Dream Team Exterior Solutions is dedicated to helping home owners even when we are not there. Here you will find some great tips on how home owners can improve their homes without us. I know, it sounds silly, but we are truly happy when we are helping people even if we are not getting paid for it.
Do it Yourself Pest Control
Keep It Clean
This one is pretty self explanatory but a clean house is much less attractive and hospitable for pests. Wash dishes daily and clean any food scraps out of the sink. Drain dirty dish water after each use. Keep kitchen counters and surfaces wiped down daily. Store food and drinks in sealing plastic or glass containers. Make sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming part of your regular routine. Use garbage cans with locking lids and empty them regularly. Keep the grass mowed and get rid of weeds. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed back so they aren’t touching the house. Maintain your drainage systems and eliminate any standing water.
Make Your Home Less Attractive
Pests come into your home in search of 3 things: food, water, and shelter. If you can eliminate these 3 attractants from your home, pests will have no reason to come in. Keep your home clean as referenced above. Repair any leaky pipes and faucets both inside and outside of the home. Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight. Declutter your home and get rid of any old magazines, junk, etc. Try to use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes.
Seal Them Out
Pests can’t get into your home unless they can find a way in. Some pests only need the tiniest of openings to penetrate your house. Inspect the outside of your home for any potential entry points and seal them up with caulk, steel wool, etc. Make sure to check foundations, door frames, windows, utility pipes, cables and wires, and the roof. Repair any broken windows and screens. Fill in any holes, gaps, or cracks in pipes and vents.
Maintain the Yard
Your yard is the first line of defense when it comes to pests. They have to come into the yard before they come into the house. Keep your grass cut short and eliminate weeds. Get rid of any piles of leaves, debris, fallen branches, etc. Do the same for old automobiles, trashcans, and dumpsters. Elevate wood piles off the ground or store them in wood boxes with lids.
Keep It Dry
Keeping your home well ventilated and dry will go a long way towards keeping pests at bay. Most pests are attracted to moisture and basements, attics, and crawlspaces provide the ideal breeding ground for these. Use a dehumidifier to decrease moisture and consider crawlspace enclosure to not only help eliminate pests but also provide significant energy savings for your home.
Do The Laundry
Some pests like dust mites and bed bugs will seek shelter in your bedding, clothes, etc. Wash any clothing, sheets, blankets, quilts, and towels that you come into contact with regularly (at least 3 to 4 times per month). If you have pets, wash their bedding just as often to help eliminate and prevent fleas.
Identify Common Pests in Your Area
Knowledge is power so do some research and learn what the most common pests are in your area and what kind of damage or threat they cause. Pests vary by location and different treatments are required for each of them. Proper identification is key to proper treatment.
Use the Pros
Sometimes an infestation can be beyond the scope of DIY pest control methods. In these circumstances it is best to call a professional who can properly identify the pest you are dealing with and provide proper treatment, as well as ongoing prevention techniques you can use at home.
If you suspect you have a pest problem, contact your local pest control company for a thorough evaluation.
Do it Yourself Pool Maintenance
Make A Skimming and Scrubbing A Part Of Life
Skimming the leaves and debris off of the surface of the water is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. For a truly pristine pool, skimming should be done daily.If you have a bit of money to spend, consider buying a robot vacuum that will clean the bottom of the pool for you. Just look for any growths and go at them with a scrub brush to keep your siding looking fresh and clean.For those particularly stubborn spots that won’t go away with any amount of elbow grease? Repurpose an old sock. Fill it with chlorine and let it sit on top of the spot for a few hours before scrubbing once more. The chlorine will eat away at the algae and you’ll finally have a use for those socks without pairs. It’s a win-win.
