Don’t Make These Mistakes Prepping Your Home for Winter

Homeowners tend not to appreciate that their gutters, by channeling storm water away from the home, perform a pivotal function. If you expect your gutters to do their job, you must first clear out any accumulated debris that could eventually clog and compromise the drainage system.

In addition to ensuring problem-free performance at peak efficiency, regular service also helps the furnace fulfill its estimated useful life expectancy. The HVAC technician should inspect each furnace component individually, making repairs as necessary, while also cleaning or replacing the filter. As the furnace filter goes a long way toward supporting indoor air quality and protecting the internal workings of the furnace itself, the technician may suggest that you clean or replace the filter on your own, perhaps as often as every three months. Be sure to ask.

As much as homeowners fear the prospect of a frozen pipe, many forget all about the fixture most at risk—the outdoor hose faucet. Nowadays, it’s easy to protect it. Simply purchase a low-cost cover to block cold air from reaching the faucet. Or better yet, install a brand-new outdoor faucet that’s specially designed not to freeze. Of course, in a pinch, you can also do it the old-fashioned way: Locate and close the water shutoff valve along the line that supplies water to the outdoors. Then, to complete the process, open the faucet to clear out any remaining water.

if you see branches scraping against your home’s roof or exterior siding, cut them back to a distance of at least three feet.


  • Don’t disregard your gutters.
  • Don’t omit outdoor faucets.
  • Don’t trifle with trees.
  • “If you detect air leaks around their perimeters, seal them with weatherstripping, caulk, or a combination of the two.”

    Original Source:

    5 Ways Clogged Gutters Are Destroying Your Home

    Regularly cleaned gutters protect many key components of the home, including the foundation. Clogged gutters put the foundation at risk, storms come and go, rainwater runs amok, pooling around the base of the home and seeping into the ground, where it exerts intense pressure against the foundation.

    After a while, due to the pressure, the foundation begins to crack, allowing water to enter the basement resulting in extensive and expensive to repair damage.

    Tthe foundation may ultimately fail if the situation does not get corrected, leaving the home vulnerable to a cave-in or collapse—a catastrophe.

    When gutters malfunction, water gets to parts of the home that were never designed to withstand exposure to that much moisture.

    Windowsills and door jambs are often the first to buckle. Mold poses a legitimate health hazard, particularly if anyone in your household suffers from allergies.


  • In theory, gutters are simple, straightforward components that perform precisely as intended.
  • Gutters offer protection by preventing overwhelming volumes of water from cascading onto foundation plantings.
  • Many types of insects thrive in stagnant water.
  • “If you allow clogs to render your gutters ineffective, it could take only one heavy storm to compromise or even erode your landscaping.”

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    Indirect Water Heaters – All You Need to Know About

    Indirect water heaters are not new, they have been around for decades. However today, with growing concern for the environment and rising energy costs, indirect units are enjoying renewed popularity.

    For some homeowners in certain parts of the country, indirect water heating can deliver a powerful one-two punch of energy use reduction and cost savings. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, under ideal circumstances indirect water heaters are “the least expensive means of providing hot water” to the point-of-use fixtures you rely on every day, multiple times a day.

    Given that water heaters consume a lot more energy than most people think, more energy than most other household appliances combined—opting for a high-efficiency solution can go a long way toward improving your bottom line, especially over the long term.

    If your home ranks among the relative few with hydronic baseboard, radiator, or in-floor radiant heating, when you install an indirect unit, the boiler drives both systems, heating the house and the water.


  • There are obviously significant benefits associated with running only one power-devouring major appliance instead of the usual pair.
  • The key distinction is that the efficiency of an indirect water heater equals the efficiency of the boiler, and boilers typically outperform most water heaters.
  • With forced-air HVAC equipment dominating the market, boilers are increasingly rare.
  • “To understand its ingenious design, the first thing to know is that an indirect water heater is, in essence, little more than a well-insulated storage tank that holds a coiled heat exchanger, though a less common version relies on a tank-in-tank design.”

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    Porter Cable Brushless EDGE Drill And Impact Driver – Pushing The Edge

    Many innovation in the tool industry has come from Porter Cable brand over the years, the first portable belt sander and the world’s first helical drive circular saw.

    They are now under the DeWalt umbrella, and one of their great tools is the Porter Cable Brushless EDGE 20V MAX Drill Driver And Impact Driver.

