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Are Gutter Guards a Waste of Money

Are Gutter Guards a Waste of Money

gutter guard

Gutters fill with leaves and debris throughout the year. It is a pain to clean them out so some people will add gutter guards to the home and we wonder if they will work? Are gutter guards a waste of money? The gutter accumulates the debris and becomes heavier, and can cause costly repairs. In all honesty, they are a waste of money. The best thing to do is leave the gutters open and clean them regularly.

Let’s take a look at what gutter guards are and why you don’t need them.

What are Gutter Guards

Simply put, gutter guards are installed on top of your gutter system. The idea is this keeps large debris like leaves from entering your gutters and causing a clog. The part that is forgotten by most homeowners, is the need to clean the gutter system regardless of having a gutter guard set up. This can take a lot longer as you actually have to remove the gutter guards. Consider the type of gutter guard you would install prior to committing money to this project.

Plastic gutter guards are cheap and don't work well.

Different Types of Gutter Guards

Believe it or not, the choices for gutter guards are the same as your choices for a gutter system. It is important to matchup the gutter guards and gutters themselves with the same material and color. Here are the material choices for a gutter and gutter guards.

  • Plastic-not a good product. Cracking during cold and fading during warm only weakens the product.
  • Metal Mesh-the mesh clogs easily and since it is metal, can rust in the elements. This requires constant replacing.
  • Aluminum-this is the best option. It is lightweight and with the right heavy-duty paint, it can last a long time.

As you can see, plastic and metal mesh gutter guards are a waste of money. If you feel the need to install any gutter guards, make sure that you utilize the most effective materials that can last the longest. Reducing the amount of time you spend on the ladder cleaning the gutters is key.

How Much Do They Cost To Install

Even though it may seem like gutter guards are a great idea, there are many other projects that would benefit from you spending money on. The basic cost of a gutter guard ranges from $.50 to $10 per foot. This range is so vast due to the material that you select to use. On average, a gutter guard system can cost you upwards of $2,000 for a complete project. That is typically the cost of the original gutters.

Cleaning the gutters can be expensive if you hire someone.  You can also do it yourself.

Gutter Cleaning Gets More Expensive

First off, anytime you add additional materials to an already installed product, you risk changing the original intentional use of that product. Adding gutter guards to your gutter system sounds good, but isn’t the best solution. Consider that adding gutter guards creates more cleaning for you the homeowner as well as the potential for bigger issues around your roof.

If the gutter system is not cleaned properly, the weight of debris, mildew, and moss can begin to take over your roof and stress the gutter system. This causes substantial damage to the roof and requires an expensive cleanup, thus making the gutter guards a waste of money.

Other Recommended Maintenance

One area of recommended maintenance is to take a look at a roof inspection checklist. This is because the gutters are attached to the roof and you will be up there cleaning them. Some of the areas to look at on the checklist are gutters, vent pipes, downspouts, look for moss growth and lichen.

Did a bad storm just come through the area and not sure if your roof was damaged? There are different things you can do to inspect your roof. Those are checking the shingles (if it is a shingle roof), inspecting penetrations and flashings, flashing boots, flashing around the walls, and also the attic for leaks.

Downspout extensions are important for the gutters to carry water away from the house.

Lastly, if you haven’t added downspouts to your gutters, this is very important. Downspouts will carry the water away from the home and help keep water from seeping into the house. Add on an extension so the water is taken at least 10 feet away from the home if possible.

When Should I Call A Professional

When it comes to anything related to getting onto a ladder, it is a great idea to reach out to a professional. Calling a professional gutter installer to manage your gutter situation is key. Typically, you do not have the tools to install a gutter system and it’s not the best idea to go climbing onto your roof. Call your local home inspection team first as they can inspect your roofing system and recommend a great gutter system professional.

Categories Carpentry, Home Maintenance

How To Market Your Home To Out Of State Buyers

How To Market Your Home To Out Of State Buyers

There is a huge opportunity to not only market your home for sale to your local market, but also, out of state buyers. In this post, we are going to cover a complete guide on how to market your home to out-of-state buyers.

Hiring Your Agent

The first step in this guide is to hire the right agent. Your real estate agent can make the process more enjoyable than ever or, the worst experience you have ever had.

That being said, choose wisely! Here are some great questions to start asking your potential listing agents. Remember, you should also get along well with this agent since you will be working closely together for some time.

  • Check their reviews.
  • Ask them what properties they have recently sold in your area.
  • Ask them what they would recommend you do to the property before selling.
  • Ask them what their marketing strategy is.
  • Ask them how they would target out of state buyers.
  • Ask them if they have any experience targeting out of state buyers.

Ultimately, your real estate agent is going to be the one at the forefront of targeting out-of-state buyers. It is vital you have an experienced agent on your side.

