3 Most Popular Home Designs Today and Their Features

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With more than enough home designs today, homeowners have trouble settling on a plan for their homes. It is essential to understand the main home designs and their features before deciding on the best plan for your space and style.

With the industry flooded with many choices, knowledge of what each design entails is crucial. It helps to write the features you want and compare them to known house designs to pick a name for your design. Let’s look at some of the home designs making headlines today.

Farmhouse Home Design

The most prominent feature about farmhouse home designs is ample space both indoors and outdoors. Unlike other plans, this one eludes a homely feel for families yearning for a suburban lifestyle. Anyone going for a farmhouse home plan wants some or all of the following features:

  • Woodsy decorative details
  • A few stories
  • Extended porches
  • Ample space
  • Open-plan kitchen
  • Fireplace
  • Wide footprint

Other home details depend on your specific taste and preference. The features are pretty flexible in modern farmhouse home plans, with constant features being the space and porches. You can incorporate other features like sliding barn door hardware into the design to make it personal and in line with what you had envisioned for your home.

Modern farmhouse plans today also have large windows, sleek lines, wrap-around porches, gables for additional light, and flexible layouts. Most people going for farmhouse home designs want a peaceful and spacious environment to live with loved ones. A beautiful landscape is often the best part of living in a farmhouse.

Cottage Home Design

Cottages are often referred to as tiny, cozy houses in semi-urban or rural areas. For that reason, most people will build cottage homes as holiday homes and not their leading houses. However, modern architecture has allowed people to live in any place they want.

If you want to live every day of your life in a picturesque house, the cottage home design is your go-to house plan. The small space allows you to experience a warm and neat environment in the home. Some of the defining features for this home plan are:

  • Magnificent views
  • Outdoor living space
  • Stone, wood, or brick construction
  • Overhanging roofs
  • Irregular layout
  • Small footprint
  • Smaller, cozy interiors
  • Arched doorways
  • Wide front porches

The cottage home plan is economical and has a somewhat traditional style focusing on breathtaking views.

Craftsman Home Design

Craftsman home designs are popular for individualism. The idea behind the homes is that the homeowners build the houses to their liking, and, therefore, no one home should look like the other.

However, in modern-day architecture, architects have adopted and documented these designs with a few similar features, as seen below. The modern home designs also include very appealing front yards to complement the houses.

  • Bungalow
  • Overhanging eaves
  • Pillars at the entrance
  • Single protruding dormers
  • Windows with separate panes of glass on top and at the bottom
  • Gable style, low-pitched roofs
  • Exposed rafters
  • Built-in storage
  • Natural construction materials
  • Conspicuous fireplaces
  • Window seats and nooks

Fireplaces are the focal points of the living room in the craftsman bungalows. Other interior decorations in a classic craftsman home are bookcases next to the fireplace. Today, we find the bookcases have been replaced with artsy items or other pieces of décor to improve the aesthetic value of the living room.

Home plans often depend on the homeowners’ taste. Whether you are building a home with a loan from the housing authority or without it, choose a design that works best for you. The craftsman home design is embraced more by ordinary people who want a house representing every design aspect they want without attracting too much attention. In short, it is a simple design with more focus on functionality than appeal.

The farmhouse design is ideal for families that want to settle in the rural area with enough space for outdoor activities and lots of room inside the house. The beautiful landscape on the property is the selling point for such homes.

Last but not least, the cottage home design is perfect for vacation homes with splendid views and cozy interiors. The beauty of a picturesque home is to have it as a getaway home and not a regular place to stay. Most people build cottages like guest houses or vacation homes.

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5 Smart Tips to Boost Your Home’s Resale Value

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The housing market is always brimming with options for all kinds of buyers. Any good house rarely stays in the market for long, but the real deal is when the house sells for more than its original value. Many factors affect the resale value of your house, such as home appreciation, inflation, demand for property, and so on. However, these factors are uncontrollable and may negatively or positively impact your property’s value. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to boost your home’s resale value without breaking the bank. If you want to inch up that sale price, take a look at the following simple tips to make your house worth top dollar.

1. Work on the appearance

Undeniably, you want potential buyers to get hooked to your house right away. According to experts, essential upgrades to your house’s exterior and sprucing up the curb appeal can improve your house’s resale value by 7% to 14%. So, start by giving your house’s exterior a paint job in neutral tones. Similarly, if you have a wooden door, paint it with bold colors such as forest green or buttery yellow for an aesthetic appeal. According to many real estate agents, curb appeal ranks as the number one way to increase a home’s resale value. Therefore, meticulously clean the outside of the house, mow the lawn, plant fresh flowers, and so forth.

2. Focus on your home’s efficiency: 

Who wouldn’t love a smart thermostat or LED lights around the house? Fortunately, you can get the LED Recessed Lighting Retrofit in your humble abode through professionals. You’ll be surprised to know that more than 70% of real estate professionals say that making your home energy-efficient adds significantly to your house’s sale value. Take a look at the following home efficiency improvement features which homebuyers value the most:  

  • Energy-efficient lighting such as Retrofit LED lights 
  • Adequate HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems 
  • A smart thermostat for managing energy costs 
  • Adding doors, windows, and siding installations
  • Solar panels for the entire house

Making your home energy efficient may cause you to spend a few thousand bucks. However, upgrading your house can boost your home’s value by thousands of dollars.

3. Add usable space

Focusing on this tip can boost your house’s resale value if you sell in areas with finite space and land. Since homebuyers prefer as many livable square feet as possible, it’s evident that adding extra usable space or storage makes sense. Buyers also prefer when every inch of space outside can be used for storing equipment like mowers or gardening tools. 

Therefore, knock out some walls and throw in an extra room wherever sufficient space is available. People can even use this extra room as their home office, storage room, or an accessible laundry room. Don’t forget to make the outside space count as well by adding a gazebo or a deck. People love a comfy outdoor space where they can spend time or have weekend hangouts. However, you should know that you won’t always earn back all the money you invest in this kind of home renovations. Nonetheless, it still adds handsomely to the overall value of your house.

4. Deep clean and declutter

It is entirely understandable if you think, how would cleaning add to your house’s resale value? But statistics say otherwise. According to a 2019 Home Light report, you can add more than $4000 to your house’s resale value by decluttering and deep cleaning it. Isn’t it obvious? No one prefers to purchase real estate having mounds of dirt, mold, and pests crawling everywhere. According to a NARs (National Association of Realtors) study in 2017, 89% recommend deep cleaning houses before listing, and 93% recommend decluttering. 

To ensure buyers see most of the house and don’t hesitate from paying a little extra, declutter and throw away any unnecessary item. Remove items that make the interior look congested and pay extra attention to cleaning out the storage spaces. Scrub away the mold, especially in the bathrooms, add some shine, improve indoor air quality, and organize. Even though decluttering and cleaning are inexpensive ways to add to your house’s value, you can always hire a cleaning service for top-notch results.

5. Make your home smart

The largest group of buyers in 2020 are millennials, who represent 38% of all homebuyers. Therefore, you have to appeal to the demographics and add features in your house that they feel best adds convenience to their lives. Making your house innovative by adding advanced systems is one way to do it. Home gadgets appeal to tech geeks and a large number of people who love the convenience they offer. Therefore, hit the electronic store and grab a few things like smart fire detectors, thermostats, advanced lighting systems, door locks, smart cameras, etc. These upgrades can tremendously enhance your house’s value.

Conclusion

You don’t need to wait for the market to shift or the inflation to decrease to get a lucrative resale value of your house. With some simple and budget-friendly ways, you can easily appeal to the right buyers. For starters, you can work on your house’s curb appeal, add sufficient space where possible, work on the outdoors and exterior, and fix in advanced systems. Similarly, upgrade appliances, and finish it off with energy-efficient technology. Within no time, potential buyers will be flocking near your property.

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How to Use Your AC and Save Electricity During Summer

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Summer is the best time for fun activities such as outdoor games, pool parties, backyard cookout, road trips, and more. However, too much exposure to the sun is dangerous, as our climate has drastically changed over the decades. These days, an increasing number of people prefer to stay indoors to keep themselves protected from the scorching heat of the sun. 

With the intense heat, homeowners are now using their air conditioners for longer periods than usual, which leads to these units expending more energy to regulate the temperature. If you’re seeing a surge in your electric bill, here are some ideas for how to save electricity during summer.

Get a Smart Thermostat

One of the best upgrades that you can get for your air conditioner system is a smart thermostat. It helps reduce the energy costs from the heating and cooling process during the dry season. A smart thermostat can regulate your home’s temperature and it allows you to adjust the settings with the use of your mobile device.

Using a smart thermostat will let you switch the AC on or off automatically. It also keeps your house with a steady temperature throughout the day, which can also help you save energy by avoiding power surges from abrupt adjustments in temperature.

Install a Ceiling Fan

Installing a ceiling fan inside your home is a great alternative to using your AC. It has the ability to reduce the temperature up to 10 degrees, provided that there are enough openings to achieve better circulation.

