Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Benefits of a New Heating and Air Conditioning System

First thing any homeowner should know: regular knocking and pinging within your walls is definitely not a sign of good tidings. If you're freezing at home during the winter and broiling in the summer, this is more than enough evidence that a new HVAC system is in your future. Even if you feel your current heating and cooling set-up has not aged to the point of replacement, you'll find that the benefits of a new installation outweigh your current deal.

What are the benefits of a new heating and air conditioning system for your home? Aside from many days of comfort regardless of the weather, your home and your bank account will gain considerably.

1) Depending on when you make the purchase, and what kind of model you buy, you may set yourself up for a nice tax rebate on your next return. Making greener improvements to your home through the installation of energy efficient appliances and fixtures may qualify you for these benefits. You may wish to speak to a provider for the details.

2) Consequently, eco-friendly products are known to help lower energy bills. If you're interested in paying out less per month in heating and cooling, this is something you should consider.

3) Improvements to your home help increase your property's overall value. If ever you decide to sell, your home may be appraised accordingly because you took the time to upgrade your HVAC system.

4) Newer systems may be simpler to use than the model you have right now. You can upgrade to a digital thermostat where applicable, and manage which rooms in your house get more heat and air so you're not wasting energy.

5) Lastly, a newer system can help rejuvenate you and your family. Even though you may change filters on a regular basis, there is something about a new HVAC system that brings peace of mind to your home. You may breathe in cleaner air and feel more active, and it's a good way to prepare for especially extreme weather seasons.

Consult with your local HVAC installation service to determine what is involved for you as far as getting a new system bought and placed in your home. The sooner you have the updated model in place, the sooner you can breathe easy knowing you are saving money, keeping your home clean, and improving the way you work and live. A new HVAC system works for you.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Newport News HVAC services and Yorktown HVAC services.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Emergency Shelter Tips - Proper Food Storage Tips

If you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes and general inclement weather, you already know to keep a good pantry of emergency food supplies on hand in the event you lose power. If you are just moving to a city near the shore, or to a general region known for harsh winters, it's good to stay informed of how you can prepare properly to keep your family fed and protected.

You probably already have the essentials in a good place - long shelf-life canned goods, necessary medications and pet supplies where needed. If you're not sure how to stock an emergency pantry, here are a few tips to get you started.

1) Choose items that will last a while. Foods like peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts, and granola are good to have on hand. Not only will they sit for a while but they are more likely to fill you up so you can spread out the rations for a period of time if necessary.

2) Keep bottled water. Store plenty of fresh drinking water. In the event of a power outage, you may not wish to use what is coming out of the faucets until you can be assured it's safe to drink tap again.

3) Use airtight storage for perishables. If you want to keep things like cereal, certain vegetables and dried meat, it's good to have a gadget that will remove the air from storage bags and lock in freshness. Remember, during an outage you won't be able to use the refrigerator, so for some items you don't want growing stale these types of storage bags are helpful.

4) Keep some canned heat handy. With the power gone, you won't be able to cook, but if you must have that cup of coffee in the morning you may be able to boil water with a non-electric device like canned heat or something similar that you would find in a camping store.

5) Most importantly, don't overbuy. You might think better safe than sorry, but as you anticipate how weather acts in your area you'll know how much emergency food is enough. You don't want to stuff your pantries with food you will never eat.

Take care to create a good emergency pantry during the hurricane season, the height of winter, or whenever you expect the risk of storms and bad weather where you live. You can keep food safe and fresh indefinitely if you know what to do.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on food storage bags and freezer storage bags.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Holiday Hoarding Means It's Time to Change Your Storage

The Fall and Winter months are approaching, and if you own a garage or detached storage facility, you know you're going to spend quite a bit of time in there rooting around for holiday lights and displays. In recent years, we've seen this isn't necessarily limited to Christmas - people go all out for Halloween as well, erecting spooky statues and even lining the eaves with lights suitable for the occasion.

Whether you opt for simplicity in your holiday design or go full Grizzwold, you should be able to get what you need without fuss or the threat of everything else in your garage falling on you. At Garage America, we specialize in thorough Virginia Beach garage organization. We don't build garages, we take what you have and maximize your space. We set up better shelving, a safe floor for when you're working on the car, and we'll help you with those holiday storage blues. We can recommend bins and racks for keep lights strings so they don't tangle and tear, and we'll make them more accessible for you, along with everything else you keep.

Call on us today at 757-306-0500 for your free garage makeover consultation. Don't let another Christmas go by where you haven't been able to find everything you want to put out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How to Choose the Right Siding for Your Home

If you've owned your house for several years, you know inevitably you'll have to make cosmetic repairs to the exterior. Once every decade, perhaps your neighbors lug out the ladder and paint cans and get to work, and maybe you've done the same thing. If you've considered a different look altogether, though, having vinyl siding installed over the surface of your home provides a drastic yet attractive change that weathers any storm and add value to your property. All you need to do to get started is figure out how you want to side your home.

Vinyl siding, when installed by a professional contractor, look beautiful and is fairly easy to clean. Because of the insulation benefits that go along with it, homeowners may also expect a nice reduction in heating and cooling costs, as well as endless options for color and style. Akin to choosing paint or wallpaper, the process of selecting the right vinyl siding for your home can turn tedious and frustrating if you reach an impasse with your spouse. However, since what you select is what should stay on your house for many years to come, it's important to make the right decision.