Preparing Your Home

Before even listing your home, you need to prep it. This can include, cleaning, painting, organizing, decluttering, staging, and even vacating the property.

Additionally, you might want to consider a pre-listing inspection. This will allow you to fix the important items before going into contract. This will establish more trust with your buyer, help sell your home faster, and help sell your home for more money

Photos & Virtual Tours

Great property photos and a virtual tour is ESSENTIAL to targeting out-of-state buyers. Most out-of-state buyers cannot even visit the property, therefore, you need to use every resource at your disposal to highlight your home to them.

Be sure to stage properly, use great lighting, hire a professional photographer, and use a system like Matterport to create your virtual tour.

Knowing Your Buyer

Before trying to target your out-of-state buyer, you should first think about who you are trying to appeal to.

For example, is your home a luxury Florida beach home for those who need a vacation spot? Or, is your home built for a family that is wanting to move to the suburbs?

Thinking about who the perfect buyer is before marketing will help your better target your audience.

Create Your Internet Presence

Second, to last, you need to finally list your property online. Use your experienced agent, awesome photos, your virtual tour, and your target buyer at your disposal when creating your online listings. Post your property on every possible listing front you can especially the larger ones like Zillow and Realtor.com.

Craft a message about your property that targets those out-of-state buyers who fit your audience. For instance, you might say, “Looking for the perfect vacation home on Florida’s beaches?” This will directly speak to out-of-state buyers looking for that Florida beach home!

Create Your Marketing Strategy

Last but not least, you need to have a marketing strategy to reach those people out of state. You might try digital advertising on Zillow or Realtor.com. Heck, you might even try Facebook Ads!

Depending on your real estate agent, they might have strategies they personally like or have used in the past. Some agents, local to Maine frequently use Facebook Ads to reach people in the South looking to make a move to Maine.

It’s important to hire someone professional for this if it is not your real estate agent.

Final Thoughts

Trying to market your home to out-of-state buyers is becoming increasingly important. To start, you need the right agent who has experience with marketing homes across state lines. Next, you have to build the home’s profile. Take awesome pictures, declutter, stage, organize, and take a virtual tour. Lastly, list your home online, target your perfect buyer, and execute a marketing strategy to reach your perfect buyer.

Categories Plumber

How To Stop Water Hammer When Toilet Fill Valve Closes

How To Stop Water Hammer When Toilet Fill Valve Closes

fter flushing the toilet, you expect that the water goes down and the fill valve closes quietly. However, you notice that after the fill valve shuts off, there is a loud bang in your pipes. What is that? That is called a water hammer. How to stop water hammer when toilet fill valve closes? It is a process that starts with opening up the cold water faucets and letting them drain. Let’s take a look at the process.

What is Water Hammer

Water hammer is water that is moving along and slams into a valve that closes. Then the water goes from the water to the pipe and into the frame of the home. Also, if the pipes are loose or not attached properly, then they will move. This sound is loud and echoes through all the plumbing in the home. This happens during the filling process of a flush.

Water hammer is found usually with washing machines, dishwashers, toilet valves, and faucets and can happen because of faucet washers that are worn or damaged. Also, when there is build-up on minerals and rust that are inside shut-off valves. These are in the walls of the home.

Let’s look at how to stop this from happening.

Turn off main water supply to start the process of getting rid of water hammer when the toilet fill valve closes.

How to Stop Water Hammer

  1. Shut off the main water supply to the house
  2. Starting with the highest floor in your home and working your way to the bottom level, open the cold water faucets.
  3. Now, flush all the toilets that are in your home.
  4. Water will drain from the open faucets. Wait for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Turn the main water supply back on.
  6. Then, wait 5-10 minutes so the faucets can create a strong flow of water.
  7. Starting on the lowest level of your home and working your way up to the top level, close the cold water faucets and the toilets will refill.
  8. When you have all faucets closed and the toilets have filled, flush the toilets. This will allow you to listen for water hammer.

To control water hammer, you will need to have permanent air chambers or water hammer arrestors or both of them installed.

Permanent Air Chamber

This is a vertical section of copper pipe. On the end of it is a cap and it attaches to the supply line with a T- fitting. This supply line is near a shutoff valve or appliance. Installed on hot and cold water lines, it is filled with air and absorbs the force of the water.

This is usually installed during construction of the home in the walIs, however, you may still experience water hammer. This is because the air in the chambers is absorbed by the water over time. Sometimes there are difficulties with these because of the space they take up so it is necessary to use a water hammer arrestor.

Water Hammer Arrestor

This is an alternative to the air chamber and can be installed in a home during new construction or when an air chamber isn’t working out in your home. An arrestor has an air bladder and spring and can absorb the force of moving water. However, it may not give the protection needed if there are pumps and shutoff valves on the same line. They are used in commercial and residential settings and never have to be recharged.

