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Keeping the Office Tidy: Why Investing in the Right Floor Cleaning Equipment Matters


You’re proud of the business that you built from the ground up. Now that the company is no longer housed in leased facilities, there is the desire to make sure your cleaning crew has the right resources to keep the place clean. That includes investing in the right type of equipment to maintain your floors properly. Here are some of the reasons why owning your own equipment makes sense.

Using the Right Equipment for the Job

One of the nice things about owning your own cleaning equipment is that it’s possible to make sure there is the right machine for each job. What works just fine to clean the decorative area rugs is not necessarily the best choice for the wall to wall carpeting in the reception area. Neither of the machines suitable for carpeting or rugs will be just right for the tile in the hallway or the break room. If you have hardwood flooring anywhere in the office, that calls for another type of floor cleaner. By purchasing the machines yourself, there is no doubt about what to use in different areas of the facility.

You Control the Maintenance and Upkeep

Having your own machines and your own cleaning staff provides the opportunity to make sure each piece of equipment is maintained properly. This is important since you want each machine to clean your floors efficiently. Since the machines remain at your company site, it’s easier to ensure they are inspected on a regular basis and repairs are made promptly. Thanks to this arrangement, you don’t have to worry about the Nobles floor scrubbers leaving behind marks or scratches.

No Waiting for Cleaning Appointments

You have an important client who is in town unexpectedly and just called to ask if it’s convenient to drop by. Of course you say yes and then remember the coffee that was spilled on the carpeting in the reception area.

There’s no time to call a professional service but that’s not a problem. The fact that you have the right carpet cleaning machine on hand will take care of the problem. In no time at all, the carpeting in the reception area will be spotless and smell fresh. That will make the first impression of your client all the better.

Those Warranties Help

Purchasing machines outright allow you to take advantage of the warranties that come with them. If any major parts should need attention, the warranty terms and conditions will keep your repair costs within reason. Some companies even provide the opportunity to renew the warranties from one year to the next, allowing you to maintain the protection for a long time.

Remember that the right type of floor cleaning equipment will last for years and more than pay for itself. Always choose equipment that is designed for each type of flooring in your facility. Don’t forget to find the right vendor for any parts for carpet machine and scrubbers that you purchase. Doing so will ensure that keeping the floors looking their best will be a breeze.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Laura d'Alessandro

Points to Ponder With Exhaust System Maintenance


The exhaust system in your vehicle is not something you think much about until a problem arises. In fact, it pays to have the system checked from time to time. Doing so helps to minimize damage and extends the life of the system. Here are some of the elements that should be part of your plan for exhaust system maintenance.

Checking Temperature Levels

While you expect the exhaust system to get hot during operation, that does not mean it can’t get a little too hot. Issues with the level of heat can shorten the lives of all types of catalyst converters and possibly lead to damage to other systems. It’s in your best interest to have a professional check the system and make sure there are not signs that overheating is taking place. If so, you want to take action now rather than wait until any real damage is done.

Taking a Look at the Seals

What sort of seals are used with the engine and the exhaust system? It’s not unusual for silicone to be used for at least part of the seals associated with exhaust manifolds or headers. When those seals begin to deteriorate, they cannot hold up as well to the higher temperatures. The result is the creation of a gas that skews the oxygen readings in the system. Since those readings are not accurate, the mixture is richer and could cause quite a bit of damage. By making sure the seals are checked on a regular basis, it’s easier to avoid this problem and prevent damage to the converter.

Make a Note Of What’s Coming Out of the Tailpipe

You don’t normally pay much attention to what emerges from the tailpipe, but doing so is a good idea. If the engine is beginning to burn oil, that means something is wrong. Since that oil has to pass through the catalytic converter before it emerges as blue smoke from the tailpipe, making the time to look could save the engine as well as the overworked converter.

Even if you don’t crank the engine and then walk around to the back to see what’s coming out, it’s still possible to use a paper towel to gently wipe the end of the tailpipe after the car has been parked for a couple of hours. If it comes back with a lot of oil residue, it’s time to seek help from a professional.

Don’t Forget the Filters

Filters are also key to the proper function of any exhaust system. When was the last time you had them checked or changed? Clogged filters reduce efficiency and create the perfect environment for excessive heat. This is true with any type of engine, including diesel engines.

One approach that you can consider is making sure you are using the right diesel particulate filter and having it cleaned on a regular basis. As part of the essential maintenance, DPF filter cleaning will protect your engine and exhaust system, reduce the potential for overheating, and extend the life of the vehicle in general.

Pay attention to what your exhaust system is doing and have repairs made promptly. Doing so will save time and money down the road.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by jj

Why Airless Paint Sprayers are Such a Good Investment


Your painting business is thriving and you want to take care of your customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. One of the ways you can accomplish those goals is adding airless paint sprayers to the range of equipment you use. Here are some of the reasons that these sprayers will make you, your clients, and your crew happier.

Minimizing Product Waste

You know all the things that can happen when you use brushes and rollers for larger jobs. It’s easy to waste paint by applying too much and creating drips. While it may not seem like a lot of product wasted because of the occasional application issue, it can add up during a project.

One of the great things about sprayers is that it’s easier to control the application process. With the right setting, your team can move easily over the surface and ensure the coat is evenly applied. That translates into being able to finish with an expanse of wall faster and know have to go back to take care of drips and similar issues.

Easy to Monitor the Pressure

With airless sprayers, there’s often a digital display that makes it easy to monitor the pressure level. This is important because you want to avoid pressure fluctuations during the application process. For example, a Titan paint sprayer will come with this feature and make it a lot easier to control the pressure and change it depending on nature of the area you need to paint next. This also helps with controlling the volume of paint used per square foot and making sure the application is even.

