Some of the Best in the West Tradies are living & working around the Sunset Coast. Here will be some interesting Tips & Tricks to be aware of when it comes to household fixtures, fittings & services. Some choice info will be shared for those wanting some answers or what to avoid.
 SIX Expensive Home Repairs You Can Avoid With A Little Maintenance
The cost of owning a home goes well beyond the price you paid for the house itself. When something breaks, you have to fix it, and those repairs can be costly. You can’t foresee or avoid every home repair, but some regular maintenance can save you hundreds — maybe thousands — on some of these big ones.
Illustration by: Angelica Alzona
 Inspect Your Roof Every Six Months to Avoid a Costly Roof Replacement
If you have a loose shingle or a leak in your roof, it will typically cost you several hundred bucks to fix the problem. That’s not exactly spare change, but if the problem goes unaddressed, the damage will cost a lot more in the long run.
When you neglect a leak, water can seep into the insulation and other parts of your attic, which can lead to mould growth and structural damage to your attic’s decking, beams and joints. At this point, you may have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to fix the problem. Duh, that’s what homeowner’s insurance is for, you might think. Bad news, though. Typically, homeowner’s insurance only covers damage that is sudden and not preventable. Most policies won’t cover any expenses you could have prevented with proper maintenance.
Check your roof at least twice a year – A few things you want to look for:
Loose or missing shingles and tears in the shingles.
Cracks in flashing (the metal or plastic seal around your chimney and roof).
Moisture, mould or leaks in your attic’s wood panels.
Bubbled paint on the walls or ceiling stains (which can be signs of water damage).
For a visual guide, you can check out the video above. The point is, a thorough roof inspection every few months can help you nip any problems in the bud before they become crazy expensive.
 Avoid Costly Foundation Repairs by Checking for Proper Drainage
It’s natural for your home to settle a bit, but when the soil on which it stands starts to expand and contract too much, it may cause foundation problems in the structure of your home itself. Foundation repair can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000, according to hipages. With a little maintenance, you can catch foundation problems early or avoid them altogether.
According to HouseLogic, the most common cause of foundation problems is water. Changes in soil moisture typically cause foundation to crack and split, so you want to keep water away from your home whenever possible. When homes are constructed, the ground near the foundation usually slopes slightly away from the house. This keeps rainwater from pooling around the foundation to weaken the structure. That’s not to say it’s foolproof, though.
To ensure that water isn’t pooling near your foundation, you first want to make sure to clean your gutters regularly. Clogged gutters will send water down the side of your house. Second, according to Houselogic, your downspouts should direct water 1.5 to 3m away from your house. If they don’t, you may need to install a new one or, for a more extensive project, This Old House shows how to grade around foundation in the above video. They basically dig a pipe and connect it to the home’s downspout far away from the home’s foundation.
If your home has weeping tile — an underground pipe to drain water away from your home — you’ll need to maintain that, too. If this pipe gets clogged over time, water can back up and cause your foundation to shift. You may only notice it when you start to see cracks in your basement walls. Aquamaster Plumbing offers a few signs your weeping tile may be plugged:
Horizontal, vertical or diagonal cracks in your basement or crawlspace walls.
Damp areas or pools of water under basement windows or floor.
A strong, musty odour — a sign of mould or mildew.
Stained or peeling plasterboard; mould or mildew on walls and flooring.
You should actively search for these signs and maintenance can help, too. Clean out leaves and debris from your gutters, make sure your downspouts are directed away from your home and, if you have any slow-draining sinks or toilets, get a plumber to check your system for clogs. You can also run a hose near the exterior foundation wall to ensure your weeping tile is doing its job. If it is, your home’s sump pit should be filling up with that water. Your home’s sump pump and pit accumulate water, then drain it away. This needs regular maintenance, too. Roto-Rooter suggests testing it by pouring a bucket of water into the pit. The pump should then turn on, drain the water and turn off. You can also remove the actual pit and clean out any sludge and debris. If it’s not working properly, it’s time to call a professional to get it replaced.
Too much water can definitely cause foundation problems, but at the same time, you also don’t want your soil to get too dry:
Long dry spells let the soil around your house dry out and shrink. A big rain may make the soil expand, putting pressure on your foundation walls. In a drought, run a soaker hose at least 15cm from the foundation and 8cm under the soil to keep the soil from contracting and expanding.
