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Instant Curb Appeal

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in Home Improvements | Comments Off on Instant Curb Appeal

For those of you that are in the process of selling your house, first impressions go a long way. The outside of your home is the first thing potential home buyers will see so it’s important to make it look as visually appealing as possible. Below are a few inexpensive projects you can complete that will provide your home with instant curb appeal:

  • Paint the front door – Giving your front door a blast of color can provide excellent curb appeal. Your choice of color is very important so it might be a good idea to get the advice of a professional.
  • Outdoor lighting – Having good outdoor lighting is a huge plus. Consider placing lighting along the sidewalks or driveway. Low-voltage lighting can dramatically improve your home’s nighttime curb appeal, and by lighting walkways and dark corners, it can improve safety and security as well.
  • New mailbox – A new mailbox can easily add a little curb appeal.  Hanging plants or planting flowers around the mailbox is a nice touch and can help to make the mailbox stand out.
  • Maintain the yard – Plant a tree and cut back large or overgrown bushes.
  • Replace house numbers – A lot of houses have old, faded or rusted house numbers. This is a small detail that is often overlooked. Installing new numbers can make a big difference.

Completing the projects above can help provide instant curb appeal to your home. If you don’t have time to get these projects done yourself, you can always contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282. We are happy to help!

10 Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

Posted by on Jul 5, 2012 in Home Maintenance | Comments Off on 10 Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

A good set of tools is essential for completing home repairs that don’t require a professional handyman service. We’ve all faced these repairs at one time or another – that loose door knob, the window that sticks, the picture that needs to be hung, etc. Below is a list of tools that I consider “must haves” for every homeowner:

  • Toolbag/toolbox – You’ll need something to store all your tools in and a toolbox/bag will help you save time on your job because you won’t be searching for various tools that are scattered around the house.
  • Hammer – From hanging pictures to putting furniture together, a hammer is a very useful tool to have. A claw hammer is recommended because it will help to pull nails and can also assist in demolition.
  • Vise Grips –These are also called “locking pliers” and are designed to be locked closed, holding an object firmly without the need for the grip of a human hand.
  • Needle Nose Pliers – These work really well on electrical jobs with hard to reach areas.
  • Wire Cutters – These are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails.
  • Screwdrivers – A flat-head and Phillips-head screwdriver can tackle most jobs. You can also purchase an interchangeable screwdriver which has one handle but interchangeable bits.
  • Electrical Tester – A simple electrical voltage tester is used to determine if an electrical wire or component has been turned off or if electrical power is present.
  • Utility Knife – A utility knife has a small sharp blade that is often retractable. It is designed to cut wood, cardboard, and other materials. Always remember to cut away from yourself when using a utility knife.
  • Tape Measurer – A 25ft tape measure is the best. You’ll want to purchase a tape measurer that can extend out fairly far without bending (10-13 feet). Always remember to measure twice to ensure accuracy.
  • Adjustable Wrench – This tool is used to loosen or tighten a nut or bolt. The part where the nut or bolt fits is adjustable. A normal wrench can only be used on a nut that is a particular size but an adjustable wrench can be used on nuts of all different sizes.

Every homeowner should have the basic tools listed above for those projects around the house that don’t require a professional handyman. Purchasing tools is an investment so it’s important that you buy good quality basic tools because they will last you a lifetime. Contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282 for questions regarding tools every homeowner should have.

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Exterior Home Painting

Posted by on Mar 24, 2012 in Handyman Services | Comments Off on The Do’s and Don’t’s of Exterior Home Painting

Painting the outside of your house can give it a fresh new look and can also help to increase its value. In general, the exterior of your home should be re-painted every 5-8 years, depending on certain factors such as the quality of the paint you are using, the amount of sun exposure your house receives, the climate you live in, etc. When making the decision to re-paint your house there are some do’s and dont’s you should pay attention to:

