Chimneys: Hot Maintenance Tips

During the cold winter months, many homeowners like using their fireplaces and chimneys without giving any thought to annual maintenance and repair. On a cold winter evening, the smell of a wood fire coming from a brick fireplace makes one think about chestnuts roasting over an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose as mentioned in The Christmas Song sung by Nat King Cole. During the holidays, hanging Christmas stockings on the mantle and burning the old-time Yule log isn’t much fun if the fireplace and chimney cannot be used.

Some homeowners perform annual chimney cleanings but they do not thoroughly inspect the fireplace and chimney. This type of maintenance neglect often leads to expensive fire damage and loss of human life.
Annual chimney cleaning and maintenance can save thousands of dollars. Within a few hours, and spending about $300, by adding a chimney cap and sealing the bricks and crown, the life of the chimney is extended.
The best way to perform chimney and fireplace maintenance is to hire a trained professional called a chimney sweep to perform a certified cleaning and inspection of the fireplace and chimney. However, a skilled DIY homeowner can perform some of the annual maintenance tasks by learning useful maintenance tips. Learn the parts of the fireplace and the chimney in order to be informed about proper operation and maintenance.

Fireplace maintenance and repair tips:

To avoid a possible house fire, perform annual maintenance on the fireplace and chimney system. Annual cleaning of the fireplace and chimney will help to avoid creosote buildup, carbon monoxide, and avoids a house fire. Millions of dollars in fire damage can be avoided and human lives can be saved by performing annual maintenance and repair tasks. Inspect the fireplace for cracks and repair damaged mortar joints.
Repair cracks, missing mortar, loose bricks, and broken mortar joints. Inspect the damper, flue, and vents.
A poorly operating flue can lead to soot and creosote buildup and noxious fumes.

Chimney maintenance and repair tips:

Approximately 61 house fires in the U.S., on a daily basis, begin with a dirty or poorly maintained chimney.
When the creosote buildup in a chimney reaches a ¼ inch or more buildup, have it cleaned. Monitor the chimney’s mortar joints for cracks. This is where deterioration begins, water damage occurs, and mold can grow. Water damage begins with cracks inside and outside of the chimney near the crown, cap, and chimney flashing. From the top down into the chimney water and moisture damage continues. Use mortar mix and a pointing trowel to repair chimney cracks. Better yet, hired a trained professional to repair and seal the cracks. Ensure that chimney flashing gaps are sealed and replace damaged flashing, caps, crowns, and vents. Water mixing with creosote buildup becomes acidic and causes rusting of the damper and speeds up the deterioration of the brick and mortar within the chimney and fireplace. Remove bird and squirrel nests from the chimney cap. Make sure there is a mesh cover, or chimney cap, and keep it clear of nests, leaves, and debris. A chimney cap prevents rodents from entering the home, keeps out moisture, and protects the roof from burning embers and starting a house fire. Be safe and perform annual fireplace and chimney maintenance.

Pest Control: A Necessary Evil

Any homeowner, at some point, will require an exterminator to handle a situation with unwanted pests.  Pest Control is a necessary evil when it comes to home ownership.  Nature is wonderful, but all of it’s creatures need to stay outside of your home.  And depending on what part of the word you live in, the type of pests and insects can differ greatly.  Also, pest control is not something you want to put off.  An infestation will likely occur if a pest situation is not remedied immediately.  And the longer you wait, the worse the problem will become.  These issues do not go away on their own.

So what should you look for in your home when it comes to pest control.  Basically, anything that seems like it should be outside should be enough to prompt a call to an exterminator.  Rat droppings, spider webs, dead insects can all be signs that a pest control situation is developing inside of your home or business.  Often times, a pest control situation can be controlled with simple means such as rat traps or ant traps.  If you are feeling brave, you can go to the hardware store and buy these traps yourself.  However, an experienced exterminator will know exactly where to place these traps inside of your home to most efficiently remedy the pest situation.

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There are other simple ways to prevent insects and other rodents from taking up residence in your home.  It is important to keep all counter tops clean and free of food particles and other things that may attract insects.  Keeping your floors clean can also prevent rodents and insects from entering your home.  Moisture is another trigger for insect infestations.  Ants particularly are attracted to moisture and will show up by the hundreds if they find a water source during the summer months.  There are ant traps you can purchase at any hardware store, but once again, calling an experienced exterminator is the best way to go as the traps will be placed in appropriate areas.

Larger rodents, such as mice and birds can cause a whole other array of problems.  Mice love to enter your home in the colder months and may live there for some time before you discover them.  Mice can hide behind walls and in the ceiling where they can wreak havoc on wiring and other functional parts of your home that are not in plain site.  Small birds are notorious for entering your home through small cracks between the roof and brick walls.  They can also get trapped inside your home, die, and then cause horrible odors that will drive you mad, because dead birds are extremely hard to locate.  Make sure you keep all holes and gaps in your roof protected from rodents and birds that may enter.

In summary, your best bet is to contact a qualified exterminator to deal with any and all pest control situations.  Time is also of the essence when dealing with unwanted pests in your home.  The problem will only get worse and there is no telling what damage these pests may cause.  Good luck.

