Home Building Guide Home Building Guide Copyright by en Sun, 23 Jul 2017 04:42:46 -0400 5 Unusual Roof Designs Most of us don’t think much about the roof we live under until there’s a problem. Your home’s roof is its first and biggest line of defense against the elements; it keeps you and your belongings clean, dry and safe. Most roofs have a utilitarian design, but they can be unusual or even outrageous. The examples on this list show that a balance can be struck between function and form.

1. The Leaf Roof: Just outside Rio on a pristine beach with beautiful blue water there’s a house with a flower-shaped roof that protects the house underneath like a broad banana leaf. The open-air dwelling, designed by the team of Mareines and Patalano, is meant to foster the connection between its occupants and the great outdoors. The home has no hallways and the spaces between rooms are open, so this tropical getaway is a great place to throw a party. The home’s layout fully utilizes the incoming sea wind, providing great natural cooling.

2. La Pedrera: Most of Barcelona’s roofs are flat, industrial and plain, decorated only with brick chimneys and aluminum air intakes. Gaudi decided to do something different with the roof of Casa Mila, his personal home. He found some alternatives to lead flashing, turning the chimneys and vents into guards which would keep eternal watch over the building’s occupants. The wavy roof is adorned with the abovementioned warriors, but it’s also decorated with mosaics and sculptures.

3. The Mina Water Reservoir: Google Earth picks up some beautiful and strange objects, but one of the first was the roof of the water reservoir at Mina (near Makkah in Saudi Arabia). The reservoir provides water to over two million pilgrims who gather during the annual Hajj, and it’s covered by the 365-meter reinforced concrete roof. The roof is unique because it’s one of the largest reinforced shell roofs in the entire world.

4.  Tongkonan houses: The Tongkonan are the ancestral homes of the Torajan, an indigenous tribe in Indonesia. Standing on high wooden pilings, they’re topped with a split bamboo layered roof that has an arcing shape. The exteriors of these roofs are decorated with yellow, black and red wood carvings. The name, Tongkonan, is derived from the Torajan word “tongkon”, or “to sit”.

5. The House of the Five Senses: It’s the building at the entrance to the Efteling Theme Park, one of the world’s oldest and the largest of its kind in the Netherlands. The roof deserves a place on this list not only for its design, but because it’s the world’s biggest thatch roof.

Roofs may be there for a purpose, but they don’t have to look boring. A wide variety of man-made and natural materials can be used to create a building’s roof, and they can be made in almost any shape imaginable. From a simple flat roof with felt shinglesto the spire at the top of New York City’s Empire State Building, the architecture of roofs can be very interesting indeed.

About the author:

The article was written by the team at Principal Homebuyers  - uk epxerts in matching sellers and buyers when a quick home sale is required. 

Guide Editor Mon, 22 May 2017 04:03:22 -0400
Seven Questions to Ask Your Builder Your building project is very important to you and the contractor handling it should be top notch. Finding the right builder for your project is paramount to success. If you are working with a certain contractor for the first time, you should definitely ask some questions.

To help you ask the right questions for a good working relationship, you should consider the following.

Do you have license and insurance?

The safest builders are those who are licensed. This question is short and the answer should be very direct but you could be surprised by the response of the builder. Builders insurance is necessary so that you are not held liable for any accidents that happen during and after the project. You can ask for home warranty insurance too, which will protect you in the event the builder does not complete the project in a timely manner and inside the budget. You can read more about builders insurance here if you’re unsure on what is required.

Are you currently occupied?

You need a builder that will pay apt and complete attention to your project to ensure that it comes out in the best quality. Good builders are definitely in high demand and they will not take on your project if they have too much work at hand.

What will my project cost?

This is an important question with which the project should not continue without. All factors are carefully taken into consideration to determine the cost of the project. A written contract should be followed by a quote for the project. Every aspect, including materials to be used, labour cost estimates and schedule of payments should be critically laid out. You should insist that payments should be made at finishing landmarks and not at a stated period.

What is not contained in the quote?

You should ask the builder what part of the project is not going to be included in the quote. Sometimes, items like consultant and government fees will not be added to the quote. This will help you to compare what is in the quote or out of the quote with other builders you are considering. It will also help you to be sure what has been included.

Who will pay if you make an error?

Under normal circumstances, the supervisor in charge of the project should be responsible for the standard of the work. If any member of the crew or an outsider commits a blunder on the work, the supervisor should be to blame.

How will you maintain communication?

To keep track of what is happening on the site of the job, communication is critical. A great number of issues will need your immediate attention or input. The communication channels and competency between you and the builder has to be outstanding. The builder has to be attentive and you both must function in unison for a successful project.

Can I enter the site during construction?

You should be allowed to visit the site often for inspection purposes. But you might want to be more involved than that. If you want to be allowed to participate in the project, you should ask the builder if you will be allowed access to the site for this. Because of issues pertaining to accountability, the builder might not allow you to assist the work process but it does not hurt to ask.

You will do well if you ask a builder these questions and any more you might have. A good and reputable builder should answer all your questions and more. If anyone is reluctant to answer any of your questions or is not giving you satisfactory information, you should consider not working with them. Even if their price is the lowest, their work may not be up to standard.

Guide Editor Tue, 02 May 2017 10:10:20 -0400
10 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling your Home

Before setting out to sell your house, it is advisable to ensure that it is in a condition that will appeal to the buyer. You may also want to consider doing or introducing certain things to increase the value of your house.

However, this must be approached with a lot of caution so that you do not end up making mistakes that may jeopardize your chances of selling fast or even selling for a good rate.

There are certain common mistakes that most home owners make when selling their homes that ends up making the initial excitement that comes with putting up a for sale sign turn into months of frustration with no offers.

Here are the ten common mistakes you must avoid when selling your house provided by fast house sale company Ready Steady Sell:

