Everything you need to know about damp in property

Guest Post by Aaron

Dampness within a property can be very worrying.

If left untreated, it can lead to structural issues and prolonged exposure can cause structural failings.

There are three main types of common damp problems; Condensation, Rising damp, and Penetrating damp.

Condensation

This is the most common damp problem of them all, and it’s the easiest to spot.

Look out for mould, most commonly in wet areas like the bathroom and be aware of ceilings and corners close to water that do not see much sunlight.

Ventilation problems can also attack tightly fitted laminated flooring and lead to dry rot.

The solution could just be extra vents or extractor fans, but in other cases you may need more wall insulation.

Rising damp

The clue is in the name for this one, it starts below your flooring and then spreads upwards.

The damp leaves patches as it climbs up the walls.

The problem could be a faulty pipe near the bottom of the wall, or a badly draining path, which is causing water to be collected.

Penetrating damp

Tell-tale signs of penetrating damp are fungi on the walls and crumbling plaster.

All sorts of home disasters could be to blame for this type of damp, from roof tiles coming loose to windows not being fitted correctly.

If you have a cellar/ underground garage, you may need special cement sealant treatment which stops damp from making the outside to inside switch.

If you don’t have a cellar and have penetrating damp, you may need new guttering.

It all depends on how the water is entering your home.

Solutions

Here are some solutions you may find useful if you have damp or want to avoid causing damp as much as possible.

If you constantly have to wipe condensation from your windows or notice wet patches at the top or bottom of your walls, you may need to improve the air quality and water structure in your home.

Short term fixes

Some short term fixes to dampness are; ensuring that any washing machine or tumble dryer in your property is ventilated properly.

From just one load of washing, two litres of water is emitted into the air.

If it is possible, try your best to dry clothes outdoors to prevent excess moisture escaping into your property.

If you have no choice but to dry clothes in the home, open doors and windows in the rooms the wet clothes are in.

If you are either cooking, boiling the kettle, taking a shower or running a bath, make sure that your kitchen or bathroom doors are kept closed to prevent the steam from going into colder rooms.

Cover your pans when cooking with a lid to reduce moisture and ensure that you have an extractor fan. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes after cooking to help clear the air.
Try not to overfill your bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cupboards.

A lack of ventilation and trapped warm air are a breeding ground for mould as the air is not able to circulate freely inside.

Also, make sure that your furniture is around 50mm away from the surrounding walls so that air can move around your property.

Long term fixes

Double glazing and loft insulation will help to reduce the amount of heat that is lost from a property.

An adequate amount of heating in your property will improve the internal temperature of surfaces in the house and reduce the likeliness of damp.

Installing insulation will help to keep the temperature of the surfaces inside your property high.

You can also install energy efficient extractor fans in your kitchen and bathroom to improve humidity levels.

Adequate ventilation is essential to allow the moisture to escape from a property before it turns into condensation or causes dampness.

The other option is to employ someone to damp proof your home.

Depending on the cause of the damp, different methods and approaches to resolve and avoid it can be taken.

The surveyors will diagnose the scale of the problem and immediate ventilation will help remove the damp although in some cases, plastering and timber removal or replacement may be necessary.

The Cleanliness Keeper

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

6 Tips For Keeping Your House Spotless For Longer

Whether you work full time, part time, or are a stay at home parent – no-one enjoys the challenge of keeping the house clean. . . No-one.

Whether it’s everyday or every weekend, cleaning the house is never high on anyone’s to do list.

Instead of spending time tidying up daily, follow these six tips for keeping the house spotless for longer.

1. Furnishings which stand the test

For those people with children, or pets for that matter, keeping your house clean can be a challenge.

Shedding fur, toilet accidents or lunch time catastrophes can mess your house up in an instant.

Avoid those messy situations by making sure your furnishings can stand up to the test.

Leather lounges are a great option when you have any potential mess makers in the house.

Durable and comfortable, a leather lounge is easier to clean and won’t absorb those particular odours a fabric lounge will.

2. Steam clean it all

We’ve all seen those advertisements which talk about the hidden germs.

Instead of mopping, try a steam clean instead.

