Small Changes Make Big Bathroom Impacts

Jun 24, 2021 Vincent Russo

Nobody likes a small bathroom. Unfortunately, a lot of houses have them. If you live in a home with a bathroom that makes you feel a bit claustrophobic, you might think that there isn’t much you can do without some major (and majorly costly) renovations. This may not be the case, though. There are actually a number of small changes that you can make to your bathroom to make it not only appear bigger, but possibly even give you some more space to work with.

Bear in mind that some of these options are a matter of personal taste. You’ll need to think about how these would work with your own personal style preferences. With that said, even if you only use one or two of these suggestions, you may be surprised at how big of a change they can make in your bathroom … all without having to tear down a wall or anything.

Change Up the Look

The first thing that you should do is stop and take a good look at your bathroom. Are the walls some dark, unappealing color that was last seen in the wilds of the 1970s? Does the lighting give everything kind of a dull yellow tint or cast some big shadows everywhere? Did some unfortunate soul decide that the bathroom really was the place for some deep-pile carpeting? The look of your bathroom can have a big effect on how open (or not) it appears, and in many cases can make the bathroom seem smaller or more unpleasant than it actually is.

Some options for fixing this include adding mirrors (which are always useful in the bathroom anyway), painting or adding wallpaper to cover up dark or grungy walls, and replacing light fixtures with something that will give you a bit more illumination everywhere. Try painting one wall a different complementary color as an accent. Choose wallpaper with repeating patterns but also with ample open space between repetitions. Paint your cabinets or add light-colored veneer to help lighten up the space. The lighter and more inviting the bathroom is, the larger it will seem.

Revamp Your Storage

Another thing that can make a bathroom feel small is clutter. If every available surface seems covered with soaps, styling products, makeup, or manscaping tools, it’s going to trigger that part of your brain that doesn’t like crowded spaces every time you enter the room. This is where good storage can come into play, since it will give you a place for all that clutter, so you don’t have to just shove everything into an unorganized mess in the cabinet.

Consider installing rotating storage or under-shelf racks in your cabinets to make organizing easier. Adding a high shelf with a towel rack under it can also help, letting you move towels out of your cabinet and position them closer to your bath or shower without taking up precious floor space. Hanging a multi-panel medicine cabinet is also a great idea, since it gives you more storage for small items and medicines while also adding additional mirrors to the bathroom. Once you deal with some of the clutter on your surfaces, you’ll be surprised at how much more open the bathroom seems.

Bringing the Bathroom to Life

If you aren’t exactly sure how to revitalize your bathroom, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Painters and interior designers may have suggestions on how to change the look and functionality of your bathroom without breaking the bank and can assist you in picking colors and other options to really open the place up. They may have additional suggestions based on the actual layout of your bathroom as well, helping you to feel more comfortable in the bathroom without all the cost of significant renovation.

HomeKeepr can help you to find the pros you need to make your bathroom revamp a reality. Sign up for a free account today to find local pros in your area that can get the job done. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s one more little thing that will make a big difference in your bathroom revitalization project.

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5 of the Most Searched Outdoor Decor Trends of Summer 2021

By Larissa Runkle
Jun 18, 2021

Even with the outside world opening back up, many of us have found new comfort in staying at home. Backyard dinner parties, outdoor movie nights, drinks on the deck—you name it, there are so many summertime favorites that really don’t require going anywhere, especially if you have a great outdoor space.

And if you don’t? Well, we’re here to help with that.


To get a little inspiration for making your backyard into an oasis you actually won’t want to leave this summer, we once again consulted with the pros at design retailer Living Spaces. They gave us the scoop on the most searched outdoor decor and design ideas of the season, and we’re here to share a few of our favorites.

Here are five absolute must-haves in your outdoor space this summer, and all the details on where to get them.

1. Indoor-outdoor spaces

Photo by PRDG architecture + design 

One of the best ways to make your outdoor spaces feel irresistibly cozy this season is by making them feel like they’re inside. Think: decor features such as extra throw pillows, blankets, and even some of your living room furniture (all approved for outdoor wear and tear, of course).

But don’t just take our word for it. According to a recent Google report, “indoor-outdoor spaces” is one of the most significantly searched trends of the season, and it’s seen a 155.56% increase in popularity from last year.