How do you choose which siding is best? Take into consideration the physical size of your home - how many stories, if it is split level, and if there are dormers or gables. Note, too, the current exterior of your property to determine if the entire surface will be sided or if some parts of brick or wood will be left exposed. If so, the color you choose should complement your current home.

Horizontal siding is the more common style used on homes, with the vertical "tile" style used often on historical remodel jobs to restore an authentic look. Depending on where you live, the siding you choose will affect the overall environment - so if you plan to sell in the future you may be advised to keep a design consistent with your neighbors. If you live near the beach, you'll want a siding that is not apt to corrode in the corresponding weather conditions, but if you are in a remote location you have more freedom to decide your color scheme.

Vinyl siding offers heavy duty protection from the elements, and an attractive new look to your home. From earthy tones to subtle pastels, there is a color and style perfect for your exterior.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Norfolk vinyl siding and Virginia Beach handyman services.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Five End of Summer Home Improvement Changes

Ask any mother what her favorite season is, and most likely you'll hear the word Autumn spoken. Of course, the season signals the beginning of the new school year, so what mother could argue with that? Now, while people tend to associate Spring as the time of renewal and fresh starts, one can argue that the fall season is a good starting point as well. School starts in the fall, and you never hear about the "new spring season" on television, right? Therefore it makes sense that if you are interested in new home improvement projects for your home, why not begin just as the leaves are changing color?

Think about Autumn where you quickly does the weather turn cool? Are you in a location at risk for hurricanes and other inclement weather? How and where you live will determine the best improvement procedures for your home, and it's always a good idea to consult with a reputable contractor in your area who can also recommend the best fixes for your interior, backyard, and front landscaping. It's probable you'll hear these five suggestions as you browse possible additions to your house:

1) Awning installation - If you want to continue entertaining on your deck or porch but aren't looking forward to shivering in the cold, a retractable awning can help block winds and retain heat from a fire shoppe setup. Not only that, they look attractive, and you don't have to worry about snow build-up - a retractable awning does just that when you're not using it.

2) Porch enclosure - If you would prefer to separate your back entertainment area from the yard altogether, consider an enclosure and turn your porch into a Florida room. This makes the space usable year-round with large glass windows that bring in light and help keep the temperature perfect for an intimate brunch or cozy evening.

3) Roof installation - After the heat of the summer has faded, and before snow threatens to burden you with days of shoveling, it's a good time to check your roof for any needed repair or replacement. Make sure the ventilation is working properly, too, so you don't waste money on heating bills in the winter.

4) Attic insulation - As the weather gets colder, think of the condition of your attic. Is it properly sealed against the elements? To make sure nothing is leaking, it's good to check on the condition of the insulation and make repairs where needed.

5) Window replacement - Windows bring in natural light, which can cut down power bills. They also keep the outside...out. If  you have lived in your home a while, take note of the condition of your window glass. You may wish to replace any brittle windows or else update your home's look.

Don't wait through another winter to get your home in shape for the new seasons. Fall is a great time to think about home improvement. Send the kids back to school and get to work yourself on making your home work better for the whole family.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach window replacement and Virginia Beach green home improvement.

Monday, August 2, 2010

After the Hurricane - Checking for Home Repair Possiblities

Nature happens. If you live in an area that is highly susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms, chances are you know the drill - you have your evacuation route planned, an emergency pantry in place, and plenty of strong tape and boards for windows and doors. After the storm hits, however, you should know to put a new plan into action and quickly assess any damage done. This means being watchful of possible repairs to make to walls and plumbing.

What To Look For After The Storm

Once the wind and rain has subsided, you need to inspect your home to ensure minor problems now don't become more troublesome issues later. Broken windows and felled trees are easy to spot, but leaks in your pipes and malfunctioning HVAC systems can be more difficult to spot - even if those problems existed before the big storm, you must contact a contractor or repairman to handle replacements before the weather gets cold. Some things to look for in the aftermath of bad weather include:

1) Bugs: Heavy winds and standing water left after a storm can introduce all sorts of unwanted critters in your home. This is a good time to inspect the weatherstripping around the house and make sure the darker corners of your basement and attic are free of pests.

2) Pipe Leaks: If by chance a tree in your yard uprooted, you might experience problems with your pipe system as well. Watch the way water flows in your toilets and faucets, and look out for slow drains. A call to the plumber could be in order.

3) Mold: The chance that mold will grow inside your walls rises after a storm, especially if the foundation and structure were faulty to begin with. If you think you might have a problem, check it now before it effects your health.

Home repairs, while a seeming headache, won't appear as bad if you tackle the problems quickly and efficiently. If your home weathers a hurricane, do your best to make sure it stands well in any season.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach home improvement, Virginia Beach awnings and Virginia Beach window replacement.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Renovating With a Claw Foot Tub? Let a Professional Plumber Help!

Nothing lends an air of elegance and vintage comfort to a renovated bathroom like a clawfoot tub. Dramatically different in appearance from the standard built-in models, these beauties may not look larger than the premium jetted garden tubs that have become a basic element in new construction, but once you sit inside one you'll definitely know and feel the difference!

Clawfoot tubs, styled from Elizabethan and Victorian times, are deeper to allow more water coverage, and their graceful slipper or bowl shapes give each end a higher back, so one can relax without unconsciously slumping. If you have considered or are currently planning to remodel your bathroom, this is a definite addition sure to please everybody in the house.

