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Home Additions and Expansions

Dealing with and Preventing Frozen Concrete in Your Concrete Pump Boom

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dealing with and Preventing Frozen Concrete in Your Concrete Pump Boom

If you are an individual who has recently taken on multiple concrete-pouring jobs in the late fall or early winter, then you need to worry about concrete freezing. This is especially true if you use a concrete pump truck. If this is your first time using a pump truck in the cold weather, then you may not be familiar with the way the concrete needs to be handled when it does freeze. Keep reading to understand how to deal with concrete-freezing problems and how they can be avoided once the issue is initially dealt with. How to Deal with Freezing Concrete As you mix concrete and feed it through the boom pipeline attached to the hopper, the water within the mix can freeze. If you are continually mixing concrete and pouring a large slab, then the concrete will typically freeze on the inside of the boom and create a layer of frozen material from the inside edge of the pipeline inward. You will notice concrete flowing more slowly and eventually stopping as the pipeline becomes completely blocked with frozen material.  This may cause you to panic because concrete will typically harden inside the boom. When this happens, a time-consuming process is required to clear the material from the pipe. High-pressure water must be used to systematically chip away at the concrete a little bit at a time. However, the pressure must be slow and controlled so the internal pipe lining is not broken away. It can take hours to release the concrete before you can start pumping again. A controlled flush out will be required if you allow the concrete to harden in the boom. However, concrete stops curing once it freezes. This is one reason why special heaters are typically placed on top of concrete slabs when they are poured in the winter. This means you will have time to heat up the boom and remove the frozen concrete before it hardens.  If you notice that your pumping boom has a full blockage, then you will need to warm up the pipeline immediately so the concrete can be cleaned out. Moving the truck to a warm location like a closed garage or warehouse is a good idea. Allow the truck to sit for an hour or more and start forcing hot water into the hopper. Turn on the hydraulic concrete pump and force out all of the previously frozen concrete. Continue to force warm water through the hopper and boom until you see clean water coming out of the pipeline. How to Prevent Future Freezing Problems Once you have successfully removed the frozen concrete from the pump hopper and boom, you will want to prevent future freezing issues. There are several techniques you can use to keep the material from freezing. You can and should use hot water to mix your concrete inside the hopper. Hot water can be supplied to your work site in a variety of ways. You can either place an insulated drum heater around a large water storage tank or you can purchase a portable water heater. Large water heaters that use propane to heat the fluid are a good choice if you have limited access to electricity around your work area. You should also make sure that you insulate your boom to keep the heated concrete mixture as...

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3 Tips For A More Successful Neighborhood Cleanup

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For A More Successful Neighborhood Cleanup

If you dread looking at your street and surrounding neighborhood every time you pull into your driveway or even glance through your front window, it may be time to take action by spearheading a neighborhood cleanup day. These events can help foster community spirit while transforming the area into a place everyone can be proud to live in. Here are three useful tips for helping you guide your cleanup effort to fruition. 1. Get Groups and Associations Involved It takes a village to clean a neighborhood. Obviously, you’ll want the full involvement of your neighbors, who hopefully will be motivated to help by the thought of their own residential area looking nice and clean. But not everyone will be willing or available to participate in a cleanup initiated by a single concerned individual — especially if there are equipment and supplies to be paid for. That’s why you need the support and sanction of local groups and associations. Your own neighborhood association is the natural starting point to find support and assistance for your neighborhood cleanup project. This organization can promote the event and drum up interest through word of mouth, flyer distribution and frequent mentions on the association’s website (including listings on its calendar of upcoming events). But you’re not limited to your neighborhood association; you can also seek out support from community and non-profit organizations that might be willing to donate funds or volunteer their own labors for the cleanup. You can even use the power and reach of social media to broadcast your cleanup effort to the general public.  2. Rent a Dedicated Dumpster Once you have gathered your small army of cleanup volunteers, you’ll need to make sure that all the garbage actually has somewhere to go. Simply discarding it in your weekly trash pickup receptacles will overload those receptacles in a hurry, interfering with people’s ability to take out their daily trash and ultimately making the neighborhood look even uglier. A more practical approach is to rent a dumpster to hold all that extra material. Dumpsters can be especially useful for containing oversized debris such as cut tree branches or rusty old lawn decorations. Keep in mind that all dumpster rentals are not created equal. The size of the unit and the duration of the rental period are key factors in what you’ll pay, so if you want to spend less than $100, make sure you’re getting a smaller unit for a single day. Get a roll-off unit (one equipped with wheels) so you can move this heavy receptacle around more safely and easily. 3. Be Ready to Transport Certain Items Some items cannot legally go into a dumpster. These include fuels, solvents and other dangerous chemicals as well as the items built to contain them, such as freon-using refrigeration units or lead-acid batteries. Fireworks and fully intact tires are also prohibited, as are electronic appliances containing mercury and other potential toxins. As a result, you may have a large number of items that need to be transported to a facility that can dispose of them safely. If you’re lucky, you may have access to a local service that will drop by your neighborhood and pick up the offending items for you. In other cases, however, you should be ready to transport them yourself. You can engage neighborhood...

