May 2013

What To Do If Your House Is Shifting

broken_foundationFoundation problems with a home can often lead to expensive repairs based on the extent of any issues that are occurring. There are various signs that can indicate a house is shifting. New home buyers often have an inspection done to determine if there are any issues before purchase papers are signed. When a home has been lived in for any period of time, then additional checks are needed to see there is an issue that should be addressed.

Inside Hints

The floor in a basement or a slab that is not level often indicates a home is shifting. Floors that sag one or more inches can often go unnoticed. Another sign of a foundation problem is when doors may begin to stick or window open and close hard. Cracks can also appear on the walls over doors and windows. The combination of multiple small issues can mean a larger problem exists.

Sinking Slab

A slab that is uneven is typically due to soil that has washed away. If there are depressions or areas that are lower than others, then water may be to blame. Foundation contractors in Houston are able to use a technique to raise and level a sunken foundation. A series of holes are first drilled into the slab. A grout is then used to fill any voids under the slab and raise it to a level position.

Outside Hints

Look along the edges of the foundation to see if there are any bulges or abnormalities. There should be a straight line along each side of the foundation wall. Any side that does not appear to be straight often means that shifting has occurred. The best way to check a wall to see if it is straight is to use a level. A level will show if a wall has any bulging.

Check Crawlspaces

The crawlspaces under a home should be dry and not have any signs of water. If water can be seen in a crawlspace, then water drainage may be a problem. Water that does not drain away from the house may cause soil erosion. This could be one reason why a slab is sinking. Make sure cutters are not full of debris and water is adequately draining away from the house.

Finding Cracks

Cracks that can be seen on the walls of a foundation often indicate pressure due to shifting. Homes will settle over time and cause some cracking on the foundation walls. This is typically normal, but large cracks or stairstep cracks often indicate a serious problem. These are caused by a bulging foundation.

Contact foundation contractors in Houston to determine the extent of any foundation problems that can be present in a home.

Keeping Your House Warm

Keeping Your House Warm

We all know the best way to keep a house warm is to bake cookies in the winter time, but what is the second best way?  The best way to keep your house warm is to heat it efficiently.  If you have seen your power bills go way up and if you still feel a chill even after turning up your currant heating source or if your old furnace simply does not work at all,  it’s time to buy a new heater. If you need heating installation in Bonaire, here are some tips to help.

 

Tip # 1 – Service Your HVAC

Always take the time to service your system. Do you change the filters each year? If you do not perform routine maintenance on your system, it can cause allergens to occur as it expels them into the air. It also causes other respiratory problems. Hire a professional HVAC expert to come and service your unit each year. They will test the carbon monoxide levels to make sure there are not concerns relating to your system. Many homeowners do not realize they are breathing in toxic levels of carbon monoxide. Minor exposure can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and vomiting. Serious exposure can be life-threatening or even fatal.

 

Tip # 2 – Seal up Cracks

Your utility bills can drastically increase if you end up with cracks in the windows and doors. Air flow is vital to a HVAC unit. If you have poor air flow in your home, you can pay triple for your heating costs. Take the time to go around and test the windows and door jambs. Replace the window lining so the hot air will not escape. Test the exterior of the home and look for places where hot air can escape. Do this each fall before you must rely on the heater to be on consistently.

 

Tip # 3 – Insulation

A great way to keep your home warm is by testing your insulation level. A simple spot check can be done for free by an insulation company. Some homes even qualify for new insulation to be blown for free. Check with your local city offices to find out if you qualify for free insulation. The new recycled material is better for the environment and it will improve the efficiency of your home.

 

You can always choose to install a new furnace if your system is aging.  The heating unit will be selected with your specific needs in mind.  Your budget must be considered as well as your home or business heating needs.  Talk to the professional about the efficiency of the new unit and how much your heating costs will drop. This is a great way to see not only short-term savings, but long-term savings by investing in a new furnace system for your home.