Once you have decided upon the actual tub you want in your home, you might wonder how necessary it is to call on the services of a plumber to handle installation. The simple answer: very! While plumbing for the vintage model is on the outset no different from that of a contemporary tub, precise placement of exposed pipes must be accomplished with car to ensure you are getting the most out of (and into) your claw foot. Because this type of bathroom fixture is not sealed against the wall in its own cove, but will likely be positioned more into the space, some plumbing will be exposed. Of course, you will want the pipes to match the antique beauty of the tub, and a plumber can recommend the right parts to purchase.

Another thing to think about, too, is the change of water spills. As you are getting acquainted with your claw foot, it may take a few tries to get the water levels right so you don't displace too much when you sit down. Spills are likely, so you want to be sure your floor can handle it, and not absorb too much that you risk water damage and rot underneath the house. When you call on a plumbing contractor to remodel your bathroom, the floor should be a topic to cover - no pun intended.

When installed correctly, your claw foot tub will bring you many years of bathing luxury and serenity. It's important to get it done right the first time, so if you do not feel confident in the do it yourself department, your local plumber is the best bet.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Norfolk Virginia plumbing and Norfolk handyman services.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Season

We in Virginia Beach recently enjoyed a wonderful Memorial Day weekend - the weather proved beautiful and ideal to hold outdoor ceremonies of remembrance, while families gathered at parks and the beach to enjoy each other's company. We are grateful every day for those who risk their lives in the line of duty to guarantee the freedoms we take for granted, and with this weekend behind us we now look to something that soldiers and even civilians can't control: hurricane season.

Overall, most Virginia Beach homeowners I know fare well in the storms. Depending on the severity of the hurricane, especially if it touches the shores, you could be looking at anything from a few days without power to having to replace decks, windows, or doors. Never take a tropical storm or hurricane warning lightly - if you are told to evacuate, you do it. Winds of gale force can cause damage and injury if you're not protected, and now is the time to think about preparing your home for the storm season.

If you haven't done so yet, look into installing impact-resistant windows and shutters for your home. These systems, while attractive and similar to standard windows, are actually better able to withstand high winds and impact of flying objects. You're less likely to experience glass shattering and losing shutters in a storm. Though it's still possible to experience some damage, the result is likely to be less severe than if you had normal windows installed. If you live near the ocean, such additions to your house can improve its resale value, as hurricane season is always a consideration for new homebuyers.

For doors, protecting your home is as easy as installing head and foot bolts for added resistance. They are inexpensive and pay off in the long run when the winds beat down your door.

If you need more ideas for keeping your home safe during the hurricane season, call on the top Virginia Beach handyman for a free assessment: House Doctors of Virginia Beach at 757-306-0500.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Home Warranty Plan Gives You Peace of Mind

Buy a home recently? Congratulations! You've made an important step toward building a secure future for your family. The purchase of a home not only gives you the right to paint a wall the color you like, but you become eligible for various tax breaks and equity. That's why it's important, once the papers are signed and you have the keys in hand, to look into a solid home warranty plan to protect your home.

What is a Home Warranty?

When you buy electronics or a new car, you often receive or sign up for a warranty that guarantees some degree of assistance should something go wrong. Maybe a part is replaced, or the entire object depending on what you own.

A home warranty works along the same lines, only more items are covered. With such a plan, you get service protection that covers repairs on various household items, like your refrigerator and dishwasher, home air conditioning and heating, and plumbing. You might think at first home insurance is sufficient, but bear in mind that policies will cover property in the event of fire, flood, and other disasters, but won't take care of repair fees.

How a Home Warranty Works

Let's say your HVAC goes on the fritz. You call a technician to come out and fix it. If you don't have a warranty plan set, you'll have to cover the cost of parts and service. With a plan, however, you file a request with the company from which you bought your warranty and they handle the rest.

When you are ready to purchase a home warranty to protect your household appliances, do some Internet research. You'll find several handy websites with reviews of the best plans suited for your needs, whether you live in a two-story house or a high-rise condo. These plans are designed to bring you peace of mind as a homeowner and make living much easier.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Newport News HVAC repair, Virginia Beach home remodeling, Virginia Beach auto repair, Virginia Beach roofing, and Virginia Beach plumbing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Patio Awning Season for Virginia Beach!

May in Virginia Beach is often scored by unpredictable weather. If you were here last year, you'll recall we had an especially wet spring, followed by a scorching summer. The old saying in Virginia Beach goes that if you don't like the weather, just wait...and it always helps to be prepared no matter where you are. Homeowners in Virginia Beach and Norfolk will especially do well by their families and guests to have that patio awning installed if it hasn't already been done. Patio awnings in Virginia Beach are practically a necessity, especially if you plan to entertain this summer and want to keep guests cool and comfortable.

The best thing about a retractable home awning is that they are simple to install and use. You have have a contractor attach a roof or wall mount awning where you have your patio or balcony or deck set-up, and a remote control powers the device. You can fully extend the shade on especially hot days, or leave it halfway to keep the sunlight from shining too brightly into your windows. If it's unseasonably cool, you leave it up. You have so many options with the awning, and hundreds of fabrics to choose from. Your house will look great and it adds value.

If you don't have your awning installed yet, don't wait for the weather to spoil your outdoor BBQ. Call Virginia Beach Awnings by  Windowizards today at 757-306-0500 for a free estimate on your next home improvement project.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Garage Door Maintenance - What Should Be Done Periodically

By []Racheal Ashley
If you have garage doors you should know that regular maintenance should be performed on them periodically in order to ensure that they are working the way that they are supposed to and preventing any future garage door problems.

