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Learn How To Enhance The Efficiency And Durability Of Your Home

Adopting energy-saving measures can go a long way in decreasing your energy bills, making your home healthier and more comfortable, as well as increasing its energy efficiency and durability. It doesnt matter whether youre building a new or renovating an existing one. Below are some important energy saving tips every homeowner should put into practice.

Seal and Insulate

Windows, ceilings, doors, outer walls, floors, as well as hidden cracks and gaps may let excess air in and out of a home, making your heating and cooling systems to work extra hard. So, proper air sealing and insulation is needed to enhance your homes comfort and energy efficiency,

Its also worth noting that around 20% of the air moving via the ducts of your heating and cooling system is lost due to poorly sealed connections and leaks. This can make your indoor environment very uncomfortable, and lead to increased energy bills. So, be sure to seal any leaks in the duct system, if you want your best performance from your heating and cooling systems. You can also save a significant amount of energy by insulating the ducts in the unconditioned spaces like attics, crawl spaces (more about crawl space insulation) and garages that get particularly hotter or colder during summer and winter.

Switch To ENERGY STAR Products

Nearly a half of the energy use in your home comes from products that you plug into the walls. Replacing your normal household electrical appliances with energy efficient ones, can greatly increase your homes energy efficiency and durability. Be sure to buy products that have the ENERGY STAR label on them. And of course not everyone can afford to replace their old household product with new ENERGY STAR products at once, so feel free to do so gradually.

To get the best performance from energy-efficient products and equipment, make sure they are installed properly. Why? Because improper installation can decrease a products inefficiency by up to 30%, shortening its life and costing you more on utility bills.

Take Advantage of Natural Ventilation

Another simple way to increase energy efficiency and durability in your home is by taking advantage of natural ventilation. Doors, windows and skylights bring in lots of fresh air and natural light, which brightens up and cools your home. This eliminates the need of using artificial lighting and cooling systems during the day. The more natural light you have in your home, the less youll have to depend on energy to run your light fixtures. Daylighting also helps to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home. Note that there are times when it can become too hot and humid that natural ventilation alone will not be effective. In such cases, an air conditioner, or a fan may be necessary.

Use Water Heating Systems That Are Energy-Efficient

Water heating is among the largest energy spenders in your home. But you dont have to continue incurring high water heating bills every month. So what are some of the things you can do to cut back those high bills? Choose energy-efficient water heaters for your pool and home i.e. solar water heaters, or tankless heat pump. In addition, you should also consider insulation your old water pipes and water heaters.

Make your home energy efficient, and create a healthy a comfortable living environment for your family, besides saving money on energy bills.

Frozen Pipes

Every year when the winter weather comes around you can be sure that it is going to be a headache for someone. Storms can cause power outages, ice can make the roads unsafe, and the freezing temperatures can be plain uncomfortable. Now if you live in an area that has harsh winters, then you more than likely had an experience with some sort of plumbing problem that has everything to do with the cold. Frozen pipes are a major problem that can lead to much larger plumbing issues.

Frozen pipes are caused by temperatures that drop below freezing. This causes temperatures in the pipe to become extremely cold and when the water starts to freeze inside the pipes, it isnt long before the pipes themselves also freeze. This could be happening while you are sleeping or away from home. You will know that the pipes are frozen because you will have no water coming out of your pipes. Defrosting your pipes may sound like an easy job but you have a lot at stake when you are using an open flame on a pipe. The open flame will be too hot and concentrated on one spot.

The pipes might start to defrost and it will also start to expand, which will cause cracking which will lead to your pipe bursting. Another way to defrost your pipes is to turn off the main water valve in order to leave the faucets open. Turn the water back on, have someone in the house turning the faucets on slowly. Dont try and defrost your pipes because if you dont know how to do this properly you are going to create a bigger problem plus youll need an emergency plumber to come out.

If you want to try and defrost your pipes by yourself and properly, it is a good idea to think about using hot water or a hair dryer. These options will not cause any undue stress on the pipes and they will slowly thaw out the frozen pipes. Even though you are doing everything right, sometimes, pipes have already cracked just from the freezing causing expansion in the pipe. If you notice a crack, please call a plumber to assist you because this usually requires a pipe replacement.

If you put installation around your pipes, this can be a way to avoid having to call a plumber at all. Installation can wrap around your pipes to ensure that they dont feel the harsh effects of the winter air. It is a good idea to have a plan in the event that your pipes are ever frozen and a better idea to always seek preventive measures when it comes to your plumbing.

Before this happens to you here are a few preventive measures than can be helpful:

Locate and identify your shut off water valves. Everyone should know where the main water valve is located.

Identify any pipes that are on the outside walls, ceilings, crawl spaces and attics because these places can be potential problems.

Seal all gaps around the house where cold air can come in and get in contact with the pipes.

Seek installation for any outside pipe.

Suitable Screens For Bi Fold Doors

Bi fold doors have become a favourite among many homeowners across Australia because of their clean, uncluttered appearance and streamlined nature.

Whether opened or closed, bi fold doors are a modern alternative and fitting these doors with screens to keep unwanted guests out, is a breeze.

In Australia, our sunny, warm climate most of the year is good for sports and outdoor fun, but unfortunately we aren’t the only ones loving the weather, it’s also favoured by mosquitoes, flies and other insects.

In summer the problem of insects only gets worse and can put a real damper on the fun, especially when they invade the home.

These pests are not only a nuisance but a risk to your family’s health and safety. Some insects such as mosquitoes are renowned for carrying dangerous diseases and contaminating open food.