Satisfying Your Need for Speed

Another point in favor of air sprayers is that they allow you to get the job done faster. Your crew can cover an expanse of wall in less time and not reduce the quality of your work. After all, you want the job done properly but you also want to move on to your next client as quickly as possible. The right sprayer allows you to accomplish both goals and ensure everyone is happy.

Sprayers are Versatile

Did you know that airless sprayers can be used for more than one type of application? You can use them for painting, varnish jobs, and even sealing concrete surfaces. Since you offer all those services, investing in some of the Graco spray machines from will make your workday smoother and make it possible to tackle just about any type of project.

There are a number of other benefits that the right type of airless sprayer will provide. All you have to do is explore different models and identify the ones that will work best for your business. Make sure to invest in machines that come with excellent warranties and that you have a source for replacement parts when you need them. In the best-case scenario, you can look forward to many years of reliable service from the right sprayer.

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Tips for Converting Your Basement into Living Space


You could use some more living space, but the attic has already been converted into a bedroom. There is the basement to consider. With a little time and effort, that space can be transformed into a spare bedroom, a den, or just about any other type of room you have in mind. While you will need help from a professional, there are some points that need to be addressed before any renovation work begins.

Taking Care of Moisture Issues

Before any type of basement finishing gets underway, have an expert check the walls and floors for any signs of moisture. Your goal is to identify areas where some amount of seepage is occurring or is at risk for occurring if it rains for several days. If a problem is spotted, a contractor will now how to take care of it before the walls and floor are coated with a protective sealing agent.

The result of this proactive approach is that you won’t end up with insulation or wall boards that are ruined by mold and mildew. The basement will not smell musty and no one will be in danger of developing respiratory issues because of mold lurking in the walls.

Preparing More Than One Exit

The basement already has one point of entry and exit. That’s the door and stairs leading into the space. What you may not know is many local building codes require that basements that are renovated and used as living space must have two points of entry and exit.

Depending on the basement design, you may already have that second exit point in place. Some minor changes to one of the smaller windows will do the trick. It must be large enough for members of the family to crawl through if the need arises. A contractor can help you determine if the current windows meet local standards or if some changes are in order.

Changes to the Plumbing and Wiring

If the basement will be converted into living space, you want to make sure the plumbing and electrical systems are not exposed. A contractor can help you determine if they can be covered with ease of if some parts of those systems need to be relocated. In the best-case scenario, nothing will need to be moved and it will be safe to install ceiling tiles and wall panels without having to relocate anything.

Decorative Touches

After addressing the practical matters related to the renovation, it’s time to think about decorative options. This is when you will begin to consider the merits of tile versus carpeting for the floors, wall colors for the panels, and all the other little things that give the space its own look. As with any room in the house, these elements can be updated as your tastes change. The layout and general design of the basement will remain the same.

If you are ready to put your Mississauga basement to work as living space, call a professional today. Talk about what you have in mind and schedule a date for an inspection. it won’t take long to determine what needs to be done, how much it will cost, and when the space will be ready for whatever purpose you have in mind.

sponsored post • cc-licensed photo by Doug & Laure Elfline

Tips on Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Kitchen


The kitchen is a special room that requires daily cleaning, sometimes more than once a day. In this regard, there are particular requirements to the materials used for flooring your kitchen. In this article we will study the most appropriate types of flooring and identify all their strengths and weaknesses.


At all times, tile was considered one of the best floor coverings both for the floor and for the walls, especially in such premises as a kitchen. There are quite a lot of advantages of the tile but, above all, it is high performance characteristics that allow quick and simple cleaning of the floor in the kitchen. Such a floor is not afraid of blows from falling of heavy objects, nor scratches, which also can be made by a vacuum cleaner and a mop. There are no scratches made by the furniture like kitchen tables and chairs on the tile. The tile is considered a sanitary floor covering, on the surface of which the pathogenic microbes are not bred. The tiles are produced in a huge assortment and there are plenty of color and structure solutions on the market, so it will not be difficult to choose it based on your taste preferences.However, there is one drawback connected with the seams between individual fragments of the floor covering. Despite the fact that they are sealed with a special trowel, over time they are clogged with mud, and it is very difficult to clean it. They also go very well if you've got Essex Worktops in your kitchen.

Laminated floors

The indisputable advantage of laminated floors is that they are simply washed with a semi-dry cloth. A lot of people choose this flooring because they like the high quality of it. It is for this quality, plus an attractive appearance, this material has grown fond of a modern man. When it come to the laminate floor for the kitchen, it is better to choose the waterproof laminate which has all the necessary characteristics. It’s excellent resistance to water makes this flooring protected. As far as cleaning goes, this flooring is not afraid even of use of household chemicals - this laminate is somewhat resistant to the effects of abrasive detergents.


This is also a fairly common floor covering, which can be successfully used in any room and the kitchen is not an exception. It is a waterproof and has a lot of advantages.

The most important thing is, of course, a simple and easy cleaning. There is nothing to argue about here, since many people have already appreciated this benefit.

Another advantage of linoleum is the absence of seams. Even if the kitchen space is large and you could not find the cover with a whole piece, the linoleum can be soldered or joined with special glue so that it looks like one single piece.

For some reason, it is believed that linoleum is a budget variant of flooring. By and large, this is a mistake to think so. Today in stores you can find both cheap and expensive linoleum, which differs in characteristics, colors and structure. You can even find some types of linoleum that are made from environmentally friendly materials.

So, if you want your floor to look stylish you can always choose reliable and durable linoleum, but keep in mind that it can cost even more than laminate.

