What’s That Odor in My Fireplace?

Many people complain about an odor that comes from their chimneys even when a fire is not burning or has not been for a long period of time. All fireplaces have some type of odor, but a normal working fireplace will send the smell up and out of the chimney with the draft before it seeps into the home. If you have a smell coming in from your fireplace, it means that air from the outside is being sucked into the room. There are two fixes for this problem, one is to not allow the smelly air to come into the home and the other is to get rid of the smell in the first place.

Creosote and Soot Build-Up Can Be the Culprit

A fireplace inspection and sweep is a good first step to any smell issue, as it will remove excess creosote and rule out other common problems that may have caused the smell. Fallen leaves and rotting animals or animal scat will be found and removed with a chimney cleaning thus eliminating these options as a cause for the smell. While a thorough cleaning and inspection are helpful, they do not always take care of the problem. For issues with creosote, it is difficult to completely remove the buildup as it seeps into the stone masonry. Also, moisture problems and air pressure issues may still remain. Therefore other actions must be taken to rid the home of the smell all together. If your fireplace and chimney has not been cleaned in some time, the built up creosote and soot when combined with humid, summer heat and moisture from rain will produce an unpleasant odor as well. Annual chimney sweeping will prevent this build up from occurring.

The two most common causes of fireplace odors are water seeping into the chimney and negative air pressure in the home causing the smells to enter the room rather than leave the chimney through the roof. To first ensure that water is not the problem, check and make sure you have a rain cap covering the top of the chimney flue. Ideally you want the exterior of the chimney to be as waterproof as possible and not allow moisture or humidity into the chimney shaft. Adding a rain cap to the chimney not only prevents against excess moisture in the chimney, but it also provides a barrier to prevent animals and debris from falling into the chimney. While the water issue has a relatively easy fix, solving the negative air pressure problem is slightly more complex.

Even Babies Don’t Like Stinky Chimneys!

This negative air pressure can cause odors to enter the home, no matter what the cause. To resolve this issue, you must compensate for what is causing the negative pressure in your home. This problem is more prominent during the warmer months after weatherizing has been done to the home or venting changes and improvements have been made. These all change the air pressure in the home and may cause the negative air pressure that creates the need for additional air to be brought through the fireplace and into the home.

The change in pressure inside the home could come from new furnace installation, windows, dryers, new roofing, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, or other similar home improvements. When the home has negative air pressure, more air must come into the home to make up for this and the path with the least resistance is most commonly through the fireplace.

To correct the negative air pressure problem, start by following these simple steps. There are many different ways to do this, but the most effective method is a combination of a couple of the steps until you reach the right balance that stops the smell from being drawn out into the house. Start with the simple solutions.

  • Close the fire damper when the fireplace is not in use. While this will sometimes solve the problem, most dampers are not perfectly sealed, so the problem may still occur.
  • Have a glass fire screen installed to keep the warm air from escaping when there is a fire in the fireplace.
  • A top sealing damper installed onto the top of the chimney that is controlled by a metal chain that hangs down the chimney to the hearth. These can be a huge help in monitoring the airflow.
  • Provide outside combustion air to combustion appliances that cause the unbalance in the air pressure.

On a cold winter day, the smell of burning logs and the heat from a hot crackling fire creates the perfect combination, but any other day of the year, the fireplace should simply be a fixture to be seen and nothing else. Don’t let an obtrusive smell draw unnecessary attention to your fireplace. Call your local chimney sweep for a professional deodorizing fireplace cleanse.

Identifying Bathroom Water Damage

Bathroom water damage can significantly reduce the value of a home by reducing aesthetics and creating the possibility of expensive structural repairs. Water damage can start in a bathroom, but break through the floor to the downstairs room, wreaking havoc on the interior woodworking of the house. In addition to the nasty appearance of water damage, excess moisture often leads to high levels of mold growth inside a home.

Causes

There are several causes of water damage in bathrooms. Leaks are the leading cause of water damage, and even small leaks, such as a toilet base or water faucet, can cause serious damage if left untreated. Other sources of damages include flooding, leaking window damage, plumbing leaks or improper caulking of a bath tub.