When you use your ceiling fan together with your AC, it can reduce the thermostat setting to plus four degrees Celsius, making it more efficient and providing the same comfort. However, you need to switch off your fan if not in use. This helps with regards to global energy conservation initiatives.

Door and Window Tightness

If you want your AC unit to function properly, you need to check that the openings of your house have the proper insulation and sealants. The insulation works to prevent heat from penetrating your house, while the sealants will make sure that no cold air will escape.

Attach Window Shades

To be able to achieve the output of your AC, make sure that your windows have shades to prevent the sun’s heat from going inside your house. Direct sunlight can increase the temperature in your house, which makes your AC system work harder and makes you pay extra.

Perform Maintenance Works

You need to perform routine maintenance such as cleaning and replacing filters every month to help your AC unit achieve optimum performance. The importance of clean air ducts for your AC unit is also vital to know in order to prolong its lifespan. A healthy system will provide you comfort and energy savings at the same time.

Prevent Heat Buildup

The summer heat will make you feel uncomfortable inside your house due to the increased temperature. While it’s the best season for outdoor activities, it would be better to avoid exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful rays as much as you can. There are also other factors that contribute to the heat inside your house, such as using the clothes dryer, cooking on your stove or oven, and using your dishwasher.

To prevent your AC from working harder, try decreasing the use of other appliances that generate heat. You may want to consider grilling your food or using the microwave. You may also do the dishes by hand and let them dry on a rack. Hang your washed clothes on a clothesline instead of using the clothes dryer. These simple changes will help you manage your energy consumption.

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How to Increase Your Home’s Value Without Hurting Your Pocket

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During home renovations and remodeling, the main goal is to increase the value of your home without overspending on your budget. While this may seem impossible, you just need to be creative in order to achieve it. Here are some cost-effective ways of increasing your home’s value:

Work on Interiors

One good way to bring value is to work on your home’s interiors by:

Freshening-up Walls

A home’s value can significantly dip if the walls look old and worn out. Chipped paint, scratched walls, fading wallpaper, and even dated colors can lower the value of your home. Try to give it new life with a fresh coat of paint. If you plan to sell it, a neutral color is a good way to maximize its value. Neutral colors can unify the entire look of the home since they are easy to pair up with any decoration.

Change Fixtures

You can give your home a new look by simply replacing the fixtures. If you are up for it, you can even scour thrift shops to find the best hardware that would match your home’s aesthetics. If you are on the creative side, you can paint your switch plates with matte paint.

Focus on Windows

Do away with window treatments that don’t provide value to your home. Go for classic looks that blend well with your home. If there are chipped parts or broken glass, replace them. If they need to be replaced entirely, invest in energy-efficient windows. Add some window treatments such as wooden blinds, premium drapes, or plantation shutters. Make sure it is tied to the home’s overall look. Add a security screen if necessary.

Ditch the Carpet

If at all possible, ditch your carpet. In most older homes, floors are usually made with hardwood but are covered with carpets. If you notice that your floor is squeaking, chances are you have a hardwood floor. Reveal its natural beauty by removing the carpets and work on refinishing the floor. It will be a lot of work, but it would definitely add to the value of your home.

Attract from the Outside

Of course, you should not forget to attract potential buyers by increasing your home’s curb appeal.

Check the Roof and Gutters

One of the first things you have to check on the exterior of your home is your roof. See if there are areas that need to be replaced. Inspect the gutters and clean them if necessary. You’ll notice the advantages of quality gutters when you inspect them after a careful inspection of your roofing system. Quality gutters will take years before they would need any repairs. In comparison, cheap ones will cost you more. In the long run, good ones actually help you save money.

Maintain Lawn and Garden

If you have an outdoor space, trim the grass and make sure that you take care of your outdoor plants. If you have a bigger budget, try installing a pergola to give your home a cozy feeling. Get yourself solar-powered outdoor lighting, and you’ll have an extended living space in your home.

Increasing your home’s value doesn’t have to be expensive. The important thing is that you carefully plan it. Set a budget for yourself, and don’t go overboard. Don’t do everything in one go. Try to start small, and before you know it, you’ll have a wonderful home.

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Making a Home More Accessible for Those with Limited Mobility

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Disabilities can alter the way we move through our lives on a day-to-day basis, even when we’re in such familiar places as our homes. The home itself can actually be a challenging place that’s chock full of obstacles if the disabilities are new occurrences. Things like doorknobs, bathrooms, stairs and even a variety of surfaces can be hazardous, and learning to adapt can be overwhelming. Let’s explore a few ways to make the home more easily accessible for those with limited mobility.

Bathroom

For many people, the bathroom can present quite a few obstacles. Whether your disability stems from birth and genetics or you’re off your feet during post-surgical treatment, it’s easy to imagine the calamity that can ensue when slick tile gets soapy.

Countertops and tubs aren’t great surfaces for able-bodied people to fall on, let alone those with physical difficulties. Aside from that, tubs have tall sides that can be difficult to get over. Replace that old tub with one that has a step-in feature and make sure your tub also has a surface that’s slip-resistant.

Some people suffer from things like being prone to falls or have poor balance. Others just need a bit of help to get into and out of bathrooms, beds, and chairs. For these people, handrails that are well-placed can be life changers. Grab rails in bathrooms can especially decrease risk for falling while assisting users to lift themselves up on their own. They can both create peace of mind and increase independence.

Kitchen

As with the other rooms in a home, the most critical aspect of a kitchen is its functionality. If you have limited mobility, the layout of your kitchen is even more critical and must be taken into account when being designed. When things are stored where they can’t be reached, this can become an issue that can lead to frustration and even the occurrence of accidents.

If you have mobility that’s decreased, accessible storage via the use of adjustable wall apparatuses, magnetized storage units, and even baskets can assist with the creation of a space that’s both functional and safe. Also, consider adding features like SMART light fixtures, outlets that are well placed, and tools and appliances that are designed specifically for people with limited mobility. You want to make it as easy as possible to do ordinary tasks.

Stairs

Did you know that according to the Census Bureau, mobility is the most common disability among seniors? If someone in your household finds the stairs to be an obstacle because of this, consider installing a stairlift. These are available in a multitude of styles and can be either a permanent solution or, if you get a portable stair climber, can be used anywhere.

Doorknobs

There are quite a few styles of doorknobs out there that are both difficult to use and cumbersome for people who have difficulty gripping things. Replacing these with bars for pushing or pulling, handles with press levers, or even doors that are automatic can tremendously increase the accessibility of your home.

There are quite a few things that you can do in order to make your home one that’s more accessible for people with limited mobility. So many, in fact, that it can easily become an overwhelming, seemingly Herculean task. The good news is that there are people out there who can help with this – from ideas gotten from medical professionals to the designers that can turn those ideas into reality. Just remember that just because you add a few safety features, that doesn’t necessarily mean your home is becoming less homey, just more user-friendly.

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7 Ways to Soundproof Your Walls

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Living in row houses and condos has become a popular housing option for many people in Australia. But often in this type of housing, the units are mostly adjacent to each other and the wall system is not particularly soundproofed which results in a noisy occurrence in the tower. 

These noises become way more prevalent when you have noisy neighbors, loud music, and kids. If this has become a serious issue for you then fortunately you don’t have to put up with the noise anymore.

For determining which type of soundproofing is needed you have to do two things. 

First, identify what type of noise you’re hearing. Is it the neighbor's dog, highway traffic, tv noise, etc? After that, identify the source of the noise or where it is exactly coming from. It might be coming from the bedroom to the front door. After identifying the part of the house, focus on soundproofing that part.

In this article, we will see the best ways to soundproof your condo and row house walls.

1. Add Dense Sheets

Although this won’t look good and you might not stand the way your house will look after adding dense mass like this but it does seem to work. So if you’re looking for a cheap way to resolve this you can opt for this method.

2. Focus on Specific Areas

If you’re tight on budget then lookout for the most specific area of your house from where the noise is coming in and try to block it out by applying soundproofing wallpaper or duct tape or sealant.

3. Insulate Interior Walls.

Insulation not only makes your house soundproof but will help lower your electricity bills as well. There are a lot of soundproofing materials in the market and you can choose the one which is perfect for your condo.

4. Add an Extra Layer of Drywall

Although it is a bit expensive, it is deemed to be a long-term solution. You can create a layer of double drywall all around your room as this will create a barrier and will make it hard for the sound to leave through.

5. Add an Audio Blanket or Soundproof Blanket

These are easy to block noises as you have to just simply hang them over the unit or the walls for soundproofing. Although a bit expensive these serve as a great option for condos or rowhouses. 

One thing you have to keep in mind is that you might need to cover these blankets with something else or hang something beautiful on them to cover them up as they are not aesthetically beautiful.

