Summer Cleaning with the Odd Job Team: Cleaning Your Home

Summer Cleaning with the Odd Job Team

Why are we talking about summer cleaning? When did that become a thing?

Why are we offering a 10% discount on junk removal services until September 22? Have we gone mad? 

summer cleaning

“Spring cleaning” is a part of the international lexicon.

It’s been entered into prestigious dictionaries, it’s the subject of classes, and voices such as Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey regularly remind us of its importance.

Few think of summer as the season to declutter. Don’t worry about me!

The children are out of school but you aren’t out of work, and if you are, you’d rather be going to Cuba than Lowes.

Why Summer Cleaning?

kidsoverSummer is arguably the best time to regularly clean your home.

It’s the time when your children will be spending much more time there, and when you’ll probably have many visitors around their age.

Without intending to pass judgment, Generation Z isn’t known for being understanding. They’re known for telling good stories, however, and you don’t want the neighbourhood know that you’re house “should have been on Hoarders.

Furthermore, the constant presence of children in your home will naturally lead to some messes you wouldn’t see in spring. Think grass-stained clothes and fallout from backyard parties, among many other things.

You’re going to be tackling issues like these head on, and do you really want to do this with clutter looming in the background? You have more than enough to deal with.

Summer Discount

junk removalOur company motto is: “You can do it yourself, but you don’t have to.”

No matter how you approach it, summer cleaning isn’t the best way to spend your vacation. That’s probably why it’s never become a ‘thing.’ The Odd Job Team would like to change that.

Until September 22, we are offering a special 10% discount on all junk removal requests. Book now and reclaim your space.

Unique Problems

Caulking 1

One inevitable downside to summer is that your shower usage is going to significantly increase. At least some of this use is going to be by your children, more than likely covered in dirt after hours of adventure.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan

This presents you with two problems. Firstly, more showers means more bathroom moisture. Unless it’s properly addressed, this creates a perfect breeding ground for mould and mildew.

Ensure that air is flowing into the room and this won’t be an issue. The most effective solution is to install a bathroom exhaust fan and turn it on after each shower.

Secondly, the increased amounts of dirt in your shower stall will be caked into the tiling and completely destroy their beauty. In both cases, the tiling will need to be re-caulked.

Did you know about our four-hour offer? Book four hours of service and we’ll re-caulk your bathtub for free. 

Quality of Space is Quality of Life

junk removal 3

It’s often said that clutter creates stress, and in 2012 a study conducted by U.C.L.A. may have proven this. In July 2012, UCLA Magazine boldly asserted that we live in a “clutter culture.” 

Studying thirty-two Los Angeles families, the researchers made some disturbing conclusions. Writing in the Huffington Post, authors Barbara and Shannon Kelley reported on the psychological effects of our addiction to stuff:

“Cortisol data show a link between unhappy verbal characterizations of arrays of household possessions [chronically messy, cluttered rooms or unfinished remodeling projects] and higher stress level as measured by the hormone cortisol in the MOTHERS in the study,” UCLA professor of anthropology Jeanne Arnold, one of the founding faculty of the CELF project, wrote in an email.

Summer is a time for fun, friends and family, not stress or depression. Call (416) 520-1161 or book our team online, and take advantage of our special discount.

Summer cleaning isn’t just about maintaining your home.

It’s about maintaining your peace.

Home Maintenance Tips from Handymen

Home Maintenance Tips from Handymen

home maintenance tips

A home is only as good as the one who maintains it.

A homeowner’s work is never truly done. Even after all the necessary repairs and improvements have been made, your house will not stay perfect.

Many people, particularly those buying a home for the first time, find year-round maintenance to be quite daunting. One homeowner went as far as to say that “doing home maintenance work is kind of like getting a filling – without Novocain.” Yikes!

We interviewed members of our team and collected a few home maintenance tips that we hope will kill the pain this summer!

Exterior Paint – Matchmaking

Members of our team conduct a thorough review of their homes’ exterior, from the foundation to the roof, at the beginning of every summer. It isn’t exactly summertime fun, but the warmer months allow paint to dry more easily.

If the damage is too widespread, having the entire structure professionally repainted may be the best option.

Here’s exactly what to look for (click to zoom): 

              Blistering                                 Peeling                               Cracking

Paint Cracking

You’re more likely to find small areas that need to be touched up. When we started collecting home maintenance tips from our team, we thought this might be a timely place to start. How can you touch up your home like a professional handyman?

Not only can you do this in a weekend, but many professional painting services will refuse to. They fear that nonmatching paint colours will result in imperfect results. For homeowners, there is a simple solution:

(a) If you have the paint can, take it to the paint store and they’ll easily be able to recreate the colour based on the label.

(b) If you don’t, remove a few chips and take them to the store. They’ll be able to recreate the colour using computer-based paint matching software.

Once you have the matching paint, paint a test patch and allow it to dry. If there are no noticeable differences, you’re free to proceed. Where’s the Novocaine?

Decks – The Splash Test

Splash Test 2

It’s every homeowner’s fantasy to spend the warm nights in your backyard, enjoying a few glasses with friends. This is why a well-maintained deck, on average, has a return on investment of more than 80%. 

That’s right. Whether you know it or not, your deck is an investment, and one of the best ways of protecting it is staining.

While different stains have different strengths and weaknesses, all protect your deck from water, sunlight, and mold and mildew.

The stain creates a ‘film’ around or beneath the surface of the deck, and this effectively shields it. In other words, it does much of the work of maintenance for you – and it looks like this:

staineddeck

The website Deck Stain Help has provided a detailed overview of the options available.

Staining isn’t a magic bullet, however. Every 2-3 years, your deck will need to be re-stained. When asking the team for home maintenance tips, they described a very easy method known as “the splash test.”

Splash a little water on the deck, and observe:

(a) If the water appears to penetrate the surface of the deck, then it is time to re-stain.

(b) If instead you see it bead up like so, then this means that it is effectively repelling water and is still in working order.

Goodbye novocaine, hello novostain! 

Front Door – Fresh Face

Front Door - Before After

Your front door is arguably one of the most important parts of your home’s exterior. First impressions are everything, and this is where that crucial battle is won or lost.

According to Better Homes & Gardens: “Your home’s front entry is the focal point of its curb appeal.”

