Archive for the ‘DIY & How-To’ Category

How to stay within your home improvement budget

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by admin No Comments

If you are considering making any upgrades to your home, you will first need to sit down and come up with a budget. This can often be one of the most difficult parts of the entire process, as the amount of money you decide you can spend will literally guide each and every design and improvement decision that you make. No matter the size of the project, whether you are simply painting the walls or need something more extensive – such as installing a new plumbing system – done, the budget is key to everything.

Here are a few guidelines for staying within your set costs:

  • Build in unforeseen expenses: No matter what the size of the project, there will likely be costs that you encounter along the way that were not originally included in any contractor estimates. In order to prevent a financial catastrophe, you should pad the numbers with at least a few hundred extra dollars to prevent last-minute scrambling.
  • Do your research: Before committing to one price or estimate, you should shop around different contractors or suppliers before deciding on someone to hire. That way, you will know you are getting the fairest possible price that will work within your budget.
  • Tackle one project at a time: If there are multiple jobs you want completed in your home, it might not be the most financially sound decision to get them done all at once. Taking a piecemeal approach and only focusing on one or two at a time could be very beneficial.

If you are thinking about making any improvements to your household, schedule an appointment with John C. Flood, Inc. to learn more about our Virginia contractor services.

How to save money and improve your home’s efficiency

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by admin No Comments

If you are thinking about renovating any area of your home, one of the most important things you should be focused on is how much energy the space consumes. This is especially true if your home is more than a few decades old, as it is likely using up more electricity and power than it needs to. In fact, there are a variety of ways you can make your household a more energy-efficient space, from installing new windows to having curtains installed in each and every room. While all of your options might seem a little bit staggering, we're here to help you make the best decisions for your place!

You don't need to break the bank in order to successfully redesign your home. In fact, some of the best ways you can live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle are also the least expensive. One of the hidden benefits of being more aware of your effect on the atmosphere will be an increase in the overall value of your household, as well as immediate savings on your monthly utility payments. Stop spending unnecessary amounts of money on power that is just going to waste when you can make a few simple changes yourself or with the help of a trained professional.

Here are a few tips for creating an energy-efficient home during your next remodel:

  • Open your windows: While this might be a simplistic solution, it is one that will prove to be the most effective. Summer is now winding down, with temperatures across the country now falling to comfortable and reasonable levels. If you want to ease the strain on your home's air conditioning system, you should shut it off and open up your windows. Not only will the cool air keep your home enjoyable to be in, you will not be spending nearly as much money in your energy bills.
  • Water heater: If you really want to cut down on the money you spend each month, the hot water system in your home is a great place to begin looking. The easiest way to do this is by turning down the temperature and keeping it at 120 degrees, as this will keep the water hot without wasting energy. The pipes going to and from the machine should also be well-insulated so they do not cool off as quickly in between uses. Also, if it is more than 10 years old, you should consider investing in a new one.
  • Windows: These days, there are many different types of windows that can be installed in your home. Whether you want to replace your old windows with thicker glass or a new and interesting shape, you will find exactly what you need! Windows are designed to last at least a decade, but after that time period they lose their ability to insulate your home and keep the warm or cool air inside. Think about your own windows and how long they have been with you – is it time for a replacement? Chances are, the answer is a resounding yes.

If you are interested in remodeling your home, whether or not it is for energy-efficient purposes, be sure to schedule an appointment with a Maryland contractor from John C. Flood, Inc. today! We offer a wide range of services that will make your household more environmentally-friendly and save you money.

Common home hazards to be aware of

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Everybody should feel safe in their home, but the truth is there could be hidden hazards that might end up having a detrimental impact on your health, or even the health of the house. In order to make sure that your household is in the best condition possible, there are certain things that you should be on the lookout for, particularly if the building is more than a few decades old. Homes that are older are more vulnerable to damage, but all homeowners should vigilantly watch out for these harmful aspects.

Here are a few home hazards to be on the lookout for:

  • Air quality: If you suffer from allergies or asthma, the air within your home can often be a part of the problem. Keep what you breathe free from microscopic irritants by opting for hardwood floors and investing in house plants for each room.
  • Cracked foundation: This can lead to a whole host of issues for you down the road, so be sure to have any cracks in the foundation of your home dealt with as soon as they are spotted.
  • Lead: Although all homes these days are not decorated with lead paint on the walls, that doesn't mean it is not a real issue for many. If your home was constructed before the 1980s, you should have the place inspected by a professional to ensure there is no lead paint present.
  • Mold: If you live in a particularly moist environment, your home will be very susceptible to mold and mildew growing in the walls. Keeping the air inside your home at the appropriate levels of humidity will ensure mold does not become an issue.

