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Monday, September 29, 2014

Cleaning Your Dishwasher

Are you uncomfortable with the idea of washing your dishes in a dirty dishwasher? Regular cleaning is an essential part of dishwasher maintenance—it also ensures your dishes are cleaned properly and thoroughly each time. A dirty dishwasher is more likely to clog and cause problems when washing your dishes, while regular care will ensure your dishwasher not only looks great, but will last much longer and is less likely to break down as well.

Cleaning the Interior
When cleaning your dishwasher, start with the interior. The best time to clean inside your dishwasher is just after you’ve run a wash cycle. Remove the racks and utensil baskets from the appliance and wipe down every interior surface with a mixture of water and white vinegar or an eco-friendly cleaner. Using non-toxic cleansers is important in your dishwasher because it is used to wash the dishes, glasses, and utensils you use to cook and eat. For particularly stubborn buildup, you can make a paste from baking soda and water; scrub using a soft microfiber cloth or cleaning toothbrush to avoid scratching the interior of your dishwasher. While cleaning, make sure to check the arms as well—if there is buildup in the nozzles on the arm, use a toothpick or pipe cleaner to remove it. Clogged spray nozzles can cause water pressure to build up while your dishwasher is running, leading to leaks. Also make sure to check and clean areas such as the interior panel just under the door and, if your dishwasher employs one, the filter. You can remove the filter completely and disassemble it for easier cleaning. Finally, clean your racks and utensil baskets before replacing them with a soft sponge, wiping down every surface to get them completely clean.

Cleaning the Door
In addition to cleaning the interior of your dishwasher, cleaning the door will remove any debris to ensure a tighter seal while the appliance is running to prevent leaks. Wipe around the seal with a soft cloth soaked in white vinegar. For tighter spots, you can use a cleaning toothbrush or cotton swab dipped in vinegar to clear away any buildup and food debris. As you clean, check the gasket for damage—if your gasket appears to be cracked or damaged in any way, replace it to avoid leaks. Next, clean the interior surface of the door, paying special attention to any soap or rinse agent holders. These can become caked with buildup over time, affecting your dishwasher’s efficiency. You may need to place a damp cloth over these areas to moisten any remaining detergent for easier removal. Finally, clean the exterior of the door by wiping it down; if your appliance has any inset buttons, dials, or controls, use a cotton swab or toothbrush to clean them.


A clean dishwasher not only looks more appealing, it will last longer, too. If you’re having appliance troubles in Portland, visit our website to schedule appliance repair in the Vancouver and Portland areas. You can find out more about maintaining and troubleshooting your dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, and more on our blog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sewer Line Problem Symptoms and Solutions

Do you know how to identify potential sewer problems and how to solve them? Most homeowners rarely think about their sewer line, but this important plumbing component controls the wastewater flow away from your home. Learning to identify signs that your sewer line is clogged or damaged will alert you to the need for professional plumbing help to correct the issue and prevent sewage backup or other plumbing problems in your Houston home.

Signs of a Clogged Sewer Line
Just like the other plumbing lines in your home, your sewer line can be clogged by either organic or inorganic debris. A clogged sewer line is likely to cause slow drains in your home. The difference between a single clogged drain and a clogged sewer line is that you will notice more than one fixture in your home is draining slowly. Toilets in particular are often affected by sewer line clogs, making flushing them a more difficult and slow process. If your toilets are working correctly, your plumbing problem is not likely to be caused by a sewer line clog. Other signs of a sewer line clog include water backups in some fixtures when others are in use—for instance, flushing the toilet may cause water to back up into your tub or shower. You may also notice rings of soap scum or mineral deposits around tub and shower drains. These rings occur when water backs up into the drain, leaving behind deposits before it can drain away again.

Signs of a Damaged Sewer Line
In some cases, sewer lines can become cracked or otherwise damaged, causing sewage leaks. The major signs of a broken sewer line can be seen in your lawn above the damaged section of pipe. Leaking sewage from a broken sewer line can cause your lawn to feel spongy or develop puddles of standing water. Because your sewer line leaks untreated wastewater, you may also smell a strong foul odor. Excess water may cause the area of your lawn around a leak to experience lush overgrowth of weeds and landscaping.

