Household Cleaning Hacks: Cleaning a Mouldy Clothes Dryer


Mould thrives and grows wherever it can find conditions that are nice and damp and warm, and that includes your clothes dryer, something that explains why, after a while even a new clothes dryer can start to smell a little mouldy, even though you know that you have been extra diligent about removing clothes as soon as possible.

Often there is mould present but the mould is not growing in the dryer itself, but in the lint trap or vent hose, so it’s important to inspect every part of your dryer to isolate the source. Mold not only smells nasty but also it can exacerbate allergies and, in the case of a dryer, mould spores can easily be circulated into the air, allowing them to go off ‘in search’ of even more nice warm and wet spots, exacerbating, or even causing, a mould issue elsewhere in the house.

So what should you do if you do start to suspect that mould may have taken hold somewhere in the vicinity of your clothes dryer? Here is a simple, DIY way to help remedy the issue and troubleshoot any larger issues.

Things You Will Need

Clean cloths or paper towels
Liquid bleach or vinegar
Rubber gloves
Scrub brush
Clean towel
Baking soda

Begin by making an inspection of the area around your clothes dryer. Unplug the dryer and pull it out from the wall – get some help here, dryers are heavy things – so that you can look behind and underneath it.

If you see any dark, moldy patches on the walls this is possibly where the job should stop right away. Mouldy walls are a bigger issue than a mouldy dryer and while this may very well be where the bad smells were coming from using that bleach to simply start wiping wall mould away is not a good solution. The cause of the mould needs to be diagnosed before the dryer is replaced. It may be caused by inadequate ventilation or there may be a moisture problem in and/or around the wall and any wall mould needs to be properly addressed, and never ignored.

If the walls are dry and clean you can move onto another favourite hang out spot for mould; the dryer vent. Trapped lint can quickly become damp and a breeding ground for mould. To remove any trapped lint use your vacuum’s upholstery hose to vacuum out the vent hose.

Next, clean out your dryer’s lint trap. Remove the mesh screen and wash it thoroughly in hot water and either bleach or vinegar and set it aside to dry. In the meantime, clean the area around the vent trap in the dryer as well.

To create an effective but harmless cleaning solution, combine one cup of bleach or white vinegar with one gallon of clean water. water. Scrub out the inside of the dryer, paying special attention to any rubber gaskets or small crevices where a trapped piece of cloth or lint could hide. Do not wipe down the surface of the dryer when you’re done cleaning it; let it air-dry with the door open.

Finally if the smell was originally rather pungent, mix together one cup of water and one cup of baking soda. Using a clean towel lightly ‘coat’ the inside of the dryer drum with the solution and then run the dryer on its lowest setting for five – ten minutes. This should remove the mould smell, as well as the bleach or vinegar smell and any dried bleach on the dryer’s surface.

Electric vs Gas Tankless Water Heater – Which Should You Opt For?


No one wants to have to live without hot water, especially in the winter. And no one wants to have to deal with the headaches and potential damage a broken or malfunctioning hot water heater can cause (especially very messy water damage) Therefore if your hot water heater is a bit troublesome, or simply rather old (fifteen years or more) now, before the cold really sets in, is a great time to consider buying a new one.

More and more homeowners are hearing about the advantages – and the savings – that can be gained is they switch their old hot water heaters for a newer tankless model. If they decide that this is the way they wish to go they will be faced with another big choice – should they choose an electric model or a gas powered one?

There is no easy answer to the electric vs gas tankless water heater question because which is more suitable for a certain home depends on a number of different factors an a decision between the two should always be based on the homeowners individual circumstances rather than going by what may have worked for someone else. Some of the important factors to be considered
include the following:

●Basic initial cost of the heater
●Average hot water usage in the home.
●Installation costs
●Long term running cost – which is cheaper in your area, electricity or gas? What are you already using most of in your home to heat and cook?
●Personal preference between using gas and using electric.

Basic Initial Cost – On average an electric tankless hot water heater is less expensive to purchase than a gas powered one – roughly about 40% less (minus installation costs of course)

Average Hot Water Usage – Two homes that are in the same neighborhood and are roughly the same size may have totally different hot water usage needs. When calculating about how much hot water you your home uses then you need to factor in things like the number of people in the home as well as the number of bathrooms, laundry rooms etc. after all a couple living alone are going to use far less hot water than the family of four next door even if their homes are laid out exactly the same on the inside.