If you are looking for an Alexandria contractor to help fix up your home, be sure to contact John C. Flood, Inc. today!

3 low-cost ways to make improvements to your home

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 by admin No Comments

When it comes to making improvements to your home, deciding on where to start can often be an overwhelming part of the process. In fact, planning out the changes you want to make to each room and setting a budget for the entire project is often one of the most difficult tasks you will have to complete. Luckily, there are no shortage of jobs that you can embark on in your house in order to upgrade the space, all without having to break the bank. In fact, some of the best home improvement projects are also the least expensive.

Here are a few low-cost ways you can upgrade your household:

  • Add new storage: Nothing is more frustrating than needing to put something away only to discover that you have no room to house it. Don't overlook the importance of a closet being expanded by a professional in order to accommodate all of your possessions.
  • Improve lighting: One way you can improve your home is by making sure there is enough lighting. Adding some new lamps, or even having a contractor come in to have new fixtures installed on the ceiling or in the walls, can really brighten up a space and make it more enjoyable to be in.
  • Paint: Nothing can dramatically alter the look of a space more than walls that are a new color. If it has been a few years since the last coat was added to the walls – or you have just grown tired of that color that is there – you should take some time over the weekend to add a fresh layer. You can even pick out new throw pillows or blankets to match!

If you are looking for a highly-qualified Alexandria contractor, schedule an appointment with John C. Flood, Inc. today!

3 ways to reduce the noise pollution in your home

Posted on: August 14th, 2014 by admin No Comments

When it comes to enjoying our homes, there is something that everybody universally desires – peace and quiet. Whether you are somebody who works from home during the day or just likes to unwind and relax after running errands, our houses should be sanctuaries from the rest of the world. The problem with this often is noise – conversations being had by neighbors, cars honking their horns and dogs barking and running around the street. All of this can create noise pollution in your home, which can in turn make you tense or anxious in a space where you are supposed to relax.

Here are a few home improvement tips to reduce the noise in your household:

  • Carpets: One of the easiest ways to cut down on the noise that enters your home is by investing in area rugs. Concrete and hardwood do not absorb sound waves, so installing rugs on top of your existing floor – with sound-absorbing padding underneath – can work wonders for reducing the noise level.
  • Drapes: Another great way to make sure that your house remains as quiet as possible is by purchasing thick drapes or curtains for your windows. This will cut out the noise before it even has a chance to enter your home, with thicker material much more effective at absorbing any sounds from the outside than sheers.
  • Windows: If the windows in your home are more than a decade old, they should be replaced for a variety of reasons, one of which is that there can be holes and leaks around them that will let in sound. New windows will not only cut down on the noise but will also help reduce your monthly energy bills.

If you are planning on making any upgrades to your home and are in need of a Maryland contractor, contact John C. Flood, Inc. today!

3 ways to prevent mold in your home

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 by admin No Comments

When it comes to owning a home, many people aren't prepared for the litany of issues that can come up. One of the worst that can happen is a mold infestation, which can severely effect the entire building. There are plenty of ways that a residence can become a breeding ground for mold, but the truth is that it can be prevented as long as you are able to successfully stay one step ahead of it. You don't want to wait until it is too late to take action against harmful bacteria.

Here are a few tips for keeping your home free from mold:

  • Keep air flowing: Mold loves stale air, so you should always be having fresh air circulating around your house. Whether this is through your air conditioner or just by opening a window, having fresh air filling a room constantly will reduce the chances of mold.
  • Run your AC: For mold to successfully grow in your home, it needs an environment that is both damp and humid. By keeping your air conditioner on throughout the day and night, the machine will actually dehumidify the space, making it much harder for the mold to multiply.
  • Stop any leaks: Having water leak in your walls is a surefire way for mold to be present, so it's important for you to check all of your pipes regularly for any stray water. If you do find any water leaking, be sure to stop it as soon as you can.

If you are facing any kind of serious problem in your home and are in need of an Alexandria contractor, be sure to schedule an appointment with John C. Flood, Inc. today!

Cold Weather Tips for You and Your Home

Posted on: January 6th, 2014 by christhompson No Comments

With the temperatures in the Metro Washington, DC and Northern Virginia areas expected to drop to the single digits this evening and in the teens all day tomorrow many homes will be susceptible to issues in their homes due to the extreme cold weather. Here are some home heating and plumbing tips to follow to help us all get through this extreme cold front.