“Indoor-outdoor living spaces—adding comfy sofas and coffee tables to the backyard—became an easy solution to those feelings of being cooped up during quarantine,” says Living Spaces designer Shelby Greene.

“2020 was all about finding comfort in trying times, and when it comes to the outdoors, comforting pieces are here to stay,” adds Greene.

Add some cozy indoor-outdoor vibes to your space with this boho pearl lantern, then beef up your seating area with this diverse collection of throw pillows and floor poufs.

2. Concrete furniture

Photo by Brooklinteriors LLC 

One outdoor trend we didn’t see coming this season is the draw toward concrete furniture, up nearly 7% in recent months, according to the folks at Living Spaces.

“There’s something minimalist about concrete furniture,” says Greene. “There’s only one texture and color, and the shapes are usually simple. In other words: It’s easy, timeless, and a safe choice, unlike some of the more fashionable wood, fabric, or metal outdoor pieces.”

Because of its versatility, neutrality, and ability to withstand all sorts of weather conditions—maintaining that pristine look—concrete furniture isn’t a trend we see disappearing anytime soon.

Upgrade your outdoor dining with this round-top table, or make a smaller addition with this gray embossed side stool.

3. Outdoor kitchens

Photo by ORCO Block & Hardscape 

Speaking of indoor-outdoor vibes, it’s no surprise that having an outdoor kitchen is still trending on Google and ranking highly on everyone’s wish list this season.

“An outdoor kitchen is a must for exterior design in 2021,” says designer Savannah Phillips of The Knobs Company. “People spend all day in their home office, and when the clock strikes 5, it’s time to sprint outside and do some grilling.

“An outdoor kitchen can be used for not only standard cooking, but entertaining as well if you add bar stools or a dining set,” Phillips adds.

It’s not just Google searches proving continued interest in outdoor kitchens. According to a members-only survey conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, 76% of design professionals reported outdoor kitchens as their “top project” this summer.

Whether you’ve broken ground on your ideal outdoor kitchen or not, one easy way to get started is with a portable pizza oven (also trending on Google)—like this one from Ooni.

4. Pastel colors

Photo by Levy Art + Architecture 

Nothing screams summer quite like a bouquet of color on your patio. That might be why searches for all things pastel are up right now—particularly in shades of yellow (up 13%), green (up 10%), and our personal favorite, lilac (up 19%).

“Pastel colors are a huge outdoor trend right now, stemming from the ‘cottagecore’ aesthetic that has been floating around,” says Phillips. “These muted colors give a calm, relaxing feeling and pair well with the bright colors of flowers and foliage. They’re perfect for not overwhelming the space and keeping the focus on the natural elements.”

Incorporate some pastel highlights into your outdoor decor with this persimmon rocking chair or this peachy-pink mosaic stool.

5. Mini gardens

mini gardens
These mini gardens can make a big impact in your outdoor space.(Living Spaces)

The best thing about this trend is that just about anyone can do it—whether you have a sprawling lawn or a small balcony. These mini gardens (searches are up 7% in the past months) are the perfect way to tie in any outdoor space, no matter the size.

“The mini garden trend is all about practicality,” says Greene. “Downsized or placed in containers, gardens become easy to maintain and place. In containers, this trend becomes portable, and incorporating a tiny garden near, between, and even on outdoor furniture makes an outdoor space delightful.”

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Clever Uses for Useless Spaces

Original Post: Jun 21, 2021 Vincent Russo

There are a lot of areas around the home that may seem kind of useless or wasted. Partial dividing walls, areas below (or even above) a staircase, or little nooks or alcoves that were created by the house’s unique design are all common examples. You might not think much about these areas, but if you consider them for a moment, you might see how they could be some serious missed opportunities. With a little bit of creativity, though, you can change all of that for the better.

That blank wall around a doorway doesn’t have to stay empty, and the space under the stairs isn’t just for boy wizards anymore. There are a number of ways that you can revamp these empty and otherwise useless spaces and make your home more functional and fun in the process. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Surfaces and Seating

Look around your home at the various nooks and crannies that seem to just be empty space. With a little bit of work, it’s easy to add seating, tables, desks, and more to these areas and make them much more functional. Once you start thinking creatively, a whole wealth of options opens up.