  • Underestimating the power of curb appeal – Most homeowners will usually spend a lot of money, time and energy ensuring that the interior of their home is appealing to prospective buyers. What they forget is that the exterior is equally important because this is what prospective buyers interact with first. As such, it is what creates the first impression. Therefore, ensure that you tidy up the garden and mow the lawn so that it is presentable. You will also do well to eliminate clutter.
  • Setting a wrong asking price – It is not unusual for homeowners to place a wrong price on their property, making it quite difficult to sell. By placing the price too low or too high you are bound to struggle attracting buyers. That is, when the price it too low, buyers will question why the offer is so low. On the other hand, buyers are likely to snub your property when you set a price that is too high. Thus, you need to consider carrying out a valuation to be able to set a competitive asking price.
  • Maintaining personal touches in the home – When potential buyers come to view your house, they should be able to envision themselves living there. Therefore, if you have personalized the space by introducing a colour scheme of your own or even some photos, then you need to get rid of them. In fact, you should strive to offer prospective buyers a blank canvas by painting the walls in neutral colours.
  • Failing to tidy up – The majority of home owners do not recognize the value of tidying up the home before putting it up for sale. In particular, ensure there is not clutter lying around so that the house is presentable and clean. You could give your floors a hoover and cover up those places are not too presentable.
  • Failing to fix small, minor repairs – Undertaking repairs prior to selling your house may seem like a waste of time and money. However, failing to fix those small things can be detrimental to the sale process because most buyers do not want to worry about repairs. Thus, this may be a turn off. Remember, these days most buyers prefer to have inspections carried out on property before they agree to purchase.
  • Staying by the side of the buyer during viewing – Although you may want to stick by the side of prospective buyers during viewing out of courtesy, it is advisable that you give them time to look around the property by themselves. This way, they will have a feel of the property without feeling subdued. Keep in mind that for the first viewing, buyers only need to imagine themselves living in the home hence do not need all the details.
  • Choosing the wrong company to sell your property – Although estate agents are usually a preferred choice for home owners seeking to sell their houses they are not usually the best option. Thus, you need to choose the company that will sell your property for you carefully while paying attention to the fees associated with it. Remember, apart from estate agents, there are other channels through which you can sell your property such as quick house sale companies or private sale among others.
  • The use of poor quality photos – Photos are much more than a thousand words hence, when selling property you must invest in high quality images that will sell your property. This is especially important if you are going to have your property listed online as it will greatly improve your chances of selling. Always avoid the use of photos that are blurry as they may turn down potential buyers.
  • Not having carpets cleaned – Carpets are a great inclusion in the home as they make it homely and comfortable. Even then, they will usually collect lots of dust over time thus becoming stained with nasty smells emanating from them. Ironically, you may not take note of the smell as you are used to it. However, a new person coming into your home space will definitely sense the smell. Thus, ensure your carpet is professionally cleaned so that it feels fresh.
  • Failure to take note of small details – It is not uncommon to hear that small details make a difference. However, when it comes to selling your house, you are likely to forget this rule. Some of the small details that you will do well to consider include the arrangement of your furniture, touching up the paint on walls and introducing scented candles among other things.

Overall, while it is important to take time and effort to ensure that your house presentable and attractive before putting it up for sale, you must ensure that you do not make these common mistakes. This way, you can be sure to sell quickly and for a good price.

Guide Editor Tue, 31 Jan 2017 08:16:22 -0500
Perks of Custom Building a Home

Most people buy homes and rarely think about building one from scratch. For some, financial constrains prevent them from building a custom house. This isn’t always the case. Mortgages take decades to fully pay off. You can essentially borrow the same amount of money and build a house of your liking from scratch. If you are wondering whether you should buy your dream house or build it yourself, here are some perks of custom house building that you should consider:

Choose a Unique Design

The most obvious benefit of custom building a house is that you can pick a unique design. This way, you will be able to reflect your or your family’s, personal tastes and preferences. The problem with pre-existing houses is that they tend to look cookie cutter and very aesthetically unappealing. When you design your own home, you can include things that you want, like indoor sliders or a rooftop pool. You can hire home builders Hobart or in your local area to adjust the number of rooms, indoor or outdoor areas, or the floor plan as you see fit.

Add Appliances

Prebuilt houses are nearly impossible to adjust, save for some minor remodelling changes. If you want a new appliance in a pre-existing house you have to build one. This will require you to make serious structural changes to wiring or pipes. Most architects and builders discourage this. The advantage of building your house is that you can add the appliances you need and want right from the start. The builders can easily do the wiring, the pipes, the drainage system, and so forth to suit your personal needs. This level of freedom is not available with pre-existing houses.

Design a Garden

Most homeowners prefer to have a garden, but their options are very limited when buying an already built house. Commercial developers tend to build bigger houses with limited outdoor space. When you build your own house, you can make the garden as big as you like. You can also design it the way that you want to. You may even be able to add spaces that you can change later.

Increase Energy Efficiency

Custom building your home is the best way to live in a highly energy efficient house for the next four or five decades. You can have greener and less wasteful air conditioning and insulation systems installed. You can also make parts of the house dependent on solar energy. Plus, you can make windows as big or small as you like. You will have plenty of opportunities to benefit from energy-saving technologies if you decide to custom build your house.

Improve Privacy

Pre-existing houses in cookie-cutter neighbourhoods are sometime notorious for privacy concerns. It may be really easy for neighbours to snoop, or for family arguments to be heard down the street. If you are awfully concerned about your family’s privacy, you can have a house custom built to certain specifications that ensures privacy. You can request a house builder or an architect to produce a design that best ensures privacy. Imagine, for example, that you want to enjoy natural light in your house. However, you don’t want to keep your windows open for fear of others seeing inside. In this instance, you can try a unique house plan. Pre-existing houses may not be designed to ensure that much privacy.

There are many benefits to custom built houses as you can see from above. Also, custom built houses have a wonderful sentimental value. Your kids will be able to brag that their house looks unlike any other.

Most people buy homes and rarely think about building one from scratch. For some, financial constrains prevent them from building a custom house. This isn’t always the case. Mortgages take decades to fully pay off. You can essentially borrow the same amount of money and build a house of your liking from scratch. If you are wondering whether you should buy your dream house or build it yourself, here are some perks of custom house building that you should consider:

Choose a Unique Design

The most obvious benefit of custom building a house is that you can pick a unique design. This way, you will be able to reflect your or your family’s, personal tastes and preferences. The problem with pre-existing houses is that they tend to look cookie cutter and very aesthetically unappealing. When you design your own home, you can include things that you want, like indoor sliders or a rooftop pool. You can hire home builders Hobart or in your local area to adjust the number of rooms, indoor or outdoor areas, or the floor plan as you see fit.

Add Appliances

Prebuilt houses are nearly impossible to adjust, save for some minor remodelling changes. If you want a new appliance in a pre-existing house you have to build one. This will require you to make serious structural changes to wiring or pipes. Most architects and builders discourage this. The advantage of building your house is that you can add the appliances you need and want right from the start. The builders can easily do the wiring, the pipes, the drainage system, and so forth to suit your personal needs. This level of freedom is not available with pre-existing houses.

Design a Garden

Most homeowners prefer to have a garden, but their options are very limited when buying an already built house. Commercial developers tend to build bigger houses with limited outdoor space. When you build your own house, you can make the garden as big as you like. You can also design it the way that you want to. You may even be able to add spaces that you can change later.

Increase Energy Efficiency

Custom building your home is the best way to live in a highly energy efficient house for the next four or five decades. You can have greener and less wasteful air conditioning and insulation systems installed. You can also make parts of the house dependent on solar energy. Plus, you can make windows as big or small as you like. You will have plenty of opportunities to benefit from energy-saving technologies if you decide to custom build your house.

Improve Privacy

Pre-existing houses in cookie-cutter neighbourhoods are sometime notorious for privacy concerns. It may be really easy for neighbours to snoop, or for family arguments to be heard down the street. If you are awfully concerned about your family’s privacy, you can have a house custom built to certain specifications that ensures privacy. You can request a house builder or an architect to produce a design that best ensures privacy. Imagine, for example, that you want to enjoy natural light in your house. However, you don’t want to keep your windows open for fear of others seeing inside. In this instance, you can try a unique house plan. Pre-existing houses may not be designed to ensure that much privacy.

There are many benefits to custom built houses as you can see from above. Also, custom built houses have a wonderful sentimental value. Your kids will be able to brag that their house looks unlike any other.