6. Damping

Damping reduces the vibrations of sound by absorption and helps reduce the overall sound level. Sound damping and soundproofing may seem the same and they are but one difference is that sound damping just involves dissipating vibrational energy before it can build up and radiate sound whereas soundproofing involves various techniques and different means to achieve the goal of reducing the noise.

7. Decoupling the Wall

The decoupling technique is a simple procedure but would require tearing down the walls and involves separating the two sides of the wall into two different sections. This technique helps as it makes it harder for the sound to pass through the wall and helps in reducing the noise overall.

Take Away

These are some methods you can use to soundproof your condo or rowhouse. You can use any of these methods to soundproof your wall. 

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Why Should You Never Ignore Home Inspections Before Buying a Property?

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Home inspections should be a part of your home buying routine, and having a professional home inspector for the purpose is the best way to protect your investment. While a property might look flawless when you glance over the various areas, a detailed home inspection might reveal some underlying issues you can insist on resolving before making the payment. This will save you a lot of unnecessary expenses later. 

If you were ever wondering what do home inspectors look for, here are some of the areas they take heed of: 

  • Finding Out about Costs

A property might come with several attractive features, and you perhaps would not mind paying for them at the time of purchase. However, what will it cost you to maintain those features in the long run? Moreover, are those features essential? Do you need a sauna and a Jacuzzi on the property? Is there a canopy over the swimming pool? 

If yes, will you schedule a pool clean-up every other week, and will it be feasible? A home inspection can help you ask pertinent questions about the property on issues you might not have had even noticed before.

  • Safety Features

A home inspection allows you to check all the safety features that are promised in the house. Are all the CCTV cameras working, recording and filing everything properly? Is the electrical circuit flawlessly set up? Is the HVAC free of all issues and does not release any carbon monoxide.

Do all the rooms with fireplaces have adequate ventilation? There are also other safety features that a home inspector will draw your attention to anything out of place.

  • Checking for Damage 

Unless and until a property is brand new and recently constructed, there is always a chance that the house might have undergone some damage over time. A transparent seller will try to fix these issues, but they might have missed it too. A home inspector will check for water damages and structural damages.

Damp patches under the ceiling or wet drywall in the basement can indicate water damage, and the seller should fix them before selling. There could be fungal growth and pest infestation in your home due to the damage as well. The inspector will also check for faulty faucets or clogged drains, as all of these issues could lead to water damage at some point.

Renovating such damages can be costly, and you do not want to deal with the mess or the expenses after moving into a new home. If the seller refuses to comply and repair the damages, you can choose to look for another property.

Now that you know an answer to the question, what do home inspectors look for? You will understand how crucial home inspection is. You will never be able to spot all the major issues with the property unless you have a detailed eye and know what to look for. A home inspector will make the task easier for you and make sure your money is well spent.

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Most Popular Reasons To Install Safety & Security Screens

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A safety screen is designed to fit in your window space. It is made of a fine mesh that allows the air into your home and doesn’t significantly interrupt your view of the world around you. But, the safety screen does block bugs and other pests from entering. These screens can also be used on doors and are often referred to as flyscreen doors or windows.

Security screens take this a step further. They still keep the bugs out of your house. But, instead of being made of mesh, these screens are made with metal and locked into position. This makes them a good deterrent for people trying to break into your home. The average security screen won’t break even if you use a hammer or screwdriver on it.

In short, a safety and security screen will keep your home safer. But, you should also be aware of the following benefits, they are all reasons to install security screens today.

Fire Prevention

Many modern screens are made to withstand the heat of a fire, even bush fires. This means that they will keep the temperature inside your home cooler for longer. The screens will not guarantee that the fire doesn’t burn your house down. But, they will buy you valuable time to get out safely. 

If you live in a bushfire area you need to check your screens are approved for bush fires.

Exit Point

If you have an emergency and need to get out of your home fast you usually head for the door. But, if the door is blocked by a fire or some other issue, then you need to find a window you can get out of. If your house has security bars then you may be out of luck. But, if you have security screens they can be quickly removed and allow you to escape the property.

In fact, in most cases, they have a simple opening mechanism that can be done by any adult. 

Wind Damage

If you have ever sat through a tornado, cyclone, or other storms then you will understand how devastating the wind can be. It will pick things up and throw them at your house. While a window may break, a security screen should be strong enough to withstand that impact, keeping you safe. 

Prevent Falls

Having the windows open in your home is a great way to get air in and still appreciate the view. However, when you have upstairs windows this does increase the risk of children accidentally falling out the window, or intentionally climbing out.

Security screens with child-proof locks prevent your child from being able to climb or fall out of the window, slipping on the roof, and falling, potentially seriously hurting themselves.

Of course, the assumption is that you are using security screens and not just flyscreens which are unlikely to prevent a child from falling out. This is one of those things that most people think will never happen until it does.  

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The Best Upgrades To Increase Home Value

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People will always tell you that property is more than just a home, it is also an investment as it will increase in value over time. In truth, this is correct, over time property prices have always risen, even if there are small dips along the way. However, that doesn’t mean you have to rely on time to increase the value of your home.

If you want it to be worth even more or simply want to increase the value to sell it quicker, there are several ways in which you can increase the value of your home by undertaking simple upgrades.

However, before you start it is a good idea to speak to your local real estate agent or a reputable real estate auctioneer. They will be able to advise you regarding which are the best upgrades to do in your specific locations. While all the following will add value to your home, the area you live in influences which ones are in most demand by people looking to buy. 

Change Your Front Door

This is a simple job as your replacement door should be exactly the same size and shape. But, it is worth doing as the front door is often the first focal point of your home and something that buyers will remember later. 

You should consider installing a modern metal door. These look like traditional doors and can be purchased in a wide array of colors. But, they offer additional security, which is important to many buyers.  A metal door can also reduce your insurance costs which is beneficial to you and any buyer. 

The Basement

Many homes have basements that are simply storage areas, perhaps where the furnace is or the washing facilities. However, this is actually a very easy space to transform, increasing the appeal and the available space in your home. You can create a secondary living space, extra bedrooms, or a games room. The use of the space is less important than finishing it properly. This makes it feel like part of the house and adds a significant amount of value, at surprisingly little cost.

Renovate The Kitchen

Despite advancements in technology and the coming of the digital age, the kitchen remains the heart of the home. This is the most important room in the house and renovating it will increase the value of your home. 

All you have to do is make sure there is a good flow around the kitchen and that all the latest energy-efficient appliances are installed. Add in smart technology and you are onto a winner. 

Open It Up

Another great way to increase the value of your home is to open it up. Most of the internal walls will not be supporting the structure and can be removed. It is advisable to check with a professional first. This will create more light and space in your home which will make it seem larger and more appealing. Both of these are good for the value. 

Landscape

The front yard is the first thing people see and this can entice them into your home or send them packing. Spend a little time tidying, making sure the driveway looks great and your house is appealing.

But, you also need to do the rear yard to ensure any buyer has a good impression of the outside eating and entertaining area.  That adds appeal as well as value to a property.

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How To Maintain Your Garden On A Roll In Summer

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History tells us that most people had maintained huge gardens in their homes in earlier days. They spent a reasonable amount of time sowing seeds and growing plants. Modern houses are generally compact and do not offer much space to have a separate garden. Having small homes does not mean that you deprive your abode of nature as you can incorporate greenery through different means.

People are learning different ways of growing indoor plants to enjoy home-grown food and establish a pleasant environment at home. The idea of growing different types of plants seems convenient and enjoyable for many homeowners. Greenery on borders adds to the house's aesthetic, purifies the air, and positively impacts inhabitants. People are coming up with new ideas of growing some plants indoors or having a garden on a roll as they align with contemporary built homes. Growing a home garden is beneficial, and garden on a roll is a feasible option for modern homes. But maintaining gardens and indoor plants during summer requires some serious efforts.

While there might be numerous reasons for looking forward to summers, the hot weather can be harsh on your garden and might damage it. During winter, the air is mostly cool, and humidity is low. Whereas in summer, the humidity is relatively high, and it affects the growth of plants.   

VPD charts help grow healthier plants indoors and can be a lifesaver for your garden on a roll, even in summer. Suppose you are keen to learn about VPD. In that case, you can explore easily on the internet, and reading it will help maintain your gardens in hot weather. 

VPD

The Vapor-Pressure Deficit, commonly referred to as VPD, is the difference between the moisture in the air and its ability to hold moisture when the air is saturated. The defining factors of VPD are temperature and humidity, and they directly impact the health of plants. In a warmer environment, humidity is high, which means excess water vapors in the air. The unit of pressure kPa kilopascals is also helpful to measure VPD. Although VPD is not a magic wand, developing an understanding of VPD can help you protect and improve your plants' growth.

Importance of VPD

VPD helps you determine the correct range of temperature and humidity for your space. The temperature and humidity in two different areas may not be the same; the VPD would be different as well. VPD enables you to optimize the growth of your plants and fine-tune your grow room in summers. The key is to know that VPD is not the same for every species, and different plants or strains prefer a different VPD. Another benefit of calculating VPD is that it helps you control other environmental problems, CO2 uptake, stomata opening, plants' stress, and nutrient uptake. Besides, VPD is directly relevant to plant transpiration rates. 