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5 Things You Need to Know before Starting That Interior Painting Project

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Things You Need to Know before Starting That Interior Painting Project

One of the fastest and least expensive ways to give your one interior a quick makeover is to apply fresh paint. However, most do-it-yourselfers make a variety of mistakes that leave them with less-than-professional results. Following are five things you need to know before you pick up that paintbrush and start that interior painting project.  1. You Can Purchase Paints in Sample Sizes Instead of spending money on full-sized cans only to discover that the color isn’t quite what you had in mind, purchase sample-sized paints and give them a trial run. Many consumers aren’t aware that this is even an option, but most paint companies offer mini cans in pint-sized containers. These allow you to test out how a certain color is going to appear on a larger area in a way that simple swatches can’t before you make a financial commitment to buying gallons of paint. Instead of painting part of your wall with the sample paint, you can also use it on a large piece of foam board and move it around the room to get an idea of how the end result will look.  2. You Shouldn’t Neglect the Prep Work  A paint job is only as good as the initial prep work. Failing to properly prepare the intended surface by cleaning it with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent, sanding down any rough surfaces, filling holes with spackle, and applying a coat of primer will result in a sloppy paint job that appears amateurish. Also, be sure to prep the immediate area by removing furniture and wall hangings, placing protective coverings on flooring, and protecting baseboards, windowsills, and trim from splattering by applying protection to the area. You can also use a painting tool called an edger in the corners to prevent the uneven look rollers and brushes sometime cause. Light fixtures, outlet covers, and switch plates should also be removed before beginning the painting process. Turning the electricity off at the circuit breaker in rooms to be painted is also a wise precaution.  3. You Should Combine Gallons for Maximum Consistency Unfortunately, slight inconsistencies in color frequently exist between different gallons of the exact same paint, and even slight variations in shade make a room look uneven. Circumvent this problem by combining gallons of paint in a large bucket and stirring thoroughly to ensure a uniform result. This practice is referred to by professional painters as boxing and is one of the reasons why professional paint jobs always look so good.  4. You Should Be Careful Not to Underestimate Drying Time One of the biggest mistakes made by do-it-yourselfers is to fail to provide the first coat of paint with the necessary time to dry before applying the second coat. If you’re using a water-based latex paint, you’ll only need to wait about four hours before working on the second coat. However, oil-based paints will take more time to dry. For instance, even though an oil-based paint may be dry to the touch after eight hours or so, it won’t be ready to accept a second coat of paint for at least twenty-four hours. Also, atmospheric humidity plays a significant role in how quickly paint may dry. To speed the process up, particularly if humidity levels are high, open windows and turn on...

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Looking for a Weekend Project? Consider These 3 Energy-Efficient Projects

Posted by on Apr 26, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Looking for a Weekend Project? Consider These 3 Energy-Efficient Projects

