Most Common Signs That Your Well Pump Is Going Bad

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Having a well on your property is a great way to ensure you have a virtually free water supply for life. Of course, you’ll need high-quality mine dewatering pumps to lift the water out of the well and to your filtration station. It can then be pumped into your home and used as and when you need it.

In most cases, this is a reliable and economically viable system. However, if your well pump fails you won’t have any water and will need to take quick action to resolve the issue.

The good news is that you can generally avoid this issue by having your well pump serviced annually and by being aware of the most common signs that your well pump is going bad.

Water Pressure Fluctuations

This is the most common sign there is an issue with your water system. Pressure fluctuations can be from blockages in your system but this is rare. In most cases blockages reduce the pressure but do so slowly and steadily, the pressure doesn’t fluctuate.

However, your well pump controls the pressure the water is delivered into your home. If the pressure is fluctuating it's likely to be because the pump is failing. The sooner you get it looked at the better.

Strange Noises In the pipes

Strange noises in your pipes can be air trapped in them. While this can be from a leak in your pipes it is likely to be a result of the water pump starting to fail.

The pump uses a bladder of air, if this develops a leak then the air escapes into the pressure tank. This then causes the pump to stop and start, creating the clicking noise in your pipes and reducing the lifespan of your water pump. The faster it’s repaired the better.

Increase In Electric Bills

If your electricity bill is fairly constant and it suddenly starts to rise you need to have your well pump checked. When your pump has issues it will start to use more electricity and cause your bill to start increasing.

If you can’t find any other reason for your electricity bill to increase you should suspect the well pump and have it checked out.

Fluctuations in Shower Temperature

A well pump usually has a balancing mechanism that controls the flow of water even if you have more than one faucet open. However, if the pump is starting to fail then it will be incapable of balancing the water effectively.

In short, if you’re taking a shower and someone pulls the flush the water is going to get very hot.

Spitting Taps

If your taps start to spit then they have air in them. This can be a result of a leak in your pipes but it more likely to be due to an issue with your water pump.

Final Thoughts 

The key to preventing these issues is to have your well pump serviced annually. This will ensure problems are detected and can be solved at your convenience. That’s better than being burned in the shower or not having any running water.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Michael Dales


The Ultimate Dining Room Decorating Guide

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If you own your own home at some point you’re going to want to decorate it. This is one of the most effective ways of placing your own mark on a property and ensuring you have a comfortable space you can relax in.

The good news is that it’s not as hard as you may think to create a stunning-looking dining room. You simply need to take it one step at a time. 

Start With the Walls

If your walls are in good condition the easiest thing to do is paint them. Of course, if they are pitted and tired you’re going to need the filler and perhaps rely on wallpaper to create the perfect effect.

It’s best to go with a neutral or pastel color. These can be easily complemented by the soft furnishings, allowing you to effectively redecorate without repainting.

Flooring

The decision regarding the best floor for your dining room is personal. Many people like the clean lines of wood while others prefer the softness of carpet. Whichever you go with you need to keep it fairly neutral. Again, it’s the soft furnishings that add the color and set the tone of the room. These are the easiest to replace when needed.

Consider Pests

The dining room is highly attractive to pests because you’re likely to have food waste on the floor. Of course, regular vacuuming will help to prevent this. But, you can also use an electronic pest control device to kill the pests when they arrive or persuade them to go elsewhere.

It’s an important part of the decorating process as you want to be able to relax and enjoy your room.

Use Rugs To define Space

Rugs can be used on any type of floor. They are a great way of bringing your desired color into the room and can be easily changed if you wish to change the color scheme. 

Rugs can also help to define the pathway around the room. They define where to walk and where to avoid. Try it, you’ll see the difference it makes.

Round Tables Are A Good Idea

Round tables are lacking a head or afoot. This makes them a great symbol of equality and they’ll make it easier for everyone to talk to each other. In short, they’ll make your dining room feel more fun and encourage interaction between people.

Light It Up

Romantic lights have their place. However, when you’re dealing with a dining room you want to be able to see what you’re eating. That means plenty of light over the table.

Try adding lights directed at the table and softer lights into the corners of the room. It will allow you to see what you’re eating while creating a pleasant ambiance in the room.

Finishing Touches

The best way to make sure your dining room looks fantastic is to choose the finishing touches. That’s the cushions on the chairs, the curtains, and even the color of the candles. 

It’s the soft furnishings that give your dining room a personal but still stunning feel. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Dawn Peterson


Five Ways to Get Rodents Out of the House

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It doesn’t matter where you live, no one likes rodents in the house. Whether you’re in New York City or a rural area where there are a lot of animals around, finding any rodents in the house is annoying for everyone. Luckily there are things you can do to get rid of your rodent problem and work towards keeping them away from you. Read below to find a few tips for rodent proofing your house.

Eliminate Possible Entry

One of the most important things you can do to stop this issue is to eliminate the possible entry points for them. It is an effective way to stop infestations from expanding. Look around your house to find the places that rodents can enter. You’ll need to be diligent because mice and rats can squeeze themselves into small openings. If you can fit something like a pencil into the opening, a rodent can likely get through it too.

You should seal cracks in the foundation and openings in the wall where utility pipes and vents are. You should avoid using plastic, wood, rubber, or anything else rodents can gnaw through. Furthermore, weather stripping for your doors and window gaps create a seal against the threshold so small rodents can’t get under the door.

Use Traps

While it may seem cruel, it is important to use traps to get rodents out of your house and prevent a further infestation. If you already have rodents in the house, traps will provide a way for you to get the ones that have infested your home already.

It can take a lot of traps to get one rodent, you should use plenty to trap them. Some people use a dozen traps to get one mouse. In addition to utilizing wooden traps, utilize bait traps, multiple-capture live ones, and traps that use glue in conjunction with the traditional ones. If you already have a rodent infestation, you should take advantage of all your options to get rid of them because it won’t be easy.

It is also crucial to make sure that your traps are placed in the right spots. Put them perpendicular to the walls, with traps facing the baseboard. You should also be sure to use the right bait, which are sealed plastic packets containing meal or pellets. With these measures, you’ll be able to trap and get rid of the rodents.

Keep your House Clean

If you already have an infestation, cleaning your house won’t get rid of the rodents but it will keep them away. When you get rid of the rodents, cleaning your home will prevent a new infestation. A few crumbs will keep rodents around. Make sure to vacuum and wipe down counters. You should store food in glass jars or airtight containers. Make sure to secure your garbage. Avoid plastic bags because rodents will bite right through them. Reducing clutter and cleaning up after dinner are a few things that will help. You should even keep up on your laundry. In tandem, these methods will help keep rodents away.

Pay Attention to the Outside of your Home

You might not think of it, but you should pay attention to the outside of your home. Removing debris and weeds will help because rodents can hide in them. You can line your home’s foundation with heavy gravel to prevent mice and rats from nesting and burrowing there. When you remove debris around the property, the easier it will be to spot signs of rodent activity and stop them from getting inside.

Get a Cat

A last resort can be to get a cat. Felines love hunting rodents. With a house cat, you have your own little hunter. They can be a great way to keep rats out of the house and to kill them when they do come in. It may sound strange, but if you have run out of options getting a cat could help solve your rodent issue.

Rodents are never easy to get rid of. Once you have an infestation, there is probably more than one living inside the foundation of your home. They can get through small openings from the outside. When you take care to trap the ones inside your home, clean the house inside and out, and take other preventative measures, you will be able to establish a concerted effort to eliminate the problem for good.

 partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jason Saul


The Most Common Winter Maintenance Problems and How to Solve Them

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Article by Rose Morrison: Rose is a home improvement and construction industry writer and the managing editor of Renovated. Follow her Twitter to read more of her content. CC-licensed photo by James Mann.