VPD Chart

VPD requires you to do some hefty mathematical calculations. If your garden has a different variety of plants, the complexity of calculating VPD would be high. Many people prefer using a VPD chart to save them from doing complex calculations and save valuable time. A search on the internet will display many results and open up an example of a VPD chart, and you can quickly learn how to read them. VPD charts are visual representations of temperature and humidity interaction to have a better environment for your garden on a roll. Usually, these charts display humidity horizontally and temperature vertically. When the chart shows that the VPD is low, the plants will start showing signs of calcium deficiency. VPD chart has been an effective and impressive tool to maximize garden growth in a controlled environment. The secret is learning the reading of the VPD chart as it provides your indoor plants and garden on a roll a healthy environment. 

Reading VPD Charts

The easiest way of reading a VPD chart is to look closely and see where the relative humidity of your garden intersects with the temperature of the grow room. The spot will tell you whether your VPD is ideal or if it falls on either side, high or low. Reading VPD charts helps you identify if you need to increase or decrease relative humidity as per the rise or fall in the temperature. In some cases, you may not be able to get to the target; still, the VPD chart assists in pinpointing a combination that is closer to the target.

Some More Tips to Maintain Garden

  • Keep an Eye on Soil

Proper watering is essential for the healthy growth of the garden. People may get over-excited and overwater the plants, but they need to realize that this harms their garden. Keeping an eye on soil is essential to see if the plants have enough water as the water dries up quickly in the heat.

  • Ensure that Plants are Pest-Free

Opening windows is necessary to give indoor plants sun exposure, but it gives way to pollen, pest, and dust particles. Dust blocks the air and sunlight and limits exposure. Similarly, pests eat up the plants slowly, and that can damage your plants. Keeping plants clean by washing them and wiping them off with a damp cloth ensures that they are pest-free. 

  • Recognize Plant Stress

Leaves turning pale or yellow, having brown patches, or falling off flowers or leaves are signs signifying plants' stress. Recognizing plants' stress helps in reducing the damage. Once you have pinpointed that plants are under pressure, you can make adjustments and provide your garden a stress-free environment. 

  • Reevaluate Sun Exposure

Plants need sun exposure, but scorching heat can be damaging. Plants cannot speak up, and they need you to recheck sun exposure frequently. Moreover, the sun continues to change position, and you must see where the light falls and move the pots accordingly. Garden on a roll usually gets high exposure, which may harm the overall growth. Rechecking sun exposure is crucial for your garden to grow, but it becomes essential in summer. 

Conclusion

Summer seems to be a favorite for many people. Sunshine and long days give you an excuse to gather friends and loved ones or spend time doing a favorite activity. While the season brings many reasons to cherish and enjoy, it can be harmful to your garden on a roll. Plants require care, and in summers, you need to be extra cautious with your garden. Reading a VPD chart and adjusting humidity and temperature in your grow room will help maintain your garden on a roll in hot weather. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image from Benjamin Combs


3 Things Parents Are Looking for in a University for Their Kids

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It goes without saying that parents want their kids to get a top-quality education from their university of choice. Since the parents are footing at least some of the bill, if not all of it, they have a great deal of input into where their kids will spend their university years. 

It also should go without saying that in the vast majority of situations, money is most definitely an object. People are not made of money and university pricing seems to only go up. Everyday, going to university is becoming even more of a luxury. One of the ways that the rich get richer is that they provide higher educational opportunities to people who are already wealthy. It is harder than ever to break into that exclusive club. 

Parents also want to know that their kids will be safe. In many cases, those kids are leaving the comfort and safety of home for the first time in their lives. A campus with a reputation for bad things happening to students is not going to get the seal of approval from parents. Here are a few other things parents are looking for in a university:

Parcel Service

For the first year or so, parents will be sending things to their kids on campus. They want to be sure that the campus survival gear they send will be getting through. That is why they will be looking for campuses that have modern university lockers for parcel delivery. One of the biggest pain points in the modern age where almost everything comes in a box from a delivery person is when and where the handoff will take place. This is a hard problem for home delivery, and a harder problem for university delivery. 

Students are seldom in their rooms. And there is often no front desk to leave packages. If there is a common place, it is usually not supervised. This situation is the recipe for packages walking off with people for whom they weren’t intended. Students will be receiving computers and headphones and those homemade chocolate brownies they love so much. You don’t want anything happening to those brownies. The smart lockers solve this problem for parents, students, and the university. It is a win-win-win for all parties concerned. Parents need to know that their kids and the packages sent to their kids will be safe and sound.

Recycling

We are long past the stage when recycling is just a bumper sticker. It is not a mantra or a battle cry. It is just the way things have to be. If your campus does not offer the most basic necessity of a zero-waste lifestyle, it is automatically disqualified for many students. There is no room for negotiation on this point. When parents visit the campus for the first time with their kids, they will not reward you if they see no recycle bins in equal numbers as garbage cans. By the time teens enter college, they have already been taught environmental values. It is not a matter of being politically liberal or conservative. It is a matter of being a responsible human being. Your campus will not get the seal of approval if it is seen as a hotbed of environmental irresponsibility.

Job Placement

All MBAs are good. But not all are equal. MBAs from the top business schools pay off more than others. That said, not all students will be going for an MBA. Parents are usually supportive of their child’s career choice so long as there is a clear path forward to a reasonable career. What the university needs to be able to show is that they have a history of success when it comes to placing graduates in good jobs after they graduate. Some careers such as computer science often see students placed in high-level jobs before they graduate. Talent is always in high demand. One of the best things a university can show a parent is a successful history of placing graduates in careers.

Universities must appeal to parents as well as students. To get the nod from both, they need to provide reliable package handling, eco-friendly solutions, and a path forward after graduation.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by DL

How to Benefit from Self Storage When Renovating Your Home

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Maybe you’re remodeling your kitchen. Or maybe you’re finishing your basement. Perhaps you’re insulating your home.

Regardless of what type of renovation project you’re taking on, nothing changes the fact that it can be messy, disorganized, and time-consuming.

Of course, since you know you’re getting something in return for all this, you’re willing to deal with the hassles for as long as it takes.

Even so, you shouldn’t assume that there’s nothing you can do to make life easier on yourself. For example, you can rent a self storage unit, as this gives you a place to house any items that are getting in the way.

Here are five of the best ways to benefit from self storage when renovating your home:

  1. More Space to Operate

One of the biggest pitfalls of a renovation is the potential for your home to become overcrowded.

In addition to moving items from one place to the next, you’re also contending with deliveries of new goods and equipment.

Take a kitchen remodel, for example. Where are you going to store your new cabinets? What about the ones that you tear down?

You need as much space as you can get to operate efficiently and effectively. 

  1. Less Chance of an Accident

The worst thing that can happen during a renovation project is an accident that results in a serious injury.

When your home is cluttered, there’s less space to get from point A to point B. Also, there are more hazards, such as debris on the floor that can trip you.

This goes along with the point above about having enough space to operate. If you have any reason to believe that your renovation could result in an accident, it’s time to shut things down and reconsider your approach. Taking a risk with anyone’s health is never a good idea.

  1. Less Chance of Breaking Something

You put a lot of time and money into your renovation, so the last thing you want is to break something. But when your home is cluttered, this is much more likely to happen.

For instance, if you’ve stacked boxes in an attempt to get them out of the way, one bump could cause them all to tumble to the ground. And should that happen, the contents could break.

Rather than do this, you could move all breakables out of your home and into a storage unit. It’s one of the best ways to put your mind at ease during an already stressful time. 

  1. Keep Your Items Clean

Renovation projects have the potential to get messy. If that happens, your home and all the items within it are at risk of becoming dirty.

A good example of this is any project in which drywall work is being completed. As the new drywall is sanded, fine particles will settle throughout your home — even in areas that you thought were completely sealed off.

Unless you want a giant clean-up on your hands after your renovation is complete, you should protect against this by moving important items out of your home. Why take the risk when you don’t have to?

  1. Work at Your Own Pace

When you’re cramped for space, concerned about your household items, and worried that someone will get hurt, it’s safe to say that you want to complete your renovation as quickly as possible.

However, when you begin to rush, you once again increase the risk of an accident.Clearing your home also clears your mind. This gives you the opportunity to work at your own pace, which is important to staying safe and doing the job the right way the first time around.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter if you’re seeking self storage in San Diego or in some other city, there are plenty of options to choose from. When you combine this with the benefits above, it’s easy to see why this industry is growing by leaps and bounds.

Have you ever taken advantage of self storage? Were you happy with the end result? Will you turn to this solution the next time you’re tackling a renovation project or seek an alternative?