Now that you know you should be completing regular checks on your garage doors you may want to know exactly what you should do. Follow these simple steps and you will be good to go.

• Check the screws in the tracks. There may be times when the screws loosen. This causes the doors to have a difficult time opening and closing properly. This could also result in damage to the motor for the door if it is struggling to open and close the door.

• Wipe the tracks down with motor oil every so often to keep things running smoothly just like when they were new.

• Check the rollers. If they are broken then you may want to remove them and purchase new ones. This is not expensive and it does not take much time. If they are just tight then you will want to place some lubricant on them.

It is not difficult to perform regular maintenance this article proves that. You just need to remember to add it to your year round home maintenance check list. You might even want to write it down on a calendar every month or two so you do not forget. Make sure you right a list of the tools and supplies you will need to maintenance the door. You should also keep batteries on hand for your opener. Garage door openers/remotes use a verity of batteries; make sure you buy the correct one. So go ahead and get your garage door maintained.

Use these tips once you had finished looking for []new homes. There are many []Dallas new homes available. So once you find your dream home use these tips to keep your home looking great.

Article Source: [] Garage Door Maintenance - What Should Be Done Periodically

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three Reasons to Renovate Your Garage

For some homeowners, the garage serves more as an office than a place to keep the car when it's not in use. Men, and even women, like to tinker with engines and work on projects with the door open to the summer sunshine. If you feel lately the contents of your garage are threatening to spill over into the yard and beyond, however, perhaps it's time to consider a professional touch. Yes, there are contractors that specialize in garage renovation who are ready to assist in optimizing this important part of the home. The reasons why you should invest in a garage makeover can save you sanity in the long run.

Safety First! An organized garage is a safe garage. When you hire a remodeling crew to install a new skid-free floor and wall racks without sharp hooks you minimize the opportunity for injury. You can also place dangerous tools out of reach of children and minimize the risk of loose wire and unsteady shelves causing heavy equipment to fall and hurt somebody.

There It Is! Wouldn't it be great to find that one Allen wrench you haven't seen in years? Re-organize your garage with new cabinetry, drawers, and rolling toolboxes and you'll never have to dig around unkempt piles of tools again. Doing this also gives you the opportunity to clear away what you don't need anymore, tools and junks that have taken up space and you hadn't realized it.

Increased Functionality! Once your garage is renovated, you'll find there's plenty of room to move around and work, even with your car parked. You'll be motivated to work on projects you didn't think you could finish without making a mess in the yard, and you may be more inclined to spend time outdoors instead of watching TV for hours on end. Increased functionality equals more activity.

If you haven't thought about calling a renovation consultant, ask today about your options for fixing up the garage. Make it more than just a place to store junk.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach garages and Virginia Beach awnings.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tax Credits for Energy Saving Windows Still Available

USA Today reports that tax credits for energy-efficient products like windows and doors are still available to homeowners. According to their website, last year's economic stimulus package has expanded some energy-efficient breaks, including:

The non-business energy property tax credit. This tax break provides a credit of 30% of the cost of new insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, water heaters or boilers, up to a maximum of $1,500. To claim the full credit, you would need to spend at least $5,000 on qualified energy-efficient home improvements, says Mildred Carter, federal tax analyst for tax publisher CCH.

The credit is available for 2009 and 2010, so if you replace your aging furnace or leaky windows this year, you can claim the credit when you file your 2010 tax return. However, the $1,500 is a lifetime cap, so if you claim a $1,000 credit on this year's return, you're limited to $500 in 2010.

If you need to replace windows this year and haven't yet claimed any such breaks on your taxes for 2009, you could get the full $1500 next year! Home Solutions, your leader in Virginia Beach window replacement, is the one to call for your free estimate on window and panel replacement or installation. Right now, too, when you buy two windows the third one is free, so you save even more!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Vote for House Doctors Handyman Services of Virginia Beach

Every year, The Virginian-Pilot holds a poll for readers to choose the Best of Hampton Roads - restaurants, stores, and other services. If you go to their voting site at , you'll find each city in Tidewater has a number of categories, and for Virginia Beach under Home Services there are a number of categories for which House Doctors Handyman Services of Virginia Beach qualifies.

If you have a moment, please consider writing in House Doctors Handyman Services for the following: Best Local Home Improvement Contractor, Best Window Replacement, and Best Siding in Virginia Beach. We pride ourselves on providing the most professional, knowledgeable, and courteous service in the beach, and we appreciate our customers. Help us let everybody know we are the best!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Solar Shades For Your Windows Can Save You Money

If you enjoy leaving your curtains open to allow natural light to shine into your home, you may think you are saving on your electricity bill. While it's true you may not use your lamps and lighting as much, but too much sunlight can have an adverse effect on your home. While there is light, you're also bringing in harmful UV rays and other potential problems. One way to prevent this and still keep your home illuminated is having exterior solar shades installed.

Why Install Solar Shades?

To protect our skin from the sun while we're outside, we may don wide-brimmed hats or use sunscreen. We may think, too, that being indoors protects us from UV, but in truth it does not. When the sun beats down on your windows, too, there is the danger of overheating the glass, which in turn could cause your A/C system to work harder than it really has to. Furniture and wallpaper may fade, too, dulling the inner beauty of your home.

Solar shades work to protect your rooms from these possibilities while also permitting natural illumination and a view outside. With shades you control the amount of sunshine you want in your home and therefore maintain the right level of cooling that won't take a hit on your wallet.