From laying new sod in the backyard to finally fixing that loose siding on the garage, your home improvement to-do list seems to never end. However, before you begin tackling these chores, you should consider projects that will save you money and help control your home’s energy consumption. Here are three energy-efficient home improvement projects that will save you big money in the future: Fill in the Gaps One of the most inexpensive and effective ways to make your home more energy efficient is to identify any gaps and areas that allow drafts to flow through your home. There are several common places where air flows in and out of your home, including these: the seals around your door and windows pipes wall and roof vents In addition, there are other less noticeable places where cool or warm air can enter your house. These include around outdoor spigots and where the electrical and gas lines enter your home. Fill the gaps and cracks with a caulk made especially for the particular substance you’re sealing. For example, there are caulks made for use on brick, wood, glass, or metal. Scrape away any existing caulk and clean the area with a wet rag before filling the gap or crack with a new line of caulk. For wider cracks or gaps, run two lines of caulk. When it comes to your doors and windows, replace the existing weather stripping. Over time, weather stripping begins to degrade and crack, which allows drafts to enter your home. Invest in a Tankless Water Heater According to Angie’s List, a typical, traditional storage water heater will last anywhere from eight to 12 years. If your water heater is getting older or you simply want a more energy-efficient option, a tankless water heater is the best bet. A tankless water heater can be installed in a matter of hours, and, unlike a traditional model, you won’t ever have to worry about running out of hot water while in the shower! In addition to providing you with a steady stream of hot water and saving you big money on your monthly electric bill, here are a few additional reasons to consider a tankless water heater: Traditional water heaters feature tanks that can store stagnant water for several hours or days. During this time, calcium and lime scale buildup with cause discolorations and noticeable impurities. Tankless heaters don’t store water, which cuts down on this unwanted buildup. Because there isn’t any lime scale or calcium buildup in them, tankless water heaters typically last longer than the older, traditional models. Tankless water heaters typically take up less space than a storage water heater model. Most tankless heaters are mounted on the wall, either inside or outside of your home. Check a website like to learn more about tankless water heaters and how to get them installed. Install a New Front Door  Finally, there is one additional DIY project that can save you money on your energy bills and also improve your home’s curb appeal: a new front door. However, before you assume that a wood door is the best option, Consumer Reports recommends choosing a unit constructed from fiberglass or steel. Like wood, fiberglass and steel materials are both durable and available in several colors. However, steel and fiberglass provide...

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Tips For Going Green While Building Your Dream Home

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Going Green While Building Your Dream Home

Finding that perfect home can be challenging due to the numerous properties on the market, so it is easy to see the benefits of building a house. From choosing a personalized floor plan that suits your needs to building in your preferred location, building a house is a great option for creating your dream home. Fortunately, going green is also possible when building your dream home. Using this guide, you can conserve energy and water when building your new house. Green HVAC More than half of your home’s energy usage goes towards heating and cooling, so choosing the most eco-friendly option during the construction process is a great way to go green. While numerous systems are available, geothermal systems conserve a great deal of energy while keeping your home temperature comfortable. Since geothermal systems utilize the ground heat to heat and cool your home, underground pipes, known as the ground heat exchanger, will need to be installed. Due to this daunting installation of underground pipes, opting for a geothermal system early in the construction process of your home is key. Fortunately, the enormous energy savings are worth the overwhelming investment of this green system. Geothermal heat pumps can save you 30 to 60 percent on your heating costs and 20 to 50 percent on your cooling costs when compared to traditional systems. Green Insulation and Sealing Proper sealing and insulation is also important for your dream home’s efficiency. Considering an estimated 25 percent of heat loss occurs through the attic, ensuring the attic and roof line is insulated properly is essential for reducing energy waste.   Improving the energy efficiency of your dream home with spray foam insulation in the attic offers other benefits, as well. The spray foam decreases the moisture content in your attic, which reduces the risk of mold, algae, and mildew. Since most pests are attracted to moisture, this improved air quality will decrease your risk of insects and other pests. For more options other than spray foam, talk with insulation contractors, like those at Mincin Insulation Service Inc.. If your home will have a crawlspace, make sure to seal the space. A vapor barrier, or a thick sheet of plastic material, should cover the entire floor of your crawlspace. This building code is required in most regions. Vapor barriers are effective for reducing the moisture content under the house, but wrapping the entire crawlspace in this plastic sheeting will prevent air loss and moisture under your home. Green Plumbing From washing dishes and using the bathroom to taking showers and doing the laundry, your plumbing system is also an imperative part of your home. Unfortunately, some plumbing fixtures waste water, which affects the environment and your monthly water bills if you are on a city or county water plan. Here are a few green plumbing options to consider for your dream home: Low-Flow Toilets – Your toilets are a key source of water usage in the home, so consider low flow models. These new, efficient toilets use a vacuum-like system, which offers a powerful flush without an increase in water usage. Low-flow toilets utilize an estimated 1.6 gallons of water with each flush, which is a huge decrease compared to traditional models. Low-Flow Faucets – Faucets for your kitchen and bathrooms that focus on water...