  • DO understand the work involved Painting a home can be a very labor intensive and complicated job. There are a lot of details that cannot be overlooked. It’s important to understand this before making the decision to complete the job on your own because simple mistakes can lead to costly repairs down the road. Short-cuts should never be taken and every detail should be addressed.
  • DON’T slack on the prep work Preparation is very important for a quality paint job. First, you should check the weather report to ensure you’re not going to be painting on a windy or stormy day. Next, power wash the exterior so the paint you are applying has a clean surface to adhere to. Get a tarp, sheet or blanket to cover plants, flowerbeds, patio areas, etc. Take a look at the current paint and get rid of any areas that are chipping, cracked or peeling off. It’s important to be as thorough as possible to ensure you don’t miss any spots.
  • DO choose the right type of paint – Choosing the right kind of paint can be a difficult task because of the wide range of surfaces. You may want to choose the type of paint based on what was used before. Latex (water based) works best over latex and alkyd (oil based) works best over alkyd. Latex is the most common and popular type of paint on the market. It is very easy to apply, has very little odor, dries rather quickly, and is easy to clean up with a little soap and water. Latex does not adhere well to oil based paints or surfaces that that haven’t been prepared properly. On the other hand, alkyd paint is very durable but dries very slowly. It also has a long-lasting odor and requires solvents to clean up.

Painting the outside of your home can increase its value and yield great results if done properly. Having an understanding of the work involved, completing the proper prep work and choosing the right paint are key to a quality paint job. Contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282 for a free estimate or any questions regarding your exterior house paint.

Preventing a Clogged Garbage Disposal

Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 in Plumbing | Comments Off on Preventing a Clogged Garbage Disposal

A clogged garbage disposal can be downright frustrating. So what causes a garbage disposal to become clogged in the first place? Most people use their garbage disposal to get rid of food. Garbage disposals are often clogged because there’s little or no water flushing the food remnants down the drain completely while it’s being ground and sent into the waste line. This eventually leads to build-up in the drain lines. Despite what you might have heard over the years, not all foods can go into a garbage disposal. Below is a list of food items that should not be put down your disposal:

  • Animal bones – Garbage disposals aren’t strong enough to break down the pieces of bone small enough to fit through.
  • Egg shells – You may have heard that putting egg shells down the disposal will help to sharpen the blades however, this is simply not true. Because they get ground up so finely when put down the disposal, they get caught in the trap underneath the sink.
  • Pasta and rice – These items expand when they come in contact with water causing them to gather in the trap until it becomes clogged.
  • Potato’s and potato skins – The starch in potato’s causes them to become glue-like. The peels wrap around the disposals moving parts and can cause the pipes to become clogged.
  • Fruit peels and rinds – Most fruits have thick, tough skin that will not break down easily in a garbage disposal. Small quantities may be okay, but you should never put large pieces down the disposal.
  • Grease – Never put grease down your disposal. It will almost always harden over time and clog the drain.

Preventing a disposal clog in the first place can you save you from a big headache in the future. This means that you have to use plenty of water when you put food down the disposal to help aid in the grinding process. This works to rinse the residue that gets stuck to the sides. Also, be sure to dispose only small amounts of food at a time and avoid putting any of the food items mentioned above down the disposal. Contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282 for assistance with your clogged garbage disposal.

When to Replace your Water Heater

Posted by on Oct 7, 2011 in Plumbing | Comments Off on When to Replace your Water Heater

The heating of water is one of the largest expenses in your home. Having an inefficient water heater can cost hundreds of dollars per year.  But how do you know when it’s time to replace it?  This can be somewhat difficult because a lot of times there aren’t any signs other than the obvious – a flood around the area of the water heater or an ice cold shower first thing in the morning.  It’s best to use the age of your water heater as the determining factor for when it should be replaced. The life expectancy of a water heater is approximately 8-12 years. Beyond this, they become less efficient.  So how do you know how old your water heater is? All water heaters have a rating plate that lists important data such as the model and serial numbers, manufacturing company’s name, length of warranty, etc. You can determine the age of the water heater by de-coding the serial number. Some manufacturers make it easy by incorporating the month and year built into the first 4 digits of the serial number. Other manufacturers use different formats, but in a similar fashion. If you’re having trouble deciphering the serial number, just call a professional handyman or plumber and they should be able to help you determine the age of your water heater. Remember, an inefficient water heater can be quite costly. Replacing it at the end of its life expectancy is key. For questions regarding water heater replacement, contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282 or priorityonehomerepair@gmail.com.

