The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Prepare in Times of Disaster

The hurricane and storm on the east coast offers us in the midwest no comfort except thankfulness that it did not happen here. It does remind us what we could experience here in the form of natural disasters, flooding, tornadoes and blizzards. Preparing for an evacuation should be done prior to the emergency so when it comes the family can continue to thrive after the emergency.

Ready in 10 Minutes Kit.

If a disaster was eminent, such as flooding, a chemical leak or a tornado bearing down on your community and you only had 10 minutes to evacuate, what would you do? It is vitally important to have a plan and an evacuation kit that is ready to go at any moment.
Ready in 10 evacuation plan must include a way to instantly locate and safeguard the vital information, documents and keepsakes that you’ll need to have access to after the emergency has passed. To start the plan you need to know:

• Who will be going with you, of course your immediate family and pets but others may be considered.
• Where you will go for the different disasters that may take place
• Where you will stay for both short term and long term stays. It may be a while before you can return or you may not have a home to return to.
• How will each of you get there?

The ready in 10 plan should also include a checklist of vital items to escape with:

• Medical records and medications for each person
• Insurance and deed information
• Wallet, purse, cell phone, chargers, keys, contact information for others
• Vital information documents, birth certificates, marriage license etc.
• Toiletries and a change of clothes for a couple of days
• Food and water necessities for the trip out
• Battery powered radio, flashlight.
• Keepsakes or treasured items
• Financial documents

A person or family can never fully prepare for a disaster but being able to pick up their lives after the emergency is the second most important task behind surviving it in the first place. Taking time to prepare your evacuation plan prior to any emergency situation may save your life and make it much easier as a survivor.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Maintenance Tasks

Fall Maintenance tasks

October is usually the start of chilly weather and it appears to be 3 weeks early. Here are some general maintenance tasks that should be accomplished in and around the home this month.

Clean and maintain major appliances
Clean the drip pans of your electric stove, clean behind the stove, dishwasher and washer & dryer. Pull out the refrigerator and clean the coils and drip pan underneath. Wipe down the furnace, water heater and water softener. Clean around the dishwasher strainer and look for debris in the washing arm (spins and squirts water during the wash/rinse cycle)

Keep gutters clean from leaves & debris Once the leaves fall, keep the gutters clean. Water damage is very costly and can make your home very uncomfortable with mold and mildew, not to mention repair headaches. Some folks prefer to use a powered blower to blast debris out of the gutters.

Clean your garbage disposal
Clean and deodorize your in-sink garbage disposal by packing it with ice cubes and 1/2 cup of baking soda; then turn it on. After the grinding noise stops, pour a kettle full of boiling water into the sink.

Change furnace filter
Some furnace filters are washable. Have two on hand. One in use, one cleaned and ready to install. Remove the dirty one and install the clean one. Wash and dry the dirty one for use next month.

Check operation of your sump-pump
Take the top off the sump and remove any debris that may have collected in there. Pour at least 5 gallons of water into the sump, slowly, to ensure pump is operational. Some people like to run a hose into the sump area, turn the water on to a slow rate and allow the pump to operate for about 1/2 an hour or so. Do not leave it unattended though.

Touch-up woodwork Use "Old English Scratch Remover" or matching stain to cover dents and scratches on your woodwork. Keeping up on this task at least once a year will help preserve a well maintained look to the inside of your home. It only takes a few minutes in each room to accomplish.

Turn on your Whole-House humidifier Many homes are blessed with a whole-house humidifier. If you are lucky enough to have one you should turn on the water supply and usually a manual switch near the humidifier. It is usually at the furnace. Change the water pad (filter-looking device) when there are a lot of white crusty mineral deposits on it.
If you do not have a whole-house humidifier you can hang a large towel or sheet in the shower and keep it wet. The water will evaporate and get into the air. Change out the towel or sheet often (maybe once per week) and make sure it does not get moldy.

Cover outside hose bibs (water spigots) Most new homes have the freeze-proof spigots but they can still freeze if the hose is not removed for the wintertime. This time of year ALWAYS remove the hose after each use. If you do not know if your spigots are freeze proof it won’t hurt to cover them. The foam covers only cost a few dollars to purchase and a few minutes to install. Installing one could save you thousands in repair costs and insurance claims.