In fact, there are other floor coverings, which also look great and have good characteristics. For example, the hardwood floor in Toronto or marble will turn your kitchen into a beautiful and comfortable place in your house.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by suzy spence

The top 3 custom home renovation trends in 2017


Wherever you live, I’m sure you’ve seen homes being renovated following certain trends. You’d think it varies per location, but some trends have spread all over the world. In Canada for example, if you find custom home builders in Vancouver you’ll learn that families are leaning towards smart technology now. Down south in the US, homes are starting to get more minimalist, with preference to wide and open spaces.

The ongoing trend is that we’re going minimal and digital, and this year is no different. We’ll be seeing more of these minimalist and futuristic trends get into our houses. Take a look at the top 3 custom home renovation trends this year:


Smart homes – Home renovation projects are likely to install at least one smart system in their house. The popular ones include:

  • Security upgrades. Traditional alarms have proven how immune homes are to burglars and accidents. Which is why homeowners are attracted to smart security systems. It gives them the ability to protect their homes even when they’re away. Aside from that, it allows them to monitor who goes in and out of their place.
  • Smart lighting. This upgrade rose to popularity because of its energy saving features. No doubt it will continue to be popular this year.
  • Smart entertainment system. We’ve seen how smart TVs dominate our living areas and how this technology just keeps getting better. Today, smart TVs are getting bigger, with faster streaming capabilities, and even voice command features.


Master Suites – A lot of couples are investing in upgrading the master bedroom to a suite because it’s a place of rest and relaxation. Being the largest bedroom in the house, it contains more amenities than the rest of the bedrooms. Today, suites are being remodeled to include the following areas too:

  • Themed master bathrooms. Full bathrooms with thematic tiles and decor.
  • Seating area. Considered like a second living room, complete with couches and an entertainment system.
  • Walk-in closet. Big walk-in closets are a girl’s best friend! The trend nowadays is to combine the vanity area and the walk-in closet in a single room.


Open kitchen layout – More and more houses are breaking walls to reveal an open kitchen. Despite being costly, the advantages are worth considering:

  • It gives the house a wider, lighter, and more breathable feeling.
  • A wide open space lends to a more consistent decorating solution. It would seem like you’re designing for just one big space.
  • It will be easier for the family to gather and see each other. This gives parents peace of mind, not having to worry where their children are.
  • Easy access to everything. Bringing things from one place to another is easier in an open space. This eliminates accidents along the way.

We’ve seen a lot of home renovation trends come and go. The aesthetics always change. The technologies always improve. Renovating a space takes a lot of money, but nothing compares to a house the whole family will love.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Cameron Degelia.

3 Signs that you are in need of a hot water heater repair


Water heaters are essential elements of our home. We use them in daily activities such as taking a bath, using the dishwasher and using the washing machine. But because we use them frequently, it’s sometimes easy to take them for granted and forget that they need to be maintained. Failing to do so will result in malfunctions and problems and eventually, replacing your water heater. Taking notice of the first signs of a problem can help you repair your water heater before it becomes worse.

You don’t have to be an expert to spot the first signs of trouble. All you need to have is a keen sense of observation so that your water heater can be repaired. This McKinney plumbing company can help you with your water heater repairs and get it fixed so it can function just like how it’s supposed to.

Here are three signs that indicate your water heater needs to be repaired.

Hot water has off smell or off color. The first instance that you notice your hot water has an off smell or has a rusty color, that’s something that you need to check out. The smell could be the result of a rusty anode rod in the water heater. There is no need to worry since the anode rod can be replaced that will then eliminate the bad odor. Bacteria growth also causes bad smells. This happens when the hot water has not been used or has been turned off for quite some time or when the thermostat is set at a very low level.

Corroded pipes can also cause an off color in your water. This can be solved by installing a water softener or by replacing the plumbing. If you also see a lot of sediments in the water, it’s time to have the water heater repaired.

Water is not hot enough, too hot, not strong enough or there is none at all. When there is no water, check first that your water heater has power and is working fine. If it is, have it inspected by a plumber. If water is not enough, this could be due to an undersized water heater and is a common situation when a lot more people are using the water heater. This could also be caused by the presence of mineral deposits inside the water heater tank. When water is too hot or not hot enough, you may have to adjust the temperature dial of the water heater. If there is no change in temperature, have the water heater checked and repaired.

Strange noises and leaks. Leaks coming from your water heater could lead to flooding. In the same way, strange noises like pops, bangs, gurgles, and the like are clear indicators that something is wrong with your water heater. This is usually caused by a buildup of sediments inside the tank. A boiling sound, however, could mean the water heater is overheating or that pressure is building up inside the tank. All these have to be addressed immediately to prevent further problems.

It’s important to have your water heater repaired as soon as you see these signs. This will help you save on costs, prevent further damage, and avoid an untimely replacement of your unit.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Michael Cote.

Top Tips for Avoiding a Blocked Drain

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It is not enough to just own a house if you cannot maintain it; for a healthy living within your home the drain lines of water that carries sewage needs to be cleaned regularly. There is nothing as frustrating as dealing with blocked drains no matter which room in the house it is. Many people do not think of cleaning the drains until something is wrong and they are there looking for a plumber everywhere, thus incurring extra costs. It is vital that you learn how to keep off from such problems. Here are top tips for avoiding a blocked drain.

1) Check your pipes from time to time.

While we are so busy doing other things we forget the smallest details that can damage our home. If you are taking care and keeping track of the pipes, you can be sure it will not trouble you with sudden and unexpected repairs. It is important that you call your plumber when you notice that your drain has slowed down to check out the problem; they say prevention is better than a cure, in this case, I agree.

2) Do not force large food items down the disposal

You should always pour large food items into your trash can rather that pushing them into the sink. Let your drain be specifically for water and not other things, that is why we have a garbage disposal in our house; if you do not have one, then buy a drain strainer, place it in your kitchen sink to help keep large food particles out of the pipes.