In our part of the world, especially in summer, towards the evening harmful insects do come out. Ticks and mosquitoes are 2 of the worst, carrying harmful diseases like Lyme Disease. Screens are the most efficient way of ensuring these dangerous insects don’t make your home their nesting ground.

If you have a patio area that you love to make use of but are deterred by the number of insects, then having the opening between the indoors and outdoors screened is the solution. It’s also an excellent way to ensure your space is naturally ventilated.

Now retractable screens suitable for Bi Fold Doors are the best option available for people who want to enjoy their space, without interfering with the existing doors too much. This option looks good, is effective and easy to use for the whole family, including children and people in wheelchairs.

Intelliscreens are a modern and effective solution for the discerning homeowner that wants to maintain the aesthetic of their home, increase the use and enjoyment of their space and keep insects out. It is also an excellent solution for those looking for clear views of their gardens and outdoor area.

The professionally fitted screens won’t interfere with your bi fold doors but fit in seamlessly with them. There aren’t any unsightly poles or pillars connected to the screens, so whether your door is large or small, screens are modified to fit perfectly.

Retractable screens have become popular in recent years because they are sleeker and more stylish, fitting any house’s design or opening size. They also come in a number of different finishes to suit homeowners’ style.

SlimLine Panorama Screen from IntelliScreens on Vimeo.

Carpet Warranty Tips

No matter if your carpet is soft, fine, or intricately woven, the fabric is rarely treated in the proper way. Between paws that are dirty, frequent foot traffic, and an occasional spill, your carpet is always under constant attack. Thankfully, most carpet manufacturers issue warranties that protect anywhere from a few years to a lifetime. In order for the warranty to stay in good standing the owner has some responsibilities. A warranty can be a costly portion of the total amount thats invested in your carpet and because of that we are giving you tips to make your warranty stay valid.

What Is Covered In Warranties?

What is covered in your warranty usually depends on the manufacturer, the carpets quality, and the warranties level, a carpets warranty can cover a manufacturers defects, soil and stain resistance, texture, tension, fade resistance and anti-static. There are several warranties, so it is important that you read the warranty instructions and guidelines. It is necessary to always go over the following list of questions with your carpet distributer before you make a purchase.

Preventive Care

What are the types of preventive maintenances, such as vacuuming, doormat use and am I responsible for performing?

What carpet padding should I use?

Will the amount of foot traffic on my carpet affect the level of coverage for texture retention and stain resistance?

Spills and Stains

What products and methods are recommended for spot treatments between my usual professional cleanings?

Will an inspection need to be arranged?

Are there any stain types that arent covered in my warranty?

How often should my carpet be cleaned by a professional and what is the best method for my carpet?

Filing A Claim

What will be needed for me to file a claim?

Will there need to be an inspection?

If it is established that my carpet needs to be repaired or replaced will the cost of installation be covered?

Is there a sliding scale to cover the replacement value of the carpet?

Installation

Some carpets manufacturers want for their carpets to be put in according to The Carpet and Rug

Institutes guidelines and a professional would be the only person likely to have this information. If these directions are not followed you could be voiding your warranty.

Professional Cleaning

As a warranty condition most carpet manufacturers require that you get your carpet professionally cleaned routinely.

I hope this list of carpet warranty suggestions and information helps you with your carpet.

Preparation Steps For Effective Orange County Pest Control

Let's say you have spotted rodents walking around and now have to find a way to remove them. You will eventually call in a pest control service to do the job, and that is a standard option. You also have to realize preparation is key before the team comes in.

What are you doing to prepare the house for the inspection that will take place? Are you doing enough or are you just waiting for them to come? You should prepare a bit and here is what you can do when it comes to Orange County pest control.

#PreparationStepsForEffectiveOrangeCountyPestControl

1) Find Trouble Areas

What are the areas in the house where you are finding pests? Are you able to point towards where they are coming from? The pest control service should be able to figure it out on their own, but you can speed it up by pointing towards where you might have seen them.

They will scour the entire property as that is their job, but you can make it easier for them by showcasing the biggest problem areas. This is just about making it easier for everyone.

When you do this, you are also increasing the chances of those pests being gone forever.

2) Keep House Clean

You don't want to make it hard for the exterminators that are coming by making the house dirty. You also have a role in what you are showing them because too many people don't keep the house clean and then end up bo thering the people who are working on the pests.

You should, at least, clean up the rooms that are going to be tackled. Most of the times, it is the entire house that will be checked for every last pest, so you are not being smart by not cleaning it up for them.

This is what you need when it comes to Orange County pest control. Too many people don't prepare enough, and that is what hampers their ability to have all of the pests removed. Yes, you will be able to hire a team that is going to get all of the pests, but will you be able to hire them, so they are quick with what they are doing?

You don't just hire anyone and let them work on the property. You have to be prepared, and that is what you are bringing to the process from your end.



Five Kinds Of Wooden Gates For Sale



With so many wooden gates for sale on the market and on the Internet, it is certainly tempting to spring for your own set the next time you work on home renovations. Its no secret that the right wooden gate can exert a special kind of impact as it not only maintains a tangible barrier between the outside world and the sacred space that is your home, but it also gives a garden or any other enclosed space a beautiful sense of privacy.

With so many wooden gates for sale suited for every budget and every design aesthetic, how will you know which one is right for you?

1.) Sliding gates. One of the most popular wooden gate options, sliding gates are prized for their convenience and security. If your house is built upon a slope, you can leverage on the forces of gravity to open and close your sliding gate with little effort. These kinds of gates are also built to put up a great deal of resistance to most kinds of forced entry and even pets cant squeeze underneath them to escape onto the main road ahead.

