All types of information on do-it-yourself home and auto repair. Occasional entries about everything else under the sun and maybe even the sun.
|Posted on November 24, 2013 at 5:35 PM||comments (0)|
Guest post by Grace Bailey
Plumbing has been around for thousands of years, bringing us to the point where having hot and cold water on demand around our homes is considered something as normal as having a home. Even though the way the system works is simple, proper maintenance must occur at regular intervals to keep it operational.
If you go about things the smart way, you will know when problems begin occuring long before they become unsolvable messes that require a ludicrous amount of resources to deal with. Follow these tips to have some pre-emptive ability against them:
· Pay attention to possible problems coming your way. When you're dealing with plumbing issues, you should know that the smallest leak may lead to much bigger things ahead. Keep an eye out for things like damp spots and leaking faucets or pipes, as well as anything else that seems like it warrants immediate attention.
· Make sure you deal with problems as soon as they show up. Turn off the water via your main valve and check out the spot where the problem has occurred. Make sure you have a flashlight or something similar for those hard to reach and see spots so you'll be properly equipped for the emergency.
· You should know what to do when trouble strikes. If you encounter a plumbing failure, be aware of what you can do to get the job done and stop the flood of water in your household. You should also keep your tools nearby so they will be on hand when you need them the most.
· Turn of certain appliances that use water, such as toilets, washing machines and more. This is an essential move very time you have to deal with any plumbing issues to prevent flooding.
· Know the location of your sewer valve if you have one. This will give you a great deal of access so you'll be able to fix a clogged sewer line.
· Get used to dealing with smaller problems. You don't have to call for maintenance in most cases, as you can just deal with them yourself with a little know-how. Armed with a plunger, sewer snake and a pipe wrench you can repair blocked toilets, clogged drains, dripping faucets and jammed valves. If you're not sure what to do, you can always check for a specific how-to guide on the web.
· Learn how to keep your plumbing pipes warm when the weather is freezing cold. This will save you a great deal of headaches. As temperatures rise and fall, the water frozen in the pipes will expand, resulting in the cracking of pipes and worse if you're not careful.
· The best way to prevent the frozen pipes problem is the simplest – proper insulation. Make sure you always have your pipes covered well against the elements. There are easy solutions to this problem with foam insulation that is both easy to install and easy to deal with.
More tips at: Removals Man and Van EN7
|Posted on November 9, 2013 at 1:40 PM||comments (0)|
Guest post by Grace Bailey
Interior painting requires a good deal of preparation of the walls involved in the process, including the ceiling and the trim of the room. This will help you deal with the whole job with less risks of messing up and dealing with the difficult task of cleaning up after yourself as well as ensuring a proper quality of work. The following tips on the list will give you the base of what needs to be done to get things done right:
Move all furniture out of the way if possible as well as all decorations so you'll have full access to the walls. You should also do your best to remove all items from the walls you intend to paint, which means electrical face plates and so forth. You should tape over receptacles and switches so the paint won't seep in and cause a short circuit. Also, remove any handles, knobs and locks from the windows and doors around the house or mask them or you'll have a hard time cleaning them. Push all large and heavy furniture pieces into the middle of the room and cover them from head to toe with dropcloths. If you have to paint over a light fixture that can't be taken down then you'll need to protect it with a plastic bag or something similar.
It may be possible to paint over wallpaper if they're intact and smooth, however it would not be a good idea. If the wallpaper happens to be in a less than ideal condition you will need to remove it so you'll have a nice, smooth surface to work with. After you manage to remove the adhesive, you should wash the wall with an abrasive cleaner to complete the process. Let it dry out well for about 24 hours and you'll be ready to go.
