on them.  Hardwood looks fabulous but it isn’t cheap and many people don’t like the unsustainability of using real wood, if your heart is set on natural woods then look for sustainable woods.

Vinyl

Vinyl is one of the more economical options but don’t let the low price tag fool you, vinyl has improved a lot over the years.  Now there are a ton of designs available and vinyl can look every bit as good as any of the flooring materials on this list.  You can get vinyl in either a roll or tiles but rolls are more common.  If you want to save money by installing your own flooring then vinyl is by far the easiest to do yourself.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood is a good alternative to real hardwood, it is made up of wood piles and the veneer on top is made of hardwood. Unlike real hardwoods, engineered hardwood is more resistant to moisture and yet it is still durable and easy to maintain.  Typically these types of floors are glued or snapped together rather than nailed down to the sub-floor, you will hear them referred to as “floating floors”.  This actually allows your wood to expand and contract, making it a great choice for your home.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tile has been used for years in kitchens and bathrooms but homeowners are getting creative and using them all over.  You can create some interesting patterns and have endless color choices with tile and they are easy to maintain.  Tile will last longer than carpet or even hardwood and they are ideal for anyone that suffers from allergies or asthma.  The big drawback to tile is that they get cold to the touch.  If you live anywhere with winter you will not enjoy putting your feet on cold tiles first thing in the morning.

Carpet

Carpet is not the popular choice that it once was but it is still found in homes all over the country.  You can get carpet in any color imaginable but a neutral color or pattern is still your best bet.  Even if most of your rooms have hardwood some homeowners opt for carpet in the basement or bedrooms because it is warm to the touch.  Carpets are high maintenance, they need to be vacuumed regularly and cleaned at least once a year.  The will show wear and tear after a while and are prone to staining.  Carpet can still look and feel good which is why it is still so popular in homes everywhere.

 

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Picking the Right Countertops

Picking the right countertops for your kitchen is exciting but it can also be a bit overwhelming.  There are tons of different materials and each comes in a variety of colors, thickness, costs and benefits.  It can be incredibly hard to choose.  You need to balance quality and cost while at the same time picking something that you like and looks good in your kitchen.  If you have never remodeled a kitchen before then you may not even know what characteristics to look for. Ideally you want the right combination of price, style, heat resistance, durability and maintenance. Let’s look at some of the best options out there than meet these criteria.

Granite

Granite is hands down the most popular choice in countertops and it has been for more than a decade.  There are good reasons for that, it is extremely durable and easy to maintain.  Every slab of granite is unique so your kitchen will never be a replica of somebody else’s.  If you head to a local kitchen store you can look for the actual slab of granite that can go into your kitchen.  Granite slabs are typically between 9 – 10 feet long and 5 – 6 feet wide.  If you have a bigger kitchen than that you may have to install your granite in different pieces.

Quartz

Quartz is a pretty close second to granite in terms of popularity.  It has the same level of durability and it is another natural stone but it’s a little less work to maintain than granite.  Unlike granite quartz isn’t a solid slab it is made from quarried stone mixed together and sealed with resin.  The counter top will have seams although they are hardly noticeable.  Unlike granite quartz isn’t as resistant to heat so be careful with pots fresh off the stove. Another advantage of quartz is the price, it is far more affordable than granite and looks just as good.

Wood

Wood counters have been around as long as there have been kitchens.  They work well in homes with a specific décor, think French country or with Southwestern design.  There are plenty of different woods to choose from including white oak, cedar and mahogany.  It has a beautiful rustic style and if you want to be environmentally friendly you can opt for reclaimed wood.  However wood countertops are not one long butcher block, you will still want to use a cutting board or you can damage the counters.

Laminate

Laminate is often used in smaller homes and rental properties.  It is ideal for someone that has a smaller budget to work with.  Laminate has come a long way since it first came on the market.  Nowadays you can get laminate that looks just like marble or granite at a fraction of the price.  It is also more durable that it used to be but it still isn’t as strong as a one of the stone countertops.  It is fairly easy to clean and maintain but don’t leave it wet or put hot pots from the stove on top or you will be left with damage.

These are the most common countertops but there are still a ton of other options out there.  Take your time and shop around and see what style suits your home and taste.