Solar Shades are Versatile

The more commonly used styles of shading are constructed of either acrylic exterior awning fabric, fiberglass screen, or PVC-coated polyester. Most contractors and companies dealing with shading will offer hundreds of patterns and colors to match your home, and motorized options let you set your shade with no fuss. You won't find a more cost-effective way of saving money on energy bills and beautifying your home.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia green homes and Virginia Beach handyman services.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hire a HVAC Professional to Keep You Cool (And Warm)

When extreme weather conditions threaten the comfort of your home, it's important to make sure your heating and air conditioning systems are working property. If your house HVAC is in need of repairs or replacement, you'll do good to contact a professional home heating and cooling service to handle the job. Your local HVAC professional does more than make sure the air blows from the vents at the right temperature. If you're concerned about energy efficiency, for one, you'll benefit from the experience of people who know the equipment you need to keep you home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Why hire an HVAC mechanic to maintain your home's air circulation? Heating and air conditioning systems require the care of somebody who is trained specifically to deal with the workings of such sophisticated equipment. If you are not sure how an A/C unit works and decide to "tinker" a bit to get it to work, you could not only damage the unit but set back repairs and installation to cost even more than what you might have paid if you made the service call first. Take the time to consult with the proper mechanic for the following needs:

HVAC System Installation - When you're ready for a new furnace or boiler, or want to change out those window A/C units for central air, let an HVAC serviceman install your new system quickly and efficiently. Be sure to ask about potential energy-saving appliances and tax credit eligibility.

Indoor Air Quality Inspections - Is the air in your home clean? You may be surprised to know how easily pollution creeps indoors. Get an HVAC specialist to inspect your ventilation and air filters to determine if your air ducts need cleaning or replacement.

To keep your home free of airborne pollutants and other heating and cooling mishaps, it's best to call a professional with the know-how to keep you comfortable.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services, Newport News HVAC repair services and Virginia HVAC repair.

Why Remodel Your Home?

The old saying holds true: be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. Those who are fortunate to own their own home have the luxury of being able to hammer a nail into a wall without consequence, or replacing carpet with wooden or marble tile, or painting a wall any color they choose.

And, like fashions, homes do tend to go in and out of style as time passes. What might have been the trend in home furnishings and appliances when you bought your home may appear passe and unattractive now. More than likely, you have considered a home makeover, but is it necessary to go to something extreme like renovation of a room or an entire house? Is it affordable? How will it benefit you in the long run?

Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking of hiring a contractor to remodel your home:

Growth Have there been new additions to the family since you bought the house? Would you rather stay put than sell and look for something bigger? If you have the property and the resources, having an addition to the house may be more affordable than starting over with a new place. Your home can grow as your family grows, yet the familiar sites and environs that attracted you to where you live remain.

Value What is the current value of your home? Were you to sell, would you get a fair price for it in today's market? Home renovation may actually increase the value of your property, and with updated appliances and structures you may stand a better chance at attracting a willing buyer who doesn't have to take care of renovations.

Security and Safety Sometimes, renovation is necessary from a safety standpoint. If you should become injured or ill and require care, you may still want to remain in your home. Renovations to make your home more accessible to you can improve your quality of life.

There are many reasons to consider home improvements. With affordable renovations to your house, you can improve upon the quality of your life and property.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach home remodeling and Virginia Beach vinyl siding.

Is it Time to Call the Plumber?

New homeowners especially may be quick to call for repairs if even the slightest thing in their house goes wrong. The last thing anybody, regardless of how long they have owned their home, wants to deal with is the plumbing, and while some problems may appear easy to fix, it can be tricky. What could start out as a minor tweak could involve calling a professional plumber before the day is done.

How do you know when to call a plumber, before you discover the house is full of water? Some kitchen and bathroom jobs may look easy, but before you grab a wrench and try to tackle it yourself, please do some serious inspection to determine whether or not you should pick up a phone instead. Ask yourself these questions:

Is wiring or electricity involved? If the problem lies with an electric heater, it may take more than a simple poking around the panels to fix the situation. If you have no experience with heaters, you put yourself, as well as your home at risk. Best to bring in a licensed and bonded professional who knows his wires.

Are your pipes frozen? If so, this is definitely a job for a pro. If you try to thaw out the pipes on your own you risk further damage. Professional plumbers are trained to properly seal cracks in such pipes.

How bad is that backed up toilet? If a regular plunger isn't doing the trick, the problem could lie deeper in the sewage lines, which could require some digging to fix. Before you tear up your yard, make the call.

Does a part need replacing? If something as complicated as a heater or water pump is not working, it could mean you need a new part for it. Before you attempt to do the work on your own, it may be better to have a professional assess the problem.

Simple jobs like minor clogs and leaky pipes that need an extra twist may work fine if done on your own. More complicated task, however, require the care and expertise of a trained workman. You might think calling a plumber is expensive, but you'll find the cost is worth it if you don't have to pay for further damages incurred by a do-it-yourself job gone wrong.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach plumbing and Virginia Beach handyman services.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Plumbing Problems at Work? Do it Yourself?

You're at work, maybe getting coffee in the break room or checking in on the courtesy restrooms, and you see a leak. You may think it's nothing urgent, nothing a small tweak with a wrench can't fix. However, the trained eye of a commercial plumber may see something entirely different.
Unlike residential plumbing, commercial plumbing brings on different challenges and issues that may prove more complicated for an untrained person to handle. Leaks and problems with water flow may indicate problems deep within the building where your business is housed, and if you work in a strip building or are connected to other businesses the tweaking you do on pipes and fixtures could effect others.