2.) Swing gates. If sliding gates are out of your budget, swing gates could very well be your best bet. Cheaper than sliding gates yet still made out of durable timber or hardwood, swing gates are great if you live on a quiet street that doesnt get much traffic. They also have a decidedly more classic look to them than sliding gates do, but bear in mind that you can only use swing gates on level ground so that they dont drag.

3.) Picket fences. Intended more as an ornamental boundary than as a protective structure; the classic white clapboard picket fences surround the perimeter of a quaint garden to great effect. Sometimes used in conjunction with garden gates, these are mainstays on top of the wooden gates for sale lists and allow for easy access as well as viewing into your garden.

4.) Secret doorways. Unlike picket fences that allow anyone to look over them and see a garden, secret doorways earned their name from solidly filling up doorways etched or carved into stone walls. They are great for sealing off your own private getaway on the premises or in the garden or for cultivating a subtly regal and medieval look. In the case of the latter, it would be best to choose a wooden gate with a pointed or arched top to stay true to the theme.

5.) Indoor gates. If you have small children running about the house that youd like to keep secure (e.g., away from staircases or the kitchen while cooking), a wooden indoor gate is a tasteful alternative to flimsy, plastic childproof gates. You can even get indoor gates dyed or stained to accomplish a particular shade or trim that matches the overall look of your home.

You can still put these to good use even if you dont have any children; they also make for excellent barriers for small pets like toy dogs or kittens.

Be Creative With Your Home Kitchen

Kitchens make a very big difference in our homes. A kitchen is a central hub from where all family meals are prepared. This implies that the design of the kitchen needs to be established well. Most people, especially those staying in apartments complain a lot about small kitchens. Thanks to modern skilled contractors capable of redesigning your kitchen without making extra extensions. Proper planning is necessary in constructing or renovating your kitchen.

Flooring is one great renovation that determines the elegance and beauty of your kitchen. You need to ensure you have the best contractors with a long working experience. Once you have proposed your design among other specifications, you let them handle the work. Quality tiling material with reliable longevity should be used. The appearance of your kitchen also determines how you will love the whole place. Ensure the pattern of the tiles reflects a kitchen mood. A kitchen is one of the places that you will be spending much of your time. It needs an elegant stylish look.

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Installation of other fittings completes the kitchen beauty. Cabinets should be made of high quality materials. They should also be easy to open and close. Height should be taken care of so that both the short and tall can access the cabinets easily. The spacing of the cabinets should be done based on personal preference. What matters most is the ability to arrange your things such as cookware sets conveniently. In addition, counter tops need to be of good quality. When the contractors use wood for most of the fittings it needs to be strong wood and not just particle wood. Electrical installations should be of high standards. Since most of the kitchen appliances use a lot of current, wiring should be done with a licensed company so as to avoid feature fire hazards.



It is important to ensure that at the end of the day the kitchen is spacious. No matter the level of your renovation, a non spacious kitchen can be very disgusting. It is enough to make you move to another apartment. Having kitchen islands sounds a pretty good idea when there is adequate space. Kitchen islands have a way of making a kitchen look stylish. They add more seating and counter space suitable for parties. Apart from cooking, the kitchen is one of the rooms that will require frequent cleaning. This is why adequate space is crucial.

Every homeowner would love to add convenience and creativity to their home. This should start with the kitchen. Whether you are building a new one or renovating the current kitchen, ensure it is perfectly done. A research prior the construction is a must do for better end results. A modern well designed kitchen is worth your financial sacrifice and time.

Why You Must Have Accurate Maps For Your Planning Applications

Applying for Planning Permission is a big job, and there is a lot of information required when you submit an application. You need to be able to explain what it is you plan to do, how it will affect the building and the surrounding area, and what load it will place on the town's services.

Believe it or not, planning permission is required not just for new builds, big changes to the structure of a building, but also for certain cosmetic changes to the outside of properties including listed buildings, and for 'change of use' of certain buildings. For example, if you want to apply to turn a shop into a gym, a garage into a shop, or a commercial property of any kind into a home (or vice-versa), you need to change the "use category" of the building.



There are many reasons why this may not be approved. Changing a garage into a leisure facility where a large number of people might congregate could be a problem if the building is not safe for this, or if there is not enough parking in the area. Changing a shop into a house could be forbidden if it would mean that there would be a significant reduction in the number of shops in the area, and the number of people employed in the area.

Whenever you apply for planning permission, whether to change a building, or change the way the building is used, you will be asked to supply detailed planning application maps. You will need to identify where the building is in the area, so that you can see whether it is on a flood plain, and also see what else is in the area.

The maps that you supply to the planning department in your council's area must be accurate and to the correct scale. It is a good idea to purchase maps from Ordnance Survey, because these maps will be used by the committee when they consider your application, and if they are not perfectly accurate (many 'consumer grade' maps are not), then your application could be rejected.

You can buy Ordnance Survey maps online and have someone mark out the area surrounding your property, as well as any land that will be affected, if that is applicable, in the format dictated by the planning department. This service does not cost a lot of money, compared to the cost of submitting a planning application and it is something that could save you a fortune compared to the cost of submitting the application by yourself and run the risk that it will be rejected for some minor reason to do with the accuracy of the map.

Usually, the committee will just refer the application back to you if there are concerns about its accuracy, but even if that is all that happens, the resulting delays could be a problem for you. Why take that chance when accurate maps are readily available online for an affordable price from some excellent companies who specialise in providing accurate maps for planning.

How To Add Value To Your Home

Home improvements can be expensive, but for the most part, they make for a great investment. Should you find yourself having to move, well-made home improvements can add value to your home, allowing you to get back as much as 70% of what you originally spent. Now, the question is what improvements pay off and which ones can you skip completely?