 

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Tips for a Successful Renovation Project

Deciding to embark on a renovation project is a big decision that will take up much of your time, energy and of course money. This is why it is important to know that your project requires a well thought-out plan. Home improvement projects can get out of hand pretty quickly and you can end up spending thousands of dollars more than anticipated if you don’t keep the project under control.

Here are some tips for a successful home improvement project:

Plan in advance

It is important that you have a home improvement plan well outlined before you begin. Determining the budget, the contents of the plan, and the sequence in which it needs to happen.  Don’t keep revising your plan everytime you see new cupboards or a new bathtub that you like better than what you have already chosen.  This is exactly how projects and budgets get out of control.  Having a home improvement checklist also helps you stay on track and outline clearly what the contractor needs to do and what parts, if any, you may be tackling yourself.

Do not start if you don’t have enough cash

Home improvement can be a costly venture. A common mistake that many homeowners are guilty of during a project is not having enough cash. Homeowners commonly spend more time and money than they are supposed to.  Homeowners who want to go the DIY route should heed this warning.  It is okay to save money on a project buy doing it yourself but only if you have the cash.  Don’t rip out your kitchen cupboards if you don’t have the money to buy and install new ones.  Six months of washing your dishes in the bathtub is a hell you don’t want to experience. Getting the financing in order before you start anything, no one enjoys living in a half-finished house.

Know what you are capable of

The simple truth to take away from home improvement tips is that you can’t do everything – like fixing your crawl space. Don’t tackle anything involving the plumbing, heating or electrical on your own.  Don’t overestimate your abilities and don’t assume that you can learn as you go.  All that does is increase the cost of your renovations and makes the whole process take ten times longer than it needs to.  If you insist on putting it some sweat equity into your own home then start with some simpler things, painting or adding fixtures and work your way up to harder projects.  Here are some DIY projects you can tackle yourself.

Don’t get carried away

Ask any contractor or house flipper what the key to success is when it comes to home renovations and they will tell you it is making a plan and sticking to it.  Find a good contractor to work with who can help you find materials that are affordable and still of good quality.  You want to get the project done as quickly as possible without cutting any corners.  Choose renovations that not only make your home more comfortable to live in but that add value to it as well.

Switch to an Energy Efficient HVAC System

More than half of the total energy that is used in your home goes towards heating and cooling, this is according to the US Department of Energy.  We take for granted that the HVAC system will work when we want it to and beyond adjusting the thermostat we rarely give it a second thought.  Consider how reliant we are on our HVAC system and how much energy it consumes doesn’t it make sense to switch to an energy efficient HVAC system.  Let’s look at some of reasons why you should consider switching now.

It’s a Good Investment

If an investment gave you a 10% return the most financial advisors would tell you to jump all over it.  Upgrading your HVAC system can so that in a couple of ways.  First you will see the immediate return of having lower energy bills.  Secondly it increases the value of your home.  Homebuyers are pretty savvy and they want an energy efficient system so heating and cooling costs don’t cost a fortune, if you are contemplating selling your home anytime in the next few years then now is the time to look at a high efficiency system that uses less energy and costs less to run.

It’s Better for Commercial Property

If you’re a business owner it only makes sense financially to use the most energy efficient system you can, after all you consume more energy and pay higher bills than residential clients but that isn’t the only reason you should switch.  Advertising your business as eco-friendly is a huge selling point in today’s market.  People want to feel good about the companies that they do business with.  They want to know that business owners care about the environment too and aligning your brand with this cause can do you a world of good.  It opens you up to a whole new clientele that spend their money on brands that take corporate responsibility seriously.

What are Your Options?

Modern HVAC systems have a variety of options that make them user friendly while offering complete temperature control. All of them have programmable digital thermostats so that you can control your heat both when you are at home and during the day while you are at the office.  These systems are built with the goal of conserving energy and ultimately saving you money while at the same time being more convenient than ever.  Never again will you have to worry about whether you turned the thermostat down before you left for work nor will you have to wake up to a cold house.  Most of these systems can be completely controlled from your smart phone.

Upgrading your HVAC system to something more modern and energy efficient is a win-win situation.  You benefit from lower energy bills, your home is more comfortable, it increases your home’s value and you get the added benefit of doing your part to help the environment. If you’re not sure where to begin then contact a local HVAC company, a technician can show you where your system can be improved and how to use as little energy as possible.

 

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