Solutions for a Clogged or Damaged Sewer Line
If you suspect your sewer line is clogged, you can attempt to snake the line using a sewer snake. Don’t flush drain cleaning chemicals down your drains in the hopes of clearing a sewer line clog—these chemicals can damage your plumbing or cause problems if they leak into the soil of your yard. However, the best way to address a clogged or damaged sewer line is to contact your professional plumber for help. Your plumber will be able to quickly and easily diagnose the problem and make repairs without causing you stress or inconvenience. In many cases, damaged sewers can be repaired via trenchless technology in less than a day.


Although you may not think about your home’s sewer line until you experience a problem, you can take steps to protect this important plumbing component. Reduce your water usage and avoid overusing your garbage disposal or flushing garbage down your drains and toilets. If you do encounter sewer issues or other plumbing problems in your Houston home, visit our website to schedule immediate plumbing services from a professional and friendly Mr. Rooter plumber. You can find more tips for spotting signs of plumbing trouble and avoiding common plumbing problems on our blog.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Protecting Your Sewer Line

Your home’s sewer line is an essential component of your overall plumbing system. The sewer line is responsible for carrying all of your home’s wastewater to a sewer main, where it is then transported to a water treatment facility. Your home has only one sewer line to handle all of your wastewater needs; sewer line problems such as leaks and backups can disrupt your daily life until repairs are made. Taking steps to protect your sewer line will thus prevent problems associated with this important plumbing system.

Manage Your Wastewater
Regardless of how much water you use in your home, your sewer line will remain the same size. This means that excessive water use could overload your sewer line and lead to clogs or backups. Using your plumbing wisely and being aware of what goes down your drains will help to keep your sewer line clear and functioning properly. You can reduce your water usage by installing low-flow fixtures such as low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, and sink faucet aerators. These devices use less water while maintaining the level of comfort to which you are accustomed. Additionally, take care when using your disposal. Avoid grinding large amounts of food, animal bones, grease and fat, corncobs, or rice and pasta. All of these items can cause clogs in your sewer line that may result in problematic backups. Finally, avoid flushing garbage down your toilets. You should never flush any manmade item except for toilet paper down a toilet; even if items do not clog your toilet’s drain, they can travel through your home’s plumbing to cause sewer line clogs. Keep a wastebasket next to your toilet and keep the lid down to reduce the temptation to flush garbage and prevent items from being knocked into the bowl.

Maintain Your Yard
Because your sewer line runs under the ground of your yard, maintaining your landscaping can play a role in protecting your sewer drain. Trees and shrubs can send roots deep into the ground in search of water. If these roots encounter your sewer line, they can eventually compromise the pipe, causing it to leak. Tree roots may also grow into your sewer line once they’ve found a ready source of water, causing a clog that cannot be cleared via traditional methods. You can protect your sewer line by planting trees and shrubs that do not develop deep or extensive root systems. Talk to your plumber about locating your sewer line and avoid planting in this area—however, keep in mind that roots can travel quite far from the main plant. Physical root barriers buried around your sewer line can help to divert roots before they can infiltrate the pipe. If you do notice that your sewer line suffers from frequent clogs, have your plumber take a look—he can determine the cause of the clogs and, if tree roots are the culprit, suggest a permanent solution.


Sewer line problems should not be handled on your own—always contact a professional plumber for help cleaning up sewage and solving the cause of your issue. Visit our website to find out more about our comprehensive plumbing services in Anderson, SC, including sewer line repair using trenchless technology. You can also find additional tips for maintaining your home’s plumbing, sewer line, or septic tank on our blog

Space-Saving in the Closet

Closet space is a valuable commodity in any apartment. Making the most of your closets will cut down on clutter elsewhere in your apartment and ensure you can find stored items with ease. There are a variety of ways to get more space from your closets, whether you’re looking to change a little or a lot about your storage habits.

