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Remodeling Contractors

Air Conditioning Maintenance – Advice From an Expert

Sealed inside an air conditioning unit is a chemical, called a refrigerant, that is converted into four different states in the unit: low pressure gas, high pressure gas, low pressure liquid and high pressure liquid. To function efficiently, the system must have a certain charge of refrigerant and must not have any contaminants within the chemical. Air conditioning systems operate at pressures over the level of atmospheric pressure, so any small leak in the system will allow some refrigerant to escape and cause a failure in the system. Therefore, you need to regularly check your unit for leaks, even small ones.
Cleaning the filter of your air conditioner is something that you should do on a monthly basis. This is no big hassle as it will take you just 5 or 10 minutes. The filter can be found on the top or bottom of the unit, and the filter on the window type air conditioning units can be found somewhere near the intake of the unit. You can always check the manual that came with your air conditioner if you are struggling to locate the filter. It is important to switch off your air conditioning at the main circuit breaker before attempting to take out the filter. Having removed it, you should let it soak in warm, soapy water for 5 to 10 minutes, and then leave it to one side to dry out. If you put it back in the air conditioning unit before it has fully dried out then it is possible that mold may build up on it. For window type air conditioning unit filters, you can also use a vacuum cleaner on it.
To do more thorough maintenance tasks you will need to call in a qualified technician, but you only have to do this every 12-18 months. They will take apart your unit and assess each of the parts in it. They will also probably re-gas the refrigerant to take it back to its optimal level. Hiring a qualified technician may cost you in the region of a $100, but that is money well spent when you compare it to the cost of having to buy a whole new unit as a result of your current one breaking down due to it not being properly maintained.…

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Kitchen Remodel

Laminate Floor Cleaning & Maintenance

Laminate flooring has emerged as an extremely popular alternative to traditional wood flooring. When you take into consideration the beauty of these floors, cheaper cost, and its ease of installation, it is easy to see why.
Laminate flooring is pretty easy to maintain. The most important weapon in your arsenal is a trusty broom or vacuum (with beater bar turned off!). This is true for any floor surface in your home. Side note: If you ever hire a professional cleaner (carpet, tile & grout, etc.) always ask what their first step is. If they don’t vacuum or sweep first, then you need to immediately look for a more “Professional” cleaner. Once you have gotten all the excess “dry soil” off your floor, then basically all you need to do is a quick mopping. I highly recommend a microfiber mop, as they are perfect for these floors.
For weekly maintenance you can just use water. Make sure you ring out the mop as much as possible, as you want to avoid too much moisture. The pad should just be damp. You should also avoid vinegar on your laminate floors. I see a lot of people on the internet that recommend this as a budget cleaner, however, vinegar is an acid. If you repeatedly expose your floor to acid it can potentially damage the aluminum oxide coating of the laminate, thus dulling your floor. If your floor requires more cleaning power than a damp pad, then there are cleaners available that were engineered specifically for that.
Avoid waxes and polishes as well. Again, there are other products available that will restore your shine without any of the adverse effects. Finally, there may be no better defense for your flooring than a strategically placed mat or mats. This can make a huge difference, especially if your laminate floor is by an outside entry point.
Perhaps a bigger problem for laminate floors are scratches from pets or furniture. The reason scratches give laminate floor owners such a headache is that a laminate floor is actually a picture of wood placed on melamine which is placed on a particle board and coated with aluminum oxide. The aluminum oxide coating – which is the top surface (wear layer), is very thin. Unlike wood, laminate cannot be sanded down and refinished. Therefore if you get scratches your options are limited. At this point you basically have 3 ways to go. You can replace the entire floor, buy a special repair kit and try to fill in the scratches by hand, or buy a laminate cleaning product that can hide those scratches. Obviously this will also depend on the severity and frequency of those scratches, but needless to say replacement is the “if nothing else works” option.
Laminate flooring does require some special attention and care, but all in all, it is a very easy to maintain flooring option. They are designed to last up to 20 years, and with the proper care and maintenance, there is no reason that they can’t stay beautiful throughout their life. When you consider everything, it is no wonder that they have become such a popular option among homeowners.…

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Home Improvement Contractors

Decorating and Maintenance Tips for Travertine Tiles

Travertine tiles have quickly become a favorite of homeowners and decorators alike. These versatile flooring tiles can be used both indoors and out, and come in styles that can easily mimic more expensive cuts, like marble. They do require some special care and maintenance but even so, their unique look more than makes up for any special considerations that have to be taken.
A Stone with a Long History
Travertine tiles can be a bit expensive to obtain, but the look that they can give to any home more than makes up for the cost of having them installed. The history of their use dates back several hundred years and the best examples can still be found in the ruins dotting the countryside of Italy, Mexico, Peru and Turkey. The largest producer today for these unique flooring tiles is Italy, though domestic United States producers still do a fine business quarrying and aging travertine for sale in this country.
Styles and Finishes
Travertine can be order in one of two finishes: natural and filled. The natural stone look is one of the most popular choices when it comes to installing these tiles in an outdoor setting. The appearance of the stone is exactly how it looks once it is quarried and cut into tiles, resembling limestone in appearance. The overall look once it is installed is of an ancient walkway or floor section, where the stones within it are pitted and worn by the ages. If used around an outdoor area that sees a lot of traffic, like around a pool, they act as a natural safety barrier, as their composition and pitting offers a slip-proof surface, no matter how wet they get.
Inside the home, the preference tends to run towards the filled travertine. Highly polished to a glossy shine, these tiles can resemble marble and mosaic tile, depending on the composition of the stone when it was filled and polished. This makes them perfect for areas of the home that need to be showcased, but will experience little heavy traffic. Entryways and hallways are perfect for them, or larger rooms that will not see a lot of children or animals running through them. The filled and polished stones can be a bit slippery and are a bit more fragile than the natural stone.
Maintenance Tips
Using travertine outside of the home requires very little maintenance, just a quick washing with a hose occasionally. It is the tile used inside of the home that may require a bit more care than usual. The first thing to remember about using this natural stone in your home, especially in areas like the kitchen or bathroom, is that any spills will need to be wiped up, immediately. One reason that they are not often used in these rooms is because of the chance that an acidic juice or carbonated drink will be spilled on them, which can quickly ruin the polished finish if not taken care of.
Using commercial cleaners on travertine tiles is also not a wise idea. The majority of commercial cleaners available today can leave a dull film behind on these natural stone tiles, reducing the gloss that they were created with. The best way to clean these tiles is to sweep them, sometimes up to twice a day, with a soft bristle broom, followed by a mopping with clean water, no additives or detergents. Be careful not to walk on them while wet, because even though they have a natural barrier against slipping on them, they are still fragile enough to be damaged while the stone is drying. Once they are air-dried, if any moisture still exists, you can easily get rid of it by using a dry mop. This should keep the polish and shine of these stone intact.…