Everyday Maintenance: How to help your home handle summer storms

Summer storms are a fact of life for us here in Queensland.  While we can’t control mother nature, there are things we can do to help protect our homes against storms and minimise potential damage.  These are our top maintenance recommendations for storm season:

  • Ensure your gutters, drains and downpipes are all clear so that any sudden and heavy rainfalls can flow through smoothly.  This will help reduce the risk of flooding
  • Fix any existing termite damage to avoid it getting worse. Termite damage can significantly weaken a structure and if you add severe wind rain that may occur during a storm, what might have been simple reinforcement could quickly become a much bigger problem.
  • Seal areas around the property and house that may be susceptible to moisture collection. Termites love heat and moisture so by eliminating potential nesting areas, you reduce the risk of attracting them to your home.
  • Make sure you know how to safely turn off utilities.   In an emergency situation, you may need to switch off things like power, water and gas so familiarise yourself with the location of the main switches and how to control them safely.
  • Secure loose items around your property and make sure any overhanging tree branches near your house or powerlines are removed. This will help reduce any damage that might be caused from strong winds or lightning.  If you need to report a tree growing into a powerline, click here.
  • Seek professional help.  If you live in a storm prone area or think your home may be susceptible to damage, get a professional to inspect your home and assess its structural integrity.

Contact APM Solutions on (07) 3828 2020 if you would like a quote for a building or termite inspection or click here.

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Low-Maintenance Plants for a Subtropical Garden

  1.  Bougainvillea

This gorgeous and vibrantly coloured plant is great for both ground cover or as a climber.  They are a great option as they are beautiful and hardy, meaning they don’t require much maintenance.  However, to get the best flowers make sure to place your bougainvillea in a warm, sunny spot and only prune lightly at the end of the flowering season.

  1. Agapanthus

These blue or white long stemmed lilies can be commonly found around South East Queensland.  They are a great option for hedging – whether it be a pool, fence or driveway, they will be sure to make a statement.  Keep in mind that agapanthus need full blown sun to thrive, so if you use them in a shady area you may run the risk of them not flowering.  Make sure to water them regularly for the best results.

  1. Bird of Paradise

This exotic looking flower resembling a tropical bird is a great addition to any subtropical garden.  They will flower best when grown in rich soil, in direct sunlight and moisture.  While it needs a lot of water, the key to keeping a healthy bird of paradise is to have sufficient drainage for it.  This will ensure it is not left to sit in soggy soil which will eventually cause it to die.

  1. Frangipani Tree

This delightful & aromatic tropical tree is a staple in many gardens around Australia.  Not only are the flowers beautiful, but they are also deliciously fragrant so position your tree in a spot where you’ll be able to enjoy the visual and aromatic benefits.  Frangipanis usually grow between 6-9m tall and 5m wide providing great shade in the summer months.  They are hearty and used to a desert like terrain so never saturate the soil when watering.  Keep them healthy by watering them in summer but allow them to dry out in the winter.

  1. Ornamental Gingers

If you’re looking for something to provide a lush look in your garden, then ornamental ginger is the perfect option.  Coming in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours you’re sure to find a fit no matter what style garden you have.  Unlike many other sub-tropical plants, ornamental gingers love both shade and sunlight.

Everyday Maintenance: How to Remove Rust from Metal

Rust is a common problem found in most homes.  It commonly occurs on things like shower heads, pots, pans, serving utensils and furniture.  Rust is a very normal electrochemical process that occurs when iron, oxygen and water combine.  It appears visually as a reddish brownish flaky coating.

While it can be quite problematic in some circumstances, most rusting that occurs around the house can be easily combated with some elbow grease and non-toxic household products.

Here is a list of different ways you can tackle rust in your home:

  1. Baking Soda

Add water to dry baking soda powder till you have a thick paste.  Cover the area of metal that has rusted with the paste and leave it for 30-45mins.  Using a small brush like a toothbrush, scrub off rust.

  1. White Vinegar

Depending on the size of your object, there are a few ways you can use white vinegar to get rid of rust.  If small enough, soak the entire metal object in white vinegar for few hours.  Then remove and scrub off the rusty paste that forms.  If your object is larger, rather than soak the whole thing, soak a rag with vinegar and wipe it over your object.

  1. Lime & Salt

Coat the rusted area in salt and juice a lime over it.  Let this sit for a few hours and the scrub off.  You can substitute the lime for a lemon.

  1. Potato & Dish Soap

Slice a potato in half and dip the cut end in some dishwashing soap.  Rub this over the rusted area of the item until the rust is gone.  Rinse and dry the item when you’re done.

 

Make sure to follow APM Solutions on Facebook for more helpful tips and advice on all things property maintenance!

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How to Control Common Household Pests

Common household pests can quickly spread if the conditions are right.

While termites are often regarded as the most destructive; other common household pests can be quite irritating for us humans to live with. They can also lead to much bigger problems if left uncontrolled. The following is a list of 4 common household pests and how you can manage them:

  1. Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the most common household pests for us living here in Australia. They can usually be found living in cracks, cupboards or underneath some appliances. In regards to diet, they eat almost anything available from scraps to garbage, decaying matter or sewerage – hence; the best way to help keep cockroaches away is to ensure a clean and tidy home. Take special care to maintain bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms where dampness can build up easily and become a comfortable home for cockroaches.

  1. Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are one of the more vicious pests as they feed off human blood. Often, people only realise they have bed bugs when they notice the small bites on their bodies. Bed bug bites appear as large or small, itchy red bumps on the skin.  While they aren’t known to transmit diseases to humans, they can still cause distress to those affected. The best way to deter bed bugs from settling in your beds & furniture is to maintain a high standard of hygiene throughout. If you do find bed bugs, try to keep your home as sterile as possible by steaming carpets; washing all bedding in hot water etc. until you can have a professional assess and effectively control the problem.

  1. Ants

Ants, just like all other pests are in search of food and water. Once they find a good food source, they won’t hesitate to keep coming back to it. Just like humans, they eat similar foods which is why we commonly find their trails through our kitchens.  The best way to deter ants from coming into your home is to make sure all food is properly sealed and crumbs/spills are cleaned right away. Doing a general pest spray once a year is also highly recommended. This will help prevent the problem before it begins as it can be difficult to control afterwards. If you do decide to use a DIY pest spray; make sure to follow the trail and target the full colony not just the ants you see.

  1. Silverfish

These slinky critters feed on materials high in sugar, starch and protein and flourish in a dark and cool environment. They can often be found hiding in cupboards eating away at our clothing, blankets and books or we can find them in sinks & bathtubs while they seek moisture. The best way to avoid a silverfish infestation is to use mothballs inside closets and store seasonal clothing and blankets in plastic bags.

Leading into the Australian summer, a combination of the heat and summer storms create the perfect environment for these and other household pests. If you are experiencing trouble with any of these common pests or want to ensure a pest free summer; contact APM Solutions at 07 3828 2020 for a competitive quote on an inspection or general pest control treatment to protect your home today!