Termite Damage: Signs, Solutions and Prevention
Finally, you've begun the remodeling project you've been saving for. You break ground only to find what appears to be termite damage—a homeowner's worst nightmare.
Are the insects still present? What are the next steps to take to secure your home?
In an interview with MSN, Mike Potter, a professor and urban entomologist at the University of Kentucky and author who wrote the chapter in the definitive "Handbook on Pest Control," explained the types of termites that infest homes.
“Broadly speaking, three groups of termites in the U.S. that damage homes: subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. The first two are the most damaging to buildings. Subterranean termites are the most widespread, so the advice here focuses on them. (Drywood termites, which live above ground, are mostly a problem in coastal areas, especially in parts of states such as Florida, California, Louisiana and Texas.)”
Signs You Have Termites
According to the MSN article, you may find the bodies of termites who fled their colonies near windows and entry points of the home. Another sign of infestation is “pencil-thick tunnels of mud and earth across exposed areas.” To see if the tunnel is active, break it and wait to see if it is rebuilt. Hollowed wood and dirt in wood are other signs of termite damage, if you have mulch or rotting wood near your home, pick through it, termites will be visible if present.
What Attracts Termites
Wood and moisture are the two factors that attract termites. Exposed wood, cracks and holes where the home meets the the foundation, wood and debris, and openings near plumbing are all major entry points for termites.
Resolving the Problem
The severity of the problem depends on the location of the damage and the type of termites residing in your home. If you have found signs of termite damage and are unsure if the insects are still in your home, it's best to call a professional. Many offer free termite inspections. CNN Money reports that a “typical homeowner pays $8,600 to repair and prevent future (termite) attacks.” Although it can get expensive, it isn't advised to attempt to fix termite problems yourself.
Ohio State University's department of Entomology expresses that three major problems that invite termites into a home are items containing cellulose, moisture and cluttered crawl spaces, luckily there are easy solutions to managing these problems yourself.
Cellulose found in wood, dead plants and paper "in contact with soil" creates an entry point via food for termites. OSU suggests keeping the wood of a home at least six inches above the earth and keeping wood, debris and mulch away from possible entry points of the home. Because termites travel through subterranean systems, it's important to remove possible infested items like dead trees and rotting wood from your property. The University also suggests to eliminate high-level moisture areas around the home's foundation. Divert all water from the home's foundation by sloping soil around the home, channeling rain water, and directing sprinklers away from this area. Last, make sure the crawl space below your home is clean, uncluttered and dry.
About The Author:
Penny Juarez Penny is a freelance editor and writer who works at home with her dachshunds Lucy and Dezi.
Two things to consider for starting that DIY remodel project
Replace a toilet, check! Fix the faucet, check! Replace that old light fixture, check!
Sure, you might be willing and able to do just about any home improvement project around your house, but before you tackle any major work, consider two things:
First, ask yourself if you can do the job right.
Saving money is one thing, but are you knowledgeable enough about the task at hand so you don't encounter major (and costly) problems?
Second—and perhaps more importantly—put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer, even if you're not likely to sell for years.
You might be proud of all your home improvements, but the homebuyer may ask lots of questions about the work. Like it or not, there is an inherent skepticism about homegrown handymen, no matter your talents. There are safety concerns and potential legal issues. You did get permits right?
Professionally done work, on the other hand, tends to have a certain "seal of approval" that assures the job was done properly. Plus, most pros guarantee their work for an extended time, which gives buyers even more confidence.
Sure, there are a few bad apples out there, but if you do your homework, you will find a reputable, professional contractor that will do what they say they will do. Ask your neighbors, friends and family for recommendations. Or, consult an online resource such as Angie's List or CustomerLobby which list reviews of local area contractors.
Choose the Perfect Gate for Your Home
Are you planning a home-remodeling project? Do you have a garden in front of your home? Then, the one thing that you must include is a gate. It not only ensures the safety and security of your house, but also enhances the beauty. Gates have enamored us for a long time. A mansion with an imposing gate in front of it has never failed to impress us.