New Kitchen

A new kitchen or an improved one is always an excellent attraction for would-be homeowners. Note, though that you shouldnt go overboard with the improvements. Opt for DIY techniques that will create a blend in form and aesthetics. Following are simple kitchen improvements that can work wonders without being too expensive:

  • Add more cabinets, you can never have too much space in the kitchen.
  • If youre selling the appliances along with the house, make sure that the appliances are energy efficient.
  • Power outlets are also crucial if youre in the position to add to them, then definitely take this opportunity.
  • Replace the faucet youll find that many home buyers automatically gravitate towards the sink because this is essentially the center of the kitchen.
  • If youre not using the triangle technique yet do so! Essentially, this means that the kitchen sink, the gas range, and the refrigerator should be placed in such a way that they form a triangle in the kitchen. This facilitates movement from one task to another when cooking.
  • Add new paint to the walls, the kitchen cabinets, and every other available surface. You might be surprised at how refreshing this can make the room look.
  • You can also try updating the hardware by that, we mean replacing the old knobs and handles or polishing them if they still look good.

Landscaping

A good garden is always a draw but again, you dont have to go overboard. Typically, would-be buyers are drawn towards small to medium-sized gardens that dont require extensive work but look good nonetheless. Here are a few tips to help you with the landscaping:

  • Focus on pruning your plants to give them that well-cared for look.
  • Go for a variety of plants but make sure that theyre all easy to take care of. Ideally, you should only include plants that can generally take care of themselves.
  • Landscaping doesnt always have to involve tons of plants. You can opt for a stone-themed landscape with a conservative amount of plants thrown in. Too many plants can make it seem expensive to maintain, especially when it comes to water
    • No need to hire a professional for these improvements basically, whatever works for you will do. Keep it simple and clean, and your home value will benefit from it.

      Conservatory

      Additional space is always welcome and a conservatory is essentially defined as an additional room in the house. It can be used as a sunroom somewhat like an extension of the living room where homeowners can relax. Originally however, conservatories were regarded as greenhouses where homeowners can grow fruit-bearing plants or vegetables to supply the kitchen.

      If you want to improve the value of your home the latter version is definitely better. Most homeowners are willing to spend the extra few thousand to have a conservatory that will pay for itself in terms of savings when it comes to food.

      Of course, if you intend to use the conservatory as a sunroom youll need to be more careful about this upgrade. Typically, conservatories dont add value unless youre located along the beach or in a scenic location. With buyers usually choosing homes for the scenery, a conservatory would be considered an advantage.

      When it comes right down to it, you dont have to spend a small fortune in adding value to your home. For the most part, even DIY projects will make your home more pleasurable to live in.

Making Your Garden Look More Spacious



If you have a smaller yard and wish to have a garden, you can make it appear more spacious by incorporating some of these easy ideas into your garden.

Pergola's will give the appearance of a grander feeling in your garden. They are ideal for framing a view and helping the eye to focus on a specific area of the garden thus drawing the eye away from the lack of space.

You can easily incorporate shrubs around the pergola and climbing plants can help to encourage the eye to go up thus creating the illusion of more space.

Arbors are also an ideal solution for the smaller garden. Arbors can focus on one or two plants and the plants can easily be trained to grow up the arbor. Often, roses and other climbing plants such as honeysuckle, wisteria, and other such flowers are used in arbors.

Arbors lend an air of aristocracy to any garden and can lead to the illusion of more space and wealth. Abors are ideal for a corner or centre focal point in any garden.

Consider creating smaller seating areas by using a small garden bench or bistro seating area. Focus on plants in and around the bench or bistro area and create the illusion of more space by designing a garden path of flowers or pebbles to the area.

By creating different seating areas with furnishings your yard will appear to open up and give the illusion of more space. It's also a great way to create a relaxing and soothing outdoor space that lends itself well to relaxation.

Creating such intimate areas in the garden will help to give the illusion of more space and it's easy to use plant height to design this area.

Mid-height plants can help to screen out ugly views beyond the area such as a vacant lot or parking area. Add to this, bold and bright colours with flowers that grace the area and you're sure to feel as if your garden is much larger than it actually is.

Incorporate as much color and varying heights into your design as you can and you'll have the perfect design to create more illusion of space. A landscape gardening firm can be brought in to advise on the selection of different plants for different needs.

You can also slant the planting toward an open space to lend the air of more space. Small picket fencing with flowers just behind it can also help to lend the air of more space.

An Overview Of Home Plumbing Systems

The construction of your home is like a big puzzle and there are a lot of pieces to that puzzle that make it all come together and function. Among those pieces are the roof that keeps bad weather out and the electric wiring that makes all the creature comfort devices in your home work. One of the most import pieces of the puzzle is your homes plumbing systems. Here is an overview of a typical homes plumbing system and the functions of each part of it.

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Incoming Water Lines

Of course none of the plumbing fixtures in your house can work if you dont have water coming into your house. That is why it is important that each home have an incoming water line as part of its plumbing systems. These usually tap into a main line that the city or town you reside in has running along each street in it. Once tapped it will run to a meter attached to the side of your house so the city or town can keep track of your usage and bill you accordingly. After the incoming water line goes through your water meter it then enters the house and goes to the places where it is needed throughout your home.

Hot Water Line

One of the most important parts of your homes plumbing systems is the hot water line. You use it for doing such things as bathing, washing clothes, cleaning dishes and preparing drinks. It works because a cold water line runs into a water heater where it is super-heated and then stored until needed. When needed it runs to bathroom fixtures, washing machines and sinks. It is the part of the plumbing system in your home which really adds comfort to your life.

