Tips for Detecting Water Leaks

In any home, silent water leaks are a serious problem. A pipe or toilet leaking are obvious faults, but sometimes there are leaks difficult to detect that cause damage to the property, in addition to wasting large amounts of water.

When you are sure that there is a water leak, you will have to detect where it is coming from immediately.  Start by checking the sink, shower, toilet, connections of the washing machine, and tub. It is common that water leaks occur in the keys, which are easily detectable. However, they can also be the result of improper installation. Another reason why a water leak can take place may be due to deterioration of the connections.

Sometimes detecting water leaks in appliances is not easy because water accumulates under it. If you notice that there are bumps or moisture along the power lines, there is probably a water leak.

If you do not have the necessary tools to correct these small leaks, call a trusted plumber to resolve these problems as soon as possible, since unattended water leaks can be dangerous and harmful.

Eye in the bathroom

The leakage of water in the toilet is one of the most common at the domestic level and unfortunately it is a problem that affects us all.

A toilet in poor condition can waste up to five thousand liters of drinking water per month. And beyond the expense that we must assume there is also a great social damage, because water is wasted that other families need.

But there are simple techniques to detect possible leaks. If done at least once a month, you will avoid losing large amounts of drinking water and money as well.

ABC’s to detect leaks

It is easy to notice if you have an internal problem of water leakage, follow these three points to detect them:

Sanitary

Check for leaks in the toilet by depositing a few drops of dye in the tank; If the color appears in the water closet without having pulled it, there is a leak that must be repaired immediately.  Usually with this type of leakage you can hear the running of the water in the toilet. The toilet where the highest amount of water consumption is inside a house (41%).

Internal pipe

If your water consumption rises unjustifiably, close all the water valves of the house and if the meter continues to dial, call the plumber immediately, in your house there is an invisible leak.

External pipe

Periodically check the conditions of the water tank float and cistern.  When it breaks down it can cause a great waste of water.

6 signs of a water leak

  1. Soft surface. If the area where you live does not have rain often, the patio should be dry. However, if you walk around your house and you notice there are soft or wet areas, you should probably call a plumber. The cause of a soft and humid soil is rarely due to the rupture of the water pipe that drains that surface. Allowing the leak to continue will not only keep the patio soaked, but could also cause damage to foundations.
  2. Increase in the collection of water. One of the easiest ways to discover a water leak is to closely monitor your water bill. For example, if you go from paying $200 to $400, there is probably a water leak at home. Make sure you compare the bills after a period. Also compare annually; For example, if there was a high amount on the June 2021 receipt, check the June 2020 receipt. If there is a significant difference, you will need to contact the plumber or your local water office.
  3. Sound of water running. We all know the sound of the pump that raises water to the water tank or the washing machine, since it is common. But periodically we must verify that you do not hear running water noise to make sure everything is in order. If you listen to the sound without the appliances, bathroom tank, sink, cistern, etc. are in operation, there is probably a leak in the pipe that passes through the walls.
  4. Changes in the water meter. If you suspect a water leak, test the water meter, turn off everything that uses water in your home for about an hour. After a while, go back to the counter and take a look. Are the numbers still advancing? If so, you will need to detect the water leak.
  5. Wet spots in the house. Wet stains on floors and walls could be common in a house due to different liquids that have spilled. However, if you notice discolored areas where you are sure that nothing has been spilled, observe them for a few days. If they do not disappear or go further, you may have a hidden water leak.
  6. Moisture smell. If you perceive the smell of humidity in the home, it means that the water is latent at some point. Consider asking for help from an expert who helps detect the source. Breathing moist air is not only uncomfortable, it can also negatively influence allergies.

Safety Issues with Chimneys in Old Houses

Chimneys in houses built many decades ago were built with different requirements than today’s, which sometimes means that safety is a concern. Any chimneys built prior to the 1950s were almost certainly masonry or block chimneys. The most common problem with old houses is that the chimneys aren’t lined, since that wasn’t a requirement when the fireplace was built. There are other issues to be on the lookout for, as well.