It’s cold and snowy outside, and you can’t wait to snuggle up with some tea and a book. But suddenly, your heater shuts off — and when you head to your basement to see what happened, you notice a leaky pipe and mold growth. These are just some winter maintenance problems homeowners face every year.

Here’s a look at several seasonal concerns, along with some actionable solutions.

1. Split Window Caulk

It’s 30 degrees during the day, but 15 degrees when you go to bed. This temperature change can cause caulk to separate from windows. As a result, your indoor heat leaves through the cracks and gaps — and chilly outdoor air finds a way inside.

This problem has a simple fix:

  1. Pick up the right caulk for the project. If you need to fix caulk on either side of the window, you’ll need both exterior and interior caulk. Research beforehand to make the best choice.
  2. Remove the old caulk with a putty knife.
  3. Use a leak-free caulk gun to run caulk down the border in segments. Drag the bead down halfway before you readjust your aim. This trick results in a straighter line.
  4. Wet your finger to smooth 6-inch sections at a time.

If you need other tips, you can check out specific guides to help you caulk correctly.

2. Backed-Up Drains and Gutters

Did you clear your home’s drains and gutters in the fall? If not, you should do so immediately. Conditions like rain, snow, and ice accumulate throughout the winter. These elements build up in drains and gutters — and eventually cause leaks and further damage.

Try a few steps to prevent backed-up drains and gutters:

  1. Purchase a small tool like a handheld shovel.
  2. Set tarps on the ground to collect debris.
  3. Use a sturdy ladder to climb up to the gutters.
  4. Remove the dirt and leaves.
  5. Spray the gutters and drains with a hose to flush out any remnants.

This afternoon project will prevent harmful ice dams that could cause roof leaks and deterioration.

3. Damaged Walkways and Driveways

From November to March, you probably head outside daily to clear your walkways and driveway. This process might not seem harmful, but you can damage concrete and asphalt surfaces with certain actions. It’s time to change your habits to prevent cracks and chips around your property.

First, you should always choose de-icing products that don’t include chemicals. These ingredients will deteriorate surfaces. Use a rubber guard on your shovel, too. Repair any damage come springtime to keep walkways and driveways intact for next winter.

4. Heating System Failures

No one wants to handle a broken furnace in the winter. This accident typically requires a professional fix, but you might be able to replace some parts depending on your skill and comfort level. Try to identify the specific issue before you call an expert. Be sure to service your system every year, too.

If you use proper care, you should be able to help your system last for several years.

5. Mold Growth

It’s damp outside, which means you can expect some mold growth in your house. That’s because condensation accumulates when cold and hot air meet — and snow and rain only add to it. If you don’t prioritize air circulation, you can end up with mold-related health issues.

This solution will require you to take several steps:

  1. Identify mold in places like your attic, basement, cabinets, and siding. It’s most common to find traces near water, so look near pipes and windows. Keep an eye — and a nose — out for various types, too.
  2. Wear gloves and goggles for the removal process.
  3. Use either diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide to scrub the mold.
  4. Address whatever caused the mold. Do you need a dehumidifier? Buy one. This way, you can permanently eradicate the mold.

Maintain a dry home with a moderate temperature to discourage mold growth.

6. Roof Leaks

If your roof has missing shingles, you might have to deal with leaks. As snow and ice melt, you’ll see water accumulate in your attic and walls. It’s essential to tackle roof leaks as soon as possible so you can limit any damage.

Locate the leak before you do anything else. This issue might require a simple sealant application, but you may need to replace several roof shingles or tiles, too. It’s typically best to consult a professional so you don’t make any mistakes.

Remember to repair roof fixes that occur in other seasons so you don’t run into issues come wintertime.

7. Clogged Dryer Vents

There’s a big chance you’re using your dryer more often. Everyone loves warm laundry in the winter. However, you need to be aware that your additional usage could be detrimental. If your vents become too clogged, you could experience a dryer fire like 3,000 Americans do every year.

It only takes a few steps to prevent dryer fires:

  1. Locate the duct system behind your dryer.
  2. Disconnect your dryer from the wall.
  3. Clean everything in that space.
  4. Use a special vent kit to clear out the dust and debris.
  5. Reconnect your dryer.

Be sure to clean your dryer vent at least once a year.

8. Broken and Busted Pipes

Freezing weather means damage to pipes. If you want to avoid broken and busted pipes, you need to ensure water doesn’t freeze inside them. This catastrophe will be less likely to happen when you:

  • Insulate your pipes with foam pipe insulation.
  • Keep faucets at a slow drip while you’re away from home.
  • Keep doors and windows closed in rooms with pipes.
  • Leave your heat on even when you’re not home.

As a result, you should be able to avoid burst pipes throughout the winter.

Avoid These Typical Cold Weather Issues at Home

Don’t let the cold ruin your wallet. It’s sometimes inevitable for caulk to split and mold to grow, but you can use a few quick fixes to get everything back in working order. Be sure to prioritize preventive maintenance, too.

 


Top Tips For Cleaning Red Wine Off A Fabric Couch

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There’s nothing better than relaxing with a glass of red after a hard day or week at the office. Unfortunately, enjoying a glass of red often means that there are spills, and they can be difficult to remove.  

The good news is that it is possible to remove a red wine stain, even from a fabric couch. The key is to know what to do in advance and act quickly when it happens.  

Having said that, there is no harm in having the number of a professional and efficient sofa cleaning business. Even when you’ve been unsuccessful at removing the stain, you’ll be surprised at what they can achieve.

Act Fast

When you spill red wine you want to minimize how much of it goes into the fabric of your couch. The first step is to put your wine down where it can’t be knocked again. (That’s assuming there is anything left in the glass). 

With a clean cloth, you’ll want to dab the spill. It’s best to use a cotton cloth but most materials will do. The aim is to blot the spill not scrub, this allows you to remove the excess liquid without making the stain worse.

Don’t forget, rubbing makes it a bigger stain and pushes the liquid further into your fabric.

Dish Soap

Surprisingly, liquid dishwashing soap is very effective at reducing or even eliminating the red wine stain. You’ll need to put one tablespoon of the dish soap into two cups of cool water. The water can’t be hot as this effectively bakes the red wine into the fabric, making it permanent. 

Once you’ve mixed your water and dish soap use a clean sponge to blot the stain. Take your time doing this and keep the contact gentle. You should notice the red wine starting to come out. Keep going to ensure the red wine is fully lifted.

You can then use another cloth to continue blotting the area. You’re now aiming to remove the moisture from your fabric couch. Eliminating this is essential to prevent you from getting a watermark on the couch.

Protecting Against Stains

It doesn’t matter if you commonly spill red wine or not. It’s a good idea to speak to your local professionals regarding the best product to use to protect your couch. There are several products they’ll recommend that can be used to reduce the impact of spills.

In general, these products add a water-resistant layer to your couch. Red wine may still be able to penetrate this but it will take longer, buying you time to remove the liquid and avoid a stain.

The professionals

As mentioned, if you manage to blot the stain and eliminate some, but not all, of it, you’ll find that the professionals are very good at getting the rest out. Considering how expensive a new fabric couch is, or even re-upholstering your existing one, the small cost of help from a sofa cleaning service is worthwhile. They have the tools, equipment, and can offer great advice for future incidents. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Sharon Leon


Top Tips To Help Find Reliable Constructions Workers For Your Next Project

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The golden rule is never to pay upfront for a project. Doing so invites the contractor to take a laid-back approach to your work. Providing they turn up occasionally it’s difficult to start proceedings against them or ever have the work finished.

That’s why it’s essential that you choose reliable construction workers at the start. It will help your project to go smoothly and finish on time.  Fortunately, this is easier than you think, you simply need to use the following tips:

Consider Agencies

Agencies that specialize in labor hire have a lot more to lose if the worker doesn’t show up or isn’t capable of the job. The agency should check every candidate before they include them on their books. 

