How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Roof


When multiple and large snowfalls accumulate, building owners often begin to think about the dangers of excessive snow on their roofs. After all, we have all heard of buildings collapsing in winter due to the weight of snow on roofs. When the likelihood of roof collapse looms, it’s a good idea to find the correct tools and follow proper methods to safely remove snow from your roof.

Although it may look pretty, excessive snow on your roof can be dangerous. Two feet of snow on an average roof can add up to 38,000 pounds of weight, heavy by any standard. Even if your roof can handle this additional weight, the pounds will still stress it and possibly contribute to future problems.

470860685Excessive snow on a roof can also produce additional problems, particularly when melt occurs. Water seepage has the potential to produce rot, flood attics and destroy other household structures, necessitating repairs. Thus, it is in your best interests to remove large amounts of snow whenever possible.

Keep in mind, however, that it is dangerous to simply jump on top of a roof to remove snow. In addition to the elevation and pitch, snowy roofs can also be icy, meaning a wrong step can send you sliding haphazardly down to the ground.

Sagging is the most most obvious sign that a roof collapse is imminent. Creaking, crack and popping sounds also indicate that a roof is in trouble. Interior signs include severe leaks, cracks in walls or doors and windows difficult to open are also warning signs.

The best way to remove snow from a roof is with a snow rake that has an an extended handle, allowing you to pull off snow from the safety of the ground. Start from the edge and work your way into the center by using downward strokes. Scrape snow from along the bottom of the roof and take at least two to three inches off. Avoid using ladders. Instead, buy extension poles or a longer rake to reach higher areas of the roof. Removing snow from roofs also helps avoid ice damage that can occur after snow melts and refreezes.

Follow American Southwest Magazine for other tips to keep your home safe in winter.


How To Make Yogurt Cheese


Delicious and wholesome go well together more often than many people realize. One tasty example of this is yogurt cheese. Because this smooth and luscious spread is not exactly cheese, the name is something of a misnomer. It is actually yogurt that has been gradually thickened to a rich, creamy consistency that resembles cream cheese and cheese spreads. The end result may be enjoyed with bagels, sandwiches and as a dip. It is also surprisingly easy to make.

1-Ingredient Recipe for Delicious Cheese

GettyImages_183938134Ingredients are limited to the yogurt and any flavorings that are desired. As long as the yogurt has no fruit, any flavor will work. The basic recipe only calls for a 32 oz. container of plain yogurt, a bowl, a colander and cheesecloth. This is the best place to start with a first attempt.

Begin by placing the colander in the bowl. Next, use the cheesecloth to line the colander. Up to 8 layers will do. With the cheesecloth prepared, spoon the yogurt into the colander. Depending on the amount of yogurt cheese desired and the size of the bowl and colander, half of the container is also a good batch size. Once the desired amount is scooped into the colander, place it and the bowl in the refrigerator for approximately 6 to 12 hours.

In general, expect to have about a third cup of yogurt cheese for each cup of yogurt used. The final yield will also depend on how long the batch is drained. The longer the yogurt drains, the thicker the yogurt cheese will be. Longer draining times will result in a little less of the spread, but some might prefer the taste and consistency. The whey can discarded or kept as an ingredient in other cooking adventures. Look for recipes in which sweet whey can replace milk or water.

Storing Your Yogurt Cheese

The yogurt cheese should be refrigerated in a lidded container, and it will last just about a week. When experimenting with additional ingredients, be sure to gently fold them into the yogurt cheese to avoid breaking it down. Most importantly, enjoy the delicious results.


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Your Common Furnace Repair Costs Guide


At a time when it is freezing outside and the furnace is not working as desired, many homeowners would pay any price so as to restore its operation.  However, when you have such a mindset, you might end up paying much more than the necessary furnace repair costs. Rather than getting blinded by furnace technicians out there, it is vital to know the common things which might go wrong with your furnace or heating system and the amount of money that it might cost you to fix those issues.