Guide Editor Sun, 22 Jan 2017 21:27:47 -0500
Roofing Membranes 101

Roof repairs are typically the costliest maintenance problem a home can go through. Roofs are more complex than they seem and requires the knowledge of professional roofers to ensure structural integrity. There are plenty of different roofs a person can choose from with different pros and cons for each one. Membrane exteriors, commonly used on buildings, are now being used more and more in regular houses because of it’s more pronounced advantages.

What is Membrane Roofing?

Typically found in buildings, membrane exteriors are usually used on flat roofing because it excels in preventing leaks. Membrane roofing is typically available in PVC, synthetic rubber, or modified bitumen. Membrane was once used only on commercial buildings but is now being seeing more residential use. Here are the 3 popular types of membrane exteriors.

  • Synthetic rubber
    This is made out of large blocks of artificial rubber and are usually between 30-60 mils.

  • Thermoplastic
    Unlike synthetic rubber, thermoplastic membrane does not have a continuous flow. Laps in between are bonded together with heat to keep the whole roof seamless.

  • Modified bitumen
    Modified bitumen can be seen as a step above asphalt roofing. It provides better protection and its chemical composition is more environmentally friendly.

A note on PVC

Some roofing engineers & general contractors do not work with PVC as it is believed to be a health risk linked to multiple problems ranging from asthma, different organ problems, and cancer. PVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride, is normally used for plastic pipes and can still be found in over 70% of American homes.

The danger associated with PVC is only valid with the application of extreme heat, typically only present during installation. Roofers are exposed to toxic fumes as they install PVC. PVC is a safe material for home use so long as it is not exposed to extreme heat.

Why Choose Membrane Roofing?

The biggest challenge with traditional white hat roofing is installing seams between connections properly. Even if they are done well, the gaps in between are your roof’s weakest points and are typically where leaks begin. Newer roofing solutions are usually seamless which lessens the likelihood of leaks significantly. 

Leaks, even small ones, are serious problems. They can lead to damage around your ceilings, walls, electric, and even hurt the structural integrity of your home if left unchecked. To avoid a lot of expensive maintenance issues and repairs, choose membrane roofing.

The long lasting membrane roofing is also tougher. It does not contract or expand so it can withstand extreme weather much better than older roofing solutions. Keep note that while membrane roofing is stronger, lasts longer, and is more durable than regular roofs, you will still need to check on your roof periodically to make sure it is in good condition. Having a routine household maintenance/inspection will keep you prepared and lead to bigger savings.

For most people, their home is their biggest investment. It would be in your best interest to protect your home not only from the elements but also to increase its value by choosing a safer and more durable roof.   
Guide Editor Mon, 02 Jan 2017 07:54:11 -0500
GAF Or Tamko: Your 2 Best Roofing Choices So you’ve decided to put in a new roof? Like most people, this situation is thrust upon you rather than being a planned choice. And like others, you probably don’t know how to start. Let’s begin by choosing what material you should use. Your roof is one of the more important parts of your house that is taken for granted and is also a great investment.

There are are plenty of roofing manufacturer’s around but without a doubt, GAF and Tamko will be your best choices for reliability, availability, and price. Choosing other brands leaves too much to chance (e.g. warranties). Better to stick with long trusted companies that have reliably provided quality materials consistently over many years.

There are all kinds of shingle types to choose from. Most commonly used are 3-tab shingles as they provide the best quality at the best price. They may not be as fancy looking as others but they get the job done.

GAF Shingles

GAF is the biggest manufacturer of roofing materials in the country. They’ve been around since 1886 and have a strong reputation built mainly on word-of-mouth. GAF produces 3 kinds of roofing shingles and aso offers custom made shingles for different climates.

GAF has long been the preferred choice of most roofers and their 3-tab shingles is considered as the industry standard for most bang for buck. GAF also has a line of Timberline and Designer laminated shingles that can really add visual appeal and value to your roof but also come with a heavier price tag.

Tamko Shingles

Tamko is a smaller family owned business that has been around since the 1970’s and also have a good reputation for making reliable roofing solutions. Their popular heritage line comes in various types and models to cater to different kinds of houses. From rustic log cabins to ultra modern homes, Tamko more than likely has roofing shingles that perfectly complement your home’s design.  

Tamko products are typically available in more colors and are easily available in most areas. Just like GAF, tamko products also provide 50 year warranties on their products that cover a wide range of issues including, wind damage, UV fading, hail damage, and algae growth.

Weighing your options

Both companies offer certified roofers to install their roofing. For a guaranteed quality roof job, it is recommended you use their installers. But if you want to save some money, you should search around for local roofers. Doing this means you risk a botched installation though and if that happens it doesn’t matter how good the quality of your shingles are and you'll have to go scrambling for a GAF roof repair contractor. If you go with a local contractor, take the time to check out their references and see what kind of warranties or insurance they provide.

The verdict

Every roofer will have their own professional opinion on both GAF and Tamko shingles and will work with their preferred product.  Both provide very good value  and reliability and both also have good reputations.

Statistically speaking, more general & roofing contractors prefer GAF but Tamko does offer more versatility when it comes to aesthetics. If that matters to you, then you should work with a roofer who you can trust to work with Tamko shingles regardless of what (statistically speaking) most roofers recommend.

Guide Editor Mon, 02 Jan 2017 07:51:21 -0500
Choosing Between Flat Roofing and Sloped Roofing When choosing houses, one of the most important things to consider is a house’s functional design. And though most people take it for granted, one of the biggest influences on functional design is the home's exterior. The most basic purpose of a roof is to provide protection against the elements. Does a flat roof do just as well as a sloped roof?

What is a flat roof?

First of all, all home exteriors have a slope. Even flat exteriors. All roofs need to be sloped so that water can drain properly. Pooling water will always lead to damage. Flat roofs have a low slope and use membrane systems as roof covering. Membrane systems provide extra protection against leaks even with standing water present. There are various kinds of membrane systems to choose from. Note: Flat roofs do not use shingles.

The downsides of a flat roof

Just as with all roofs, the quality is only as good as the installation. With that in mind, you need to find a very good roofer to install flat roofs. Flat roofs are harder to install and are more vulnerable to leaks if not installed right. Along with being harder to install, flat roofs tend to have a shorter life span and are usually more expensive.

The advantages of a flat roof

You can stand on it. The best flat roofing lets you use the exterior in ways you could never accomplish with a sloped roof. This provides all kinds of opportunities limited only by your imagination. Flat roofing also tend to have big overhangs and this comes with all kinds of benefits but its biggest advantage definitely lies in its reduced maintenance costs on your overall roof.

The exterior in general will be harder to maintain than a sloped roof but you’ll also have better interior lighting and much lower maintenance concerns on the siding and windows. A pitched roof does not typically have overhangs so you will factor in the costs of exterior maintenance with that type of roof. Overall, the maintenance costs of a flat roof is much less than that of a sloped roof.

The advantages of a pitched roof

These are cheaper and easier to install and more roofers will be capable of installing it right. They have longer life spans and, over recent years, are available in more designs than ever. Shingles are a lot easier to install over membranes, hence their cheaper price.

If maintenance is a concern, a good rule to remember is that the simpler your roof, the easier it is to maintain. A roof with complex lines and multiple intersecting plains are more susceptible to damage and will cost more to install or repair. Finally, there is no doubt that pitched roofing mean less storm damage.

