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Wasting Energy is Not Cool – The Draft Stopper is the Sensible Solution

Wasting Energy is Not Cool – The Draft Stopper is the Sensible Solution

Many different products have been designed to try and help us overcome the problems associated with energy loss in the home. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that every single building that we live in is very porous, even though we might not be able to see this with the naked eye. Of course we cannot live in a sealed box and need windows and doors, as well as a certain amount of natural ventilation, but this does not make for smart energy use.

A typical home has dozens of locations where our expensive conditioned air could escape. As heat tends to rise, in winter we should be focused on making sure that we have enough insulation in the attic and protection around the attic door to ensure that it does not escape this way. However, we also need to look at all our windows and doors for action as well.

Even though there are so many different products and solutions available to us, the conventional draft stopper is still one of the best ways to ensure that we keep the air in its place. These products might not be the most aesthetically pleasing to look at, but they are highly cost-effective and certainly do the job, which is the main point.

A homeowners budget is stretched so thinly during this ongoing recession that we cannot afford to have to deal with the ever increasing cost of energy. Analysts estimate that this is likely to increase by something close to 40% per year in real terms and we should do everything in our power to be energy efficient. Draft stopper products are your first port of call.

It might be sensible for you to consider buying a thermal detection device to find the source of leaks around your home. You might be able to borrow one, but in any case if you think about how much it might be able to save you, go ahead. Combine this with the draft stopper products that you will procure after you have finished your work as a detective and you are ahead of the game.

A thermal detection device works by pinpointing a significant difference in temperature around your windows or doors. This will be the location of cool air infiltration, as an example and will allow you to plan for the positioning of draft stoppers. Remember that once you place these products in their correct locations, you need not worry about your valuable dollars evaporating into the air outside.

Do you know that 20% or more of the air that we condition for our use is lost due to poor insulation and efficiency? Apply this figure to the cost of your monthly utility bill and see how much it’s worth to you in terms of real dollars spent.

Energy efficiency may sound as if it could be an expensive initiative for you, but it doesn’t have to be. The typical draft stopper is the most cost-effective option, made from ground corn cob and polypropylene, designed to be absolutely perfect for the job.…

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How to Unclog a Toilet

How to Unclog a Toilet

The task of going near a toilet with the intention of unclogging it is not a particularly appealing one. However, this is something you will need to attempt yourself, particularly if you do not wish to pay for a plumber to come and fix the problem. We all know that we wish to keep that option as the last resort. On the more positive side of things, we know that unclogging a toilet does not require expertise skill which makes your task much easier. The same cannot be said for other areas of plumbing which require complex handling skills.

Before you do anything else, the first thing you should do is to identify what is actually causing the clog. You should do this with any other clogs that you get around the house too. There are many items that end up causing clogs in toilets, as many people try to dispose items which are not suitable for the toilet. For instance, this is the case with face wipes or cotton wool. In these cases it will be necessary to use the plunger. An important tip to remember is that toilet paper is made in a way that it breaks away easily whilst being flushed. The same cannot be said for some other items.

If on the other hand, you hear bubbling in the tub, then chances are that your sewer line is clogged. You should try turning on the bathroom sink if you hear bubbling. If this makes matters worse, then it is very likely that you will need to call a plumber, as plunging alone will not suffice.

Before you start plunging, you first need to make sure that there is enough water in the toilet. This is important as it will work in pushing the clog all the way out of the drain. The method is to plunge up and down quite a few times so the plunger fills with water. Your problem may not be resolved in the initial hurdle so you may have to repeat this process quite a few times to solve the blockage problem.

The key to all this is to insert a little aggression in the plunging. This will work to force the water in the plunger through the waste outlet of the toilet , dislodging the blockage in the process. You may splash a little water outside the bowl, however you can avoid this messy business by not filling up with too much water.

Unfortunately, even with all that plunging and mess your blockage problem may still not be resolved. You may have attempted to plunge many times, failing each time. Do not worry as there is another method you can use. For this you will need what you call a closet snake (or a closet auger). In order to use the snake, all you need to do is expand the handle all the way out, insert the functional end into the outlet of the toilet bowl, and crank it down into the bowl, making sure the cable goes into the drain.

