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Protecting Against Sink Leaks and Other Spills

This under sink mat from Xtreme Mats comes in various sizes to best fit your specific cabinet size. As the first line of defense against water damage underneath your sink, we’ve designed and manufactured Xtreme Mats to be unparalleled. Our under sink mats are guaranteed to hold between 1.3 to 3.3 gallons of liquid in case of an accidental spill or a common under sink leak. Prolonged leaks often cause mold and mildew buildup, wreaking havoc on your cabinets and creating a host of ongoing problems you may need to hire professional help handling. That’s why our under sink mats are a perfect solution to catching leaks early and helping prevent the overflow and immediate impact. This doesn’t give mold or mildew doesn’t the chance to grow and it keeps you step ahead of expensive repairs.

Our Xtreme under sink mats are super easy to install and can be removed for a quick cleanup. Mildew and soap scum can be sprayed or scrubbed off and for dry particles, a quick whip of your vacuum will do the trick. These mats aren’t just great at protecting against dangerous liquid hazards, but dust and grime too!

Aside from occasionally wiping down your mat and letting it dry, there is no other maintenance. If your kitchen or bathroom suffers from a cluttered, dirty, or a lack of organization under your cabinets, the under sink mat from Xtreme Mats is the perfect solution. The Xtreme mat lays flat and it will not buckle or curl, making it the perfect organization tray or cover for spotty cabinet bottoms. Available in multiple sizes, with more to be released soon, you can easily find one that fits your needs, though you may need to trim ½ to ¼ of an inch for that perfect fit should you have any piping that comes from the base of the cabinet. 

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Xtreme Mats Under Sink Mat Features

  • Our under sink mat holds 1.3 to 3.3 gallons of liquid in case there is a leak or product spill.
  • These under sink liners from Xtreme Mats feature a modern design and style with no off-gassing and no VOC.
  • Angled sides and a rear wall that will ensure a snug fit.
  • It is made from an eco-friendly and low-density polyethylene construction. This offers flexibility and durability.
  • The mat offers textured surfaces, so items are protected in case there is a leak.
  • It is a combination of a drip tray, a cabinet mat, and a shelf-liner.
  • Ideal for both kitchen and bathroom under sink mats and will also work for laundry room cabinet mats.
  • Designed with a fitted water sensor location on all mat designs. (We recommend installing a water sensor to any mat to monitor small leaks before they grow and stay aware of major leaks exceeding 3.3 gallons).

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Protect against unexpected leaks and spills with an under sink mat from Xtreme Mats so you can have the peace of mind that your bathroom and kitchen cabinets are protected from the dangers of moisture based damage. These mats come with the added bonus of a lifetime warranty and look beautiful in all homes. 

Get the protection of the strongest under sink mat on the market with the added benefits of organization and style today when you order from Xtreme Mats. 

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How to Install a Window AC Unit

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Window air conditioning units are a popular and versatile solution to combating the heat of summer. They can be used as supplements to central AC units, when you want to save energy and only cool certain portions of your home. They are also great for homes without central air, since they are fairly inexpensive, energy efficient, and can be taken with you when you move.

The idea of installing your own window AC unit can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but the process isn’t a complicated one. Here’s what you need to know to install a window air conditioner in your home.

Set-Up Checklist

Before you install a window air conditioning unit in your home, there are several things you’ll want to check.

Are window AC units allowed?

Some areas have restrictions on window AC units. If you live in a single family home, check with your HOA before installing a window air conditioning unit. Other dwelling types that prohibit window AC units for aesthetic or safety reasons can include apartments, townhomes, condos, and office or commercial buildings. Be sure that you understand any restrictions about window AC units in your home before installing one.

Do you have the proper set-up?

Not every window is a good candidate for a window AC unit. You’ll need to find a window that meets several requirements.

  • Window AC units require a double-hung window with a fixed upper pane and sliding lower pane. Other window types won’t safely work with a window AC unit.
  • You’ll need a three-prong outlet near the window. Note: Never use an extension cord for a window air conditioning unit. It can present a serious safety hazard, as well as void the appliance’s warranty.
  • The area inside and outside the window where the AC is positioned should be free from all obstructions within 2 feet of the unit.
  • Ideally, a window air conditioner should be placed in a shady or partially shaded window. Being in direct sunlight reduces the energy efficiency of the unit.

Do you have the right size AC unit?

There are two measurements you’ll need when choosing a window AC unit: the size of the window opening and the size of the room. Air conditioning units are rated to cool a certain amount of space, so you’ll need to ensure you consider both measurements when purchasing your window air conditioning unit.

Do you have someone to help you?