In the Hall Closet
Hall closets often become catch-alls for coats, shoes, foul weather gear, cleaning supplies, and much more. The key to organizing your hall closet is to first pull out every item to determine what you need to store in this space. Group like items together using bins or baskets so you can easily find umbrellas, hats, or cleaning supplies. Don’t forget to add a small container for miscellaneous items, such as receipts, keys, and pens. Over-the-door storage racks can provide a great place to store cleaning supplies, while mounting a hook just inside the door allows you to hang brooms, dustpans, leashes, or umbrellas. If your closet is large enough, consider putting a small set of drawers inside to keep hard-to-stack items contained. Keep only the jackets and other outdoor items you need for the particular season in your closet—store other items elsewhere, such as under your bed.

In the Bedroom Closet
Bedroom closets typically serve as storage for your wardrobe. However, this space can easily become overcrowded and disorganized, especially when you are short on time. Start by addressing your shoes—a standalone or over-the-door shoe rack will ensure your floor stays clear, instantly improving the look and the safety of your closet. Hanging rod extenders can double (or triple) the amount of space available in your closet to hang shirts, skirts, slacks, and other clothing. If you prefer to fold your clothes, shelves or hanging baskets will provide ample storage space. You can partition off longer shelving by placing a simple bookend in the middle. Throughout your closet, group like items together to make them easier to find. Small containers, such as boxes or baskets, provide a spot for miscellaneous items, such as watches, jewelry, and cufflinks. If you use your closet to store items such as suitcases, place them flat on the floor so they’ll take up as little space as possible. You can store out-of-season clothing and shoes inside your suitcases to save even more space. Alternatively, store seasonal items that aren’t in use underneath your bed to maximize the current available space in your closet.


Are you ready to enjoy spacious closets, huge windows, stunning views, and on-site concierge service? Carmel Pacific Ridge has all this to offer and more in our luxury apartment community, located in one of the most accessible areas of San Diego. We’re just minutes away from downtown, UTC, and some of the San Diego area’s most popular beach destinations. Visit our website to find out more about our availability, pricing, and move-in specials.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Optimizing Your Studio Apartment Space

Studio apartments offer a unique living experience. Whether you choose to embrace the open floor plan or create the feeling of individual rooms through d├ęcor, there are a variety of ways you can choose to optimize your studio apartment space.

Live Along Your Windows
If your apartment features a wall of windows, this can be the ideal place for your daytime living space. Arrange the furnishings and items you use most during the day near or against your windows so you’ll enjoy ample natural light for your daytime activities. Long, low furniture can be ideal for this type of layout, providing the furnishings you need while optimizing the view and light from your windows. Keeping your bed on the opposite side of your studio apartment allows you to create a relaxing and soothing nighttime retreat where you can enjoy a quiet night’s sleep every night. Alternatively, if you love sleeping against a window wall, consider a convertible bed or daybed that can double as a living and sleeping space.

Mix and Match Your Storage
Using a combination of open and closed storage allows you to keep clutter behind closed doors while still providing space for personalization. Open storage, such as shelves and baskets, allows you to store certain items out in the open, where they will contribute to the overall look you’ve created for your apartment. Books, dishes, selected knickknacks, and other decorative items work well in an open storage situation. Closed storage allows you to prevent clutter from taking over; covered decorative boxes, trunks, cabinets, dressers, and drawers provide storage for linens, clothing, and other miscellaneous items that you don’t want readily visible at all times.

Delineate Spaces via Decoration
One of the biggest advantages of a studio apartment is its single open living space. However, if you want to delineate certain spaces for dining, working, sleeping, and enjoying company or entertainment, there are many ways to create the feeling of separate rooms while still enjoying the open feeling of your apartment. Finding ways to visually separate each space in your studio without physically laying down dividers is one of the most creative and fun aspects of living in a studio apartment. Planters, lamps, and large vases are all decorative elements that can also be used to define the corners of a given space. Area rugs make great space dividers without placing a physical barrier between the various spaces you choose to create. You can also use your furniture to divide your studio—place your couch with the back facing the inner portion of the room to create your “living room” or use a bookcases and filing cabinets to frame your desk and “home office.”


Carmel Pacific ridge features spacious studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for rent in San Diego, California. You’ll love your expansive windows, upscale finishes, and the access you’ll receive to a variety of amazing community amenities. We invite you to check out our floor plans and apartment features on our website, where you’ll also find our extensive gallery and interactive map of our local neighborhood highlights.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Caring for Your Washing Machine


Since the early 1990s, electric washing machines have made washing clothes in the home easy and convenient. Although modern washing machines need very little care, what maintenance they do need is important to ensure your washer continues functioning efficiently. A poorly-maintained washing machine is more prone to malfunction, as well as using more water than necessary and raising the cost of washing your clothes.