Working at a greater heat and allowing for a more even coverage, steam cleaners are a great way to keep those floors cleaner for longer.

As well as ensuring a deeper clean, most steam cleaners come with some great add-on’s.

These can include window or mirror cleaners and hoses to get into those tight spots which may not get that much attention normally.

3. Storage is everything

As your mother used to say, “if everything has a place then there is no reason for something to not be in place”.

Storage is one the best ways to ensure mess is avoided and your house remains spotless for longer.

Ensure you have adequate storage options for excess clothes, children’s toys and even furniture.

In Summer, use vacuum sealed bags for those bulky winter clothes.

Try out a wardrobe organiser for the online shopping which never seems to stop.

Storage is a practical way avoid unnecessary mess, and makes cleaning quicker.

4. Robots are the future

Many people will likely put vacuuming at the top of that list of jobs most hated.

Time consuming and labour intensive – it’s no wonder why it gets put off to the next weekend, every weekend.

Instead of spending time every week vacuuming the house, invest in a robotic vacuum cleaner.

With developments in technology all you have to do is set the programming and watch the little miracle worker target a different area of the house each day.

5. Fabric is a key choice

When looking for a rug it’s all about the look, right? . . Wrong!

Next time you are considering your new rug, think about feel.

Ensuring that your house stays cleaner for longer can be as simple as throwing the curtains and rugs in the washing machine.

This will keep the space cleaner for longer, and won’t take up too much of your precious weekend time.

6. Have a bit of goodwill

Let’s be honest, it’s not all mess, but just stuff we don’t use and haven’t yet got rid of yet.

Our wardrobes spill out because we keep clothes we don’t wear.

That couch in the spare room probably doesn’t serve a purpose anymore.

Instead of hoarding things you no longer need, take the time to purge some belongings and do a good deed at the same time.

Take half a day and give those unwanted items to goodwill or charity bins in your local area.

Keeping the house tidy for longer can be a challenge for even the best of us.

Trying to fit everything into an already cramped week is hard.

Follow these six tips and watch your home transform into a clean haven for a long time to come.

Image from www.sciencenews.org

How to Renovate a Property in Australia for Profit

Guest post by Andre Smith

If you’re trying to renovate a property in Australia for profits, you can easily accomplish this task by considering a few things throughout the process.

These strategies are effective and appeal to families and entrepreneurs after practical steps have been taken to compare real estate agents.

Pick the Property Strategically

Because there are many properties for sell in Australia, the process of picking an ideal option that suits specific needs can be somewhat challenging.

In order to make the scouting phase easier, you should always make tactical choices based on value.

If you need help along the way, consider working with a property investor.

Highly trained investors who fully understand trends in local neighborhoods are very strategic and usually pick beneficial properties that are 20 percent below the tradition market price.

Properties that are priced this way are usually distressed; however, key renovation procedures can be implemented to make a distressed property more valuable.

Gather Information About the Location

All suburbs in Australia have unique pros and cons that must be considered before making an investment.

In order to boost profits during a selling situation, gather accurate information about the population demographics and migration trends in the neighbourhood where potential properties are found.

If a neighbourhood has many strategic buyers, you’ll need median price trend reports as well so that you can effectively market the property in a way that appeals to potential prospects.

Consider Your Financial and Renovation Goals

When you have your ideal property, you should set a budget in order to cover the renovation costs.

While structuring your budget, carefully calculate every fees for services that may be needed along the way, such as pest management and inspections.

If the renovation costs outweigh your budget, the process of making a profit will be challenging.

Determine the Target Market

The easiest way to complete renovations successfully is by figuring out the target market before tackling any design tasks.

If this step is skipped, you may renovate the property improperly without including key elements that appeal to the prospects who will possibly make offers.

When advanced renovation steps need to taken in order to produce professional results, always work with a professional contractor.

If you try to tackle complicated renovation routines without professional help, you may not have many opportunities to sell the property because the most challenging phases of the renovation process will lead to costly delays.

Market the Property Properly

Depending on the scope of a project, some renovation tasks may require many steps in order to achieve ideal results.

Whenever lengthy renovations can’t be completed on time, a property shouldn’t be marketed because the process of getting reasonable offers will be tough.