Great Ways To Relive Family Memories

Great Ways To Relive Family Memories

As time goes by and the children get older, it can become difficult to capture those precious family memories. The hustle and bustle of life seems to be a constant distraction. Birthdays and family reunions fly by in a blur. Before you know it, your children have moved out and are creating family memories of their own. However, there are nice ways to relive those special moments. With a little creativity, you can incorporate these times throughout your entire household. Here are a few tips to help preserve those wonderful family memories.

Digital Photo Frames
This neat gadget takes the old concepts of photo albums and picture frames to a new level. No need to purchase dozens of picture frames to hang on your walls or bulky albums for your coffee table. Digital photo frames allow you to share literally hundreds of your special photos. Arrange a slide show and display a visual vacation story. Walk your friends and family through the special events in your life while they visit. These frames also come in a wide variety of shapes and styles to fit into any home or office décor.

Canvas Pop Art
Canvas Pop Art takes your most precious moments and gives them an artistic view. The idea is to take a photo of your choosing and print it on canvas for display. Imagine your favorite memories on a quality piece of canvas and mounted in the living room. Canvas Pop Art pieces can be customized and enhanced to meet your personal needs. These pieces are also relatively inexpensive, so they can serve as treasured gifts as well.

Personalized Keepsakes
Technology has advanced so much over the years. Practically anything can be given a customized flare. Think outside the box with this idea. Have a little fun. Take a souvenir shirt or mug and have a family photo or special image printed on it. Be sure to choose something that you use, but not too frequently so as not to destroy the picture. This gives you the opportunity to relive that moment over and over.

Family memories are something you will always treasure. After the joys of youth and the satisfaction of your career, these memories are all that are left. They are the priceless minutes you have to pass on to your loved ones. The images and recordings you leave behind tell the story of your life. Unfortunately, our time with friends and family also go by much too soon. It is important to take the time to preserve them creativity and care.

Extra Touches For House Parties

Extra Touches For House Parties

Let’s say you’re throwing a house party. You know you need good food using Happy Valley Ranch, drink, lighting and music, but what other little touches can you add that can make our house party extra special and memorable? Here are a few ideas:

Mix and Match
This doesn’t just pertain to the food, but to the decor as well. What about a brilliantly shiny chrome charger underneath a satin matte plate with a matching coffee cup? Or a tablecloth of one color with wildly patterned napkins, placemats or runners? The napkins, runners and placemats, by the way, don’t even have to have the same wild pattern. The one thing to remember about color is to keep the intensities of the colors consistent. A soft pastel next to a saturated primary color might look a bit odd, though there are some people out there who can get away with even this.

Do the Unexpected
Vases can be a bit boring, at least when it comes to holding flowers. People expect flowers in vases. So instead of vases, substitute coffee or teapots, Mason jars, jam jars, galvanized buckets, wine or beer bottles and fishbowls. Make sure, of course, that there are no fish in them! Embellish these unexpected flower holders with strips of bright cloth tied up in bows around them. Also, fruits and vegetables can make excellent flower holders. They also have the added bonus of being edible. An apple or pumpkin or other sort of squash can be carved out and a nice nosegay can be tucked into it.

Also, plain white lights can be replaced by multicolored lights, including LEDs. Just don’t overdo it. Or, on the other hand, overdo it all you want.

Add Some Pop to Presents
Some presents are so classily wrapped that the recipient really doesn’t really want to open them for fear of mussing them up. Still, the hostess can take time to make even the wrapping of the presents memorable. Use two types of ribbon. One can be to actually tie the present and the other can be used as an accent. Other accents can be bits of colorful down, sprigs of flowers or herbs, tiny Christmas balls or paste jewels. Of course, people who are rich can use real jewels.

Have Fun With Food
If the food is too white and bland looking, like vanilla custard, throw on brilliant colored food like cranberries, strawberries or stalks of rhubarb. Instead of plain old martinis serve martinis with a little color courtesy of liqueurs like Blue Curaçao, creme de menthe or even nonalcoholic drinks like mango nectar.

However you decide to spruce up your party, make sure you and your guests have the time of your lives!