    Brushless motors, combined with Lithium Ion batteries, provide more efficient operation, which translates to more power and longer run times.

    Here are the specs from Porter Cable:

    – Brushless motor provides 50% more run time
    – Powerful motor has 370 MWO (Max Watts Out) of power for heavy duty applications with minimal stall
    – Transmission has 1,800 MAX RPM for speed of drilling & fastening applications; No Load Speed: 0-450/0-1800 rpm
    – 1/2″ Ratcheting chuck for improved and reliable bit retention
    – Compact size of 7.4″ for work in tight spaces
    – Lightweight design at 3.3 lbs. (including battery) for less fatigue
    – Capacity in Steel ½”, in wood 1”


  • Since the kit comes with two batteries, that should allow enough time to re-juice the spare.
  • A built-in holder keeps your bits handy.
  • Other features include an LED light that comes on when you pull the trigger, and stays on for 18 – 20 seconds.

  • The Porter Cable brushless drill is pretty lightweight, which is a definite plus.

    The rubber overmold adds decent cushioning, and should help when using the drill for long periods.

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    DIY Project – Concrete Fire Pit

    Building a concrete fire pit is actually a pretty simple DIY project. It requires only very basic skills and tools, along with a bit of heavy lifting. The beauty of it is that you can customize your design, making it as large or small as you want. It is not a costly project and you should get plenty of use out of it.

    Here’s the material list for my 4’ X 4’ concrete fire pit:

  • 8 2X10X8’ for walls
  • 4 2X4X8’ to tie 2X10s together
  • 1 box of 50 4” large-head GRK exterior screws, GRK R4 or similar
  • 2 lbs. of construction-grade 2-½” screws to attach wall supports
  • 20 50-lb. bags QUIKRETE all-purpose gravel
  • 20 60-lb. bags QUIKRETE Concrete Mix
  • Steel heat shield insert (See “The final step” below)
  • Steel rebar, sixteen 24” pieces
  • One sheet of steel remesh, 42” X 84”
  • Wire ties for the rebar
  • 2’ piece of 2” or 3” PVC pipe
  • Lava rock
  • And here’s the tool list:

  • Shovel
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Rake
  • Tamper
  • Circular or miter saw
  • Drill driver/impact driver
  • Hole saw slightly larger than your piece of PVC
  • Portable cement mixer or wheelbarrow
  • Trowel
  • Wood or steel float
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Once you’ve selected your shovel-ready build site, the first step is to mark out the dig zone. Now get digging!


  • Try to find as level a spot as possible, to minimize any regrading, and provide for comfortable seating around the fire.
  • Most of the project can be done solo, but some portions definitely require a helper.
  • Your concrete fire pit will require two forms to hold the concrete while it sets: An inner and an outer.

  • Tamp down the soil well, pack it hard and level. Start hoisting bags and fill up the hole. Depending on the depth, you will need to estimate how many bags per square foot. Rake it out, grab your tamper again, and flatten it out and compress it as much as you can.

    Original Source: Concrete Fire Pit DIY Project – Quikrete Makes It Easy-ish

    Soffit Vents – How to Install

    To introduce fresh and cool air to your attic, as well as let hot air escapes from the top of the attic through ridge vents you may consider adding soffit vents. The cooling costs for your house can be reduced using and the job itself is easy enough for you to handle.

    In order to determine how many will be needed along each section you must first measure the area where you want to install the vent.
    Use a template made of wood to mark the cut lines for each location that has been cut a little smaller than the size of the vent you’re installing. It should be an inch shorter and an inch narrower than the actual vent.

    For a nice finishing touch paint the vent to match the soffit.


  • Center each soffit vent over the hole and parallel to the eaves with the vent louvers facing in toward the house before you screw each vent to the soffit board.
  • Cut the hole using a circular or saber saw.
  • Easy to handle yourself.
  • “No one will notice it is there except you and you utility bill.”

    Original Source: How to Install Soffit Vents

    Understanding Solar Thermal Panels

    A large amount of solar energy reflects back into space or is absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, enough energy to power homes and businesses for years.

    The solar thermal panels are used to heat domestic hot water. The panels are filled with antifreeze or evacuated tubes.

    A typical thermal-panel system can produce around 70% of a house’s hot water demands. A photovoltaic (PV) system transforms the sun’s energy into direct current (DC) electricity.

    An inverter mounted inside the house converts the DC power to standard alternating current (AC), which is then used to power lights, appliances, and other electrical devices. If the PV system produces more electricity than you can use, the excess gets sent back to the power company and you receive a credit on your electric bill.