Contractor Scott Sidler put it this way: “The front door is the only part of your house that anyone will stand and stare at, with nothing else to do.”

Unfortunately, your front door is also used multiple times every day and is constantly subjected to the elements. This includes rain, snow, direct sunlight and environmental moistures, as well as sand and dirt blowing in the wind.

Glossy Door

Let it shine!

In other words, your front door shares many enemies with your deck. There is a similar solution as well.

According to Home Depot, a new coat of paint will protect exterior parts of your home from “moisture, fading and temperature changes.”

They recommend using a glossy paint, as it is hard, durable and easy to clean – in other words, low maintenance

Another way to accomplish this is to replace your front door with a steel unit. Steel doors are easier to clean and maintain than any other type. In our article Pick Your Door, we briefly looked at the many reasons why you may want a steel door.

Some manufacturers will even coat the door in a weather-resistent material, usually paint, as well as a layer of zinc oxide, which prevents rust and corrosion.

Make it Easy

Odd Job Mobile Workshop

Maintaining your home is indeed the task that never ends. No amount of effective shortcuts will truly change that. Well, except one.

Make a single call to (416) 520-1161 or fill out this simple form and you will have booked a visit with what a representative at Royal LePage described as “a professional chore elimination team.”

That’s right. While some view home maintenance as a colossal headache, “the small stuff” is our company specialty. Book today and reclaim your free time!

 

Free Bathtub Caulking – Four-Hour Offer

Free Bathtub Caulking – Four-Hour Offer

bathtub caulking - before after

Effective June 17, we are offering a free bathtub caulking – silicone and up to 20 linear feet – to everyone who calls and books four hours of handyman service.

Why would you call us to take care of your “to-do”  list? Why would you want us to recaulk your bathtub?

Professional Service

DSC_0008

When you book with Odd Job, you’re receiving professional service. No secret charges, no rushed work, no unmarked vans, and no chance that you can’t reach us.

Instead, you have fully licensed, insured and background-checked professionals, transparent rates, a full-time office staff you can contact from 9 through 5, identifiable vehicles, and a professional team – fully licensed, bonded, insured, and two-year warranty on all general repairs.

We’re offering free bathtub caulking because we view our clients as friends and neighbours. There is a high demand for this service – and for you folks, we’re happy to meet it.

What can we do in four hours? You’d be very surprised.

All in Four Hours

Handyman Clock

We try to show our clients love in as many ways as possible, and one of them is one-hour minimum, the lowest in the industry.

This is partly because we specialize in “the odd jobs” – small maintenance and repair issues that can often be completed within the hour. Bathtub caulking, for example, shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes.

Four-Hour Projects

What do they all have in common? They can all be wrapped up in less than an hour. 

How many “odd jobs” can you fit into a four-hour time window? Here are the rough timelines for some of our most popular service requests:

Hanging

Hanging Art D

Every month, we’ve received hundreds of requests to hang artwork, family photos, and displays. Almost without exception, these projects are completed within a single hour and usually under half an hour.

Furniture Assembly

Furniture Assembly - Before After

Don’t worry – you’re not the only one who starts descending into insanity when they see manuals that look like this. We know because we also receive countless of calls and e-mails requesting our furniture assembly services.

Almost always, these projects are completed in less than an hour.

Mounting a TV

large tv mounted

Let’s face it: who among us doesn’t want to watch TV in bed? Our team has done a lot of this work, and from experience we can say that it never takes more than two hours.

On average, a standard television (40” – 50”) can usually be mounted in 45 minutes. With larger units, it can often take as long as an hour and fifteen minutes. If the wall is hollow, the team may need to reinforce the mounting area with drywall and this will naturally extend the timeline.

Fixtures

Hands of professional Plumber with a water tap and wrench.

Is your faucet leaking from the base? Is it only running hot or cold water? Or does it just keep running? It happens.

Bathroom and kitchen fixtures – faucets, shower heads, drains – usually require maintenance over the years. Sometimes, however, it’s best to replace and update your fixtures entirely. These projects can easily be completed within the hour.

Replacing the supply hose of a faucet, for example, takes less than 15 minutes on average.

Replacing the shutoff valve almost never takes more than half an hour, and if it is a quick connect, then it will likely be well under that.

The Clock is Ticking

Freshly Caulked Tub

Our premium bathtub caulking services are of the highest quality in the city, and now you can see for yourself – free of charge.

Don’t wait – it’s time to say goodbye to your chores today. You’d be very surprised at how much of your “to-do” list we can clear within four hours.

Book our team today and take advantage of this amazing offer while it’s still on the table.

Pick Your Door.. Any Door!

Pick Your Door.. Any Door!

pick your door

First impressions are everything. We’ve all said it and so has science. There’s every reason to believe that the rule applies to homes as much as it does to people. Every real estate agent lives by this principle, and the entire field of home staging exists because of it. The only reason Odd Job has built such an impressive family of commercial and residential clients is because we provide them consistently excellent service.

If someone is visiting you, what is the first thing they notice when they walk up to your door? You guessed it. Your front door isn’t simply a point of entry and exit. It’s a key part of your home’s curb appeal – many home designers say that it’s the first part of your home’s exterior that people notice! 

What’s more, it’s the perfect project for winter. Many of us have already turned on our heating systems, and are looking for ways to reduce heat loss in our homes. The time is now to repair and upgrade the entrances to your home – a field your friends at Odd Job have specialized in since 2008

If you want your home to give people a great first impression, you should start upgrading where they start looking. In the mean time, you want to With that in mind, I think the best place to start is to pick your door.

Beginning the Search

front doors

When you begin your search for a door, you should be considering a number of factors. I know, it’s that amazing first impression that you’re looking for – and you’ll get it. When you pick your door, however, you should also be thinking about energy efficiency and security.

Curb appeal, energy efficiency and security are in fact the three most common reasons why people have older doors replaced. The newer models make it much more difficult for intruders – whether they come in the form of human beings or just the freezing cold air – from gaining access to your home.

Energy Star

Before you pick your door, make sure it has Energy Star’s seal of approval!

Energy Star – a program initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – aims to help “businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.” Replacing your doors, windows and skylights with products approved by Energy Star “can reduce your energy bills up to 15%.” This is because they have a special coating that works “like sunscreen for your house.”