Some of the open space in your foyer could have benches added for you and your family to sit and get your shoes on in the morning, possibly with bins that slide under the benches to keep those shoes in when they’re not being worn. A little alcove could be a great place to install a small desk or computer workstation for homework, bill paying, creative writing, or even grabbing a quick bite to eat. You could even stick a chaise lounge or part of a sectional couch in a largely unused corner to give people a private place to wind down or relax. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Storage and Organization

Some of these seemingly useless places can be a great place to add storage solutions to your home. Shelves and cabinets can instantly transform empty walls, giving you additional storage even in the small spaces around doorways or in closets. Drawers are also great additions, as are sliding cabinet racks that pull out and then slide fully back into the wall. There are even more options available if you really want to get creative.

If your kitchen has a small dividing wall separating it from other rooms, consider adding a built-in wine rack within it to hold a few of your favorite bottles. A pull-out vertical cabinet next to the sink or stove can also be a great area to add a spice rack or store cutting boards. Bookcases are relatively easy to install, and if you have a large unused area, it might even be an ideal place to add a built-in pantry. Not only do details like these really liven up your home, but they can also help reduce clutter in other areas and make everything a bit more organized in general.

A Use for Every Space

You might be surprised at just how much space there is in your home for these types of projects. The options can increase even more if you start looking at the outside of your home or in the garage, too. While some projects might require a bit of work, others are simple modifications that can really go a long way toward improving both the look and functionality of your home.

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider bringing in an interior designer or general contractor to discuss what you want and see what your options are. HomeKeepr can help you find the right pro for the job, too. Sign up for a free account today to get connected with professionals in your area that can help make your renovation dreams come true. They may even be able to offer up suggestions you haven’t even thought of yet.

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Custom Cabinets for Laundry Rooms!

Original Post: Jun 17, 2021 Vincent Russo

The laundry room can be one of the busiest rooms in the house. The problem with this is that many laundry rooms aren’t actually designed with all of the functions of a laundry room in mind. In many homes, the room is just the place where clothes are cleaned, and various detergents and other laundry aids are stored. Your laundry room can be so much more, though!

One great way to take an ordinary laundry room and make it serve a greater purpose is to install custom cabinets. This won’t just help you to keep all your laundry supplies organized, either. Custom cabinets can add more functions to the room, completely changing up the way you do the laundry. Here are a few ideas that can help.

Hanging and Folding

For many people, doing the laundry involves bringing clothes into the laundry room, putting them through the wash, then taking them somewhere else to put them away. Custom cabinets can make the whole process easier, though. Long cabinets featuring things like built-in folding tables and hanging racks can give you a place to fold your clothes or hang items that need to stay wrinkle free without carting them all over the house.

The fact that these items are built into cabinets makes them especially convenient. It lets you get to the laundry immediately after taking it out of the dryer, and when the table isn’t in use you can fold it back up and close the cabinet to get everything out of the way. Delicates and other items that are washed but need to skip the dryer can also be taken out and hung up right away, even if it’s only temporarily while you deal with the rest of the load before taking them out to hang on a line.

Custom Racks and Storage

Depending on how you do your laundry, there may be a number of products that you use on the regular. This can cause some clutter in the laundry room, especially if you have certain items that have to be washed in certain ways while everything else is handled differently. This is where items like sliding racks, spinning racks, and other cabinet customizations can come in handy. You can store things neatly, sliding out or spinning your storage to get what you need without having to move everything else around just to find it.

A cabinet featuring drawers or other organized storage solutions can also be a great addition to the laundry room. When temperatures start to change and it’s time to swap out wardrobes, you can store items that aren’t being worn in the laundry room to free up space in bedroom drawers. The location of the storage is convenient because you can wash things as they go through the laundry, fold everything up, and then put them right into storage while they’re clean.

Custom Cabinet Options

There are many other options available for custom laundry room cabinets as well. Cabinets with under-shelf storage for dryer sheets, garment bags, and other laundry essentials can be great for staying organized. Custom cabinets with panel doors to hide the washer and dryer themselves can be great if you’re going for a modern look or simply need the laundry room to serve multiple purposes. Regardless of your needs, you’re sure to find custom cabinet designs that can meet them.

When it comes time to actually make your cabinet dreams a reality, HomeKeepr can help you connect with cabinet shops or contractors that can get the job done. Signing up for a HomeKeepr account is free, and from there you can find pros in your area based on real recommendations from people that you trust. Create your free account today to get connected and make your laundry room into so much more than just a place where you wash and dry your clothes.

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Is It Time to Replace Your Windows?