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Scott Meyers


Guide: Cross Country Moving Tips

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Moving across the country is a big undertaking, and it can be overwhelming when you're trying to remember everything that needs to be done. This guide will help you make sure you don't miss any important steps in your relocation process. So, follow these easy tips and get ready for an amazing new life!

Lighten the Load As Much As Possible

The first step to a successful cross-country move is packing! You want to lighten the load as much as possible so that you can save on costs at both ends. Pack your heaviest items, such as furniture and appliances, last to ensure they don't get crushed before their time. There are many different options for renting or borrowing boxes depending on where you live – check out any nearby stores and ask about deals available during this busy moving season.

Pack all of your clothes into one box, and then pack them all together in the same place. Label everything! Labels are an essential part of this moving process because many people have their hands full with different things during move time (i.e., putting furniture together).

Hire a Professional Moving Company

Hiring a professional moving company is the best way to guarantee that you'll get everything across the country safely and securely. Surprisingly, hiring movers also lowers the cost of moving across the country and saves a good amount of time. Moving companies are experienced in finding creative solutions for more complicated moves. They can also provide you with packing materials, storage options for your belongings before the move, and more.

Be sure to interview at least three movers before hiring one, and ask about as many specifics as possible to make sure they're a good fit for your needs. Agree on the details of each move before booking--be specific so that there are no surprises later! 

Study up or hire an expert to help with any documents relating to moving across country-you want all bases covered to prevent problems down the line. Insurance is always important when relocating, but it's especially crucial if you'll be doing it cross-country. Make sure coverage includes transportation and storage costs during transit because these will not be included in standard homeowner's insurance policies unless otherwise specified.

Make All Arrangements In Advance

This includes setting up your utilities (internet, gas, and electric), making arrangements with the post office to forward mail, setting up a new doctor if you are moving to another place. Doing this in advance will save time for having to find these things out on that big day which is almost here!

Keep all important documents together - passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, etc. Keep them either scanned or photographed so they can be easily stored on an external hard drive. This way, you have access to those pieces of paper at any point in time without worrying about losing them. Do not neglect pet transportation during move-time; make sure there's someone available who can take care of your pets while you're away.

Pack a Moving Day Essentials Bag

When moving cross country, you must pack a moving essentials bag. This will help you move day when the time comes to pack up and leave your old home for good. What should be included in this bag: Make sure that you have a well-stocked first-aid kit with everything from bandages to antiseptic cream, as well as a pain reliever. You might also want some duct tape or strong packing tape, scissors, and an extra set of house keys (just in case). 

You'll also need a few changes of clothes, including a change for the next day and shoes that are appropriate to wear on your long drive. There's also one last thing you'll need: snacks! Make sure you have some healthy options packed away in your bag so that when it comes time to break up all those boxes and start unpacking at the other end of your journey, you can keep yourself going with something nutritious but not too heavy.

Save Money Wherever You Can

The most important part of moving is to know your budget and plan accordingly. If you've been saving up, you're probably in a better position than someone who hasn't. However, it's still worth considering how much money you have or will be able to spend on records-keeping receipts and other paperwork that can help with the move. It would help if you also took some time before making any decisions about purchasing new items like dishes or furniture to account for all costs in your total spending.

Update Important Documents

If you're moving across the country, it's important to update your vehicle registration and driver's license in your new state before driving there. You may also need a temporary or permanent address for various other accounts like credit cards, cell phone providers, banks, etc. Make sure this is all straightened out ahead of time so that everything will be ready to go as soon as possible when you get to your destination!

Be Aware Of Your Move-In Situation

When you arrive at your destination, it's important to know what the conditions are for moving in. Depending on the housing arrangement, this could include signing an agreement, meeting with your landlord or property manager, and getting keys.

Suppose you're moving into an apartment building, for example. In that case, it's important to find out what services are offered by the Management Company (or individual landlords), such as trash pickup times if there is no waste disposal in the area. It's also very helpful to know how close public transportation is to where you'll be living so that when you need groceries or other necessities, you don't have far to go! Finally, if possible, keep some form of identification on hand during these discussions so they can get a copy of it before sending anyone off without key access. This will make sure everyone is aware of who has permission inside each building.

Conclusion 

If you're moving cross country, it's important to take some time and prepare for the move. These few tips should help make your transition a little easier so that you can focus on what matters most – settling into your new home! Use these tips as a guide when packing up for the big move. And if there is anything else we can do, don't hesitate to reach out to us at any point in the process. We are here to help with all of your needs from start to finish!

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Matthew Jackson


Six Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Ideas

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After some time, our homes always require repairs or a little updating in the most frequently used areas like the kitchen or the den. Maybe your home looks tired and needs a fresh coat of paint to bring it back to life. Or perhaps the flooring looks old and could use a revamp. Whatever the reason for your home remodel, doing these updates and repairs can be exciting, tiresome, and not-so-wallet friendly at the same time.

That said, an eco-friendly home remodel gives you a chance to go green and also save a little cash in the process. Even something as small as placing plants inside your living room can help the environment and make it look aesthetically pleasing. Let us tell you some eco-friendly home improvement ideas that will surely help you go green and save some greens too.

Install a tankless water heater

You probably know what a water heater is. It sits on the farthest corner of your basement or garage and provides your home with hot water the entire year. But did you know that your old-fashioned water heater is constantly wasting energy? If you have a gas heater, it's probably burning up more gas than usual. Au contraire, an electric heater will turn on and off to maintain your desired temperature, and your electricity bill will go through the roof over time.

Furthermore, old water heaters rust internally sometimes and could affect water quality. It would be a wise decision to remove your old water heater and install a new tankless one. These water heaters are extremely energy efficient as they only switch on when you want them to. Plus, contact a water damage advisor to identify any potential problems before the changing process. Old water heaters are notorious for causing trouble.

Install solar panels

Suppose you switch your house's power supply to solar energy. In that case, you could end up saving cash on an extremely humid day while your air conditioner operates like a champ. These days, modern solar panels can turn up to 20 percent of sunshine into usable electricity. They are much efficient and better looking as compared to their old-school variants.

Furthermore, installing solar panels could also give your home's value a bump of around 12,000 dollars when you decide to sell it. And, if you reside in the USA, you will also receive approximately 30 percent of the solar panel installation cost in the form of tax credits.

Properly insulate your walls

Heat won't stay trapped inside your home's wall if it isn't correctly insulated. If you live in a house constructed before 1990, chances are there are gaps and cavities present inside its walls. To trap more heat inside your home, you can fill these gaps and holes with environmentally friendly insulation material. Doing so will be drastically cheaper than performing an insulation job on all external and internal house walls.

Install energy-efficient windows

Energy-efficient windows are the perfect choice for people looking to go green. For instance, you can save a lot on your heating bill if you install triple or double glazed windows. This won't only save you cash but also reduce heat losses. These energy-efficient windows create a barrier that insulates your home and keeps it warm.

Furthermore, it's better to install steel or uPVC windows as you can recycle them later on. If you live inside a vintage house, go for recycled timber instead. As far as the windows' glass goes, choose the low-emissivity kind. It can reduce your cooling and heating bill by around 33 percent.

Install bamboo flooring

Why is bamboo so different from other wood types? It grows faster than actual wood, requires fewer pesticides, is moisture resistant, and highly durable. Plus, you can harvest it without causing damage to its roots, so more can grow back.

By opting for bamboo flooring instead of natural hardwood, you'll be saving countless trees and promoting forest growth, all while enjoying a brand new chic flooring. Just ensure that you have the tools and know-how to install flooring in your house. If you don't, you can always contact a professional.

Buy energy star-rated products and appliances

Most appliances present in your home come in energy-efficient and eco-friendly versions as well. If you want to look after the long-term health of your wallet, consider upgrading your old appliances and products to energy-efficient ones. For instance, you can switch your old tantalum bulbs (it's surprising if you're still using them) for more energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs.

Conclusion

There is a high chance that you won't be making these home improvements yourself. So, find a good contractor who knows about the latest eco-friendly home improvement ideas. These eco-friendly products and solutions usually cost a pretty penny. Still, they will save you a lot of cash on cooling and heating bills in the long haul.

 partnered post • cc-licensed image from Pexels & Pixabay


How to Diagnose and Repair The Garage Door

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Most homeowners don’t pay a lot of attention to their garage doors daily, as long as it’s doing its job properly. But, as momentarily as there’s a sign of trouble, all eyes shift towards its various components. Usually, this might be a good time to call up a repair professional/technician to check and fix your garage door problems. Still, before enlisting a professional’s help, there are specific minor issues one might be able to fix on their own. Following are some common garage door problems and their repair solutions that any average joe can easily do!

Remote/Keypad Not Working

You have a range of possible solutions if your opener isn’t responding to the external keypad or remote control. Perhaps the antenna in the garage is too far out of range. In that case, try moving a little closer. Consider your garage door opener as a radio with a 315mH operational range. Therefore, they can get disrupted even with 1-2 feet of extra distance. 