ID

Water damage is identifiable by water stains on floors, tiles or behind furniture. These can be a variety of shapes or sizes and generally consist of a dark outer edge with a lighter interior spot. Mold is also a primary indicator of water damage. The New York State Department of Health notes that “a mold problem can usually be seen or smelled. Mold growth can often appear as slightly hairy, discolored or slug patches that increase in size as they grow.” If you suspect that you may have bathroom water damage, make a thorough inspection of your walls and floors and examine the interior of the cabinets to check for water stains.

Problems

Permanent coloring of floors, walls and tiles is very unsightly, but excess water can also cause structural damage, especially in floors. Molded mushrooms thrive in moist areas, especially in bathrooms and even in small amounts is considered a health problem caused by high levels of moisture. Mold is especially dangerous for people with allergies and often causes sneezing, coughing and congestion.

Repair

Light water coloring on tiles or walls should be removed as soon as possible with bath cleaner and a brush. Dry the area thoroughly after cleaning to avoid further damage. If decomposition of water has spread inside walls or with bathroom tiles, consult a professional plumber for evaluation, as structural repairs may be required.

Prevention

Water damage is more dangerous when undetected and allowed to diffuse and bloom. The Rocky Mountain Association of Safe Information states that “fading or soft areas around floors and walls near showers or bathtubs may be your first indication there is a leak.” Regularly examine the tile and grout to ensure there are no missing areas for caulking. Water damage is also quite common under the sink, so remove everything from the cabinets and examine the area. If your bathroom floods, quickly remove the water and dry the area carefully to avoid causing further damage. If your bathroom does not have a window, run a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.

Preventing Mold Growth in Your Home

Mold growth in your home can be a serious problem not only for you but also for the building itself. Negative health effects can have on you, your family, and your pets are bad enough by themselves, but when you add the structural damage it can do, what it costs to have it removed, and how ugly it can be, it is a nightmare for any homeowner.

There are a number of places in your home that are at risk for mold growth and you should do a casual inspection of these areas often, since mold can start to grow in about 48 hours.

The bathroom is the number one area of ​​the home at risk for mold because this site sees a lot of water going in and out of it every day. Hopefully everyone in your household takes a bath or shower at least once a day and if they do, then this is somewhere around a hundred gallons a day or more. The steam that collects is soaked up by the ceiling and will cause the mold to grow there over time.

Ceilings have been known to collapse due to this kind of moisture buildup, so having an exhaust vent installed in the room lets the steam out. The bathroom floor should also be waterproofed. Hard, non-porous surfaces are not good environments for mold to grow on, but if they get under to the wood sub-floor, they will thrive.

The kitchen is another area of ​​the home at risk and an exhaust vent should be located here too, preferably over the stove. This is also an area that needs to have a tight waterproofed floor, since it is also a place where liquid spills often happen. Dishwashers and ice makers in the refrigerator also have a tendency to malfunction if they are old or in disrepair.

Basements have their own moisture problems to deal with most of the time and you can fix this by repairing any water leak that may be there and installing a dehumidifier can also help. If you do the laundry or have an extra bathroom in the basement, an exhaust vent is a must. Replacing window pits and filling more flooring around the foundation of your house can help stop the water from filtering in also.

Qualities to Look For When Hiring an Emergency Plumber

It’s eleven o’clock at night on a Friday, a pipe is cracked (or so you think) and you do not have hot water on Monday morning! You need an emergency plumber asap!

You get on the internet and search in Google but there is a small problem, the search page does not help. You find hundreds of supposed 24-hour emergency plumbing services and do not know where to start calling. Some are established companies, others are people who have been unemployed and have access to a couple of tools and perhaps know something about plumbing.

This it is the sad reality. This guide will help you make a better decision when hiring a plumber.

24 Hour Service

One of the mandatory conditions for plumbing companies is the 24-hour service. Emergencies do not emerge as a convenience and it is partly what makes them urgent. When you have huge leaks, impossible jams or total water loss, you need to fix the problem no matter what time of day and your emergency plumber should be ready for the task. Just rely on plumbers who offer 24-hour emergency service 7 days a week with just one phone call.

Experience

One of the difficulties with the urgent service is that the plumber has to think fast and find quick solutions to the problem.

This is the kind of repair work that no school can teach properly, it takes a lot of field practice in a variety of similar situations to really prepare a plumber to handle emergency situations. Look for plumbing companies or contractors with a long history that supports their skills.