Once the bowl has been drained, you should then flush the toilet pulling the cable up at the same time. This is so that the cable can be cleaned. It is strongly advised that you flush the toilet a good number of times before you put the snake away.…

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Banishing Roofing Repair Ripoffs

Banishing Roofing Repair Ripoffs

When hailstorms hit Madison, Wisconsin in July, the damaged roofs they left in their wake prompted experts to warn city homeowners about roofing repair companies. Soon thereafter, yard signs and flyers from roof repair companies littered the neighborhood. In response, reported, “Local contractors and consumer protection experts urge homeowners to do their homework first and check a [roofing] contractor’s history to avoid signing with a so-called ‘storm chaser’ who might come swooping through the area.”

The report went on to state, “State officials said that they urge consumers to learn more about any company.” More specifically, Wisconsin’s Bureau of Consumer Protection “warned that residents should be cautious of groups who might be trying to rush the deal.” Officials from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection further cautioned, “Nearly every time there’s a big weather event somewhere in the state, the office does get calls about questionable contractors.”

Meanwhile, in Denver, Colorado, the damaging storms the city received earlier in the summer season was prompting officials to echo Madison’s sentiments. A KDVR report titled “Tips to avoid storm repair scams” revealed that in the month of June, “the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau says 85 percent of inquiries it received were related to roof repair.”

To prevent homeowners from falling victim to such scams and to save itself the headache of dealing with the resulting complaints, the BBB issued a list of suggestions to “avoid getting taken as far as [roof] repairs are concerned.” They included:

1. Take your time in choosing a roofing contract. Although the repair may seem urgent, signing on the dotted line with the first company who knocks on your door is setting yourself up for disaster. “Always get three bids and check each company out with your BBB,” the Denver Better Business Bureau advised.

2. Now is not the time to be trustworthy. Just because someone looks the part or says he is a roofing professional doesn’t mean he is. “Get [his] business card and contact the main office for the company [he] say [he] works for and verify the person’s employment,” the BBB cautions.

3. Try to stick to a roofing repair contractor in your own state. Out-of-state businesses are more likely to be fly-by-night operations that will be near impossible to track down, let alone dispute, down the road when a shoddy roof repair job becomes apparent.

4. Don’t sign anything without reading it thoroughly. If something is unclear to you, seek legal counsel. The BBB recommends that “you clearly understand what you and the contractor are both responsible for.”

5. Your home insurance company is your best friend on the heels of roofing damage. Contact them immediately and “conduct an inspection with the claims adjuster before involving any contractor.”

6. Make sure you contact your insurance carrier yourself. Never divulge “your insurance information to a contractor and do not allow them to file a claim on your behalf.”

7. Check with you county building department to ensure that the roofing contractor you’re considering is licensed.

8. If you’ve already signed a contract “that locks you into paying even if no work is done,” admit your folly and “contact your attorney immediately.”…

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The Need for Home Repair Permits

The Need for Home Repair Permits

Before making aesthetic changes, you would have to start fixing up damaged or even faulty equipment on all aspects of the house. Jump starting on home repairs can really help in improving the look of your home. It is important to include this in the planning process for home improvement.

If this is the whole plan, then you start determining what needs to be repaired. Once you have identified the major repairs needed, you may have to identify as well if the kind of repairs needed would require a permit.

Yes, in this country, permit may be needed before you start digging up holes on your backyard or even putting down walls.

A permit may be an additional expense on your part but it has a great purpose. It ensures that your repair works or any contractors have complied with the minimum safety standards set by the government. And these safety standards are reflected on what they call Building Codes.

Permits are required for alterations or repairs that may alter the original floor plan of the house. Even if you are planning to replace windows or doors, it may be required of you too. But that is the thing. Permits required for repairs would vary from town to town. That is why before you even do anything, you must check your local laws.

What are the benefits of permits? Here are the following:

1. It ensures that the repairs made is safe to the public and your family. There are plenty of DIY tips to repairing. And as you are convinced that you have the natural abilities to successfully pull off a major alteration, you may still need some guidance to ensure safety.

2. Hence, if the alterations are safe, you may avoid future liabilities. You may avoid possible lawsuits initiated by the damages you have done to your neighbor or any passersby.

3. This is your ultimate protection from contractors from doing any cheap works beyond your knowledge.

Do not fail to get a permit. There are several reasons for its importance. First, you won’t get to pay fines. Second, you do not end up undoing what you have done or worse, delaying completion of the project. And lastly, you do not end up going to jail.