Cold Home Plumbing Tips:

  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
  • If you haven’t already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to safely thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.

Cold Home Heating Tips:

  • Below 35F degrees it is normal to see some frost on an outdoor HP unit.
  • Frost is keyword though. Heavy amounts of ice is different.
  • We DO NOT recommend trying to de-ice with mechanical tools.
  • De-ice with hot water (not very effective when it’s cold though).
  • De-ice naturally. Shut HP unit OFF, and go into EM HEAT at thermostat.
  • We recommend using EM HEAT temporarily (aka: Emergency Heat), or until weather temperatures are back above 40F.
  • Dirty Filters, dirty coils, low refrigerant (Puron or Freon), bad fan motors; can all be causes for HP’s not to work properly.
  • When snowing and/or freezing rain it is highly likely a HP unit will freeze. Definitely recommend EM Heat in those situations.

Following these tips can keep you and your family comfortable and safe during this artic blast of cold air on its way as well as save you on potentially expensive repairs and service.

The benefits of a universal shower

Posted on: November 13th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Universal showers, which are designed for ease of access, are often seen as a feature of homes meant for older or disabled occupants. The fact is, however, that anyone can injure themselves in the shower. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 there were over 234,000 injuries in the bathroom, and 81 percent of these were caused by falls. For this reason, homeowners of any age should contact a Washington DC bath remodeling contractor who can make their bathrooms, and particularly their showers and bathtubs, safer and more accessible.

Some of the additions you may want to consider include:

  • Grab Bars: These give those taking a shower or bath more leverage when trying to stand up, and they provide something to hold on to when stepping out of the shower.
  • Non-Slippery Flooring: Many bathtubs lack any kind of friction that could prevent slipping and falling. Having your bath remodeling contractor install tiles or strips to reduce the risk of slipping is a good idea. You can also purchase adhesive strips if you don't want to replace the enamel or tile that is already there.
  • Seating: While most people tend to stand when they're taking a shower, it's worth considering whether or not to install a recessed bench for those who lack stability.

John C. Flood, Inc. specializes in Maryland and Virginia bath remodeling, so if you're interested in finding out what it would take to make your bathroom safer for you and your family, give us a call today and we can provide you with an estimate.

Remodeling market index up

Posted on: October 29th, 2013 by admin No Comments

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has released its quarterly Remodeling Market Index (RMI), and the results indicate that the home renovation is continuing to improve after several years of declines due to the recession. The RMI rose two points in the third quarter to 57, which was the highest rating since 2004.

"The growth in home equity and home sales prompted home owners to remodel as they prepare to move or undertake upgrades that they put off during tough times," Bill Shaw, NAHB Remodelers Chairman and a remodeler from Houston, said in a press release. "NAHB Remodelers looks forward to continuing our tradition of professional service and craftsmanship as the housing recovery makes progress."

The RMI is conducted on a quarterly basis and surveys 2,000 home builders across the country on their perception of the home renovation market. A score higher than 50 means that more builders felt the market was improving than getting worse. The Index takes into account both current conditions, as well as expected conditions for the future.

Many homeowners put off improvement projects after the stock market crash of 2008 and subsequent economic downturn. The NAHB believes the steady improvement in index numbers is partly the result of many residents deciding to embark on those previously delayed renovations. 

If you've been holding off on calling a Virginia plumbing contractor or remodeler due to less than ideal economic conditions, you may want to consider revisiting that project now that the situation has improved. We recommend calling John C. Flood, Inc. today to discuss your idea and what options are available that can make your house a better place to live for you and your family.

Identifying septic trouble early

Posted on: August 20th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Around this time of year, when were getting ready to wind down our summers and prepare for fall, the toll that summer overuse might have had on your plumbing may be starting to show.

There are several ways to tell if you have a problem in your septic system. The first and most apparent sign is if you have sewage backing up into your house. This indicates some kind of blockage between your house and the leach field.

Another way of telling if your septic system is in trouble is if you smell sewage outside your house. If this occurs, along with damp or soggy soil, or even visible ponds, you may have a serious fault in your system that is preventing it from draining properly. You should definitely consider calling professionals before the problem gets any worse.

There are a few courses of action available to you if you believe there's a blockage in the system. Firstly, you can try Septic shock treatments, which are powerful, fast-acting and usually very affordable. However there is no guarantee, depending what your problem actually is, that shock treatment will work. You can also hire an experienced plumber to provide a maintenance regimen to repair and reverse the damage.