Average Furnace Repair Cost for Common Problems

The average homeowner in the United States has to part with $439 so as to get their furnace repaired.  However, this amount might be much lower or larger in some instances. This depends on the problem at hand and the company that one chooses to fix the issue. Knowing furnace repair costs and keeping them in line matters a lot and depends largely on how much information you have with regards to the same. Since many homeowners are not well-versed in HVAC systems and furnaces in general, they can fall prey to unscrupulous technicians. Here is a guide on the average repair costs and the common fixes that you might need:

  • Replacing A Blown Breaker: This is generally a minor furnace repair issue or cost.  In case where the breaker is not working as desired, it tends to prevent the heating system from getting the power that it requires and then causes it to shut down.  Replacing a furnace breaker should cost you anything in the region of $25-$50.
  • Cleaning The Furnace: One of the main reasons why heating systems fail is due to the accumulation of debris and dirt in the system. This then forces the system to work harder and even shorten its life span considerably.  That is why it is advisable to clean the system annually.  This can cost you less than $100.
  • Replacing the Thermostat: When looking at furnace repair costs, it is also vital to think about replacing the thermostat.  This furnace repair cost normally depends on the type of thermostat that you choose and this can range from $50 to $100 factoring in the labor costs involved.

You might have to ask for guidance from furnace repair experts in your locality so that you can know what to expect. What you need to do is to know how much it will cost you to have the unit repaired and whether you can get the best quality services.

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Signs A House Has Been Used As A Meth Lab


Buying a house is always a nerve wracking proposition, especially because of the worries that come with previous owners. Everything might look good on the outside or decent from afar, but what if there are hidden problems no one can see? What if there are infestations or other severe problems that an inspector misses? One of the major new home dangers that it gaining more attention in recent years is the house that used to be a meth lab. Because meth has become one of the worst drug problems in the country, and because it is so easy to create a meth lab no home or setup is immune from having suffered through this at one point or another.

The Dangers of a Home that Has Been Used as a Meth Lab

Meth labs are a huge blight not just on the health and general well-being of the communities they spring up in, but they can be extremely dangerous, as well. Not only do these drug labs involve a huge number of unsafe chemicals that can get in the air, water, and soil, but there are many cases of these labs exploding. The fires are extremely hazardous, and release all those chemicals into the surrounding air, as well.

Burn Marks

Since meth is made from a combination of multiple common household products, it can be very hard to detect unless you know what signs to look for. One of the first signs to look for are burn marks on counters and tabletops. While these can sometimes be something else, a lot of burns away from the oven where you’d expect them should at least raise the red flag.

Meth-Making Remnants in Trash

During cleanup of a house if you find a large number of cold medicine boxes and coffee filters, that is a definite sign that the house may have been a drug lab at one point. Used coffee filters with red rings make that even more likely.

Dead or Dying Vegetation

Look for dead or dying vegetation, especially if it’s in a circle or appears dead from a liquid spill that’s killed everything in the area. When you see these signs, you need to face the possibility that one of your new home dangers is the change that the house was once a meth lab.

Follow American Southwest Magazine for more helpful and informative articles not only on the things to look out for when purchasing a home, but for a wide variety of other important safety topics, as well.

Comparing A Gas Furnace With An Oil Furnace


In some areas of the US, temperatures have dropped into single figures, and even into minus digits in several other locations. Inevitably, homeowners want to know how to heat their homes affordably and efficiently. Central to this is the question of whether an oil or gas furnace is the best solution. If you are looking for a furnace for your home, these are the advantages and disadvantages of each type:

The majority of gas furnaces have an AFUE rating of eighty-nine to ninety-eight percent, whereas oil furnace AFUE ratings tend to fall between eighty and ninety percent. While gas furnaces have greater efficiency than oil furnaces, they usually cost ten to twenty-five percent more than oil furnaces of the same size. Modern furnaces can be up to thirty percent more efficient than models that were made a decade ago.