If this isn’t working, focus next on the toilet.

  1. Shutoff valve must be open all the way by turning the handle counter clockwise.
  2. Flush the toilet and see if the noise has stopped.
  3. If you still hear the noise, turn it clockwise to close the valve.
  4. Open the valve and flush it again. If there is debris stuck inside the valve, this will help get it out.

If this doesn’t work, it could be the washer inside the valve is damaged, or you may need to replace the shutoff valve. The fill valve in the toilet tank may need replacing as well. Replacing these may fix your problem.

The shut off valve plays a part in getting rid of water hammer when the toilet fill valve closes.

How Much Does It Cost

Washer – about $8-10 for a package of 100

Shutoff Valve – about $25

Fill valve – about $12

Water hammer arrestor – $15 and up

You may be able to take care of these on your own by purchasing them at the local hardware store or online. However, you will need to know what you are doing. If you want to hire a professional to do this for you, keep in mind the labor charges can be $75 and higher per hour.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are looking into how to stop a water hammer, consider also reading up on why my toilet makes a whistling sound. You might be able to solve both the water hammer and whistling sound with the same repair.

Water pressure issues can happen in the home as well so keep an eye out for them.

Also, if you notice that the water is not flowing freely in the sink, you may need to increase the water pressure. This can be done by checking the aerator or looking for a blockage in the faucet or in the pipes.

Lastly, if you notice that there is a sewage smell in your bathroom, it may be from the Jacuzzi tub, shower drain, sink, or toilet. It is important to find out what is causing the smell and fix it quickly.

When Should I Call A Professional

Issues with plumbing and toilets, in general, is never fun. Unless you know what you are doing, it is worth spending the money for a professional. Calling a professionally licensed plumbing contractor allows you to save time and money on your plumbing projects. They will get the job done quickly, figure out what is causing the issue and correct it. Consider calling on your local home inspection team to get a thorough home inspection, which can include your plumbing.

Categories Industrial

What To Do About Water Heater Leaking

What To Do About Water Heater Leaking

Water heater life expectancy is about 8-12 years. However, your water heater can start leaking before then. In this post, we are going to cover the complete guide on what to do if you have a water heater leaking.

Why Does My Water Heater Leak?

The most common reasons for water heater leaking are age and high water pressure.

Overtime, the natural minerals in water can create deposits and calcium build up inside the water heater. Then, the tank can rust and corrode. This is a natural process.

On the other hand, if your water pressure is too high, this can cause too much strain on the TPR valve, drain valve, or other components.

Sometimes, other components can just become faulty which may lead to a leak at the supply pipes or elsewhere.

Here’s what to do about your water heater leaking.

Step 1: Shut Off Water Supply, Power, & Gas

The first step in any water leak situation is to shut off the water supply. This will lessen any water damage as you find the source and make repairs.

Your water supply can be stopped in many places depending on your home. The easiest place is the pipe that leads water into your water heater. However, you can also shut-off your water at your main valve or water meter if you cannot find the valve just before your water heater.

Take a look at the images below to find these valves. Keep in mind, cold water goes into the water heater and then hot water leaves so your water shutoff should be on the cold side (inlet) which is typically on the right. Use your hand to feel the temperature of the pipe and ensure it is the inlet.

After you have shutoff the water, head to your electrical panel and turn off the water heater breaker.

electrical panel

Finally, if you have a gas water heater, you should shut off the gas to your home. After the water, gas, and power are shut off to the water heater, you can begin finding the water heater leak and repair it.

Step 2: Draining the Water Heater

If your leak is bad enough, you may want to consider draining the water heater to prevent further water damage.

To do this, simply connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Then, lead the hose outside the home. Be sure that gravity will naturally allow the water heater to drain.

Next, use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the drain valve and empty the water heater.

Allow the water to fully drain.

This maintenance should be completed at least once per year to remove any sediment build up.

Step 3: Finding The Water Heater Leak & Repairs

By this point, you should see your water heater leaking and know if it is a lot or a small drip. In most cases, water heater leaking is at the bottom, however, it could also be other places. Before moving forward, take a look at this diagram to understand where your water heater leak may be.

water heater diagram and labelled

Water Heater Leaking At The Bottom

As mentioned, most water heater leaks are at the bottom of the water heater in the drain pan.

Your water heater may not have a drain pan, and that’s okay! Just know for your next water heater, you should have a drain pan to catch the water leak. In addition you should have a PVC drain pipe connecting the water heater drain pan to the exterior of the home. You can see in the image above, the drain pan has a PVC pipe that drains to the lowest part of the garage floor.

water heater leaking from bottom

If your water heater is leaking from the bottom like the image above, most likely your water heater is older and rusted. Therefore, you would need a new water heater since the rust cannot be repaired. We recommend contacting a plumber to replace your water heater for you. However, replacing a water heater can be done on your own if you are handy.