The verdict

Take note of the functionality of the house you choose. Being the kings and queens of your roof will depend entirely on your lifestyle and your preferences. Be sure to consider the upsides and downsides of the roof. If you want something low maintenance, look for a simple basic roof.

Guide Editor Mon, 02 Jan 2017 07:49:34 -0500
9 Tips for Saving Money on Heating Costs Heating and Air Conditioning

With cold weather is approaching, it’s getting to the point when you need to start thinking about your heater. Of course, climate control is always a pain in the wallet, and now that the temperatures outside are slipping outside of the typical summer ranges, you can't just leave the windows open anymore.

But with a little know-how and effort, you can keep the power bill down, even in our chilly 50-degree nights.

Lower the Thermostat

Much like keeping the thermostat at 80 during the summer, you can save money in the winter by lowering the thermostat to about 68ºF. Lowering it even further, by about 2 or 3 degrees, at night when you sleep, or when you are absent will further help you save money.

Heat Strips and Heat Pumps

Most common AC units in Florida come with heat strips or coils that heat the air. These are good for handling certain situations during the winter, where it might be cooler than what’s comfortable. However, they aren’t very efficient, and the colder a snap gets, the better the system needs to be in order to cope. 

If it gets cold enough, it may be necessary to invest in a heat pump, which is efficient enough to handle colder dips without running up the power bill.

Set Your Heating System to Auto

While setting the temperature, make sure you set the fan to “automatic,” instead of leaving on the “on” setting. Leaving your fan set to “on” all the time reduces the efficiency of the system.

Raise the Temperature Correctly

If you absolutely need to raise the temperature, and you have a heat pump, do it slowly. Raising the temperature too fast can trigger the heat strip within the unit, which can decrease efficiency dramatically and make things uncomfortable.

Portable Heaters

While Portable heaters are good for boosting the temperature in the room, they can be incredibly inefficient. Using it sparingly, when you need it most, is the best way to handle them, as running one constantly can cost about $100 a month.

Get Some Rugs or Carpeting

If a particular room just feels too cold, consider buying a rug or installing carpeting. Carpets and rugs are good heat insulators, which might be what a room needs to keep some of its heat inside.

Use the Warmth of the Sun

When the sun’s out, uncover your windows. The sun’s heat is the most efficient heat source, and windows are the best entries for said heat. When the sun’s not out, make sure you do the opposite, so as to prevent heat leaving your home from the windows.

Adjust Your Water Heater

Everyone has probably taken warm showers when it’s cold, which increases the workload for your water heater. Simply lowering the water heater temperature by increments of 10ºF can save you a lot. Furthermore, investing in water heater and pipe insulation will help keep the water warm as it travels, allowing you to get more out of your water heater.

Do Some Maintenance

Your heating and cooling systems will only work if they're well-maintained. Remember to clean or replace your air-filters. Make sure nothing is covering or blocking the vents. Have your system checked annually.

Check in and around your home for places you may be losing heat. Weather proofing can help keep heat in, so going around and caulking or weatherizing windows/doors will be a good investment of your time. If you see that there is damaged weather stripping, replace it. If you find the hang of a door allows for a heavy draft, consider getting a new door. 

These sorts of things can slip our minds from time to time, but the benefits extend further than heating and cooling costs.

Guide Editor Mon, 19 Dec 2016 21:57:56 -0500
Preparing Your Kitchen for Back to School The back to school stage can often seem daunting and stressful, especially when it comes to all of the preparations. Creating a plan in your mind will really help you to make the back to school period run smoothly, and by altering your home slightly you can ensure this is the case. The kitchen is often the busiest room in any home, especially on a weekday morning with everybody rushing to get ready for school and work, and therefore it’s really beneficial to create a kitchen style that works well for you and your routine. Routines are always altered throughout the back to school period, when you’re trying to find what works best, but following these simple tips will help you to ensure that your kitchen is ready to handle anything the back to school stage may throw its way!

Have a Good Clean

It’s the same in any room in the home, if it’s cluttered, it’s stressful and this is not what you need on that first week back to school. Having a good, thorough clean of your kitchen will help you to sort through any rubbish that has accumulated throughout the summer months, as well as remove any items that don’t belong in the kitchen but have managed to sneak their way in nonetheless. Clearing out your kitchen units of foods that may no longer be in date, as well as disposing of some half eaten items that have been stored in the fridge. Think ‘Tidy kitchen, Tidy mind’ and you’ll be just fine. Having a clean is also a great way of refreshing your mind, as you’re removing all of the dirt and rubbish from your kitchen which will instantly create a fresh, positive atmosphere for you and your family.

Create a Dedicated Lunch Spot

Preparing lunch boxes for one child can be a challenge, however if you have more than one to prepare on a morning, dedicating a section of your kitchen to be your lunch station is essential. This way you’re giving yourself a specific area to prepare the food and store the lunch boxes, which will make things in the kitchen much easier and neater. You can always get your little ones to help by bringing you the food required for that day’s lunch, and this way once you’ve used the food, you can put it straight back and you still have a neat, clean kitchen. You might want to consider what you have close by to your lunchbox station, as items such as a bin, chopping boards and sandwich bags will come in very handy!

Stock up on Everything

The last thing you want on a crazy Monday morning is to find out you’ve forgotten the butter for the sandwiches. Keeping a list of all items you need, marking when you run low and when they need to be replaced is a really good way of keeping things stocked up and preventing you from that dreaded moment of running out! Keeping your cupboards topped up with all items from bread, jam and peanut butter, to snacks that you need to put into the lunch boxes, will simply help you and give you peace of mind, knowing you have just what you need to prepare the lunches and for the morning to run smoothly.

Add Some Character

One of the most exciting parts of back to school is the whole organised, fresh start that gives everyone a new lease of life. Starting a new school year is so much fun for both children and parents, as you get to take on a new year with a fresh mind and positive attitude. Incorporating little organisational features into your kitchen will also really help you to keep that positive attitude, as well as keeping your children organised and interested. Whiteboards are a perfect feature to add to the kitchen. By introducing a whiteboard to your kitchen, you are able to keep a list of foods you may need to buy, reminders for your family and even add motivational quotes for your family to see each morning. Your whiteboard will add character and practicality to your kitchen and it’s a great way to keep everyone connected properly!

Guide Editor Tue, 11 Oct 2016 22:24:16 -0400
Long-Term Benefits of Doing a Construction Course When trying to get employed in the construction industry, it is important for you to obtain as much educational qualification as you can. Although you may have gone to university or been an apprentice, doing a construction course can improve your career prospects to a higher level. Some people are under the impression that enrolling for such a course is a waste of time and money. If you think so too, this is why you are wrong:

Higher Credibility

If you do not have an undergraduate degree, this is the ideal way to increase your credibility as a construction professional. Since this sector includes a lot of risks, employers wish to ensure that the workers are fully informed about the working platform. When your portfolio states that you have completed such courses, you will automatically become an eligible candidate for the job. This way, you will have an advantage over the other candidates who apply for the job. Furthermore, having a higher number of qualifications also enables you to find employment at good companies, and thereby enables you to get higher salaries.

