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Recent Posts

    Q - We have a small drip in our kitchen faucet and have your years actually. My wife says to fix it, but I say it's so small it's not hurting anything. Your thoughts? Dan in Hampton A - I say listen to your wife. Fix it. Your little leak could be as simple a fix as a new washer or gasket, but it could be the sign of something larger such as a faulty faucet. Small leaks and constant drips add up. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average home loses thousands of gallons of water to leaks each year. The EPA estimates repairing water leaks can save as much as 10 percent on utility bills. (Incidentally, March 16 – 22, 2020 is recognized by the EPA as Fix-A-Leak-Week.) Your water leak is easy to identify. Other leaks are not so easy to spot, but you should check for leaks on a regular basis. Here are some easy ways to see if you have water leaks in your home: Examine your faucets for drips and inspect the pipes under your sinks to ensure there are no leaks around the connections.   Drop food coloring in your toilet’s tank. If after 30 minutes the water in the bowl starts to change colors, then you have a leak. This can usually be corrected by replacing the toilet’s flapper. Probably best not to use yellow.   Inspect your floors, ceilings and walls for discoloration or warping. These obvious signs can be the first indication of a damaging leak, and the source should be immediately identified and addressed.    Review your previous water bills. If there are large fluctuations between bills, you may have a leak.   Check your water meter. If you have turned off all water in the house, and the meter still moves, then there is likely a leak in the system.   So at least in this case, listen to your wife. She will actually be saving you money.   This time.
  • Believe it or not DIY pest control may not be your best plan of action. Here are 5 reasons why not… 5 Reasons why you to use a professional exterminator:  - Identifying the potential hidden infestations. They know where bugs hide, do you? - To promote safe usage of dangerous, toxic pesticides. Your trained pros know what to use, how to apply it, and how to dispose of the extra. They will also know what to use to kill the pests, but will leave other bugs and bees alone. - Using the method most conducive to killing pests. Some poison that kills ants in the spring feeds them in the fall.  - Save you money. What's worse than your home application of pest killer not working? Going back and forth to the store 4 times and still not finding a suitable pest control method. Get it done correctly, the first time.  - Home protection. Proper preventative pest control lessens the chances that you will need home repair later.
  • Q – Since it feels like we have gotten about 10 ft of rain with temps in the 60’s and 70’s lately, is it time for those bugs and pests to start coming out? Sara – Statham A – Well no real good news to report to you at this time. The warm weather can bring about the presence of mosquitoes. When the temps hit around 70, that’s the magic number to get them in the air. The rain will lead to fire ants – I am already seeing fire ant mounds all over the place, and as usual termites are out looking for an unprotected house to settle into. The rain is what is driving this a little more than the temps. Bugs, pests, critters all need water. That’s what they are all looking for during the winter. To have had so much of it fall from the sky in the past months is just what the bugs are seeking. That makes this a perfect time to hook up with your exterminator and begin start a quarterly treatment plan and make sure that the liquid termite (Termidor) treatment is current around your home. Also a quick word if you are considering having a mosquito treatment applied on your yard this summer.  The poison (poison is a harsh word, but it only kills skeeters) used has no real residual effect and is active for about 30 days after it is applied, so schedule your treatments accordingly. Also look for companies that will come back out to your house and re-apply the treatment if it rains on the day of your treatment or the next day free of charge. In pest control, prevention is way better than reaction, so be on your toes…
  • Q – As I walk around the ground and look at my 15 year old roof I don’t see any issues with it. How can I be sure it won’t leak soon? Bob – Alpharetta A – You can’t be sure it won’t leak soon, especially at that age. Especially from the ground. Especially with your eye-sight. However, here are a few things you can do. You can have a roofing professional fly drones and walk on your roof taking pictures of anything bad or in poor condition. You don’t want to have just anyone doing this so stick with a major roofer. They must have insurance and workman’s comp before they set foot on your roof and must have that paperwork with them that proves it. All this work should be done for free, no obligation, no charge. You should also stick your head up in your attic while it is raining and take a look around. That is the best time for leaks and it seems to rain almost every day this time of year so this should be no problem. If you find a leak, and you may, get a plastic container – a large plastic container – and place it under the drip. I know that sounds obvious, but do it any way just for me. Rain water can take a long time before it appears in the living area of your home – so help stop that flow. Then call a roofer immediately and get on their list for an inspection, repair, or replacement. As usual, get quotes from reliable roofers only. In a good economy everybody is a roofer. You don’t want everybody to be on your roof. Get quotes, look at past work, how long have they been in business, do they have their insurance papers, do they drive nice company vehicles, have you heard of them – all important to the process. Good luck. At 15 years your roof is borderline on extra credit.
