What Does a Gas Plumber Do?

What Does a Gas Plumber Do?

Throughout most of history human beings struggled to keep their homes warm throughout the winter and cool in the summer.  Modern HVAC systems really are a blessing, if it is too cold we just turn a dial and in a few minutes your home is comfortable.  There are all kinds of ways to heat your house but one of the most affordable and increasingly common is through natural gas.  When it comes to natural gas and gas lines in your home you need a gas plumber to handle that.  So…what does a gas plumber do exactly?  Let’s have a look.

What Does a Gas Plumber Do?

If you asked the average homeowner what a gas plumber does they would be pretty hard pressed to tell you.  When they think plumbing they think of water and not gas, that is a common misconception.  Gas, especially natural gas also comes into your home through pipes and they are maintained by a plumber with special training in working with gas.

There are plenty of home owners that consider themselves fairly handy and is willing to try and fix anything that goes wrong in their home.  While that’s great and can save you a fortune over the years but you don’t even try when it comes to gas.  There are very few things in your home as dangerous as the gas lines.  Proper working gas lines are perfectly safe, but if you mess around and do something wrong because you don’t know any better, you can not only damage your home and family but the entire neighborhood as well.

Here is what a gas plumber can fix for you:

  1. New gas appliances: This is one of the more common reasons to bring in a gas plumber. Homeowners that love to cook, often trade in their electrical stove for a gas range.  Stoves aren’t the only gas driven appliance, getting a gas dryer is another option.
  2. Your water heater: Most water heaters in the home actually run on natural gas. When it comes time to install or replace your water heater then you need someone that is qualified to do so.  If you have purchased an older home then you may also want a gas plumber to come and look at the water heater to make sure it complies with current building codes.
  3. Outdoor Kitchens: If your ideal summer is spending it with family and friends cooking on the grill then the last thing you want to do is run out of gas.  A gas plumber can run a gas line directly to the grill and your summer will be perfect.
  4. Gas Fireplace: There is nothing cozier than sitting around the fire on a cold winter night.  Today most fireplaces are gas rather than wood, to install and maintain them you will need a gas plumber.
  5. Problems with your gas line: Last but definitely not least is problems with the gas lines in your home. Gas leaks are indicated by a rotten egg smell and if that happens leave your home and call your gas plumber right away.  Natural gas can be dangerous, leave it to the professionals to handle it.

Now that you know what a gas plumber does and when you need to call one.  Never hesitate when it comes to natural gas, while it is safe 99% of the time it is that 1% you need to be careful of.

Do Your Own Landscaping or Hire a Landscaping Company

Do Your Own Landscaping or Hire a Landscaping Company

Should you do your own landscaping or hire a landscaping company?  That’s a question many homeowners face but before you make the decision let’s go over some tips and ideas before you start tackling the project yourself.

Evaluate Your Skills

You don’t need to be a landscaper to manage your own property but you should have the time and interest to look after your landscaping.  Do you want a simple lawn that you can mow just once a week or do you actually want to look after some plants and flowers on a regular basis.  If you have little or no experience gardening then you should start by taking a look at some different landscaping ideas, photos and maybe even checking out a YouTube video or two to get an idea of what the project entails.  Start with smaller projects and work your way up to something bigger.

What Do You Like

Along with evaluating your skills you should also know what style of landscaping that you like.  Your designs should be a combination of plants that you like and what works in your environment.  Start with small projects like tackling some small flowerbeds, re-design them or add some new plants.  Visit your local garden center and learn about the different type of plants from bulbs to perennials. If you have a big ambitious project you may want to get some help from a landscaping company.  Here is some information on basic garden flowers so you can learn the differences between them.

Cleanup the Yard

You can’t start on any new landscaping project until you first clean up the yard.  Remove any clutter, get rid of all the overgrown plants along with any that you don’t want to keep around.  Once you have the area cleaned up it will make is easier to see the space and design it the way you like.  From here you can start the transformation and add the plants and flowers that you love.

