Every homeowner should know the location of the water, gas and electric shut off. And more importantly, how to turn them off.

It was my first house, we had moved across the country and were not present during the home inspection. To make things worse, I didn't READ the home inspectors report describing the shut off locations. After ripping up carpets and painting, my wife suggested changing out the bathroom faucets. I said that should not be a problem since I have completed many DIY projects in the past. When I removed the bathtub faucet in the second floor bathroom, water started shooting from the open pipe into the back of the tub. That's when I realized something even more horrifying, I did not know where the water shut off valve was. Was it at the street? Maybe in the basement? In my haste, I shut off the water and the gas in the basement. It was fortunate we had a home warranty. We paid the service call fee for the technician to come out and turn on the gas and light the furnace and water heater. While he was there, he pointed out the location of the gas and water shut off valves. It was a lesson learned the hard way.

Know where your shut off locations are before you need them. It's a terrible feeling trying to find them in a panic.

As spring approaches, many homeowners consider undertaking spring projects or renovations. It is important to know the materials in your home prior to your renovations. At times a renovation may expose dangerous substances the average homeowner is unaware of. 

One prevalent substance most homeowners are not aware of is asbestos. Asbestos was commonly used in many household items like flooring, ceiling tiles, siding, roof shingles, insulation, duct wrap and pipe insulation. If your home was built before 1980 you may find or uncover asbestos in some of the before mentioned items.

According to the EPA, not all asbestos containing products are dangerous. Products with binders, such as cement board and roof shingles, encapsulate or immobilize the fibers. Products that are friable, such as pipe insulation and duct wrap are more easily crumbled which creates airborne dust. It is when these friable fibers are released into the air that asbestos becomes dangerous. Exposure to asbestos can cause serious respiratory and health hazards.

If the asbestos containing material is in good condition, leave it alone. If the asbestos containing material is becoming damaged or friable (airborne), or will be removed during renovation, contact an asbestos professional for consultation.

Removal or handling of asbestos is not a DIY project. Always hire a licensed and insured professional. 


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