Offers a variety of plumbing services

This is linked with experience, it means that the plumber can extract the knowledge gained from various types of plumbing jobs to determine the best service to fix their urgency. A plumber with knowledge of water leakage from pipe rupture and leak detection can use this information when it comes to diagnosing the repair of broken pipes under the ground and fixing a water treatment system. A plumber who offers numerous services will have a greater range of tools to adapt to any situation.

Handing Wire Computer Shelves

Installing wire shelving is an inexpensive and easy way to create a desk and computer storage. Wire shelving is available from home improvements stores and may be coated or uncoated. Coated wire shelves have a layer of vinyl plastic or wrapped around it as a buffer, while non-coated wire shelving is only bare metal. One of the other benefits of wire shelving mounted on the wall is the versatility; the computer area can be expanded or retracted to adjust to a changing room design. Hang shelves made of standard gypsum or plaster is a task that can be completed in less than an hour.

Instructions

Measurement

  1. Measure the length of wire shelving. There may be several pieces; the desired arrangement of shelves must fit in the designated area.
  2. Mark the wall where you want to hang the shelf. There should be three marks; one for each end of the platform and one for the middle. Note that if you are making a computer desk shelf, it should be high enough so your knees fit comfortably under it when sitting.
  3. Make sure the marks are straight using a level. This will ensure that the shelf is straight when mounted on the wall.
  4. Mark the location of the first clip from the wall. If the end of the platform is against a wall, the first clip must be at least 2 1/2 inches from the end. If not, the clip should be placed 1 inch from the end. Repeat on the opposite end.
  5. Make marks equal distances apart from the first mark of the second. Note that the clips should not exceed more than 12 inches apart.
  6. Measure 5/8 inches above each mark and mark again with a point. This will be the location of the screw that holds the clip in place.

Installation

  1. Drill a hole in the center of each point with 1/4 inch drill bit. This is the recommended standard drill for drywall or plaster.
  2. Press wall clip into the holes with a hammer. Attach wall clips in place with bolts.
  3. Hold the shelf on the wall clips and start to blow the wire back into wall clips. Wall made ​​clips for wire shelving have slots at the top, allowing easy installation.
  4. Decide on the location of the support brackets. Support brackets must be installed no more than 3 feet apart, or less than 2 meters from the end of a platform that does not touch the wall.
  5. Place the assembly of a support bracket to the bottom of the wire shelving. The plate must sit flush against the bottom of the shelf horizontally, with the carpenter plate attached to the lip.
  6. Place a screw through the front jointer. Do the same with the smaller end of the plate at the end of the wire shelving. Tightening a nut (hand) on the back of the bolts. Repeat this with each media location.
  7. Mark the area in which each support bracket is fixed to the wall. Most likely to be a small hole in the bottom. This will be the area to be marked.
  8. Drill a 1/4-inch of each brand. Then, gently hammer the fishes, or wall anchors in each hole. Finish screwing the brackets to the fishes.

Removing Paint from Painted Iron

There are two types of black iron used in homes: cast iron and wrought iron. The first is used to make kitchen appliances, such as stoves and facades. The second can be used in architectural elements and stairs, stair railings and balconies. Since both types of iron can be found in your home, they are likely to receive spots or splashes of paint. Fortunately, removing these stains is very simple.

Instructions

  1. Cover the areas around the iron object with a tarp to protect the floor in case of splashes. If you’re working on architectural elements such as wrought iron railings, you must attach plastic sheeting to the walls with masking tape to protect these surfaces while you work on the iron.
  2. Get full personal safety equipment: gloves, breathing mask, safety goggles and protective clothing. The solvent used is a caustic liquid that can burn the skin and irritate the eyes and lungs. Protective clothing can prevent irritation if fluid comes in contact with the face or body. You can buy these in most hardware stores or home improvement stores.
  3. Soak a cleaning cloth or applicator with solvent following the instructions on the product label. Then rub the liquid on the stain or coat of paint on the iron surface you want to delete. Cover the surface you just cleaned with a plastic sheet to prevent the solvent from evaporating.
  4. With the help of a scraper, scrape the loosened paint through the solvent. Use a wire brush to remove paint from cracks and crevices.
  5. Clean the area you just removed paint from with mineral turpentine and let it dry.

