How to Clean Up a Flooded Basement

flooded basementIf your basement is flooded you will want to clean it up as soon as possible. Flooded basements bring a number of hazards and health concerns with them, so you will need to act fast. Follow these steps to properly deal with the flood.

Step 1: Pump the Water Out

The best way to remove flood water is by using a submersible pump, or sump pump. Attach a garden hose to the pump and position the hose away from you house, then place the sump pump in the middle of your basement. Plug the extension cord into an outlet or generator to start pumping the water out.

While you are pumping the water out, watch for any cracks or structural failure in the walls. If you notice anything stop pumping water immediately. This is a sign that the water outside your home is putting too much pressure on your foundation.

Step 2: Cleaning and Sanitizing

Shovel out any debris while it is still wet and hose off any dirt sticking to walls and furnishings. You will want to remove this dirt before it dries and hardens, as it’s much easier to remove when wet. When you’re done, use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any water left behind by the cleaning.

Next, wash the area with chlorine bleach, using one cup of chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Surfaces that have not been directly affected by the flood can be cleaned with a solution of one part chlorine bleach to four parts cold or tepid water, mixed with a small amount of non-ammonia dishwashing detergent. When you’re done rinse all surfaces again.

Step 3: Drying Your Basement

To start drying your basement, open all the doors and windows. Next, you’ll want to use industrial blowers or fans to accelerate the drying process. You can also turn your basement heater to the highest setting. It may seem silly to run the heat while the windows and doors are open, but it will help evaporate the water from the basement quicker.

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Gardening Tips

home and gardenHave you thought about taking up gardening? A garden is the perfect addition to any home and can provide you with a great deal of satisfaction. Starting a garden can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not that difficult. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Start Composting

Not only is composting good for the environment, but it’s good for your garden as well. It’s also easy. The first step is to buy or build a large bin (the size will depend on how many people are living in your house and how much waste you produce). Then, simply ad your food and yard waste. Make sure to rotate layers of brown material, like dried leaves and twigs with layers of green materials, like grass, fruit and vegetables. Water each layer thoroughly as you go and keep mixing. Just make sure not to add any dairy products or animal materials. By doing this you help the environment and create a great soil amendment for your garden.

Use Mulch

Mulch serves a variety of purposes. It creates a protective barrier to guard against extreme temperatures, conserves water and protects against soil borne diseases. Landscape fabric serves the same purpose, but the right mulch will also add nutrients to the soil, so it’s generally the preferred route. There are a variety of different mulches, so consult a local gardening expert to determine which type will work best for your garden.

Feed Your Plants Right

Plants are like humans. They need food (or nutrients), and some meals are healthier than others. Giving your plants the right nutrients will help them reach their full potential, so don’t skimp on their diet. Make sure your soil is rich in organic matter. This will promote the creation of lots of organisms that produce nutrients and will ensure your plants stay healthy.

How to Save Money on Your Electrical Bill

home improvementEveryone likes to save money, and it can actually be easier than you think. By making a few small adjustments around your house you can lower your electricity bill so you can save up for that vacation, or buy yourself a treat. Here’s what you need to do:

Use LED Lights

You’d be surprised by how much money you can save by switching from incandescent lights to LED lights. By just switching four of your lights to LED’s you can save a whopping $500 over the lifetime of the bulbs. Although the initial investment is a little higher, the long term savings are more than worth it, so give it a try!

Install Dimmer Switches

This is another way you can save money on lighting. Not only will they give you more lighting flexibility, but they’ll lower your energy bill and are relatively easy to install.

Insulate Your Home

Why pay all that money to heat your home if you’re just going to let all that heat escape?  Improve the insulation in your home and keep that heat locked up inside. You don’t have to break through drywall to do this. Even adding some insulation to your attic can help save money and keep your house better heated.

Sealant

Now that you’ve prevented hot air from escaping it’s time to prevent cold air from getting inside. By using a good sealant around your siding you can further insulate your home and keep that cold winter air outside.

Install a Tankless Water Heater

Although they initially cost more than a tank-type water heater, tankless water heaters can save you big money in the long run. So how do they do it? Tankless water heaters only heat water when it’s needed, unlike tank-type water heaters that constantly heat and store hot water. By doing this, tankless units use less power and save you money.