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Considering Clay? Understanding And Maintaining Clay Roofing Tiles

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Considering Clay? Understanding And Maintaining Clay Roofing Tiles

Owning a home requires a great deal of maintenance to uphold its value, appeal, and function. While you may already focus on your home’s siding and landscaping, ensuring the roof is in good condition is imperative. If you need to replace your roof, deciding on what material to use can be overwhelming. Not only do you need to select a material that is durable, but it should also complement the architectural style of your home. Considering clay roofing tiles were first used in China around 10,000 BC, choosing the classic appeal of clay for your own roof is smart. Using this guide, you will understand the benefits of clay tiles for you roof and learn the best techniques to maintain your new roof. Benefits of Clay Roofing Tiles Asphalt shingles may be traditional choices for your roof, but clay tiles offer numerous benefits that you may find surprising. Clay roofing tiles are a worthwhile investment due to the following benefits: Insulation – An estimated 25 percent of heat loss occurs through the roof, but clay tiles help insulate your home. This will reduce high heating and cooling costs. Appeal – Available in a wide range of colors and design styles, clay roofing tiles add a unique texture to your home, enhancing its appeal and value. Durability – Clay roofing systems are more durable compared to other materials. Not only is clay able to withstand extreme weather conditions, but it can also outlive the building it sits upon. Maintaining your New Clay Roofing System While clay tiles are durable, resilient options for your roof, periodic cleaning is necessary to maintain their appeal. Every year, consider washing your home’s exterior using a pressure washer, but make sure to spray your roof off as well. Before getting started, use the following safety tips to prevent accidents while on your roof: Ask for Help – Ask a friend or family member to hold the ladder steady while you climb on top of the roof.  Do not attempt to get on top of your roof without help. Wear Protective Gear – Wear waterproof shoes with rubber soles, since the clay tiles will become slippery while washing. Rubber-soled boots will grip the tiles, preventing slips and falls. Use Plywood – Add a few sheets of plywood on top of the clay tiles. This will not only serve as an extra layer of protection from the slippery tile surface, but it will also prevent the clay from breaking while working on top of your roof. A pressurized spray of water will be sufficient for removing light dirt and debris. However, a more involved cleaning may be necessary to remove heavy buildup. Unfortunately, many of the cleaning solutions sold in stores contain chemicals that are toxic to the environment and your health. Using one of the following natural cleaning solutions, you can remove stubborn residue, mold, or algae without affecting the environment: Baking Soda – Combine 3 gallons of water and 2 cups of baking soda to an outdoor sprayer. Shake to mix, ensuring the baking soda dissolves into the water. Douse the entire roof of your home and allow it to rest for a few minutes. Rinse with your pressure washer. The baking soda will dissolve dirt and dust from the clay tiles in an eco-friendly...

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4 Ways To Make Your Water Safer For Your Children

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Make Your Water Safer For Your Children