You should also learn the warning signs of foundation problems: Cracks, water damage, warped ceilings, sagging floors and doors and windows that don’t shut properly. Check your home, especially your basement or crawlspace, for any of these signs. Like most home repair jobs, the sooner you address the problem, the less you’ll spend in the long run.
 Inspect Your HVAC System Every Six Months to Avoid Expensive Failures
Your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system can cost anywhere between a couple of hundred bucks and over a thousand, depending on the problem. Replacing a fuse or circuit breaker, for example, may only cost you a couple of hundred bucks. Replacing a circuit board is a bit more expensive at several hundred, and other replacements, like the compressor, can cost you over $1000. To replace the entire system altogether, you’ll spend several thousand dollars.
The easiest thing you can do to maintain your HVAC system is replace your air filter regularly, ideally every 90 days. Beyond that, you can inspect the unit itself every six months. There are a few maintenance items you may be able to do yourself, but the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a contractor to check the air conditioning system in spring and the heating system in autumn. The inspector will lubricate your system’s moving parts, tighten any electrical connections, clean the system’s coils and replace any necessary coolant, check for leaks and check all of your gas connections. To check the system yourself, here are a few tips SFGate recommends:
Start with the thermostat and check all functions for correct operation. Make sure that both the heating and cooling systems turn off at the preset temperatures.
Turn off the circuit breakers that power both the furnace and air conditioner. The circuit breakers are in the electrical service panel. Leave both units off until after the HVAC inspection.
Check for loose electrical connections.
Listen for any squeaks or noises when manually inspecting moving parts.
Find the condensate drain and check for clogs. Condensation that builds up during HVAC use must drain properly to prevent rust from forming on internal parts. Clogged condensate drains also contribute to bacteria and mould growth in the home.
Smell for gas leaks near all gas fittings, if your home uses gas. Inspect heat exchangers or burners for cracks, abnormal discoloration or deterioration.
Review the system for dirt and debris. A buildup of debris and dirt affects the system’s efficiency. Use a small portable vacuum to remove any dust buildup.
Look at the air-conditioning coils for an accumulation of dirt or dust. Vacuum the coils to improve cooling efficiency.
 Inspect Old Pipes Every Year to Prevent a Sewage Backup
Sewer pipes can get clogged or strangled by tree roots, and once the main water line breaks, it can cause a flood, or a sewer backup. You’ll have a big, expensive mess on your hands. Sewer backups can cost upwards of $10,000 to clean up, depending on the extent of the damage.
Especially if you have an older home, it may be worth inspecting your sewer lines every year. Find a plumber in your area that will inspect your lines. They will run a camera down the pipes and tell you if there are any clogs or obstructions. This typically costs a few hundred dollars. According to Roto Rooter:
A video camera line inspection pipe will identify all types of problems, such as root intrusion and pipe that is misaligned, broken, punctured, off-grade or corroded. The camera also identifies grease buildup, leaks and obstructions. The inspection can be repeated after any service is performed to verify that the line has been properly cleaned or repaired.
It’s not just older homes, though. If you have certain types of trees in your yard, you may want to conduct an annual inspection, too. Bougainvillea, bamboo and fig trees, for example, can cause a lot of damage near sewer pipes. We found this out the hard way when our sewer line clogged and the plumber told us the bamboo roots in our yard were growing into the line. Bamboo, he said, can cause a lot of line damage. Here are even more plants to watch out for. Check out the video above to see what it looks like when roots get into a sewer line.
 Check for Termites to Avoid Structural Damage
The longer termites are allowed to chew up your home, the more expensive they are to deal with. If termites are limited to a small area, it may only cost a couple of hundred dollars to get rid of them with a spot treatment. Once they spread, though, you’ll pay anywhere from $2000 to $5000 to get rid of them from an average-sized home. Beyond that, termites can cause severe structural damage to your home which gets even pricier to fix.
Know the signs of termite damage to begin with. The above video shows you how to check yourself, and according to Orkin, some common signs are:
Swollen floors and ceilings.
Termite poop, which looks like coffee grounds.
