Bathroom Remodeling – 2024 Bathroom Design Trends

According to a 2024 report, homeowners enlarge the bathroom as part of a bathroom remodeling project, often integrating space from adjacent rooms. And, bathroom remodeling projects are up 21.7 percent year-over-year. Trending designs for bathroom remodeling include modern and natural designs, bold colors, custom wood vanities, handmade tiles, spa-like features such as seats, steam, body sprays, hand held wands, and rain shower heads. Also popular for current designs are doorless showers which create a more open look, quartz countertops, and water closets. Learn about trending design elements for bathroom remodels, and how you can incorporate these into your design.

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2024-01-26T04:02:57+00:00December 31st, 2023|

Water Heating Systems – The Difference Between a Boiler vs. Water Heater

There are key differences between a boiler and a water heater. Hot water boilers can be used to heat water for use throughout the home, but they’re more commonly used to heat indoor air with a series of connected radiators. Steam boilers heat water up enough that it turns to steam, which is pumped through radiator lines to warm up indoor air. Steam boilers are more commonly used in commercial settings, while hot water boilers are better for residential properties. Boilers can be more energy-efficient and quieter than furnaces, making them a great option for home heating. Hot water heaters are only designed to heat water for use in faucets, fixtures, and appliances. Unlike water heaters, boilers do not store water. However, there are also tankless water heaters, which quickly heat cold water as it flows through the unit, allowing the hot water to be used on-demand.

Standard steam boiler systems typically last 25 or more years, while a combination water heater boiler may only last 10 to 15 years. The average tank water heater lasts about 6 to 10 years, and tankless water heaters last longer at up to 20 years.

Boilers and water heaters both require annual maintenance. Visual inspections can identify problems like leaks, but homeowners may need a professional for system maintenance, like flushing, draining, or lubricating. Typical boiler maintenance includes a visual inspection for leaks or other problems, lubricating circulating pumps to reduce wear, flushing the boiler to remove built-up sediment and debris, and a safety valve check to ensure the security of the system. Typical water heater maintenance includes a visual inspection for leaks or other problems, checking the pressure relief valve to ensure it is working properly, draining and flushing the water heater to remove sediment and debris, and operating the valves to prevent them from seizing.

Before deciding between a boiler vs. water heater for your home, carefully consider your needs. Boilers are expensive and difficult to install, but they can be a long-lasting option if the home doesn’t currently have a dedicated heating source, and can also be used to heat water for use throughout the home. Water heaters are a more affordable choice that can be installed with relative ease, though these appliances cannot function as a heating source. Learn about differences in functionality and maintenance between boilers and water heaters that could impact which type of water heating system you install.

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2023-12-28T11:06:52+00:00December 27th, 2023|

HVAC Systems – Factors That Impact Installing a Heat Pump vs. a Furnace

When considering home HVAC heating and cooling options, homeowners will find two popular choices – a heat pump system and a furnace heater – each with advantages and installation considerations.

Heat pumps, particularly electric heat pump systems, are known for being energy efficient. These HVAC systems transfer heat from one place to another, making them highly effective for both heating and cooling a home. While the cost of installing a heat pump can be higher than a traditional furnace installation, the long-term energy savings can make up for the difference. Heat pump air conditioners are often bundled with these systems, providing year-round comfort.

For homeowners considering furnace replacement, there are other factors to think about. High-efficiency furnaces are known for to be reliable and effective in providing consistent heat. Gas furnaces are a popular due to their efficiency and lower operational costs. In addition to the furnace install cost, ongoing furnace maintenance can add up over time.

Homeowners should also consider the climate when choosing between a heat pump and a furnace. Heat pumps are typically more efficient in milder climates, while furnaces, including wood-burning furnaces and gas options, work the best in colder regions.

There are several factors that impact selecting a heat pump versus a furnace, including the higher up-front cost of a heat pump, higher energy costs to operate a furnace over time, lower maintenance costs for heat pumps, and heat pumps tend to have a longer lifespan than furnaces. Learn about heat pumps and furnaces and considerations that could impact which type of HVAC system you install.

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2023-10-05T01:27:00+00:00October 2nd, 2023|

Why Is There Water in the Bottom of My Dishwasher When It’s Not in Use?

A dishwasher filling with water when it’s not being used typically means that dishwasher repairs are imminent, but the severity of the issue may not be immediately obvious. The problem could be as simple as a minor drain clog or a kinked drain hose, or it could be something more extreme such as a leak in the water supply line. Common causes of water in the bottom of a dishwasher include a backflow caused by a kink in the drain hose, a malfunctioning check valve in the dishwasher’s drain system, a broken or worn out inlet valve, a leaking water supply line, a faulty drain pump, and a clog in the drain line. Steps to take to confirm if the drain is clogged include removing the pooled water from the dishwasher, checking the bottom of the dishwasher for debris and ensuring the drain is clear, cleaning the dishwasher filter, checking the drain hose to ensure the hose isn’t blocked, and running an empty dishwasher cycle. There are steps a homeowner can take to troubleshoot the issue, however, most repairs should be completed by a licensed plumber or appliance repair technician.

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2023-09-25T01:52:40+00:00September 19th, 2023|

How to Lower Humidity in a Home

Managing indoor humidity levels is important. High moisture levels in a home can lead to potentially serious health issues, including asthma, allergies, and various other respiratory illnesses that are triggered by mold, dust mites, peeling lead paint, and pests. If you’ve noticed water leaks or stains, rotting woods, musty odors, rusting or corrosion, and excessive condensation, understanding how to lower humidity in a house is crucial.