  •  You hear and read a lot about maintenance agreements and extended warranties, so much so that you probably get confused as to which is which and should you bother with any of them. Let’s see if I can help clear it up. An extended warranty is something you pay for in case your product goes bad. You can then get a little relief with repairs and perhaps a small percentage off the price of a new unit. Often, extended warranties are costly and are something to avoid. They can sometimes cover the same time period as your products warranty, which makes them a waste of money. A lot of the time if you would just bank the money the seller wants for an extended warranty, you will have plenty of money for repairs and/or replacement models. You will hear consumer gurus telling you that extended warranties are bad. I concur. A maintenance agreement on the other hand, is something that you renew every year and comes with a tangible benefit. You mostly hear of maintenance agreements in the field of heating and air, plumbing and electrical work for your home. For an example, let’s look at a heating and air maintenance agreement. In this agreement you pay a set amount each year. (In the Atlanta market if you are spending more than $158 per system per year then you are spending too much. Also, look for discounts on the second and third system if you have them.) The company you purchase the agreement from will then come to your house twice a year, once in the spring to tune-up your air conditioner, and once in the fall to tune-up your furnace. Or vice-versa depending on when you purchase your agreement. The agreement is for 12 months and in addition to the two tune-up calls you will often also get a discount on parts and service should you need them, and you will generally be on a preferred customer list in case of emergencies, which is nice. The agreement must be renewed every year (unless you buy a multi-year agreement) and, here’s a tip: if I were purchasing a new hvac system I wouldn’t sign on the dotted line until I had at least 2 years of free maintenance included in the deal, and even then I would ask for 3. Plumbing deals and electrical deals all work in the same fashion. Value for your money. It’s always a great trade-off. Some extended warranties can be dressed up to look like maintenance agreements, just like some hvac lease offers can be drawn up to look like new purchases so beware.  One last note – if your hvac system is over 10 years old and you do not have a maintenance agreement you are pushing the envelope for. Often years can be added to the life of a system with proper care and maintenance, and now would be the time to jump on board.
  • They said who what?!? Here are 5 myths about home repair… You may think that Friday the 13th being unlucky is a myth, but here are 5Things about home repair that are myths… - Laundry bleach is the best product to remove mold and keep it from returning… I will give you only partial credit if you believe this. To remove mold from anything that used to be alive (wood, wallpaper, drywall, etc…) you need hydrogen peroxide. Bleach works ok on stone and tile – which is why bathroom cleaners contain bleach – but as a do all bleach remover, it doesn’t stand up. - Cheese is the best bait for mouse traps… Cheese, as it turns out, isn't even one of a mouse’s Top-10 favorites. (Mouses? Mices? Meeses?). Try a combo of peanut butter and bacon. Mmmm mmmm mmmmm. - You should never paint stucco. Elastomeric paint is designed to be used on stucco. It expands and contracts and allows the stucco to breathe. - Duct cleaning is something that should be done regularly. If your definition of regular is ever 5-7 years, then I guess you got me there. But every year or two? Ummmm - no. Even a certified duct cleaner will tell you that… - Set back thermostats don't work because they make your system work too hard to catch up. Save it. Studies have proven beyond a doubt that the fuel savings during the setback period far outweighs the cost of raising the temp again. Setting the temperature to allow your hvac system to run less when you are out of the house and/or at night while you sleep can save you over 10% on your heating/cooling bill.