Notwithstanding, as far as fuel prices go, gas is definitely more beneficial. The US Energy Data Administration reports that the average home spends $690 on heating with natural gas over the winter months. This compares to $2558 spent with heating oil, $1448 spent with propane (in the Midwest), and $964 spent with electricity. The price of oil is more erratic and prone to fluctuate in response to global events. In contrast, the production of natural gas is centered around Canada and the US, which secures a more reliable supply. Maybe due to this factor, roughly half of American households are heated using gas right now, compared to roughly eight percent of households with oil heating.

Oil furnaces are easily and frequently maintained by the delivery firm (a service agreement is needed). However, servicing is more comprehensive, because of soot and dirt accumulation ˗ oil filters have to be changed and chimneys have to be cleaned regularly. Gas furnaces hardly require any maintenance (service agreements are not needed), however gas offers less warmth than oil per BTU. Gas furnaces are cleaner and less noisy, but they are more expensive than oil furnaces. Always use a certified and trustworthy HVAC firm, and obtain multiple quotes prior to making any significant investment in your property.

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Why Salt Lake City Residents Should Test Their Indoor Air Quality


Sal Lake City is a beautiful place to live; the nearby mountains, the good communities, the small-town feeling in a big city… The area does come with one problem however. Smog  tends to accumulate rather quickly in the valley that encompasses the Greater Salt Lake City area. It is a problem in many big cities in the southwest that are in large valleys like Phoenix, Arizona. All of that smog and pollution tends to hover over the buildings in the city, but that is just the “tip of the iceberg” that you can see. The truth of the matter is that the same pollutants making up those brownish-grey clouds is also at street level and seeps into homes.

99188400Yes, if you are a resident of Salt Lake, your home is likely pulling in contaminates from the outside air and running them through your HVAC system. In many cases, it is not enough to simply have an air filter and to change it regularly; in some cases, Salt Lake homeowners should get an indoor air quality check from a trusted Salt Lake City HVAC Company.

When your HVAC contractor performs an IAQ check, they are using special equipment that samples the air in your home, and produces a list of all of the contaminates in your home. While most of these contaminates are allergens, dust, dander and relatively harmless, you can be quite surprised at the dangerous elements that are often discovered. Harmful contaminates may include:

  • Viruses
  • Harmful Materials (Asbestos)
  • Carcinogens (Cancer Causing Agents)
  • Drug Vapors

There have been numerous cases of Salt Lake area homes that were previously used in the manufacturing of dangerous drugs such as methamphetamine. When this drug is manufactured in an enclosed space, it seeps into the walls and can stay there for years or decades! New homeowners are especially in need of IAQ testing for this reason.

Indoor Air Quality Improvement

Once an indoor air quality test has been performed, your HVAC professional can eradicate any of the contaminates found to be in the air, and install professional grade equipment to keep the contaminates filtered out so that they do not return. This service is not only recommended for Salt Lake residents, but for residents of any big city that can have problems with pollution. A IAQ check is simple, affordable, fast, and can prevent many negative health effects such as asthma and allergies.

Get Your Salt Lake City Indoor Air Quality Check Today!

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Do You Have An Automotive Problem? Repair It Yourself!


Everyone has to deal with automobile problems at one time or another. Don’t let car breakdowns stress you out. This article is loaded with useful information concerning auto repair. Keep it handy and apply all of the great auto tips and advice the next time your car starts giving you trouble.

Do not assume you have been ripped-off by your mechanic because of the high price of your bill. Some parts are very expensive to replace, including engines, transmission systems or dashboard computers. You should ask your mechanic about the cost of the parts he had to put in your car.

Keep accurate records on what work has been done on your car and when. Many repair shops will keep this information for you, but that only works if you see them for everything for major breakdowns to oil changes. This can help in diagnosing problems, as you can show what fixes have already been attempted.

Learn to recognize the different warning lights on your dashboard. Paying attention to these warnings is always in your best interest. Don’t ignore any dashboard lights that come on, as the problem may grow worse if it’s ignored.