Buyers are very wise and will always avoid making practical offers for houses that aren’t completely renovated.

Implement Tactical Selling Procedures

Whenever a home is renovated dramatically, specific steps may have to be taken in order to successfully market the property.

For example, if you build a porch on a home in a community that consists of houses that lack porches, you might have to advertise the property in a different market.

In this situation, you can use social media in order to pinpoint prospects who need a property that has efficient outdoor features.

Consider Taxes

Taxes should always be considered during all phases of the renovation and marketing process.

By working with a tax expert, you may be able to boost your finances by taking advantage of deductions for repairs.

Braided Hoses Problems

Have you got one of these flexible stainless steel braided hoses?

This is one fitted to my toilet.

They were initially mainly used in inaccessible areas.

These days being fairly inexpensive they are often used to make all sorts of connections easier.

Problems

According to this article in ‘The Age’ they are responsible for one in five of all water damage claims.

It seems they have a limited lifespan.

Many braided steel hoses are used in accessible but closed areas where heat, moisture and fumes can react with the woven mesh, causing  corrosion that leads to hose failures.

Things like chemicals, stored in under sink cupboards, can also further shorten their life, by causing deterioration of the internal hose.

Having sharp bends also makes them more prone to failure.

If you already have these hoses make sure you regularly inspect them and change them at the first sign of damage.

 

What can cause a toilet to block?

Guest Post by James Andrew

From http://www.pdmechanical.net/

Many things can go wrong with household plumbing, but nothing can be quite as unpleasant as a blocked up toilet.

Clogged toilets are an extremely common problem, and from San Francisco to Sydney, plumbers see it all the time.

So what causes this and what can you do about it?

Only one thing causes a toilet to block, and that is too much material has been flushed down.

Sometimes it can be all at once, or it can accumulate if there are a series of incomplete flushes that don’t clear the drain each time.

Let’s take a closer look at what might be happening.

Toilet Paper

This is the usual culprit.

While there is no hard or fast rule about how much paper should be used each time, trying to flush a huge wadded handful can lead to clogging problems.

Be more conscious of your paper use, and if you feel the need for a second handful, you should flush the first paper down before adding any more.

Other Hygiene Products

At least toilet paper is supposed to go down the toilet.

Sometimes people forget that a variety of other paper products used in the bathroom are not meant to go down the drain in the same way.

Baby wipes, feminine products, napkins and paper towels should all be thrown away in the trash, not flushed down the toilet.

Even Kleenex should stay out of the toilet, especially if you are using the extra thick and soft variety. Even if some products seem “the same as” toilet paper, don’t flush it.

Toys and Junk

Here is where kid’s notoriously come into the situation.

Small toys (and not so small toys) can end up mysteriously down the toilet, and quite often you never know what’s happened until you fish an action figure out of the drain after it clogs up.

Be very clear with your kids about toys in the bathroom.

Not all the blame is with kids though.

Even adults will sometimes drop things accidentally (keys, toothbrush etc.) down the toilet.

It happens. . . Just try to get them out before they actually go down the pipe.

How to Clear a Block

Regardless of what has gone down the toilet, the main technique for getting things running again is the plunger.

A proper toilet plunger is the one with a central tube portion.

A plain sink plunger is just a bowl of rubber without the tube in the middle.

Firmly place the plunger head in the bottom of the toilet bowl so the tube is in the drain hole.

Position it so the rim of the plunger is against the porcelain of the toilet all the way around, and give it a good solid plunge.

If the block is cleared, the water in the bowl will start to drain. If not, give it another couple pushes.

If you can’t clear it with a plunger, you can try an extendable toilet snake for a more forceful approach.

You can damage the porcelain of your fixtures though, so don’t go with this unless you are familiar with using a snake.

At this point, consider calling in a professional.

Troubleshooting Taps

Guest Post by Hubert Dwight

Water is the most essential resource that humans have and when we can’t get it we tend to stress out a little.

This Flow Chart below shows you some initial checks.

The first thing you need to do is check if the tap that isn’t working is the only one on the property with an issue.

If it is just the one tap, the issue is probably fairly simple.