Easy Access

One of the best features of these courses is the fact that you can do them from the comfort of your home. There is no need for you to move out of your house or enrol in an expensive university. Thanks to technology, it is now possible for you complete building courses online. This is not only convenient, but it is also cheaper and more accessible. This way, regardless of where you live, you will be able to complete your education. Furthermore, you must also note that online courses are much more affordable as you do not have to spend on accommodation, travelling, or books.

Wider Skillset

Similar to most industries in the world, the building sector is developing on a regular basis too. So, if you think that you have learned it all, you could not be more wrong. Since the industry is changing at a rapid pace, there is so much to learn and so many skills to acquire. When you do a building course, you will be able to learn skills and abilities that you can then use in your working environment. You will not only learn the basic builder skills, but you will also learn ones that are specific to your career path. When you learn new skills, you will be able to perform your job tasks more efficiently.

Better Employment Opportunities

Construction is not a job industry where you can survive without proper educational qualifications. The skills that you learn during these courses will enable you to test out various jobs in the sector. If you are indecisive about your career path in this industry, doing such a course can be helpful. Since you will be obtaining a wide range of skills and capabilities, you will be able to test out different job roles. This will enable you to find a job that suits your abilities. You can also find a job that you are truly passionate about.

Apart from these benefits, you will also be able to meet various professionals from the building industry. Meeting such individuals will enable you to make good contacts and expand your network even before you get employed in this industry. This way, you will be able to build a strong foundation for your future in the construction and home building sector.

Guide Editor Sun, 09 Oct 2016 22:41:53 -0400
What is Propane? What Propane is made of

When most people hear the word “propane,” they often think of that white container that sits underneath of their outdoor grill. Those that do imagine this, however, usually do not realize the many uses of propane for their home and business.

What Exactly Is It?

Propane is a substance that can be either gas or liquid. At atmospheric pressure, it becomes its gas form. The gas form can easily be used for home heating, cooking, drying clothes, and more. In order to transport the gas, it is turned into a liquid. This is done by raising atmospheric pressure, which turns propane into its liquid form. When you use a canister of propane, the substance inside of the canister is liquid. Upon turning the valve, propane is released to a regular atmospheric pressure and becomes gas once again.

Where Does Propane Come From?

Propane is a gas that is a by-product of processes already in place, including petroleum refining and natural gas processing. Propane is extracted during these processes to prevent later issues with the petroleum or gas that is being processed. Once the propane has been separated, it is condensed into the containers that you are so used to seeing under your barbecue grill.

How Can It Be Used?

Whether you are considering propane for your home or business, there are a number of different applications for this gas. Here are some of the most popular uses:

• Heating- Propane is an excellent alternative fuel source for heating. It can be used to power fireplaces, hot water tanks, space heaters, and more.

• Back-Up Generators- Another good use for propane is for back-up generators. Areas that frequently have power outages from storms or natural disasters may find this especially beneficial. However, home and business owners in any area can benefit from choosing to keep propane on hand for their back-up generator. It stores well, so you do not have to worry about replacing it as time goes on.

• The Agricultural Industry- More and more farmers are learning the benefits of propane for powering things like the tractors and machinery they use on their land and the crop dryers they use for their crops. Propane is often more affordable than gas or diesel and it can help to lower a farm’s overall operating costs.

• Laundry Dryers- Whether you own a laundromat or only have a single dryer in your home, you can reap the benefits from choosing propane to power your clothes dryer.

• Landscaping Equipment- Even things like lawn mowers and weed eaters can be powered using propane. This can be helpful whether you are running a landscaping business or just maintaining your yard.

• Industrial Vehicles- Things like fork lifts, cherry pickers, and any other number of machines can be powered using propane. This can improve your overall cost in any industry, from factories to small distribution companies.

Why Is Propane a Better Fuel Alternative?

Propane is a clean-burning alternative to fuels like diesel and gasoline. It was even approved as an alternative by the Clean Air Act of 1990, which aimed to reduce pollution across the United States. In addition to being the eco-friendlier option when it comes to energy, propane is also more affordable than other alternatives.

As you choose the means to power your heat and appliances in your home and/or business, propane is definitely an option that should not be overlooked. While it is not yet the most popular option, it is the option that is better for the environment and your pocketbook. Companies like Discount Propane make accessing propane affordable and easy, leading for it to be a viable option.

Guide Editor Thu, 29 Sep 2016 11:40:19 -0400
Tips To Prepare A Home For An Open House Arranging the home for a viewing by potential buyers seems like something that is really simple when the truth is that it is so much more complicated than what many think. In reality we are faced with so many small things that can make a huge difference. It is very important that you prepare properly and that you do all that you can to make the home more appealing. According to Scott Haveson, the big problem is that homeowners normally try to do everything alone. The truth is that a sellers agent can help out a lot more than what many believe. Here are some of the things that they do when preparing the open houses.

Removing Personal Elements From Rooms

When the interested buyer walks in the home, he/she will want to be able to picture how life would be like in that property. Because of this, it is a really good idea to simply remove every single element that would highlight the fact that someone is now living in the room. This means you should try to remove all the family pictures and heirlooms you may be having around. Contrary to what many believe, the presence of such elements diminishes the possibility of receiving a bid. It does not increase the interest of the viewer.

Making Sure All Lights Work Properly

A well-lit light is going to be so much more attractive, even if you are arranging an open house during the day. Make sure that all the lights work since some people are going to be interested in checking the electrical features. Tests can help you to see if all works well. Do think about what lights are going to make a room look better. That is definitely one thing that will increase curb appeal.

Take Care Of The Outdoors

The first thing that people are going to see when they come to the open house is the door and the landscape. Because of this, you need to be sure that you are always going to maw the lawn and trim the bushes. This is always something that is going to help increase that curb appeal. Also, take a look at the windows and focus on the area around the open door. You will surely love the results. You basically want to be sure that people are going to like what they see from the moment they first catch a glimpse of the home.

Arranging Some Snacks

This is not mandatory but it is going to make everyone a lot more comfortable. Snacks are not used to bribe the interested buyers, as you may think at first glance. They are put there in order to have people stay as comfortable as possible. Do be sure that you also offer some drinks. Everything is a minor investment that will pay itself off. During the negotiation stages people are much more willing to go a little higher in the event that they feel they were treated properly and with respect.

Guide Editor Thu, 15 Sep 2016 04:32:41 -0400
How to Troubleshoot Your AC ac repair.jpg

What can you do when your AC unit is not working right? Take a look at this short guide on how you can troubleshoot your AC unit before calling a professional. You'll learn basic things about how to operate a malfunctioning air conditioner and how to make it work again, without a service call.