Fixtures

Water cannot take the final step to get to where you need it unless there is a fixture at the end of the plumbing line; that is why these devices play an important role in your houses plumbing systems. They are the means which hot and cold water is dispensed, bodily excrements are removed from the house and the all-important valves which allow water to run to a water line in your home or to stop it from flowing.

Sewer/Septic Drain Lines

Once all that water is used it does not just evaporate into thin air and it has to go someplace. That is another major task for your plumbing systems and it is done through drain lines. These carry wastewater, solid waste and body excrement safely away from your house where they can be disposed of in a clean and sanitary manner that eventually takes it to a facility that converts the wastewater back into usable water.



It truly would be hard to imagine your home without all the plumbing systems that run through it. These systems supply one of the basic necessities of life into your home, make everyday life more comfortable and also greatly contribute to keeping your home clean and sanitary.

Paint Success: Guide To Finding Quality Painting Jobs (melbourne) For Your House

If you are giving your house a makeover, the interior and exterior paint would greatly impact the final look. Browsing through the internet and looking for the cheapest deals wouldnt help in choosing the right company. You have to be wise in sifting through the different painting jobs (Melbourne) available. Heres an advice on how you can successfully choose a painting company.

Satisfaction. Previous clients of the company should be satisfied with their work. Painters Melbourne not only include the actual painting work but also their customer relations. They should be professional and open to their client. Negotiating and asking for comments and suggestions is a plus. Also, they should be able to answer the clients questions in case they have worries about the budget or colors to be used. Up-to-date. Painting jobs (Melbourne) should also jive with the latest trend. This will keep your house classy and stylish. Knowledge about different painting and styling techniques is must.

Clear Estimate for the Job. Providing a clear rundown of the cost of the project is important. This will help the client gauge if he could afford the service. And this could also help the client negotiate with the total cost. On-site Visit. You cannot estimate the total cost just by merely looking at the photo or having the dimensions in your office. The company should visit the house and inspect each wall and ceiling to be painted. They should be the ones who are measuring the dimensions.

Some companies would give an initial estimate but after the job is done, theyll be charging more than the amount they have proposed because of the discrepancy between the given dimensions to the actual. Painting jobs (Melbourne) should be honest and accurate in providing their estimate. Even if it is just an estimated amount, the company should work within their given cost. Dedication. In house painting, the company should be passionate in achieving quality work and exceeding their clients expectations. Clients are their top priority. They will exhaust all their efforts and resources to get what the customer wants.

Meticulous. Painting should be meticulous. Coating should be even and smooth. Bumps shouldnt be visible. Finished work must be perfect. You can ask them if you could visit one of their project houses so you could see the quality of their work. Guaranteed Service. Before you hire a painting contractor, you should ask if they are giving warranty for their service. This will eliminate clients worry about the painting job. Companies should still be approachable even after the job is finished. Finding the right company for painting jobs (Melbourne) may be tedious. You have to research and to carefully examine each company so you could get the best for your home. Dont sacrifice quality by picking the first company you see. Ask around. Look for referrals. And have at least three companies to choose from. It may take a little time before you meet your newly and perfectly painted home but it will all be worth it.

Top Hvac Secrets For Saving Money And Time

There are some people who are fortunate enough to live in temperate climates where the weather is always perfect. For the rest of us, we need good HVAC systems that keep us cool in the summer and warm in the winter. For help finding such a system, read the following article.

Look for deals and rebates on the HVAC system you are having installed. Many ENERGY STAR units come with huge rebates either from your local utility company or the government itself. Investigate your options as it could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the installation costs.

Let your friends and family know about the discounts that are possible via ENERGY STAR. There's a lot of savings that can be had here, so why hold this good news all to yourself! You can save those closest to you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

Clean your permanent air filters or replace disposable ones every single month. If you have the choice, an electrostatic is the best option on the market today. Be sure to turn off your unit before you change the filter as it should never be run without a filter in place.

Every spring you need to make sure your condenser fan's coils and blades on the fan part are clean. Make sure to turn off the fan's power first to be safe. Next, pop off the grill, pull out the blades and start cleaning them and the unit itself off gently. If you need to hire a local contractor to do this work for you click here.

A programmable thermostat can help you save money on your air conditioning bill. It may save you as much as 10 percent of your overall utility bill if you turn your thermostat down by 10-15 degrees for a portion of the day. Additionally, some models of programmable thermostats actually allow you to control them remotely from your office computer or cell phone.

Whether you have an air conditioner in a window or outside your home, be sure to keep it in the shade. The cooler the air around it, and the cooler the condenser itself, the easier a time it will have of keeping the air inside your home cool as well.

Make sure things don't get too hot or cold where your thermostat is. Any electronics or heat sources like lamps or televisions nearby can trick the thermostat into thinking the home is warmer than it actually is. This just means it runs your air conditioning longer than necessary, wasting energy and money.

Every year hire someone to give your HVAC unit routine maintenance. This will ensure that it works properly throughout the entire year. It will also allow you to have lower heating and cooling bills. When your HVAC is running properly, it will use the least amount of energy and save you money.

Use your HVAC system to heat your water for free! In the summer, residual heat pulled out of your house is used to heat water through a geothermal system. This will cool your home while allowing you to save a ton on hot water costs, plus it's environmentally friendly to boot!

The HVAC system is only one piece in an efficient home. You must also consider the quality of your windows and doors. Make sure the seal is impenetrable from outdoor drafts, and that none of the air you're paying to heat or cool escapes either. You can also hire someone to test them.