Installation Costs – Installing a gas powered tankless hot water heater is simply more complicated than installing an electric one so you can expect to pay more for it to be installed.

Long Term Running Costs – Although they are certainly more fuel efficient than “tanked” hot water heaters a gas fueled tankless hot water heater is more expensive to run in the long term than its electric cousin. In addition to the basic fuel cost an electric tankless hot water does not have the complicated venting system that a gas powered one does so is less likely to give you maintenance headaches (although that is not always the case)

Performance – Many people feel that there is little to choose between gas and electric tankless water heaters in terms of performance but the one thing that you may want to consider is that in the case of a power cut an electric model will stop working, whereas a gas powered version will likely keep going.

Personal Preference – Some people like gas stoves some people prefer electric stoves. People are not even always sure why but most of us do have a preference and the same holds true for water heaters. If you already have a traditional gas powered water heater sticking with gas may make sense and installation will almost certainly go more smoothly than if you suddenly decide to make the transition to electric.

On the other hand, some people feel that electric is the “greener” choice and in an effort to live in a more eco friendly manner do not want to rely on fossil fuels anymore than they really have to, making a gas powered tankless hot water heater an option they would not consider.

Top Tips For Raking Autumn Leaves the Right Way


Ah. Autumn is here, bringing with it chillier temperatures but also a slew of pumpkin spice flavoured everything, great stuff on Netflix and of course all of that lovely and colorful foliage.

Speaking of the latter, while the Autumn leaves are certainly stunning to behold they are also a bit (or more than a bit) of a pain in the neck to deal with once they really begin to fall. Not only do they make a mess but if left on the ground and in the gutters they can cause all kinds of problems, especially when it comes to water damage incidents (trust us, we see them all the time)

This means that leaf raking is one of those must do chores that cannot be avoided, however much you would like to. What it may surprise you to learn however is that there really is a right and wrong way to go about clearing up all of those leaves, both in order to make the process more efficient and to save you a lot of pain (mainly in the back) Here are a few pointers:

Working without the Wind

If you are lucky enough to be able to pick your optimum raking day then it makes sense to choose one that is as lacking in wind as possible. Most of us don’t have that luxury though so chances are you’ll be working with the wind as a foe as well as that pile of leaves.

To minimize the nuisance make sure your rake in the direction that the wind is blowing, as raking into the wind will simply be an exercise in futility that is likely to drive you nuts.

Exercise Patience

While you should be clearing the gutters and drains around your home of leaf debris throughout the season to avoid water related disaster when it comes to the leaves on the ground in general it pays to have patience and save your energies for one or two big rake ups towards the end of leaffall rather than doing several little sessions that will soon be wasted as even more leaves fall.

Choose the Right Tools

We know, that now going rusty big metal rake has been with you for years and it still does a pretty good job. But maybe it’s time for an upgrade, both for the sake of efficiency and your own health. Even if you don’t want to invest in a leaf blower (not all properties are even large enough or boast enough trees to warrant that kind of investment) their are several ‘modern’ alternatives that might be well worth looking into including a nifty selection of power rakes that will save you some time and muscle pain.

Watch How You Work

Speaking of muscle pain and backache, practicing proper raking technique before, during, and after you work will save you a lot of pain. Like snow shoveling, raking leaves is a real workout, and you need to warm up by stretching before you start just like you would if you were going to the gym.

While raking, make sure to keep maintain posture and stand upright as much as possible. Switch your main raking hand – the one on the bottom – on a regular basis, and always bend at the knees when you stoop to pick up a pile.

Also, you don’t have to be a leaf clearing superperson. Take breaks between each section you work and don’t be afraid to ask other members of the household for a hand.

Pile Smart

Whatever you intend to do with your raked leaves, bag them or let them compost, piling them the right way is a must. Rake your leaves into small piles on top of a tarp or a piece of plastic, then drag that pile to a main pile or compost heap and you’ll save a lot of time and effort.


Do You Have to Replace the Gutters if You Get a New Roof?


We kind of have gutters on the brain right now. Not just because we know that those protecting our homes need a good cleaning but because experience has shown us that the problems gutters cause are about to start becoming our problem – well, it’s our job – when autumn and winter water damage starts cropping up, mainly because the guttering around a home was inadequately placed or maintained. Somewhat sadly we start seeing a lot of it in the colder months.