Think Of The Filter As Your Pool’s Kidneys
Just as your kidneys are constantly working to remove impurities from your body, your pool’s filter is responsible for removing impurities from the water – think dirt, leaves, and even small toys.Most of the time, the pool can be cleaned by turning off the filter, removing the filter cap located on the pool deck, lifting out the filter basket, and removing any debris before replacing everything. It’s best to clean out your filter basket at least once a week.Once a month you’ll also want to clean out the pipes utilized by your filter system, which you can do by backwashing. To do so, simply set your filter to “backwash,” remove the leaf basket and clean it out. Then turn on your pump and let it run until the waste pipe ejects clear water.A final note on turning the filter on and off: Doing so too often can cause the filter’s mechanics to crack. Set your filter on a timer and allow it to run for at least six hours a day.
Pools Need Consistent Chemical Levels
Chemical levels are arguably one of the most important facets of pool maintenance. Improperly balanced water looks murky, irritates skin and eyes, and can cause your pool to become a breeding ground for bacteria.Ideally, you should test the water at least once a week. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are six chemical levels that need to be considered:
Cyanuric Acid – Protects chlorine from sunlight and determines the required Free Chlorine level. An ideal reading for outdoor pools is 30- 50.
Free Chlorine – A sanitizer which keeps your pool water safe and free of germs.
Acidity/Alkalinity – Also known as the PH level, acidity needs to be kept between 7.5 and 7.8 to prevent irritation and protect the pool equipment from eroding.
Total Alkalinity – Helps keep the PH in balance. Levels should be within range of 60-120.
Calcium Hardness – Appropriate levels help prevent plaster damage. Aim for 220-350, but lower for pools with vinyl siding.
Chemicals Costing Too Much? Give Baking Soda A Try
There’s no denying that pool chemicals can be expensive to purchase, so why not get a little help straight from the grocery store?Most pool stores suggest using sodium bicarbonate to control the alkalinity of a pool without drastically reducing the PH levels. They will try to sell overpriced solutions in order to get the job done.As it turns out, regular baking soda does the same job as sodium bicarbonate for only a fraction of the price. All baking soda boxes even have “sodium bicarbonate” listed on their ingredients label. Take a look!If you’re worried that using baking soda will mean doing a lot of complicated mathematical conversions, don’t be. Baking soda has the same concentration of sodium bicarbonate per pound as the solutions, so the amount you’d need to add to your water would be identical.
Don’t Be Afraid To Shock A Cloudy Pool
On the topic of chemicals, don’t be afraid to shock your pool when necessary. While that may seem like a process only fit for public pools. But, think about how your pool water looks after you throw a big party. Odds are it’s murkier than it was the day before the big bash. That murkiness? It’s bacteria that you’ll want to get rid of as soon as possible.Shocking refers to drastically raising the chlorine levels for a short period of time to kill bacteria. It’s done by diluting three to five times the normal amount of chlorine or other chemical sanitizer with water, slowly poring it into the pool’s return line, letting it filter throughout the pool, and then slowly refilling the pool with water over time.While shocking too often would risk damage to your pool’s siding, you should aim to shock the pool at least twice every season.
You Need To Keep An Eye On The Water Level
As important as the chemical composition of the water is, the physical water level is just as important. The levels will naturally fluctuate after a heavy rainstorm or an afternoon of kids doing cannonballs.You want to maintain a level that is halfway up the opening of your skimmer. If the water is too low, simply use a garden hose to add the necessary amount of water back in. If the water level is too high, rent a submergible pump from a home improvement store to drain the excess. However, if you’re pool’s liner is a vinyl or fiberglass material that could be easily damaged by the weight of the pump, consider consulting a professional.When you’ve reached the appropriate water level, remember to recheck the chemicals. The water level fluctuations will have thrown them off balance.
Use A Tennis Ball To Absorb Oils
Most of the time when people think about tennis balls in a pool, they think about playing catch. However, those toys can do double duty.When swimmers exit the pool, certain oils can get left behind in the water – suntan lotion, hair product, the natural oils produced by our skin. While it’s unpleasant to think about, luckily there’s an easy solution.Simply throw a tennis ball into the water. The fibers used to make the tennis ball will help absorb the oils and keep them from leaving a slick sheen on top of the water.