Call a Landscaper

Calling a landscaper doesn’t mean throwing in the towel and giving up on your dream of looking after your own property.  A landscaping expert can help you get started with the design for your space.  They can recommend the right plants and flowers that work with your soil, the climate and your skill level in the garden.  They can make recommendations based on the amount of time you have to work on your property and more importantly they can help you avoid expensive mistakes.

A landscape designer can help you break down the cost of your project and they can even get the project started.  For instance you can work together designing the space, the landscape company sources the plants and materials then you take over regular maintenance.

Don’t Bite Off More than You Can Chew

Don’t overestimate what you are able to do and what you have time to do.  Maintaining your landscaping can take hours every day and you may still have work to do.  Plan ahead and work with a landscaping team to create the space you have been dreaming about.

Is it Time to Replace Your Plumbing?

Is it Time to Replace Your Plumbing?

When your plumbing breaks down it causes problems well beyond just a broken or clogged pipe.  Plumbing problems like leaks can lead to damaged furnishings as well as the structure.  Clogs can lead to sewer backups and toxic waste in your living space.  Your plumbing can fail for a number of reasons, freezing pipes, poor installation and most commonly from age.  This begs the questions, is it time to replace your plumbing?  Let’s look at the lifespan of your pipes and what causes plumbing to fail.

What are Your Pipes Made From?

The pipes in your house could be made from a variety of materials depending on the age of your home and how long it has been since the plumbing was replaced.  Typically when you buy your home and have it inspected the inspection report will tell what type of plumbing has been used.  Each type of piping material has its own lifespan and they may determine if you need to replace the plumbing.  For instance, brass and copper will both last somewhere between 40-50 years, whereas galvanized steel lasts about 30 years.  Cast iron piping can last up to 100 years and modern PVC piping can last forever.

While at first glance you might think, my pipes will last long enough they don’t need to be replaced but that is not the only issue.  You also need to take into account the other parts of your plumbing like the joints, mechanical parts and the fixtures in your home.  Leaks and water backups can happen regardless of the age of your pipes or the material they are made from.

Your Plumbing is Failing

Two of the most obvious signs that you have plumbing problems are clogs and leaks.  You may even be able to see cracks in the pipe or you will find leaks near your sink, dishwasher or tub.  You may find the floor warped or water stains in your ceiling or floor.  You may also notice low water pressure that can mean you have a crack in the pipes coming into your home.

Clogs are noticeable when your tub or sink is very slow to drain, you may even hear gurgling that indicates there is air getting trapped in your pipes.  You can grab a plumbing snake at your local hardware store and try and clear out the clog.  When that doesn’t work it is time to call a plumber to find and remedy the clogged pipes.

Repair or Replace Your Plumbing

Removing clogs and replacing taps and things is normal homeowner maintenance and for the most part you don’t need a plumber.  These are projects you can easily handle on your own.  Big problems tend to be less visible, you will have clogs that are in the pipes underground or behind a wall.  When or if that time comes then you can speak with a plumber about replacing the pipes.

If you plan on doing a major renovation to your bathroom or kitchen that is another time to consider replacing any outdated piping.  If you already have the walls open then you can inspect the joints and see what should be replaced.

What You Should Know About Metal Roofing

Metal roofing used to only be used on commercial properties and very high end residential homes but that’s not the case any longer.  Drive through your neighborhood and you’re bound to find a house or two that has replaced their existing roof with metal.  Manufacturing has gotten better and the price of a metal roof has come down dramatically.  If you have to replace your existing roof and you aren’t sure if metal is the way to go, there here is what you should know about metal roofing to help you decide.

Metal Roof is Cost Effective

While the upfront cost of a metal roof may be a bit higher, it becomes cost effective by the fact that you will never have to repair or replace it during your lifetime.  Asphalt shingles, which is the most common roofing material, last 20 under ideal conditions but metal roofs will last between 40 -70 years.

