Can You Live in Auckland, New Zealand’s Most Liveable City

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When we think of New Zealand, Auckland comes to mind and there’s a reason for this and why it has become New Zealand’s most populous city. Auckland accounts for 33.4% of the country’s population with a staggering 1.508 million people calling it home. Known as the ‘City of Sails’ due to the number of yachts sailing between Waitemata and Manukau harbours, Auckland is a large metropolitan city in the North Island and consists of a multi-cultural hub of food, arts, music and culture. Auckland consistently remains a strong performer on the most liveable city list; amongst city living it offers a breath taking mix of natural wonders and urban adventures, Auckland movers should be on your shortlist if considering moving to New Zealand.

Some of what Auckland has to offer includes:

More Sunshine

Auckland receives 2100 hours of sunshine a year and that is equivalent to 87 sunny days, in fact most cities in New Zealand receive over 2000 hours of sunshine a year. With more sunshine, there is more time to play after work where a typical summers evening can observe daylight that can last up to 9.40pm. It’s no surprise to see people out and about exercising, socializing or exploring the city and that’s got to be a winner.

Great Economy

New Zealand’s job market has always been relatively stable, construction and the building sector being the backbone of the economy hasn’t been affected by the recent COVID-19 lockdowns. Seeing the country has handled the pandemic successfully, the economy is set to make a quick recovery. Sectors such as manufacturing, information technology and health in Auckland have seen the lowest unemployment levels for several years. Expats looking to relocate to Auckland can expect excellent opportunities as a skilled worker, these possibilities makes Auckland a great choice to settle.

Top Class Education

When moving to a city the consideration of quality education remains a top agenda. Auckland has consistently aimed for a high standard of education with schools and universities among the top rated in the world. New Zealand’s education system offers both fully and partially funded state schools along with private schools and is compulsory for school children aged between 5 and 18 year old. The teacher to student ratio is relatively low and is one teacher to every 24 students, smaller class sizes aids in improved education and gives plenty of opportunities for student-teacher interaction.

Multicultural Diversity

The city of Auckland is a multicultural hub and consists of people from all backgrounds and religions. The community encourages and promotes inclusiveness, awareness and diversity. This is what makes not only Auckland but New Zealand an excellent destination to settle. It is this diversity that allows people to share and learn the diverse food culture and cuisine. There is no shortage of options when dining out, Auckland is filled with a wide variety of restaurants that are affordable and offer delicious delicacies from all parts of the globe.

Picture Perfect Landscape

Auckland’s diverse landscapes offer wonderful opportunities to take in what nature has to offer. Rolling hills that don’t seem to end, lush native rainforest that joins the sea, golden sand beaches and wine country to escape to. Auckland surroundings are scattered with 48 volcanic cones that provides panoramic views of the city and a short ferry ride to Rangitoto Island is a popular destination to visit the region’s most well-known volcano.

Whether you are an expat or already a New Zealander considering your next relocation, moving to Auckland can be a wonderful choice to immerse yourself in what the city has to offer. There is a reason why Auckland is consistently listed in the top liveable cites list.

partnered post • cc-licensed photograph by Michael Levine-Clark


Why Hiring Professional Furniture Removalists is a Good Idea

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When you are faced with the mammoth task of moving and you are contemplating on whether or not to do it yourself or simply call on the assistance of professional movers to lend a helping hand, you need to consider if the benefits outweigh the risks entailed. Managing a house move or interstate relocation is not the easiest task at the best of times; it can quickly lead to increased stress levels caused by tight time constraints, commitments, damaged property or huge financial burdens. 

You may have collected many pieces of furniture and items over the years and brought them into your home, they may be heavy and expensive, some might be fragile or difficult to replace. You recall in memory how difficult each piece of furniture was to manoeuvre into position when you first introduced it into your home and now wondering how you will transport it to your new place. Furniture is not really made to be moved around, it usually sits in the same space in your house and provides a creature comfort, so if not properly packed with the correct packing materials to protect it during transit, it would be highly likely that you end up with pieces of broken furniture at your new home. To prevent this from happening it may be worthwhile comparing moving companies like professional removalists Melbourne to help with your relocation requirements. Here are some reasons why hiring a professional should be your first choice.