Also, check the motor unit’s antenna for any signs of damage and ensure it’s hung in a downward position.

Check if the wall switch can work the door. If so, then the mounted keypad or remote control requires new batteries.

Given their sensitivity, sometimes the remote control or keypad components might experience programming issues that require a reset. Try reprogramming your door opener. Different garage door openers might have differing reprogramming methods. That’s why it’s better to check the details for your specific opener first, whether on the instruction manual or online. If the process gets too overwhelming, you can always hire experienced professionals to install a new one. Suppose you are residing near southwestern Utah. In that case, you can hire someone skilled for Garage Door Installation St George UT. It will ease some burden off your shoulders.

Faulty Cables

Broken cables are another common issue concerning garage doors. The underlying reasons can range from extra pressure caused by broken springs to regular wear and tear. If you notice slight sagging or heaviness on either side of the door, know there’s a broken cable.

The garage door will also be angled downwards and leaning more on one side if that happens. Additionally, the door might not stay in one place if all the cables have come loose. Be careful when that happens, as it might come down when you try to lift it. It’s better to deal with faulty cables at the earliest as they pose severe safety hazards.

Door Doesn’t Close Completely 

Is your garage door opening fine but doesn’t close all the way? One of the following causes might be the culprit behind this issue.

Firstly, check if you need to adjust your set-limit switch. Garage doors consist of close-limit switches that facilitate starting and stopping of the motor as the door opens/closes. When set incorrectly, this switch can prevent the door from closing. Plus, it can lead to the opener reversing when you’re trying to close the door. Depending on the type of door, there can be various approaches for adjusting the set-limit switches. Still, most doors feature a screw on the motor unit that can easily adjust to control the speed of the door’s descent.

Secondly, you may need to realign or adjust the sensors. On both sides, right at the bottom of the door track, are electronic sensors that require a clear line of sight between them. The door will close smoothly without any trouble, given the sight path between the sensors is crystal clear. But, if something is blocking the sensors’ line of view, it can prevent your door from closing down. Besides the eyes, your door can also malfunction if the brackets holding the electronic eyes are misaligned. Fortunately, in such scenarios, the door itself reverses or halts, flashing its lights to indicate a problem. 

So, check and remove any hindrances that may be blocking the sight path between the sensors, such as leaves, dirt, and debris. However, suppose this issue is a frequent occurrence. In that case, the sensor brackets might get loosened from vibrations coming from the door tracks and need realigning. 

Door Closes But Immediately Reopens

This problem’s diagnosis is quite simple; you have to adjust your garage door opener. Most automatic garage door openers have settings for controlling the open and close functions. And occasionally, they might require adjustments, owing to daily usage and wear and tear.

The limit settings can dictate how far the moves to be fully closed or opened. Suppose these settings are off. In such cases, when the door reaches the floor, the opener’s sensors will signal this as hitting an object/person rather than the ground. Hence, the door will reopen.

Door Does Not Open All The Way

Periodically, the garage door may ascend correctly but won’t open entirely. Following causes might be the culprits behind such issues.

You need to move the up-limit switch closer to your door’s motor unit. An up-limit switch is a touch lever perched on the hinges near the motor unit. When it sits too far away, the motor will limit the door from opening fully. What’s the solution? Simply move this switch a little closer to the motor unit. This issue rarely occurs. But when it does, it’s usually after a new door opener installation. 

What’s more, damaged or sticky rollers can also stop the garage door short from fully opening. Check your rollers for any damage, dust-up, lubricate, or replace if they’re too damaged.

Jammed Rollers

If you find that the rollers on your garage door’s sides are sticking and sliding instead of spinning and turning, as they should, you’re in trouble. Why? This problem can lead to the door coming entirely off its hinges. Plus, jammed rollers can cause unnecessary noise during the opening and closing of the door.

It’s better to leave the door as is if it comes off of its tracks during opening or closing. Any attempts to change the open or closed position could potentially cause the springs and cables to break. And if noisiness is the only issue, try cleaning the tracks or replacing the rollers if possible. More often than not, humidity and lack of lubrication are the leading causes behind stuck rollers.

Wrapping It Up

A broken garage door can result from multiple reasons that each has unique repair solutions. This article provided a handy guide for easy diagnosis and repair of some common garage door problems. Some of these issues include unresponsive door openers, doors not closing or opening, and broken cables. Though this guide can be beneficial in assisting homeowners in solving common garage door malfunctions, it’s good to contact the experts to handle more complex issues.

partnered post • image by Free-Photos from Pixabay


Things to Consider Before Your Move to a New State

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Picking your current life up and putting your roots down in a totally new state is an event of significance. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a job, because there’s a shift in your family situation, or just because you’re beginning to feel the itch to gain some new experiences in a different part of the country, moving is a big deal.

Before embarking on your journey, there are a few things that must be considered in order to understand the process completely. Here’s a quick look at a few of them. 

Neighborhood Safety

Get to know your neighborhood. Try out the tools to help prevent racial profiling on Nextdoor. This site is also a great way to get to meet your new neighbors and blend into the community a bit easier. Moving to a new state can be lonely if you don’t know anyone where you’re going. Nextdoor can help alleviate that a bit.

Movers

Budgets are important. If you stick to a budget, you’ll definitely want tips on how to move on a budget. It may be easier to use movers for the big move, but it is economical? That’s simple to determine. Get estimates from at least 3 different movers. Then figure out the cost for you to rent a truck, get insurance for the truck, and for the fuel you’ll use on the move. Compare the two. The result may just surprise you. 

Jobs

Your ability to make a living is critical, and when you move to another state, you’ll need to have the confidence that only a secure career can give you. For this, you need to know how to get a job in another state. Depending on where, exactly, you’re moving, the position you currently hold might be obsolete in the new place. Begin searching for a job a few months before the move so you’ll have a good idea of the abundance of your skillset and specialty in your chosen area. Figure out if the area in question may be a hub for your area of expertise or if another state would be a better idea.

Cost of Living

Your salary will more than likely change when you move out of state and take a different position, however, the expenses you encounter can also be different. The cost of living, or the price of housing, utilities, and groceries, can be unique to each city and state across the country. Even the worth of the almighty dollar can fluctuate as it crosses state lines. Be sure to take a look at the cost of living in your destination state before the move.

Housing

When you aren’t in an area, determining a high-quality, affordable place to live can be a bit difficult. As you make the transition to a living space that’s probably hundreds of miles away, you’ll need to keep an eye on the housing market in order to get a sense of the average costs for rent or prices for houses. To locate your best options, you may also want to consult a real estate agent.

Prepare

When you’re getting ready to make the move from one state to another, you’ll have to rearrange quite a few areas in your life. In order to make the process one that’s a bit easier, you should always do thorough research so that you can come up with a plan before the move. Evaluate each of the steps you need to take so that you’ll be able to confidently approach this particular new stage in your existence.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Andreas Torhaug


Best Ways to Increase Energy Efficiency in 2021

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Energy efficiency in your home is very important and should not be overlooked in 2021. Energy efficiency not only affects your home’s bills, but also its carbon footprint. So, making sure that you make your home is as energy efficient as it can be is vital for 2021. Reading through this article will give you 5 steps towards making this happen!

Replace your old boiler

To start with, you will want to look at replacing your old boiler. If you have a boiler that is older than 15 years, it could have an energy efficiency rating as low as 60%. Meaning that you are losing 40% of all energy that is generated. Modern boilers however are rated at around 90%+ efficiency, meaning at most only 10% of the energy generated will be lost. This is why replacing your old boiler should be the first step.

Choosing your replacement

When it comes to choosing a replacement boiler, it is all about what type of boiler you choose. Make sure that you are choosing the same type of boiler that you currently have. This way your home has enough space to support your new boiler and it will produce enough heat and hot water to support your home.

Make sure that you set yourself a budget and look at a number of different boilers brands and see what each of them has to offer. You will also want to take the warranty into account and see what each company’s warranty can offer you.

Installation

When it comes to choosing an installer for your boiler replacement, you will want to make sure you are using a gas safe registered engineer. It is illegal to use a non-gas safe registered heating engineer and it will also breach your warranty.

Switch to LED bulbs

The next item on your list should be switching out your old incandescent bulbs to LEDs. LED bulbs are energy efficient due to the low amount of wattage that they need to power them. They can produce 1,600 lumens, which is the standard brightness of a bulb, using only 20 watts. It takes an incandescent bulb 5x the amount of energy to produce the same light level. LED bulbs also last 20x longer than an incandescent bulb. So, while they cost more, you will be getting a lot more life out of them.

Replace old kitchen appliances

Replacing your old kitchen appliances is next up on your list. The appliances in your kitchen, other than your TV and computer, will be the ones that are running most. A washing machine will run around 270 washes a year, if not more with a larger family. So, making sure that you are replacing an old machine with a new higher efficiency model is important.

When you are replacing the white goods in your kitchen, try to go for the highest energy efficiency rating of A+++. This way you will be getting an appliance that used the least kWh. While this can be expensive it is worth it in the long run.