Window AC units can weigh upwards of 100 pounds, and trying to hold it and secure it at the same time can be very dangerous. Be sure you have someone to help you with the install so one person can steady the unit while the other secures it in place.

Installation Process

The process for installing a window AC unit is fairly straightforward and will be the same across most types of units. However, you should always check the owner’s manual provided with your appliance to ensure you understand any specific requirements for your unit and that you’re following all of the recommended safety practices for your specific unit.

Step 1: Prepare the Window

To start, you’ll want to open the window and mark the center of the opening. Next, wipe the opening to clear any dirt, dust, and debris from the inside of the window. If your window air conditioning unit doesn’t include weather stripping (not all of them do), install it now.

Step 2: Assembly

With most units, the side panels will need to be attached before the unit is installed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and secure all screws tightly. By using all the screws provided, you will ensure there aren’t any gaps that could allow warm air to pass through and reduce the efficiency of the AC unit.

Step 3: Install

Now you’re ready to install the AC unit in the window. Remember: It’s best to have two people for this step of the process. Insert the air conditioning unit into the opening and center it on the mark you made in step one. Tightly close the window on the AC unit by sliding the bottom of the window into the slot on the top of the air conditioner. Most AC units require the unit to be slightly tilted toward the outside so the condensation doesn’t leak inside, but instead flows to the drip pan on the outside. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the specifics on the angle required for your unit to operate properly. 

After the unit is securely in place, you’ll want to keep pressure on the window while you install the L-brackets. The L-bracket keeps the open window secured in place so it doesn’t raise up and release the pressure on the AC unit. This ensures the air conditioner remains securely in place and can’t slip out the window.

After securing the L-brackets, you’ll slide the side panels toward the window frame on either side of the AC unit and secure them to the sides of the window to create a complete seal around the air conditioner. 

Some manufacturers include additional braces or more weather stripping, etc with window AC units. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual to see if your specific unit requires any additional installation steps.

Now your window AC unit is properly installed and you can begin enjoying cooler indoor temperatures immediately. 

Maintenance

Window air conditioners require only minimal maintenance to continue operating properly. You’ll need to clean the filter regularly to ensure the unit operates at maximum efficiency. You’ll also want to check the drip pan inside the unit and clean out any standing water from time-to-time to ensure proper drainage and eliminate any possible mold growth. 

Are you struggling to achieve and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home? Call the experts at Hiller for a complete review of your home’s HVAC system. They can help you understand any problem with your current setup and recommend the best solution to get your home’s HVAC functioning at its best and keep your family comfortable inside your home, regardless of the temperatures outside.

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How to Seal Air Leaks to Keep Your HVAC Unit Working Efficiently

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Air leaks are areas where air flows in or out of your home. Air leaks can make it difficult to keep your home’s interior at a controlled temperature and reduce the energy efficiency of your HVAC system by making it work harder than necessary to keep your home at the desired temperature. Forcing your system to work harder will also reduce the life expectancy of your HVAC system and cost you more money in energy bills. By sealing air leaks in your home, you can expect to reduce the time your HVAC system is running and reduce your home’s energy costs.

Here are some areas where air leaks are common in homes and how to fix them.

Attics

Attics are some of the main culprits behind energy loss due to air leaks in homes. A thorough check of your attic will probably reveal a multitude of air leaks that can be sealed to increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Recessed Lights

Recessed lights are a common source of air leaks, because they have vents that open into the attic. Some recessed lights are already sealed to account for this problem. If your lights are designated ICAT (on the label near the bulb), then they’re already sealed. If you don’t see that label, then it’s likely your lights are leaking air and making your HVAC system work harder. Luckily, there’s a simple fix to seal them. You can purchase an airtight baffle that will create a seal and stop air from leaking through the fixture. Baffles take only a few seconds to install and can make a big difference in energy efficiency, especially if you have a lot of recessed lighting in your home.

Flues and Chimneys

For building safety, wood framing can’t rest against flues and chimneys. However, this creates a gap that allows air to leak through. The simplest fix is to cover the gaps with aluminum flashing and seal it with a silicone caulk rated for high temperatures. This will eliminate the air flow while maintaining the safety of your home’s flues and chimneys.

Attic Access

Since the attic access is on the inside of your home, in most cases, there is no seal around the door or hatch. This creates another opportunity for air to leak inside your home. Add foam weather stripping around your home’s attic access to create a seal and eliminate the air leak.

Throughout Your Home

Once you’ve checked the main sources of air leaks in the attic, it’s time to test the remainder of your home.