This ensures they have the skill set you need. By using an agency you’ll also be able to access replacement construction workers. This is useful if the first one isn’t working out or is off sick. Remember, you’ll be paying the agency, not the contractor. It’s up to them to take care of their staff.

Reputation

If you decide to find your own construction worker then you need to check their reputation. The simplest way of doing this is to ask family and friends. If they have personal experience with a specific worker they’ll be able to share what they thought of them and their work.

If this isn’t an option then social media is your new best friend. Ask people online about specific construction workers and you’ll get genuine responses. There will be some negative replies but the majority should be positive. This will help to confirm you’re heading in the right direction.

You can also speak to people that they’ve done jobs for in your area and inspect the work they’ve done.

Get Several Quotes

Getting several quotes makes sense to find the best price for your project. However, it can also be a good way of meeting different construction workers. While their skill set is important, it is also important that you can talk to them.

As the project progresses you’ll need to talk to them about progress and any issues you notice. You’re going to need to feel comfortable doing this, meeting them for quotes is a great way to assess how comfortable you are with them.

Check Their Workload

If the construction worker you’re considering already has a lot of work on their plate you need to know how they plan to fit your project in. It’s important that they can commit enough time to your project to successfully complete it. 

This will ensure the work is to standard and not rushed, or corners cut.

Knowledge

It’s a good idea to chat with a construction worker regarding their knowledge, experience, and even qualifications regarding specific elements of your project. These answers can reassure you that you have a worker that knows what they are doing. This is important as they are likely to be left alone to complete parts of the job.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Neil Moralee


The 6 Most Popular Kitchen Layouts

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The kitchen is often one of the largest rooms in the house and, for many, remains the center of the home. Of course, it is rarely in the actual center of the house as this creates issues for plumbing and the extraction of cooking smells. 

Nevertheless, as the center of your home, it’s important to spend some time considering the best layout of the kitchen. The right choice is personal but there are 6 commonly chosen layouts worth considering.

Before you rip out the old kitchen you should consider investing in outdoor kitchens, a bespoke outdoor kitchen can add practicality and value to your home. You can even use some of the components of your old kitchen.

1. One Wall

The one wall kitchen is a good choice when the kitchen is part of another room. It maintains the kitchen area but minimizes the amount of space it occupies. At the same time, all the units and appliances being on one wall gives you plenty of space to move around.

In short, it’s aesthetically pleasing and practical, especially if you’re limited on room

2. L Shaped

An L-shaped kitchen can work in small or large spaces. It can be designed in conjunction with wall units or as a standalone affair. This maximizes space around the kitchen while keeping the appliances together and easily accessible.

3. Islands

The island has long been a popular choice in kitchen design. However, in recent years islands have been getting bigger and even become the kitchen. These are a great idea for people that like to meet in the kitchen. Cooking, chatting, and even crosswords can all be done sat around the large island. This helps to make the kitchen the center of the home, which remains important to many families.

4. U Shaped

The U shaped is a great way of extending n the island or U shaped principle. It creates the same spacious feel around the kitchen and allows people to sit and chat while food is being prepared. But, the U shaped has the advantage in that the chef can remain inside the U, that’s their space. It prevents accidents from people bumping into each other and looks great.

In fact, it’s a great choice for busy families.

5. Peninsula

This is a balance between the one wall kitchen and the island. Instead of separating the two styles, it incorporates both. The peninsula literally comes out of the kitchen, jutting into the room. 

This is an effective way to have a traditional cooking space but gives space for family members to join in, creating a community feel.

6. Galley

Finally, the galley kitchen is generally reserved for small kitchen spaces. It is a row of cabinets on both sides with a small passage in the middle. This increases the storage space available in small kitchens which is important for larger families. However, there is limited space to move around, limiting the number of people that can congregate at the same time.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jeremy Levine


6 Tips to Make Your House Greener & Livelier

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The polar ice caps are melting, and the ozone layer is depleting because of climate change. According to the UN, global warming is a current defining crisis endangering many species. It is a race that humans must win.

No corner of the globe is immune to the effects of climate change. Therefore, we must divert our energy to maintaining a sustainable lifestyle and focus on incorporating environment-friendly practices. A green lifestyle means efficiently utilize resources and reduce costs.

Advantages of a greener house 

People think that a green lifestyle is uncomfortable. However, modern construction techniques and technology have made sustainable living a possibility. Furthermore, it can increase savings and empower individuals to make a difference in environmental crises. A green home reduces operating costs while making housing thermally comfortable. Additionally, greener houses are more durable and last longer since most of the building materials are natural. 

Homeowners can do a lot to make their houses environmentally efficient. Listed below are seven changes you can make for a more eco-friendly home. Most of these suggestions are eco, budget, and time-friendly. 

  1. Use LED bulbs: Energy-efficient bulbs make a lot of difference to the bottom line. A popular choice is LED bulbs. These light-emitting diode bulbs use 75% less energy than regular bulbs. Furthermore, LEDs last longer than standard bulbs. So, they are the best option for an environmentally conscientious homeowner.
  2. Maintain your air conditioner: Air conditioners are a modern necessity, but they can negatively impact the environment. Research suggests that roughly one-fourth of global warming results from inefficient air conditioning. Older models emit harmful gases that break down the ozone layer and increase global warming. Whereas, energy star models half your energy bill. Therefore make the switch as soon as possible. But, do not forget to get 20x20x1 HVAC Filters to keep your home’s atmosphere clean and pure. 
  3. Make better choices in your kitchen: A sustainable attitude in the kitchen can do a lot for your pocket and the environment. Fortunately, most of these choices require your time and effort. A significant thing to do is to invest in durable and long-lasting cookware. Stainless steel and cast iron are the best options. Try to limit the purchase of pre-packaged and processed food; instead, go for organic produce. Not only are such products unhealthy, but they are also harmful to the environment. Buying local products is the way to go as it decreases food miles. 
  4. Use homemade cleaning products: Natural cleaning products work just as well as the ones from the shop. Most commercial cleaners are full of toxic substances that have a negative long-term effect on the environment. Furthermore, some people might be allergic to certain synthetic chemicals. Comparatively, organic cleaning products are environment friendly and are also safer and cheaper. You can make your homemade cleaning agent with the contents of your pantry. Take a three-fourth cup of hydrogen peroxide. Mix it with a half cup of white vinegar, one teaspoon liquid soap, ten drops of tea tree oil, and two water cups. Add some lavender oil for a lasting scent. Then mix the ingredients into a spray bottle, and you are good to go.
  5. Change your bin system: Reuse, reduce, and recycle are the three primary ways people can reduce their carbon footprint. However, no one likes to make the extra effort to separate the recyclables from the general waste. Getting a recycle bin can make you more conscious about making better choices. A compost container can also help utilize kitchen trash efficiently. There are many benefits to composting, including better soil quality and reducing plant diseases. And do not worry about the smell. The compost bins of today are odor-free and easy to clean.
  6. Get window treatments: Despite keeping windows closed and the HVAC on, houses turn into ovens in the summers and refrigerators in the winters. But worry not, as there is an easy way to control the temperature of your house. Drapes and shades can make your home environmentally friendly. Not only do curtains make your home stylish, but they also save energy. Therefore, updating your shutters and curtains can save energy and reduce energy costs.