Draught proof your home

Draught proofing your home is the process of making sure that gaps around your home, doors and windows especially, are sealed so cold air cannot get in. It should take you anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete this depending on how large your home is and if you have done any draught-proofing before.

Windows

You will want to start by draught-proofing your windows. This is a simple process and only requires some self-adhesive foam strips. You will then want to open your windows and attach these strips to your window frame so that they are covering the gap between your window and the frame. This way there is no room for cold air to enter your home and hot air to escape.

Doors

When it comes to draught-proofing your front and back doors, there are a few more options than adding self-adhesive strips. These are:

  • Door brush: You can attach a brush to the bottom of your door that will cover the space between your door and the floor. This way cold air is blocked out.
  • Letterbox brush: You can also add a brush to your letterbox that will stop draughts.
  • Adhesive strips: If you have any space around the edge of your door frame and your door, you can use adhesive strips as you did for your windows. However, make sure that your door can still shut properly after they have been applied.

If you find yourself struggling with draught-proofing, there are a range of in-depth tutorials online that you can follow.

Insulate your loft and walls

Finally, insulating your loft and walls. If you do not have your loft and roof insulated, you could be losing lots of the heat that you are generating for your home. So, making sure that these areas are insulated is vital.

Loft

Up to 25% of all heat that you generate can be lost through an uninsulated loft. You will first want to check if your loft is insulated. To do this you will want to get into your loft with a tape measure and see how thick your insulation is. This is the recommended thickness for each type of loft insulation: 

  • Glass wool - 270mm (27cm)
  • Rock wool - 250mm (25cm)
  • Cellulose - 220mm (22cm)

If you find that you have no insulation up there or what you have is not that thickness, it is time to add some more. There are people that you can hire to do this for you if you do not feel confident enough to do it yourself.

Walls

Up to 35% of all heat that you generate can be lost through uninsulated walls. Unlike with your loft, you cannot tell how insulated your walls are yourself. You will need to hire a registered installer to check this for you. The installer will drill a small hole in your wall and then use a borescope to see if your walls are insulated or not.

If he finds that your walls are not insulated, then you can hire the same installer to insulate the walls for you. While this will cost a fair bit of money you will see a return on this investment in a few years!

Those are 5 ways that you can begin to increase your energy efficiency in 2021. This is only the beginning of what you can do. So, make sure that you carry on!

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Joel


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 or even outdoors on a balcony and leave them to grow.

 

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 knockout rose 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.

You can contact highly-rated operators at Reliant Energy Houston to help you figure out what is causing the bill to increase so you can stop spending more than needed on your electricity bill.

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.

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Five Invaluable Tips for Domestic Relocation

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

utilize services

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

save time by starting earlier

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

get rid of junk

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

pack wisely

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

work safely

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

conclusion

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

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by cottonbro


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

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

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

How water heaters work

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

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

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

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Tankless hot water heaters

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

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

The pros are compelling though:

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

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

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

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

No hot water

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

Not enough hot water

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

Temperature problems

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

Dirty water

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

Low water pressure

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

Leaks

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

Temperature

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

How to extend the lifespan of your water heater

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

Maintenance flush

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

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

Anode rod

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

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

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

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

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

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Discover The Differences Between Smoke Curtains & Fire Curtains

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

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

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

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

Smoke Curtains

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

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

That’s the reason you have smoke alarms.

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

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

Fire Curtains

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

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

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

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Andrew Magill


Tips to Move on Budget

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

Decluttering

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

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

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

Look for packing materials on the cheap

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

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

Running the numbers on professional movers

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

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

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

Check your calendar

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

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

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

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Janet Tarbox


Dreaming of Unusual Houses

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

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

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

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

Enter the Mushroom House – Pittsford, New York

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

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

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

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

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Daniel Penfield


Everything You Should Know About Shower Doors Before Buying

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

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

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

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

Important Reasons To Add A Shower Door

Privacy

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

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

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

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

What Makes Choosing A Shower Door More Attractive?

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

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

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

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

Frosted

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

What Luxury Design Options are Available?

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

Sliding

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

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

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

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

    Screen fixed

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

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

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

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Is It Safe to Power Wash Composite Decking?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Routine cleaning of composite decking

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

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

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

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

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Olger Fallas


5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home Décor

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

Address the walls

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

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

Increase open spaces

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

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

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

Modern floors

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

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

Out with the old, in with the new

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

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

Reduce, reuse, upcycle

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

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

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jeremy Levine


5 Benefits of Composite Decking

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The popularity of composite decking has grown exponentially over the past decade or so. Composite deck boards—once considered inferior to traditional hardwood decking—can now be found in gardens of all shapes and sizes, all over the country.

The main difference between composite and hardwood decking is that the latter is made of solid wood, whereas composite decking combines real wood fibres with synthetic materials. This type of product is also known as wood-plastic composite (WPC) decking.

If you’re thinking of building a deck in your back garden, here are 5 reasons to choose composite decking over hardwood decking materials…

1. LESS MAINTENANCE REQUIRED

The most oft-trumpeted benefit of composite decking is how little maintenance it requires. Traditional wooden decks typically need to be treated every year or so, whereas a good-quality composite deck will only need an occasional clean.

2. NO SPLINTERS

Composite decking is less susceptible to cracking and splintering than its solid wood counterpart. This means that composite decks are safer to walk on barefoot, and if you have children, they’re less likely to suffer a splinter when playing outdoors.

3. MORE RESISTANT TO ROT

Composite deck boards generally do a lot better than wooden boards when it comes to resisting rot, mould and mildew. If these are big concerns for you, WPC decking may help to put your mind at ease.

4. DRIES QUICKER

When it rains, wooden decking absorbs quite a lot of water, and as a result, the boards take a while to dry. Composite deck boards are less absorbent, so they dry more quickly, reducing the risk of algae growth.

5. MORE COLOURS TO CHOOSE FROM

If you’re not a big fan of the natural wood look, you’ll be pleased to learn that composite decking comes in a variety of different colours, including contemporary greys and blacks that are perfect for more modern outdoor spaces.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Robert Henderson


What’s the Difference Between Garden Rooms & Conservatories?

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There are many different structures that you can build in your garden, adjoining your home. Each one has its own name, but these words are often used interchangeably; for example, a conservatory, a sunroom and an orangery may all look exactly the same in your mind’s eye.

So is there any real difference between a conservatory and, say, a garden room? A lot of people have been adding ‘garden rooms’ to their properties lately — even more so since the coronavirus pandemic started forcing us to spend a lot more time at home — but is this just a trendy new name for a conservatory? Or does it mean something else?

Naturally, you’ll get different answers from different people, but the general consensus is that garden rooms aren’t the same thing as conservatories. Here are some of the key differences that you should consider before deciding which to add to your house:

Conservatories and garden rooms are constructed differently.

Most conservatories have a brick base. The windows and roof are made of glass or polycarbonate.

A garden room is simpler and more modern in its construction: there is no brick base, just glass from top to bottom. The garden room’s frame is usually made of high-strength aluminium.

This means that, of the two…

Conservatories take longer to build.

Garden rooms are quicker and easier to construct than conservatories. An experienced installer can often finish a new garden room in just a few days.

A traditional conservatory, on the other hand, commonly requires several weeks of labour.

You should also take into account that…

Garden rooms usually don’t require planning permission.

This isn’t universally true — a garden room may require planning permission if it is especially large or if the property is in a conservation area or holds listed status.

However, approximately nine times out of ten, a garden room can be constructed without applying for planning permission. There are some circumstances in which a conservatory may not require planning permission either, but this is less common.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jack Wright


Tackle Your Home Repair Tasks Before Moving In

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Moving to a new home can be a fascinating notion. We are sure you have many ideas in mind on how to organize and decorate it. However, before you start moving and placing the furniture, you must check if you need to make some repair arrangements. Try to ensure that everything is safe and works properly. Otherwise, you may start living in it with everything ready and instantly face repair works to do. 

Some of the tasks of relocation require professional hands. For instance, the most populated states in the USA witness moving trucks every day. Plumbers, roof maintenance specialists, lock makers, and other experts tend to create a mess-free moving experience. We will show you the most typical and essential home repairs to carry out before changing your home.

RENEW THE LOCK SYSTEM

We can never know how many people have a copy of the keys to the house where we will live. When a home gets listed for sale, the real estate agent, the maintenance and cleaning workers, or even a neighbor could also have a key. In this case, it is best to change the lock. If the house has an alarm system, we recommend changing the code.

CHECK FOR MOISTURE SPOTS

If you find yellow circles on a plaster wall, you must fix them before moving in. Any type of repair will always be easier to do if there is no clutter in your new living space.

FIND THE SHUTOFF VALVES 

You have packed the boxes, called in NYC Movers to relocate the belongings, but you discover that the plumbing installation in your new home has a fault. When you opened a tap, a leak got encountered. Therefore, it is essential to know where the stopcock is to close it immediately. It will save you hours of work and prevent flooding in your new house. If you can't find it for whatever reason, call a plumber so they can help you.