  • Believe me, been there, done that. We all have things around the home that while we know they would work better if we had them serviced, well, they are working now and that's good enough for me. A properly maintained appliance in your home can add years to its effective life, and all it takes in most cases is a phone call.  With our New Year's resolutions still fresh in our minds here are some things you absolutely need to have serviced this year… - HVAC system. Get a service contract and have your air conditioner inspected by a pro this spring and your furnace inspected by a pro this fall. Your systems will run more efficiently, your filters will be changed, and you will save money on your home energy bills. - Electrical system. Your electrical system will wear down over time. Get a whole house electrical inspection and make sure it includes your smoke and CO detectors. - Garage door. What? My garage door? You bet. It's the largest moving piece of equipment in your home and you rely on it every single day. The once over will do it a world of good, and you can get it done for under $100. - Septic tank. When's the last time you had your septic tank cleaned out? While it's not an every year job, it's something that you need to have done every 3 years. Think of it this way - when your a/c goes out you are hot, when your electrical goes out it's dark. What adjective best describes a bad septic situation? Exactly… - Water heater. You know the average life span of a water heater in this area is 7 years. How old is yours again? Right. Have a professional come out and check it out. Make sure they check the T&P valve and that you have an expansion tank.  While they are there have them check your home's water pressure. High pressure is the evil villain to the inner workings of your faucets and commodes. - Ducts. Your ducts work every day carrying the cool or warm air to the rooms in your house and return air and dirt back to your unit. Do yourself a favor a have them professionally cleaned. A good, professional cleaning will have you breathing better and can possibly cut down on the amount of dusting you have to do around the house. Extra good news - barring unforeseen circumstances you won't have to have them cleaned for another 5-7 years. - Roof. How long has it been since you had a roofing pro inspect your roof? Most quality roofing companies offer a free roof analysis which will let you know the exact shape of your roof. Plus, having a qualified roofer inspect your roof gives you the ability to tell the storm chaser roof guy 'No thanks - I already have a personal roofing professional'.  Sweet.
  • Q – I am going to put my home on the market soon and am moving to another part of the metro area.  What will help me make this an easier experience? Steve in Vinings A – I think one of the first things I would do is to select a good, experienced realtor for both the selling of the current house and the buying of the new house. And pay attention. This realtor should NOT be the same person. Even if you know which house you want to move into, you really need a buyer’s agent to help you with any of the small (or big) details that you may not be aware of. Or of which you may not be aware. Of.  Sorry – got distracted by the whole not ending a sentence with a preposition thing. Anyway – use one. A buyer’s agent’s fee doesn’t come out of your pocket, and in some instances you can even negotiate with them for a percentage of their commission. I know – right?!? A couple of notes for things I look for in an agent, no matter if it is a buyer or a selling agent. I want to have an agent that has already been successful in the market. I want to have an agent who is a little bit on the pricklish side of business. While I love the pleasant older man (or a woman) at church who also does real estate on the side, I want someone who will be strong and help me sort thru my offers and get me the most money regardless. This is a big business transaction for you, and you need to treat it as such. I want an agent who knows the market, so my house gets listed at the correct price so it will move quickly. If it’s a buyer’s agent I want one who understands my needs and desires and shows me homes with that in mind. Now that you have an agent, ask them about what will help your home sell faster and for as much money as possible. Thank you. That’ll be 7% please...
  • Q – For some reason I am starting to see pests in my house now. I thot all the bugs went away when the weather got cold? What am I doing wrong? Rebecca in Dunwoody A – Well first of all you don’t necessarily have to be doing anything wrong to have pests in your house. Bugs and such like the warmth and places to hide out when it gets cold, and since they are a lot smaller than you are they can squeeze thru most any crack in your house. So be sure to seal your house, looking especially for small cracks and openings into your house. You can fill them with spray foam. Also – be very careful about bringing firewood into your house. Bugs love to nest in the wood, and when you bring it into your house you are giving them a lift into your house. As the wood warms up the little nuisances spring back to life and voila! - you have bugs in your house. Keep the wood at least 10 feet from your house and try to only bring in as much as you are going to use for that fire. Hopefully this will help keep you bug free, at least until the weather warms back up and the whole cycle starts over again.
  • Q – I have moles in my yard. How do I get rid of them? Jack in Loganville A – Like most critters in and around your yard, if you can take away their food they will leave you alone. Moles eat grubs and earthworms, so let’s either get rid of them (mostly impossible) or fake out the moles into eating poison ones. One of the best baits out there is called Talpirid. Simply take a screwdriver and make a hole directly into the burrow and place the worm-looking bait (Talpirid) down that hole. Then gently push the dirt back into the hole. DO NOT smash down the burrows. Come back in one week and check your bait. Depending on how many burrows you have in your yard, one box should be good for one season. Happy hunting!