No Chimney Lining

Many people who have old homes and unlined chimneys simply don’t realize how important a chimney liner is. The following are some of the reasons to have a chimney liner installed before using a fireplace:

  • Whenever a chimney is used, highly flammable creosote and soot are deposited inside the chimney or flue. A spark can cause the creosote to ignite, starting a hazardous chimney fire.
  • If there are any gaps in the chimney masonry that is next to combustible materials, the house is in danger of catching fire in the event that there is a chimney fire.
  • If a modern gas appliance is used with the chimney, the huge amounts of condensation produced will adhere to the masonry. The moisture will go through freeze and thaw cycles in wintertime which slowly deteriorates the chimney masonry.
  • When a chimney is unlined, there is a much greater chance that deadly carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes will be released into the home.
  • Chimneys that have no lining have diminished performance because they typically have poor drafting.
  • It’s possible you could have problems with an insurance claim, if there is a fire and the chimney was not lined.

Masonry Issues Deterioration

Bricks that were made in the 1600s and 1700s were of a much better quality than today’s bricks, chiefly because of the method used for firing them. In spite of their incredible durability, there comes a time with every chimney when the mortar wears out. If the damaged mortar in a chimney is not replaced, the chimney will begin to lean and will ultimately collapse. Fortunately, there is a procedure called “tuck-pointing” which makes it possible to simply remove old mortar and replace it with new. No tearing down or rebuilding is required, if you catch the problem in time. Tuck-pointing will restore the original shape of the chimney and strengthen the entire structure giving it a fresh look.

When mortar deteriorates, the chimney structure becomes much more vulnerable to moisture damage that can create the need for many different types of costly repair.

Pyrolysis

In decades past, clearance between the fireplace and chimney and combustibles was not a safety consideration. It has been found that it can take many years for pyrolysis to occur. After wood beams have been exposed to the heat from a fireplace for even 50 years or more, they will suddenly ignite because of the process of pyrolysis. The process causes the wood to be highly combustible. If you can see wood that is directly against chimney masonry, it’s very possible that pyrolysis is occurring. It’s best to have a chimney professional assess the potential danger of your fireplace before using it again.

Old homes and fireplaces are beautiful, but the chimneys are not always safe to use. Contact a chimney professional today for an annual chimney inspection, installation of a chimney liner, and help with any questions you may have about the safety of your fireplace and chimney.

Painting Metal with an Air Gun

Painting metal the conventional way with a brush or roller often turns out to be a troublesome task. This is because the brushes and rollers leave streaks on the metal or can transfer too much paint. You can avoid this problem and make the task much easier using an air gun, or spray gun.  The air gun is capable of storing a large amount of paint and is applied by air pressure. The air atomized paint effectively, smoothly extending through the surface.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the metal you are going to paint. This should be clean, without any dirt or waxy residue. If necessary, sand the metal with sandpaper. The type of sandpaper you use depends on the texture of the metal. An extremely rough, crushed or rusted metal must be sanded thoroughly. Use sandpaper to finish fine-grained metal and give a smooth, even surface. After you’re done, apply masking tape in any area you do not want to paint.
  2. Move all supplies, including metal, air gun and painting, to a clean work area. A paint booth is preferable for this job. If you do not have access to a paint booth, your work area should be clean. A work shed or garage should be enough. Whatever the area you choose, it should be closed so that no particles may fly over the metal surface while you are painting. If you use a work shed or garage, remove anything you don’t want to accidentally spray with paint, like a car, tools or lawn mower.
  3. Connect the air gun to the air compressor. The air hose should be well connected to the compressor and the air gun. Before you start painting, put on protective gear, including a mask, goggles and gloves.
  4. Fill the container of the air gun with primer. Turn on the compressor and adjust the settings of your gun. Spray a test pattern on an old piece of wood or a piece of junk. Keep the spray gun 1 to 8 inches (2.5 to 20 cm) from the surface. Try to spray at different distances to see which gives the best results. Examine the test pattern rewrap the spray gun as needed.
  5. Hold the metal perpendicular to the gun and pull the trigger. Hold the gun in the distance that gave the best results in the test object. Release the trigger just after going over the edge of the metal. Go back and begins the second coat in the same way. Place the sprayer so that the spray pattern overlaps the first pass by about 50%.
  6. Continue until you have completely covered the metal with primer. Let the primer dry. Sand the surface again if there are any rough spots. Also clean the surface to remove debris.
  7. Clean the container with paint thinner to remove any traces of primer left behind. It also adds a little more to the container and spray solvent through gun until clean. This will remove any primer that is left behind in the nozzle.
  8. Fill the spray gun container with the paint you’ve chosen for the metal. Make sure the paint is acceptable for use on metal. Spray a test pattern on the piece of wood or scrap metal. Re-adjust the settings as needed. Apply the paint with the same technique that you used when the primer is applied.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a mask and protective clothing when you use an air gun to apply primer or paint.