Visible mazes within walls.
A scent similar to mildew or mould.
To keep termites in check, hire an inspector once a year. It will cost you between $250 and $350 for an inspection, but that’s cheaper than the thousands of dollars you’ll pay to get rid of them later — not to mention the massive cost of fixing or replacing the structural damage.
 Inspect Your Water Heater Annually to Prevent Flooding
Water heaters are easy to forget about, but when they fail, they can cause a lot of damage. If pipes burst or start to leak, they can cause mould growth, or worse, flood your floors or ceilings. If the leak has caused enough damage to walls, floors and ceilings, they may need to be replaced. Repairs can cost several thousand dollars.
It’s useful to know the signs of a problematic water heater:
Water doesn’t get as hot any more.
There’s rust in the water from your taps.
Your water heater makes popping sounds when it’s heating.
Puddles and rust are forming near your water heater.
It may be that your water heater just needs repairing, though. If it’s less than 10 years old, you may just call a plumber to diagnose and fix the problem. HouseLogic explains:
Because water heaters contain few moving parts, only a few things can go wrong. Pilot light on gas water heater flickers out. Circuit breaker for an electric heater trips. Burner or heating element fails. Theromostat breaks. Valve sticks. Repairing or replacing any of those parts is relatively inexpensive: A plumber can do the job for $150-$300
Water heaters don’t last forever, though. The International Association of Home Inspectors says the average lifespan of a water heater is 10 years. If your water heater is over 10 years old and it starts to fail, it’s likely time for a replacement. In an IBHS study, water heaters older than 20 years old accounted for 95 per cent of water heater claims. You should inspect your water heater annually to make sure it’s running properly. This Old House has a useful step-by-step guide to do this. The video above shows you how it’s done.
Homeo wnership can be expensive, even when you just consider the regular maintenance involved with it. It’s a lot more expensive, however, when you ignore that maintenance altogether. With a little prevention, you can ensure you don’t have to deal with the headache of these common, pricey repairs.
FIVE  Home Repairs You Should Never Do Yourself
Because life isn’t a home renovation TV show, here are some projects better left to the pros.
With the popularity of home improvement shows designed to enthrall viewers with stunning renovations, it’s easy to get swept up in the DIY craze. In the hopes of saving money and channeling their inner design diva, even not-so-handy homeowners may be tempted to pick up a hammer and give home repair a go. This may sound empowering, but there are several home repairs you should never do yourself.
Certain home repairs are best left to the professionals
While there are home repairs that can certainly be tackled by enthusiastic amateurs, taking on complicated tasks you’re not qualified to do can have costly consequences. Fact: There is such a thing as home repairs best left to professionals. Not only could faulty work lead to spending more money on repairs than you would have spent if you’d hired a pro from the start, they could result in your home not being up to code, serious injuries or even death.
Even if DIY is your life motto, there are certain cost-cutting measures you want to avoid when it comes to home maintenance. Here are some home repairs best left to professionals:
 Electrical Repairs
“Number one on my list of jobs for homeowners not to do themselves would be electrical—it’s just too dangerous,” says Frank Cohn, owner of Cohn Construction Ltd. and host of the Home Improvement Show on Toronto’s NEWSTALK 1010 radio. “I’ve seen too many electrical jobs where people have done it themselves, or had a brother or an uncle do the wiring, and a lot of these people are lucky they’re alive to tell their tale because I find all sorts of buried wires or things wired improperly. It’s so dangerous. I just can’t stress that enough.”
While installing a basic light fixture may be a suitable task for an experienced DIYer, anything more complicated is a home repair you should never DIY and should be handled by a licensed electrician. There’s a reason electricians can be expensive: They spend many painstaking years training to work with electrical currents that can be deadly when handled improperly.
“Number one on my list of jobs for homeowners not to do themselves would be electrical—it’s just too dangerous.”– Frank Cohn, owner of Cohn Construction
 Major Basement Renos
Frequently DIYers will enthusiastically embrace doing their own basement renos because—to the untrained eye—it’s not a main part of the home and mistakes can be easier to hide. But it’s another on the list of home repairs you should never DIY, says licensed contractor Mark Clement of MyFixitUpLife.com. “Even if it seems simple, like studding out for basement walls, there are details for home safety that need to be added,” he says. “For example, details that can get overlooked in basement build-outs are fire-blocking and vapor barriers,” Clement adds.
