Skip to content

4 Ways To Keep Winter Landscape Blahs At Bay

As the minute-by-minute winter of 2014 seems to be giving way to a few sunny days, it is time to start looking towards spring looks.  And by that I mean…It is time to landscape!

If you are like me, plenty of things have happened to your lovely yard during the snow and you may not want to wait until the spring thaw to get working on beautifying your home.  Here are a few things you can do in the next few weeks to get the process started and dont forget that you could hire a professional to do this for you like the ones at

  1. Clean off the winter gunk.  Are you prepared to wash windows, clean gutters, and touch up chipped paint?  The winter was harsh.  You need to make sure the damage can be easily restored.  Also, find a good cement sealer if steps and sidewalks have been ruined.
  2. Take stock of what you have in landscaping materials.  You may have a good deal of the supplies you need already available to you.  Make a list to take with you to the nursery in your neighborhood or go online to find some cool new options that can be delivered.
  3. Find plants that bloom in the earlier parts of the year.  Irises and tulips are wonderfully colorful choices and are best planted in late February or early March.  Fruit trees planted now can also add a great look and shade to your landscape come spring and think of all the great drinks you can make once the fruit ripens.
  4. Prune!  Yes, now is the time to get those shrubs and rose bushes under control.  It will yield better results because you can see the limbs and do a better job.

Winter is rough, but taking care of your landscape as it ends will give you more time to enjoy those beautiful spring days later.

The Top 4 Things to Look For When Purchasing Vinyl Home Windows

Many people shop for vinyl home windows every year, and while vinyl is a good option, it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for vinyl windows. Those shopping for windows should make sure that the vinyl windows they purchase will last them for many years to come. Since all vinyl is not created equal, the following four considerations should help those shopping for vinyl windows get started in the right direction. Of course you can always view to get more knowledge about windows.

Will it Crack or Fade?
Window shoppers should ask questions regarding the durability of the vinyl they’re considering. Many white vinyl windows will turn yellow over time, color vinyl sometimes fades quickly, and some faux wood will crack under certain temperature conditions. Those looking to purchase vinyl windows should do research, read reviews, and ask questions to ensure the vinyl they’re purchasing is high quality.

Top Quality Construction
Those looking to buy vinyl windows should also consider the construction, ensuring it’s top notch. Well-constructed windows will have the following characteristics.

-additives to prevent discoloration and yellowing
-welded corners on sash and frame extrusions
-a number of internal air chambers
-solid rigidity

Glass Quality
Windows are crucial to a home in no small part because they help homeowners regulate a home’s internal temperature, which can help them save on energy bills and run their heating and cooling systems less frequently. The following characteristics are indicative of well-made glass, and those looking for vinyl windows should ensure these things are present in the windows they choose.

inert gas and “warm edge” spacers that are pressed between double panes low emissions (low-e) coatings that reflect heat and help protect furniture and other indoor fabrics from fading

Homeowners and anyone shopping for vinyl windows should look for a double lifetime warranty. High quality windows will come with one.

Benefits of a Travel Agency

With the increase in online travel booking, most people would probably argue there is no reason to use a travel agency. But what many people do not realize is the benefits that travel agencies bring to a travel experience. Here are just a few reasons why using a travel agency for a trip may be a good idea.

Time – As mentioned above, there are hundreds of online booking sites available today. Knowing how to choose the best one takes research and time. Comparing prices between sites, figuring out the loopholes and small print can use valuable time as well. A travel agent can do all of the searching and legwork for a traveler.

Experience – If a traveler needs to make a trip to a first time locale, there are so many unknowns that can make planning a trip full of anxiety. This especially is true when planning a trip to a foreign country or even a domestic location that the traveler has never visited. Language barriers, lack of personal knowledge, or whether or not to use a tour guide are all issues that can be addressed by an experienced travel agency.

Perks – Travel agencies often have the best deals not only on airline tickets and cruise tickets, but also on events in the area. You can find out more here at They often have the inside scoop on VIP events and tours and how to get reduced or free tickets.