Every season inspect the outdoor condenser unit of your HVAC system. Remove any weeds and leaves that may be obstructing air flow to the unit. Hose off the inside and outside of the unit to remove any dirt build up. Cover the motor with plastic bags prior to rinsing the unit so that you do not get it wet.

If you hear clicking noises from your condenser fan, make sure that it is not striking something inside the unit. If it is not hitting something, it may be bent. Do not try to straighten the blades. This could cause it to become unbalanced. Simply replace the blade to ensure proper rotation.

Look for deals on equipment. The equipment you need to update, maintain or repair your HVAC system tends to be expensive. Keep your eyes open for available coupons, store discounts and rebates on this equipment. Stock up on things you always need, like filters, when they are on sale.

Unless you are fortunate enough to live in a place where the weather is always lovely, you are going to need an HVAC system in your home. Without one, you will sweat all summer and shiver all winter. What you have just read will help you choose a system that meets your needs.

How To Clean A Drain In Your Home

Its no secret that there are few things you use more of in your home on a regular basis than water. You use water to clean clothes, prepare meals, take showers and a whole bunch of other activities that take place around your house. When you are done with these activities all that water needs to go someplace and that is where your many household drains come into play. With so many drains in your house it is inevitable that one will get clogged from time to time; here is how to clean a drain, prevent them from getting clogged and how to unclog them if they do get plugged up.



Prevention

The best way to keep your household drains clear is to prevent them from getting clogged up in the first place. Make sure all the grates and screens are securely in place before you prepare food, take a bath or do any other activity around a drain. You should also periodically take the screens and grates out to ensure there is nothing like hair or food particles that are collecting under them.

Never pour such things as hot grease into your drains either. The grease may be liquid when you pour it in but it quickly turns into a solid when it cools as it enters the pipes; once it becomes a solid it can start forming a severe clog right away.

Clean the traps under your sink out periodically too. These are usually attached by threaded nuts or PVC quick couplings that are very easy to loosen to let you take the trap out and clean it. This should be done at least once a year as part of a household routine maintenance plan.

How to Clean a Drain Periodically

Its a very good idea to periodically pour very hot water into all your drain lines at least once every two to three months. This will help keep things such as grease and other soluble solids from building up in the lines. You can also mix baking soda and vinegar together to form a homemade drain cleaner that is much less expensive and harsh on the plumbing than store bought drain cleaners. These are important steps when it comes to knowing how to clean a drain.

Unclogging a Plugged Up Drain

There are a few things you can do to get out a clog in your drain lines if one happens to form. You can try the baking soda and vinegar xture mentioned above and let it sit overnight and see if that works. If not, then an old fashioned plunger is a good thing to try next to get the clog out. If all else fails, then you will need a drain snake or drain auger to get the job done; you may want to seriously consider having a professional plumber come to your house to do this.

Its actually pretty easy to learn how to clean a drain and to keep them open so they are there working when you really need them.

How To Replace A Furnace

Being a Canadian resident really has its perks from time to time and no matter where you live here there is always someplace beautiful to go see at certain times of year. As with any place you have to take the good with the bad and Canadians are no strangers to extremely cold blasts of weather. That is why it is so important to have a properly working furnace to heat your home when the cold spells hit. In the event you should ever have to replace your heating system here are the steps on how to replace a furnace.



1. Pick Out a new Furnace

Of course the first thing you need to do when you need a new furnace is to purchase one. Try doing an internet search on the dealers and brands of furnaces that are available near you; this will help you identify quality products and quality HVAC companies near you and that is a great place to start your search.

Keep in mind that you dont just want to shop for price either; paying more for a furnace that is quality made, has a great warranty and is very energy efficient will quickly eat up that $500 - $1000 dollars you saved on a budget brand furnace. Dont be afraid to ask for help as far as unit sizing for your home and other things are concerned too.

2. Get Rid of the Old One

Most likely the company that installs your new furnace will take out the old one for you. They will need to do such things as disconnect the incoming power, disconnect the gas or oil line and then tear down and remove the old furnace.

3. Get Ready for the Installation

Before they come to do the installation you have to make sure of a couple things. One, that the area where the furnace is going is free from clutter and other objects (you should always keep the area around your furnace clean because you dont want to block the airflow to it or create a fire hazard). They will need room to lay out the new furnace parts because it will only be partially assembled. Be prepared to have doors propped open so they can bring their materials and tools for the job in and out easy. This is an important step to remember when it comes to how to replace a furnace.

4. Learning How to Use the New Furnace

Once the installation is complete you will not only know how to replace a furnace but you will need to know how to operate the new furnace also. The installation crew should take the time to go over this with you before they leave. Not to mention, you should carefully watch how they operate the system when they go to test it out too.

Follow these steps on how to replace a furnace and you should have no trouble with your installation at all. Once they are done with the install you will have a new furnace keeping you and your family warm even in the coldest months.

Can You Put Off Calling A 24-hour Plumber?

All homeowners have plumbing emergencies at one point or another. But the question is, when do you know if a certain problem requires the services of a 24-hour emergency plumber? At times, you can put off certain emergencies in the dead of the night that are worth twice or thrice the normal rate the next day when regular services and rate applies.



For instance, consider this scenario. You wake up in the dead of the night upon hearing what appears to be running water. You are thinking of a sprinkler. However, it sounds too close. You trace the sound and its coming from your bathroom. You get in, and your socks end up getting soaked. Now, how will you respond?

Turn off the Water Source

Your first response is to turn off the water source to protect the rest of your home from further damage. If the water is coming out of a fixture, perhaps your faucet or toilet, shut off the water supply heading to that fixture. If you are not sure of the source or do not know how to turn it off, just turn off the entire water supply in your home to be sure.

Can You Put it Off?

