July HOme Maintenance Checklist

JULY Home Maintenance Checklist

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

* Replace air conditioner filter
* Look for and cure mildew and moisture problems
* Replace loose caulk and grout around bathtubs, showers and sinks
* Label shut-off valves at sinks and toilets
* Inspect and clean track of sliding patio and closet doors and lubricate rollers
* Inspect air conditioner condenser for a free flow of air
* Inspect fence and posts and remove vegetation
* Examine drainage field of septic system for soil firmness
* Inspect water softener system for level of brine
* Clean out and organize shed or outbuilding
* Maintain lawn and garden beds by watering, mowing and weeding

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Age Proofing a Home Electrical projects Lighting a room

Safe Footing in the Dark with an LED Night Light

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

Combining an electrical receptacle with an LED (light emitting diode) night light seems like an idea long overdue. The night light element is controlled by a photo sensor that turns on in the dark and off in daylight. The device we installed is manufactured by Cooper Wiring and replaced a two-prong outlet in a hallway where a standard plug-in night light took up the chore for years. The new device doesn’t have to be turned on at night and off in the morning because it automatically senses when it’s needed.

An electrician will charge $110 to remove a two-prong receptacle and install an LED night light receptacle, which includes labor and material. Assuming you have experience working with electrical projects and tools, you can buy the device for $15 and replace it. You’ll find the device sold at home centers, electrical suppliers and online.

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garden tools gardening Landscaping

How Much It Costs to Remove a Tree Stump

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

We thought removing an unwanted tree in our back yard wouldn’t be that big of a project because the tree wasn’t large. In fact, cutting it down was a slow but methodical job. Removing the stump, however, now that was a different story. But thanks to a rented stump grinder, we got the job done. You could spend a day cutting and hacking at a tree stump, but to remove it, you have to grind it up into small pieces, and that’s why a powerful grinder is necessary equipment.

A landscape contractor or tree service will charge $246 to remove a 14-inch diameter tree stump, which includes labor and material. You can rent a gas-powered stump grinder for the day for $150 and do it yourself, but there’s more than your time and money to consider. You need a trailer hitch on your vehicle to transport the grinder or pay extra to have it delivered. If the tree stump is located in a gated yard or area that’s difficult to reach, you may have difficulty getting the grinder in place. If there’s any doubt, survey the approach and determine how you’ll get the grinder to the tree stump by measuring the width of the widest opening to the yard. Choose a grinder that can be maneuvered through it. If there’s no easy access to the stump, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way and dig it out with a shovel.

You can do preliminary work to the stump before the grinder is in place by using an ax and chainsaw to cut it down to about six inches from the ground. Remove any rocks or debris around the stump so they don’t dull or damage the cutting wheel. And always wear eye and hearing protection operating the brut. Before you begin grinding, have a game plan for using or removing all the wood chips you created.

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cost of home improvements cost of pet door

Build a Dog Run

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

What we humans won’t do for our dogs! We’ve all heard of the extremes, but a basic dog kennel is a sensible way to create a safe outdoor area for pets to roam and rest. We’re talking about a chain-link structure best situated in a location in the yard that’s dry, level and shaded from the sun, and that’s sold as a kit so it’s relatively easy to build. The modular kits – in different configurations and sizes – are a system of frames, mesh panels, a gate and roof panel. The unit is secured with tie-down stakes and anchors hammered into the ground. While some kits are made of mesh panels that fit together, others require stretching the mesh fabric on the frames.

A fence contractor will charge $459 to install a 6-by-12-foot gated kennel that’s 6 feet high, This includes the labor and material. You can buy a kennel kit of similar size for $315 and install it and pocket a 31 percent saving. You’ll find kennel kits sold online and at home and lawn centers and at fence companies. In many communities, an outdoor structure requires a building permit, so check with your local building department to see if one is needed. The depth depends on the frost line (how deep the ground freezes) is your area. There may be other restrictions about the height of the kennel, which often falls under the category of a fence project.

Working with chainlink mesh fencing can be rough on your hands. Wear heavy workgloves for protection.

The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to build a dog run with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.

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