Garage Doors: A Helpful Guide


A new garage door can dress up a home and it provides a nice return on investment for resale value. What type of garage door is best suited for your home? Before purchasing a new garage door, consider your budget, the style of the door, and also climate and weather which will affect the longevity of the door. Is the garage door’s material suited for the climate where your home is located? Think about the opening and amount of clearance and which style of door is best suited for it. In addition, think about the door track and hardware as well as the type of electric door opener. Do you want a solid door or one with windows? Consider the installation cost and door maintenance. Before making a purchase, and to protect your investment, do some online research and visit a few retail stores or garage door service companies to learn about garage doors, cost of installation, maintenance, and style.

Style of doors:
Swing out garage doors (carriage house) are generally made of wood but could be made of other door material such as steel.
Swing up garage doors are made of solid wood or wood composite, fiberglass, vinyl, steel, or aluminum.
Roll up garage doors are made of fiberglass, wood, aluminum or steel.
Sliding garage doors (barn door style) are made of wood, vinyl, metal, aluminum, and other materials.
Compact doors fold up or fold to the side and are made of wood, metal, glass, vinyl, and other composite material.

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Listed below are five types of garage door materials and the pros and cons for each type. Most popular are wood and steel.

Solid Wood and wood composite doors:
Pros: Sturdy, stylish, paintable, and attractive with curb appeal. They add charm and elegance to a home.
Cons: Solid wood doors are heavy and expensive. Over time, after a period of years, the wood will eventually deteriorate in wet climates. Wood composite doors are lighter, less expensive than solid wood, but again, over time they will eventually decline due to inclement weather. Add to that, wood doors require regular maintenance for refinishing and repainting of the doors.

Steel doors:
Pros: Sturdy, paintable, and made of galvanized steel. They are lower maintenance than wood doors.
Cons: Inclement weather causes the doors to rust and, and if damaged, they will dent.

Aluminum doors:
Pros: Sturdy, durable, paintable, lightweight, dent-resistant laminated panels, and heavy-duty frames.
Cons: Expensive, but comparable to other garage doors with heavy-duty frames.

Fiberglass doors:
Pros: Sturdy, durable, will last for several years. This type of door can be customized to look like wood or be kept as transparent to allow light to filter into the garage. The doors hold up to coastal weather.
Cons: Over time, the fiberglass will yellow and cold climates can cause the doors to crack and break.

Vinyl doors:
Pros: Comparable cost and sturdy with low maintenance. This type of door is dent resistant and easy to clean.
Cons: Few choices of color and design.

Best hip-hop songs of 2018

2017 was a successful year for the global music industry as a whole, Despacito being an absolute hit. However, 2018 is anticipated to be even bigger. With half-way through, we have heard harmonious music that have already made place in the audience’s heart.

Precisely, hip-hop songs are one of the most prominent genres of this generation. Artists like Eminem, Drake and Cardi B have enlightened the industry with their work and are continually doing so.

With a hope to get even better music during the rest of 2018, here are some of the most liked hip-hop songs loved incredibly by the fanatics:

Drake – Emotionless

Falling into the category of contemporary R&B, this piece by Drake, from the album ‘Scorpion’, is a 5 minute long musical remedy for all the rap-lovers out there. It has been considered as the best hip-hop song of 2018 till now. Not only it has made it place in the UK and US charts but have conquered the heart of Italian, German, French and Canadian music lovers. With Drake being an emblem of the profession, Emotionless will truly trigger the emotions within you.

Kendrick Lamar & SZA – All the Stars

This creation by Kendrick Lamar has been one of the best pieces of music in 2018. Marvel’s Black Panther was a big hit since its release in February 2018. This soundtrack accompanied the film’s release with all its catchiness and melody. It is extremely captivating. It is unquestionably one of the most addictive hip-hop songs of all time.

Kanye West – Yikes

This is arguably the most fascinating song of Kanye’s album ‘Yikes’. It is focused on themes of intoxication and addiction which even gives reference to Michael Jackson. The track even portrays Kanye’s personal problems, on the face, giving explanations about his volatile behavior. Regardless of the said above, West was able to pull out an extremely addictive song that unquestionably deserves a place in the top songs of 2018. It is something that hip-hop lovers can just not miss.

XXXTENTACION – SAD!

Before his shooting death on the 18th of June, XXXTENTACION could have an awesome career in the field of rap. One of the offerings in his last times was SAD which portrayed themes on suicide, depression and heartbreak. Shortly after his death, the song skyrocketed to No.1 in most of the charts. Even though it was due to the attachment of emotional sentiments, it is and will be considered as one of the best rap pieces in the entire history of the music industry.

Cardi B – I like it

This piece is a revamp of the 1967’s Pete Rodriguez masterpiece ‘I Like It Like That’. It is a product of efforts put in by Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin. Falling into the category of Latin trap, this soundtrack is enhanced by the power of Cardi’s startdom. Listeners who are not even aware of Spanish can enjoy this multi-language song with as enthusiasm as they can.