If you have children in your home, it is important to limit their exposure to harmful chemicals and organisms that can make them sick. While you probably lock up your cleaning supplies and medicine, you may be surprised to learn that there are many compounds in water that can be harmful to young children in high quantities. If you have young children, it is important to get your water tested, especially if your water is supplied by a private well. If your water is less-than-ideal, you have options for treating it before it reaches your children.  Make Sure You Have the Proper Fluoride Levels  Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that can help prevent cavities in teeth. Many American communities add fluoride to their drinking water, following the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s recommendation that drinking water have a fluoride level less than 2mg/L to prevent dental fluorosis. While levels between 2mg/L and 4mg/L are still considered safe for cooking, if your water has levels higher than 4mg/L, you should look into filtering options for your home.  The most effective filtering option against fluoride is distillation, which involves heating water to separate it from minerals and metals and then collecting the water as it condenses. This can be an expensive form of water treatment, though, so you should compare its cost with the cost of supplying bottled water and fluoride supplements at the appropriate levels.  Reduce Your Child’s Exposure to Lead  Children and infants are especially vulnerable to lead that enters their water sources from lead pipes in their home. High amounts of lead can lead to lead poisoning, which can cause brain and neural damage. Despite legislation preventing the use of new lead materials in potable water supplies, many homes still have old lead pipes installed. It is important to get your water tested for lead and limit your children’s exposure to lead if it is in their drinking water. While regularly flushing out your pipes by letting the cold water run for several minutes before using the water and not drinking or cooking with water from the hot water tap can limit your lead problem, you should also look into treating your water with anti-corrosive treatments. Calcite filters can be added to your system before water reaches your lead pipes to help reduce the amount of lead that seeps into your water as it passes through your system, and point-of-use filters can remove lead after it has passed through your system.  Limit Exposure to Arsenic  Long-term exposure to low levels of arsenic has been linked to several types of cancer and skin lesions, and young children can be particularly vulnerable to poisoning over time. Arsenic can seep into ground water and pose problems for your family if you are using a private well. Fortunately, it is possible to remove arsenic in drinking water through point-of-use reverse osmosis filtration systems. These systems can be attached to a faucet or can exist outside of your plumbing system as containers that you filter your drinking water through before giving it to your children or making formula with it.  Reduce Chlorine Dioxide In Your Water  Chlorine dioxide is similar to bleach and is commonly used in water treatment facilities to kill harmful organisms that may be in your drinking water. Unfortunately, young children exposed to too much chlorine dioxide can...

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How To Determine What Size Water Heater You Need

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Determine What Size Water Heater You Need

Properly caring for and maintaining a hot water heater is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your hot water heater. However, even the best maintained water heaters will eventually fail due to old age. If your hot water repairman says there is nothing that can be done to save your heater, it is time to buy a new one. When you are purchasing a new water heater, one important factor to pay attention to is the size of the appliance. The tank size determines how much hot water your water heater can hold at once. If you purchase one that is too small, you won’t have enough hot water. If you purchase one that is too large, you will be paying more to heat the water than you need to be. Here are the factors that come into play when determining what size what heater you need. The Size of Your Family One of the biggest factors that comes into play when selecting the right-sized water heater is the size of your family. A family of three typically uses less hot water than a family of eight. As such, you need to pay close attention to how many people you have in your family and whether your family is expected to increase or decrease anytime in the near future. Water heaters have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years, so if you plan on expanding your family during this time, you may want to purchase a slightly larger tank to accommodate this growth. How Many Gallons of Hot Water Your Water Fixtures Use at Once Another key factor to keep in mind as you shop for a hot water heater is how many gallons of water certain water fixtures in your home use at a time. For example, regular bathtubs may only use about 50 gallons of water, whereas large, over-sized spa tubs can use in excess of 100 gallons of water at once. If you select a 60 gallon water heater, you would have enough to fill a regular bathtub, but not your spa one. Figuring out how many gallons items like bathtubs, showers, dishwashers and laundry machines use will help you ensure your hot water tank can heat enough water at once for your appliances.  Unfortunately, this can be challenging to figure out. If you still have the owner’s manuals to your appliances, they typically say how many gallons of water they hold or use. If not, the manufacturer can often give you a rough idea of how much water is used by calling or emailing them. What Time of Day You Use the Most Hot Water Next, take the time to think about what time of day it is you use your hot water. Do you and your spouse shower back-to-back before you get ready to go to work? Do you throw loads of laundry in the clothes washer and run it at the same time you run your dishwasher? If so, you need to figure out how much hot water each of these water fixtures and appliances uses and add it up to how many of these items are running and using water at about the same time. It can take a hot water heater a couple of hours...

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Three Ways To Keep Deer Away When You Can’t Afford A Professionally Installed Fence

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Ways To Keep Deer Away When You Can’t Afford A Professionally Installed Fence

