Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Termite Damage

The thought of having termites can create a lot of stress. After all, you have worked very hard to pay your mortgage and maintain a beautiful home, only to watch as the termite damage becomes more and more obvious. You would like to just ignore it with hope that they will just go away but there is no denying that the signs are there and the problem is getting worse. First you notice small piles of what appears to be sawdust but there has been no woodworking done in the area. What is it? Termites. They leave a visible trail of digested wood (sawdust) as they work to destroy your home, garage, shed or any other wood structure that they can. What can you do to stop them? There are many pest control services that can treat this problem. Some use a chemical spray to treat the foundation and stop the termites from transitioning from the ground into the walls of your home. If the problem calls for drastic measures, they will tent your house and then release a chemical fog treatment. Of course you will have to move out of the house for a while, pack up some of the furnishings (dishes, utensils, etc.), and don't forget the pets. There are also termite control systems for the do it your selfer. Available at your local hardware store, these systems consist of stakes which release chemicals into the ground and capture jars where you will find the dead termites. Recently, orange oil has become quite popular and has proven to be successful in controlling termites. It is chemical free which means that you will not have to leave your house as the treatment is applied.
Whatever treatment you choose, something has to be done to control the termites and stop any future damage. In an effort to help minimize the possibility of future termite damage, you must address some of the reasons why termites gained access to your structure in the first place. Any wood that comes into contact with the soil can create a termite tunnel to your house. This can include wood fence posts that are attached to a fence rail which is then attached to the house. A wood deck can also be a transfer point for termites to move from soil to wood.
Once the termites have been brought under control, you will have to address the damage that has already been done. This may involve the removal and replacement of various wood components that are no longer structurally sound. This may include siding, studs, sills, joists and plywood subfloor. If replacing siding, I suggest using a cementious siding. Unlike wood, this type of siding is not very appealing to termites and after all the work that has been done to solve your termite problem, you certainly want to do everything possible to avoid having to do it again.
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Friday, January 6, 2012

Prevent Dryer Fires

It’s been all over the media lately. News articles and television reporting have alerted us to the danger of dryer vent fires. The cause of these fires is usually lint that has built up
over time and caused a blockage of the dryer vent. As clothes are dried, the moisture is displaced out of the clothes and into the vent where it mixes with dry lint and forms a paper mache like material. It then dries to form a hard blockage in the vent pipe which will not allow the hot air to escape. At this point, the blockage creates back pressure and overheats the dryer vent which causes the fire hazard. It is one of those things that is out of sight, out of mind until it happens. There are subtle hints that it is time for dryer vent inspection, cleaning and maintenance but unless you are aware enough to notice that the clothes are taking longer to dry or that your dryer seems hotter to the touch, you will probably miss the early warning signs. That is why it is so important to develop a regular maintenance schedule.

  • Inspect and clean the lint filter of your dryer before each and every use.
  • Post a small sign in the laundry room so that you won’t forget.
  • Schedule  inspections, cleaning and maintenance of the complete dryer vent system once a year.
  • Make sure that the dryer vent system maintenance is done by a qualified professional.
            You will have peace of mind knowing that the job was done right.

Also be aware that sometimes excess lint buildup is caused by the inferior design and installation of the dryer vent system. Long vent runs, vertical vents and vent systems with too many bends can create an unusual hardship on the efficiency of your dryer. Many times these systems require a blower assist fan to help solve the problem. The blower assist fan is a fairly simple installation that is located in the attic of your home. While the fan can be an added expense, it will be well worth it. When your dryer is operating at peak performance, it will use less energy. You will save money and recuperate the cost of the fan in no time.

Remember, with a little effort and by following the above suggestions, you will have  peace of mind knowing that you and your family are safe from dryer vent fires.
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