Troubleshooting – When a problem arises, most travel agencies will take care of working out the bugs. Online travel sites rarely will help with this aspect. Many charge extra for any type of changes to travel or unforeseen circumstances. However, some travel agencies offer this perk as a part of their regular service.

Clean Air Ducts Mean Cleaner Air For Your Home

Your air ducts harbor airborne pollutants that are drawn into your system while you run your heat or air conditioning system. The smoke and steam that form when you use your oven, range and microwave contribute to the pollutant level, as do the particles that are drawn into your home from the outside,

This may seem eerie, but even the residue created when we shed our own skin particles and the hair from our dogs and cats will pass through our filters and end up circulating throughout the house, The residue and dust that ends up in your duct work, will accumulate on the inside surfaces and the nooks and crannies of your ducts. Without regular duct cleaning by a professional company, your indoor air quality can suffer as the accumulation of harmful mold and bacteria increases,

Changing your air filters regularly is very important, but duct cleaning with high speed vacuums and motor driven brushes is the only sure way to insure a good duct cleaning job. The cleaning companies often inset a mini camera in the vent so you can actually see the dust release and fly into the vacuum bags. leaving your duct work as fresh and clean as the day it was installed.

To add even more effectiveness to the duct work cleaning project, the ducts are then sanitized with a spray on sanitizing agent. In most cases, you and your family will notice the difference almost immediately and you all may find yourselves more resistant to colds and other respiratory problems.

You can find duct cleaning companies on the Internet, in fact can provide you with some useful information. Always keep an eye out for special deals and savings offers, You will be surprised at how inexpensive the cleaning process will be.

Hiring a professional Carpet Cleaning Company

When it is time for a carpet cleaning, the choice of how to get it done is usually between two choices: hiring a professional cleaning company versus doing it solo using a personally owned machine or one rented from somewhere. Deciding which one to use means looking at different pros and cons for both options.

Hiring a professional company

Pros: The job is done by a professional and may even include a guarantee that will make sure the cleaning is done correctly. The time and energy spent cleaning is all on someone else.

Cons: The job will cost more and there will need to be more preparation to accommodate a company (time, moving furniture, etc).

Renting a machine or using one’s own machine

Pros: Although purchasing the cleaning supplies may cost a bit from time to time, it still definitely costs less than hiring a professional to do the job. Renting a machine is also less expensive than hiring a professional and involves less preparation. There is no need to coordinate a personal schedule with that of the company. Even if the machine is already owned, using it over time makes the initial cost of the machine worth the price.

Cons: Because the job is not being done by a professional, there is a chance that stubborn stains or special fabric may not get the cleaning it needs. Also, cleaning still takes time and so does taking the rented machine back and forth to the store.

Of course, a person has to decide which one of the pros and cons is more important to them and it may be helpful to contact to help you make a better decision. But considering all the factors, should help to make a better informed decision about what to do when the needs arises for carpet cleaning.

Depend upon Preventive Maintenance to Help Keep Your Home Comfortable this Season

Nothing is worse than turning on the heat in your home and finding out that it is not working. This may occur without warning or maybe you have been hearing an unfamiliar noise coming from your system and thought that it might go away. Furnace and heat pump breakdowns never seem to happen at a convenient time, so why gamble with your family’s comfort this winter. Preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure their comfort throughout the coldest times of the year.

By having your home heating system serviced every year, by reputable service providers like the ones you will find at you will reduce the chance of costly repairs when you least expect them. Small problems that will only grow into larger repairs can be identified early on before they affect the rest of your system and cause an expensive and perhaps hazardous condition in your home. A malfunctioning furnace can produce high levels of carbon monoxide in your home. This extremely dangerous and odorless gas can cause severe injury and even death to you and your family if undetected.

Besides keeping your home comfortable, preventive maintenance will help prolong the life of your heating system and help keep your home energy bills in check. Even if your heating system is newer and still under warranty, most manufacturers require that you have regular maintenance performed to keep your warranty in force.

This winter, don’t gamble with your family’s comfort and safety. For a relatively small cost, the price of a preventive maintenance service will provide you with peace of mind during the heating season considering the price of an emergency service on the coldest night of the year.