Do you have deer eating your garden plants? While one solution would be to fence in your whole yard with a tall vinyl or wooden fence, this can get expensive, especially if you have a large yard. Thankfully, there are other ways to repel deer from your garden or exclude them from entering your yard completely. Here are three strategies to try. Put up a DIY snow fence. Rolls of plastic snow fencing can be purchased at home and garden stores quite affordably. While one row of snow fencing will do little to keep deer out, since they can just jump over it, there is a way to install two rows of snow fencing to keep deer out. This strategy works well if you want to keep deer out of a large space and don’t mind the appearance of brightly colored snow fencing. Once it is up, there is little to no maintenance involved — and you can easily take it down at a later date if needed. Begin by pounding metal fence stakes (the type that’s typically used for electric fencing) into the ground. You’ll want to form two rows of fence stakes, with about 4 feet between the two rows. Leave 8 – 10 feet between the fence posts within a row. You do not have to measure exactly unless you really care about the fence’s appearance. The space between the two rows of fencing will prevent the deer from jumping in — they won’t be able to clear the width of both fences, even though they can jump higher than the snow fence. Once the stakes are all in place, have a friend help you unroll the snow fencing along the rows of stakes. Use plastic zip ties or pieces of wire to hold the snow fencing against the stakes.  Hang soap near plants you want deer to leave alone. If you do not mind deer entering your yard, but want them to stay away from certain plants, a good way to protect those plants without having to fence in your whole yard is to hang bars of soap near them. Studies have demonstrated that deer will stay away from soap — they appear to be repelled by the tallow that most soaps contain. Since tallow is an animal by-product, steer clear of any vegan or vegetarian soaps, as these are less likely to repel deer. You can pound a simple stake into the ground near each plant or set of plants. Then, tie a thick piece of string around a bar of soap. Tie the opposite end of the string around the top of the stake, so the soap dangles down. If the string keeps slipping down the stake, secure it by pounding a nail into the stake underneath it. Make sure you check on the soap bars from time to time. As they are washed away in the rain, you’ll need to tie the strings around them more tightly and eventually replace them. Spray your yard with predatory urine repellents. Deer are prey animals. If they smell the urine of an animal such as a cougar or wolf, they will stay away. If you’re not worried about your yard having a slight urine scent, this can be a very effective means of keeping the...

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Making A Few Home Upgrades? 2 DIY Electrical Mistakes You Will Regret

Posted by on Dec 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Making A Few Home Upgrades? 2 DIY Electrical Mistakes You Will Regret

After binge-watching reality home improvement shows, you might feel like repainting a room, replacing a light fixture, or updating that kitchen backsplash. Unfortunately, while most novices are capable of painting or laying a little tile, updating electrical fixtures, wires, and panels requires the finesse of a seasoned professional. Here are two DIY electrical mistakes you might regret later and why: 1: Failure To Get A Building Permit You are just moving that outlet to another wall, so why would you go through the hassle of filing paperwork and waiting for the city to approve your choice? After all, since it is your house, shouldn’t renovation decisions be your choice? However, although basic electrical renovations might not seem like a huge undertaking, your city officials might have a thing or two to say about it. The fact of the matter is that permits are required to protect you, your home, your neighborhood, and the city power grid. If you update your panel or run additional lines, your home could pull more power than it should, which could spark a fire or disrupt the power allocation for your area. Since most cities have complex contracts with power companies, permits can help the city to assess liability if an accident were to happen. For example, if you move around a few wires without a permit and your actions cause a fire, authorities would need to determine who is at fault so they can decide who should pay for the incident. Unfortunately, if you skipped the permit process, you might be on the hook for the damages. For this reason, most municipalities require building permits every time you construct, alter, enlarge, remove, repair, or replace any gas, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical system that is part of your home. If you get caught renovating your home without a building permit, the city might issue a stop order for the work and demand that you return the property to its original condition—even if you are completely finished with the project. In addition to tearing down your new system and restoring the old one, you might also be fined for your mistake. To ward off trouble, always work with a professional electrical contractor if you need to renovate your electrical system. Although you might balk at the $50-$100 per hour cost of working with a pro, it might save you a lot of time and money.   2: Replacing Fuses With Larger Versions Your electrical panel has safeguards in place, but that doesn’t mean that your family will see them that way. When you are in the middle of running your vacuum cleaner or microwaving a little dinner, the last thing you probably want to deal with is a tripped electrical breaker. To keep breakers from tripping, some homeowners decide to simply upgrade their breaker fuses. Once the power stops cutting out, you might feel like you have resolved the issue—but that isn’t the case. Wires can overheat when they are forced to carry too much current, which is why your circuit breakers are designed to switch off when they are overloaded. If you install a larger fuse instead of the version recommended for your panel, it acts as an override—allowing more current to flow through your panel. Unfortunately, it might only be a matter of...

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