3) Avoid Chemicals in your drain.

Things like chemicals, paint, and other items should be disposed of properly. Pouring them down the drain will not only block it, but harsh chemicals can also cause deterioration within the plumbing system and result in leaks and other plumbing problems.

4) Put Drain Covers on Drains.

Placing drain covers on your bathroom and sink drains is another way of avoiding a blocked drain. By covering your drains you will prevent hair and any chunk of solid materials, such as soap, from going down the drain. Hair usually builds up and causes a blockage, so having a drain cover will help keep most of the hair out of the pipes.

5) Use Baking Soda and Vinegar.

Once a month, pour 1 cup of baking soda down each drain; tub, sinks, stand up shower, followed by one cup of white vinegar. After some minutes, then pour one cup of salt down each drain followed by hot water down the drains for several minutes to help continue the cleaning process. This treatment will break down any collected build-up and kill bacteria in the drains.

Bottom Line.

With these tips, you will not be worried that the sink will not drain when you need it to or deal with blocked drains. If you make the above tips part of your home improvements and your daily chores, then rest assured that you will have a smooth flow and a healthy living in your home.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication.

5 Tips to Selling Your House Fast this Spring


If you are thinking of moving to another place or you just want to sell your place to another buyer, the spring season is the best time to sell your home.

The buyer demand, according to reports, is high during this time as the inventory rises and more and more buyers search for homes for sale.

But selling is not always as easy as putting up a “For Sale” sign in the front of your home. You need to stand out from the sea of listings. It takes careful planning and research for you to be able to bag a deal with a homebuyer, who is also eager to find a nice and new home.

Here are five tips to arm you to sell your home fast this spring.

  1. Polish your house

First impressions last. A buyer will first see the status of the house and imagine himself and his family living there. Create a nice impression by having a general cleaning of the property you want to sell. Start with polishing the mirrors and windows and get rid of stains. It will also help if you trim bushes so the sunlight can get into the house and can create a more positive vibe.

Also mow and edge the lawn for a cleaner look and buy flowers in containers to make the front yard more beautiful. This will also make your place more fragrant. Inside the house, attract and catch your buyer’s eyes with clean drapes and curtains that let the sunlight come through.

When buyers arrive, impress them with bottled water by the kitchen which they can grab. Also put some candies or biscuits out for a quick snack as they tour around the house.

  1. Know the market

Experts in realty state that one should not just jump in the market and looker for a buyer. Usually, the reports released showing information on a seller’s market are mostly far from truth, and thus it defeats the purpose of fast selling. One way not to get into this trap is through careful research and marketing. Another important factor to note is that a house should not be overpriced as buyers will have the wrong impression of it.

  1. Look for a realtor

If you are seller with small connections, chances are your house might sit for so long until the spring season is over. Hiring a realtor will help you quicken the selling phase. Aside from the fact that they do the negotiations from both parties, a realtor will also educate you on how to price your house so that it is not only competitive but is also attractive to buyers. You need to pay your realtor a commission and cover the buyer’s agent fees too.

  1. Clear tax records

Before setting up your house for sale, double check that you do not have any debts in the municipality tax records. Issues may arise in the middle of negotiations which might lead to cancellation of the deal. It will save you time, effort, and resources if you check your tax records before hiring your realtor.

  1. Advertise

And now that you are set to sell your home, you may now advertise. While the realtor looks for a possible buyer, it will help if you also do the marketing of your house through display advertising and distribution of brochures. You can even set up a social media page advertising your home to prospective buyers.

For display advertising, opt for a colored photo to give home hunters the idea of the house you are selling. You may also mail four-colored postcards with UV coating to your neighbors.

For more information about selling homes this spring and other information on real estate, you may check out for more details.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Kathy Rawls.

3 Ways to update your garage


Has your garage turned into a household catch-all? You are not alone. The typical residential garage is full of junk. This is where we store our hand tools, building materials, gardening supplies, and even the toys the kids have outgrown. There are garages that are too cluttered that they cannot fit a car or cannot be useful enough to turn into a workshop. To transform your garage from a room full of clutter to a more functional space, consider these tips below:

  1. Install a custom cabinetry system to organize your garage – letting go of the clutter is not as easy as it seems. Take small steps if you do not have enough time to deal with all the mess. Before going through all your old stuff, book the time on your calendar. Get a separate box for each item you would likely toss, donate, and sell. For small garages, make use of the wall to install a shelf. If you are in desperate need of more storage, install overhead racks. They are ideal for storing rarely used items such as Holiday decors that are pulled out once a year. Installing a folding workbench is also a smart way to add a workspace without taking extra space. You can create a workbench that doubles as a storage to maximize your space. When you have enough space for it, install a cabinet with deep lockers for large items.
  2. Treat your garage floor with concrete floor polishing to make it good-looking and extra-durable – transform your garage from clutter to a clean slate by clearing the floor and polishing it. Compared to other flooring materials, polished concrete is more durable and easier to maintain. A polished concrete floor also looks elegant and warm. Concrete Grinding Solutions Australia is the most expert concrete polishing Melbourne has ever had. With more than 20 years experience in concrete grinding, you can be sure of the quality of their flooring system. Work with an expert who will give you the right information on how to maintain your polished floors. If you are living in Seattle, WA, you can hire a concrete floors Seattle company to check and make the polished concrete floor for your garage.
  3. Secure your garage with an insulated steel door – garage doors are one of the weak points in home security. According to Australian Institute of Criminology in 2015, more than 200,000 burglaries are recorded in the country annually. Steel is the most popular option among door materials because they are strong and inexpensive. Although they are not aesthetically pleasing as wooden doors, you can easily customize steel doors by painting them. Get the insulated ones to keep your garage comfortable in Australia’s hot weather. Insulated doors are also good at saving energy. Aside from the door itself, install a deadbolt or special padlock for added protection.