Gaps

Though you’re less likely to find gaps in the main living areas of your home, gaps and cavities in the attic and basement can account for a big part of air leak problems. For larger gaps (from ¼ inch up to 3 inches), try expandable foam spray. It’s perfect for sealing gaps around areas like plumbing pipes and vents, wiring holes, and behind knee walls. For gaps that are ¼ inch or smaller, weatherproof silicone or acrylic latex caulk is the best choice. You can use it around doors and windows, electrical boxes, and any other small gap that needs to be sealed. 

Windows and Doors

Your home’s windows and doors can be another major source of air leaks, especially if they are older and not as energy efficient as new models. Replacing older windows and doors with new energy-efficient models can have a significant impact on the air flow in your home and reduce the work your HVAC system has to do to keep your home at the right temperature. 

If replacing your home’s old windows and doors isn’t possible at this juncture, you can still reduce the amount of air leaking through them. Take the time to caulk all the windows and doors in your home and add weather stripping. Combined, these two small fixes can add up to big energy savings.

Ducts

Did you know your HVAC system’s ducts can be another source of air leaks? Turn on your HVAC system and systematically check the visible ductwork throughout your home. Seal any leaks you find with HVAC aluminum foil tape and you’ll instantly improve the energy efficiency of your entire HVAC system.

Don’t Fret An Inefficient HVAC System

If you’re concerned that your HVAC system isn’t operating at peak efficiency, you can always call in the experts. Professional HVAC technicians know exactly what to look for when conducting a complete review of your home’s HVAC system and will recommend the most effective solutions for keeping your home a comfortable temperature year-round. The problem may not even be an air leak, but something that those with the expertise are much more attuned to handle.

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Doing It Yourself: What the Professionals Never Neglect in a Plumbing Project

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If you’re getting ready to take on a do-it-yourself plumbing project, you may be wondering if you have everything you need to do the job right. Here are some tips directly from the experts to help you prepare to tackle your next DIY plumbing project.

Get Familiar

Before you start any project, it’s important to have a good overall understanding of the system you’re working with. Take the time to really familiarize yourself with the entire plumbing system, and not just the area in which you’ll be working. Make sure you know where individual shut-offs are located, as well as the main shut-off. Check to see what materials are used throughout the system, so you can be sure to have the right parts. Evaluate the area where you’ll need to make repairs to ensure you have enough room to work, and that you won’t be interfering with any other systems such as HVAC or electrical. 

Documenting everything with photos before you take it apart is also a great habit to get into. If you have photos of everything then you can refer back to those pictures as you’re reassembling the system. It can also help to label all of the pieces that you take apart, especially if you’re planning to reuse any or all of them. It’s easy for parts and pieces to get shuffled around or lost during a repair project, so knowing exactly which piece is missing or broken can save a lot of time and frustration.

Good planning, organization, and doing plenty of research before you begin will help ensure that your upcoming DIY plumbing project proceeds smoothly with fewer surprises.

Technique

Depending on the difficulty of your particular project, there may be a lot of different techniques you need to employ during any type of plumbing repair. Using the correct techniques for the correct repairs is key to successfully completing plumbing projects that function correctly and are long-lasting. 

Tighten Correctly

Tightening connections in the proper way is a major component of plumbing repair. For example, when tightening two hex fittings together, you need to use two wrenches, one on each fitting, to ensure that both are tightened correctly. Otherwise, you run the risk of over-tightening one and under-tightening the other. Over-tightening connections can lead to broken fittings and leaks. Similarly, connections that aren’t tight enough can also create leaks because they lack a proper seal. 

Soldering

Soldering copper pipes is a skill commonly required for plumbing projects. While soldering isn’t difficult, per se, there is a lot of technique involved in getting it done correctly. For example, attempting to solder a pipe with any water in the line will generate steam, which creates pin-holes in the solder. This will result in a leak, and the entire process will have to be redone. 

Another common DIY soldering mistake is to heat the solder, instead of the copper. Really though, the copper needs to be heated to a temperature that melts the solder, so it will flow into the joint and seal it. 

Using proper soldering techniques will ensure your plumbing repair project is watertight and leak-free when you’re finished.

Wrapping Tape

Did you know that Teflon tape must be wrapped clockwise around threads so that it doesn’t unwind as you tighten the fitting? If the tape unwinds, it won’t embed in the threads and seal the fitting, which defeats the purpose of using the tape.

Though they often seem like tiny details, employing proper techniques when making plumbing repairs can make all the difference in achieving a successful result.

Correct Tools and Parts

Just like using the right techniques for a plumbing repair project are essential to getting the job done right, so is having and using the right tools and parts for the job. It can be tempting to save money by trying to complete the project with the tools you have on-hand, or by reusing questionable parts. But not doing the job right can ultimately cost more in the long run, if the repairs don’t hold and you have to do the job again or repair even more damage the next time. So, whether you’re trying to fix a slow draining toilet or install an entire new bathroom, always use the right tools and parts for the job and your DIY project will be much more successful.