Water Heater Leaking At TPR Valve

If your water heater is leaking from the TPR Discharge Tube, as seen in the image below, this is typically an easy fix by replacing your TPR Valve.

TPR discharge tube leaking

Water Heater Leaking From The Top Pipes

If your water heater is leaking from the top pipes/connections where your inlets/outlets are, most likely you will just have to redo those connections. If this is something you are comfortable with, you can do this on your own. Use this video below for guidance.

Water Heater Leaking From Drain Valve

If your water heater is leaking from your drain valve, this is usually an easy fix by tightening the drain valve with a wrench. If that does not work, you may need to replace the drain valve.

Here’s how to do that!

Water Heater Maintenance & Preventing Another Leak

After fixing this leak, you will want to complete some steps to prevent another water heater from leaking.

Drain Your Water Heater Yearly

The first thing you should remember to do is to drain your water heater yearly. To do this, simply connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Then, lead the hose outside the home. Be sure that gravity will naturally allow the water heater to drain. Next, use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the drain valve and empty the water heater.

Check Your TPR Valve & Discharge Tube For Leaks

The end of your discharge tube should easily be visible. You should monitor this area for leaks every so often and repair as needed. If your TPR valve leaks, it is a sign that something is wrong.

You can also watch this video for more information

Drain Pan & Pipe

Ensure you have a proper drain pan and pipe that leads outside the home. In the case your water heater leaks again, you can count on your drain pan and pipe to carry the water out of your home and preventing water damage.

Categories Electrical

How Fast Does Mold Grow And What To Do About It

How Fast Does Mold Grow And What To Do About It

Mold is a serious problem for residential and commercial properties. In fact, water is the number 1 destroyer of buildings and water is the source of mold.

So, how long does it take for mold to grow? What should you do about it?

In this blog post, we are going to answer just that, but first, we should discuss how mold starts.

How Mold Starts

Mold grows through two things: food and moisture. Food can be from dust, drywall, wood, or any organic substance. Moisture can be related to plumbing leaks, water intrusion, roof leaks, or even high humidity.

Therefore, mold can start growing in as soon as 24 – 48 hours of coming into contact with the right moisture level and organic substance.

Mold can easily continue to grow on materials and in the air if the conditions are right.

Roof leak leading to mold on ceiling

How Fast Does Mold Grow?

If items in a home continue to stay wet, including the air (i.e. high humidity), mold can persist and spread to other items.

Once started, mold can colonize in 3 – 12 days. From there, mold can become visible after 18 – 21 days.

What To Do About Mold

First off, prevention is key. A homeowner or commercial property owner should conduct yearly inspections. That way, leaks or moisture problems can be solved before it becomes a more serious issue.

In addition, a property owner should consider a mold test or inspection. Often times, mold can spread through the air causing a problem to go unnoticed. We conduct mold testing and inspections in the Maine area.

Before jumping in, we want to recommend to where the proper personal protection equipment. This includes a mask and gloves.

1. Find The Source Of Moisture & Make Repairs

The first step is to find the source of the moisture. Is my A/C keeping the humidity in my home below 50%? It is coming from a roof leak? Is there mold around my A/C? Or perhaps your window is leaking? Our mold inspections help you find the source of mold.

Next, you have to repair whatever is not functioning. If you do not stop the source of moisture, your mold problem will persist. Therefore, see if you can repair the issue yourself. If not, call a professional to repair it for you.

2. Calculate The Area Affected By Mold

After finding the source of moisture and creating a plan to repair the problem, you should calculate the area affected by mold. You can do this by opening drywall, removing carpet, or possibly checking inside ducts with a flashlight.

After viewing the area affected by mold, calculate the area affected. If the area is greater than 10 square feet, you will need to call a professional. If the area is smaller than 10 square feet, you can use some home remedies to clean the mold yourself. However, remember, you need to stop the source of moisture. Otherwise, the mold can return.

3. How To Clean Mold Yourself

After you stop the source of moisture (or schedule someone to make repairs) and you know the area affected by mold is less than 10 square feet, you can begin cleaning the mold.

The first step is to dry everything out. This might involve removing wet insulation, using a dehumidifier, removing wet carpet, or opening up drywall.


Next, you will want to scrub the area down with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Some people might recommend bleach, however, bleach can be too harmful on us humans.

After scrubbing the area down with vinegar and water, run a dehumidifier and a HEPA filter through the room. You can purchase a nice HEPA filter/fan or just replace the filter in your air handler with a HEPA filter like this one, just be sure to purchase the right size for your air handler.

Finally, check back in with the area each day. The mold spores should gradually disappear. If after a week the problem persists or grows, call a professional.

Once the mold spores are gone, you can replace the insulation or drywall.

If the problem persists after a week or more, or the mold grows, contact a professional to help you.