Experience with moving

When you hire a reputable company, they should have a solid process in place as this is what they do day in day out. You can be sure that they will move your valuables and furniture to our new home without damage. Furniture is heavy and come in all shapes and sizes; for instance fridges, washing machines, TV’s, sofas, wardrobes, beds, pianos and pool tables are bulky and awkward to handle without the right technique and tools. The right removalists will be trained to safely handle each piece with care in addition without causing injury. 

Efficiency with packing

Using the right amount of packing material without wastage, movers can efficiently pack fragile items with ease. Quality material consisting of bubble wrap, moving boxes, moving blankets, strong adhesive tape, protection covers can all be easily provided by the furniture removals company, together with packing techniques, it makes for a highly effective moving process.

Assume responsibility

By choosing to go with your selected relocation business, they are taking full responsibility of the damage caused to your belongings whilst under their control. A moving company would be more cautious and selective on the routes used to get the furniture from one place to the next. By taking into account low traffic routes, roads where there are low bridge clearance and unsealed roads, it helps to guarantee the safety of your furniture.

Insurance cover

Moving companies have insurance policies in place to protect your furniture in the event of unforeseen circumstances. If the truck had an accident and rolled, caught fire or was stolen during transit, all your furniture will be covered and this gives you piece of mind and an added layer of protection. If you were to do this move yourself, you would be missing out on this unless you pay high costs to a third party insurance agency.

Take the stress away

It is indeed a stressful time when you move and this stress can be exacerbated if you do it yourself. Many potential problems can come up whilst moving home, by having a professional to take on these challenges you can concentrate more on other aspects without stressing over how you will get everything to your new home. The task of moving is not easy, but luckily there are capable businesses available at your disposal, it may cost a bit more but some things are worth paying for.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by sunset removals


Zero Waste: How to Get the Most From the Products You Buy

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No one likes to waste their money, especially wealthy people. They didn’t get rich by foolishly throwing their money away. Some of the most affluent people in the world are also among the most frugal. Conversely, some of the biggest spenders of luxury and semi-luxury items are the people who can least afford them. For the sake of fashion and popularity, many people are walking around with the latest iPhone when a midrange Android for a third the price would serve them just as well if not better. 

Zero waste is not just a useful mantra for saving money. It is also the focus of saving the ecosystem which is precariously balanced on a blade’s edge. It is hard to predict what kind of planet our grandchildren will inherit because we have a mix of eco-conscious and eco-hostile people setting policies that will affect us for decades to come. We can only hope that the future is more promising than the present. These are some of the more obvious areas where waste carries a huge cost. Here are a few other ways reducing waste increases our quality of life:

Reuse

One of the ways we waste both money and planetary resources is by using things just once and then throwing them away. How many paper towels do you use to clean up the average spill? When you are done, what do you usually do with those paper towels? If you are like most people, it is a good handful, then you throw them away. 

The good news is that you can buy bamboo paper towels that are reusable up to 85 times. That’s amazing. Frankly, it is hard to imagine even wanting to reuse a paper towel. Just thinking about the awful mess that is now covering the towel makes you feel like it is a lost cause. In fact, all you have to do is toss it in the wash just like a filthy garment and it comes out of the dryer looking, feeling, and smelling like new. Imagine only having to buy 2 rolls of paper towels a year. That’s the power of reusability. Both your wallet and the planet will thank you.

Good to the Last Drop

How many products do you buy and can’t completely deplete because it is all but impossible to get the last of it out of the jar, bottle, or tube in a useful way? You will be happy to know that toothpaste no longer needs to be one of them. By ditching toothpaste tubes for toothpaste tablets, you can use all of it without wasting a single drop.