Tips & Warning

  • To prevent corrosion of the surface, it may be necessary to paint the black iron that is now exposed.

Storing Gasoline for Emergencies

If the power goes out or if Mother Nature forces you to evacuate, you may need an extra supply of gasoline. The extra supply of gasoline will allow your generator or vehicle to continue to operate as stations or service run out of fuel. This article will explain how to store extra gasoline supply with safety.

Instructions

  1. For storage you need a can for fuels listed by UL and approved by FM. These cans are made of galvanized steel. Its major features include: galvanized steel construction, resistant to physical damage, a handle that allows easy pouring and transportation, a cap to vent the pressure automatically to prevent breakage or explosion in case of fire, a top with anti-spill springs and an internal control of toxic fumes, fire suppression and prevention of ignition
  2. Choose between type 1 or type 2 safety cans. Type 1 cans have an opening for pouring and filling. The type 2 cans have a peak with a flexible metal hose for filling and a separate filling opening. Type 1 cans are less expensive.
  3. Cans should only be filled to 95% capacity. This will allow gasoline to expansion at high temperatures.
  4. If you plan to store gasoline for more than a few months, you must add a preserving agent such as Sta-Bil. Add this agent to the fresh fuel when you fill the tank. The makers of Sta-Bil claim that their product will retain gasoline for 12 months or, if you double the dose, 2 years.
  5. Do not store gasoline inside or near a home. Gasoline should be stored separately in a ventilated area without access to electrical equipment or flames.

Five Signs Your Chimney Needs Repair

If you have gas insert, a pellet stove, or a wood-burning stove in your home, you may not think much about maintenance. On a day-to-day basis, there isn’t much that needs to be done, especially with more modern models that burn fuel efficiently. However, like any other part of the house, chimneys can suffer damage, especially if your house is older.

When your chimney is not functioning properly, your indoor air quality, fuel efficiency, and heat output can suffer. Look for these telltale signs that point to the need for a professional inspection.

Crumbling Bricks or Mortar Joints

In older homes that have brick chimneys, broken or cracked mortar is a common problem that can go unnoticed. Some chimneys are finished over with plaster or drywall, so the exposed brick isn’t open for inspection. However, you can still look in closets or in the attic for uncovered chimney brick.

If you noticed the mortar is breaking or if the bricks themselves are crumbling, call for help. You don’t want the structural integrity of your chimney to be compromised.

If the exterior brick is showing wear, the damage could also point to interior problems like cracking in the flue lining or excess moisture that causes the bricks to expand and contract during temperature changes.

Be sure you’re on the lookout for spalling. Spalling is when some bricks seem to be bulging out of place. If you have a stone or tile fireplace, these materials could crack or fall off as well. Usually, spalling occurs when water enters the structure and the residual salts force the masonry out of place.

Rust

Rust is an issue no matter what type of chimney you have or how old it is. Steel flu liners can rust, and you’ll start to see rust on the damper itself. If your damper is starting to get hard to move or if you are noticing the firebox isn’t sealing like it used to, rust is the most likely culprit. You should ideally never see rust on the interior or exterior of the firebox.

Rust means that water is somehow leaking down into the chimney. Left without repair, the rust will eventually cause metal failure in the system. Early rust is easy to repair, but once rust begins to scale, the problem becomes more costly to resolve because you’ll likely need to replace damaged elements.

Flue Tile Pieces

While more people choose metal liners or poured concrete liners for their chimney, flue tiles are still in use and are still effective for keeping your chimney safe. However, you should not find broken or flaked tile pieces at the bottom of the flue. This is a sign that your flue tiles are failing, and as a result, you should not use your fireplace until it is repaired.

Your flue liner is what helps to keep the combustion gases and the heat of the fire contained. Without it, you have a greater buildup of creosote, a greater risk of chimney fire, and your exterior masonry (rock, brick, or concrete) wears down more quickly.

If you notice flue tile pieces, try not to use your fire until you get the flue inspected. Sometimes, flue tiles can be repaired, but often the repair process is cost prohibitive. You may need a replacement liner to make your chimney safe again.

Wall Damage

Your chimney itself is not the only area where you might see damage. Every so often, check the walls around your fireplace. They should be smooth, dry, and mold free. If you have wallpaper, the paper should maintain a flat finish.