Air Conditioner Maintenance

A well-maintained air conditioning unit not only keeps the air cool, but also keeps the air clean while it works efficiently. There are several easy ways to keep an air conditioning unit running well without spending a lot of money.

One of the most ignored aspects of an air conditioner unit is its filter.Between regular maintenance tune-ups, the single most important thing homeowners can do to protect their units is to regularly change the air conditioner filter. Not only is this crucial for the proper functioning of the unit, but also for the overall air quality of your home.

When to change your air filter depends on a number of factors: the type of filter, the overall air quality of the environment, the number of pets in the household, and the habits of the people living in the home. A good rule of thumb is that most filters need changing every 30 to 60 days, however. Otherwise air quality can decrease to such a degree that it poses health risk due to the spread of dust, dander, pollen, and other air pollutants.

Changing the filter is useless, however, if there is a leak. A homeowner should regularly check all seals around air conditioner units and ducts. Foil tape can be used to seal small gaps, while duct mastic can be used for larger ones. Sealing leaks reduces utility costs and increases air quality.

Other easy ways to extend the life of air conditioning units include using a timer to limit the unit’s use until needed. If you need help with your ac unit could provide the help you need along with comparable companies to serve you. Another life-extending measure is to keep blinds and shades close in the summer, reducing the need for air conditioner use.

Maintaining an air conditioner can be easy and fast, and save homeowners money on their utility bill and on professional repairs.

Best Appliance You Didn’t Know You Couldn’t Live Without

Anyone who has lived without a dishwasher for an extended period of time knows how irritatingly difficult it is to clean up after dinner. Preparing the meal beforehand coupled with the dishes afterward is a pretty substantial time sink in the middle of the evening which could be spent doing other things. A couple of generations ago, Americans would have scoffed at this idea that so many could become so dependent on an appliance, but a generation or two before that they might have said the same of the washing machine. Today, the refrigerator is nearly ubiquitous, existing in nearly 100% of American homes when only forty years ago, that privilege was reserved for just over 80%. It would almost be unthinkable to live without a refrigerator today, or without at least having access to a laundry room, laundromat, or a dedicated washing machine. The still significant dishwasher may soon be on its way to the same kind of near-universal status. If you’re interested in upgrading your appliances may be able to assist with this process.

If a significant amount of time is spent without a dishwasher, and suddenly one is introduced into a person’s home, it can become almost life-changing. Going from spending hours out of the week washing and scrubbing (or even worse letting dishes stack up in the sink only to wash what is needed when it is needed) to a cleaner kitchen and empty sink in under a day makes a person wonder how anyone could complain about having to rinse plates, load a machine, and push a button.

In short, as one of the most increasingly obligatory appliances, the dishwasher helps keep sinks open and accessible while simultaneously keeping people cooking at home instead of avoiding cleaning dishes by ordering out. It may not be as integral or revolutionary as the refrigerator, but it certainly does its part.

The Benefits Of A Home Gutter System

You may not need gutters if you live in an area that sees little rain, but homes in most places can benefit from having a working gutter system. The gutter system on your home is designed to move rainwater away from your fascia, soffit, roof structure and foundation to keep them safe from invading moisture that can work its way in when it rains.

Your gutter system’s main job is to redirect the rainwater to a place where it can be safely dispersed. Like any other feature of your home your gutter system will need regular cleaning and maintenance. Your gutters can become clogged with leaves, small sticks or other yard debris, especially if you have large trees in or near your yard.

Animals, fierce storms and freezing temperatures can potentially damage your gutter system so you should inspect it regularly. Many problems may go unnoticed for some time and will contribute to the moisture issues that having a working gutter system is designed to avoid.

If your gutters are clogged or not working properly they can overflow near these problem areas and create moisture issues that can be avoided with regular cleaning and maintenance. You can find professionals here at that you can rely on to help make the best decisions for your home. You can choose to install screens or gutter guards to help keep your gutter system clear from debris, but even with these precautions regular maintenance is still a good idea.