 

 

For anything other than minor plumbing, such as changing a washer, Australian Law requires you to use a registered plumber such as : TRK Group, plumbing professionals servicing moonee ponds.

Here are some information about why water isn’t coming out of your tap and what to do about them.

Tap Washer Needs Replacing

Whether the pipe is dripping orand won’t work at all, the problem can be as simple as a washer needing to be replaced.

If you are confident you can isolate the tap, unscrew the tap head and swap out the existing washer with a fresh one.

If the problem is not fixed then it may just be beyond your expertise and you should seek some professional help.

The Isolation Valve (Stop Tap)

The water may not be running due to the fact that you or another member of the household has turned off the isolation valve for some reason and then forgotten to turn it back on (maybe while they were replacing the washers in the taps).

You can usually find the isolation valve near your water meter.

You’ve Been Cut Off

For some reason or another the water company may have disconnected your residence.

This can be down to a simple mistake, but you should check that your bills are up to date and that the water supply company has received your latest payments.

This problem can usually be remedied with a simple phone call to your water supplier.

Debris In Pipes

Sometimes corrosion can become lodged in the piping and then dirt and other debris can build up and block the water from getting through to your taps.

To fix this problem, the obstruction needs to be removed by flushing the system.

Pipes Are Leaking

Another thing that can cause the water to stop running is a breach in the pipes.

This can occur because the pipes have rusted, split or are just simply too old and need replacing.

This is especially likely to be the case if you have noticed leaking outside or a drop in water pressure recently.

Frozen Pipes (Unlikely unless you live in a mountain area of Victoria, Tasmania or New South Wales)

If the weather is around or below 0 degrees celsius for several days the problem could simply be frozen pipes.

You can try to remedy this problem using a fan heater over the exposed sections of piping until water flow returns.

If this doesn’t fix the problem, there may be water frozen in the pipes underground and you may just have to wait until it thaws naturally.

 

If you are unable to find the cause, you should check with your neighbours to see if they are experiencing similar problems, because if they are there may be a larger issue.

Always keep in mind that if you find yourself feeling out of your depth, or the problem isn’t just a simple fix, you should always cover yourself by using a licensed plumber.

We hope that you found this article helpful!

5 Household Issues You Can Fix on Your Own

Household maintenance is sometimes an expensive ordeal for most people, however, you should consider doing some of the repairs at home by yourself to avoid unnecessary spending on professional services.

While professionalism is always preferred, a lot of problems can be handled on your own easily.

Before you start off with any repairs, ensure that you have adequate research to help understand what you do not comprehend. Keep in mind that electrical issues can be hazardous and are illegal in Australia.

It is also important to ensure that you have the right tools for the repairs to avoid pointless accidents.

1. Broken toilet levers


A broken toilet lever is quite easy to fix. If the lever does not flush down the toilet, just pop open the tank and fasten the chain.

In some cases when the handle (or any other part that secures the lever to the flapper) becomes corroded, it can easily break. However, these parts can all be replaced in a cheaply.

2.  Unblocking a Sink

You can buy a sink plunger for a few dollars at your local hardware store.

A few vigorous pushes up and down over the plughole will clear many blockages in baths and showers as well as sinks.

More serious blockages and you might need as emergency plumber to unblock your system.

3. Clearing a jammed garbage disposal


A waste machine is actually easier to repair than it looks.

Before you embark on such a task, you should first ensure that you have cut off the power to the unit to avoid accidents.

Once you have disabled the disposal, use a wrench to fine-tune the flywheel inside the disposal.

This is done by placing the wrench in the hole in the middle of the bottom of the unit. It is very efficient in loosening the blocked food inside.

To remove any clogging in the top unit, you can use pliers or a wooden dowel and get into the upper part of your disposal.

Reconnect power, run water through your disposal and turn it on to make sure that the jam is cleared.

Check ‘YouTube’ for several useful videos.

4. Patching up small holes in Plasterboard

Some holes in the walls caused by screws or nails on the walls are quite easy and cheap to fix.

All you need to do is push some cellulose filler into the holes with a putty knife and wait to dry.

Then you should sand it down using a sand paper, depending on the texture of your wall.

Then just apply a coat of paint. 

5.Loosening a stuck window


Windows that go too long without being opening get mucked up with dirt, making them hard to open.