Should you try to handle the problem yourself? There are a number of reasons why that wouldn't be recommended:

Inexperience: If you're not certain how to use wrench or other tool to fix a pipe, you risk doing more damage than is already there. Furthermore, what you see as a minor leak could be the beginning of a cracked pipe that will require more care and likely equipment you don't have on hand.

Liability: If you should happen to get injured while trying to fix a plumbing problem, your business will not only have to deal with the leak but also any workman's compensation, if applicable. You also risk losing work if hurt.

What is the best course to take here? If you're able to pinpoint the origin of the plumbing problem, contact a commercial plumber for a consultation. Commercial plumbing mechanics are trained to specifically assess pipework in non-residential buildings, and are able to make any repairs without disrupting your work or your customers.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on commercial plumbing in Virginia Beach and Virginia Beach home improvement.

The Importance of Drain Cleaning

Maybe it's happened to you before: you turn on the shower per your daily routine, or you run water hot into your kitchen sink to prepare dinner or wash dishes. After a few seconds you realize the water is pooling in the tub or sink, and there's no stopper making that happen. You have a clogged drain, and the additional headache of having to deal with it.

Drain clogs can be caused by a multitude of things - excess hair, waste, or food that gets caught in pipes and prevents water from flowing, or outside tree roots that compromise your plumbing. Depending on where the clog is and the severity of the problem, a quick solution may be all you need to handle it. Store brand or industrial strength cleaners one pours down a drain might do the trick if the clog isn't too problematic. Root killers, if applied correctly, can be effective and save you a phone call to a plumber.

Simple equipment like augurs and "plumbing snakes" may also address more stubborn clogs, but if you are not sure how to use them it might be best to avoid doing so.

Unclogging drains, however, is more than just pouring a solution down the hatch and hoping for the best. Once you've managed to dislodge a drain, you want to be certain another one doesn't pop up. This will require vigilance on your part to make sure the water flows smoothly down your pipes. If you find clogs occur too often and too close together, it could be time to contact a plumber to look into the problem.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach home repair, Chesapeake plumbing and plumbers in Norfolk.

Should You Repair Your Own Roof?

You've owned your home for a number of years, and have enjoyed the comfort and protection it provides. One day, however, you may sense something unusual - a drip from the ceiling, unusual noise, or chipping plaster. You look up and you realize there are problems with your roof. It won't do to live under a damaged top, so what's next? Having a roof replaced can be a costly process depending on your budget and finances, so is it wise to take on the chore of fixing it yourself?

While it may appear that fixing a roof is little more than applying shingles in places where there are gaps and tears, roofing is actually a fairly involved process that requires some planning. Homeowners may find that once they've scaled the ladder with a box of shingles and some nails that there are other things to consider about the roof. For one, will a patch job do the trick? Does the leaking problem extended deeper than a simple patch? Will the work you do affect how the roof currently ventilates?

Another thing to consider if you have thought about home repairs is the resale value of your home. Say after a few years you decide to sell. Prospective buyers will want to know the condition of the roof, especially if there is a possibility they will have to replace it themselves. Would a home buyer feel more confident knowing a contractor worked on your roof as opposed to an amateur handyman?

This is not to discourage anybody from attempting home fixes, but rather to guide homeowners toward the best decision regarding roof repair. The adjustments you make now should last a long time, so make sure the right person does the job.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach vinyl siding, Eastern Shore roofing and Virginia Beach roofing.

Green Plumbing Options Improve Your Home

A big concern for the homeowner these days is how to "green" the homestead. It seems automatic to recycle plastic and paper, keep unused lights off and use resources sparingly, but did you know that by making a few adjustments to your bathroom fixtures can greatly reduce the strain on your surrounding environment? Plumbing mechanics are training to offer green repair and installation options for home owners to ensure strong resources for the future.

Why Hire a Green Plumber

There's no question that employing the services of a "green" plumbing company benefits your property and the economy. Environmentally conservative fixtures and repairs to your home can increase its value over time, and help save money on energy and water bills. You also gain the peace of mind that you are working to reduce your carbon footprint and improve the natural resources in your surrounding area. Neighbors who happen to see a green plumber working on your home may be inspired to hire one as well, thereby increasing consciousness of the environment.

What a Green Plumber Can Do for You

Besides save you money, here are some things that can be done to improve the functionality of your bathroom.
  • Water efficient commodes - The less you flush, the less water wasted and the less running through the tank. If you're not a fan of jiggling the handle after use, maybe look into this option.
  • Solar hot water system - What's hotter than the sun? Rather than expand expensive energy on heating your water, install a solar powered system to keep down costs.
  • Environmentally friendly tank and drain maintenance - When you pour chemicals down the toilet or sink to undo clogs, you could be releasing dangerous toxins that eventually wind up in the soil underneath and around your house. If you have a garden, you especially don't want that! Green alternatives include additives made of natural resources that won't harm the earth.
The next time you're in need of plumbing repair around the house, confer with a company that applies eco-friendly techniques. The work you do now may alleviate the need to do so in the future.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services, Virginia Beach window replacement, and Virginia Beach commercial plumbing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Can a Window Replacement Service Do For You?