Conclusion

Leading an eco-friendly lifestyle is all about making better choices in your house and your life. An environmentally friendly existence can improve human lives and reduce waste. Furthermore, it saves energy and money. We must conserve our planet and leave a better one for the future generation. Do your part by making better choices in your life.

partnered post • cc-licensed image from Pixabay


Tips to Consider When Remodeling Your Kitchen

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While any renovation project can be exciting, renovators and home-owners alike will agree that the kitchen renovation project is easily at the top of the list. Inarguably, the kitchen is the central part of your home. Not only does it serve immense functionality, but there can be nothing that exudes more warmth – metaphorically and literally – than the kitchen. You want your kitchen to be a place where you can whip up your favorite meals in a hassle freeway. However, you also want your kitchen to be a cozy, intimate spot in your home where you can cook and bond with your loved ones. Every family's needs are unique, so a kitchen renovation may be the best step to have the best experience. However, by no means a small task, renovations are small, and you want everything to turn out right in the first go. So, here are a few tips to consider before diving into your renovation project.

Start With the Storage

When going for any renovation, it's easy to focus entirely on the aesthetics and forget about functionality. However, while you can get away with that in your living room, the kitchen presents an altogether different case. When it comes to kitchen functionality, the most critical aspect to consider is utilizing space. A messy and cluttered kitchen can make it difficult for you to complete even the most basic tasks. Cabinet design is imperative for functionality, as it allows you to store away groceries, appliances, and crockery efficiently. Hanging cabinets are a beautiful way for you to create open spaces in your kitchen and showcase your pottery too. Custom cabinets can go seamlessly with your décor, making them the perfect addition to any kitchen. Furthermore, the price of standard kitchen wall cabinets online is super economical, making them the ideal pick no matter your budget.

Add a Kitchen Island

You've probably seen kitchen islands cropping up in every lifestyle magazine out there, and for a good reason. Kitchen islands are an incredibly stylish, versatile, and stunning way to add functionality and style to your kitchen. The island not only gives you more space to use. It also allows you to create a comfortable, cozy spot where you can have warm meals with your family. You can do almost anything with a kitchen island, and it only helps that they're super trendy these days. Depending on your home's overall vibe, you can go with a more timeless design or something modern. After all, there's nothing the kitchen island can't do! It can allow you to open up your kitchen for guests and family alike. Cooking is about making memories, and with a kitchen island, you can share this safe space with the ones you love.

Revamp Your Countertops

New countertops can revamp your entire kitchen's look, so it's safe to say that this is something you shouldn't overlook in your kitchen renovation. Marbled, beautiful countertops are all the rage these days, and there's no reason why you shouldn't hop on the trend. Marble countertops are an exquisite addition to any kitchen. Furthermore, it's a timeless design that is bound to stay in style for years to come. Marble is lustrous and luxurious and can elevate any kitchen space. However, it's also incredibly durable and can withstand spills and heavy, hot pans too. So, if you want countertops that combine class and functionality, marble is the way to go.

When it Comes to Color, Go Big or Go Home

The color theme is central to ensuring that your home has a seamless look, with everything working together correctly. To ensure your kitchen ties in with the rest of your home, follow the same color scheme as your home. However, the kitchen is also an excellent place for you to experiment. You can add statement colors around the kitchen to lighten the mood and add a personal touch. Orange is a color that can be pretty controversial – you either love it or hate it – but it can be a hit in the kitchen. It evokes feelings of warmth and can make the room feel brighter and more vibrant.

Conclusion

Focusing on these few tips can help ensure that you have all your bases covered before entering your renovation project. Focusing on these few factors can help you change your kitchen's look while adding functionality and style. Your kitchen is the primary and most crucial area of your home, so you want to ensure you take the time to plan things out beforehand.

partnered post • photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels


Top Reasons Why Steel Frame Homes Are The Future

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Steel has been used in the construction industry for many years. However, until recently it was mainly used in the commercial sector. It is only in recent years that it has gained popularity in residential builds. 

While the traditional Australian house is made from wood, there is an increasing number being made from steel. There are several reasons why this is likely to become the material of choice for the future.

Quality of Construction

A steel-framed house is made largely off-site at the factory. The pieces are then shipped to your site and put together to make the frame of your home. This means that reputable companies can make items like a universal steel beam. This can be used in many different styles of metal homes which allows the cost of constructing the beam to be minimized. A standard template ensures fast processing and the ability to ensure every beam is made to the same quality.

In short, you’ll know that every piece of metal in your steel frame house is made to the same high standard. It’s difficult to make the same claim about a wood frame house.

Cost of Build

Steel framed houses are cheaper to build. Although the steel generally costs a little more than the wood needed to make an equivalent house, you need substantially fewer resources on site. 

The steel is delivered on the back of a truck, you’ll need a crane to lift it off and position it while the pieces are bolted together. Of course, you’ll need a solid foundation before the metal arrives but you need foundations for a wooden house. 

Building with steel doesn’t just mean less manpower on-site, the erection is much faster. A house can be constructed in just a few days. That represents a huge cost saving in labor. 

Strength

Steel is strong. It’s much stronger than wood allowing you to create innovative designs. It is also more likely to withstand a hurricane or even floods. That makes it a good option if you live in a risk area.

Steel is also impervious to the elements, it won’t rot and can’t be attacked by pests. In short, it’s not just stronger, it’s much more durable. Of course, that doesn’t mean your house is impregnable if you attach wood to the steel frame that is vulnerable to the elements.

But, it’s not just steel framing you can use. It’s possible to use steel panels for the walls, making your house entirely from steel. It can even have different colors and textures, giving it a unique and modern feel. 

Environmental Factors

Modern steel is made by melting down old steel products. This surprisingly makes it an environmentally friendly option. In fact, steel is one of the few materials that can be 100% recycled, there is no wastage. 

The only environmental impact is from heating the steel to a high temperature to turn it molten again. This impact is significantly less than the damage caused by chopping down forests.

If you’re considering building your own home then it’s time you thought about a steel-framed house. The more you think about it the more sense it makes. They are likely to be the home of the future.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Scott Stewart-Johnson


Essentials for Your Office Space

3197502527_67cd9f3b77_cWorking from home seems like a common trend these days. With all that 2020 brought, more people than ever before are working from home. It’s no wonder, with technology becoming as powerful as it is, companies are shifting to digital employment.

With that said, if you’re included in that group, it is important to have an office space that allows you to work comfortably and be productive. There are many ways to improve any space to make it the office you’ve always wanted! But where do you even start? We are here to provide you with some essentials for your office space.

Computer or Desktop

Whether you own your own law firm and you’re searching for bankruptcy lawyer marketing or you use excel sheets every day, a properly functioning computer is number one on your list. For your posture, you may want to invest in a desktop that you can position higher at eye-level– this allows you to avoid slouching and prevent an injury later on. On the other hand, if you intend to create a mobile office on top of your home office, a laptop could be a better buying decision.

Desk

If you're handy, you can build your own desk exactly the way you like.  If not, you can purchase a desk at your local furniture store. It might be smart to purchase a desk that can transition from a regular desk to a standing desk– because let’s be honest who likes to sit all day long? There are a wide variety of options out there! Ergotron has flexible furniture that allows you to move from sit-to-stand easily and efficiently!

Comfortable Chair

We’ll suggest this as one of the top 3 most important aspects of a home office. Take your time and select a quality chair. Test out the chair before you buy it so you can be sure it fits your needs. We suggest taking a measurement of the height of your desk so that the chair matches and doesn’t turn out to be too tall or short!

Lighting

Adequate lighting level is critical to a productive workspace. Do you prefer natural light? If so, position your desk near a window to take advantage of a full day of sunlight. On top of that, a lamp that’s bright enough so you don’t have to strain your eyes is important. If you are going to be working in this space every day, make sure the light makes you feel like you won’t fall asleep!

Storage Needs

An office space is versatile and doesn’t have to be solely for work. Depending on the size of your space, you could include a variety of additional items in your office. A bookshelf, art piece, plants, or sofa– you name it. If you have textbooks you need to store or additional work materials, plan out room for those. Additional small items like pens, sticky notes, or business cards need to be stored near your work area too.