If you keep your gutter system clean and free from debris it will keep the water out of the sensitive areas of your home. You can collect and use this water to irrigate plants or it can simply be dispersed into the yard.

The importance of using a gutter system is paramount to the prevention of unnecessary water damage years of exposure will inflict upon your home. Make sure it has the protection it deserves.

Why Duct Cleaning is Important

Experts agree that duct cleaning is an important thing that people can do to improve their health and the health of their homes. Anyone that suffers with allergies will notice an immediate improvement in breathing quality once the dust is clear from the ducts.

It just makes sense: ducts collect dust. Once that dust is removed, the air quality in a home is improved. In addition, once that dirt is removed, the entire system will begin to run better, more efficiently. This saves money on electric bills, and it save wear and tear on the entire system, increasing a HVAC’s lifespan.

When should cleanings take place? Here, the experts disagree and you can find some of them here at this website The EPA states that air ducts should only be cleaned as necessary. This means that when residents notice mold in the system, or if debris is collecting in the system. However, most people choose to have their ducts cleaned routinely, rather than waiting for a problem to develop.

The NADCA says that when ducts are cleaned depends upon things in the home, such as whether or not pets live there, or if the residents smoke. They also note that weather conditions in a home’s area (as well as how clean the home is) lend themselves to how often a home’s air ducts should be cleaned. They recommend a cleaning every three to five years, but note that having a contractor come out to assess the situation prior to having the ducts cleaned is necessary. If a contractor does not advise cleaning, they say that it is okay to wait.

However, it is also important to note that those with asthma or other breathing problems may want to try duct cleaning as a means to easy breathing. Having regular cleanings, in this case, can improve one’s health.

The importance of quality home gutters

Gutters have a very important function. The role of home gutters is to route rain water and other precipitation off of the roof and away from the building. In order for gutters to work properly, they must be maintained.

Fallen leaves can clog gutters and cause rain water to collect on a roof. When water doesn’t drain properly off of a roof, it can cause weak spots in the roof structure and eventually lead to leaks and the need for a homeowner to replace the entire roof. A simple solution is to clean the gutters regularly, especially during autumn, when leaves are likely to fall on the roof.

Gutters should also be cleaned after storms to remove twigs and other debris that may blow onto the roof and cause a dam that prevents water from draining off of the house. When cleaning the gutters, homeowners should ensure that they are adequately connected to the house. Gutters that are separated from the roof can allow water to run down the side of the home when it rains, potentially damaging the foundation. It may be wise to find an expert on the matter as these can help you with assistance.

Some homeowners who live near deciduous trees install screens or shields over their gutters to prevent them from filling up with leaves and reduce the need to climb on a ladder to clean out the gutters. These shields allow water to run through freely but prevent leaves from getting into the gutter system. Without a shield over the gutter, homeowners may need to remove leaves and debris from their home gutters several times every year.

Gutters and Downspouts 101

Gutter Basics

Gutters and downspouts may not be a necessary component to a home, but they are incredibly valuable in reducing the amount of damaging water that collects around the foundation of a home during heavy rainstorms or snow/ice melt.

Gutter 101

Gutters perform an important function in extended the life of a home’s foundation or basement. When water drains from the roof, gutter trough catch the water and send it soaring to the downspout. The downspout redirects the rushing water to a more suitable place to drain, away from the home’s foundation. If water is allowed to collect near the foundation, it will eventually seep in, causing cracks and soft spots to form in the concrete. Basement walls are eventually breached by the run off which can lead to flooding and further damage the foundation. Once a foundation is rendered unsafe by water damage, it is impossible to fix.

Prevention Is Key

Homes with gutters are still susceptible to water damage if the gutters and downspouts are not kept clean and free of clog forming debris. Homeowners can prevent clogs by either cleaning the troughs and downspouts on a regular basis, or invest in leaf barriers that attach to the roof of the home and lay over the top of the gutter. Debris will still need to be cleaned out from time to time just not as often as without a leaf guard. Home owners wishing to have gutters installed can either go to the local DIY store and purchase a relatively inexpensive kit and do it themselves, or if the wallet allows, contact a full service professional as these Hiring a professional has a wide range of benefits that can include scheduled cleanings of gutters and downspouts, maintenance, and emergency repair services.