You just take out a single tablet from an easy to dispense jar and chew. From there, just brush your teeth with a wet toothbrush like always and enjoy the minty, clean feeling you get from the foaming action and cleansing ingredients. You can bet those ingredients are all natural and safe. One of the best things about this product is that you don’t have to throw any portion of it away. It is usable to the last tablet. Even if you have become a master of getting the most from a tube, you have to be something of a toothpaste ninja. Now you can leave all that behind. Because toothpaste tablets are so easy and convenient, you will probably find yourself brushing even more. 

Restore It

If you have a couch and you drink red wine, then you likely already know a few of the top tips for cleaning red wine from a fabric couch. But what happens if you, with the help of your pet, manage to get a tear in that fabric? Don’t throw it out. Repair it. Tossing out rather than restoring old tech is killing the planet in an even more dramatic fashion than furniture. We tend to keep furniture for a long time. But computers have many harmful elements in them and when they start to get slow, we just buy a new one because they are so cheap. By repairing and restoring, we could keep computers active well over 5 years. 

All waste is bad whether it is a waste of time, money, or effort. Let’s save all of the above by reusing, using all of what we buy, and restoring what we can. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Peter Kaminski


What are the Two Types of Touch Screen?

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When you first start to look into touch screens, you’re probably thinking, ‘It has a screen, and I can interact with it through touch. It’s a touch screen!’ 

For most users, there’s no need to put more thought into it. Many consumers will buy a touch screen device simply because it’s beautiful and functional, without considering different touch screen types.

Business owners, however, should know a little more before investing in touch screen technology. After all—you don’t want to splurge on an enormous new touch screen display for your shop front, only to find out it doesn’t offer the functions your business needs.

You may have noticed that some touch screens work with a finger, stylus, or any other vaguely finger-shaped input device you can think of—while other screens won’t accept input at all unless you use your finger (and make sure it’s not wet!).

Different devices accept different kinds of input because there are several kinds of touch screen, each with unique limitations. The two main types of touch screen are capacitive touch screens and resistive touch screens.

This article will discuss the differences between the two types and highlight how businesses might use them.

Resistive touch screens

Resistive touch screens are the simplest type of touch screen available on the market today. A resistive screen comprises two pliable plastic sheets separated by a narrow gap. When a user interacts with the screen and presses in on the top sheet, it closes the gap, causing the two sheets to come into contact. This interaction completes the electrical circuit.

Resistive touch screens are pressure sensitive—this means that the pressure you place upon the screen will determine whether or not it detects your input. Some screens are more sensitive than others. While one screen may not register a quick swipe across the screen, others may react to even the slightest touch.

Because resistive touch screens react to physical input, it doesn’t matter whether you use a finger, stylus, pencil, or another blunt-ended object. You’ll find resistive touch screens used for shopping centre kiosk displays, ATMs, and handheld video game devices.

Capacitive touch screens

The other primary type of touch screen is the capacitive touch screen. Rather than detecting pressure, these screens work because of the human body’s electrical properties. When your finger comes into contact with the device, it changes the screens’ electrostatic field. 

Because capacitive touch screens rely on conductivity, interacting with them via a gloved hand, pencil, or basic stylus won’t work. It’s also why you might notice inconsistencies when using your smartphone or tablet with slightly wet hands.

Capacitive touch screens feature a durable glass surface, making them better options for businesses that favour longevity. If you are installing interactive digital screens outdoors, a capacitive screen is the better choice.

Conclusion

The two main types of touch screen are resistive and capacitive. Resistive screens are the more versatile choice, while capacitive screens boast greater durability. The kind of screen you choose will depend on your business’s unique needs and priorities.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Ross Mayfield




Top 10 Qualities of a Good Plumber

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In this article, you will read about ten essential qualities that every plumber should have. When you invite a plumber to your house, you might want to choose the best specialist. But how to make sure that they are a real professional whom you can trust? You will find the check-list of the things we at 5 Star plumbing consider must-haves for every pro plumber.