Clement that basements should be left to the experts. Cohn says that underpinning (digging out the basement to make it lower) can be especially dangerous. “There’s been a few stories in the Toronto area over the last couple of years where people have even been killed doing underpinning because walls or even the entire house has collapsed.” Even if you are lucky enough not to be harmed by improper basement renos, the price to fix repairs can be in the tens of thousands of dollars because it’s such painstaking and extensive work that affects the entire structural integrity of the house.
Who isn’t guilty of ignoring a leaky faucet in the hopes that it will somehow stop on its own in an effort to avoid an expensive plumbing bill? Snaking a lightly clogged drain or replacing a worn faucet washer may be doable by some, but anything more extensive falls into the category of home repairs you should never do yourself. Instead: Be prepared to dial a plumber.
Unlike electrical repairs, improper plumbing fixes are unlikely to put your life in danger, but they can take a serious toll on your pocketbook. What started off as an annoying leak can quickly escalate to a flood and can easily add up to thousands of dollars. Plumbing work (especially if it involves your sewage system or hot water pipes) is a home repair best left to professionals.
 Structural Work
When considering home repairs you should never do yourself, Cohn says the homeowner should generally not touch any sort of major structural work. Much like major basement repairs, if DIYers don’t know what they’re doing, faulty structural renovations can undermine the integrity of the entire home. “These days, everybody’s ripping their homes apart,” Cohn says, as open concept is all the rage. “Sometimes people take out a wall not understanding it’s load bearing, and the next thing you know, the house collapses or the floor upstairs starts to sag.”
Clement likewise feels structural alterations are home repairs you should never do yourself. “Removing walls that carry weight from above is a pro job. Understanding the safest ways to support the weight during the demolition process and determining how to transfer the load are serious business,” he adds.
 Gas Appliances
Similar to electrical repairs, gas appliances can exact a high price when things go wrong. Home repairs you should never DIY include fixes to items like gas furnaces, ovens, water heaters or dryers. These repairs should only ever be handled by qualified experts. Even when a homeowner takes every precaution to turn off the gas and carefully manages a repair, it’s possible for a leak to develop if the appliance is not reinstalled perfectly. A gas leak can result in severe health issues, or even a possible fire or explosion in your home. That’s why any work involving gas is a home repair you should never DIY.
No matter how handy you are, there are some home repairs you should never DIY
Whether we like to admit it or not, there are home repairs best left to professionals—no matter how many home renovation shows we watch. So grab your phone instead of a hammer the next time you’re faced with a large or potentially dangerous renovation.
To make sure your finances are always prepared for a home repair best left to professionals, open an online savings account for your emergency fund. If a costly or unexpected home repair does creep up, you’ll have the funds to quickly and safely address it. Don’t worry… you can satisfy your DIY craving with another task around the house.
TOP TEN  DIY Renovation Mistakes to Avoid
Do it yourself renovations have certainly grown in popularity throughout the years here in Australia, and with it the “what not to do’s have become more well-known.
DIY RenovationsSo whether you’re renovating in the hopes of making a pretty penny or simply to make your home more welcoming, here are ten mistakes you best avoid.
 Not planning
It is vital to have a plan when looking into renovating a property, especially if it’s a full-scale makeover. Be sure to have a layout of what you’re renovating, how you expect it to look as an end product, and that you’re measurements are correct. One little mistake can unravel a great renovation. Without a plan, you’re guaranteed to make countless errors.
 Budgeting incorrectly
Along with planning, you have to make sure you budget your renovations. It’s better to overestimate the costs than to be too conservative. Typically the costs will exceed your expectations, so you need back-up money. You also need to budget for any possible contingencies that could occur. Every expense MUST be accounted for.
 Gutting everything
A mistake renovators can make when making over a house for sale is to gut everything. They remove walls, break down benches… Why? Some of the things that are already in the house may work very well as they are. Also, by taking it easy on the mass destruction you will also be saving yourself some costs.