Contributing factors to high humidity include high outdoor humidity levels, interior plumbing leaks, inadequate insulation, and poor ventilation. There are several ways to reduce humidity levels in a house, including using a dehumidifier, adjusting air conditioner settings, decreasing drafts with weatherstripping, using ceiling fans, moving houseplants outside, avoiding line drying clothes inside, opening windows, and keeping interior doors open to improve air flow. If these simple solutions do not reduce the humidity level in the home, professionals can implement solutions including sump pump installation, vapor barrier installation, and sealing basement foundation leaks and cracks. Learn about ways to reduce high humidity levels.

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2023-08-29T02:50:55+00:00August 28th, 2023|

My Basement Flooded. What I Wish We’d Have Known to Better Prepare.

A flash flood in a basement is something no one expects, but when torrential rains dump nearly a foot of water in a large basement window well within a 30-minute period, you need to act fast to prevent major damage. A homeowner experienced this situation, finding a large light well shared by two basement bedrooms filled with almost a foot of water during a heavy rain, and water seeping into both rooms, soaking the windowsills, walls, and carpeting. Learn how this homeowner responded to prevent extensive damage, and actions taken to prevent future flooding, including installation of a sump pump in the light well.

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2023-08-08T01:56:41+00:00July 31st, 2023|

What Are Safe Radon Levels in a Home?

Radon, is a radioactive gas released from water, soil, and rocks, is invisible and has no odor. The gas can enter a home through cracks or holes in the foundation or siding, and since radon is invisible and has no smell, there is no way to detect it without performing a test.

Radon gas poses a serious health and safety threat. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 1 out of every 15 homes has an unsafe radon level – and, no level of exposure to radon gas is considered safe. Interior radon levels vary and can fluctuate over time.

Radon levels are typically highest during winter months. One reason why that snow and ice can form a temporary barrier over the ground, and as a result, seeping into a basement of a home is the easiest way for the gas to travel. Additionally, during winter the warm air inside a home rises and as the warmer air escapes the home, colder air is pulled into the home from below ground, meaning that any radon gas present below the home will also be pulled in with the colder air – this is known as the thermal stack effect.

Basement radon levels are typically the highest, but the gas can be present in the upper levels of a house. Solutions to addressing radon in a home include installing a radon mitigation system, increasing natural ventilation and airflow, sealing foundation and basement wall cracks, and installing an air purifier.

Learn about radon gas, common levels found in a home, and ways to mitigate the issue.

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2023-06-30T11:03:48+00:00June 26th, 2023|

How a Sustainable Kitchen Remodel Can Save You Money

Some home renovations can add almost as much value to a home as they cost a homeowner to complete. According to the Remodeling 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, projects like a minor kitchen remodel can offer a return on investment of more than 85 percent. And choosing appliances, fixtures, and materials that are more sustainable and energy-efficient than the previous units can not only help the environment, but could also attract more buyers should you want to sell your home.

Sustainable upgrades that homeowners should consider as part of a kitchen remodel, or a basement kitchen and kitchenette installation, include water-saving kitchen faucets; materials made from renewable sources such as glass kitchen countertops, linoleum flooring, and bamboo flooring; and energy-efficient appliances such as electric stoves and electric cooktops. For example, upgrading to a more efficient faucet and dishwasher can enhance the functionality and aesthetics of a kitchen, as well as help reduce household water use by 30 percent.

Learn ideas for your upcoming basement kitchen or kitchenette installation and how to include sustainable material and fixtures that could yield energy and cost savings.

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2023-05-15T19:58:39+00:00May 12th, 2023|

Walk-In Shower Ideas for Your Bathroom Remodeling Project

The cost of adding a walk-in shower to your bathroom as part of a bathroom remodeling project is generally higher than installing a tub-shower combination. However, there are compelling reasons that make the additional investment worthwhile, including walk-in showers make a bathroom look bigger, they make a bathroom more accessible, they provide more flexibility for a bathroom design, and they offer a higher return on investment. Walk-in shower considerations include an all-white design, adding a shower seat, a shower-to-tub conversion, a walk-through shower, a wet room, and a free-standing shower. Get walk-in shower design ideas for your bathroom remodeling project.

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2023-03-01T16:29:59+00:00February 28th, 2023|

How to Replace a Toilet Fill Valve

The toilet fill valve is one of two main components inside the toilet tank. If the fill valve is worn, damaged, or not operating properly, it could cause a leak from the toilet tank base or lead to the toilet continually filling. By replacing the fill valve assembly, you can reduce wasted water and lower utility bills.

On average, toilet fill valves last 5 years without any issues, depending on the quality of the valve, hard water content, and how frequently the toilet is flushed. The toilet fill valve is located inside the tank, and is responsible for allowing water to flow into the tank and stopping the flow once the water level reaches a set point.

If the toilet keeps running after flushing or runs intermittently when not in use, it could indicate that the fill valve is leaking or has failed, in which case you will need a toilet fill valve replacement. Learn how to identify if a toilet fill valve is malfunctioning and steps to follow when replacing the part.

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2023-02-12T21:24:21+00:00February 7th, 2023|
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