Original Post: Jun 14, 2021 Vincent Russo

Your windows are one of the most important features of your home. They provide you with natural light and visibility while also giving you the option to let fresh air in when your home gets stuffy. As with everything else in your home, your windows will start to accumulate some wear and tear over time. Eventually they might even have to be replaced. How do you know when it’s really time to replace your windows, or when a little maintenance will keep them in operation for a while longer? While this varies a lot depending on the specific windows that are installed, how well they’re maintained, and what the average temperature and other environmental factors are like, here are a few things you can look out for to see if you need new windows.

Cracks and Condensation

Visible cracks are also a sign that there is some problem with your windows. These cracks can appear on the frame of the window itself or in the surrounding wall. In some cases, cracks in the window glass may be visible as well. Regardless of where the damage occurs, cracks in your window are bad news, since each crack is a potential entry point for drafts, water, and other problems that could become costly to repair down the line.

Some of these problems may not be immediately visible if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Condensation between the panes of double-pain glass is often seen as a big red flag, since the condensation means that water is getting in somewhere. That little bit of moisture can eventually lead to mold and mildew in your windows as well as other damage occurring within the walls.

Replacing Your Windows

If you do need to replace your windows, finding the right new windows for your home is important. You’ll want to make sure that the windows you choose are well insulated or have other features to help control the temperature in the summer and winter. If you want to add security alarms or other sensors, it’s important that you choose windows that are compatible with these devices as well.

Most people don’t see window installation as a DIY job, since depending on the window layout and materials involved it might be a significant undertaking without assistance. If you think that it’s a bit more than you can handle, don’t be afraid to consult a contractor or professional window installer. They can help with everything from the installation itself to selecting styles and materials that go best with your home.

Whether you aren’t sure of exactly what you need or want to find someone who can handle installation, HomeKeepr has you covered. We help you connect with professionals in your area in a variety of fields, ensuring that you find the exact people you need for your projects. Sign up for a free account today to connect to window installers and contractors in your area. It just takes a minute and you’ll be good to go.

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How Do You Use a Bug Zapper?

Original Post: Jun 10, 2021 Vincent Russo

To get this out there, there’s very little chance that you don’t know what a bug zapper is. There’s also at least a chance that you’ve never actually used one in real life and have just seen them used in a cartoon, movie, or TV show. Bug zappers have all but become a part of pop culture, usually indicating that a character lives in a very rural setting and more often than not comes from the poorer side of the tracks. So let’s get rid of that mental image right off the bat, because bug zappers are actually very useful tools that can make your home and yard a bit more comfortable as bugs that bite are out looking for a nibble in the heat of summer.

How Bug Zappers Work

While the “zap” in the name gives away a large part of how bug zappers work, the system is a bit more complex than just tossing out some voltage and killing wayward bugs. Inside the average bug zapper is an ultraviolet light source, which depending on the model of the zapper could be a light bulb, a fluorescent light tube or even UV LEDs. It’s this light source that attracts insects to the device, causing them to fly in between a grid of wires in hopes of reaching the light within. This is where the zap comes in; the grid contains electrified wires that provide a small shock to any insects that fly inside, killing them and causing them to drop onto a removable tray for easy cleanup.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is just a general description of how they work, of course; different models may have additional features such as scent or pheromone cartridges designed to attract specific types of insects. There also may be some differences in design between bug zappers intended for indoor use and those designed to use outside. Some small units may even be battery powered or built into the form factor of a flyswatter to make killing specific insect pests easier.

Placing Bug Zappers

For stationary bug zappers, there are two main types: Indoor units and outdoor units. Indoor bug zappers are typically only needed in residential homes if you have problems with bugs in certain areas (such as flies in the kitchen or flying bugs coming in through sliding doors in the summer.) If that’s the case, a bug zapper can be placed around the area where you have the largest problem or near the most obvious entry point.

Outdoor bug zappers are much more commonly used by homeowners, especially during the summer when everyone wants to spend time outdoors. The best locations to place bug zappers outdoors are typically around the edges of the area where you plan to spend time, such as the outskirts of a pool or play area, so that insects will be drawn to the zappers instead of the people within that perimeter. It can also be beneficial to place a bug zapper near outdoor tables where you’ll be serving food, just so long as it’s far enough away that wayward zapped bugs won’t fall out and land on the table. Garden hangers and shepherd’s hooks can be used to hold up the bug zapper units wherever you place them.