LOCATE THE LIGHTBOX

If there is an electrical installation, you must turn off the running lightbox. Put labels on the switches to determine which one is the general and which ones are the rest.

CLEAN CARPETS THOROUGHLY

You may get a furnished house with rugs or carpeting. Even if the previous owners did not have pets, it is worth hiring a professional capable of deep cleaning with steam machines. Only then will you make sure you kill germs and dust mites. You never know when they cleaned your rugs, so take advantage of it when the house is empty.

CHANGE THE FILTERS OF THE HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS

An old and dirty filter can cause severe damage to the air conditioner due to overheating. A completely new system can cost between $800 to $1200. Also, it is good to have a review every six months to avoid further damage.

TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PAINT THE WALLS OF YOUR HOME

Painting the house before the move will avoid all the hassle of removing and safeguarding furniture and others. It will also give you time to ventilate it before living in it. You will have the opportunity to do some tests and see if you like the result without having to paint in a hurry.

Another exciting option can be that of wallpaper: it is easy to put on. It will change the look of the room entirely.

INSTALL STORAGE SYSTEMS

Moving is when we discover the number of things that accumulated over the years. It would not hurt if you installed drawers, shelves, and hanging bars before moving. It will enable you to unpack and organize all the things from the first moment.

Whether you are moving in following a purchase or a rental, we strongly advise you to carry out your repair work in advance! Because yes, we often tend to postpone small finishing work until the next day. If you want to move in peacefully, it's in your interest to change the floor covering and paint before putting your furniture. You will appreciate and admire the whole idea of moving in. It will also be a financial investment that you will no longer have to pay afterward! Likewise, it is better to thoroughly clean the place before entering them (interior of cupboards, kitchen worktop, taps, etc.). It will allow you to enjoy your new home instantly. Even if the boxes collect a little dust, you will have to sweep or vacuum to settle in!

CONCLUSION

That's it! You'll finish unpacking the boxes and gradually settle into your new home. With everything in place, you can already enjoy your home sweet home. Between the boxes, the paperwork, the daily newspaper, the excitement, and anxieties, you often forget about the repairs. To help you in this crucial step, we prepared this list of repairs for a seamless move.

partnered post • image by Michal Jarmoluk


Why Your Attic Is So Hot & What You Can Do About It

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Ever wondered why your attic can get so much hotter than the rest of your house? The ever changing climate has allowed for temperatures in many places to spike up to 100° F, and your home, most especially your attic, cannot be spared from this. But fret not, because with the right materials, cooling down your attic only takes a little handiwork.

In properly designed attics, ideally, air would freely flow from inside to outside of the house, allowing the room to cool down and achieve a temperature that’s close to the outside environment. So when it’s cold outside, you’d expect your attic to also be cold. But because of the lack of insulation, your attic builds up heat more easily than the rest of your house because it directly receives heat from the sun. Your attic gains heat at a rate that’s much faster than it can allow hot air to escape. This is one of the major reasons your attic can feel so hot. Read on to know more about why your attic is hot and what you can do to cool it down.

Poor Insulation

Poor insulation is one of the most common culprits for excessively hot temperatures inside the house. If your attic is unbearably hot and feels dry, then you might want to check your existing insulation. Is it still doing its job or do you already need to replace it?

The R-value of an insulation represents its ability to resist the conductive flow of heat. If you’re looking to improve the insulation in your attic, the US Department of Energy actually recommends an R30 insulation or better in Zones 1 to 3 where it can be really hot especially during summer. Installing the appropriate insulation with an adequate R-value will significantly improve the temperature of your attic.

Fiberglass or mineral wool batt insulation is one of the most common insulation solutions used in attics. It has two main types – faced and unfaced, and they only differ in that faced insulation has the ability to control the movement of moisture into your living space. If you’re installing faced insulation on your roof, remember that the paper or plastic facing must face downward toward the heated attic space. If the facing is positioned upward instead, your batt insulation will be a potential reservoir for moisture, which can damage your roof or walls in the long run.

Insulation products with radiant barriers, on the other hand, are made of materials that reflect direct radiant heat from the sun instead of letting it through. These insulation solutions are especially useful during summer, as they help reduce heat gain from sunlight and improve the overall comfort of your attic.

Poor Ventilation

Another problem that might be causing your attic to build up heat is poor ventilation. While many people would not consider attics to be a living space, it’s still important to keep it well-ventilated to prevent the heat from getting trapped in your house. This includes ensuring a good and constant airflow in and out of the attic.

There are a number of ways by which you can provide better ventilation for your attic. Windows are a great option. Not only do they keep your attic cool, but they can also level up the look of your space and provide natural lighting. Your windows should be large enough to bring in enough air.

Another good add-on to enhance your attic ventilation would be vents. There are many varieties of vents that can help keep your attic cool, one of which is called exhaust vents. These are vents that are typically attached on the rooftop and come in three different models: ridge, static, and powered exhaust vents. They help remove excess heat (and even moisture) from your attic to make the air inside it cooler and more breathable.

Another kind of vent is the intake vent, also called the soffit vent, which is usually placed at the underside of the roof of your attic and is covered with a metal screen. These vents are designed to push out hot air trapped inside your attic as well as pull in cool air from outside. Most intake vents are small, which is why they are commonly missed during cleaning and maintenance. As a consequence, they can accumulate dust overtime, which impacts their performance. If you’re looking to add intake vents to your attic, make sure their size is proportionate to the size of your attic. This way, intake vents can greatly enhance the ventilation and breathability of your space.

Mechanical fans can also help improve passive ventilation in your attic. These fans are usually used to exhaust hot air out of rooms and exchange it with cool, outside air. If you’re planning to add mechanical fans in your attic, it’s important to remember to also have adequate incoming air vents around your roof to avoid creating negative pressure inside the attic. If this happens, the conditioned air will only just flow back out of your room.

Hot attics are one of the most common problems experienced by homeowners. There are several reasons as to why temperatures inside attics can reach scorching hot levels, but the main culprits are usually poor insulation and poor ventilation. If you’re looking to improve the level of comfort within your attic,  consider improving on these two important aspects of home design.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Lynn Friedman


How important is a comprehensive pipeline inspection?

Pipes

There are hundreds of thousands of miles of pipes laid across the country. They carry water, gas, oil, and a variety of other substances between homes and businesses. 

These pipes live in harsh conditions. Even if they are buried in the ground they are subject to temperature changes, exterior pressure, and chemical contaminants. Any leak or even a crack in these pipes can cause a major disaster. Depending on what the pipe is carrying it can deprive homes of essential utilities for days. Or, it can result in a chemical spill that is hazardous to people and the environment.

This is why the pipes need to be comprehensively inspected on a regular basis. Unfortunately, when the pipes are in constant use this can be difficult. Fortunately, dye penetrant testing can be used to inspect the pipes without disrupting or interfering with their use.

Magnetic dye penetrant inspection involves using wet magnetic particles. These flow over the pipe with the aid of a magnetic. At the same time, a UV light is used to inspect the pipe, highlighting cracks, chips, and other potential surface issues.

These readings can be used to determine if there is a break in the pipe or likely to be one soon.

Unfortunately, sometimes a sewer pipe is so badly damaged that no trenchless sewer repair is available. Pipes that are back-pitched, meaning the original contractors failed to use the right slope for your sewer line to your city connection, cannot also be fixed using trenchless methods. If this is the case, you will need to think of using conventional sewer repair methods.

The Importance of Comprehensive Testing

Visually inspecting pipes has its place but this in-depth testing technique is important. The key benefit is the early observation of potential issues. These can be flagged to be monitored closely or they can lead to repairs being conducted before the issue becomes an actual problem.

When you’re dealing with hazardous items, such as oil, a spill can have seriously detrimental effects on the surrounding environment. Undertaking these comprehensive inspections doesn’t just tell the world you’re doing your bit to protect the environment, it allows you to actually protect the environment.

These inspections can also highlight the overall condition of your pipework. While small areas can be defective for a number of reasons if you notice issues in many sections of the pipework you’ll need to investigate further.

It can be that the pipes are simply old and need to be replaced. But, there are other factors that can influence the pipe deterioration rate. You need to be aware of what these are and how they may affect all your pipework. 

The good news is that a dedicated team of people can conduct a comprehensive inspection for you, without disrupting your daily operations. 

One of the most common pipe issues isn’t sinister, it is simply nature. Water, oxygen, and metal pipes mix to create rust. When the rust builds up enough a hole, or crack will form in the pipe. Magnetic dye penetrant testing can spot these issues before they are visible to the human eye. This allows you to protect your existing pipes without the need to replace them.

That’s not just good for the environment, it's beneficial for your bottom line. As a business that is just as important as complying with regulations and saving the environment.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Sten Dueland