So in the interests of safety, aesthetics, the environment, and your pocketbook, let’s pick your door. You deserve a new one!

French Doors

French Doors - Gorgeous

French doors.. they’re classy, they’re stylish and it’s always been that way. Their timeless beauty is only the main reason why you should consider them when you pick your door.

French Doors - GreatThey’re sometimes referred to as windows because they serve precisely the same function. The wood frame connects a ‘net’ of large glass frames that allow natural light to kiss your home’s interior and highlight its beauty to the world. This transparency also allows homeowners an ideal view of the great outdoors.

The downside to this marvelous view is that it takes considerable time and effort to maintain. The panels must be cleaned regularly, and the door itself requires thorough weatherproofing.

Like so many beautiful things, French doors are very delicate. If you’re confident that you can maintain them, they would be an excellent choice and we’d be happy to install them for you. If you need one but don’t have the time, energy or knowledge to maintain it, we can help you there too.

Panel DoorsMoulded Panel Doors

Sometimes classy means classical, and few things better embody that style than a panel door. Usually coming with four, six or eight panels – one of them often used for a window insert – they’re traditional to the core, and definitely an option to keep in mind when you pick your door. After all, who hasn’t dreamed that they would one day open a door exactly like this to their picture-perfect home? This is a dream door.

DSCN1069There is beauty in simplicity, and in this case the proof is in the panels. Framed by stiles and rails, the panels form elegant patterns. No matter which way it swings, you have a piece of woodwork art inside your home and one that serves a very a practical function. And as with all other woodwork, you can easily get one hand-crafted and have absolute control over both its size and the design.

The downside to all of this is that wood is very vulnerable to direct sunlight, moisture, and hot and cold temperatures – in other words, the conditions that your door is constantly subjected to. Be sure that your panel door is insulated – they usually aren’t – and maintain it well.

As with French doors, maintaining a panel door is going to require considerable time and effort. If you lack the time, talent and tools, give us a call at (416) 520-1161 and we’d be happy to help.

Fiberglass Doors

beautiful fiberglass doors

The fiberglass door has all the appearances of a traditional wood panel door – only it’s much more durable, more energy efficient and often much less expensive. If you want all the charms of wood without the burden of regular maintenance, then you may have found your door.

fiberglass exterior door 2Unlike wood, fiberglass isn’t going to crack, split, rot or warp. Inside every fiberglass door is a core of polyurethane foam, and because of this they have five times the insulative qualities of wood doors. An stark contrast to wood doors, fiberglass doors fare very well against the weathereven in heavy rain, snow and high humidity.

Because of the insulation, they’re also much more energy efficient, and usually less expensive than wood doors. In other words, you – the homeowner – will save save money in both the short term and the long term. These doors usually carry a limited lifetime warranty – if the door was poorly designed and the materials don’t work as they’re supposed to, you’re covered for life.

So where’s the downside? Well, from a design perspective there’s no replacement for the rustic feel of real wood. Furthermore, if the door is stained improperly then there will be no illusion at all and the door will look like plastic. Avoid this by buying your fiberglass door pre-finished. Not every dealer offers this option, but it won’t be too difficult to find one that will.

Steel Doors

Steel Door 1

If you’re still not ready to pick your door, let’s take a look at an entirely different style sense. Wood panel doors offer a quaint rustic charm, steel doors are attractively modern.

Once painted, their solid, smooth surface will gleam in the sun and the finish will look truly extraordinary.

Facade-3-Large-500x500

Steel doors are also well-insulated with high-density polyurethane foam, and so they are highly energy efficient. They’re also on average the least expensive of the doors we’ve looked at so far, and they require relatively little maintenance.

Furthermore, a 2014 report on popular remodel projects concluded that homeowners who installed a steel front door recouped 97% of their investment!

Steel doors are unquestionably the most secure. You can’t exactly kick one in, and they’re extremely difficult to bend – even with tools. Banks use steel doors, as do military bases and other institutions where uninvited entry isn’t appreciated.

There are downsides, though. Just as wood will rot, steel will rust, and steel doors are notoriously easy to scratch and dent. Such damage can contribute to rust, as can rain, snow and humidity. There are, however, manufacturers who coat the steel in zinc oxide to make the door to prevent rust and corrosion. Many of them also feature a coat of weather-resistant material – often paint.

Not every manufacturer will do this, and not all of the weather-resistant coats available will fare well under extreme conditions. Ask the right questions before you pick your door. 

Now what?

woman-choosing-doors

This isn’t getting any easier, is it?

Do you want people to enter your little dwelling through a wooden door? Or would you like to equip your personal fortress with steel doors? Or perhaps you’d like your doors to double as windows.

If you’re still trying to decide, worry not – it’s never a bad thing to ‘keep your doors open’ – heh, heh.. no?

If you’re ready to pick your door, then it’s time to complete the final step and choose a professional door installer. There are many ‘door installation services’ that charge premium rates for shoddy work.

Fortunately, Cloplay, one of the largest door distributors in North America, has written a good list of the ways to figure out if you’re hiring a good company or not: 

1. How long have they been installing entry doors?

2. Are they bonded and insured?

3. Are they a reputable company, or is next to nothing known about them?

4. Can they produce before-and-after photos of previous installations they’ve performed?

5. Do they have customer references? What are people saying about them online? 

Your friends at Odd Job pass this test with flying colours.

How long have we been installing entry doors?  Odd Job was founded in 2008, and since then we’ve been accumulating extensive experience installing and repairing every type of door you can imagine. We’re proud to call it a company specialty.

Is Odd Job bonded and insured?  Yes! Our team is fully licensed, bonded and insured, covered by $5 million liability insurance and WSIB.

Is Odd Job a reputable company?  Among our constantly-expanding family of regular clients are some of Toronto’s most important businesses, including Fresh Restaurants, LensCrafters, Royal LePage and many, many more. We’ve also performed major projects for non-profit organizations like Kerry’s Place and the Toronto Business Development Centre.

Can Odd Job show its work?  Yes, and we do! Follow us on Facebook and Google Plus, where we regularly post photos and videos of our adventures on site.

What are Odd Job’s clients actually saying?  See for yourself!