Evaluate the urgency of the problem prior to making any calls. If you have an overflowing toilet in your midst, turn off the water to stop the damage and put off the repair by not flushing the toilet for as long as you can. All localized issues can be put off until the morning by simply turning off the water source in that specific area. For instance, utilize the sink in your kitchen if the one in your bathroom is clogged. By waiting it out until the morning or when regular working hours resume, you can avoid paying for an emergency service in the dead of the night or on a holiday or a Sunday.

Contact the Water Company

Not all the time, all water repairs are your personal responsibility. If the issue concerns the main water line, a break in the service, a sewer clog, or other sewer-related issues, contact your water company first. At times, some water companies provide 24-hour emergency plumber and services in response to urgent and pressing problems. Call them first to know what their coverage is and to schedule any repairs within their jurisdiction.

The Phone Call

If you have a pressing issue in your midst, and it cannot wait until the morning, calling a 24-hour emergency plumber is your best recourse.

Try to identify and isolate the issue and determine what is working and what doesn't. If you have an overflowing toilet, inspect other home fixtures to determine if they are having issues as well. Make a list of the questions you are going to ask the plumber before making that call.

Contact several plumbers. Obtain several estimates prior to scheduling a service call. You want to hire the best one with the most reasonable price.

Specify your problem. By giving the plumbers as many details about the problem that you can, he can give you a much closer estimate of how much the repair will cost you.

Ask for the service calls estimate. Plumbers charge extra for coming over to your home. it is better to know how much it will be way ahead of time.

Ask for the repairs cost. Most plumbers do not issue an estimate over the phone, but you may somehow get an idea of how much it will be. Give the plumber a clear picture of the problem (for instance a blocked toilet) and ask how much a repair will cost you.

* Try to speak to the plumber yourself. If it is an answering machine, leave a message for the plumber to call you back so youll have a better idea of the cost.

The Different Ways To Heat Your Garage

When most people think of garage heaters they typically think of something like a plugin space heater but in truth there are a lot of different ways in which you can heatyour garage. Here are some examples of different ways you can add heat to your garage.



1. Electric Space Heater

It was already mentioned that people often associate garage heaters with electric space heaters and there is a good reason for it. Electric space heaters are cheap to buy and are also a good source of quick heat when there is no other alternative available. They can also be placed exactly where you want the heat to go first.

They are not without there drawbacks either. They can be very dangerous if not used properly and have been the reported cause of many house fires during the colder months. They are also very inefficient and expensive when run for long periods of time and they do not do a very good job of heating up the entire space in a room.

2. Wood Stoves

Wood stoves are a fairly good way to heat something like a garage area. They are fairly inexpensive to buy and setting them up usually only takes a few hours. Wood is also a very cheap source of fuel in most cases. The coals that the burning wood generates stay hot for a fairly long period of time too.

There are a lot of drawbacks to using wood stoves to heat a garage. For one, they are a lot of work, especially if you chop the wood to use in them yourself. Since there is no static energy supply, every hour or so you will have to manually feed wood into the combustion chamber to keep generating the heat too. They do not do a good job of heating large areas and if they are going to be used for this purpose then you will need to consider adding some sort of forced air system into the mix also.

3. Central Heat

Adding central heating to a garage is not as expensive as one might think and it gives the user several advantages. They move the heat by using forced air so it tends to be a very efficient form of heat to fill up the entire space in a room; not to mention, they also improve air quality in the garage too because of this air circulation. They are fed by a supply line so there is no manual element in the generation of heat other than setting the thermostat. Central garage heaters are very efficient in the way they work also.

It was mentioned that their initial expense was one of the drawbacks for using them as garage heaters but this can be offset by their convenience and lower cost of operation.

No matter what choice you make when it comes to garage heaters, you should be able to find a setup that will get you the heat that you desire when using your garage in the colder months.

What Crops Can you Plant in your Organic Garden?

The number of people and blogs talking about the importance of organic gardening are numerous. However, for a new farmer it can be difficult to decide on the type of crop that is best for your garden. Let me begin by confirming that the stories are true, organic gardening requires commitment and understanding. Organic gardening does not utilize chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, gardeners, use biological methods of pest control such as a wasp trap. Organic gardening also entails the existence of nature in perfect balance; therefore, do not be surprised to see gardeners who do not mind the insects. This is because they understand the important role of insects in the garden, so much so that some organic gardeners have built a bug hotel in their gardens with the aim of enjoying all the benefits of insects in gardening.

It is important to note that the type of crop grown differs with each garden due to climatic, soil, and nutrient differences. Therefore, the clever way is to spend some time doing research on the climate in your area and the requirements of each crop. It is advised that a soil test should be utilized to identify the nutrient ratio of the soil before deciding on a crop. Organic gardeners utilize various methods of weed control, but, you should expect that there will be some weeds. The weeds can be controlled using natural weed control methods, while some can be used as food for your pet especially rabbits, all you need are good outdoor rabbit hutch plans to begin.

The choices of organic crops in the market are enormous and the new farmer needs to choose the crop that is best suited in their environment.

1. Radishes. Radishes do well even in not-so-great garden soil and are ready to harvest in only a few weeks. Plant the seeds in spring and fall.

2. Salad greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad). Pick your favorite, or try a mix — many companies sell mixed packets for summer and winter gardening. Plant the seeds in spring and fall, and you can pick salads almost year-round.

3. Green beans. Easy to grow and prolific. If you get a big crop, they freeze well, and they are also delicious when pickled as dilly beans. Start with seeds after all danger of frost has passed.