Single-pane versus Double-pane Windows

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 in Energy & Efficiency | Comments Off on Single-pane versus Double-pane Windows

When it comes to replacing windows, which are better – single-pane or double-pane? Single-pane windows only contain one layer of glass which makes them cheaper to install or replace. On the other hand, double-pane windows are more expensive because they are made up of two layers of glass, along with a space in between that is filled with a type of gas. Although single-pane windows are cheaper, there are far more benefits to installing dual-pane windows. The main benefit is the amount of energy you will save. Dual-pane windows can save anywhere from 20-30 percent of your annual energy costs. Another benefit of double-pane windows is they can also significantly reduce outdoor noise pollution. This is particularly important for buildings or homes built near high traffic areas or grade schools. Single-pane windows transmit noise easily. Therefore, outside sounds are more amplified and noticeable from inside the home. If you like the quiet, you’ll likely appreciate double-pane windows more.  Double-pane windows can also protect items in the house from sun damage. High UV coatings on double-pane windows protect floors, rugs, and photographs from sun damage.

If cost is your only consideration when choosing which type of window to install or replace, a single-pane window will always be cheaper. However, when taking other factors into consideration such as energy savings, noise reduction and sun protection, double-pane windows will always give you more bang for your buck. For all of your single-pane or double-pane window installations, contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282 or priorityonehomerepair@gmail.com.

Home Maintenance is a Must!

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in Home Maintenance | Comments Off on Home Maintenance is a Must!

Staying on top of daily, monthly, and annual chores around your home is a big job. Maintenance and repair jobs are constant. It is very important that you address issues in your home as soon as you notice them. If you fail to do so, problems that started out small can turn into costly repairs down the road. For example, separated or deteriorated caulk around the exterior of your home is an easy fix initially. All you will need is the $4 it will cost to purchase the tube of caulk. However, if the separated or deteriorated caulk goes unnoticed for a long period of time, it can wreak havoc on your home by causing mildew or rotting.  Another example is a faulty light switch. It may be a small inconvenience now, but can lead to a fire if not addressed quickly. A leaky pipe can not only cause damage to your ceiling, floors and walls, but it can also create a mold problem which can be costly and unhealthy.

In addition to addressing problems as soon as you notice them, there are also some routine home maintenance tasks that should be completed on a regular basis such as replacing or cleaning the air conditioner filter (monthly) and hiring a professional to flush the air conditioning unit (semi-annually).

Purchasing a home is the biggest investment most people will make in their lifetime. Although it can be tedious and time consuming, a well maintained home can give you a bigger return on your investment and prevent costly repairs in the future. Contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282 for questions regarding routine home maintenance.

Cleaning Out your Dryer Vent

Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Home Maintenance | Comments Off on Cleaning Out your Dryer Vent

Cleaning out dryer vents is an important task homeowners should complete to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Clogged vents can cause many problems, the most serious one being a fire. This is due to excessive lint build up in the vent hose. Once the lint becomes thick and solid, it is very easy for it to catch on fire. So how do you know when it’s time to clean your dryer vent? Below are some warning signs you should pay attention to:

  • Excessive moisture in your laundry room
  • Clothes take a long time to dry and may not even dry at all
  • The outside of the dryer feels hotter than usual
  • Lint begins to build up on the wall behind your dryer

In most cases, you can clean your dryer vent without contacting a professional by following the steps below:

  • Move the dryer away from the wall. You should be able to see a dryer vent and plug. Unplug the dryer from the wall. If you have a gas dryer, be sure to turn the gas off first.
  • Loosen the vent clamp on the back of the dryer with a screwdriver. Remove the vent from the back of the dryer.
  • Remove lint from the vent and also from the hole in the back of the dryer. The majority of lint will be found toward the end of the vent hose. If there appears to be more built up in the middle, you can straighten a wire coat hanger and push it from the middle to either end.
  • Replace the vent clamp and slide the dryer back to its original spot.
  • Remove the vent cover from the outside of the house. You may have to scrape away some caulk from around the cover. The vent tube should easily slide out. Remove any lint from inside the hole. You may have to use the clothes hanger again if there is debris that you are unable to reach. Slide the vent tube back in and replace the cover.
  • Plug the dryer back in and, if it is a gas appliance, turn the gas back on. Run the dryer for a few minutes to make sure air is free while flowing through the vent.