Like what you hear?  Then there’s no reason not to reach out. Not only will we install your door, but we’ll ensure that it functions without flaw for many, many years. Give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or click here and fill out our online ‘book-a-handyman form.’

Remove Household Odours: How-To

Remove Household Odours: How-To

Since the beginning of our series on fall home maintenance, Odd Job has been advising people to repair and upgrade their home in preparation for the cold weather that we’re already getting a taste of.

You’re really going to want an indoor refuge, and you’re not going to want it to be in disrepair. What you’re going to want even more is for this refuge to be a truly pleasant place to be.

Some might wonder how home could ever really be unpleasant. After all, is home not where the heart is? There’s nothing like opening its door after a long, difficult day and retreating into familiarity. We see the same people, animals and things that we always see, hear the same sounds we always hear and, of course, smell the same smells. Some of those smells are better than others.

As wonderful as your home might be, your quality of life there isn’t nearly what it could be if odours like sewer gas and spoiled food are as indigenous to it as the more pleasing smell of your morning pot of coffee. We are often inclined to take a defeatist stance toward stench, particularly when it is localized in one space and its causes aren’t obvious. We hope that this article equips homeowners with the knowledge they need to remove household odours and to prevent them from appearing again. It’s your space, and so it’s time to reclaim your air.

Basement Odour

In our last article, we made a statement that is as bold and sweeping as it is true: about half of the basements in the world are dank, cluttered storage areas. The definition of dank, if you recall, is “disagreeably damp, musty, and typically cold,” and in our last article we detailed simple ways you can dry out your basement.

We will now focus on how you can remove household odours commonly associated with the basement. Interested readers still might want to take a look at the previous article – after all, mould and mildew are two of the most notorious basement odours, and both are directly caused by moisture. For example, many people smell mould whenever they open their washing machine. We often leave our washing machines closed between loads, creating a breeding ground for mould because the seal on the front doors prevents the interior from drying.

The solution is simple – just apply a mould killer like our secret weapons, Mold Stain Eraser and Mold Control – and leave the door open so that the inside of the machine can dry. Repeat this about once every month and there will never be mould in your washing machine again. 

In today’s quest to remove household odours, however, we will be zeroing in on another menace.

remove household odours drainAmong the ugliest and most common odours in your basement and in other rooms as well is sewer gas. If you have drains that are never used, they will dry out. The water stored in the trap beneath the drain will eventually evaporate, leaving the unappetizing scents of your septic tank or your city’s sewer system with direct access to your space. Not only does this drastically reduce the quality of life, but the gas is potentially harmful. Fortunately, the solution is as simple as it might seem.

Fill a pitcher with water (approximately a quart) and pour it down the drain. This will refill the trap and block the sewer gas. After that, pour approximately two tablespoons of cooking oil down the drain. The oil will float atop the water and effectively seal it into the trap, preventing it from evaporating until much later down the road.

The problem of drain odour most often occurs in basements because they are usually used much less than other rooms in the house. Although fairly uncommon, if there is a bathroom in the basement then it is possible that the water in the trap under the toilet has evaporated and it may be from here that the sewer gas is finding its way into your home. If this is the case, the solution is even easier: simply flush the toilet!

replacingwaxringIf the smell of sewage still hangs in the air long after you’ve returned the water to the water traps, it may well be that the wax ring underneath your toilet is leaking and that it is through the leak that the sewer gas is seeping in. This can sometimes happen if the toilet is frequently rocked. It can also happen if the wax ring itself was either improperly installed or simply worn out. Move the toilet and replace the wax ring – a new one can be purchased from virtually all home retailers, including Home Depot and LowesTo prevent the toilet from rocking and breaking the new wax ring seal, place plastic shims beneath the toilet and then caulk it all around. 

If the problems still persist after you have employed all of these countermeasures, you should consult a professional plumber as there may be more serious underlying issues.

Kitchen Odour

We’re on a mission to remove household odours, and the only room known for as many as the basement is the kitchen. Many of the basement’s unattractive odours are related to how infrequently it is used – the sewer gas, for example, finds a clear path into your home through drains that are never used. Conversely, the odours of the kitchen are created by frequent use of the space. Fortunately, however, the solutions to these odours are equally simple. 

dirty dishwasherLike the homeowners met by a pungent odour when opening their washing machines, many homeowners will be holding their noses upon opening their dish washers after a cycle. After frequent use, food and grease will be trapped in various parts of the machine. Your dishwasher, for example, most likely has a detachable filter which is located at the bottom of the tub. This catches the larger particles of food so as to prevent them from clogging the drain. This function, however, creates a veritable feast for bacteria and their presence in turn leads to the terrible odour. Remove the screen with a half counter-clockwise turn and spend less than a minute cleaning it out. 

A lot of food debris also builds up in the ‘lip’ at the bottom of the dishwasher’s door. Open the door all the way down and then clean this area as well.

dishwasher spray arm cleaning

The dishwasher’s spray arms are also contributing to the smell. Pieces of food become lodged in the holes along the sides, which are very small and difficult to clean as a result. You’ll have to remove the sprayer arms from the dishwasher itself, taking out the screws and bolts if necessary. Fill a bucket with hot water, add some soap and a cup of vinegar, and then stir. Soak the sprayer arms in the bucket for awhile. When you think the food sufficiently loose, remove the sprayer arms and use a toothbrush, tweezers or cotton swab to get rid of it for good.

The spray arms, the filter and the door lip are the main sources of the odour, as they are the parts of the machine that collect the largest amount of food debris. After you have cleaned those areas, apply a dishwasher cleaner – we recommend Dishwasher Magic – and then run a cycle. Au revoir, odour! 

In attacking the odours of the basement, we focused primarily on sewer gas. Likewise, the terrible odours we associate with the kitchen can largely be traced to spoiled food and the bacteria it attracts. Does your kitchen sink stink? Don’t worry – it’s just another buildup of food particles. The solution is simple: pour a cup of bleach down the drain. This will kill the bacteria and eliminate the smell.

What about the fridge? If you keep a lot of food in there, you will likely forget some of it from time to time. And if your fridge has gone without power for a few days, the smell will be indescribably bad. What’s worse, cleaning it out won’t destroy the smell either – no matter how many disinfectants you use. Fear not, however, there is a simple and very old solution that costs next to nothing: fill your fridge with crumpled up newspapers and charcoal, leave it for several days and then empty it – sayonara, stench! 