You don't necessarily have to wait for the neighbor's son to accidentally hit a baseball through your window to consider replacing the glass and frame. Homeowners may choose to have living room and kitchen windows replaced for a variety of reasons: concerns for leaking, older models wasting energy and increasing heating bills normally top the list. Also, as you work to modernize your home you may wish to improve how people see the exterior as well as the rooms. A new frame and glass gives you a new perspective on your home.

That said, it's important to hire a professional window replacement service to ensure your new frames fit right, making your house more energy efficient and attractive. Consult Internet and phone book listings that feature contractors with good Better Business Bureau ratings, or check the popular Angie's List website for genuine consumer reviews to assist your search. A reputable, experienced window service should be able to provide you with the following options at an affordable rate:

Window Installation: Looking for single-hung, double-hung, bay or bow windows? A good window specialist will measure the area where your window goes and apply the frame and style of your choosing.

Existing Window Repair: Break a window recently? Or is your storm window leaking and costing you enormous heating bills? A good window repairman will fix any style in your home.

Sliding Door Installation: Doors and windows often go hand in hand in contracting. As your window man about having a new sliding door leading into your deck or patio.
Whatever the reason for wanting new windows, finding a good window handyman to help improve your home is an important first step in making your house cost efficient and higher in value.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services and Virginia Beach windows replacement and installation.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Enhance Your Patio Or Deck With a Beautiful Awning

You work hard throughout the year, and deserve those precious moments of private time in the comfort of your home. Perhaps you've had a backyard patio or deck installed to enjoy long summer nights or weekend afternoons with a nice drink and a book to read. Depending on where you live and where you have this small oasis set, you should consider having a retractable awning set for protection and shade.

Awnings Improve Aesthetic Beauty

When you contact a contractor specializing in the installation of awnings, you'll discover the unlimited potential for beautifying your back patio, lanai, or veranda. Reputable awning companies will offer quality fabric in hundreds of patterns, all designed for use when the sun is too much to handle. A strong shade can prevent your patio furniture from fading and your skin from reddening if you happen to be out without sunscreen. Stripes, plaids, polka dots, and solid can choose a style that best matches your home's exterior and lends a polished look to your home.

Awnings Protect and Add Value to Your Home

When severe weather strikes, extend your retractable awning to keep your furniture and deck wood dry. Sun, snow, rain and hail may beat down on the fabric that covers this relaxation space, but if you consult with a reputable handyman you can rest with peace of mind knowing the awning is durable enough to withstand the harsh elements. Awnings do well to keep your glass siding doors from being scratched or cracked when the wind is strong, and may even add some value to your home should you decide to sell. Prospective buyers may see this one addition as a sign that the owner cares for the home - if it's protected on the outside, the inside must look terrific!
If you don't have anything covering your patio or deck, don't wait. The longer you leave your outdoor space exposed to the sun and weather, the more damage is inflicted. Consult with a handyman you trust about having a retractable awning set up today.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach awnings and Virginia Beach handyman services.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Benefits of Roof Inspection

Whether you already own your home or are looking into buying one, one task to consider for proper house care is a thorough inspection of the roof. The roof is what keeps the rest of the home secure and protected from the elements. Having a professional check the current state of a roof can help you save money and headaches, depending on your situation.
Why get your roof inspected? As a homeowner or potential buyer, it's important to know everything you can about the place you live.

Prevention: Regular roof evaluation - it is recommended to have a professional examine your house top every two or three years - can help determine if minor problems and leaks stand to become major issues in the future. These checks can spot damage by weather or rodents or other elements and allow you plan for timely repairs that may not cost you as much now as a larger fix would have down the road.

Value: If ever you think of selling your house, a buyer is going to want to know the condition of the roof. As it is the objective of the buyer to choose a home that doesn't require extensive repair, should your roof require great attention it can make selling a challenge. Regular inspections can alert you to repairs necessary before you put your home on the market, and they can help evaluate the selling price.

Renovation: Say you wish to remodel your home and have an addition built. Even if you don't plan to add a story to your house, a new room will require extension of your roof, and you want to be certain the structure matches your present one. Regular inspections can help you figure out what needs to be done to ensure the roof is even and strong.
Just a small payment for inspection can save you larger bills for repairs if you leave roof problems unnoticed and unattended.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services Virginia Beach roofing and Eastern Shore roofing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Make Your Home "Green" With Simple House Improvements

The long winter has left many a homeowner heated up - not only by high generation of heat within the home, but by rising energy bills due to the weather. As the cold season lingers, it forces people to continue running heaters and other appliances to keep living conditions bearable. Unfortunately, it's not always good for the wallet. Especially if you live in an older home, it's good to consider money-saving adjustments that add energy-efficient products to your structure that can help reduce power and save you money, while also helping to improve the value of your house.

If it suddenly warms up, too, don't think that putting off these improvements is a good thing. Simple measures to turn your home "green" are beneficial any time of year. Here are just a few suggestions to ponder when consulting with a contractor.

Installation of double-hung windows:Double-hung windows are constructed to allow the top and bottom sashes to tilt and open and provide ventilation or sealed protection when you need it. Energy-efficient and strong, when installed properly they keep out the elements and keep heat/cooling inside, so your systems won't work overtime to thoroughly circulate air through your house.

Addition of skylights: The more natural light you let into your home, the less reason to run lights during the day. Skylighting lends an attractive quality to your house and reduces the need for extra lamps. You save money on electric bills and light bulbs.

Erecting an attic tent: An attic tent is design to work with your home's insulation, so the heat stays where it needs to be - in your home, and not out into the neighborhood.