The third option, which may want to give thought to if your system is close to or more than thirty years old, is a total replacement. Although expensive and temporarily inconvenient, older systems will probably end up costing you more in repairs and having the replacement done now while the weather is still nice is better than the potential unpleasantness of having to deal with it in the dead of winter.

If you need an experienced plumber in Fairfax VA, call John C. Flood. Our local technicians are available to deal with all your Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland plumbing needs. 


Make sure your plumbing can keep up with the summer demand

Posted on: July 10th, 2013 by admin No Comments

If you have children, then you know that during the summer vacation, everything in your house gets a special workout. The faucets are on more, the toilet is flushed often and even the washing machine has a lot more work to do as kids will tear through clothes faster than they would've in school.

Make sure that with this added demand being placed on your plumbing that you're proactive in stopping any problems before they start. This usually just comes down to good maintenance and knowing what to check for.

With your washing machines, check your hoses for kinks, cracks and bulges. Hoses should be replaced about every three years. Don't leave home while it's running and remember to always check for leaks. Try to move it off of the wall a little so the hose doesn't bend and crease.

Toilets will clog at some point - it's nearly unavoidable. Usually you can clear these up using a simple plunger or drain snake. If these don't work, however, call a professional. To reduce the risk of a badly clogged toilet, ask your kids to use a very moderate amount of toilet paper.

If you get lots of rain this summer, you may also have to deal with sewer line backups. Excess rainwater can make its way into your sewer line through cracks and cause this problem. If you also have large trees with spreading roots you may face the possibility of an outright sewer main rupture.

If one of these situations does arise, take immediate action and call the Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland plumbing experts, John C Flood. We have the experience and know-how to fix all your most difficult summer plumbing needs. We're local so give us a call and or technicians will be there to fix your emergency quickly and correctly. 

It’s going to get hot…is your A/C ready?

Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by christhompson No Comments

It’s going to get warm the next few days, so many of you will be putting your A/C system to the full test. Here are a few informative blog post links regarding your A/C system with helpful tips, tricks and DIYs to help keep you and your family cool.

How a ground-fault circuit interrupter works

Posted on: May 15th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Before the introduction of the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) power outlet in the United States, nearly 800 people a year died from household electrocutions. Now that this kind of outlet is standard in most new construction, that number has dropped down to roughly 200 fatalities annually.

Basically, GFCIs de-energize a circuit when they detect a ground current to prevent a potentially deadly electrical flow from passing from the outlet through an individual holding onto the device. These outlets are extremely common in most homes and are especially useful for higher voltage appliances.

It's easy to recognize a GFCI as they are found in most buildings with up-to-date electrical layouts. When you look at a normal 120-volt outlet in the United States, there are two vertical slots and then a round hole centered below them. The left slot, which is slightly larger, is "neutral," the right slot is called "hot" and the hole is called "ground." All of the electricity goes back and forth between the hot and neutral prong, while the ground acts to regulate flow. 

If there is ever an imbalance in the flow, the round ground prong will detect it and trip the circuit in a fraction of a second – hopefully enough time to prevent electrocution.

Your home or business should at the very least have GFCI outlets on the walls as a safety precaution. If your house's electrical wiring isn't up to date, contact an experienced Washington, DC electrician like the kind found at John C. Flood to have the space upgraded as soon as possible.

Toot our own horn here at John C. Flood

Posted on: April 30th, 2013 by christhompson No Comments

With more and more people having access to the Internet through either their PC and/or their Smartphone’s it’s becoming easier for consumers to provide useful feedback via online review sites.

Now as you can imagine this is a double-edged sword for most companies, in particular service companies.  It’s inevitable you will receive both positive and negative reviews posted for everyone to research and view online.

Now like most of you, I am a consumer who often uses the internet to research potential vendors and reviews posted by customers to determine if you want to hire the company.

It’s with this in mind that we would like to toot our own horn a little, now that’s not to say we didn’t receive some poor reviews during the past 12 months, but overall we are kicking butt!

From April 30, 2012 through April 29, 2013

  • Number of jobs completed – 19,810
  • Number of negative reviews – 4*
  • B Rating from Angieslist
  • A- Rating from the Better Business Bureau

* Data pulled from Insiderpages, Yelp, AngiesList and Better Business Bureau for 12 month time period for John C. Flood of VA.

Again there are two John C. Flood’s so keep that in mind. We are not the John C. Flood of DC based in Washington, DC. We are based in Alexandria, VA as well as Brentwood, MD.