    Solar companies are now offering power purchase agreements to homeowners, which include a free solar system in exchange for government rebates.


  • Unraveling the mystery of off-grid solar power and understand the basics about your system.
  • There are some nuances in solar power that you must be aware of.
  • Often the most overlooked component of any off grid system is safety.
  • Original Source: “Understanding Solar Power”

    Eletrical Repairs DIY – Splice Wires

    When something needs to be done with the electrical wires in your home, the addition of a light switch or repairs to the wiring in your home, you can try to DIY if you have the tools and skills. Otherwise, calling an electrician could be a smart choice. There are some activities that handy people can manage on their own, but the electrical work is generally is more complicated.

    Whatever type of fixing or amendments that needs done, first, turn off the main switch or at least turn off the specific circuit in which the service will be done.

    It is also essential to have the right tools for the task and materials such as connectors and insulating tape quality and meet the technical standards governing products and electrical installation.

    Never use materials like tape, cellophane tape or masking tape to splice the wires and cables, as they are not made for this purpose and compromise the safety of the electrical installation, give preference to recognized brands in the market.

    – Voltmeter
    – Electrician’s or linesman’s pliers
    – Junction box
    – Romex wire connector
    – Needle-nose pliers
    – Screwdriver
    – Wall anchors
    – Wood screws
    – Grounding screw
    – Utility knife
    – Wire strippers
    – Wire caps or nuts
    – Junction box cover (if sold separately)


    • Learning how to splice wires correctly will not only ensure that your electrical repairs and upgrades function properly, but, equally important, keep you and your property safe.
    • If you’re apprehensive about working with electricity or lack basic electrical knowledge, do not hesitate to hire a licensed electrician for your project.
    • The connectors act as protective guides that also secure the wires to the junction box. Without them, the wires could be damaged by the sharp edges of the knockout holes.

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    Honey Harvest

    Beekeeping is caring and raising bees for their various products. Artificial beehives that the man provides the bees are very varied and have evolved over time. The more rustic were simple hollowed or wicker baskets; Today, they use different types of boxes, which are much more practical and easy to handle.

    The beekeeper knows the best time to harvest the honey and how much can extract without harming the bees.  Strip honeycombs that contains the mature honey and puts them in a centrifugal machine, which extracts the honey without breaking the honeycombs and can be used again.

    Before bottling it, filter it so that it is free of wax remains. An apiary with two to ten beehives in the backyard, farm or ranch as a hobby will produce as a final prize delicious honey.

    The ways to explore beekeeping, can be classified in various stages in accordance with their economic characteristics.

    Image from the Blog DIY Diva


    • Goldenrod– whenever it makes its appearance– means that honey harvest needs to start in very short order
    • It’s just not a job that can be done without a little stickiness.
    • Interestingly, the honey I’ve extracted this year is entirely different from the honey I extracted last year.

    “As for the honey, the process of extracting and packaging honey was significantly easier this year because I actually know what I’m doing. I sprung for a stainless-steel 4-frame extractor this year, which is light years beyond the plastic bucket I used last year.”

    Original Source:

    Empire UltraView Level Review

    A review of both a 2’ and a 4’ Empire UltraView Level that promise to make the task easier. Empire has an assortment of product lines.

    The company launched over 100 new product this year alone and their focus is on quality, durability and innovation, as well as providing features that are advantageous to the end users.

    There are no stubborn packaging , just undo a threaded plastic connector, slide off the paper sleeve, and work can commence.

    The edges are milled to ensure flatness and accuracy, the vials are encased in a very robust-looking coating of acrylic, and they’re easy to locate and read even before you fire up the LEDs.

    The bottom edge of the magnetic feature on the Empire UltraView level has  a rare earth magnets incorporated into it, and they perform as advertised.


    • Concentrated surround dual LEDs provide superior vial visibility
    • Precision milled edges for guaranteed accuracy
    • Limited lifetime warranty on frame and vials; one year warranty on electronics

    “The Empire UltraView level has the look and feel of a quality tool. The color is a sharp-looking “True Blue,” and the edges are milled to ensure flatness and accuracy. The vials are encased in a very robust-looking coating of acrylic, and they’re easy to locate and read even before you fire up the LEDs. The protective end caps are easy to pop out, if you want to remove them for any reason.”

    Original Source:

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