Bug Zapper Safety

Because bug zappers use electricity, keep in mind that you’re likely going to need extension cords to provide them with the juice they need. This means that you’ll need cords that are rated for outdoor use, as well as a grounded outdoor outlet to plug them into. It’s also important that the zappers are mounted in such a way that pets or children aren’t going to grab them; even though bug zappers don’t provide enough of a zap to be dangerous to people or pets, it could still hurt or startle them and cause them to knock the bug zapper over (which could then hit someone or become a tripping hazard.)

Using a bug zapper can be beneficial around the house, though it’s important to remember that not all bugs will be attracted to one. For other insect pests, calling in an exterminator or other pest removal pro can be a good idea. Sign up for a free HomeKeepr account today to find pest pros in your area that can help keep your home insect free and take care of whatever the bug zapper doesn’t.

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HVAC Hacks for High Ceilings

Original Post: Jun 07, 2021 Vincent Russo

Many people like homes with high ceilings because of the spaciousness they convey and the vertical space they provide for hangings, artwork, and a variety of other items. There are a few drawbacks to high ceilings, though, and one significant one is how difficult they can make heating and cooling your home. If you aren’t careful, those high ceilings that look so nice can result in a significant increase in your heating and cooling costs when compared to similar homes with lower ceilings. This doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to spend a lot on heating and cooling, however; there are a few things that you can do to make your HVAC system more efficient in your home even if you do have high ceilings.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is high1-1536x864-1-1024x576.jpg

Improve Air Circulation

One big thing that you can do is to get the air in your home moving by using ceiling fans or other types of fans. Even though the fans won’t heat or cool the air on their own, they do move the hot or cold air around to provide a more comfortable environment overall. This can be especially important during the hottest parts of summer and the coldest parts of winter, as in both instances fans keep hot air from collecting up high and cool air from staying too low for you to really enjoy.

A whole-house fan can help in this regard as well, especially in the heat of summer. This type of fan will remove the hottest air from your home, which keeps your attic from heating up the rest of the house or trapping warm air. Once the days start cooling down, the fan can then be shut off and insulated to keep warm air from escaping.

Make Use of the System Fan

Most people keep their HVAC system on automatic, which uses the system fan to circulate air while the air conditioning or heater is on and then shuts it off afterward. Just like with ceilings fans, though, the system fan can help to circulate air even when the unit isn’t actively heating or cooling the air. This circulation helps to eliminate stagnant, still air that can seem uncomfortable regardless of the temperature you’re shooting for.

Turning on the system fan can be useful throughout the year, but it’s especially useful during the summer when it’s coolest near the floors. HVAC registers at the floor level will move that cool air higher into your home. The added air circulation also provides some benefit in winter too, helping to get heat out from around the high ceilings and down into the rest of the house. During the milder spring and fall, you can enjoy the added air circulation if you wish or simply switch the fan back to auto.

Consider Your HVAC System

If your HVAC system can’t keep up even with additional air circulation, it may be that your unit is too exposed outdoors or simply isn’t powerful enough to fully heat and cool your home. If possible, your HVAC unit should be in the shade for at least part of the day to keep its components as cool as possible even during the heat of summer. Installing a shade or awning over the unit can be one way to accomplish this, just so long as you don’t use large supports or side pieces that could restrict airflow. If the unit is too small, though, there’s not much that you can do other than installing supplementary air conditioning or heating solutions or upgrading the whole system.

If you’re not sure whether you need an HVAC upgrade, HomeKeepr can help with this. You can connect with HVAC pros in your area who will help you determine whether your unit is the right size for your home and who can provide the maintenance necessary to keep it running smoothly all year long. Best of all, you can sign up with HomeKeepr for free.

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How Much Paint Do I Need?

Jun 03, 2021 Vincent Russo

Paint, paint, glorious paint! It’s one of the least expensive materials you can buy for your house that delivers one of the biggest visual punches. It also fixes a myriad of problems. Got a tired exterior? Paint. The interior of your home feels like it’s closing in on you? Paint. Bought a couch that you love, but clashes with everything else? PAINT.

In all seriousness, paint is a great way to brighten, enliven, and give your home a serious face lift – inside and out. But once you’ve picked a color, what comes next? How do you choose the right paint and actually buy the right amount for your project?