Therefore, start making calls to your local government offices or pay them a visit if you plan to make bigtime repairs. As you plan that quick trip take note of the requirements for the application. On the other hand, it might be best if you can start bringing them. The documents needed may include some of your personal data, identification numbers, your contractor details, their licenses, insurance, floor plans and other property details. All of these will be submitted and permitting process would begin. Local experts would review the repair plan to determine adherence to building codes. Some would do inspections to check the feasibility of the plan. The local authorities will grant the permit only if the plan is found to be acceptable.

Do you now see the importance of permits? Start getting them now for it will benefit you highly.…

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Mobile Home Insulated Skirting – The Myths and Facts

Mobile Home Insulated Skirting – The Myths and Facts

There is a lot of misinformation and foolish myths regarding insulated mobile home skirting. People have told me that they have heard that it will promote mold growth and that the underside of the home has to breath. Others have told me that they have heard insulated skirting doesn’t offer any advantages such as prevention of frozen pipes. I can comfortably and confidently tell you that if done properly, these myths are false.

Insulated skirting can be one of the best additions to your home. People who have struggled with frozen pipes year after year have stopped struggling after they installed insulated skirting. There are a few different types of skirting on the market but they all behave the same way and these principles are universal.

Ventilation: Your home needs adequate ventilation during the warmer months so the underside can breathe. This is the only time of the year, when it is above 50 degress fahrenheit, that you need ventilation. Automatic vents that open and close are the best mainentance free option. The minimum required ventilation for a home that does not have a ground cover is not less than 1 square foot of vent per 150 square feet of floor space. If you have a ground cover, 6 mil poly plastic, you can reduce the requirement to 1 square foot to 1500 square feet of floor space. Please note: installation of the ground cover needs to be installed to a local building code and should be done properly.

Insulating Strength – Whatever material you choose to use, make sure that the R Value meets at least a value of 8. You also want to make sure the outer material is weather resistant. A pre-made insulated skirting product is usually the best bet. It will be the most cost effective way to complete the product.

Thermal Envelope – When installing an insulated product you need to make sure that the material goes all the way around the home. If you have a porch, deck, or addition attached to the house, make certain you install adequate material behind the structures to maintain a thermal envelope. You are capturing the warmth of the ground which is a constant 53 degrees all year round, and with out a complete installation, you will not capture it. If you stopped short of a porch, the warmth would escape to the outside. This is why your pipes will not freeze with a properly installed system.

Durability – Insulated systems are typically 2 inches thick and are very strong. You will not suffer from wind blow outs like you may have encountered with non-insulated systems. Keeping critters out from under your home is also an important goal. The strength and durability of an insulated system will keep them out.

When done properly, mobile home insulated skirting will end your frozen pipe woes, cut down on utility bills, and offer a much longer lasting skirting compared to non-insulated systems.…

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Learning Where You Should Turn When Researching Garage Floor Cleaning Products

Learning Where You Should Turn When Researching Garage Floor Cleaning Products

Of all the surface types that you encounter in your home every day, the one that you find in the typical garage is certainly one of the most difficult to clean. There appear to be easily available products to deal with your kitchen counters, your carpets, your bathrooms and so forth, but what are the best garage floor cleaning products?

If we’re honest with ourselves, we often tend to close the door on this room and forget about it. Why should we fret such a lot, since after all it is simply a place to store the vehicle overnight? This level of thinking goes only so far, as after a considerable amount of dirt and debris gathers over time you find that you’re forced to do something about it.

In the end, if you let it rest ad infinitum what will happen when it comes time to place the home on the market. What will happen if you are forced to start searching for something which is kept in there somewhere, only to discover that it is simply impossible to make any headway.

Eventually you are going to have to search for some purpose made garage floor cleaning products to assist you with your chore. Exactly where do you begin? First thing that you must do is to tackle a considerable spring cleaning project. Get rid of everything that you just do not require or have not actually seen for some time. Do try to give some of these items to Goodwill, if you can.

Once you’ve removed most of the rubbish that was basically covering over the problem, you can get to work to try and remove stains. You’ll find that lots of oil and lubricant has fallen from underneath each car that’s parked in that room and over time, this has built up. You may well need to use harsh abrasive stain cleaners, so do be careful that you vent out the room properly.

Once you have completely got rid of as many of the stains as you possibly can, try and work with a pressure washer. It’s among the best products to eliminate ground in dirt but you must ensure that there are no valuable items stored close by that could get very wet, quickly if you’re not careful.