To handle this, you will need an efficient lubricating agent. Use a pizza cutter to pry away the window sash from the frame.

If the paint concerns you, use a blunter putty knife to free the edges. Once it is open, clean it sufficiently and make sure that the hinges and edges are well lubricated.

The aforementioned DIY tips will definitely help you save time and money in most situations.

What Do Builder’s Warranties Cover?

The ‘Statutory Builders Warranty’ or Guarantee is 10 years although some builders offer periods of up to 25 years . . . . but what do you get?

Well the overall Warranty only applies to the main elements of the house

Here are some typical limits to cover:

Up To 3 Months From Handover

  • Adjustment to doors, windows, cupboards including locks and catches.
  • Filling and painting large plaster cracks and nails ‘popping’
  • Plumbing issues.
  • Heating Issues.
  • Cooling Systems.
  • Electrical Systems
  • Drainage and Sewerage systems
  • All problems relatiing to roofing, brickwork,painting, tiling, flooring.

Up To A Year from Handover

  • Weather proofing.
  • Faulty guttering and down pipes.
  • Paint.

Up to the Maximum Warranty Term

Generally will only cover structural failure such as

  • Foundation Failure. (Although recent history has shown many builders will try and blame the house owner for the problems)
  • Structural Frame. (But you may need to demonstrate you have maintained termite protection systems)
  • Load Bearing Brickwork.

Exclusions

There will be a wide range of exclusions that are likely to include

  • Appliances, hot water services, heating and cooling systems after the first 3 months. (The builder will expect you to take up the issues with the manufacturer)
  • Storm, flooding and fire damage.
  • Fair wear and tear.
  • Minor cracking.
  • Damage to the foundations due to trees or ‘over watering of gardens adjacent to foundations.

As you can see that Warranty is not as comprehensive as most people think,

 

The above doesn’t mean that you can’t have defects fixed that are outside the Warranty . . .but you could have a fight!

 

Preparing Your Home For the Coming Summer Season

Guest post by Andre Smith

Australia is blessed with great summers, but the summer conditions unfortunately also do bring the risk of damaging your home.

Here are some handy ideas and tips which will help you prepare your house for summer season, both on the inside and outside;

Clean and Adjust Your Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans are not only cost efficient, but they are also very effective when it comes to keeping you cool during the summer season, therefore it is important to ensure the ceiling fan is always kept clean and in good condition to avoid any malfunctions.

Your ceiling fan is designed to rotate in different directions.

Changing the fan’s direction and increasing the speeds can be of great help in terms of the amounts of cool air which is available inside your home.

To do this, you simply need to locate the switch which is near the base, and change the blades’ movements.

Protect Your Home From Fires and Storm

Australia is actually notorious for bushfires during the summer season.

In the year 2014, many homes in Australia went up in flames because of bushfires and lack of proper fire safety.

Australia also tends to experience rather severe storms during the summer season, where houses get pelted with lots of hailstones.

This can seriously damage your roofs and many other areas of your home. To fully protect your home, you should consider getting a steel kit home.

While most other types of kit homes are subject to influence of heat, water and other elements, a steel kit home will always stay in great shape and will offer maximum protection.

A steel kit home will be able to withstand the harsh elements and keep you and your property safe and free from damage.

Moreover, steel kit homes are durable and reduce energy consumption.

As a matter of fact, many Australian homeowners normally choose the steel kit homes because they offer great resistance, and provide safety when disaster strikes.

Stay Cool

It is essential to have a fully functioning air conditioner during the summer season.

To ensure that the air conditioner is functioning optimally, you should make sure that its filters are clean.

You can replace the air conditioner filters, or consider having the central air conditioning system looked at by a professional.

Clean air conditioner filters normally work much more efficiently (this also helps keep the cooling costs much lower).

Having an efficient air conditioner is particularly important, if you happen to live in a place with allergy irritants or in dusty environment.

Consider having some spare filters available so that you can make regular replacements during the summer season.

Ventilate Your Attic

Heat tends to travel upwards, and it’s no wonder that the attic is usually one of the hottest areas of your home, especially during the summer season.