The garage gets the biggest space in your house. Keep it functional and stylish. If you are not using it as a parking area or a workshop, convert it into something useful like a home gym or a home office. With proper insulation and a few makeovers, you can remodel your garage from a room full of mess to one of the most comfortable spaces in your house.

partnered post • CC-licensed image by Kathy Rawls

The Most Important Pieces of Equipment for Building a New Home


So, you’ve decided to build your own home? It won’t be easy, of course, but it is an option that more and more Americans are opting for, and it comes with a life time of potential reward once you’ve finished. Here we take a look at some of the equipment you’ll need to invest in at each stage to embark upon this adventure.


Before you get anywhere near to actually building your new home you’re going to need to lay the groundwork; quite literally. Prior to construction, you’ll probably need to work with a designer and even if you’re able to design the home yourself, you’ll need to speak to a construction company and arrange to have the land you plan to build on fenced off and secured. There are many options for suppliers of temporary fencing, remember this isn’t just a safety measure; you’ll want to keep any equipment left on the site overnight safe from theft.


Things are moving along nicely and you’re now ready to lay the foundations. For this you’ll need to hire a digger, and someone to operate it. This is fine for straightforward digging jobs, but some land will require more specialised equipment and you should discuss your needs here with a qualified professional, either your designer or engineer. Piling rigs, augers and trench supports all might come in to play for deeper excavations depending on the conditions.


Now the construction can really begin! Safety is your number one concern here, especially as you may be liable for any accidents incurred on site. Invest in a good quality safety harness for every member of your construction crew. The general tools you’ll require can most easily be obtained from local construction companies and exactly what you need will depend on the home you’re building. If you’ve hired a crew to take care of this then you can sit back and relax, a little bit at least. If you are overseeing the build and are hiring tradesman individually for different tasks then you will be responsible for ensuring that everyone has adequate safety equipment and tools appropriate to the jobs they’re performing.

You have three options for home construction methods, either using insulating concrete forms (ICFs), structural insulated panels (SIPs), or steel frames, and each will require different specialist equipment. For ICF’s you will need to hire a concrete pump to place the concrete and something called a poker vibrator to release air from the wet concrete. If you’re going the SIP route, you may need a crane to lower panels in to position. If you’re using steel frames, then you will almost certainly need to hire a crane to lower them in to position.

If you are ever unsure about your equipment needs it is important to have engineers and designers on hand that you can consult with. Making mistakes with the equipment that you make available to yourself and your crew can be very costly and even dangerous. You certainly don’t want to end up with an unsafe home! But, as long as you plan ahead and consult with experienced professionals, your first home build should be a roaring success.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Pixabay.

3 Ways to Decide If Your Home Needs Roof Ventilation


Your roof needs regular care and maintenance, just like all the other parts of your home. To avoid clumping insulation, rotting wood, and molds, you need to inspect your roof periodically and ensure that it is properly ventilated. Moreover, if your roof has asphalt shingles, then you need attic insulation to validate the shingles’ warranty. Venting designs that are passive usually include both soffit and roof vents that promote insulation. The total number you need of venting designs depends on the size of your attic or roof. These vents must also be clean and free from any obstructions, such as those caused by insulation. Are you wondering how to tell if your home needs roof ventilation? Here are three easy and practical ways to find out.

  1. Calculate your free vent space. Building codes usually specify the need for 1 square foot of venting space for each 150 square feet of attic space. The venting should be equally distributed between outflow and inflow vents and the outflow vents should never exceed the inflow vents. The net free vent (NFA) of each area should be clearly marked. All you have to do is to simply add up all the NFAs of all your vents and divide that number by the area of the attic. This way, you can determine if you’re within the 1:150 ratio. Once you are within this ratio, then you know that your roof is properly ventilated.
  2. Inspect your attic. If your attic has inadequate ventilation, chances are you won’t have to look very hard to find signs. These signs include ceiling joists and rafters that are rotted with mold and have blackened. They also include rusty metal fasteners and matted insulation. When these are present, then you know it’s time to repair your roof and add more ventilation.
  3. Monitor the temperature. The circulating air inside vents is important not only for regulating temperature but also for controlling moisture, especially during summer when temperatures tend to soar. If the vents are not properly supplying ventilation, then the temperature could rise to as much as 140°F on sunny days. This temperature can significantly affect the temperature of your entire home. Thus, it would be best to place a thermometer in the attic and monitor it every now and then. In cases when the temperature becomes excessive, power vents may be needed to augment passive vents.

After checking your roof for the signs that you need ventilation, you may need to contact a roofing contractor in order to request further inspection, maintenance, and repair.

CC-licensed image by Mitchell Joyce.

6 Incredible ways for calculating your tax refunds


When it comes to taxes everything is pretty straightforward: everyone is trying to pay as little as possible. Taxes and tax returns are especially important for small entrepreneurs. When you first star your business every little bit matters and it would be unwise to miss on such an opportunity.

A bit different rules apply if you’re self-employed. Unlike for companies where everything is structured and you probably have an accountant, there are much more factors to be considered in this case.

This is why I’ve written this article to point out the most important things you have to consider when calculating your tax refunds.  

  • 1. Use CIS tax refund calculator (UK)

As you can presume, there are tools on the internet that can help self-employed calculate their tax return. A great tool is the tax rebate calculator by Quick Rebates as one of the simpler and more reliable ones. As soon as you open the page, you will see several options such as gross income, tax deducted, work related expenditures and so on. All you have to do is fill them in and press calculate. Obviously, it is a really quick and easy solution that doesn’t require any downloads or instructions. All you need is a sheet with your financial data in front of you. 