News

  • A California man is accused of entering a home, where the residents said he was making scrambled eggs and eating flan while not wearing pants, authorities said. Carl Cimino, 61, of Desert Hot Springs, was booked into the Riverside County Jail on a charge of residential burglary Tuesday morning, according to arrest records. According to police, three people woke up at their home around 7:30 a.m. and heard banging and yelling in the kitchen. They found Cimino making scrambled eggs with bologna and ranch dressing and eating flan, The Desert Sun reported. According to deputies, Cimino was not wearing pants and refused to leave the residence, the newspaper reported. Deputies finally were able to remove Cimino after using a police service dog, according to the arrest report. Cimino was placed on a gurney and removed from the home by paramedics, according to The Desert Sun. According to jail records, Cimino was free on bail after being arrested Jan. 23 on a drug-related accusation, the newspaper reported. The home’s residents said they were not hurt and there was no damage. They believe Cimino entered the home through an unlocked door, according to The Desert Sun.
  • Nearly all the employees at Orlando’s religious theme park, Holy Land Experience, will lose their jobs this spring. A document sent to the city of Orlando on Monday shows that the theme park will lay off all its staff involved in its stage shows. The move comes after the park announced it will be “shifting the focus of the park away from entertainment and theatrical productions to focus on the Biblical Museum.” Park officials said the layoffs will take effect April 18. In total, according to the Federal Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification document sent to the city of Orlando, 118 jobs will be eliminated. The restructuring comes as a result of a “corporate wide ministry reorganization,” according to documents filed with the city.
  • A man with a metal detector made an explosive discovery when he found a live mortar from World War II Monday. Police said the munition was a remnant from when the area was used as a training ground during the war. The bomb squad determined the mortar was too unstable to be moved so it was detonated near where it was found. “The blast was heard from a distance, which caused alarm for many residents,” Lebanon police said on social media. “We appreciate everyone’s concerns and phone calls.” Authorities searched the area for more mortars before deeming it safe.
  • Ja’net DuBois, who played feisty neighbor Willona Woods on the 1970s television series “Good Times,” was found dead in her home Tuesday morning, according to a report. She was 74. The actress’ family told TMZ that DuBois died in her sleep at her Glendale, California, home. DuBois played the Evans family’s neighbor on “Good Times,” and also sang the theme song to 1970s sitcom “The Jeffersons,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. DuBois composed and sang “Movin’ On Up” for the show. DuBois won two Emmys Awards for her voice-over work on “The PJs.” She also appeared in movies including “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Tropic Thunder,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. DuBois also worked on Broadway, performing in productions including “Golden Boy” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” TV Land, which has aired reruns of “Good Times,” tweeted a tribute to the actress, writing that DuBois “would be missed.”
  • A Florida woman died after a deer that went airborne Monday after being hit by a truck struck her vehicle. The passenger in the car, Edna Morgan Griffin, 81, died in the accident. The driver, Katharine Mills Comerford, 58, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, WDHN reported. Jessie Alton Barnes, 47, hit the deer while driving a 2018 Dodge Ram. The deer flew through the air before crashing through Comerford’s 2010 Ford Escape. Investigators said the deer crashed through the front windshield, striking both Comerford and Griffin before flying through the back window, WDHN reported. No one else was injured.
  • A Texas woman admitted to robbing Sonic Drive-In carhops at two locations; during one of the robberies, her two children were inside the car, authorities said. Monica Michelle Logan, 21, is accused of robbing two employees at two separate Sonic locations in Converse, according to arrest affidavits. Logan’s 8-month-old and 1-year-old children were in the car during one robbery, KSAT reported. Logan was charged with robbery, aggravated robbery, and two counts of endangering a child, according to Bexar County jail records. Her bail was set at $55,000.According to an arrest affidavit, the first robbery occurred Wednesday. The carhop told police she was delivering a drink to Logan, when Logan said she had a gun pointed at her and demanded the money inside her apron, KSAT reported. On Thursday, Converse police were called to a different Sonic, the television station reported. That carhop told police Logan demanded money after ordering an 80-cent drive, according to the arrest affidavit According to the affidavit, Logan told the employee, “If you look down I have a gun. I want the money inside of your apron. If not, I’m going to shoot you,” KSAT reported. The employee told police Logan had two children in the back seat of her car, according to the affidavit. Converse police tracked down the license plate and discovered the vehicle belonged to Logan, the television station reported. Logan later admitted to the robberies and said the children were in the vehicle, according to KSAT.