In order for you to counteract the accumulation of heat, you should consider installing a fan or a vent in the attic.

Install an adequately sized vent and/or attic fan, so that you can prevent the hot air from building up.

Your entire home will actually feel much cooler after you do that.

Update Your Insulation

You should check your windows and doors for any areas which need to be fixed.

You can caulk and seal to prevent the heat from entering into your house through leaky windows and doors.

Having proper insulation will help keep the warm air outside your home, and the cool air in.

Use Blinds and Curtains

Dark and heavy blinds or curtains can also be used to help deter heat carrying sunlight from seeping into your house.

However, you should shut your curtains and blinds during the extremely hot hours.

Pay careful attention to rooms which face the west side, since these rooms are more susceptible to heat which is usually high later in the day.

Clean the Gutters

When preparing for the coming summer season, it’s essential to clean the gutters, the roof and the down pipes.

You should remove the leaves and other litter which might have accumulated during the winter season.

Dry leaves are flammable, and can very easily become a roaring inferno if they happen to come into contact with a spark.

It is also a smart idea to install some quality metal leaf guards over the gutters so as to prevent the leaves collecting your drains.

5 Notorious Household Pests and Places They Hide

Most homeowners only spot the signs of a pest invasion once their unwelcome visitors have already started to multiply and take over.

Generally, this is because they’re not really looking for indications of a problem. . . If you’re not looking for pests, you often won’t see them until an infestation has escalated.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to keep a weather eye out for bugs and rodents, without constantly being on guard.

For instance, regular cleaning is the one of the best ways to prevent pest problems.

It gives homeowners a chance to visually inspect spaces and it removes the clutter and debris that insects love so much.

It is also a good idea to seal up cracks and gaps in windows as soon as they appear, because most bugs don’t need a lot of space to enter.

If you do spot signs of an uninvited guest, start looking for reliable Melbourne pest control services.

Cockroaches

These hardy critters like to hang out close to food or in areas that are especially moist like the kitchen or basement.

The clearest indication that they’re sharing your home is lots of small, cylindrical pellets of a dark brown colour.

This is cockroach poo, so wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning it up.

Also, take note of any unusual smells, because cockroaches can give off an unpleasantly musty odour.

Bed Bugs

At the moment, bed bugs are experiencing a major resurgence.

They have become a big problem for millions of homes across the US, UK, and Australia.

They feed by biting and sucking on human blood, usually while the occupants sleep.

This makes them especially reviled, even though they pose no danger to health.

Bed bugs can hide in any crevice or crack on wooden and fabric objects; this is why they are notoriously difficult to eliminate.

Fleas

Where there are pets, there may be fleas. , , so keep a flea control regime up to date!

These nasty little creatures feed on animal blood and produce itchy, unsightly skin rashes for pet owners.

Like bed bugs, they can be found in fabric, so pillows, duvets, throws, carpets, sofas, and curtains can all be affected.

One sure fire way to diagnose a serious infestation is to wear white socks while inspecting the house.

If they quickly collect lots of dark specks, you need to call pest control.

Termites

Termite can be found in any wooden structure throughout a building.

For example, staircases, wall frames, roof trusses, and floor beams.

Make sure you check around the outside of your house and keep the damp proof course and any termite barrier clear,

If you have broken tiles on the roof, check the attic for signs of termites; they are attracted to warmth and moisture.

Mice

Mice are one of the easiest pests to spot, because they’re bigger than many of the other pests found in domestic settings.

Often, the first indication is mouse poo.

Invading mice leave small, but distinct, pellets of waste behind in the places that they frequent.

They can sometimes produce a musty odour too, so be aware of this when you’re inspecting kitchens and moist, dark areas.

If you do have a mouse problem, you’ll need to relocate ingredients in the kitchen; as items left in accessible cupboards will be gnawed and chewed.

What to Do If You Find Signs of Pests

The first thing to remember is that not all pests are representative of an unclean home.

In fact, bed bugs and fleas don’t really care what kind of a house they choose, as long as there is plenty of food.

So, there is no shame in having to call on a pest control service for help.

They can fix the problem quickly and make sure that it does not return.

While many homeowners attempt independent solutions, the incidence of returning infestations is quite high.