Inspect and Replace the Hoses
Burst washing machine hoses are the most common reason for filing a homeowners’ insurance claim. Most washing machines have two hoses, which are connected side-by-side to two water valves in your wall. These valves are typically behind your washing machine, so you may need to move the appliance to find them. Check the state of these hoses a few times each year with an eye to areas that appear damaged, kinked, or cracked. If you do spot signs of damage, replace the hoses immediately. Even if your hoses appear fine, you should still replace them every five years. For the best insurance against burst hoses, use steel braided hoses, which are much stronger and more resistant to wear and kinking.

Level the Machine
Your washing machine should be level and rest closely to the floor of your laundry room. A machine that is too high or not properly leveled can vibrate during spin and wash cycles, causing damage to itself or anything around the washer. Once a year, use a level to determine if your washing machine is off-kilter. You can adjust the front legs of the washing machine as necessary using the locknuts on these legs, which can be loosened while you adjust the legs and then tightened to keep the legs from moving. Most washing machines have self-adjusting back legs; once you’ve adjusted the front legs, tilt the machine forward to raise the back legs three to four inches off the ground. Lower the machine back to the ground, allowing the legs to adjust automatically. If your machine doesn’t have self-adjusting back legs, they’ll likely have locknuts that should be adjusted just like those in the front.

Clean the Interior
The interior wash tub of your washing machine does most of the machine’s hard work. As it separates dirt and suds from your clothing, your washing machine can become coated in residue that affects its efficiency. Once a month, clean the wash tub by running a wash cycle using a washing machine cleaning solution or baking soda and vinegar. To clean the other interior surfaces of your washing machine, you can create a paste of baking soda and water and scrub away any buildup with a cloth or toothbrush. Rise with clean water and dry to enjoy your fresh, clean washing machine.

Taking good care of your washing machine will reduce the likelihood of problems. However, even the best cared for washers may need maintenance and repairs from time to time. If you’re experiencing a problem you can’t solve, visit our website to learn more about appliance repair in Portland or to schedule your service online. Check out our blog for even more articles on maintaining and troubleshooting your washer, dryer, refrigerator, and dishwasher.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How to Save Energy while Using Central Air Conditioning



Most of us know that there are many appliances on the market today that are designed to operate without using the high volume of energy that their predecessors used. While buying a high-efficiency air conditioning unit is a good start, your efforts at being more environmentally friendly shouldn’t start there. In addition to using an air conditioning service to provide regular AC maintenance to keep the air conditioning operating at optimal efficiency, there are also ways to save energy that start with the selection of the unit you have installed.

Purchase the Right Size AC Unit for Your Home

While some homeowners think that keeping their air conditioning system on the small side will prevent it from using too much energy, the opposite is true. The unit will have to work that much harder to try to keep the entire home cooled. As a result, it uses more energy. The same is true for a unit that is too large. Have a technician look at your home and evaluate the perfect size. Otherwise, you will end up with a unit that uses more energy and doesn’t do an efficient job of keeping your home cool and comfortable.
Have the Unit Professionally Installed

Installing your air conditioning system should never be a do-it-yourself project, or left in the hands of an air conditioning service that doesn’t have the experience to install all models of AC systems. Proper installation plays a large role in the efficiency of the unit, and the amount of wear and tear. 

Install a Thermostat that You Can Program

Only cooling your home from the time immediately before you arrive until you leave in the mornings can save a significant amount of energy use, in comparison to leaving the AC running throughout the day. 
Maintain AC Maintenance

Regular AC maintenance is essential to make the system run efficiently, and it will extend the life of the AC unit. A regular maintenance plan ensures that your AC will be taken care of professionally, without any need for you to remember when it’s time to call for service. 

Any additional changes you make to your home, such as adding energy-efficient windows, doors, or lighting, will improve your energy usage and help your AC unit make your home more comfortable. To learn more about our professional AC installation, call Aire Serv of Wichita Falls at 940-447-4966.