You can employ a similar method to eliminate the odour created when you take off your shoes or work boots after a long day of hard work. Fill a sock up with cedar chips and leave it in your footwear. This should make the odour disappear, and you can reuse the same ‘bag’ of cedar chips, as they naturally absorb moisture and kill odour – just be sure to fill it with fresh chips about once a month!

Smell you later!

Make the processes described here into habits and you will be able to remove household odours without buying special products or calling anyone. Are you smelling something that we didn’t cover in this article? If so, fill out our online “book-a-handyman” form and tell us what’s up – or just give us a call at (416) 520-1161! 

Stay Cool and Slash Your Air Conditioner Bill

Cut the Air Conditioner Bill in Comfort

As the temperature rises, more and more people are turning on their air conditioners.

Toronto Hydro warns that careless use can amount to fully half of your summer electricity bill – a figure that isn’t so alarming considering that heating and cooling together account for roughly half of the average homeowner’s annual energy bill.

This is to say nothing of the devastating impact it has on the environment. According to National Geographic“Air conditioner use in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions from power plants every year.”

It’s the middle of July, though – and it’s only going to get hotter. How can you and your family live comfortably while looking out for mother nature and your pocketbook too?

Build a Wall of Shade

During a heatwave, most people are aware that one of the more frugal ways to cool your home is to open your windows at night and keep them closed throughout the day. This (of course) reduces the amount of heat residing within your home.

There are other methods of doing this that are lesser-known and much more effective:

(1) Plant trees around your home in order to shield it from direct sunlight. When planted strategically, the trees serve as a natural air conditioning system.

In 2009, Geoffrey Donovan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and David Butry of the National Institute of Standards and Technology published a report entitled The value of shade: Estimating the effect of urban trees on summertime electricity use.

The report details how Donovan and Butry monitored and assessed the effects of shade trees on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento, California between May 15 and September 15. In their report, they conclude: Current level of tree cover on the west and south sides of houses in our sample reduce summertime electricity use by 185 kWh (5.2 %), whereas north-side trees increase electricity use by 55 kWh (1.5 %).” 

Colorado State University went farther, stating“In the summer, trees block 70-90% of the sun’s radiation on a clear summer day. When properly placed, trees can reduce air conditioning demands by 10-30%.

This is especially true for those whose air conditioners sit in direct sunlight, an arrangement that predictably causes the unit to use up to 10% more electricity. Planting trees or shrubs around them will help – just make sure not to completely surround it, as that will block the airflow!

While all of this sounds lovely, planting a tree and watching it grow is a long and involved process. No one is going to be able to construct their tree defenses in time for this year’s heatwave, and many won’t be eager to place their faith in such a long-term solution.

Tree Hugger, a leading environmental blog, has helped to solve part of this problem by releasing a great list of seven fast-growing shade trees

Homeowners looking for faster countermeasures may find them in placing trellises around their home and growing vines on them. They grow much faster than trees, and if given a year should be able to cover a large area. Some of them can even double as a source of highly nutritious fruits and vegetables.

Another great component of any shade wall is the window awning. Often made of fabric or metal, these are among the most effective defenses against direct sunlight.

According to the California Energy Commission: “A properly installed awning can reduce heat gain in your home up to 65 percent on southern windows and as much as 77 percent on eastern and western windows.

Just be sure to put your awnings in storage during the colder parts of the year, as they’ll block the sun’s warmth when you need it most!

Maintaining the Air Conditioner Unit

 dirty air conditioner filter vs. clean air conditioner filter

While your unit is in use, the filter is inevitably going to collect dirt; the exact amount depends on factors such as air quality and how often it is used. The reduced air flow that results can eventually cause components of your air conditioning system to overheat (requiring expensive repairs) and culminate in the unit failing altogether.

Dirty filters are one of the main causes of air conditioner malfunctions. If your unit’s air filter collects an excessive amount of dirt, many different problems will arise.

If the filter is dirty, everything past it is too; this includes the cooling coils and the fans, which will work far less efficiently as a result. This forces the unit itself to expend much more energy to cool your house, and the air it creates is filled with allergens. You end up paying more money for less comfort, and potentially compromising the health of the home’s occupants as well.

The solution? Your unit’s filter should be changed regularly – at least once every three months and, during heavy use periods such as summer, every month.

The U.S. Department of Energy states that “can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.”

Routinely changing your air filter is one of a few things you can do to maintain your air conditioning system. One is to keep your central or window air conditioning unit tuned up so as to ensure that it is always operating with maximum efficiency, and another is to have a specialist examine its electrical parts and refrigerant every two or three years. This will only cost around $150, but much like changing the filter, it will save you much more than it will cost you.

If your unit is more than twelve years old, then it may be time to replace the system altogether. This alone can drastically reduce your energy bill. According to the Department of Energy, the finest air conditioner of today uses an alarming “30 to 50% less energy” to produce precisely the same amount of cooling as any unit made in the seventies and “20 to 40%” less energy than a unit that’s only 10 years old!

Fortifying the Homefront

 

The potential ways of cutting your cooling costs don’t end with your air conditioner unit. There may well be gaps in your house system that are hurting your wallet. Remember: the key is to minimize the amount of heat entering your home. We have detailed how homeowners can mount an external defense by growing trees and vines, so let us take a step back and examine some of the possible internal issues.

Almost half of your home’s summertime heat gain can naturally be attributed to your windows, miniature gateways through which direct sunlight enters virtually by invitation. Not only should they be closed during these hot summer days, but they should be provided with as much shade as possible. Hanging some draperies should do the trick; their pleats and folds actually lose heat through convection. According to the Department of Energy, draperies can have a very powerful effect: “Studies demonstrate that medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.” They go on to say that “highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%.” When fortifying your internal defenses, window treatments are a great place to start.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. All of that will do little good if heat is seeping in through holes in your home itself. Air leaks can cause you to spend up to 40% more on heating and cooling, and most of them are so small that they are virtually invisible. To locate them, turn off all fans and exhaust fans in your home, close all of the windows, and turn off your furnace. After you have done this, light some incense and slowly walk through the home while holding it close to the walls. Wherever you see the smoke being either sucked toward or blown away from something, you have located a likely air leak. For windows, doors and other movable parts of your house, apply weatherstripping. Apply caulk for those tiny cracks in the structure itself and its other components.