The dryer vent should be cleaned about once a year on average. If you dry four to five loads of clothes each day, you may need to clean it every six months. If you are only drying one to two loads a week, you can probably get away with cleaning the dryer vent about every 18 months. If you have any questions regarding dryer vent cleaning, contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282.

How to Fix a Clogged Drain

Posted by on Apr 28, 2011 in Plumbing | Comments Off on How to Fix a Clogged Drain

Clogged drains, whether it be your kitchen sink, bathroom sink or bathtub drain, are one of the most common problems that homeowners face. Keeping your drains free and clear is an essential task that a lot of us don’t think about until it’s too late. A sluggish drain can create and inconvenient mess and can be downright annoying. Some people prefer to contact professional help for clogged drains however, there are a few remedies you can do yourself that take up very little time and money:

  • Hot water/Hot Salt Water – Pouring hot water down your drain is one of the most effective ways to unclog drains. It is best to pour hot water down each drain once a week to prevent any future problems.  If the hot water doesn’t work, try adding some salt to the hot water before putting it down your drains.
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda – This is another effective home remedy for unclogging drains. Pour ½ cup of baking soda in the clogged drain and add ½ cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain with a rag or plug and allow it to sit overnight. The next morning, flush the drain with hot water.
  • Baking Soda and Salt – This is a good remedy for severely clogged drains. Mix equal amounts of baking soda and salt and pour it down the clogged drain. Follow this step with pouring hot water down the drain. Let it sit overnight and flush the drain with hot water the next morning.
  • Plunger – Plungers don’t only help to unclog toilets, they can also be used to unclog drains as well. Place the plunger on the clogged drain and add enough water to cover the plunger lip and form a seal. Plunge straight up and down several times and “pop” the plunger away. Repeat this method a few times to free the clog.

Utilizing the remedies above can help to fix a clogged drain in no time. However, if you find that these remedies aren’t working and your drains are still clogged, you may have a bigger issue than you think. In this case, it’s always best to call a plumber or professional handyman service to help fix the problem. If you have any questions regarding unclogging your drains, contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282.

Energy Saving Home Improvement Projects

Posted by on Apr 12, 2011 in Energy & Efficiency | Comments Off on Energy Saving Home Improvement Projects

When deciding which home improvement projects to tackle first, why not start with the projects that will save the most energy? Below is a list of a few energy saving do-it-yourself projects:

  • The easiest and most inexpensive energy saving project you can complete is to seal the cracks around your home by using caulk. Most cracks can be found around window seals, the foundation of your home and attics/basements. All you need is some caulk and a caulk gun. These items should cost you around $10-$15 but will pay for themselves in no time with the amount of energy you’ll save.
  • Another inexpensive do-it-yourself project that will help to save energy is sealing the gaps at the bottom of your exterior doors by adding or replacing weather stripping. Installing weather stripping is really easy and affordable. It will help to stop energy wasting air leaks around your exterior doors and will help to make your home airtight, which will in turn help to reduce energy costs.
  • Adding insulation to your attic will also help to drastically reduce your energy consumption. As we all know, the summer months in Arizona can be rather excruciating, so keeping the cool air inside is a must!  You can easily install roll out insulation in your attic by yourself. All you need to do is measure the length and width of your attic, purchase that amount of insulation and roll the insulation out in the attic. Or if you prefer, you can hire a local handyman to blow in the insulation which can help to get the insulation in those hard to reach areas. Of course, hiring a handyman is more expensive than completing the project yourself, but it will pay for itself in the end with the money you will save on your monthly energy bill.

In today’s economy, every dime helps. If you complete the simple and inexpensive projects above, you will be thrilled with the amount of money you’ll save in energy costs each month. If you have any questions on energy saving do-it-yourself projects, contact Priority One Home Repair at (623) 505-7282.