If you notice any soft spots in the wall, any bubbling up under paint or wallpaper, or any discoloration, have your chimney checked for moisture leaks. A damaged chimney cap can allow rainwater into the house, causing the moisture damage to the areas surrounding the immediate structure.

Buildup

Buildup within a chimney isn’t damage, but if left alone, it can cause damage to your home and reduce the effectiveness of your fire. You should have your chimneys cleaned seasonally to remove creosote, a highly flammable deposit that clings to the flue liner and gradually reduces the space of the chimney opening.

Blockages can also occur from birds or garbage that get trapped in the flue. If you notice that your fire isn’t burning very hot, if your home is smoky, or if you’re unable to keep the flame going, check for blockages and build up.

Left alone, creosote buildup can cause chimney fires and burn at a heat high enough to ruin your flue liner and damage the structure of your chimney and your roof.

Tips for Painting Small Rooms

A common advice for painting small rooms is to paint them white or an extreme color. While painting a room can cause a sensation of a black cave, you can choose colors with personality. You can celebrate the smallness and use deeper, or even a false end, which sometimes is overwhelming in a larger room colors. Surface faults and irregularities are also more obvious in small rooms, so prepare the walls carefully.

Choose colors

Paint the walls in a darker shade than the ceiling instead of the same color. Your eye will be drawn around the perimeter and height of the room, giving an illusion of space and more wall. Experiment with deeper natural colors, such as warm brown or mole. Instead of choosing light colors in the paint sample, look for the middle and darker tones of the same swatch. The saturated colors give warmth to small spaces, no painting makes a small room look spacious, so go for the warm and cozy atmosphere.

Decorative effects

Small rooms, such as bathrooms and washrooms, are perfect for experimenting with decor in paint or dramatic color changes. Under this premise, consider a faux marble technique, sponge effect, or proof with metallic colors. Paint the walls in a neutral and warm color, and paint one of the walls of a more intense version of that same color to give it a deep effect, or attract all the attention accentuating the architecture or the decoration, like a fireplace, mirror or a piece of art. Painting lines on the walls of a small room also “stretches” space.

Painting of frames

If the wooden moldings are painted in the room and they’re in good condition, paint it crisp white or cream to add dimension and accentuate it. If they aren’t in good condition, paint them the same color as the walls, or a subtly lighter shade.

Careful preparation

Completely empty the room before you begin, this will avoid stumbling on furniture or splashing over your belongings while you paint. Prepare all surfaces carefully, imperfections are most noticeable in small rooms. Wash the walls with water and a little soap, and fill the cracks and holes with putty. Sand the repairs and run your hand over the surface to feel how much softer it is. If you need to blend textures, get spray cans spray texture that will match most common doors or ceiling textures. Spread general-purpose latex walls before painting.

Unclogging a Drain with a Snake

The shower often picks up dirt particles and other elements that lead to a clogged drain. To remove the blockage you want to use something safe for the drain however effective to break the blockage that prevents the drain from draining properly.

Instructions

  1. Plunge into the drain to loosen the blockage. Since it may seem a little unhygienic to use your plunger in the shower, which is probably the best way, either buy an additional toilet plunger, or use a miniature plunger that is designed for use in small drains instead of cups. These small pistons can be found at any hardware or home improvement store, as well as in some supermarkets. Place the plunger in the middle of the drain and submerge for about 10 seconds. Rinse hot water down the drain, and repeat the sinking if any blockage remains.
  2. Push a snake tube down the drain to break the difficult blockage. The snake has a shape somewhat like a hose, and as you push the snake into the drain you will feel the snake hit the blockage. Slowly push the snake back and forth until it feels like the blockage has been broken to pieces. Rinse hot water down the drain, and repeat if the blockage has not been completely removed.
  3. Clean every week to reduce drainage accumulation. To break clogged debris, disinfect and deodorize the drain, all at the same time, pour approximately 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of white vinegar into the drain mouth. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) deodorizes and cleans, while vinegar disinfects. When the two ingredients are combined, they react and foam which is safe for your plumbing system, but effective in cleaning the walls of the pipes, as well as any residue that is causing a blockage. Allow the mixture to work through the drain for about 30 minutes, then pour 1 liter of boiling water down the shower drain.