When you’ve finished your massive restoration project in here it is time to start thinking about the future. Do not allow junk to build up in here yet again, but do attempt to find some of those purpose made garage floor mats. They are absorbent and can be positioned tactically underneath vehicles and other gear that tend to leak oil periodically.…

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Minimizing Your Budget for Remodeling Projects

Minimizing Your Budget for Remodeling Projects

Right from the beginning, any remodeling or home improvement project will experience a lot of hiccups. The decisions that are made to smooth out these are the deciding factors for the success or failure of your project. Therefore, to ensure that your investment is well worth every penny, there are various important tips that you need to keep in mind.

1. Ensure you hire the services of an experienced professional, whether it is an architect, contractor, or designer. Although you might find the expenses a little on the higher side, their expertise will stand you in good stead. You will be able to identify snags and problem areas in your planning and design upfront avoiding frustration, delays, and financial burdens as the project progresses. One of the best ways to hire such professionals is to rely on references from family and friends. You can also check out your local builders or home builders association.

2. If you are looking at a large-scale remodeling or home improvement project, you will invariably require professional expertise. This translates to higher costs in terms of designer and contractor fees. Obtain a detailed bid from each of them and request for a detailed scope of work. This will help you do a comparative study with market rates. If the bids are too low, there is a high probability that you will end up with the cleaning and finishing work. If the bids are too high, there could be aspects of the project that you could do yourself and avoid the overheads.

3. Planning is the key to success and home improvement projects are no different. Ensure you do your homework and take decisions regarding various aspects in advance. Don’t always go by the lowest bid; analyze the costs before you decide. Choose your materials with care and in consultation with the experts so you don’t have to make changes at a later stage.

4. Ensure you have milestones both for completion of each aspect of the project as well as for payment. Breaking up the remodeling project into smaller parts makes it easier to manage both costs and timelines efficiently.

5. It is your home improvement project and you will always benefit by being around. Small aspects that you can do yourself can sometimes reduce costs to a great extent. Get regular updates from your contractor to know where you can pitch in. It will give you the satisfaction of having contributed towards your home project as well as reducing unnecessary overheads.

6. Go in for designs that are standard and available in the market. This is especially true in case of windows, cabinets, doors, etc. Customized designs will sometimes cost you two times more than standard ones. There are also several semi-customized designs that are available, in which you can add embellishments later, making it similar to custom-made ones.

7. Once you have made a design and plan, ensure that you adhere to it at all times. It is always tempting to add little modifications or changes as the work progresses, but these will make a big difference in the overall cost and timelines.

The success of any home improvement project lies in managing the various variable factors. Planning is important, but more important is adhering to it.…

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Don’t Damage Your New Truck Bed, Protect With Trunk Mats

Don’t Damage Your New Truck Bed, Protect With Trunk Mats

If you have just invested a good proportion of your savings to buy a nice new truck, you really want to look after it. While these vehicles are built tough to be used for various utilities and in work environments, they will soon start to lose their attractive sheen if you do not protect them on a daily basis. You want to consider trunk mats to lie in the bed of the rear of the vehicle at your earliest opportunity.

They were originally designed to be used by small business owners or rural residents for their daily business, but these days a truck represents the most popular selling vehicle in the United States. Most people use it for transportation rather than heavy duty, but nevertheless from time to time you will use them for their original purpose. At these times, protect your investment with trunk mats in the appropriate area, stopping damage or unsightly stains affecting your investment.

Trunk mats are great at preventing permanent damage that could be possibly caused by water stains, rust or oil. Gallons of liquid can be absorbed within these products at any one time and they are definitely easy to install. Also, they can be used around the home for a variety of other purposes.

Trunk mats soak up all kinds of solutions, but this will be no good if the product is allowed to seep through to the underside. As such, you need to look for products that are guaranteed for three years, have a non-penetrable backing and will not chip, tear or crack. It wouldn’t be much fun to find damage to your truck bed, would it?

While you should consider these mats for your trucks, just imagine the other areas of your house that could benefit from one of these products. On your back patio, you could protect the deck from spillage, stains and splattering by placing one of these items underneath your barbecue grill. Remember that prevention is better than cleanup.

You can use absorbent trunk mats to stop stains reaching your garage floors well. If your truck tends to leak oil or other solutions, these trunk mats will collect the mess before it causes permanent damage to the concrete area.

Sometimes you need to load heavy items into the back of your truck and it’s good to know that trunk mats will not slip or skid when you’re trying to maneuver this. By avoiding damage of any kind to your valuable investment, you can protect its depreciation when it comes time to sell.