One question we were recently asked was a rather interesting one. If you get a new roof, do you need to replace the gutters as well? So we thought we’d address the issue here:

Getting a new roof for a home can be a pretty big investment but sometimes it is just absolutely necessary, especially if the home is rather old. The strange thing is though that while homeowners will often agonize for hours, even days, over what color shingles they should choose and what is just the right texture from a practical and a design point of view they will then go ahead and ruin the whole look by installing any old gutters that often do not even come close to matching the look of the new roof at all!

The first thing that a homeowner should be thinking about in terms of gutters when installing a new roof is whether the ones that are already there need to be replaced at all or whether they just need a little maintenance and TLC. Often an older home will have rather lovely looking guttering that was designed to go with the architecture of the house itself and replacing them with a more modern version might be a real shame from an aesthetic point of view.

Here are some basic tips to keep in mind about gutter replacement:

If the gutters are straight, do not leak and they will still match the new roof well then they really do not need to be replaced.

Even if the gutters are a bit leaky if they are also great looking they can probably be repaired rather than replaced with a more generic, less attractive alternative.

If the gutters do need to be replaced do not leave the choice of replacement up to the roofing company. Gutters are actually more prominent in many cases to a casual observer than the roof is, so they affect your home’s ‘curb appeal’ so taking the time to choose the right profile is a must. A roofing company will often just choose what is easiest – and cheapest – for them to install!

Often a roofing company will suggest redoing the gutters as a matter of course, but you may want to think twice before agreeing. What is often a better idea is to call in a specialist gutter maintenance company before you get the new roof to take a look at your existing gutters to determine whether or not they really need to be replaced and if they do, just what kind of guttering would be the best choice both to maintain the good looks of your home and keep everything nice and dry, in effect preventing water damage before it can ever rear its ugly head.

The Many Problems a Simple Clogged Gutter Can Cause


Gutters, as uninteresting as they are, serve a very important purpose. Their sole reason for existence is to control the water that collects around the exterior of a home. Homeowners rarely ever look up at them though and more often than not they go neglected all year long. That can be, and often is, a huge mistake though and can end up being a very costly one as well. In fact regular gutter cleaning can be one of the biggest keys to avoiding water damage and expensive home repairs. Here are some basic, but very important gutter maintenance tips that you should keep in mind at all times.

The Problems a Clogged Gutter Can Cause:

A gutter can become clogged very easily at any time of the year. In the fall the leaves are of course usually the biggest culprits and in the winter ice and snow can accumulate in them very quickly. Gutters do tend to stay cleaner in the summer months but debris of all kinds, blown in on summer breezes can still accumulate pretty fast.

If a gutter is clogged it can lead to all kinds of problems. some of the more common include:

• Leaky basements. As water overflows from a clogged gutter it falls to the ground, seeps into the foundation and a basement leak is often not to far away.
• Rotting Wood. The water backups caused at ground level by a clogged gutter overflowing can rot the wooden fascias on your home. It can also eventually lead to cracks in the home’s foundations themselves.
• A roof leak. In the winter ice forms over the contents of a clogged gutter. If you also add snow into the mix then that will accumulate there too. When the mixture begins to thaw the water tends to back up, blocked from flowing freely down the gutter by a combination of still frozen ice and debris. That water then backs up into the house and causes ceiling and wall leaks.
• Dead Landscapes. All the new plants and tress you so carefully added to your garden can be washed out and killed very quickly by excess water overflowing from clogged or badly positioned gutters.

One of the biggest reasons people give for neglecting basic gutter cleaning is that they do not feel comfortable working up so high. This is a very reasonable concern. Clogged gutters are certainly a problem but falling off a ladder trying to clean them will probably be an even bigger one!

Calling in a professional gutter cleaning company instead is probably a better idea. Not only have they been trained to work at a height but they will also be able to tell you about any additional problems they find – holes, cracks and even misplaced gutter pipes – and advise you just how such problems can be addressed. If you are a little more comfortable with tackling DIY projects ‘on high’ go ahead, but check our advice on safe DIY gutter cleaning before you get started.

Is There Time to Remodel My Bathroom Before the Thanksgiving Holiday? Top Tips to Beat the Deadline


Can you believe that the long Thanksgiving weekend is only just about a month away? It’s a happy, fun time but it can also be can be a stressful one, especially if you are expecting family or friends over to stay. Of course, you will want your home looking as spic and span as possible, and for some the outdated and possible even unappealing state of the bathroom that the guests will use is a source of grief. But can you really pull of a bathroom remodel before the ‘big day’ is upon you?