1. Practice

The majority of plumbing tasks are rather hard to do. That is why a major experience is needed. To fix the leakage, flood results, or cracks in pipes, a specialist should know exactly what and when to do. Usually, such situations should be resolved immediately, and there is no time for thinking. All actions should be trained and become automatic. That is one of the things that makes a plumber professional;

2. Certification

However, it is not possible to find out how experienced a plumber is when calling him for the first time. But one thing which you can always demand is certification. Licensing is a document that verifies the knowledge and experience of a plumber. It is absolutely normal to ask a specialist to provide this kind of proof. What is more important, only plumbers who have a valid certification provides a warranty in case something will be damaged during their work;

3. Positive Reviews

When searching for a plumber on some websites, do not forget to have a look at the reviews section. If a specialist has a lot of comments and his rating is high, it means that they are reliable. It is not essential for all reviews to be positive. At least you will know what exactly has gone wrong and make a decision whether this situation disturbs you or not;

4. Willingness to Communicate and Politeness 

The communication with a plumber should be smooth and easy. A good specialist will make everything possible to answer all your questions in a polite way and will not use many confusing notions. It is a bad sign if a plumber seems rude while chatting or making a phone call. Pay attention to the fact that it should be easy for you to understand what they are talking about and what the reason for the problem is. Otherwise, it will be impossible for you to control the situation;

5. Full Equipment

A good plumber usually has everything he might need when coming to the client's house. It can be challenging to understand which instruments exactly will be needed, but an experienced specialist can guess by a short description in a text message or a phone call. Such a plumber will not make you wait for him to borrow some additional instruments that they have forgotten to take with them—in contrast, having solved a wide range of problems, a specialist should know what to take with you. 

6. Constantly Available Services 

Nowadays, some companies are ready to help you with an emergency problem 24 hours a day. It may be difficult to find a self-employed specialist who is ready to fix the leakage at two AM, but it is possible if you call a company that provides plumbing services. Anyway, this option is an advantage of a modern services sector;

7. Good Physical Condition

In addition, a plumber should keep fit. In some cases, it is crucial to be in your best physical condition to work under sinks or on the roof. Sometimes a plumber can be injured if they are not prepared enough; 

8. Competency

A well-informed plumber is the one who can reveal a reason for the problem easily. There are various situations, but a competent and experienced specialist always has ideas of what may be wrong. You can understand how knowledgeable a plumber is by asking for his certification and judging by the working process. If a simple task takes too long to be solved, it might be a sign that a plumber is not sure about his own actions. 

9.  Trustworthy Specialist

If you have picked up a professional plumber, you can rely on them. It means that they will be responsible not only for doing a great job but also for finishing it on time and in one day. On the contrary, it may be irritating if a plumber comes to your house not completely prepared for fixing a problem and does not have all the necessary instruments with them. In this case, repair work can be extended to the next few days, which is not the best news for every homeowner. 

10. Ability to Make Decisions Quickly

It is undeniable that some problems concerning plumbing systems must be solved immediately. Therefore, a professional plumber should be able to make a decision quickly. Usually, they are used to acting quickly. They are not just physically prepared to work in tight spaces and take an uncomfortable pose but also have good coordination and know how to make a conceived solution real.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Clement127


The Best Houseplants For Busy People

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Most people are busy – they have work to get to, families to look after, and hundreds of other commitments to deal with. It can be hard to find time to do everything, especially the less important things, such as looking after plants.

It should be noted that plants are a worthwhile addition to any home. They are very effective at purifying the air and can make you feel more positive about life in general. Having them in your home is a good thing, but you need to choose your plant wisely. That means using a high-quality supplier like Foli8. They won’t just help you to choose the right plants, they can guide you through looking after the plants and how easy some are. 

Of course, it can help to know what you’re looking for. The following houseplants are great for your home if you’re busy and don’t have much time to look after them.

Cactus

Cacti are succulents. This means they are very good at retaining moisture in their leaves. They rarely need to be watered and they enjoy the bright sunshine. This means you can position them in a window and leave them to grow. They grow slowly but some varieties have beautiful flowers.

Aloe Vera

This is another succulent, making it difficult to kill it. The plant is green with paler green and white dashes on the leaves. It does have sharp pints which you’ll want to be careful of. The plant likes direct sunlight and doesn’t need to be watered often.