Trust the Professionals to Get It Right

If your “little” plumbing repair turns into a big project that feels out of reach for you to complete on your own, you may end up having to simply turn to the real professionals. Don’t worry. It’s not the first time they will get a call like yours, as DIY repairs very often end up going to the plumbing experts when something goes wrong. With time, you may end up becoming an expert yourself though. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.  

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Quick Fixes for a Broken Sink

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When it comes to plumbing, small problems can quickly turn into big disasters, so it’s important to immediately address any plumbing problems you notice. Depending on the exact nature of the problem, a broken sink can be one of the easier plumbing problems for a homeowner to troubleshoot and fix.

Most of these fixes are applicable to any sink, including bathrooms and kitchens, but it’s important to remember that not all plumbing systems are created equally, so not every fix will be applicable to your particular problem. If you have any concerns about the proper repair technique, contact a plumbing expert in your area to help.

Here are some problems you can quickly troubleshoot and repair when you have an issue with your sink.

Broken Faucet

Faucets are one of the most common components of a sink to need repair. Depending on the amount of use, parts can wear out over time and start to leak. Whether you’re dealing with a faucet that drips or a leak at the base of the faucet, the difficulty of the repair will be determined by the type of faucet you have. For common faucet types, parts should be readily available at the local hardware store. If you have a faucet with less common components, you may be facing an expensive and time-consuming repair. In some cases, it can be easier, less time-consuming, and even less expensive to replace a leaky or broken faucet than to fix the damaged one.

Water Leak

Unchecked water leaks can wreak havoc on your home, so it’s vital to repair any leaks as soon as they are found. You’ll want to begin by tracing the source of the leak to find out where it originates. It’s no fun to complete an entire plumbing repair only to later discover that the water was leaking from another point in the plumbing system. The location of the leak will determine the type of repair needed, but the first step is always to stop the water flowing from the leak. Locate the water shut-off that feeds into the line where the leak is and turn it off. After you’ve turned off the water, you can assess the problem and determine the best way to proceed with the repair.

There are several common causes for leaks in sinks.

Faucet

In faucets, leaks are often caused by damaged gaskets and washers. Generally, those parts are easy to replace, though it may sometimes require the faucet to be replaced.

Water lines

Water lines are another common location for water leaks in a sink. Water line leaks are most commonly the result of failed gaskets or loose connections. Unless the line has been damaged, tightening the connection and replacing old gaskets are your best bets for fixing the problem.

P-trap

A p-trap is a curved section of pipe under sinks. It stays filled with water to stop odors from coming back through the pipes. Similar to other leaks, it can be caused by a damaged pipe, loose connection, or worn gasket. P-traps are where clogs commonly occur, so it’s also possible the pipe has been damaged by a clog or previous repair attempts.

Drain

Sometimes the drain can be the culprit behind a sink leak, which can be much more difficult to identify. Drains are usually sealed with plumber’s putty at installation, but if the putty is very old or wasn’t installed properly, it can eventually begin to leak. To stop the leak, you’ll need to remove the drain and replace the plumber’s putty to make the seal watertight.

Damaged caulk

Caulk is often used to create a watertight seal in various areas when sinks are installed. If the caulk is old or damaged, water can leak into different areas. Caulk is easy to replace and should be redone if you notice it’s in poor shape.

If you’ve checked all the common culprits and can’t find the source of a leak, don’t wait to call in the pros. An unmitigated water leak can cause serious problems in your home if it isn’t repaired quickly and correctly.

Clogged Drain

A clogged drain is one of the most common plumbing problems homeowners face. Over time, hair, soap scum, and other materials can build up in the pipes and block the drain. This results in either the sink draining slowly or not at all. The most effective way of clearing a blocked drain is to use an auger. They are relatively inexpensive and can be used easily without damaging the plumbing system. Chemical drain cleaners are another option, but they can result in damage to the plumbing system, if used incorrectly. Be sure to understand the type of plumbing system you have and ensure any chemicals are compatible with your home’s materials before using any type of drain cleaning chemicals. Performing regular proactive drain cleaning with baking soda and lemon juice or vinegar will help maintain your pipes and reduce clogs.

Getting Help for the Sink Repair

As a homeowner, there are a lot of problems that can crop up within your home’s plumbing system. If you enjoy being a DIY-er, then you may want to attempt some of these repairs yourself from time-to-time. However, if that “small” broken sink repair turns into a big project that needs the expertise of a professional, then it may be time to call on some expert plumbing technicians.

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