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In a busy family bathroom nothing gets a harder workout than a bathroom fan. You can replace the guts of the fan, without tearing out the whole thing, when it becomes noisy and does a poor job of removing hot, damp air. The Fantech Bath Fan Conversion Kit Model BFRK100 is designed for do-it-yourselfers and lets you use the existing exhaust fan grill and housing, so there’s no ceiling repair work required. And the unit is Energy Star rated, meaning it’s more efficient than your old fan.

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The constant traffic up and down wooden stairs in a busy household makes for heavy wear and tear on them which can translate to different forms of abuse like a worn or dull finish, loose spindles or a wobbly baluster. The longer you ignore the warning signs the worse the damage can become so find a downtime when traffic is light to remedy the wrongs and make the repairs. The work can be divided into repairing the stairs and finishing the wood doing it in that order.

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This isn’t the kind of job where you can Google “how to install a garage door” and figure it out in an afternoon.

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The first time you start your furnace each season, it’s not uncommon to smell a dusty or musty odor as the system revs up. But if the smell continues, ask a professional to take a look. A burning odor means you should shut it off and call for help immediately. And if you smell gas, leave the home immediately and contact your fire department and gas company.

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If you need to hire pros for essential home maintenance or repairs, see if they can tackle other projects at the same time. These projects may be additional repairs or improvements to enhance your health and wellbeing during your time at home.

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Have your roof and siding inspected and make any necessary repairs. Prevention could save you a lot of money in the long run.

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I've lost count of the handymen, electricians and plumbers who have paraded through the home my husband and I bought in October 2019. As I type this, our dryer is being repaired for the second time since we moved in. All told, we've spent around $1,300 on small fixes.

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PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE HOME INSPECTION. "Leaking roofs, mold, electrical and plumbing issues are the mostly commonly noted concerns on an inspection report," says Day Coker, owner of AC by Day C, an HVAC maintenance and repair company based in High Point, North Carolina. If the inspection turns up problems, negotiate with the seller to either repair them or lower the selling price.FIND OUT THE AGE OF MAJOR APPLIANCES. When you can estimate how many years an appliance has left, you can save up for its replacement.CREATE A REPAIR FUND. Aim to save around $5,000, says Chelsea Lipford Wolf, co-host of the "Today's Homeowner" TV show and creator of "Checking In With Chelsea," a home improvement blog and video series. "That would cover most home systems that you would need to repair to keep your house running."

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Q: Tim, I read a previous column of yours in which you talked about repairing a shallow depression in a concrete surface using sand and Portland cement. My issue is I have a few shallow puddles in my blacktop driveway, and I know this ponding water will eventually create a far more serious issue. The normal patching products sold in bags will not work, as the depression is too shallow. I tried using it once and it all peeled up. How do you recommend creating a patch that stays put and matches the rest of the blacktop as closely as possible? I’m 78 years old and quite sure I can follow your directions. —Katie D., Laurel, Md.

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Blue Ridge Energy recently donated a pickup truck recently retired from its fleet of operations vehicles to the Foothills Service Project.

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