  • 2. Account for energy consumption

Most self-employed people work from their home. In that regard, this space is their official office space. Everything that is used is subject to taxation. And of course, as long as there is taxation, there is a chance for tax refund. Here, I am primarily referring to energy and water consumption. Whenever you turn on your PC, this can be considered as company’s expenditures. So make sure to include all these receipts when asking for tax refund. This can drastically increase your profit margin at the end of the period.

  • 3. Profit doesn’t matter

What do I mean by this? No matter what happens with your self-employed projects, whether you make profit or not, it is necessary to turn in your income and expenses at the end of the period in order to get your tax return. Diligence is necessary when you have a company and your personal data need to be obtainable and public at all times. With that, we come to the next tip.

  • 4. Do not throw away your records

You should never throw away your business records when the year is over. According to the law it is necessary to have these records intact in the following 6 years. In case you don’t have them, some serious issues may arise.

  • 5. Having faith in your accountant

When it comes to tax refund calculations you can go no better than having a certified professional accountant. It is necessary to know the right guy who can help you out in this case. Have in mind that most other accounting regulations and laws constantly change. You have to stay on top of everything so you can get the most of it. You should also know that accounting services are tax deductible. In that regard, if you start doing your own accounting you can save some additional money.

  • 6. Think about gasoline

Most self-employed people buy a car through their company. Some of the things that you pay for that car have tax rebate. For example, you can reduce the tax and insurance price. One of the most important things to have in mind is that your company’s car uses gasoline. That same gasoline can be used as a company expense. However, if something bad happens car will be considered as organization’s asset.

Note: CC-licensed image by Jake Rustenhoven.

Choosing the Best Lighting when Building a New Home



Lighting is an essential part of any home. Obviously, no one wants to live in the dark at night or when skies are overcast. There are plenty of lighting features to consider, and some of them are better than others. When it comes to picking out the best lighting situation for a new home, though, these factors below should be considered closely.

Focus on being Energy Efficient

Most homes that are older tend not to be very energy efficient, but newer homes are being made to combat that situation. Newer lighting features are better able to make use of light bulbs that focus on using as little energy as possible. An older home’s fixtures might not be compatible with these lightbulbs. Another feature to keep lighting energy efficient is to have lights that run on a motion sensor or a timer. These two features will make sure that energy is used as little as possible. Some lights also come with dimming features or multiple settings, so they can be adjusted to use only a certain amount of energy for providing a given amount of light. This feature also allows homeowners the most control over how much light to use and when.

About Those Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

A specific type of light bulb that is constructed to be energy efficient is the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). These spiral-shaped light bulbs can be purchased at most grocery stores or supercenters, but you will find a more diverse and specialized selection at a lighting store. Their shape is rather eye-catching, but it is immediately a part of their efficiency in saving energy. EnergyStar® rated CFLs are reported to save 75 percent more energy than older lightbulb models, so they can dramatically reduce typical energy consumption. This reduction also relates directly to how much money people do or do not spend on their energy bills. Hence, while these light bulbs cost a little more, they are more than worth the upfront cost when compared to the money they save on an electric bill.

Another type of lightbulb that has become popular in recent years is light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These light bulbs only use about 20 percent to 25 percent of the amount of energy that older, incandescent light bulbs typically use. Also, they last about 25 times longer than older light bulb types. There is also the added benefit that LEDs can be used either indoors or outdoors, which makes them extremely popular in all areas of home design. For people who want the light to provide a little color to their living spaces, or for people who want to be able to alter colors to reflect certain holidays or party situations, LED is the only choice to go with as they come in many colors. LEDs are more efficient in providing light that is focused to a single point, so they can be used to target a person's needs in an area of the house without disturbing others. This feature is great for people who want only to light one part of the room at night when other people in the house are asleep. On the other hand, CFLs and incandescent lights provide lighting to an entire room, which can be disturbing for some people in the house who might not be awake at the same hours as other housemates.

CFLs and LEDs have specific applications. As mentioned previously, CFLs are great for lighting an entire room. Therefore, they are great for use in living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. LEDs would just focus its beam of light to one, specific direction, which might not be as helpful in some rooms over others like dens,  studies, a home office or bedroom.


When it comes to taking care of lighting in your new home, there are definitely certain aspects that need to be considered. More importantly, finding the right type of light bulb to use in certain areas of your home should be a main focal point when designing specific rooms or outdoor spaces.

This guest post was provided by Guardian Homes, and Idaho Falls home builder focused on providing unique living spaces for the best value in Southeast Idaho.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Anton Fomkin.

3 Benefits to installing a solar hot water system



If you have been following the news, you may have heard that the Hazelwood plant in Latrobe Valley closed its doors just recently. It shut down after supplying energy in Victoria for more than five decades. The closure of the power station caused hundreds of workers to lose their jobs. But the contractors were not the only ones affected by this closure. Thousands of consumers in Victoria can no longer find cheap and coal-fired electricity. Thus, they have to endure the gas and electricity price increase.

The surge in gas and electric costs is not a problem in Victoria alone. It’s a nationwide concern. Aside from the closures of coal fired power stations, Australians do not have the choice but to deal with the inevitable gas price increase. It’s all because Australia is aiming to switch to cleaner energy. It’s a good move towards saving the environment but a decarbonised system costs more than coal-fired electricity.

Instead of relying on traditional power, why don’t we just use lower carbon energy sources? Solar energy is a type of renewal energy that is easy to maintain. Going solar entails a lot of research and preparation. If you are not ready to go fully solar at home, install panels that will provide electricity for some appliances. Start by replacing your electric water heaters’ solar hot water systems. Got questions as to why? Here are reasons you should make the transition starting with your water heater.