The answer is yes. Although you almost certainly will not have time for a full, top to bottom bathroom renovation there are a number of quick and fairly inexpensive ways to transform your bathroom from grungy to gorgeous in near record time.

Give it a Fresh Coat of Paint.

Giving your bathroom something as simple a nice new paint job can work wonders. Over time even the highest quality paint job loses its luster, especially in a high traffic area like the bathroom. You do not have to change the color completely, especially since a drastic color change might involve a change of bathroom fixtures to really work, a bigger bathroom remodeling job than you realistically have time for. However by going a shade or two different, or simply refreshing your current color scheme you can make a dull bathroom really shine.

Change your Faucets.

Although you may not have time to change the basic bathroom fixtures, new faucets are fairly easy to install many different styles available today that can actually achieve a mini bathroom makeover all by themselves. Switching worn and chipped old faucets for some of the innovative and stylish options available today can alter the whole feel of the bathroom. Most home improvement stores carry a vast array of options, but you may want to consult with a licensed plumber before you begin switching things over. A flood and the resulting water damage is the last thing you need right before your company descends.

Add a Mirror.

Although you probably have the standard mirror above the sink, adding another, especially a full length one, is one more easy way to give your bathroom a quick make over. A full length mirror can open a small bathroom right up, giving the illusion that it is roomier than it really is.

Check the floor

Most bathroom floors tend to look dingy after a while, whether tiled or carpeted. Sprucing them up can be as simple as giving tiled floors a good scrub or giving the bathroom carpet a once over with a steam cleaner. If you have tiling that is cracked or chipped replacing them all right is out of the question, so a strategically placed rug is a good temporary fix, although you really should consult a professional later to have them fixed, as water damage to a bathroom floor caused by cracked tiling can eventually lead to mold.

Little Extras Make a Big Difference

Small decorative touches, such as decorative soaps or new set of towels are always a great way to inject a little extra style into any bathroom, big or small.

So there you have it, a quick bathroom remodel that you can complete in plenty of time before your guests arrive.

End of Summer Home Maintenance: Winterizing Outdoor Faucets


At this time of year, somewhat sadly, many of us are getting ready to pack away our patio furniture for another year, store the grill back in the basement and get ready to replace ice cold lemonade with piping hot pumpkin spice something as the colder days return. And, if you are a sensible and diligent homeowner, which we are quite sure you are, in a few weeks you’ll begin prepping the rest of your house for the colder, wetter, and even potentially snowier days to come over the next few months. Lagging pipes, cleaning gutters, checking water heaters and heating systems are all likely to be tasks on your home maintenance winter prep to do list.

But one you might have missed off, as many people do, is winterizing those outdoor faucets that you have been using to fill up paddling pools and water the garden all summer long. Failing to do so could spell serious trouble as the temperatures drop though, so it’s a chore not to ignore. Not sure how to go about doing so the right way? Here’s a simple step by step guide:

Locate the Indoor Shutoff Valve(s)

Every outdoor faucet is linked to a shutoff valve inside your home. The first step in winterizing these outdoor fixtures is to locate that inside connection. Once you do there should be a small valve that can be used to drain any excess water. Do that and then turn the supply to the outdoors off altogether, usually by turning the handles clockwise.

Drain Excess Outdoor Water

Now the water supply is turned off from the house it’s time to head back outside to the outdoor faucet to drain any remaining excess water there. Turn the tap on and leave it on until every drop has dripped to the ground. If you really want to make sure it’s all gone (and you should) Open the outside faucet to drain any excess water that may still be trapped inside. Simply turning the water off is not enough. Water trapped inside the faucet can still pose a serious threat if not allowed to drain properly, drain excess water inside by opening drain cap with pliers, holding a bucket underneath to catch water if you don’t want to soak the ground.

Add an Insulated Cover

Insulated faucet covers designed for outdoor use are easy to find at your local hardware or big box home store and they are a relatively small investment that is really worth making. Even with your very best effort put in it’s still possible that a small amount of water will remain in the pipe between the outdoor faucet and the connection to the plumbing system inside your home. The addition of these insulating caps will help prevent the frigid air outside from causing this water to freeze that could result in water damage to the inside, as well as the outside, of your home.