The best approach is to put a finger in the soil. If the soil is dry for the first couple of inches its time to add some more water 

Air Plants

There are many different types of air plants but they are all very easy to look after. They don’t need any soil. These plants absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. All you have to do is find a nice spot for them and spray the roots once a week to ensure they are moist. Other than that, these plants take care of themselves!

Cheery Echeveria

This is another succulent that is used to the desert. They also adore the sunlight and will be grateful for a position in a sun-drenched window. They must have good drainage to prevent water from sitting on their roots and causing root rot. As such, they’ll only need watering once a month, when the soil feels completely dry.

Ivy

Ivy is fast growing and trails everywhere, making it a popular option for many households. You don’t have to do much to look after this plant. Position them with indirect sunlight. They don’t like direct sun as it burns their leaves. But they do like indirect sunlight as opposed to dark and shady corners. 

You’ll want to water them once a week and don’t saturate the soil, they generally prefer drier environments and need minimal care.

Almost any plant can be killed if you never water it. But, the above plants take a lot of work to kill. That should help you to have the satisfaction of keeping them alive.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Dave Hosford


5 DIY Tips to Improve Your Front Yard Aesthetics

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With the smell of fresh strawberries swirling in the air and the sound of birds returning from their winter migration, summer is almost upon us. As you consider a change of wardrobes, it may also be a good idea to consider uplifting, cleaning, and improving your home’s curb appeal.

For the majority, home improvements like these are synonymous with outdoor DIY projects. You, too, can easily enhance your front yard’s beauty without employing landscape professionals that exist outside your budget. If you can spare some time and creativity, you can do wonders. Are you searching for inspiration to boost your front yard landscaping? Well, here we provide some helpful tips just for that reason. If you want your home to possess the best yard on the block, keep on reading. 

Regardless of your landscaping needs, you can find plenty of ideas catering to those needs. For instance, if you have a green thumb, you can try planting evergreens or hydrangea bushes. Perhaps, if you’re more into regularly updating your porch, you can try putting up some vibrant buntings or plants to the railings. Moreover, there are options for all the DIY freaks, such as creating a stone pathway and adding a concrete birdbath that adds depth to your outdoor scenery. With the following additions, you can make your front and backyard equally stunning.

Light It Up

Besides being one of the most aesthetically-pleasant home improvements, lighting features also increase your yard’s safety as they provide visibility after dark. Some brilliant lighting options comprise string lights, solar lights, and LED lights. 

If you want to take it a step further, consider adding accent lighting along your front yard’s pathways. It’s also a great idea to place lights in your greenery for illumination and an instant aesthetic makeover.

Refresh Your Existing Landscape

Look for and eliminate any overgrown, encroaching, and invasive plants or trees. Sometimes, you’ll also have to remove roots that may be clinging to your sidewalk and hindering your plumbing. If you don’t want to hire a tree-trimming service and want to approach this as a solo endeavor, then prefer purchasing the best secateurs for the job.

Also, look after your hedges with weekly haircuts and proper hydration. You can either accomplish this job as a DIY project or employ a landscape designer/contractor’s services for guaranteed results.

Check Your Mail (box)

Review the degree of ease with which one can locate your mailbox. Suppose a petty thief is cruising by the neighborhood at night. In that case, if your mailbox is near your home’s front or in rough condition, it could be an easy target. Indeed, nobody wants their essential documents or bills in a thief’s hands because of such naivety.

You can also review it from a design perspective. For example, a rustic, cast iron mailbox would blend more with a gothic structure than a modern design. Changing your mailbox is the quickest and easiest way to improve your front yard’s appeal.

Revamp Your Outdoor Seating

Generally, furniture add-ons are the easiest way to enhance your outdoor design while simultaneously improving your yard’s overall functionality. So, to breathe new life into your house’s design scheme, rethink your outdoor seating furniture. For instance, you can choose from cushions with vividly-colored patterns to gorgeous hand-painted furniture. 

A bright, comfortable, and well-positioned seating space can be an appealing centerpiece for your yard. You’ll be surprised to see how such an area can draw everyone’s attention towards it.