Getting Clogged Hair Out of a Drain

How many times have you gotten into the shower and, minutes later, after the routine of washing your hair, you have found yourself submerged in 10 cm of water that your drain does not manage to drain? This is caused by the hairs that fall and accumulate forcing a clog in the valve of the drain.

Cleaning a clogged drain can be a very unpleasant job, especially if it has been clogged up by traces of hair, or it will involve an expense if you have to call a professional.

The preventive attitude is the most positive in these cases. Here are 5 tips to follow so that this does not happen. Keeping the drain clean will only take a few minutes and will save you from having to unclog it and prevent any damage it can cause.

  1. Always use, in both the sink and in the bathtub, a metal grid to prevent hairs and other debris from going to the drain. Simply empty the grid then into the wastebasket. Also use the same method in the kitchen sink to avoid food debris.
  2. Once a week pour a pot of boiling water into the sink or tub’s pipe, to melt the accumulated fat.
  3. Once every two months you can make a mixture with 3/4 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar and pour it down the drain. Let it sit for 30 minutes then pour plenty of boiling water down the drain. This will remove remains that may have accumulated.
  4. Clean the plugs periodically. The hairs can accumulate there causing obstructions.
  5. Never throw chemicals such as paint or solvents through the pipes, or pour hot wax or other similar substances.

Hopefully these tips will be of help.  Clogged drains can become one of the most unpleasant problems in the home. If clogs still persist, seek the help of a professional.

Building a Fishing Rod Storage Rack

Fishing is a recreational sport people tend to engage in. It requires a lot of learning and has an easy learning curve. For this reason, more and more people take on the sport of fishing.

The problem with fishing equipment is that it can easily damage and break. In fact, if you don’t have a suitable storage unit for the rods, you could end up damaging them.

You can build your own storage rack for your fishing rods. This is not very hard to do and if done properly, you’ll have a great place to store your rods.

  1. The first thing to do is go to the hardware store and get the materials needed to build the storage unit. You’ll need a few pieces of wood and PVC tubes. You also need a strong nails and paint if you want to add some finishing touches to your storage unit.
  2. Take a piece of wood and drill holes in it, these holes must be five to six inches in diameter. Space these holes a few centimeters apart. Now take this piece of wood and attach it to a wooden back panel. The back panel must be connected to a base, since it held throughout the unit. Take a PVC pipe, and fit it into the hole created in the slabs. Screw them into the holes. These act as supports for the rods, so you want to spray them and clean from the inside to avoid any friction and to prevent scratches from occurring.
  3. Once everything is in place, test for stability. This will be essential in a decent storage unit. Paint the unit, in order to give a more personalized touch.

Tips To Properly Deal With Water Damage

If you experience water damage at home, what do you do? A simple water damage issue can cost thousands of dollars worth of damage to properties and personal belongings if taken for granted. Here are a few tips that can greatly help you deal with water damage regardless of what causes it.

Water is undeniably essential for the survival of all living things. But it can as well be a source of disaster, headache, and problems to mankind. And, it can also pose significant safety and health issues to you and your entire family.