Wifi/ Internet Access

The one good part about 2020, is that internet speed is not hard to come by. High-speed internet access is essential if you are going to be working from home. Be sure this is all set up before you start working, if you need to upgrade because your internet is slow, now is the time to do so.

Printer

Depending on your business, you might be able to get away with not having a printer. However, there always come times when you wish you had one for scanning or making copies. Consider looking into multipurpose machines that do all of these tasks for you.

A Fire Safe Box

You may want to consider purchasing a fire safe box for all of your important business documents. Most importantly, if you’re a small business owner you have a safe storage place to keep your backup copies of all your data.

Decor

Last but not least, make the space yours! Adding decor like candles, plants, and artwork makes your space feel more cozy. Some great indoor office plants include the Sanservia, African Violet, and Aloe. Not only will plants add some color to the room, they are healthy and beautiful. If you’re looking for other decorating ideas, Pinterest is always a perfect place to find some inspiration and start livening up your room!

partnered post • cc-licensed home office photo by Jeremy Levine


Packing & Moving Tips to Make Your Move Hassle-Free

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Relocation and moving are stressful activities that take time and effort. Millions of people worldwide relocate every year, so you are not alone if you plan to move. Even though it happens frequently, moving is itself a tiring and challenging process. However, if you plan it properly, it may be a rewarding experience to reinvent your life. Moving is not that difficult; it is packing that is a hassle. There are loads of ways that can help you do your packing and moving smoothly. Let us offer you some packing and moving tips to make your next move easy.

PLANNING

Planning is the best method of making any activity hassle-free, and the same goes for moving. Many people rush their move without a plan that ends up becoming a nightmare for them. Moving is a three-stage process: packing, transportation, and unpacking. The packing phase is the most complicated yet most important step of all. Planning for packing helps you determine the time and resources needed to pack your belongings in each section of your home. Starting with the one that is the biggest or most important and then gradually scales from there. In this way, you will have less time and effort needed as your plan keeps you focused on each task.

Transportation is simple and, if planned well, makes it smooth. If you have a poor plan, you may end up with damaged goods or delayed transportation. Similarly, unpacking also needs planning according to room importance. You can label your boxes related to rooms and unpack them accordingly. The best way to make all three phases is to hire a professional moving company. They have the resources and expertise to pack and transport your possessions without damage safely.

USE STORAGE UNITS

Another tip to make your packing easy is to remove items you do not need for some time and place them in a storage unit. All you have to do is find a storage facility around you. For instance, if you happen to live in southern California or nearby, several options are available. Like outside Los Angeles, in the city of Anaheim storage units are available in different sizes and prices. You can select a unit based on the number of items you place and time duration. You have various options available that you can choose accordingly. Once you have moved your belongings here, the remaining stuff's packing will become more comfortable and organized.

STAY ORGANIZED AND CREATE A CHECKLIST

After you have de-cluttered your belongings and moved some to storage units, you need to organize the remaining things for packing. You have much to do, and creating a checklist will help you stay on top of everything. A checklist will also help keep you track of everything, such as canceling your utilities and returning things like a cable box. You can label your boxes and tally them with your checklist to ensure you got everything you want during the packing and unpacking phase. Cross out everything you pack and unpack from your checklist to track your belongings easily.

STOCK SUPPLIES

If you do not plan to hire a moving company, you had better stock up on good quality supplies. These supplies include packing boxes, padding, tape, and bubble wraps. Suppose you bring these storage boxes before packing; it will prevent you from running out of supplies. You can start packing in advance and label the boxes before the actual date. In this way, you will save time and effort to focus on other activities of relocation.

MOVE FRAGILE ITEMS BY YOURSELF

Wrap fragile items like glassware or chandeliers in the best protection as bubble wraps and move them yourself. While you can entrust a moving company to move things like tables or chairs, moving fragile items need focus. Once you have everything packed and transport ready, load breakables into your car and drive carefully; moving such possessions by yourself ensures safety. You know the value of the items loaded and take precautions in every step. Besides fragile items, you can also keep valuable documents like property papers or academic certificates, etc., in a separate box and keep them from misplacing.

LABEL BOXES SPECIFICALLY

The contents of each room need packing into different boxes and labeled accordingly. Labeling the boxes helps you keep track according to the checklist prepared and unloading at the new location. You do not want to go through a dozen boxes to take your teacups out, so a labeled box will tell you where to look. It will save you much time and effort, especially in the unpacking stage.

 DISASSEMBLE FURNITURE AND OTHER ITEMS

Another tip to make your packing easy for relocation is to disassemble your furniture. It will help you save space and effort from packing, load, and unload. Be sure to mark the hardware with the underside to assemble it quickly once unloaded. A completed piece of furniture might suffer damage, and disassembling the furniture enables you to wrap and move quickly.

FINAL WORD

Packing and relocation is a stressful activity that becomes much frustrating if something goes wrong. You can consider the points mentioned above as tips to help you pack efficiently without hassle. By taking care of few points, you reduce the chance of unexpected issues adding to your stress levels. These tips help you streamline your chores and manage your tasks efficiently.

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Five Invaluable Tips for Domestic Relocation

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Considering the number of people who have to go through domestic relocation, it should be relatively straightforward. However, if you have relocated yourself previously, you would understand that it can turn out to be increasingly difficult. And it can also lead to various problems, like body aches and stress. Relocating can especially become a nightmare if you're doing it the first time. So, the worst mistake you can make is underestimating domestic relocation. No doubt, it's a task that requires some knowledge for proper execution. However, you should not be discouraged by this challenge. Many people learn knowledge about relocating correctly by going through the troubles many times. Fortunately, you won't have to go through the same difficulties if you remember these invaluable tips and take help from professional movers before you relocate in the coming future. 

utilize services

While you may be able to do all the tasks required to relocate, you still won't be as qualified as professionals. So, it's best to leave difficult tasks for the professionals. Perhaps the most challenging thing to do when relocating is packing your items and transporting them. If you do it yourself, you may injure yourself and even harm your items permanently. So, hiring skilled professionals to assist you in packing and moving your stuff can help you significantly. They are trained in this task and will make sure your items get transported on time with careful handling. For example, you may often face difficulty moving heavy items like furniture; that's where the professional movers come in to help you out. With the assistance of movers, you'll have a reduced workload, which will also reduce stress. So, if you're looking forward to relocating somewhere to Washington, make sure you get help from shoreline community movers. However, there are other facilities, like cleaning services that you can hire to reduce the filth at your new or old place. To gain full benefits of services, make sure you call them earlier, so they arrive right on time.

save time by starting earlier

People often underestimate the amount of work they'll have to do for relocation and end up wasting time before they start preparing. As a result, they end up in a hassle. They often delay their relocation, combined with many other problems such as lost items due to the haste. However, suppose you don't make the same mistake and start preparing earlier. In that case, you can make your relocation smooth without taking any stress. You can start preparing by making a checklist with a list of all your tasks to not miss out on anything that you'd regret later. It will also make you more organized, which is known to boost productivity. Another way to be prepared beforehand is to get yourself equipped with the proper tools for relocation. These can include screwdrivers, bubble wrap, tape, and boxes for the most part, but lifting tools like moving straps are also useful.   

get rid of junk

There's a lot of junk that people either leave in their old places or take with them. Either way, both cause a lot of problems during relocation. It's a good idea to get rid of useless items before you start packing useful things. They make your place look messy and unorganized. By merely decluttering your home, you can reduce 40% of the housework. Moreover, you will also save space in packing, and thus save both energy and time. The best way to get rid of things you don't need anymore is to go through all your stuff one by one while packing up things. 