Schedule A Yearly Service Appointment – Whether You Think You Need It Or Not
Sometimes you need to trust an expert. Especially when it comes to your pool’s mechanical equipment – pumps, filters, heating systems – you may not have the proper knowledge for care. At least once a year, have a pool service professional come out to check your devices.Before your appointment, take a thorough look at your pool as a whole, making sure to use all of your senses. Compile a list of any leaks you see in the piping, holes you notice in the linear, loud sounds coming from the mechanisms, or odd smells coming from the water. Mention them to your serviceperson in oder to give him or her an idea of where to start.In the event that there is noting amiss with your pool, the yearly service appointment may seem like a waste of money and it can be tempting to cancel. But remember: Detecting and fixing a small problem now can save you from having to fix a huge crisis later down the road.
Do it Yourself Pressure Washing
Select The Right Tip
Never use a jet-style tip to clean your deck. You can ruin your wood and leave path-like marks circling each board if you attempt to clean it using a jet-style tip. It is extremely easy to damage your wood deck if you power wash it with the incorrect tip. Always use a fan-style or brush-like power washing tip when cleaning a wooden deck surface for a wood staining project.
Choose The Right Pressure
One of the most important things to remember is that if you use the high pressure setting for the power washer you may damage your wood and leave marks that cannot be covered up by a wood stain. Set your power washer at a low to medium setting when cleaning a deck to make sure you do not damage your wood.
Give Your Deck Some Space
Never spray your deck with the power washer tip right near the wood. Power washing can permanently damage the wood by imprinting lines and marks when a sprayer is held too close to the surface. Instead give the deck some space and pull back a bit to allow for an even application.
When you begin spraying your power washer, work in a moderately paced, side-to-side motion so that all surfaces are cleaned evenly and there are no lines left behind.
Apply A Quality Deck Cleaner
Use a cleaner that is actually designed for decks, such as Woodrich Cleaner, and apply it to all of the surfaces you will be power washing. Make sure to follow all of the instructions listed on the package to get the best possible results.
Following up Woodrich Deck Cleaner with the strength of a power washer is a great way to ensure you get as clean a deck surface as possible.
Pressure Washers are potent
Pressure washers are not only potent but very powerful. Never point it at another person. Make sure you take protective precautions when using one. Wear work boots or shoes.
The power of the spray can cut your skin and even tear through light shoes. Never spray it at windows or electrical outlets. Don’t pressure wash your roof because it can damage shingles.
Never spray air conditioning condenser coils. They are very delicate and the pressure washer could damage them.
Follow the instruction manual
Follow all the instructions in the manual to the letter. It will have the best pressure washing tips that you could ever get. It will tell you everything you need to know, from what power and hose tip to use, to what to wash and what not to wash.
Always follow the instructions so you don’t break things you can’t replace or that will be expensive to replace. Reading the instruction manual will also stop you from hurting yourself and others.
When you’re washing a wooden deck, sometimes it will etch and peel. You want to avoid this, but sometimes it happens even when you go as gentle as you can.
This is especially horrible when you wash a wood railing and that chips. Splinters can be killer on the hands. You have a couple of options to save your deck when chips happen.
If you go easy on the deck and do minimal damage, you can sand the wood back down and then throw some sealer on it. If the wood looks dingy after you fix it up, you can also restain it. This will actually leave the surface of your wood very smooth.
Using a pressure washer can be the easiest and fastest way to clean off your deck or house. Follow these handy pressure washing tips, and if all else fails make sure you consult your manual. It’s there for a reason.
Let us help you
If you have a home or business that needs a deep cleaning, a professional power-washing company is the way to go. Here at Dream Team Exterior Solutions, we’ve served the greater Indianapolis area since 2021. We only use the best equipment to ensure the job gets done right. If you would like to schedule an appointment or talk to someone about our services, contact us today!