Water damage in homes can be due to various reasons. It can be due to leaky faucets, an overflowing dishwasher, damaged pipeline, clogged drain, and flood, among others. No matter what causes the water damage in your home, these tips can greatly help you deal with it properly.

Determine the cause of the water leak

Check what it causing the water leak and deal with it as soon as possible to avoid additional amounts of water from spilling all over your home. For instance, if the leak is due to a broken faucet, repair or replace it right away. Shut off the main water valve to stop the water supply and then turn on the lowest faucet in your house to drain the water that has been held in the pipes before you replace the broken faucet.

Dry up the flood water

Water damage cleaning can be really challenging most especially if the flood water has affected a wide area. When cleaning, make sure to put your safety first. Do not touch the water with your bare hands no matter how clean it may look like. You do not know if there are harmful substances or bacteria in it. Wear a pair of gloves and a protective mask.

Flood Water

Once you are done cleaning up the affected area, check the extent of the damage. Check the wall, floor, and the surrounding area. Note that not all parts of the affected areas can be visible. For instance, the wall may seem dry and unaffected at first look. However, if you check further, you may realize that the hidden parts of the wall are all water logged.

Act fast

When you experience water leaking at home, consider it as an urgent case. Every second counts. The more you delay fixing the culprit, the wider the affected area will be. The more you wait, the more damage it will cause. Also, keep in mind that mildew and mold can build up and multiply quicker than you think. So you need to act as fast as you can.

Calling a water damage company

You may wonder if you need the help of a water damage professional. There are a lot of homeowners who refuse to seek help from a pro because they think that they can easily deal with the problem by themselves and that hiring a company that offers water damage repair is just a waste of their hard earned money.

Water Damage

The fact is that although hiring a skilled professional can be more money, you can actually save more dollars than doing the project yourself. These companies are experts in handling all sorts of water damage in a quicker and more efficient manner. They act many times faster than you to minimize damages to your property which can cost you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Paint Ideas for Small Bathrooms

Most homes have at least one small bathroom. There are many ideas to paint small bathrooms; some are as simple as choosing a suitable color and paint the entire bathroom that color, while others may be more challenging, involving different colors and styles.

Instructions

  1. Choose a light paint color. Light colors make your bathroom look bigger. Neutral, natural, cakes and white are examples of light paint colors. If this is too boring for you, you can always give life with vivid color accents like a red towel or a navy soap dish.
  2. Choose a strong color. If your walls are white with tiles half up the wall add a color on the second half. If you don’t want to paint the walls in a contrasting color, add contrast with a strong color like red soap dispensers or soap dishes. You will be surprised how much you can transform your small bathroom with just one or two coats of paint.
  3. Paint a mural on a wall. Make the mural the center of attention.
  4. Paint vertical stripes. When looking at the ceiling, the bathroom seem higher, and therefore larger. You can also use crown molding, which help direct the eye upward.
  5. The opposite walls painted with different shades of the same color. If you paint the walls, a rectangular room look bigger.
  6. Paints a faux finish. A simple faux finish can be created with a sponge. First paint your bathroom the desired color. Then find a lighter or darker shade of the same color and place some on a baking sheet to make dipping the sponge easier. Lightly dab the sponge throughout the wall and make it across the wall. Repeat this step until all the walls are covered
  7. Add a strip of stencil. Usually stenciled strips are better than the wallpaper, because if you redecorate later, a painted strip can be painted over with much less effort than it takes to get wallpaper off. In addition, stenciled paint won’t curl like the corners of wallpaper sheets due to frequent moisture in the bathrooms.

 Tips & Warnings

  • Choose mold resistant paint.

How to Make a Wooden Spice Rack

A wooden wall shelf is a great way to keep all your spices away from your countertops and save the main storage space for more important items. Make yourself a wooden spice rack with unique and customized features such as painted wood. It gives a new size to the width and depth of the shelves to perfectly store any brand of spices you use your family.