  1. Solar energy helps save the environment. Did you know that the Australian government is planning to phase out inefficient water heaters so the country can conserve energy? The Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency claimed that 50% of the 8 million households in Australia use electric water heaters. Water heaters are known as the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the report by the University of Wisconsin’s Solar Energy Laboratory, a family of four uses an average of 6,400 kilowatt hours of electricity per year to heat their water. That means more carbon dioxide is emitted annually. Help reduce your family’s carbon footprint by using a solar water heater.
  2. It is more efficient than gas or electric water heaters. A solar water system uses sunlight to warm water. What if there is no presence of sunlight? Australia has winters but you don’t have to worry because it’s generally warm even during winter season. It is rare to have a temperature that is below zero degrees. If you are worried about not getting enough sunlight, invest in a solar heat pump. It works by using the heat in the ambient air around the system, which means you don’t need the sunshine for it to work.
  3. A solar water heater is an economical choice. You can save thousands of dollars by using this heating alternative. Solar energy is free.  You can get enough solar energy even during cloudy days. A majority of cities in Australia have their sunny days. Residents from Northern Australia can take advantage of the warm to hot temperature all year round. Furthermore, it uses solar thermal panels that are cheaper to install than solar PV panels.

It is advisable to work with a registered solar water installer to ensure that the system is properly installed. The panels should be correctly positioned to get the maximum solar heat absorption. A certified solar hot water systems installer is familiar with requirements in your locality. Your solar contractor will also be responsible in the regular maintenance of your solar water heater.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Mass CEC.

Looking for a place to sell your premise? That might help


Businesses go through tough times where you might see no need to continue operating at a loss. Perhaps selling your premises might be the best solution for you. Who knows, you might start afresh in future. The idea of selling is actually great until you have to initiate the transaction. It could be a long and devastating process. And you might end up losing out lots of money if you are not selling with the reputable professionals in Australia.

Selling anywhere in Perth or Western Australia? Stella Settlements as the leading conveyance might come to your help. The company specializes with a broad range of real estate transactions. It’s better to take your real estate transactions to professionals for an expedited process and to also make sure you comply with tax regulations in Australia.

Where to start in selling your premise?

The first step in selling your premise is to ascertain your decision by considering the following factors as recommended by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in Australia. Before other factors, ascertain if selling is the only solution to take. There are many prompt reasons that persuade owners to sell their premises and some may be solved if you engage with the right professionals. But, if you are really sure, then go ahead and seek help.

Use professionals or sell on your own

Business brokers and real estate agents are ubiquitous in Australia. Handpick the most reputable one to justly carry out your real estate transactions from marketing your premise. Having the right professionals will make the selling process an absolute breeze. The will help you understand taxation, legal and government requirements. To sell in Perth or Western Australia, we have already suggested the Stella Settlements as your partner in selling premises.

Before choosing any professional company, confirm their credentials. For business brokers, there is the Australian Institute of Business Brokers that can help you confirm the credentials in your specific region.

The next effort will be to advertise your premise on your own or using the professionals. To do that on your own, there are digital platforms and outbound marketing strategies such as the newspapers and televisions where you can list your premise. Doing it on your own will actually save you some affiliate marketing costs.

Evaluate (Value) your business

The next important factor is to value your business and see how much it is worth. Do not be conned by some professionals who may persuade you to sell the premise fast based on random price tags without knowing the real value. Valuing your business can also take time. But with the right professionals such as the Stella Settlements it can be expedited. It will include valuing your current assets and the future profits.

Time to negotiate the sale

Once you know the value of your business, it will be easy to negotiate the sale. You must have as much information as possible about the business. Beware of furnishing misleading information to the prospective buyers. The prospective and potential buyer might need to agree with you with the following:

  • Employee transfer if the buyer is going to run the same business scope
  • The sale value as well as the 10% deposit
  • The period of settlement

If you all agree, it’s time to prepare a contract with the legal team. But all these long processes can be avoided if you let the professionals do the work for you. All you have to do is to sit back and relax while your premise is being transacted with the right buyers.

Perhaps and arguably the most challenging part is the arrangement of your employees. You have to communicate with them and tell them about the impending transaction of the premise. Your loyal customers might also be affected. There should be a proper handover to the new owner to ensure that there are no major inconveniences. Otherwise, you might reach an agreement with the employees to end their employment amid the process of selling the premise.

Selling your premise is, after all, not necessarily meaning that it’s the end of you. Sometimes it is justified in order to go off-the-hook of current constraints. You might need the cash to invest in new investment maneuvers that bear more fruit than the outgoing ones.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Mark Moz.

5 Steps to making your home free of allergens


Put simply, allergens are anything that can cause an allergic reaction. For some people it can be dust, pollen, or even animal hair, depending on their particular allergies. The buildup of allergens can lead to allergic reactions, so minimizing allergens in your home can help prevent allergic reactions to them.

The specific steps to make your home allergen free will depend on the allergen in question, but there are some general steps that you can take to help make your home allergen free.

1. Vacuum

One of the easiest ways to remove allergens from your home is to regularly vacuum your floors and ceilings. This includes carpets, hardwood floors, rugs, and tiled areas. Vacuuming physically removes allergens such as dust and pet hair from your home. By regularly vacuuming your home you can help keep allergen levels to a minimum. If your allergies are severe, you may want to consider investing in a specialist vacuum designed for people with allergies. Such models are currently available from several leading manufacturers.

2. Use green cleaning products

Many conditions such as asthma can be triggered by some of the harsh chemicals found in many off-the-shelf cleaning products. Using green cleaning products can help reduce the harsh chemical residues left inside your home while cleaning and as a result help to minimize any allergic reactions you may be having to them.