Choosing Your Perfect Paint

Choosing paint can be overwhelming. There are always a variety of grades and characteristics to choose among, leaving a lot of people very confused and frustrated. Here are a few things to watch out for when picking your paint:

  • Composition. There are other options for paint, but for most homeowners, the biggest choice is between latex and oil. Latex paint offers easy clean-up, but can be slightly soft when fully cured, making it a poor choice for high traffic areas. On the other hand, oil is far more difficult to clean up, but will pretty much go over anything and harden much better to handle years and years of abuse.
  • Sheen. Your walls are your own, and only you can decide just how shiny they should be. When you’re choosing your paint sheen, it might feel like a no-brainer to go with the shiniest paint out there, but take a moment and consider that glossy paint shows a lot of sins, and few houses are really perfect. So if your walls or other surfaces are less than perfect, the flaws could stand out badly. On the other hand, something like eggshell hides a lot of sins, but can be extremely difficult to clean, should it get dirty.
  • Durability. Paint is paint is paint, right? Sadly, not even remotely. There are paints that start around $20 a gallon and there are paints that could be four times as much. Both are priced the way they are because of different characteristics they possess, but durability is a huge factor in the pricing. Cheap paint is just that: cheap. It’s generally not meant to last very long, which will leave you having to redo it again soon. On the other hand, top of the line paint is likely impregnated with UV-resistant materials, weather resistant chemicals, and other fancy stuff to keep your paint looking good for longer.
  • Coats to Coverage. Most paints will tell you how many coats it’ll take to cover your wall (generally assuming you’ve properly primed first). This is really important information when it comes to figuring out how much paint you need. One coat coverage from a $50 gallon of paint is often still cheaper than three coat coverage from a $20 gallon.

Doing the Paint Math

As far as how to calculate your paint needs, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re definitely going to have some loss to waste, so your calculations are really more like estimates. Painting isn’t a precise science; it’s more of an art, and how much paint ends up being used is influenced by your tools and techniques, as well as the paint and walls themselves.

To calculate your paint needs, simply multiply your surface height by its length, in feet. So, if you’re painting a 10 foot by 20 foot wall, you’d need coverage for 200 square feet. Check the paint you’re interested in to see how many feet the bucket should cover and in how many coats. A lot of paint gallons cover approximately 250 square feet, which would be great for your first coat on this wall.

If you need two or more coats, you’ll need two or more times that much paint. It’s better to round up than down, since you’re almost certainly going to find spots you want to touch-up later. Plus, if your paint is custom tinted, you’re going to get a much better match if it’s all done together. Even in the age of computerized paint mixing, you can still end up with a day when the machine is feeling a bit off.

Not Ready for Painting and Math?

Absolutely not a problem. This is why so many people trust their HomeKeepr communities to provide recommendations for the very best painters in their area. Just log in to search for the services you need, and you’re done. All you need to do from there is pick your colors!

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Get Your Ducts in a Row!

May 31, 2021 Vincent Russo

Do you ever ponder your floor joists? Or give serious considerations to the cladding under your siding? Of course not! There are parts of your home that just work, and you never have to really do anything about them. Although ductwork seems like one of those out of sight, out of mind things, it’s actually one that you should look into now and again.

Dirty Ducts Spew Dirt Cheap

Sure, you change your furnace filter religiously, as you should, but that doesn’t mean that the dust in your house is taken care of. Over time, ductwork collects dirt too, especially when your vents are on the floor. The filter can only catch the dirt that goes into it; it can’t do much for dirt that settles in ductwork through open vents. Over time your ductwork can get pretty dirty, despite your best efforts.

What happens when you get dirty ducts? Well, you have a dirty house. All that free-floating dust, pet hair, loose skin cells, and other bits of tiny debris can and do land inside your vents, which allows them to blow even further into your ducts. Not to mention the trash and other objects that can easily slip through a vent grate to be lost forever. The older your home, the more layers of dirt that can pile up in your ventilation system.

Allergens Hiding in Your Ductwork

Knowing someone else’s dirt is blowing back at you from your vents is bad enough, but did you know that layers of allergens can also take up residence in dirty ducts? Sure, the last owner’s cat is long gone, but his dander may still be inside the ductwork, blowing out every time you kick on the heat or air, along with generations of pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and other potential sources of severe allergic reactions. Ducts seem so harmless until you consider that they’re really receptacles. Air moves through them, but there’s no seal to keep other things from moving back inside. They’re a hidden source of dirt and stress for so many homeowners.