Instructions

  1. Place two short boards on either side of a longer piece so that boards make a “U”. Tap the boards together so they’re snug and pre-drill two holes evenly spaced on each side panel and into the rack; this will serve as the bottom shelf. Connect the three boards with wood screws.
  2. Slide the other shelf board in place parallel to the first shelf. Hold it in place and pre-drill two holes with uniform spacing on either side, through the sides and into the ends of the second shelf boards.
  3. Drill a 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) hole on each side panel, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) above each shelf and 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) from the front of the spice shelf. Insert two wood rods through the holes and secure them in place at each end with a light layer of wood glue. Give the glue about an hour to dry.
  4. Put spice shelf upside down and position the backboard on it. Predrill holes at the four corners and evenly along the side edges of the rear panel and into the side panels. Secure the backboard with wood screws.
  5. Hang the shelf for spices on the wall by screwing directly through the backboard and into the desired section of the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use lightweight plaster anchors, if necessary, to hang heavier spices jars.

Water Resistant Paints

There are various types of paints that withstand water, to be used for basement walls or constant immersion. Find a paint that is water repellent or waterproof. The kind of paint you choose will depend on the type of work you’re doing and the surface on which you will apply. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparation and priming. Even the best paint does not look good if applied on a dirty or damp surface. Never apply the paint without proper ventilation and use a face mask to help with the fumes.

Exterior paint

Exterior latex paints, enamel and oil are water repellent and designed to last several seasons and through storms. Varnish also creates a water-resistant surface when applied correctly. Some exterior paints are formulated to particular climatic conditions. Latex paint is lower in volatile organic compounds (VOC) than paint that is oil based.

Masonry Paint

Masonry paint used on stucco, concrete and cement are latex or acrylic based. Oil paints are not suitable for masonry surfaces. A coat of paint can help waterproof masonry if the surface is properly prepared; some situations require special waterproofing primer. If you are painting a concrete floor or deck, be sure to choose a recommended floor polish; they are made to endure repeated use and washings.

Marine paint

For surfaces that are frequently or constantly soaked you might consider using marine paint, also called coating or waterproofing. Marine paints are popular for use on metal surfaces and can form a protective coating that retards rust and corrosion.

Other finishes

If you are painting a wooden surface, you can consider products like varnish and lacquer finish. These mixtures of resin and solvent can be applied to untreated wood or wax, oil or stain for durability and gloss, and dry on the surface when the solvents evaporate. Applying varnish or lacquer is a more difficult of a process to apply than paint; you need to do your homework or get help from a professional.

How to Clean a Washing Machine Drain

The washing machine starts to empty and suddenly you hear the sound of moving water and the floor is covered in seconds. After turning off the washing machine, you see water coming out of the appliance drain. Are you familiar? The drain pipe may get clogged with pieces of cloth, coins and other debris. A slow drain can make your clothes smell bad. Follow these steps to empty and clean the drain of your washer.

Instructions
Clean the drain hose
1. To completely remove any clogging in the drain of the washing machine, you will use a snake. Start at the top opening of the pipe and release the cable between 10 or 15 feet approximately after the jam. If there is a jam, the snake will remove the pieces of debris. Remove them from the top of the opening and throw them away.
2. Remove the drain hose from the back of the washing machine. Normally it is fastened with a clamp or with a pair of screws. When there is a blockage in the drain, pieces of debris can deposit in the hose, causing clogging and smells.
3. Dip the drain hose into a bucket of hot water with a cup of bleach. Check that it is free of obstructions. Pass a small piece of clothes hanger through the hose to remove hard debris.
4. Replace the drain hose using a screwdriver or pliers. Insert the hose into the drain of the washing machine. Make sure it is positioned directly towards the drain opening.
5. Cycle the washer with hot water and two tablespoons of bleach. The bleach will help remove the odor-causing particles in the washer and drain hose. Having the washer cycle will help clear debris from the drain pipe.
Warnings
 Disconnect the washing machine before starting to work with the hose. Put on eye protection if you are going to be near a clogged drain. Chemicals and waste could be splashed in your eyes.