pack wisely

To further reduce your workload, you must remember to pack in a smart way. The first thing you'll need to do is find appropriately sized boxes made of durable material for heavy or sharp objects. It will help you keep your items safe. Once you start placing things in boxes, make sure you don't waste any space inside them. If there's still some space left, you can stuff in small objects or clothes like towels. A common problem faced by relocating people is lost items, like screws and other smaller things. You can bundle together the objects that tend to get lost to avoid this problem. To fend off losing screws, you can tape them on the items they are attached to, and the best way to prevent getting things lost is by keeping them close to yourself while moving. To pack in an organized manner, labeling every box with a description of its contents is a smart idea. It helps you unpack the boxes accordingly, but it will also help keep fragile items safe. 

work safely

Safety comes first, as we all know. Despite this, many people don't see the increased risk of getting hurt while relocating. Thus face the consequences. However, you should act wisely and protect yourself at all costs. Falling is a common cause of fatal injuries during moving; each year, around 646000 people die due to falling. By decluttering your house, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling. Moreover, you can cover potentially harmful objects, like those made of glass, with bubble wrap to avoid breaking them and causing yourself harm. Furthermore, it will help if you are attentive while using tools for packing, such as cutters. 

conclusion

Instead of underestimating the difficulty of relocating, you can instead follow these tips and act wisely. Not only will you save time and money, but you will also keep yourself safe and sound. Hopefully, you will be able to reduce workloads and maximize your excitement for the new place you're about to visit.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by cottonbro


Do These 3 Things & Your Water Heater Will Work for 12+ Years

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What is a water heater? How does it work? Water heater? Hot water tank? Same thing really. It’s your home’s engine that gives you and your loved one’s hot water. The tank holds your hot water and keeps it hot until you turn the faucets or appliances on.

Many homes have – sadly – inefficient, older, tank style, hot water heaters. Trouble is, when you are not using the hot water, it just sits in the tank, being continually heated. Furthermore, those long and luxurious showers/baths can deplete supply and you can wait for an age for the tank to refill. To see where you’re at with your hot water tank, it’s always best to call a professional water heater repair company. To give you sound advice. We can also assess your needs and help you save money.

How water heaters work

Hot water tanks are plugged into the mains or they can run on gas/fuel. The basic configuration is:

  • One pipe brings cold water in
  • One pipe moves hot water out
  • Heating element
  • Safety valve releases water from the tank if pressure/temperature is too high

The cold-water pipe brings water to the heating elements in the bottom of the tank. The water warms up, moves to the top of the tank and voila – you have hot water on demand.

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Tankless hot water heaters

Tankless hot water heaters do not store heated water in a tank. They deliver it only when you need it. Tankless water heaters are smaller standalone units that have a cold-water pipe that is heated by a gas burner or an electric element in an enclosed unit. Tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water – with some cons:

  • Limited flow rate
  • Installation cost can be higher
  • In a larger home you may need two

The pros are compelling though:

  • No storage tank means hot water on demand
  • Long life expectancy
  • Low operating costs 
  • Vastly improved energy conservation 
  • Saves space in smaller units 

For a more thorough look at these units, make sure to consult with “Toronto water heater repair.” We will lead you in the right direction.

What are the most common problems with water heaters and how to avoid them?

Smile HVAC Water Heater Repair Services helped us to outline the most common water heater issues:

No hot water

Is your pilot light on? Most gas-powered water heaters have a clearly labelled knob. Set to “off,” and wait five minutes for the gas to clear. Refer to your manual to relight if it is off.

Not enough hot water

Your thermostat may be down, or your tank may be too small. Get a bigger water heater from us or call us out to check thermostat.

Temperature problems

Try adjusting the thermostat to the right temperature. If it doesn’t work, call us. We’ll check your thermostat and correct any sediment build up.

Dirty water

If your water is brown, it’s probably the anode rod needs to be replaced or you have corrosion in your tank.

Low water pressure

Have a plumber (or us) check your pipes. Sediment or leaks in the lines are the likely issue.

Leaks

Check all connections and water exchange pipes. Tighten if loose. Check valves. Turn off the gas or electricity in your house then open and close the A and P valve. A properly working valve will release water when open.

Temperature

Check your breaker and thermostat. If both are fine, it may be your heating element. Your breakers are probably located in your basement or storage room. Breakers can trip if you are using multiple appliances at once. Switch the one that is off back again and see if it solves the problem. Call us if it doesn’t work.

How to extend the lifespan of your water heater

There are some basic steps you can take to prolong the life of your water heater. It’s best to call a pro but before you do but, try these:

Maintenance flush

Hard water means sediment build up. Sediment blocks heating elements and make your hot water tank work harder. A once a year maintenance flush can help. Drain the water from your tank by shutting off the gas or electricity. Attach hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and direct it into a floor drain or bathtub through a colander. Turn on a hot water faucet and wait until the sediment is gone.

Drained completely? Close the drain valve and fill the tank a little with cold water. Do the whole process again until clear.

Anode rod

Anode rods attract minerals from water and hold on to them. Those minerals become the sediment. Anode rods have a lifespan though. Replacement every 3-5 years is a must.

There is usually a hex nut on the top of your tank, the rod will be directly attached to it.

If your rod has heavy deposits, it is time to replace it.

Following the above, simple steps can extend the life of your water heater and prevent any costly accidents.

Always call a professional water heater repair company. Technicians can help with any issues you have, no matter the size. Your water system is an integral part of your home, they can help you to make it last longer and save you money.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by john carl johnson


Discover The Differences Between Smoke Curtains & Fire Curtains

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The protection and prevention of fire is something that everyone should take seriously. Although you hope it will never happen, house fires do happen and kill more than 50 Australians every year.

If you haven’t already thought about a fire occurring in your home then you should. This means taking the standard preventative measures. That includes purchasing and fitting a smoke alarm to every level of your home, having a fire extinguisher handy, and developing an escape plan.

It’s important that everyone in the house knows the escape plan and has practiced it, this can make a huge difference in the event of a fire. You should also note that electrical issues are one of the biggest causes of house fires, get them annually inspected to reduce the risk. 

Alongside the above measures, you should be considering smoke curtains, fire curtains, or both. 

Smoke Curtains

As the name suggests a quality set of smoke curtains helps to prevent smoke from getting to the rest of the house. They can also be used to channel smoke. 

In any fire smoke rises. When you have a house fire the smoke is trapped by the room so looks for another exit point, usually around the doors, if they are closed. It will then continue to rise, filling the upstairs of your house first. Inhaling smoke is dangerous and kills more people than the fire itself.

That’s the reason you have smoke alarms.

The smoke curtains can be used at home or in the business, they are generally built into or attached to the ceiling; In the event of smoke being detected the smoke curtain lowers, although it stays above head height. This traps the smoke, preventing it from getting elsewhere in the building. 

Ideally, the smoke curtains can be sued to direct the smoke to a designated exit route, helping to keep the coats clear for others to escape.

Fire Curtains

In contrast, the fire curtain blocks a space entirely. These are also fitted to the roof and drop down as soon as smoke or fire is detected. But, fire curtains go all the way to the floor, separating the area with the fire in from the rest of the building. 

Fire curtains are generally made to withstand the heat of the fire for three to four hours. This buys people time to get out safely and for the fire service to control or extinguish the blaze. It can save sections of a building but its main aim is to create a safe passage for people to get out through. That’s why fire curtains are often fitted on each side of an escape route, keeping the route clear and safe.

Fire curtains can usually withstand temperatures up to 1800° F, smoke curtains can only handle 1112° F as they are only dealing with smoke. Both are effective at helping you to get out of a burning building safely. But, they are best used in conjunction with smoke alarms

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Andrew Magill


Tips to Move on Budget

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Moving is a stressful process that requires a lot of work and time. Many people are stressed when moving, and this is why no one looks forward to moving. Moving is also expensive because you have to spend a lot of money on packing materials and hiring professional movers. On realizing they have to move; people start thinking about how much it will cost. The good news is you can move on a budget. You don’t have to spend a lot on this process. It would help if you found ways of saving money when moving. Below are some tips for moving on a budget.