What Can I Do About Dirty Ducts?

You have a few options when it comes to dirty ductwork. The first, and easiest, is to get your ducts cleaned by a professional. They use special tools to agitate the ducts and create negative pressure to suck the dirt right out, never to be seen again. When the cleaning is finished, you’ve got ducts that are almost as good as new, and you can continue to maintain them by frequently vacuuming inside your vents and grates to help reduce the dirt that moves deeper into the ductwork.

Your other option would be to go ductless. Although this is kind of a big job, you could switch your HVAC system over to one that has no ductwork, such as something utilizing electric baseboards or ductless mini-split systems, depending on your local climate. An HVAC expert can guide you through what’s involved in eliminating or redesigning the ductwork in your home if your allergies are particularly problematic or your ducts are creating other issues. You can still have climate control without ducts!

Looking for Help with Your Ducts?

Deciding what comes next for your ductwork can be a complicated decision. Cleaning your ducts is by far a less expensive solution than installing a whole new ductless heating and air conditioning system, but it’s a choice you’ll have to repeat again and again if you want to keep those ducts as clean as possible. If you’re on the fence, your best option is to consult with an HVAC expert before you choose. But where can you find one you can trust? Just look in your HomeKeepr community for a recommendation! The community can steer you in the right direction towards either an HVAC installer or an HVAC expert that does duct cleaning – they’re both just a click away!

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How Big is Your Ceiling Fan?

May 27, 2021 Vincent Russo

As the heat of summer approaches, having ways to stay cool at home is especially important. Installing new air conditioners or HVAC units can be expensive and may add significantly to your ongoing cooling costs as well. In many cases, a major cooling system upgrade isn’t even needed; simple things like the right curtains and ceiling fans in your rooms can go a long way towards keeping things cool even in the heat of summer. You just need to make sure that you’ve got the right fan for the space you’ve installed it in.

How Big Your Fan Should Be

To get the most out of a ceiling fan, it’s important that you choose a fan that is the right size for the room it’s going to be used in. If you’re underwhelmed by the effect that a ceiling fan has in one of your rooms, most of the time the problem is that the fan is simply too small for the space that you have it installed in. To make sure that you get the right fan for your rooms, it’s important that you know each room’s square footage; you can calculate this by measuring the length of the room, measuring its width, and then multiplying those numbers together.

Once you know the square footage you can figure out what size of a fan you need. If you have a smaller room that’s less than 144 square feet, you can get away with a fan with a diameter as small as 42 inches and not have any problems with it. If it’s more than that but less than 255 square feet, increase the size slightly to around 44 inches or so. If you’re trying to cool a room larger than 255 square feet, you’ll likely need to jump to a 52-inch fan to get the job done. Depending on the space, you may even have to install more than one fan (this is common in rooms larger than 300 square feet).

Positioning a Ceiling Fan

In most cases, ceiling fans are placed in the center of a room. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however, and there may be situations where you’re better off placing the fan elsewhere. If airflow is blocked by something near the center of the room, you’ll want your ceiling fan to be placed where it can take advantage of the better airflow.
Another frequently overlooked issue with positioning a ceiling fan is choosing the vertical height of the fan. For ceilings that are lower than 8 feet, ceiling fans are typically mounted right to the ceiling itself. For 9-foot and taller ceilings, however, downrods are used in conjunction with ceiling mounts to ensure that the fan is in the optimal position for cooling. Most downrods that homeowners will encounter are around 12 or 18 inches long, but those with A-frame houses or otherwise very tall ceilings may need downrods that are 24 or 36 inches or possibly even longer.

Ceiling Fan Installation

Installing a ceiling fan may seem like a big job, and admittedly is might not be for the weak of heart. When it comes down to it, though, the entire process is likely easier than you’re expecting. You’ll have to install a box for the fan and a brace that connects to the framing in the ceiling. Once that’s secure, you’ll need to run wiring to the fan and attach a hanger bracket. Once that’s complete all that’s left to do is assemble and hang the fan itself.

If you’re confident in your abilities but you aren’t sure if you’re THAT confident, you always have the option of hiring a pro who can get your fan taken care of in no time. Fortunately, HomeKeepr can help with that. Sign up for a free account today to connect with pros in your area that can meet your every need.

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