Help My Furnace is Broken!

heating repairWinter is so cold in New Jersey.  My goodness.  It’s freezing.  When the temperature drops to sub zero levels things just seem to stop working.  It is Murphy’s Law.  When you need your furnace the most that is when it will break.

If you find yourself in need of a heating unit repair here are a few things you will want to check before you call the repair man.

First, check the thermostat.  I know it’s like the computer tech asking you if your computer is plugged in and on.  You would be amazed though how often a thermostat gets turned off and that is the culprit.  Or, the thermostat is set to AC or blower and that is why no heat is coming out.

Be sure to check your breaker box next.  A power surge may have tripped a breaker and the fix could be as simple as turning it back on.  If the breaker keeps tripping you need to get a professional to look at it because something is wrong.

For a gas furnace make sure you have fuel and the pilot light is on.  If you smell gas contact a repair man immediately, I would recommend calling your gas company too.  Gas leaks can be very dangerous.

If you have gone through the routine checks and things still aren’t working it’s time to call in a service technician.  If you do not have a company you typically work with do a quick search on the internet.  Read reviews to see what others are saying about the service they received.  I know when it is cold and your furnace is off you don’t have time to dilly dally and read reviews.  If you are in that situation checkout http://heatingrepairnj.org/ to get a list of New Jersey Heating and Cool companies that can help you out.

The Ins and Outs of Pool Demolition

pool to removeSo a few years back I bought a house and it came with an in ground pool. I didn’t buy the house because of the pool. If I’m being honest I bought the house in spite of the pool. I knew it would come with upkeep requirements. That monthly upkeep is expensive and time consuming. I wasn’t going to hire a pool boy. After all, I could drop some chemicals in it and spend a few days skimming the pool.

After 2 years it just gnawed at me until I just had to be rid of it. I like grass. I like a finely manicured lawn that I can relax in. The pool was in the way. I would rather have a hammock to lounge in on a breezy summer day than a pool that I hated. The problem is an in ground pool is a giant hole in the ground filled with concrete. It’s no easy task to get rid of.

I started doing some research. This site that discusses pool removal services was quite helpful. At the end of the day I decided to hire an excavation contractor and I went with a complete removal. It’s better to do things right the first time, right?

If you thought installing a pool was expensive you should try removing a pool. For a full removal you’re going to be spending $10 grand or more. They have to jackhammer the concrete to break it up. Then they have to cut the re-bar. Once that is done they use a back hoe to collect the large chunks of concrete to hall it away. Next comes filling in the giant hole. The fill dirt has to be compacted down so you don’t have a sink hole in 6 months when the ground settles.

When your pool is gone you are left with an eyesore of dirt. You will either need to plant grass or have some laid out. Be sure to landscape around the area. If you do it right no one will ever know there used to be a pool here. No one but you and you can smile all day knowing that pain in the toosh is gone for good.

While the removal costs were expensive take away the monthly maintenance and the reduced property taxes and I’ll make my money back in a few years.

Don’t Neglect Your Roof! Learn how to maintain your roof

Some home improvement projects are fun.  We get to plan and transform a room or area of the yard into a work of art that we are proud to show off or just relax in.  We just can’t wait to kick back and enjoy our handy work.  Then there are the projects that we dread.  They aren’t going to add aesthetic appeal.  The project is simply to repair or prevent future issues.  Who wants to do that?

Roofing repair is one such task.  No one is going to drive up to your house and say, “wow, that is a fine looking roof”.  The simple truth of the matter is that you must maintain your roof or you will have major problems.  Water damage, mold, and other problems will come about if you do not properly maintain those shingles.

So, how do you know if you need to attend to your roof?  There are obvious signs such as shingles on the ground or loose and flapping after a storm.  Or, if you have an obvious leak it’s time to do something about it.

Other warning signs include stains on shingles, broken or missing shingles, also look for any signs of moisture in the attic.  If you notice any of these things you probably want to consult a professional.

Will Your Insurance Cover That?

Don’t forget to check with your insurance company to see if your home owners policy will cover the damage.  Often hail damage or other damages from high winds may be covered from your policy.

I know my mother was able to have her entire roof replaced with new 50 year shingles after a storm.  She just had to pay the deductible on her policy.  Quite a deal to get a new roof for $500.  A friend of mine had a similar experience after a hail storm.

DIY or Professional Help

If you are just missing a single shingle or you have a minor issue you may be able to tackle the problem yourself.  Form the most part installing shingles is pretty easy.  My first experience with that was as an 11 year old.  I was given a hammer, some nails, and they showed me how to line up the shingles against the chalk line.  The real art to shingling a roof is around the peaks and valleys.

If you are confident you can handle the repair go for it.  I personally love being a weekend warrior.  However, if part of your roof needs replaced or any of the underlying roofing needs replaced you should consult an expert.  The last thing you want to do is spend time and money on materials only to need to call in a contractor after the fact to fix your mistakes.

Just remember, don’t ignore your roof.  An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of repairs.