There are several kinds of gates available. The two basic models are slide gates and swing gates. If you can manage the space in front of your home, then the swing gates are a good option. A swing gate is something that comes to our minds when we think of gates. But, if you do not have the space then a slide gate is a good option too. They are very good if your home is of a modern design. The swing gates have fewer mechanisms compared to a slide gate and so they are expected to develop fewer glitches in them.
The gates can be made out of various kinds of materials. They include, wrought iron, wooden picket, vinyl, etc. the material that you choose will depend on the kind of climate you have round the year, the maintenance cost and the safety that it will provide. The most popular are wood and iron.
They can either be simple or ornate. Simple gates are of course easy to maintain and they are cheap. Also, if you are installing a simple wooden swing gate then you can do it yourself on a weekend. Gates with complicated patterns on them look very grand and add to the beauty of the house. But, you have to work really hard to keep them clean. Besides, they must be compatible with the house and the gate of your neighbors, if any. A grand, imposing gate in a row of simpler ones looks very odd.
If you have seen a spy movies or a horror movie, a gate opening by itself is something that must have attracted you. You can also have a gate like that at your home that opens automatically. A manual gate has to be opened either by you or by your guests. Also, it becomes difficult sometimes to open the gate. In such cases an automatic gate is very helpful. They provide better security than the manual ones as they are not so easy to break-in. they also provide you with the added facility of installing a burglar alarm that you can activate at night or when you are not at home.
There are several kinds of automatic gates and you must consult an expert before you invest in one. The perfect kind of electric gates Surrey home owners should install depends on the owner’s needs and affordability.
The author Eve Warner has a deep interest in home remodeling. She has written many blogs on the same. Here, she shares some tips about installing http://www.geminigates.co.uk/electric gates Surrey residents will find helpful.
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Four Apps Every House-Hunter Needs
Note: The article below is a guest blog post, written by Ryan with HomeCity who writes guest blogs about real estate and home improvement in the Austin area. From time to time, Gettum Associates includes articles which we feel would benefit our readers, from outside sources.
They don't call them “smartphones” for nothing. Your mobile device is useful for time wasters like showing you cute pictures of cats and imitating flatulence but it also has a slew of very practical applications. The world of real estate has been changed forever because of smartphones. Now you can conduct your entire house search from the palm of your hand (although I still recommend going on an actual tour of your prospective home). Here are a few of the best apps out there for those who are house-hunting.
This app boasts the largest selection of properties in the world. According to the company's claim, they have more than 3 million listings. With that many options, you're pretty much guaranteed to find the place that's right for you.
Zillow is so on top of things that they created their own non-binding house appraisal system. Users can get Zestimates using Zillow's proprietary formula which takes a myriad of details into account when assessing a property's value. The app also allows you to search for homes by area code and gives you user reviews and pictures.
The Mortgage Calculator
Does anyone else remember sitting through accounting classes hearing them talk about amortization tables? The very word makes me tense up because it's a hard concept to wrap your head around. Fortunately, there's an app for that. The Mortgage Calculator allows you to calculate your amortization, monthly rate and price per square foot. An extremely useful app for the mathematically challenged.
Evernote is a handy little app that basically acts as a multi-platform note-taking system. This app stores all of your notes in the Cloud so notes taken on your phone are automatically basked up in the Cloud so they show up on your computer and tablet as well. You can take a picture of a great looking house that is out of one-sheets and geo-tag it so that you're able to find your way back at a later date. The app allows for picture messages, voice memos and text notes.
About the author:
Ryan is a guest blogger who writes about Austin homes for sale, Cedar Creek homes for sale and double hung window prices for that next big home makeover.
Dryer vent Safety-Indianapolis home advice
Cleaning your lint trap after every dryer load is an important step to limit the danger of fire and extend the life of your clothes dryer
If your like most households with children you do countless loads of laundry each week. It is easy to take our washing machines and dryers for granted. These appliances are not seen as luxury, but rather a necessity for many.
However, many do not realize there is a hidden hazard lurking in the laundry areas of our homes and that is our clothes dryer. According to the Topical Fire Research Series, published by FEMA, "Clothes dryer fires account for about 15,600 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries annually." The bulletin goes on to add that “Failure to clean” is the leading factor contributing to clothes dryer fires in residential buildings" (source). So, with good reason, there are a number of precautions to take as well as routine inspection to ensure safe function of one of our hardest working household appliances.(photo above by americandryerventcleaning.com
So, what causes lint in a dryer vent duct system? The short answer to that question is when lint gets trapped, it blocks airflow. When airflow gets restricted, heat build-up and ultimately overheating can occur. This heat can ignite both the lint within the ductwork and can spread to the clothing within the dryer.