Trunk mats are made of super absorbent polypropylene and are approximately 1/8 inch thick. They are a neutral charcoal gray in color and will blend with any color scheme quite nicely.…

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Fire Safety Tips

Most fires are preventable. People responsible for workplaces and other facilities to which the public has access can prevent them by adopting appropriate behaviors and procedures and taking responsibility for them.

Any building, and therefore any workplace, is susceptible to fire. The generalized presence of this risk implies the need for a normative regulation that avoids or minimizes, as far as possible, the effects of the same.

Three elements are required for a fire to start: an ignition source (heat), a fuel source (something that burns), and oxygen:

  • Ignition sources include space heaters, lighting fixtures, open flames, electrical equipment, smoking materials (cigarettes, matches, etc.), and anything that can reach high temperatures or cause sparks;
  • Fuel sources include wood, paper, plastic, rubber or foam, loose packaging materials, debris and furniture; and
  • Oxygen sources include the air around us.

Building and industrial regulations place more emphasis on fire protection aspects. Still, from an occupational point of view, we cannot forget the fundamental facet of fire prevention and the proper management of human, technical, and material resources during evacuation and the provision of first aid.

Most fire deaths occur in preventable residential areas. Fire safety in buildings requires a holistic approach to prevent the start of any fire and contain and extinguish it; here are some tips to achieve this.

Prevention

First, the start of a fire must be prevented. Understanding the causes and risk factors for this is the starting point to inform practical prevention efforts through technical and human-related measures. The leading causes of accidental fires are smoking, electrical faults, cooking, and carelessness with ignition sources such as matches or candles.

Detection

When a fire occurs, it is essential to detect it as early as possible so that building occupants have sufficient time to react, including safe evacuation and early extinguishment of the fire. Smoke will not wake up in time in the event of a fire during the night; only smoke alarms and detectors will. These are vital to enable timely evacuation. It is recommended that smoke detectors be installed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on each residential building level.

Alarms should be interconnected to alert all building occupants, ensuring that smoke alarms are correctly placed, sufficient in number, and functioning correctly.

Early suppression

When a fire occurs, a manual extinguisher or automatic sprinklers can stop in the first few minutes. The vast majority of fires in sprinkler-protected buildings are controlled or extinguished by the on-site system. Sprinklers are designed primarily to contain or prevent fires, but they can also be instrumental in saving people’s lives in the room of origin of the fire.

Evacuation

If a fire starts and cannot be stopped immediately, safe evacuation of building occupants is the priority. Having access to and knowledge of sound, well-lit, short, smoke-free escape routes is essential. Therefore, escape routes should be included in the building design as part of a holistic approach to fire safety. The target time to evacuate a building in the event of fire varies with the size of the building. Blocked or cluttered escape routes can be a significant problem.

Regulations already set minimum requirements for the provision of safety signs at work, including emergency escape routes. In residential buildings, people need to know their evacuation plans and practice evacuation drills.

When a fire occurs, fire departments must arrive as soon as possible to evacuate occupants, fight the fire and prevent it from spreading further. Firefighting requires state-of-the-art equipment, training, and expertise. Research, knowledge sharing, and training can be further organized and supported through the advice of professionals in the field, consult them.

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Ridiculous Home Repair Fees

Ridiculous Home Repair Fees

It’s hard to imagine, but very few people listen to the advice from contractor referral services, the better business bureau or the Department of consumer affairs. It’s extremely important to get at least two estimates, but it would be best to get at least three estimates, on any home repairs that you’re going to have done to your property.

Here’s the benefit of getting at least three estimates. You now have three individual prices, to compare. If you only had one price, and nothing to compare it to, how would you know that you actually getting a fair deal.

My mother-in-law was selling her house and she had a home inspection company, do the required home inspection, so that she could sell her home, under the required guidelines of the government. The home inspector also left her with an estimates for the home repairs, that needed to be done.

I only had one word to say about this estimate, it was the most ridiculous home repair fee that I had ever seen, up until that point in my life. I have seen plenty more sense and continue to be amazed at some of the prices that some of these home inspection companies, charge for their services.

To replace an eight-foot 4×4 post, they were going to charge her $400. The repair man suggested that he could do it a lot cheaper, if he didn’t go through their company. Eliminating the middleman is what I call it and keeping all the money for yourself.

If you don’t want to pay a ridiculous home repair fees, you’re going to have to spend some time, and get a few estimates. There’s no getting around it, get out the phone book and start calling local contractors.…