More difficult to fix are the thermal leaks. These are virtually (and sometimes literally) invisible. When they are not caused by the aforementioned air leaks, they’re caused by poor insulation or other problems out of the human eye’s reach. Identifying the problem at the root of the leaks can only come after you identify where they are. Using a handheld, battery-operated thermal leak detector, you’ll be able to pinpoint parts of the home that are warmer or colder than the rest of the structure.

Let’s presume that you’ve already provided your home with layers upon layers of external and internal protection – shade trees, draperies, the works! Let’s also presume that you’ve mended the holes in your defenses. Why not install a programmable thermostat? Using this machine, you’ll be able to automate your cooling system to use far less energy when you’re at work or on vacation. Proper use can reduce your energy bill by up to 20%.

Chillin’ With Odd Job

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful in your efforts to beat the heat effectively and frugally.

Many readers may be left wondering how to properly execute many of the suggestions laid out here. Not everyone feels confident sealing air leaks, hanging window treatments, or examining their own air conditioning system, and there’s no shame in that. Why attempt sometimes difficult and potentially dangerous tasks such as those when you can hire licensed, bonded, insured and well-trained professionals to do them for you at very affordable rates?

This is where Odd Job Handyman Services, Toronto’s premier handyman company, comes in. Call us today or just fill our our online “book-a-handyman” form, and in no time your projects will be placed in professional hands, whatever their size!

Spring Home Improvement on a Budget

Spring Home Improvement on a Budget

spring home improvement

The celebrated “season of the handyman” is here once again. Contractors everywhere are dusting off their toolkits while homeowners try to find those ‘to-do’ lists they’ve been working on. But where does that leave those who don’t have much in their budget for spring home improvement?

The bad news? According to HGTV, home improvement significantly raises the value of your property. The good news? You don’t need to be a billionaire to update your home. If you’re interested in inside tips from professional handymen on how to save on spring home improvement, please read on.

First Impressions

spring home improvement 2

You’ve likely heard of curb appeal. Most people have decided whether or not they would buy your home by the time they’ve passed it. Fortune Builders, known as “the premier real estate education company in the country,” has written:

The work you do to the kitchen or the fixtures in the bathroom may be great, but by that time it may be too late. If you want to maximize your properties’ value, you need to focus on improving the curb appeal.

So why not give people the right impression by the time they’ve reached your front door? Depending on the materials, the paint, and the type of door, installing a new door will in many cases cost well under $1,000. Refreshing an older door with a new coat of paintIf your new door is approved by Energy Star, it will save you on energy bills in the long term and on your taxes in the short term.

Initiate your spring home improvement bonanza by installing a gorgeous new door or giving your old one a new look. If you call the right people, you’ll enjoy an excellent return on investment.

Staining to Perfection

staineddeck

Freshly stained.

Spring evenings aren’t spring evenings if you don’t have a backyard deck to enjoy them on. Whether you’re having dinner outdoors or enjoying a few glasses with friends, your deck is the stage where your most precious memories will play out.

spring home improvementStaining it for this purpose is one of the most rewarding and affordable spring home improvement projects there are.

The average timeline? Between three and five hours. The average cost? $2 per square foot! 

RIS Media states: “In most cases the cost will not be any higher than $400 for the total job.”

Not only does this spring home improvement project offer immediate visual rewards, but it also promises an excellent return on investment.

Professional Deck Builder summarized the findings of the annual Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, stating:

According to Realtors who were polled for the report, a 16-foot by 20-foot deck with an average construction cost of $10,048 could be expected to recoup $8,085 of its cost if the house were to be sold in 2015, a return on investment—or ROI—of 80.5%.

Money Pit confirms that a deck “is one of the most cost-effective additions you can make to your home.” 

A beautiful deck will add great value to your home and skyrocket its curb appeal. Maintaining it, of course, is the key to protecting its investment value. Staining is the most affordable and effective ways to do this. 

Spring Cleaning

junk removal

One of the most classic spring home improvement projects is, of course, spring cleaning. If you’re willing to invest a lot of time and aren’t afraid to get your hands a little dirty, this can very easily be the most affordable project featured here. 

The most important phase of a large-scale cleanup effort will often be decluttering. To maximize efficiency, go room-to-room and focus your energy on the closets, cabinets and common areas before doing a second and more thorough review.

Not only will this process cost you nothing but time, it may generate a small profit. Books, films, toys and clothing are all great material for a garage sale. 

The second phase of the cleanup process is the removal of stains and other debris. Rather than opting to use expensive and potentially harmful solutions, make your own cleaners. 

vinegar cleaningFor cleaning your windows and mirrors, mix white vinegar into water and apply the solution with an old dust rag. For removing dust from woodwork, mix lemon juice into water and do the same – or just use dryer sheets.

In 2014, CTV published a list of highly effective homemade cleaning solutions. The pricing ranges from $0.50 and $2.00.

If you value time over money, there are companies that can completely declutter even the worst hoarder’s home in a single day. Odd Job, for example, will remove clutter from your home for $25 per bag.

The Season of Good Memories

spring park

Spring is a season for friends, for long strolls through the park, and for backyard dinners. It is the season of good memories, and spring home improvement is a vital part of that process.

They say spring is a time of new beginnings, and nothing says new beginnings like home upgrades that make your neighbours go “Wow!”

Call (416) 520-1161 today or book our team online and you’ll be well on your way there.

Fixing a Sliding Door With Odd Job

Fixing a Sliding Door With Odd Job

fixing a sliding doorOdd Job Handyman Services was founded in 2008, and since its birth it has developed an impeccable reputation among its rapidly-growing family of commercial and residential clients. They know precisely who to call when their to-do list grows too large, because the simple fact is that there isn’t a single handyman service in Toronto that performs small repairs, upgrades and redecorations like Odd Job. 

Among our team’s many areas of expertise, however, there are some company specialties – and one of them is door repairs. Today, we’re going to demonstrate that by showing our readers that fixing a sliding door isn’t as hard as you might think!