Beyond the fire hazard the average clothes dryer poses to our homes, most are operating well below their optimum efficiency. So, most of the same steps you can take to reduce the risk of disaster are the same things you can do to reduce drying time and increase the life of your clothes dryer. Keep reading to find tips on dryer venting, what problem areas to look for, and how to keep your dryer safe and clean. This information is brought to you by Gettum Associates Inc, Indianapolis area remodel contractors and home experts. You can get advice to your home improvement and household questions on our "E-mail the home expert" page.
Tips on dryer venting:
It is best to use rigid metal duct work, rather than flexible duct work, especially for ducting that is concealed within walls and in the attic. The only acceptable use for flexible duct work is the small length between the rigid duct and the dryer (ex. from the wall to the dryer). Reason: Flexible duct work contains "ridges" that add friction that can grab and trap lint. If you must use flexible duct work, please choose metal flex duct over plastic duct work.
Rigid duct work should be installed so that the connections between two pieces of duct work are oriented with the "male" end pointing towards the direction of airflow. Reason: If this connection is reversed, the crimped male end will collect lint and lead to build-up.
Use "foil tape" NOT duct tape to seal duct joints. Duct tape will eventually dry out and fail. Also, DO NOT use screws or rivets to connect duct work. Screws or other fasteners will also collect lint.
Keep the overall duct length less than 25' as recommended by the IRC (International Residential Code). Here is what the IRC says about dryer duct vent length: M1502.6 Duct length:The maximum length of a clothes dryer exhaust duct shall not exceed 25 feet (7,620 mm) from the dryer location to the wall or roof termination. The maximum length of the duct shall be reduced 2.5 feet (762 mm) for each 45-degree (0.8 rad) bend, and 5 feet (1,524 mm) for each 90-degree (1.6 rad) bend. The maximum length of the exhaust duct does not include the transition duct.
Check out the termination (end of the dryer duct and hopefully a termination cap). Your dryer SHOULD NOT vent into a crawlspace or an attic!! Again, we can reference the IRC for the proper termination of a dryer vent duct: M1502.2 Duct termination: Exhaust ducts shall terminate on the outside of the building or shall be in accordance with the dryer manufacturer’s installation instructions. Exhaust ducts shall terminate not less than 3 feet (914 mm) in any direction from openings into buildings. Exhaust duct terminations shall be equipped with a backdraft damper. Screens shall not be installed at the duct termination. Inspectors will see many dryer vents terminate in crawlspaces or attics where they deposit moisture, which can encourage the growth of mold, wood decay, or other material problems. Sometimes they will terminate just beneath attic ventilators. This is a defective installation. They must terminate at the exterior and away from a door or window! Also, screens may be present at the duct termination and can accumulate lint and should be noted as improper.
The dryer vent duct should be independent from any other duct system (i.e. chimney, water heater, furnace, etc.) This should go without saying.
Tips on keeping your dryer vent and duct work clean:
First, the easiest way to keep your dryer and duct work clean and working at optimal efficiency is to clean the lint trap screen each and every time. Also, be sure to check pant pockets coming out of the dryer for lint. Remove and discard.
You should routinely inspect the connection from the back of the dryer to the wall. Make sure the duct work is not crushed and remember a gentle bend is acceptable but avoid sharp turns which can trap lint and ultimately block air flow.
You should routinely disconnect, inspect and clean out the connection between the back of the dryer and the wall. This is the first place lint will collect and can be a major "choking" point of air flow.
You should have your entire dryer vent duct system inspected and cleaned once per year for average laundry use. Consult the phone book or do an online search to find someone qualified and local to your area.
The information above is not intended to scare, rather it is to inform. Ultimately, this knowledge will keep you and your family safe and your clothes dryer working efficiently for years to come. If you should have any other questions relevant to home maintenance, remodeling and home improvement, please click below: