Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Average Cost of Foundation Repair

As almost any homeowner knows, the stronger the foundation of a house, the more secure the house itself is, and that translates into fewer cracks, leaks and losses of support structures. Of course, not every house can go through its life cycle with the foundation performing flawlessly. This is where foundation repair comes in and it becomes necessary to start calculating fix-it averages.

Read more: The Average Cost of Foundation Repair from
eHow.com

Friday, April 6, 2012

Preventing Water Damage In Your Home

Learn where your home is most likely to suffer water damage, and what you can do to help prevent it.

Possible Indoor Culprits:

The Kitchen

A good place to start when you're trying to prevent water damage is the kitchen: a place where we work with a whole lot of water, right?
Look carefully at your major appliances, and make sure they are up to par.
  • The Dishwasher: Periodically check for leaks under the sink where the hose connects to the water supply. Look around the base of the dishwasher for evidence of leaks, such as discolored, warped, or soft flooring materials, or water damage to nearby cabinets.
  • The Refrigerator: If your refrigerator has an icemaker, make sure the hose connection is securely attached to the water supply line. Also, a wet spot on the floor may be a sign of a crimped icemaker line about to burst.
  • The Sink: Replace deteriorated caulk around sinks, and check the pipes under the sink for leaks. A slow-draining pipe may indicate a partially blocked drain that needs cleaning.

The Bathroom

The bathroom is another water damage hot spot. Here's what you should examine and address:

  • Showers And Bathtubs: Remove and replace deteriorated or cracked caulk and grout. Water from a broken supply pipe behind the wall can leak through these damaged sealants, causing stains or soft areas around nearby walls and floors. Leaking drain pipes and shower pan leaks are also common sources of water damage. If necessary, contact a plumber or contractor for help.
  • Sinks: Check under the sink for leaks from water supply lines or drainpipes. If necessary, contact a plumber or contractor for help.
  • Toilets: Clogs can result from too much toilet paper or objects such as hanging bowl deodorants. Also, some chlorine tablet cleaners may corrode internal plastic or rubber parts, leading to a leak. Again, don't hesitate to call in a professional.

The Basement, Laundry, Or Utility Room

  • Washing Machine: Check hoses regularly for bulging, cracking, fraying, and leaks around hose ends. Replace the hose if a problem is found or every 3 to 5 years as part of a proactive maintenance program. To help make sure the hose doesn't kink, leave at least 4 inches (or 11 centimeters) between the water connection and the back of the washing machine. Be sure to read the manufacturer's installation instructions carefully.
  • Water Heater: Most water heaters last 8 to 15 years. Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may signal a leak. Water heaters should be installed on the lowest level of the home, next to a floor drain, or inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.
  • Sump Pump: Battery-operated backup sump pumps can help protect against power failure or failure of the primary pump. Test the sump pump before the start of each wet season. Sump pumps are not intended to last more than 10 years and must have some components replaced or serviced within those 10 years.
Since water may still come through an overflowing drain or cracks in the foundation walls, make sure items stored in the basement are kept off the floor. Furniture should be on casters or shims and arranged away from floor drains.

Stopping Indoor Leaks

The quickest way to stop a leak is to turn off your home's water. Of course it's not a permanent fix, but turning off the water in the moment can give you time to repair the specific problem.
Make sure everyone in your household knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Check it frequently for problems, and shut off the water if you are away from your home for several days or longer.
Depending on the severity of your leak, you may be able to fix it with relative ease. Plumbing, though, is a complicated business; if you're not sure what to do, don't hesitate to call a plumber or a contractor.

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Possible Outdoors Culprits:

The Roof

It's not rocket science: roofs are there to keep your home dry, and if you've got water coming inside, your roof is a pretty good place to start. There are a number of different ways for water to get in through your roof, so consider the following points as you conduct the examination:
  • Keep the roof free from leaves, twigs, and other litter to allow for proper drainage. Clogged gutters can easily lead to poor drainage, which in turn can lead to leaks in both the walls and at the foundation.
  • Make sure air can flow freely through all soffit and roof vents. This will reduce the buildup of heat and moisture and help extend the life of the roof.
  • Consult a professional on using a preservative or cleaner (depending on the type of roof you have) to help limit the weathering effects of moisture and slow the growth of molds and mosses.
  • Replace missing, curling, cupping, broken, or cracked shingles.
  • Watch for damage in valley areas of the roof, and around the flashing at chimneys, vents, and other junctions.
  • Check your attic around flues, plumbing vents, and chimneys for roof leaks, especially if you've noticed water stains on the ceiling.
  • If it's winter and you've got water in the attic or see water stains on your ceilings or walls, look for any ice dams.

From Gutters To The Ground

Once you're off the roof, there are still possible culprits to investigate. Take a look around the foundation of your home; a few simple changes could make all the difference.
  • Place splash blocks at the end of downspouts to carry water away from the foundation, or add an extra length of downspout if necessary.
  • Every spring, have the air conditioning (A/C) system serviced by a qualified contractor. Make sure their service includes inspecting and cleaning the A/C condensation pan drain line. Change the air filters on a regular basis.
  • Before winter starts, disconnect garden hoses from all spigots and turn off each spigot's water supply.
  • Replace any damaged caulk around windows or doors.
  • Repaint wood siding as needed.
  • Fill in any low spots next to the house to help water drain away from the foundation.

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