Air Conditioning Services and Repairs

Air conditioning services and repairs are available for property owners. From homes to apartments, local AC experts specialize in a range of services. This includes unit repairs, along with upgrades and complete system overhauls. They also perform detailed inspections to ensure your units at operating at peak performance rates. As always, area AC contractors also check both digital and conventional thermostats. They even check and replace outdated filters, along with leak detection for pipes and outside units. With winter now upon us, now is the perfect time to have your AC and heating systems thoroughly checked. Most area companies as these also offer free estimates for services and more intricate repairs.

If you air conditioning unit is making noise, chances are it is experiencing mechanical failure. To restore functionality to your units, you need to contact a licensed and professional AC technician. With years of extensive industry experience, area AC technicians have the tools and expertise to resolve most problems. They also help home and business owners with energy efficient options and choices. This includes radiant barriers, which keep homes and offices warm and toasty during the colder months. Metallic filters are also better in circulating warm or cold air throughout your property. AC companies can also check your property’s insulation levels as well.

Air conditioning companies also specialize in duct cleaning. The latter is designed to effectively remove dust, debris, and hidden particles from your AC duct system. This secures clean air in your home, which is vital for loved ones suffering from respiratory or breathing problems. Area experts also check your coils to make sure the units are properly sized for your home. If you want to upgrade your old unit, they can also help you select a new system that meets your needs within time and budget.

Taking Care Of Our Home Gutters Means They Will Take Care Of You

No matter what type of roofing system you have, it has one main purpose. It is designed to channel rain water down into the home gutters. These gutters will take the water toward and into the downspouts. The downspouts will cause this water to be directed away from the house. This is an important element of the roof / gutter system. Without them working together, the water will get into the house and the problems this will cause have often been read about in newspaper stories of black mold.

The problems that can occur with your home gutters that introduce these dangers into your home will be those that do not allow the gutters to operate properly. If you need a replacement on you existing gutters visit for more information. Gutters that are clogged with leaves, dirt, tree limbs or, in some cases, frozen water can over flow the sides. This allows this water to soak into the wood these gutters are attached to. It will also fall to the ground right at the foundation line and undermine the entire structure of the house.

Maintaining the home gutters can be very simple to do. The tools that are needed can be easily obtained in the average kitchen and tool shed. A ladder, a bucket or heavy duty trash bag and a large scoop, such as a old serving spoon or trowel, will suffice for a quick job. Removing the debris, limbs and leaves will clear the channels for the water to run freely.

A professional roofing firm can be called in to accomplish this. They can also inspect those home gutters and your roof for any maintenance work that needs to be taken care of. Taking care of these will help you stay dry and healthy.

Heat Pumps Provide Energy Efficient Heat

When it comes to home heating, there is no more cost effective way to do it than by installing a heat pump. These units work much like your air conditioner in that it’s mechanism of operation is simply to move heat from one place to another. It requires little energy to be able to do this. In order to understand how these units offer efficiency, it’s important to understand the physics behind how they work.

There are a number of things that go into determining what a house’s heat requirements are in the winter. These include things like insulation level, air tightness, home size and size. All of these variables lumped together are known as the heat load. It’s important to understand how your heat load plays into the heating needs of the home so that you choose a heat pump that is large enough to do the job. Heat pumps can become overburdened as temperatures outside plummet, however. They do not operate at 100% capacity when temperatures are below a certain point, known as the balance point. The balance point is the point at which the heat pump provides precisely the amount of heat necessary to meet your home heating requirements. You can find out more about balance points here

Units are equipped with a secondary form of heat to address this issue. They are designed to provide supplemental heat when the primary unit is unable to keep up. In order to do this, they have a specialized thermostat that, when set properly, switch between heat supplied by the heat pump and heat supplied by the backup heating source. In order to ensure that you are using your unit to its highest potential, the internal thermostat needs to be “dialed in” so that the backup heat source is engaged when your pump is no longer providing sufficient heat.