Defeating Frustration

Sliding doors.. they’re beautiful, they’re cool and they have a number of great functionsThere are indeed a lot of reasons to love them, but anyone who lives in a space with sliding doors can tell you that there is a reason to hate them too. 

It’s very easy for your sliding door to become sticky and difficult to move, and even easier for the door itself to go off-track. In either scenario, you feel as if you no longer have a door – instead, you have a large sheet of glass that you’ll always need to lift and push out of your way. Fixing a sliding door, therefore, should be very high on your to-do list.

Greasing the Skids

Icky Screen DoorIf you’ve never cleaned the door tracks, then the situation you are in was an inevitable one, and fortunately, the solution may well be quite simple. The first step to fixing a sliding door is to clean it. You’ll likely find an abundance of dirt and grime caked in the track. Attack it with a very stiff brush, soap and water, and for extra power, use a cleaning agent – we recommend Mr. Clean’s Liquid Muscle. Continue the onslaught of solvents and elbow grease until your tracks look like they were just installed!

Still not working?  Don’t fret. This wouldn’t have been much of an article if our best advice was: “Clean the track.”  Fixing a sliding door isn’t always that easy.

Sliding Door RepairTake a look at the bottom of the door and you’ll find two screws. These are used to adjust the rollers, which control the position of the door. Does it look like one side of the door is lower than the other? If so, you have discovered the problem. Raise the lower side until the door appears even on the track. 

If the problems persist, turn all of the screws a quarter turn. This will raise the door completely off the ground, and at that point all you need to do is slide it so that it is almost closed. Is the gap between the door and the door jamb even?  Congratulations!

If the door still  won’t slide the way it’s supposed to, you still shouldn’t fret. With the door sitting evenly on a clean track, you’ve laid the groundwork for a door that slides as its manufacturer intended!

Rock and Roll

Door Roller

Fixing a sliding door is by no means simple, because there are any number of things that could be going on. Having exhausted the more mundane possibilities, it’s time to remove the door completely and take a good look at the rollers themselves.

removing the doorRemoving the door itself is rather difficult. For one thing, the door itself is very heavy. For another, you first need to remove the molding itself – screw by screw. Cutting the paint or varnish line on the interior side of the moulding will make it much easier to remove. 

screen-door-on-sawhorsesOnce it is successfully loose and in your hands, grip the door by both edges and gently tip it toward you – roughly a foot into the room. Lift the door out of the track one edge at a time and then carefully set it on sawhorses. It’s time to turn your attention back to the track, because you now have direct access to the rollers.

Remove the screws holding the rollers in place and then carefully remove them from the track. Is their condition similar to that of the door track before you washed it? If so, then this may in fact be the issue. If the damage appears a little more permanent that, then remove it and replace it.

You’ll be able to find new rollers for your door at major home retailers and lumberyards. The old rollers themselves will bear the name of their manufacturer, so finding the right replacements shouldn’t be too difficult. Enjoy watching your sliding door actually slide again!

Too Hard?

If fixing a sliding door is starting to sound a little difficult to you, don’t feel bad. You’re right – it’s a huge headache that no one should really have to deal with.

Even if you’re the type who lives by their hands, a project like this is probably going to take you a few hours at the very least. You’re also going to need to lift an unwieldy screen door off its track – which, if we’re going to be very honest, is difficult for most people to do alone. And even after all of that, you’ll have to find the rollers. Fixing a sliding door is a major drag! Of course, you could  do it yourself – but do you have to? 

Well, heck no!  Why not make a call to your friends at Odd Job?

A single phone call and you’ll have secured a booking with a team of bonded, insured, and fully licensed professional handymen with a great attitude who have repaired every type of door you can imagine. Just give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or take a few minutes to fill out our nifty online “book-a-handyman” formschedule your visit today

Furniture Maintenance: Your Headache, Our Passion

Furniture Maintenance Services

Furniture Maintenance Fail

How many times has this happened before? Even if it hasn’t, you get the idea. Furniture maintenance is

ikea video game

Hardest game ever?

It was only a year ago that the game Home Improvisation, which lampoons the issue, was developed for the 2015 Global Game Jam.

In September 2015, actor Ryan Reynolds posted a video to GQ that featured his abortive attempt to build a crib purchased from the furniture store.

In short, assembling Ikea furniture is an enormous headache – and one you don’t want to subject yourself to unless it is absolutely necessary.

Why should you need to decipher

There are many things things that you can do yourself, but don’t have to.Not only will our professional technicians will help you with the problems that you can’t solve, they’ll also take the tedious, exhaustive and time-consuming chores like this right out of your hands.

Read on and see for yourself why Odd Job Handyman Services is your private army in the war to reclaim your peace of mind from multinational furniture cartels!

Furniture Assembly

Odd Job - Furniture Assembly Services

Odd Job is proud to be the only full service handyman company in Toronto that offers furniture assembly and maintenance services. Can’t understand manuals without words? You aren’t alone. Lost the instructions a couple of days ago? It happens. 

All you need to do is make a single phone call and one of the best fully licensed, bonded, and insured home technicians that Toronto has to offer will be en route to your home. For an additional fee, we’ll even source the furniture ourselves. We’re here to take care of you. 

furniture tuneup

Buying new furniture is fun; it’s like buying new clothing, only for your home. It usually ends with your family cruising home triumphantly, anticipating the appearance of the new furniture.

That is, of course, unless they’ve been around this block before. If they have and they know what often follows, then the ride back is marked by anticipation of arguments, despair and occasionally a few conversations about separation or divorce. 

Now imagine if every time you went through this, you could skip over the bad vibes and right to the part where the furniture is all assembled properly, looking amazing and every piece is exactly where you’d like to see it. Book our team and you can consider that dream a reality.

Furniture Maintenance

retightening screws

There’s something even more frightening than the prospect of assembling a new set of Ikea furniture, and that’s watching it fall apart. Thought the assembly itself was frustrating? Imagine watching all of that stress and rage go to waste because the screws weren’t in tight enough. 

You might laugh, you might cry and you might develop homicidal tendencies. Whatever the case may be, you don’t want this to happen. 

The solution is semi-regular maintenance – re-tightening or replacing the hardware, and even completely reassembling the unit(s) for better performance.