Metal Roofing is Maintenance Free

One of the reasons that metal roofing has become so popular is that it requires little or no work.  Aside from that it is fire retardant, termites can’t eat it, it doesn’t rot or grow mildew.  The surface is smooth and it absorbs heat quickly from the sun, in the winter snow will slide right off fairly quickly unlike conventional roofs.

You Can Put it Over Your Existing Roof

When you replace a roof with shingles you have to rip off the old ones and then replace them with new ones.  Metal roof installation is far less work you can install it directly on top of your old roof.  You do have to be careful that you don’t trap moisture in between the old and new roof.  That issue can be eliminated by installing a vented roof.  Make sure that you have a roofing contractor with extensive experience in metal roofs to ensure proper installation.

Metal Roofs Are More Energy Efficient

During the summer months the metal roof reflects the heat of the sun, that in turn reduces the cost required to cool your home.  If you live in the south or southwest where temperature can hit over 100 on a regular basis then you can coat your metal roof making it even more reflective and saving you money.

A Metal Roof is Not a Tin Roof

It is a common misconception that a metal roof is noisy in bad weather but that is not the case.  If your contractor installs your roof properly then it isn’t any noisier than a shingled roof.  Between the insulation and substrate you have a suitable sound buffer so that you will never notice the weather.

Your Roof Can be Damaged by Hail

For the most part metal roofs will withstand almost any type of weather but it isn’t indestructible.  Large hail stones can and have been known to damage metal roofs.  In order for your roof to suffer damage you need hail that is nearly the size of a golf ball, bear in mind that this type of hail will cause damage to any type of roofing material as well.  If you live in Nebraska or Wyoming where hail can be problematic, be aware of the issue.

4 Things Your Bathroom Remodeling Contractor Won't Tell You

4 Things Your Bathroom Remodeling Contractor Won’t Tell You

If you want to remodel the bathroom and have the project go smoothly then you need to know the right questions to ask your contractor.  The contractor doesn’t know how much you know about home renovations so he may not give you all the information that you need.  Here are 4 things your bathroom remodeling contractor won’t tell you.

What Type of Lighting Should You Use?

As soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning you head to the bathroom. It is where you get ready for work in the morning and if you want to look and feel your best then the lighting in there is crucial.  Don’t forget that if you spent all that money on a renovation project then it stands to reason that you want people to see it.  If you’re gutting the bathroom and starting fresh then once all of the fixtures and the drywall is removed you want to bring in your electrician to give you his recommendations.  Talk to him about installing energy saving lights and how the room is going to be arranged so you can make best use of the light.  Go over with him the tiles and what color they are going to be, if you are planning on using darker colors then you will need different lighting. You want to have all of your lights ready when he comes to do the work that way he can do all the wiring and installation at the same time.

The Tile is Going to Cost More Than You Think

If you are planning on putting in travertine or some other natural stone, and why wouldn’t you it looks beautiful, you are going to need more square footage than you think.  If you have a 10 x 10 bathroom add at least 25% more material to ensure proper installation. The cost of tile is probably going to be around 25% of your budget.

Not All Tile Patterns Work In Your Bathroom

If you absolutely love the idea of installing subway tiles or large square tiles then you better make sure it works in your space first.  If the walls are uneven then subway tile looks choppy and pretty awful.  You may want to consider a different pattern or style of tiles.  Big tiles can be difficult to install if you have a smaller bathroom and that will increase your renovation costs.  Super small tiles also take more time to install and that too will drive up the cost of your renovation.

Don’t Use Polished Marble in the Shower Stall

Luxury shower stalls are all the latest rage in interior design, they have built in shelving for toiletries, multiple showerheads and they are built with the finest materials.  That being said, the finest materials can be pretty slippery when wet.  You want to make sure that your tiles are slip resistant and never clean them with bleach or abrasive cleaners.

In any kind of renovation it’s important that you have a good contractor that you can work with and who won’t hesitate to share information on what works and what doesn’t.