Decluttering

The cost of moving is mostly determined by the number of items you need to move. You need to look for items you can get rid of. Many people spend a lot of money on moving items that they don’t use or need. Go through your stuff and note any items you have not used in the past year. If you have not used something for that long, there is a good chance you will not use it any time soon.

There are different ways of getting rid of items. The first is selling them; you can sell them online on Facebook Marketplace and eBay. Another option is having a garage sale. You can get a lot from selling these items, and you can even use the money for your move. If you cannot sell the items, consider donating them.

Go room by room and see which items you need and those you can live without. You will also save yourself a lot of time you would have used in packing those items. Another benefit of donating items is tax deductions.

Look for packing materials on the cheap

When moving, you cannot do without boxes, packing tape, and packing materials. The good news is you don’t have to spend a lot on packing materials. You can get boxes for free, and it will save you a lot of money. It is a good idea to start early because it gives you enough time to find packing materials for cheap or free. You can ask your friends and family whether they have moving boxes. Local bargain groups on social media platforms are great for scouting free boxes. Local and big-box stores are a good source of free boxes. 

You don’t have to use only the packing materials you have bought. There are things in your home you can use for packing. You can use towels to wrap around delicate and fragile items. Blankets, duvets, and pillows will provide a cushion for your items, and you will save a lot that you would have used for getting packing materials—pack smaller items in laundry baskets and suitcases. You can employ a lot of creativity in this area because you use items you already have in your home. You will end up saving a lot on packing materials.

Running the numbers on professional movers

Many people hire professional movers for long distance relocation because it removes the burden of moving, but it also costs a lot of money. It is vital to understand the costs if you want to cut down on your moving costs.

It would help if you compared movers when choosing the best option. Moving companies will give you a free quote. You should consider getting at least four quotes before you select the right option for you. Do not make the mistake of choosing the first option you come across.

You need to find out whether the mover charges per hour or based on your load. If you are moving over a short distance, it might be a good idea to choose hourly movers. When moving many items or long distances, it is better to pay a flat rate based on load. There are moving companies that offer freebies like boxes, tapes, or other moving materials.

Check your calendar

Another factor that has an impact on the cost of your move is when you schedule it. You can expect to pay 20-30% less when you move between October to April compared to the summer months. This is because movers are busy since most people move during the summer. The time of the month you move will affect how much you pay for hiring long distance movers or renting a truck.

You can get cheaper rates mid-month because rental leases roll over at the end of the month. This is when movers usually have fewer reservations, which is why they offer their services at a cheaper rate than the end month. Weekend rates are higher compared to weekdays.

Starting early will give you the freedom to choose a moving date with the best rates. This is why you should get started with the process as soon as you know about your move.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Janet Tarbox


Dreaming of Unusual Houses

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In 1999, the producers of an unscripted TV series called House Hunters had the idea that people like to look at houses. Over 20 years later, it turns out they were really onto something. Sure, we like the human drama of somebody trying to pick a place that meets their needs, but we also like to imagine what our lives would be like if we were the ones moving. 

Bloggers have theorized that our love for looking at houses springs from the following:

  • Curiosity: It killed the cat, sure. Or at least, that's what we were told. But we like to see how other people live, what other houses look like, and so on.
  • Vindication: One blogger called it the “need to feel better about our own houses.” Why? We may never have the chance to live in our dream home. But seeing other houses can help us better appreciate our own.
  • Decorating and landscaping ideas: Looking at photos and videos of other people’s homes can often inspire us to do something a little different with our own.
  • Ideas for home sellers: One of the most common real estate tips for sellers is to stage your home. This doesn’t always mean getting rid of all of your stuff and bringing in rented furniture. It can be as simple as trimming your lawn, cleaning your gutters, and putting a wreath on your door. Watching a reality show in which potential homebuyers view properties can help you get a feel for what looks good to buyers and what doesn’t.
  • Ideas for homebuyers: Buying a home isn’t something that happens to most of us very often in our lives. The process can intimidate us, but it may help to watch other people do it on TV. Perhaps shows like House Hunters give us a realistic look at home shopping; sometimes, the exact house we want simply doesn’t exist. 
  • The need to dream: Sometimes, it's important to have dreams, and one of those dreams is to live in a different house than we do now. Maybe you dream of a mid-century modern oceanfront home in Malibu. Or maybe your idea of paradise is a cabin in the woods. Dream, dream, dream away.

Occasionally we like to look at celebrity homes. We wonder: How do millionaires and billionaires live? But other times we like to look at strange, unusual, eccentric homes. It stirs something in our imagination. To that end, here are a few of the most interesting homes listed on the market from around the internet.

Enter the Mushroom House – Pittsford, New York

Perhaps the most interesting home of all is something called The Mushroom House. It has captured the imagination of vicarious-living-seeking onlookers since the 1970s. It seems that every few years it gets new attention from the press.

The Mushroom House is an elevated pod-style home that looks, frankly, as though visitors from outer space landed in the woods and decided to build a house. But in the best way possible. 

It's part spaceship, part yurt, and part sculpture, and it’s located near park land, complete with streams and waterfalls. The house was designed in 1969 (duh) by a local architect, who conceptualized it from a stem of Queen Anne’s Lace. The original owner wanted a space that provided artistic harmony with nature, and you have to admit that she got it. 

Located in the greater Rochester area, the Mushroom House has been called “hobbit-esque,” a “rare and premier art icon home,” “retro-modern,” an example of “organic modernism,” “that ’70s house,” and “far out and groovy.” In 2017, it was listed on the rental market for $6,900 a month. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Daniel Penfield


Everything You Should Know About Shower Doors Before Buying

When looking for additional accessories to improve your bathroom or for remodeling, one of the things that come to mind is to create a closure for your shower space or an enclosure. 

A shower curtain may come to mind or may be what you have presently. However, upgrading the shower glass door may be all your bathroom needs. Shower glass doors can instantly transform your bathroom from its natural look to a modern one that has that wow and elegant look.

Before adding shower glass doors to your bathrooms, let’s take a look at some of the top reasons why you should have one.

EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SHOWERS DOORS BEFORE BUYING_rc2315 - Google Docs

Important Reasons To Add A Shower Door

Privacy

  • Privacy:
    In a home where multiple individuals are using a bathroom, privacy is essential. Installing a shower door will ensure you get the privacy you need even while someone else is in the bathroom.
    There is a misconception that this is not possible with shower glass doors as all doors are transparent. This is not true, as numerous glass styles abound that can be installed as shower glass doors, and one of them is frosted glass.
    The frosted glass gives you the privacy you need as it blurs out object reflections without cutting out light and light reflections.

    Minimalist
  • Elegant & Minimalist Décor:
    A dedicated shower area with a shower glass door or shower enclosure with a shower door may be all you need to create that look of elegance in your bathroom. For minimalism, shower glass doors ensure you are only working on the essentials that you need in a shower space.
    Glass is a material that instantly transforms any space in which it is incorporated. A shower glass door does precisely the same. The look of your bathroom will be upgraded from the regular and everyday look to a modern and elegant one.

    Spa
  • Spa-Like Feel:
    Have you been longing to go to the spa, but there is no time? Or you just want to recreate the relaxing and calm feeling that comes with going to the spa in your bathroom? One of the key things to getting a spa-like feel at home is to have a dedicated shower space with a shower glass door.
    A shower glass door allows you to spend as much time as you want in the shower without getting disturbed, which is essential to achieving that calm and relaxing feel. Apart from that, a dedicated shower area with a shower glass door affords you the liberty to customize your shower area to reflect a calm, relaxing, and warm spa-like environment.