3. Reduce pet dander  

So, what is “pet dander”? Well, pet dander is a combination of dead skin cells and hair which are shed by most household pets. Reducing the amount of pet dander in your home can greatly reduce the amount of allergens, by eliminating not only the pet hair, but also things such as dust mites which animals often transport into the home. Consider grooming your pet regularly to help reduce the shedding.

4. Prevent mold and mildew

Preventing mold and mildew from taking hold is much easier than getting rid of it when your home is infested with them . Preventing your home from becoming damp is the first step in preventing mold and mildew. Try and open windows and encourage airflow throughout your home. You can also use things such as fans to help prevent dampness from collecting, or even dehumidifiers which will collect water vapor from the air. Also, it is important to prevent any rainfall from seeping into your property and creating damp conditions in which mold and mildew can thrive.

5. Dust – clean air ducts

One often overlooked way of making sure that your home is allergen free is to make sure that your air ducts are clean. Air ducts transport air throughout your home, meaning that they can also spread dust once they become dirty. Duct cleaning can be a complicated and difficult job without the right specialist tools. The easiest way to make sure that your air ducts are clean is to use a specialist cleaning company like Willard Duct Cleaning. You can check out details of their services, and get a free estimate, on their website here.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication.

Simple Ways to Keep Your House Clean


If you are living a very busy lifestyle that you do not have the time to maintain the drill of making your house clean, you should hire cleaners employed by companies since they offer very comprehensive cleaning services specifically to homeowners and organizations. Cleaning companies are committed to providing highly professional services that include household chores. You are assured that you can get an excellent service for money with their flexible service at a very low-cost.

Below are tricks that company cleaners will do to ensure your house remains clean always:

Ensure Your Bed Is Made

Some individuals are too lazy to make their bed in the morning as they get up. The best action to take is to employ cleaners from cleaning companies that will be servicing your house daily. The cleaners will ensure that your bed is made neatly. The bed is the most important place to keep neat as it will reduce chances of any harmful organism from hiding in between the blankets and sheets ensuring that you live in a very safe environment. Try The London Cleaners, who is committed to provide exceptional domestic and commercial cleaning service.

Wipe Your Bedside Table    

You might forget to wipe your bedside table each morning either because you have a very tight schedule or because you are a lazy individual. Your cleaner will ensure that your bedside table is wiped spotless clean so as to make your bed look tidy. This is very important as it gives your room a clean look which gives a good impression to any visitor who might enter your room.

Clean Your Dishes

Most people are afraid of washing dishes even if they have a dishwasher. There are two different types of cooks: those who clean while they are cooking and those who cannot do the latter. Employ cleaners who will clean your utensils daily and leave your kitchen sink clean and sanitized with upmost perfection.

Wipe Your Cooking Surfaces

Failing to wipe your cooking surfaces is very hazardous to your health as it will act as an excellent breeding place for disease-causing organisms. Worry no more as house cleaners are just the right people for this kind of work. They will ensure that your countertops and cooking surfaces are wiped to ensure your kitchen is spotless leaving no breeding ground for bacteria.

Do Your Laundry    

If you have the habit of throwing the clothes that you’ve on a chair making your house living room look filthy, then the best action to take is to employ a cleaner. The cleaners will do your laundry, dry the laundry then fold it for you and if there are clothes that will need to be hanged in your closet they will do the same after ironing the clothes making your closet look neat and attractive.

In conclusion, cleaners that are practically employed by companies are the best option you should consider to do your household chores. The cleaners will offer a flexible and affordable service that will satisfy all your requirements. They are highly-trained and well – experienced cleaners that even fully vetted and most importantly, insured to suit your peace of mind.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image.

3 ideas on how to clear unwanted debris from your property



After a big storm has blown through your town, it is not uncommon for there to be a great amount of unwanted debris scattered throughout the property. Perhaps there are leaves, sticks, tree limbs, and other trash littered on your property that need to be tended to. Some of this debris could even be uprooted trees, leaving stumps that need removed. This article will help identify ways in which you can appropriately clear your property of unwanted yard waste and other materials.

  1. The first thing to consider is what items are in your yard that you need to be removed. If there are a few sticks and limbs in your yard, you may be able to pick them up and easily place them in a yard waste bin or bag. If you have a large limb, you may need to saw it into smaller pieces before you can dispose of it. If there are larger items that need to be disposed of, you may need to call a tree repair company to come and assist. This could cost money that you were not expecting to spend so it is best to try to handle it on your own before calling the professionals.
  2. If you have big items in your yard that need to be removed such as a large tree stump, there are certainly ways in which you can take care of this on your own. You do not need to own heavy, expensive equipment to take care of the dilemma. Simply look into a mini excavator rental that can help you dig out the tree stump. This way you can cut it up into smaller pieces and dispose of it on your own. By doing so, you will most likely save a great deal of money.
  3. If you have an endless budget or you do not care about spending the money, you could always hire professionals to come take care of the yard rubbish for you. While this could cost you several hundreds of dollars, you may find it worth the money as you will not have to deal with the tedious task of cleaning up the debris and disposing of it properly. While hiring professionals to do the job for you can be a big relief, it is important to do your research on who you hire. Make sure that the company you are looking to hire is reputable, dependable, and has good customer reviews. You could find a company to remove the debris but they may do so in a manner that is incomplete or in a rude way. If you are paying for a service, you want to make sure that you are hiring the best you can get for your money.

If you have unwanted debris in your yard that you need to dispose of, this article is meant to help you in the process of deciding how you want to go about it. Whether you have an endless budget to hire professionals or want to accomplish the task yourself, make sure that you do your research to find out how to save money in the process.

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Mark Bridge.