Let's jump right into this tutorial:

Before doing any repair work, you'll have to identify why your air conditioner doesn't work properly. AC units are fairly complicated machines, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Here are some common problems you can encounter and possible fixes:

1. Air conditioner not working at all – you turn it on, and nothing

If you cannot turn the AC unit on, the most likely causes include blown fuses, improperly set thermostat or a damaged internal switch. Here are some possible solutions to these problems:

• turn the thermostat to COOL; make sure it's not set to OFF or HEAT

• check out the room's temperature and the thermostat temperature, which should be lower – this causes a demand for cooler air

• check the internal circuits and the breakers; they should be on the ON position; replace any blown fuses or damaged wires

• check other switches around the AC unit and make sure all are turned ON

• check the water condensation tray – some AC units don't work when the tray is filled. In this case, there is a switch that is automatically turned OFF     when filled

• make sure the blower door near the air handler is closed

2. Poor air flow

Your AC is working, but the air flow is poor and cooling a room takes much more time than usual. This can be because the air filter is dirty and needs cleaning. In this case you can do the following:

• check the air filter; if it's dirty, clean it or replace it completely

• if the air filter looks clean, check out the ducts and pipes; some of them can be crooked, damaged or perforated;

• check the dampers and vents to make sure they are set in the correct OPEN position

3. The AC unit doesn't dehumidify the air efficiently

When an AC unit fails to dehumidify a room, it's usually because the unit is oversized. This is because the air is cooled so fast that the dehumidification process fails to complete. The unit will try to start and stop repeatedly to dehumidify the air, but the air will still feel too humid. Basically, the thermostat tells the unit that the air is cool enough, but the humidity remains a problem. The only solution to this problem is to reinstall a smaller AC unit. Ideally, you should ask for professional help when buying a new air conditioner, but you can do it on your own.

If the AC unit is correctly sized, your home may be excessively humid. This may be caused by leakage, open windows, and drainage issues. Check out whether your AC unit produces enough condensate. Here are other solutions:

• close your windows and doors to make sure no humid air gets into your room

• make sure the condensation unit is properly working

• if nothing works, use a separate dehumidifier

4. Cooling takes too long and the AC unit struggles

If cooling a room takes too long, the AC unit might be too old and the compressor might be worn out. Basically, the compressor lost its ability to compress the refrigerant agent. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to repair the AC unit if this is the problem. Only a professional technician should attempt to replace the compressor.

All in all, AC units are fairly complex machines but there is some basic troubleshooting that every homeowner should know. If you are lucky, your air conditioner only needs a little cleaning or a switch is off, so you can repair it on your own. However, for any serious issue, like a damaged compressor, you should call Bob Heinmiller AC.

Guide Editor Wed, 14 Sep 2016 11:22:06 -0400
How to Become a Landlord

Becoming a landlord is something that people often think of as a way to make money. It seems like a pretty easy job and easy way to make a profit. People think that all you have to do is find a quality property and put a sign out front. While being a landlord is a great way to earn money, it is not without requirements; it is a job just like any other. It has requirements and considerations. To decide if you want to be a landlord, you should look through this checklist and evaluate whether it seems like a thing you would like to do.

Find the Right Property

Finding the right property is the first step in the landlord’s checklist. This property should be located in a good spot for renters. A common refrain in real estate is that the three most important aspects of a piece of property are location, location, and location. First, you have to find somewhere that you think people will want to rent. University towns are a great choice for rental properties, because students will spend only two or three years living in a place before moving. They’ll be likely to rent property instead of buying.

You also need to make sure that the property is in good condition. If you already own the property, you can skip to the next step. However, if you don’t own the property, you have to go through all the different aspects of buying a home; it has to be inspected by professionals and then taken through all the appropriate legal steps. Once you’ve done that, you need to perform inspections specific to landlords.

Health and Safety Checks

As a landlord, you have certain requirements for your home before you are legally allowed to rent it to tenants. You have to perform health and safety checks to ensure that the electrical and gas systems are safe. You also have to install carbon monoxide detectors. You must perform a test for Legionnaires’ disease risk. These are legal requirements that you will have to contract an inspector to perform.

It is also a good idea to have an electrician perform a portable appliance test. It’s not legally required, but it will help set you apart from other landlords.

Fire Checks

You must also perform fire checks to reduce the home’s risk of fire. You must install smoke detectors on every floor of the home. In certain properties, it is mandatory to install fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and fire doors. In properties where these are not mandated, it’s still a good idea to include them. They will help keep your tenants safe as well as keeping the home safe from fire damage.


You must be accredited as a landlord with your local community. This ensures that you are performing a legal operation pursuant to all relevant laws. This is not the end of your duties as a landlord, but once you perform these steps, you will be a legal landlord.

You need to also work towards being a great landlord by providing quality services for your tenants.

Guide Editor Wed, 24 Aug 2016 06:16:47 -0400
How to Save Your House From Water Damages Homes and Water DamageDepending on the severity of storms and hurricanes around your area, there may be little you can do to salvage or protect your home. This article however, is geared at preventing water damage that arises from moderate/intermediate storms and hurricanes.

While they may not tear down your home or uproot it, they can cause severe damage if you don’t take the necessary steps to minimize the possible causes of water damages. The key to having a dry home after an intermediate storm or hurricane often lies in the preventive measures that you put in place. The following tips are some of the best preventive steps you can take:

Ensure Your Gutters and Downspouts are Free of Debris

Your gutters and downspouts play a crucial role in keeping your home flood-free. These help to channel runoffs away from the home into the appropriate drainages. Unfortunately, many homeowners tend to neglect these parts of their homes, to their detriment. The weight of water or ice on a blocked gutter often means that the gutter might balk under the weight, while the soffit and fascia would be compromised.

Once this happens, the runoff falls close to the home, causing erosion and possibly compromising the basement in the process, resulting in basement flooding and landscape defacement.   

Pay Attention to Your Yard’s Slope

Your yard slope also plays a role in determining the structural foundation of your home. It should channel water away from the home, not towards it. So, if your yard isn’t sloped outwards towards the drainage or gutter, start thinking of doing that right now. The more runoff you can channel away from your home, the better your odds of preventing water damages.

If you need help, get an expert to check the gradient  near your property to determine if your yard slope is excellent.

Check Your Ceiling and Attic

What’s the state of your roof? This is an important question particularly if there are water stains on your ceiling or in the attic. A leaky roof may be able to take regular rain. But it won’t stand a chance in the face of storms and hurricanes. So, lookout for watermarks in the home.

If your roof is also structurally compromised –such as broken roof tiles, weak spots and so on- you should seriously consider hiring a roofing repair and installation expert to come fix that before it gets out of hand.

Check Surrounding Plants’ Branches and Roots

The Advocate recently published an article about an anonymous person who drilled holes in the trunks of eight Chinese pistache trees in New Orleans in the bid to kill the trees. Whoever drilled the holes did that to protect homes nearby as the trees’ roots seek out water aggressively.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be an issue. But when the trees are close to home, their aggressive root spreading means that they compromise the foundations of nearby homes, essentially compromising their structural integrity and leaving their basements open to flooding.

The same applies to homes with overhanging branches. 100km winds can rip these branches, slamming them into the home in the process and opening up the home for flooding and rain.

This is why you need to pay special attention to the vegetation surrounding your home. Ensure that the plants don’t damage your septic tank, drainage, pipes in the home and water system among other things.

If, unfortunately, you weren’t able to do this before your home suffered considerable water damage, you need the help of an expert water damage repair service in Florida. And even if you tried your best and still hit very badly by the hurricane or storm, call central florida commercial services  to repair your home and property.

Guide Editor Fri, 19 Aug 2016 23:17:54 -0400
7 Rules to Ensure the Perfect House Inspection before Selling You have entertained the buyer; they like the price for the house, but now they want to visit the property and inspect it . They will look at the property to chalk out the minor details before the actual sale agreement is drawn up and the final price decided.