Replace bathroom fixtures: Is water consumption at an all time high in your home? Install low-flow toilets and shower heads to maximize your time in the bathroom without skyrocketing bills.

Confer with your favorite handyman today about what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your monthly payout for home expenses. A green home saves you green.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services and Norfolk green homes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Give Your Garage an Extreme Makeover!

Do you have an attached garage, yet have trouble fitting your car for all the storage you've accumulated over the years? Perhaps you spend more time in your garage than in your home, tinkering on your car or motorcycle, and aren't satisfied with the use of space. It may be time to give this oft-neglected part of your home a makeover, so you can improve how you stock lawn and garden equipment, seasonal outdoor decoration, and make plenty of room for your vehicle.
It's not uncommon to hire a contractor or decorator to turn an existing garage into a functional room in your house, like a den or playroom, but did you know there are businesses that also specialize in improving this space so it's still used as a garage? It might surprise you to know what can be done to keep this enclosed storage space looking clean and functional. Here are just a few things one can consider for a complete overhaul.

Cabinet and Storage Installation: Can't find anything when you need it? Is your garage so full you can't even pull in your car? Have custom cabinetry and storage units installed to put everything in its place - tools, sports equipment, holiday decorations, and other items.

Flooring: Yes, you can have a professional style floor just like a commercial garage. Especially if you like to work on your car, a professional can replace or repair your current garage floor to a painted and polished result that will be envy of the neighborhood.

Wall Racks: For lawn and garden equipment, patio chairs, and camping gear, a wall system of racks and hanging baskets store everything perfectly and remove clutter from your floor.
Consult with a contractor who deals in garage renovation about the possibilities for your car's space. The result is well worth the investment.

K. Lively is a freelance writers specializing in articles on Virginia Beach garages and Virginia Beach home solutions.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why Home Improvement Contractors Should Blog

For the roofer, plumber, repairman, or general contractor who relies on local patronage to keep business coming, nothing is more important than visibility. These days people will drive past home undergoing extensive makeovers and see the lawn signs planted by the curb informing everybody who is doing the work. While that's a great method of exposing a first-hand look at your craftsmanship, you must also consider the limits of such advertising. If the home is not in a busy area, how many people will really see the sign? To broaden your reach, it's necessary to set aside time for online marketing, and having a blog is key.

The home improvement owner who is skilled with his hands for building and repairs might not think he is apt to write about his work, but in truth blogging doesn't necessarily have to be regular theses on construction. Blogs are flexible yet powerful marketing tools - you don't need a marketing or writing degree to operate a successful weblog that attracts readers. All you need is the time to invest in building an audience and showcasing what your company does best. Here are just a few things you can do with a blog to help bring homeowners to your site, and to contact you for work.

Post before and after photos. If you have an especially daunting renovation project, nothing is more encouraging to a homeowner than to see the progress of the job. Posting before, mid and after pictures of a kitchen or bathroom remodel, a new roof installation, or a deck construction lets prospective clients see you in action, and the great results.

Post videos. You can embed videos in posts of certain blog content systems. Show locals how you operate, the quality materials you use, and the efficient labor that defines your brand.

Offer online specials. Gauge different promotions with your blog. Advertise "blog only" discounts and track how often they are redeemed.

Offer home improvement tips. Does a homeowner need a quick fix for the toilet or faucet? How can somebody keep their roof safe in winter? Provide helpful tips on your blog and build authority and trust.

With a blog attached to your main website, you provide regular fresh content, which in turn alerts search engines to give you better results in search. Start a blog today if you have not done so, and see the positive effects it can have on your online presence, and your business.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services, Virginia Beach plumbing and Virginia Beach roofing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Top Five Home Improvements Guaranteed to Make Your House Beautiful and Secure

Given today's economy, many homeowners have found it more financially sound to make renovations to their existing home rather than move. Indeed, if your family is growing, a room addition may be more affordable now than searching for a larger house, but if you have no plans to expand there are still projects for your home than can make life more enjoyable. If you have had it with the antiquated look of your rooms, consider calling on a contractor or handyman to help you with a few good fixes to your home.

What can you have done to your house to improve the way it looks as well as how it functions in terms of security and safety? Our top five suggestions can work to wow guests and save money in the long run.

New Flooring: In time, kitchen floors especially become worn and dirty to the point that the strongest cleaner won't penetrate the dirt. If you came into a home with existing vinyl flooring, you may want to consider upgrading to wood or tile...something attractive that also keeps clean easily.

Radiant Barrier Insulation: For your attics, radiant barrier insulation is designed to provide a more comfortable atmosphere for your home while also saving money on heating and cooling bills. With this installed, you won't need to run the AC as much, plus you could receive a tax credit on installation if you qualify. Consult with a contractor to learn more.

Crown Molding: Little touches like adding crown molding to your walls lends an elegance to your home that people sense all the time.

New Deck or Patio: Do you live in a nice climate? Make use of your yard space with a deck or patio. Entertain in the summer with barbecues, and have a glass sliding door attached to let in natural light during the day, and eliminate the need for extra lighting in your home.

Bathroom Remodeling: Used to be bathrooms were built into homes for limited, necessary use. These days, however, we like to pamper ourselves and linger as we freshen up. What better way to do that than in a completely overhauled bathroom with updated shower fixtures, more room, and a lighted vanity. Who needs to go to the spa, when you have one at home?

Home improvement is likely more affordable than you think. With the work of a competent, licensed handyman, your current house can transform into the home of your dreams, and you won't have to move!

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handymanservices and Virginia home improvement services.