    Maintenance
  • Easy Maintenance:
    You must have come across the general notion that glass as a material used in interior decoration is challenging to keep clean and maintain. This is not at all true. Compared to other décor materials, glass is durable and does not cost a fortune to keep it looking good and in top shape.
    Cleaning occasionally with a glass cleaner or homemade cleaning solution and a squeegee or lint-free cloth is enough to keep your shower door shining and as good as new. Other materials will require so much more to maintain.
    Besides the above, glass is a versatile material that does not show visible signs of age, wear, and tear. In years to come, the glass will still probably look the same way as it looked when it was installed when cleaned and maintained regularly.

What Makes Choosing A Shower Door More Attractive?

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A shower glass door is an attractive addition to your bathroom with diverse customization options.

The first point of customization for shower doors is how the door will be installed. Shower glass doors can be installed as the following:

  • Framed shower glass door: These shower door types feature tempered glass panels and supporting frames. The supporting structures are, most of the time, made of aluminum. The aluminum can also be customized with powder coating to attain different colors. 
  • Frameless shower glass door: Frameless shower doors do not have supporting frames and, as a result, feature thicker tempered glass panels. The glass panes are connected and fitted together with hinges, clips, and brackets. They also feature rubber sweeps at the bottom to prevent water from leaking out of the shower enclosure.

Besides the installation style, which may be framed or frameless, there are diverse glass types to use in your shower glass doors. Whether your shower glass door will be installed as a framed or frameless design, you can have the following glass types incorporated into your door designs.

Frosted

  • Frosted glass
  • Patterned glass
  • Etched glass
  • Bronzed glass
  • Transparent/Clear glass

What Luxury Design Options are Available?

Shower glass doors can be installed in a variety of designs and styles. Some of them include the following.

Sliding

  • Sliding Shower Glass Doors:
    These are popularly referred to as bypass doors. It is installed with two or more glass panels on a track. The track allows the glass panels to slide along the defined pathway. Some models may use mechanical rollers to let the glass panels slide easily.

    This makes it easier to slide the door open and close.

    Corner
  • Corner Shower:
    A creative way to make use of shower glass doors is to install them as a corner shower. This means the doors are installed in a dedicated corner of the bathroom to create a dedicated shower space.

    These are usually installed as hinge doors, and they will transform the look of your bathroom from a regular one to an elegant one.

    Screen fixed

  • Fixed Shower Screen:
    Fixed shower screens are shower door designs installed as single or double glass panels that are immovable. The glass acts as a cover and provides privacy. The glass can also be of different glass types, but the doors will remain fixed to a position and immobile.

    Neo
  • Neo Angle Showers:
    Neo-Angle shower doors are installed at the points where two walls meet in a bathroom. They are round doors that give the shape of a cone after installation.

    Neo-Angle shower doors create a dedicated shower area in your bathroom and perform the functions of a shower enclosure. They are commonly used with stand-alone corner showers. As a result of the curved shape of neo-angle shower glass doors, they usually make the bathroom significantly bigger than its original size.

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Is It Safe to Power Wash Composite Decking?

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When you invest in high-quality composite decking, you want to be confident that it’s going to maintain its good looks for years to come. Most composite decking is very low-maintenance and won’t need sanding, staining or sealing like conventional hardwood decking. 

That being said, composite decking, like all garden features, can get dirty over time. If you find that your composite decking has gathered too much dirt to be simply wiped clean, then you might be thinking about getting your power washer out. But is it safe to power wash your decking? 

The short answer, yes! It is safe to power wash your decking as long as you follow the steps outlined below. 

First, make sure any loose leaves dirt and debris is removed from the surface of your decking using a broom. Once the surface of the composite decking is exposed, you can use your power washer and an appropriate cleaning product get the whole deck nice and soapy. You should see the dirt lifting away in front of your eyes! 

The maximum pressure of the power washer should be 1500 psi. Any higher than this and you could risk damaging your boards.

If you’re unsure which way you should clean the boards, we’d recommend looking at the grain of the boards and spraying it in that direction. This will help to loosen any dirt that’s become stuck in the wood grooves too.

Once the decking looks clean, use clean water to wash away any excess soap. Then, all you need to do is let your decking dry in the sun and it’ll look good as new.

Routine cleaning of composite decking

You’ll be pleased to hear that if you’ve invested in high-quality composite decking, it won’t need power washing very regularly. In fact, it might only need power washing every one or two years. 

Your standard composite decking cleaning routine will be much simpler. If you notice some surface dirt on your composite decking, a wet, soapy cloth should do the job. The polymer coating on the outside of the boards helps to protect it from stains, so you’ll never need to worry about permanent discolouration. 

Composite decking is ideal for busy family gardens because it can be cleaned down in no time at all! Muddy footprints, sand from the beach and even the occasionally doggy ‘do-do’ can be quickly removed from the surface of your decking leaving no trace behind. Sounds good right?

If you’re planning a garden renovation in 2021, we’d highly recommend taking a look at composite decking. It ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of homeowners.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Olger Fallas


5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home Décor

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Do you want to make your home look fresh and modern? Perhaps you’ve had the same décor for the last decade and you’re ready for a change. There are homeowners up and down the country that are looking for ways to give their home a clean and modern finish. Read on if you want to freshen up your home décor.

Address the walls

One thing in your home that can make the place look very dated is the colour and style of the walls. Big, garish wallpaper prints, bold colours and a lack of coherence between walls and furniture can make your home appear cluttered and poorly thought out. 

Stripping old wallpaper, re-plastering walls and giving the place a nice lick of neutral or white paint will instantly make your home feel cleaner and more modern. If you want to customise your home and give the walls a modern twist, why not hang some interesting art pieces on your freshly painted walls. These can be moved or replaced over time as your personal taste changes.

Increase open spaces

There are few people in this world that find dark, cramped spaces appealing. If you want to let light and air into your home, you could consider knocking down unnecessary walls to create a more open-plan design. 

It is, of course, important that you speak to an architect or chartered surveyor to make sure the walls you want to remove aren’t integral to the structure of the building. One false move and you could find yourself bulldozing a wall that supports the roof of your home! 

That being said, if you can open up the space in a safe and considered manner then you can give your home a highly-impactful new look. Turning two rooms, like your kitchen and dining room, into one bigger kitchen-diner will make it much easier to entertain guests and will give the illusion of a bigger home.

Modern floors

Take a look around, is your old, stained carpet creating a real eye-sore throughout your home? Perhaps it’s time to switch to a more modern flooring option. We’ve seen a lot of homeowners installing porcelain paving inside their homes to create contemporary, low-maintenance designs. 

By upgrading your old carpet for a more modern, tiled floor, you can make your home look effortlessly chic while also benefitting from all of the great features that porcelain has to offer. Porcelain pavers are stain-resistant, easy to wipe clean and a great investment for the future.

Out with the old, in with the new

People love to hold on to things for years and years and years. Because of this, clutter starts to appear all around the house, making it impossible to see a way to freshen up the décor. Our advice, give your home a major declutter. Get rid of things that no longer make you happy to make space for new things. 

Where you can, donate your old items to charity or sell them on. This will make it easier to let go of things because you know they’ll be going to a new home where they can make someone else happy. By clearing out the old and making room for the new, you give yourself space to explore your creativity.

Reduce, reuse, upcycle

If you’re not quite ready to get rid of all your old possessions, why not upcycle them. Old bits of furniture can be sanded and re-painted or varnished to give them a new lease of life. Pinterest is a great source of craft and design inspiration if you want to reduce your waste by upcycling your belongings. 

Sanding down an old coffee table and giving it a lovely new varnish, for example, can instantly transform the way it looks in your living room. This way of freshening up your décor is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to refresh your home décor.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jeremy Levine