Replacing a charcoal canister is very expensive, but you can easily replace this part yourself. Take off the wheel located under your fuel tank and disconnect the vacuum lines connected to the old canister. The part should then come right off. Install the new one and connect the lines very carefully before installing the wheel again.

Automotive problems are a frustrating and all too common part of life. At some point in time your car will break down on you. Armed with the knowledgeable tips and advice you have learned from reading this article you should be able to handle any minor auto problems yourself and avoid overspending on repairs.

Training Tips For Happy And Obedient Dogs


You can have a peaceful home if you train your dog correctly. Try out a few of the following suggestions. Keep reading to discover the secrets to properly training your dog.

Get your dog into a feeding routine. Training your dog to expect that when fed, once or twice a day, you will be removing the food bowl in 10-15 minutes, will lay down a feeding schedule that your dog will adhere to. Your dog will learn to eat in a few minutes instead of going back to the food bowl all day long.

To ensure success, you must ensure that the crate you are using is appropriate for the size and breed of your pet. Keep in mind that they get larger as they age. Choose a crate that can grow with him. The ideal size would be one that doesn’t make your dog crowded when turning around or laying down.

Try not to reinforce bad behavior in your dog by accident. Withhold treats and attention when your dog exhibits any undesirable behaviors. For instance, if your dog does not sit when commanded, do not rub his head affectionately unless he actually sits.

Every command should be giving with the same tone and volume. Your tone will indicate that you’re serious and to be respected. It will also help him distinguish between a disciplinary tone, which is sharper, and a commanding tone.

Don’t approach a strange dog too quickly. Hold our your hand and slowly move closer. This gives the dog a chance to become accustomed to your personal scent and shows him you mean no harm. The dog will no longer be afraid after he is able to recongnize the scent and may begin to follow commands.

Patience is the greatest virtue in dog training. This will prevent both you and your dog from getting angry and frustrated with the training process. Remember that dogs really want to please their owners, but they got confused because we speak a different language that they do not understand.

Use primary reinforcement when training your dog. In this method the reward you use is something it is natural for your dog to want. Some of the most effective rewards include dog bones, treats and affectionate scratching or petting. This will teach your dog how to get something he already wants.

You can always teach a old dog new tricks. Patience in your training will serve you well. With any luck, your relationship with your dog will now be happier than it has ever been.

How To Get Your HVAC To Work For You

91668151A properly maintained HVAC system will last a long time. If your HVAC is running poorly, this will cost you. To help you understand how to keep your HVAC in good working condition, the article below has many good ideas and solid tips, so keep reading!

Make a circuit around your home before calling for help with your HVAC. Figure out which rooms are hot and cold. That way, the contractor will have an easier time diagnosing the problem and repairing it fast.

By the end of spring, the fan blades and coils of your condenser should be thoroughly cleaned, so operation can proceed with greater efficiency. Be safe and turn off the power supply before working on your HVAC unit. Also, be sure to clear leaves and debris from your condenser unit.

When selecting the spot to put the outdoor compressor for your unit, choose somewhere that gets plenty of shade. If the unit is taking in cooler air, the efficiency will be boosted since it will not need to work as hard.

Put outdoor condensers in the shade. This will ensure cool air is sucked in, meaning less cooling must be done by the unit.

Once it gets cold outside, you should turn off the outdoor condenser unit. To avoid damage, units should be turned off when temperatures are below 60 degrees. This helps the system last much longer and will have to be repaired less often.

A programmable thermostat is a simple way to help save money on air conditioning costs. Programmable thermostats can reduce your power HVAC energy costs by as much as ten percent, just by dialing back your thermostat ten or fifteen percent up to eight daily hours. Plus, some models allow you to control them over the internet or from a smartphone.

This advice should assist you in maintaining and repairing your HVAC system. A malfunctioning HVAC system is not something you want, since that can run up your stress and budget. Keep these tips handy so you can refer to them as needed.

For Serious HVAC Repairs, Service, and Emergencies, Trust Your Local HVAC Contractor for Service:

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