You might say that you shouldn’t have to do this, and we’d agree. The simple fact, however, is that you do – even Ikea admits it: “The product will keep longer by retightening the screws from time to time.”

That’s why Odd Job is rolling out another new service: furniture maintenanceGive us a call or book online and our team will:

  • Re-tighten the screws and fixtures of every unit, making them function better and longer.
  • Replace and even upgrade the hardware if necessary.
  • Sanding down the older pieces and then repainting or resurfacing them to restore their former beauty.

Why do we do it?

OddJob.ca

Assembling and maintaining furniture are very small projects, and it isn’t often that they take more than an hour.

Unlike other companies who are happy to charge you for three or even four hours of work when they were in and out in little more than twenty minutes, we are proud of our one-hour minimum fee and plan to stand by it. 

What’s in it for us, then, to offer these services? The answer is simple: there is widespread demand. You are more than “billable hours” to the Odd Job team, and you still matter to us after you’ve paid.

Odd Job was born in Toronto in 2008, and since then we have been local to the core. We service locally and we hire locally.We hang art, assemble furniture and take care of other headaches because they’re just that – headaches.

We are friends and neighbours helping friends and neighbours – we just haven’t met all of you yet. You’re very welcome to change that!

Frugal Homeowner’s Guide to the Universe

Frugal Homeowner’s Guide to the Universe
Frugal Homeowner Life

Home life isn’t cheap – especially not in Toronto. The city has witnessed an increase of 13.5%“nearly $100,000” – in the average price of a single-family home. And when you consider bills, living expenses, property taxes and, of course, repairs and upgrades, we appear to be in dangerous territory.

We can’t all be billionaires, and sometimes it seems like the world was made with only them in mind. But don’t worry – you can save in style, and we’re going to show you how. This is one for the frugal homeowner.

Laminate vs. Hardwood

Flooring 1Flooring 2

Can you tell the difference? If you found it difficult – and believe us, many people do – then you should consider installing high-quality laminate flooring instead of hardwood. Installing flooring can be one of the most expensive projects you’ll be faced with, and so a frugal homeowner should keep the alternatives on their radar.

Flooring 3Laminate is becoming increasingly popular who like the appearance of hardwood flooring but don’t want to lay out around twice the price for little more than authenticity.

The material for hardwood floors comes from trees, and you’re paying a lot for the harvesting process – even more, depending on how exotic the trees happened to be. The material used for laminate flooring is much cheaper, and on average, installing laminate floors is no less than 50% cheaper than installing hardwood

Laminate floors are made from pressed wood, which is far more durable. Unlike hardwood, it is far more resistant to scratching and water damage, and it’s also far less susceptible to wear – even in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic.

The materials, the installation process and the maintenance, in other words, are all considerably cheaper – and on top of that, it looks just as glossy and beautiful. For the frugal homeowner, having ‘real’ wood is a very small price to pay.

Wood vs. Steel

Wood DoorFiberglass Door 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, we invited our readers to pick a door after taking a look at four of the most popular door types and what each of them had to offer. This article will naturally focus on the economics of buying and installing an entry door.

If you’re a frugal homeowner, you’ll want to avoid wood doors. This is another instance in which wood came face to face with its more affordable imitators and lost. Do they look great? Absolutely – they feel great too. But beyond that, there’s really no practical reason for someone to buy and install a wood door instead of a steel door or a fiberglass door. 

The materials are more expensive and so is the installation. Furthermore, wood doors are considerably less secure and more susceptible to the elements. Because of the latter, they usually require frequent maintenance throughout the year.

Steel Door Turns to WoodSteel doors, meanwhile, are the least expensive type of door on the market – both to purchase and to install. This is despite the fact that they offer more security than either wood or fiberglass doors. Both steel and fiberglass doors are much more energy efficient and require a lot less maintenance.

And with a little paint, you’ll be able to make your bland steel door shine with your favourite colour. You’ll even be able to make it virtually indistinguishable from a wood panel door. Look to the right!

Tiling

Subway Tiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you look at this bathroom, do you think ‘cheap’? Me neither. The tiling isn’t just beautiful, it’s classic. It’s also $3 per square foot. Yes, the beloved subway tile is one of the cheapest tiles on the market. When it comes to tiling, the frugal homeowner can make some major steals.

Glass-backsplash-8We can’t tell you how many backsplashes we’ve installed this year, and the requests keep coming. And although 2015 is “the year of the tile” to some, many think that their dream backsplash just simply isn’t within their means.

Think again!  Take a look to the beauty on your right. It’s a backsplash composed of glass mosaic tiles, which are on average no more than $11.99 per square foot. One product, for example, is the White Glass Mosaic Subway Wall Tileavailable at a Lowes near you for $6.99 per square foot! 

Ceramic mosaics are virtually indistinguishable from the natural stones that they imitate. In fact, the only difference that I was able to spot was the price. Take, for instance, this ceramic mosaic tile – available at Home Depot for $3.95!

Stay Frugal

DSC_0009

Whether we’re talking about flooring, tiling or anything else, there’s always a less expensive option that will provide a roughly equivalent and sometimes even better return. In other words, there’s no shortage of materials available to the frugal homeowner.

But who installs the flooring? Who installs the tiling? Who installs the doors? As important as it is to save, sometimes we can’t do it all ourselves – or we just don’t have the time, the tools and the relevant talents. In that case, you shouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call (416) 520-1161.

Why? Because since our founding in 2008, Odd Job become the handyman service of choice for every frugal homeowner in Toronto. How? Well, let’s see: 

  • We are leading the industry with our one-hour minimum fee, whereas the standard is generally three hours. We view our clients as neighbours, and beyond that, as friends. We simply refuse to apply a three-hour fee for fifteen minutes of work, no matter what everyone else is doing.
  • We offer free online estimates – these are not quotes, and therefore we will never charge you a dime for them. We want to give you a roughly accurate idea of your project’s scope, size and budget before you place it in our hands – a service that should be free.
  • We offer a ninety-day warranty on all general repairs and a one-year warranty on all new installations.
  • We offer a special discount on your first job, the amount depending on its budget. For example, you can save $125 on a project with a budget of $1100.

And that’s only the beginning. If you really want to know why we’ve come to be known as Toronto’s top handyman company – and the frugal homeowner’s choice – then give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or book a visit today.