Plant Some Popping Bushes

Most gardening connoisseurs consider rose brushes as the most classic addition to any home. In addition to their heavenly smell and appearance, the bushes are easy to look after, i.e., without any hassle. Moreover, you can add evergreens for a pop of color to your outdoor space. For this purpose, you can choose from different species of conifers, including pine, blue spruce, red cedar, and hemlock.

To Summarize

The COVID-19 lockdown brings you a new opportunity every day for nurturing your productivity and creativity. However, undertaking front yard landscaping is an excellent idea to capitalize on these opportunities. Simple changes like a coat of fresh paint and adding some shrubbery to your outdoor space can elevate your curb appeal by magnitudes. This article discussed nifty tips to improve your front yard’s aesthetics. These included adding lighting fixtures, planting rose bushes or evergreens, revamping your outdoor furniture.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Alexandr Podvalny 


‌What to look for when hiring Australian construction contractors

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Part of the 21st-century world is construction projects. Whether it is a commercial or a simple home improvement project hiring a professional contractor is the way for most people, and we say why not? Professional construction contractors are not only experienced but also equipped to handle those projects. All you have to do is find one qualified to meet your expectations and hire them for the task. 

While it all seems like a walkover, in theory, hiring a contractor is much more complex when it comes to practicality. There are guides to follow, tips to employ, and things to look out for. Because your construction project is only as good as the person you hire to oversee it, it is crucial to evaluate some things beforehand. In Australia, it is essential to look at the following before asking a contractor to oversee your construction project.

Experience

Handing over your construction project to an amateur is never the way to go. With experience comes skill and knowledge, which is invaluable if you want your project to succeed. A resume detailing the contractor's professional expertise is something you should request when vetting the different contractors. 

Contracting license and permits

Different countries have different requirements when hiring a contractor to work for you, and Australia is no different. From licenses and construction permits, always ensure you are doing things by the book. Does your contractor have all licences and permits required in your area? Australia has construction policies that require professional contractors to have permits to work in an area. Always check whether your contractor has them and, most importantly, those needed for your locality. Permits act as assurance for the quality of their work and your protection in case of any litigation issues.

Insurance

A safe and secure working environment is crucial in construction sites; however, it would be ignorant to be oblivious to accidents. Accidents do happen even; after all, they are called 'accidents' for a reason. So, how secure is your contractor? An insurance plan is something every contractor should have, but not all do. Before you can commit to a professional relationship with your contractor, always ensure they are covered; this way, they are not only secure when accidents happen, but you are also protected from any legal action.

Warranty offered

Contracting contracts vary from one contractor to another. What one contractor's warranties as part of their services may not always be the same for another. Before agreeing to anything binding, always look at what warranties the contractor offers. What part of your project do they cover? Ensure you are all on the same page about what they will do before construction begins. 

The bidding rate

While it is always advised to avoid using the price as a guide for choosing your contractor, there is no denying it impacts the hiring. You should hire someone within your budget to handle your project. You can employ numerous Australian construction services, but filtering through them all can be a challenge. The bidding rate should help you narrow down your options, so always check for it. It will also ensure you are fully aware of the financial expenses before the contract starts. 

References

Any good contractor will have no problem providing references to back up their credibility and work. The references a contractor has will shed light on their professional reputation and what it is like to work with them. References are like feedback from previous employers or clients to give you insight into whether hiring them would be best for your interests. 

The following are features to look out for when hiring construction contractors. Thanks to online searches, many construction contractors are only a click away. However, it is always important to know what you are getting into before hiring them. These are only some pointers to help you gauge potential contractors and narrow your list to the best one to work on your construction project. Happy hiring! 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Heritage Vancouver


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.

Replacing a culvert means road construction, and road construction means a significant disruption for the traveling public, homeowners, and business owners. Culvert lining, a trenchless method, allows culverts to be restored instead of replaced. InfraSteel is much more cost-effective than the expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive road construction and culvert rehabilitation choice.

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.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by billthecat