The inspection stage is important for home owners since it is the make or break part of whether a potential buyer will decide to walk away from the deal or go ahead with purchasing the house. A house inspection needs to be perfect for an Aussie to be willing to make the purchase. Here are seven cardinal rules that need to be followed to make sure the inspection goes on smoothly:

1.    Clean Your House

This is perhaps the most obvious yet least practiced rule in inspections. Cleanliness is important every step of the way, whether you are deciding to sell the house or not. Come inspection time though, cleaning becomes all the more important because it’s the details that leave a lasting impression on the buyer. Make sure you get the floors mopped, windows wiped, carpets cleaned, etc.

2.    The House Should Smell Clean

A clean home is not quite clean enough unless it smells good. Nothing puts a buyer off quite like a dirty home or one that smells funny. If you have used the home for cooking or have pets, make sure you clean the house and bring fresh air into the house by opening windows and using air purifiers.

3.    Allow the visitors move to move freely within the house

The last thing you want potential buyers to feel is that your home lacks space to walk into and space to comfortably flow from one room to another. Before an inspection begins make sure you go through each room and rearrange furniture to make enough room for visitors to move freely.

4.    Depersonalize Your Home

At a home inspection the buyer will take a look at the home keeping in mind their needs and wants. The more easily they are able to envisage themselves living in the home, the greater the chance of the inspection being successful. You need to depersonalize your home and remove the unnecessary clutter from your home.

5.    Draw the Buyer’s Eyes

Make your home appealing to the buyer. The best way to do that is to draw their eyes to the more refined parts of the property. Eliminate items such as small appliances, toys and knickknacks etc. Add rugs, and light fittings to the home to make it more visually appealing for the buyer on inspection.

6.    Use the Right Photos

Brochures about your property and other documents regarding the property need to be carefully crafted. Make sure you use the best photos to entice the prospective buyer and to manipulate their perception even after the inspections.

7.    Regulate the Temperature inside Your Home

How do you like it in your home? Warm or cold, come inspection time you need to regulate the temperature of your home so that the visitors are comfortable.

These are only some of the golden rules to follow when you are preparing for an inspection to sell your home.

Guide Editor Thu, 18 Aug 2016 23:44:31 -0400
How Water Softeners Can Benefit Your Health Water Quality and Your Health

Water is such an important and integral part of our lives that we often tend to forget about its importance.

Maybe this is why we take it for granted, assuming that it automatically provides the necessary hydration that we need. Yet, the truth is that it doesn’t just provide hydration, it is essential to our complete health and well being.

There two types of water: hard water and soft water. The difference between both lies in the abundance of magnesium and calcium in hard water. While there’s no known health hazard associated with hard water, studies have found a weak correlation between cardiovascular disease in men and the use of hard water.

Although, the World Health Organization has ruled the data as insufficient to reach any meaningful conclusion. There, there are studies linking hard water usage to eczema in children.

Whether these are true or not, the reality is that it’s better to completely avoid any scenarios where there is the possibility of your health being compromised by hard water usage or consumption.

Like it or not, water, whether hard or soft are a necessity in the home. So, you can either continue to endure the hard water with its attendant downsides like:

  • Inadequate foaming when bathing or washing

  • The formation of scum which is somewhat messy

  • The turbid or cloudy look of your swimming pool –which means fewer people will get in and make use of it as the summer begins

  • Heat rash and general discomfort arising from excess heat in the summer and the reluctance of you and your family to use the hard water all the time

  • The tendency for kids to avoid having their bath, which as you know, means they’ll be living carriers of untold germs, further worsening their preponderance to ailments and diseases

  • Increased pipe corrosion in the home, which could mean dangerously high levels of iron in water coming from the pipes

  • Possibility of diarrhea arising from consuming water with high amounts of magnesium salts

Or you can try and remedy the situation by applying water softeners that can help reduce the amounts of these compounds in the home. With water softening agents in your water system, there’s less risk of any exposure to these conditions.

With them, you never have to worry about scum forming on your bathroom floors, in the sink and on your utensils. Now that the summer is here, you and your loved ones will be able to spend more time in the pool when it gets ridiculously hot and even the air conditioning seems inefficient at combating the relentless heat.

Since children are very susceptible to the heat and more likely to develop heat rash, keeping them cool by ensuring they take a cool bath frequently -2 to 3 times daily- can help keep the rashes from developing.

Even if you can drink hard water without any issues, your kids may not like it that much. Having your hard water softened means that the children will like the taste a bit more, thus reducing their likelihood of suffering from dehydration in the summer.

The installation of a water softener also means less corrosion of your pipes in the house. This also means that you and your loved ones can drink and use as much water as you want without worrying about excess iron or even the weird metallic taste in water from highly corroded pipes. You also never have to deal with the smelly odors common in waters with high sulfur, manganese and iron content.

Water softening is really something you and your family must invest in to keep you and your loved ones healthy and comfortable. Suspect that your water is hard, talk to Chicago’s leading water softening company today. Safeway Water offers free water analysis to help accurately determine if your water is hard or soft.

Guide Editor Wed, 17 Aug 2016 23:27:16 -0400
Managing Summer Pests: A Guide for Floridians Summer Pest Management

The summer is often associated with people going out, tanning, tall glasses of frosty drinks, lots of swimming, beach-going, vacations and many other fun activities. It is also the most popular time of the year for insects and pests.

Florida’s warm, humid and sunny climate in particular attracts many bugs. There’s an estimated 12,000 insect species in Florida. While many of these aren’t considered pests, a considerable number of them like termites, ants, palmetto bugs, mosquitoes, bees, wasps, and cockroaches are.

As for those insects that aren’t pests, their flying, crawling and general invasion can be a bit of an issue too. So, you need to take every precaution or measure to protect your home and loved ones from them. The following tips should help you do that.

Keep the Home Clean and Clutter Free

Dirty and clutter filled homes provide the perfect hiding place for insects. Do all you can to clear all clutter, clean out the house, clean up all beverage and food spills instantly, and keep your pantry dry and moisture free.

Block All Possible Access Points

This includes caulking your windows, ensuring there are no leakages or spaces through which they can get in the home. You must also drain all stagnant water in your immediate vicinity.

If there are vacant properties in the neighborhood with stagnant pools, see if there’s a possible way to have those pools drained. This is important because stagnant water serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes which can carry the deadly Nile or Zika virus. If you can’t drain the pools on other properties, get mosquito nets and sleep under them at night.

Ensure Foods are Properly Stored

Pests are attracted to places with abundant food supply. If your foods aren’t properly preserved, stored, wrapped or covered, you will soon be host to a wide array of pests looking to establish their colonies.

Use Dehumidifier and keep the Home Aerated

Humidity can be a real issue during the summer. Unfortunately, the discomfort isn’t just limited to you. It can also attract pests which thrive and grow in moist environments. So, ensure that your home’s humidity is minimal and get rid of any possible sources of it.

Trim Surrounding Tree Branches, Bushes, and Hedges

Trees, branches, bushes, and hedges typically provide excellent hiding places for many insects because they provide shade and can be dark. So, if you have a lot of foliage surrounding your home, make sure you have them trimmed and cut.

Also, get rid of dead wood, debris or anything that can serve as a hiding place. Doing this will prevent the pests from finding a hiding place and lower their population around your home.