 Cheap materials
Keen-eyed individuals will know when you’re using cheap materials. If you’re wanting to give your house worth, don’t cut corners with materials. Not just a matter of expense, cheap materials can also be dangerous in comparison to quality materials.
 Wrong tools
You wouldn’t use a hammer to paint, right? It may sound like a silly example but it’s a valid point. Using the wrong tools for the job – even if they’re only slightly wrong – is not good.
 Wrong paint
Make sure that the colours you choose complement the overall aesthetic of the house. Using the wrong colour can really be off-putting and turn your house into an ugly duckling.
 Not taking advantage of lighting
Unless you’re planning to live the life of a film noir protagonist, lighting – whether natural or artificial – is important to a good home. You want the home to feel comfortable and inviting, and natural lighting goes a great distance to achieve this. A home with good lighting also feels more spacious.
 Obsessing over trends
Trends could also be called fads. They come and go fairly quickly. Too many renovators become obsessed with making their house look trendy and ahead of its time. What you want is a house with an aesthetic look that will last beyond fading trends.
 Excessive building
So you’re renovating a house to sell it a higher price? That makes sense, but don’t overbuild. If you’re in a neighbourhood where the market average is around $400,000, you don’t want to be spending $600,000 on renovating an expecting to sell it for $800,000. It’s unrealistic.
 Performing tasks you aren’t an expert at
As much as you may want your DIY renovation to be DIY, there are some things you simply can’t do yourself. Things such as wiring and plumbing must be done by a professional. Additionally, if you don’t have the knowledge for a task, don’t do it. Call in the professionals. For example, if you wanted to restore your roof, you’d call a professional like Roo Roofing.
So the next time you decide to perform some DIY works on your home, make sure you’re not making these mistakes. They could cost you time, money and your well being.
 SEVEN Simple DIY Home Maintenance Tips for Everyone
Some of us prefer calling a handyman as soon as something bad happens to our house. It’s true that home maintenance can be overwhelming at times but that doesn’t mean that we should spend our hard-earned money on something we can do ourselves.
Truth be told, most of the maintenance work can be done quickly and easily. However, due to lack of expertize, homeowners do not dare to take this step.
In this article, Nick Stoyanov from 4 Pumps Australia will show you how to fix things around your home, without any hassle.
1. Heating System
First of all, it is necessary to check your furnace or heat pump (whatever you have). They tend to get clogged with dust and filth which will impair them from working properly. As a solution, you can clean them up allowing maximum efficiency. Pay special attention to the filter!
Gutters constantly get clogged with leaves and debris. This is especially common during autumn as wind starts blowing all this stuff. Unfortunately, your gutters have to be empty at all times. If they are clogged, they cannot transfer rain water. In other words, water will start falling on your house affecting the structure and destroying your walls.
Besides gutters, shingles, tiles are another part of your roof that requires constant fixes and maintenance. Before rain season, every home owner should check for damage and discoloration. If there is any damage to them, they will start leaking water into your home. As you can presume, this will lead to rotting of wood and cracks in concrete. Even if there is the slightest doubt your shingle is compromised, you should remove it and check if it’s leaking.
Another thing that can have a disastrous impact on your isolation are windows. As the time goes by, holes and cracks will start appearing all around them. Furthermore, if you have wooden frames, they will start rotting due to humidity. When it comes to holes and cracks, they either need to be stripped or filled with caulk. If the crack is really wide, you will have to apply caulk both on the inside and the outside.
5. Fire system
Most of us do not pay attention to smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. However, you never know when an accident may occur. This is why you always have to check whether the batteries in the smoke detector are working. Also, make sure that your fire extinguisher is working properly.
6. Garage doors
Similarly to other parts of your home, garage doors require regular maintenance. The most common issue for homeowners comes in a form of rust or broken springs. They have to be lubricated all the time in order to prolong their efficiency and life expectancy. Sometimes, your door may lose balance. Fortunately, this is another problem which you can easily handle by yourself.
Both your walls and pavement in front of your house are susceptible to damage. Over time, cracks will start appearing. During winter, water will enter these cracks, freeze inside and widen them. So, make sure to patch them up before the winter.
With these 7 simple tips, you are prepared for some epic home maintenance. Next time you repair shingles or heaters, you will be happy for not calling a handyman and fixing things yourself.
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