4. Onions. Start with small plants, and if they do well, you can harvest bulb onions. If not, you can always eat the greens. 5. Strawberries. Perfectly ripe strawberries are unbelievably sweet, and the plants are surprisingly hardy. Buy bare-root plants in early spring. Put this perennial in a sunny spot and keep it well weeded.

6. Peppers. Both hot peppers and bell peppers are easy to grow. Start with plants and let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a range of colors and flavors.

7. Bush zucchini. This squash will not take up as much room in your garden as many other types, and it is very prolific. Start from seeds or transplants. You will not need more than a few plants for a bumper crop.

8. Tomatoes. There is just no substitute for a perfectly ripe homegrown tomato, and it is hard to go wrong when you start with strong plants. If you get a big crop, consider canning or freezing.

9. Basil. Many herbs are easy to grow, but basil is a good choice because it is a nice complement to tomatoes. Basil is easy to grow from seeds or from transplants.

10. Potatoes. An easy-to-grow staple that stores well when kept cool. A simple and low-maintenance approach is to plant potatoes in straw rather than soil. ‘Seeds’ are whole or cut sections of potatoes, sold in early spring.

Sourced from: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/10-best-garden-crops-for-beginners.aspx

11. Asparagus Plant once, harvest for years: A well-maintained bed of this sweet, slender veggie will stay productive for up to 15 years, and, with its vibrant, ferny foliage, asparagus makes an excellent ornamental. Learn how to plant, grow and harvest asparagus.

12. Beets Red table beets are only the tip of the beet iceberg: Mangel beets can be used as livestock fodder, storage beets can be eaten all winter, and white or golden beets make a stunning edible display when mixed in a beet salad.

13. Broccoli Tasty in each of its many varieties, broccoli is easier to grow than its relative’s cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, and can produce bountiful crops for even novice gardeners. Get tips on how to plant, how to harvest and more.

14. Brussels Sprouts One of the last veggies to be harvested in early winter, Brussels sprouts brings the gardening year to a delicious close. Growing Brussels sprouts is easy if you plant at the right time and work with vigorous varieties. This guide includes descriptions of Brussels sprout varieties and tips for growing this cabbage-family crop in your organic



Sourced from: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-techniques/crop-guide-growing-organic-vegetables-fruits-zl0z1211zsto.aspx

Identify And Eliminate Pests

Pests are never a welcome sight, but that statement holds particularly true when it comes to areas of the facility where food is served. There are three common pests that often make their way into food service areas. And it is important for custodial executives to understand what pests frequent these areas and how to deal with an infestation, should one occur. Cockroaches Cockroaches are a health hazard, so an infestation needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. These little pests can introduce and spread bacteria within a facility, which means building occupants can suffer from diarrhea, food poisoning and gastroenteritis. Cockroaches are naturally attracted to areas where food is readily available, which means staffs should regularly check food service areas. Kitchens stay fairly warm, providing a perfect, moist environment for these little creatures. Custodial executives that see cockroaches should not wait to remove them. Cockroaches are amazingly resilient; they can go without eating for weeks at a time, and they can access the indoors through the smallest of cracks. Rodents Rats and mice are constantly looking for both food and shelter, which makes the food service area of a facility the ideal place to hide out. Unfortunately, building occupants tend to get very upset at the sight of a rodent, which means businesses can suffer as a result of an infestation. Both mice and rats are fast, they can get in through very small spaces and they do carry disease. As if this isn’t reason enough to keep rodents out, they can actually cause fires as a result of the physical damage they inflict on a building. Staffs should be on the lookout for signs indicating the presence of a rodent. This might include droppings, misplaced insulation or the presence of other nesting items. Once an infestation is suspected, immediate action should be taken for extermination. Flies As the weather warms up, flies can become abundant and, if not prevented, will cause numerous problems in food service areas. Not only are flies an annoyance, they can transmit pathogens and contaminate food by landing on it. Flies have been known to cause shingles, tuberculosis, salmonella and E.coli, among other things. If they make their way into a facility, flies are particularly attracted to food such as flour, cereal and beans. Preventing Problems Even the cleanest facility can have issues with pests. That’s why it is important to pay attention to areas in and around the facility that often draw these creatures in. Doing so can help minimize any potential for problems. First, it is important to spend some time outside of the building. Outdoor dining areas should be swept well and tables need to be cleaned regularly. Sidewalks and patio spaces should be hosed off on a recurring basis. However, make sure workers do not leave any standing water around; doing so will only attract more pests. If trash receptacles are being stored near facility entrances, move them immediately. Trash attracts pests, so making sure receptacles are not kept along the exterior wall of the facility will keep pests further away. All trash cans indoors should be emptied and cleaned with hot, soapy water on a regular basis. Regardless of whether the receptacle is indoors or out, it’s very important that they also have a tight fitting lid that will keep unwelcome pests at bay. Inside the kitchen, foods that are particularly attractive to pests, such as sugar and flour, need to be placed in containers with tight fitting lids. To cut back on flies, invest in fly screens for the doors and windows, and consider purchasing an air curtain for the doors, as well. Also, make sure the dining areas receive a lot of attention. Properly cleaning this space often involves regularly cleaning tables and counters, sweeping and mopping floors, washing chairs and checking seat cushion cracks for food and debris. Also, make sure workers don’t forget food storing stations and soda machines, which are particularly attractive to pests. Finally, it is important to close up any gaps or cracks around pipes, drains, vents and wiring. This helps to keep out both bugs and rodents. No one wants to deal with a pest infestation. Food service areas are unfortunately prone to a number of different small visitors. However, with a bit of work, it is possible to keep pests out of the facility. - See more at: http://www.cleanlink.com/hs/article/Identify-And-Eliminate-Pests--18668