Frequently Clean Pet Beddings

Pets frequently carry fleas and ticks from outside the home. Leaving the pet’s beddings unattended can also be bad for your family’s health. So, check your pets for ticks and fleas as well as have their beddings frequently cleaned. Also, make sure their litter is properly emptied in order to not attract flies.

Have Your Apartment Fumigated

This is important even if you’re moving houses. In fact, we would recommend that you have your home fumigated twice a year. Most homeowners don’t do this and yet wonder why they have so many insects in their homes.

Over the counter insecticides, diatomaceous earth and insect zappers can only do so much. Not only can they be inconveniencing, they are also limited in their reach. Insect zappers can only kill insects that go close to it, insecticides can only reach insects that are not in hiding, and diatomaceous earth is just a huge inconvenience.

And even then, if these kill the adults and nymphs, they may not kill the eggs. This is why you need to fumigate as it kills all insects in ALL  forms –eggs, nymph, and adults. So, get in touch with Heron Lawn & Pest Control today to get rid of all your pest problems today.

Guide Editor Fri, 12 Aug 2016 20:17:19 -0400
Turning Your House into Your Home build a flag -exterior design .jpg

Every house strives to become a home. What we call home is debatable and certainly different for most of us. We have different tastes and preferences when it comes to interior design, architecture, and landscaping. While some prefer an urban condo, others would go for a suburban family home surrounded by a green, freshly cut lawn. There's one thing we all agree on, however: we all want a house that feels like home. It's what we, as people, strive for: a place to call our home.

It's difficult to exactly pinpoint how a house becomes a home. We have different opinions about what is cozy, what is nice and what is relaxing, but there are some ways that will definitely help you add personality to a plain, modest house. Let's take a look at how simple items can add style to your home and make it special:

Look for a sleek front door

It may seem a cliché, but the front door says a lot about your home. You have to make your home look as inviting and welcoming as possible, but don't go overboard. If you have a porch, the job is even easier: just make sure the front door has a large window. On the other hand, if you don't have a porch, you should choose a front door that gives a special vibe to the front facade. A good idea is to go for simple rectangular shapes, straight lines, and natural wood. Unpainted wood (only shellac or lacquer-treated) is great if you want to give your home a minimal, cottage-like look. Just make sure it's the same style as the front door and they both go well with the rest of your home.

Plants and schrubs

A dash of greenery will definitely make your home stand out in the neighborhood. There are plenty of ways to decorate your home with plants and flowers: you can go for porch plants, window boxes, flower beds, or climbing plants. You'll just have to know how to manage and organize these small green additions, and your home will be a star in the neighborhood in no time. Porches are ideal spots to place plants that love darker areas, for instance, the popular and easy-to-care-for Boston fern. Window boxes are great additions which will instantly make any home spectacularly inviting and charming. These small boxes can hold small flowers or hanging plants, but also cacti and succulents. Roses, clematis, and ivy are some of the most popular climbing plants that every house should have. They do grow slower than other plants, but the results are worth the wait.

Stone paths and wooden decks

Stone is a natural element that can add a cozy feeling to your home, especially when carefully laid out in slabs, surrounded by a healthy lush lawn. A stone path leading to your front door is absolutely stunning and will make your home look truly special. They are easy to install and will completely change the way your home looks.

Gardens and decorative flags

Flags can really help your house look great; they are cheap, easy to install and come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. Many homeowners use them in their gardens and on the front facade of their homes, especially during special events, holidays or parties. Build A Flag, a company based in Florida, can help you decorate your home with any type of flag. For instance, season-themed house flags are particularly popular and can come in various colors and shapes. Also, the company offers a wide range of custom made garden flag stands, address signs and flagpoles, thus helping you create your dream home in no time.

Guide Editor Fri, 12 Aug 2016 11:36:31 -0400
What to Do If Your Well Dries Up? What to do with a dried up wellWells can dry up or start to produce limited amounts of water for a number of reasons, and once this happens you may be left wondering what to do. First of all, you need to be aware that the amount of groundwater changes over time because the water system is affected by factors such as drought. The natural fluctuations of water levels will have the greatest effect for shallow wells and wells that are failing, both of which will tend to dry up in the fall of a drought year. Typically, groundwater levels are highest in the early spring because of thawing snow and spring rain. Water levels begin to fall in May and typically keep dropping through summer to their lowest point in late September or October when fall rains start to replace the groundwater again.  Usually the fall and winter rains refill the underground water supply, but if there is an extended drought, then this natural cycle is affected and the supply of water will be reduced. Another factor is that groundwater is stored in fractures formed in the rocks. These fractures store and also channel water. A productive well must be located in a fracture or pass through them, and fractures can run dry especially during a drought.

Even if there is enough groundwater, wells can run dry due to age or the accumulation of debris. Over a number of years, deposits can build up in a well until it stops producing water. A sign of this is when tap water becomes suddenly murky or muddy; if the water tastes different; or if there is noise from the taps due to air. Another warning sign of trouble is the loss of water after doing laundry.

If your well runs dry then you need to consider your options: the first of which is to do nothing and hope the ground water replenishes it after winter. Other options are to increase the water yield, drill a new well, hydrofracture the existing well, or re-drill the existing well down to a lower aquifer.

If you still have limited water and want to try to increase the yield, then you can consider water saving options and other ways to get more out of it before you think about drilling a new well. In addition to installing efficient showerheads, you can install a tank to collect runoff and rainwater from the roof. Installing a large grey water system under your home with holes for drainage is a great way to get rid of used water from dishes, showers, and laundry. You also want to check factors that may be affecting the yield since the problem could be as simple as the placement of the submersible water pump if the water has dropped below the location of the pump. Then it will pull air into the system instead of water. The age of the well can also affect yield since you can usually only get 20 to 30 years from one. Over time, yield may decline because of sediment or mineral scale build-up.

Hydro Fracturing (or hydrofracking) is another option to potentially revive a well. Hydrofracking uses high pressure to push water through the well into the bedrock, which can flush and remove particles and rock fragments from existing fractures and increase their size. This will usually increase the flow of water and develop a larger network of water bearing fractures to supply water to the well. Hydrofracking can be used with older wells that have reduced water recovery rates, but it also can be used to increase the yields of newly drilled wells which aren’t producing enough water. If you hydrofrack the well, you might get enough flow back into it so it becomes full of water again.

If restoring an existing well does not work or does not appear to be an option because of your location, then it may be necessary to drill a new well or re-drill the existing well to a lower aquifer. Water aquifers are not uniformly or evenly distributed, so there may be other parts of your property that have available water. If you have a small property with only an acre or two of land, then there may be no other likely locations for a new well or it may cost too much to transport water across your property if you do find another place to drill a well. In this case, you may want to consider deepening your well to increase its yield and take a chance on finding fractures containing water. Typically, the deeper you go into the ground, the greater the chances of finding a fracture; however this is not guaranteed.

Depending on your area, you may be able to connect your property to a community well or a city water system if these options are available. This will generally be costly and may not be available where you live. Whatever you chose, it is best to get the advice of experts, like Crystal Clear Water & Well Systems, who can look at your well and your land before giving some recommendations.

Guide Editor Fri, 12 Aug 2016 11:35:00 -0400