·Strip Peeling Paint
If you see any old paint that happens to be chipped or even peeling, then you will need to make sure you remove all of it either by scraping or by peeling it before you can apply the new layers. The trick about proper scraping is to do so at an angle that won't let you dig into the wall itself. This takes a bit of careful practice at first, but then you'll be a natural. Scrapers may usually sharpen fairly easily with a metal knife, but you could also do a good job with a regular, broad knife as well. If you have any flaking paint a wire brush will be a great choice in cleaning it. In some cases the pre-existing finish on woodwork may be in a very bad condition, thus forcing you to remove it completely. The best way to do that is to strip the paint from the woodwork with a paint-stripping gel.
Cracks and holes as well as blemishes and other relatively easy to fix problems are nothing to worry about. It is the big damage that needs special attention and the touch of a professional. The larger cracks on a wall may be a witness to something more extensive, such as the uneven settling of the foundations of the home. If you can fit something inside the crack and if it looks big enough to be a problem you may be in need of some help inspecting the foundations of your home. Use wood filler or joint compound to fill in nail holes or smaller cracks, then brush them clean so they'll be easy to work over.
If you have a hole larger than a regular nail hole, but not large enough to be a problem you should cut two lengths of joint tape of the self-adhesive type. Center it over the hole and press it down, then follow that with another piece in an X pattern. Using a putty knife you should cover the mesh with more joint compound. Once the place is dry you should sand it and prime the area until its nice and clean.
|Posted on October 20, 2013 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
Guest post by Grace Bailey
Laminate flooring is a great option for your home. You can install it yourself with intermediate DIY skills. Laminate is available in different widths and colors, so you can choose the type appeals to you the most. This flooring is resistant to fading, damage, wear, scratches and stains. Laminate comes in planks or squares that are similar to vinyl or ceramic tile. Laminate flooring can be installed by following these steps.
Prepare your laminate flooring materials before you begin installation
Temperature and humidity can affect your laminate flooring. It must acclimate to your home for about 48 hours before you begin installation. Remove all planks from any packaging materials. Stack the planks to allow air to circulate between them. Purchase at least ten percent more material than the total square feet of your room. This way you will have enough material to cover mistakes.
Remove the base molding and clean the sub floor
The sub floor must be cleaned of any debris. You may need to use a leveling compound to fill depressions. If you are applying the laminate on a fresh concrete floor, make sure you wait until the concrete has cured.
If you are installing a laminate floor over concrete, you must install a vapor barrier first. This can be made from felt or polyethylene film. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You will then need to install furring strips and a plywood or particleboard sub floor.
First row installation
Installation is done by placing the planks parallel to the room's longest wall. Install your first plank with the groove towards the wall. Place 1/2'' spacers along the wall and then push the plank up against them. This creates an expansion gap to prevent the floor from buckling or warping. Spacers should be installed every 12 inches or so along the wall and on the end of each plank.
Installing the remaining laminate
Install each plank by matching the tongue to the groove. Tap the planks into place with a rubber mallet. Use a wood scrap in order to protect the plank. Fit all planks together without any gaps along the lengths.
Installing the last plank
You will need to trim the last plank for it to fit. Carefully measure the space between the wall and the last plank. Cut the last plank to the correct width.
Install base moldings and thresholds
Between the spot where the flooring ends and any open door, there needs to be threshold installed. Thresholds are available in different in styles so that you can match the color and height to your new floor. Remove the spacers and then install the base molding to cover the expansion gaps.
Read more tips on London Movers and repairs
|Posted on October 12, 2013 at 1:55 PM||comments (0)|
Guest blog post by Grace Bailey
The space under your kitchen sink is likely full of all kinds of cleaners you have purchased. They are very good at cleaning, but can pose a threat to you and your family's health. There are alternative ways of cleaning. This will show you different cleaning techniques and homemade detergents that will not harm you or the environment.
Your hygiene is important in order to be healthy. The soaps at the supermarket are good for keeping your hands clean. However, did you know that you can prepare the soaps you use at home? All of the ingredients you will need can be purchased from the local supermarket. A basic soap recipe includes lye and some animal fat. You can substitute the later with various oils – palm oil, olive oil, etc., with no loss of cleaning effect. You can also use a soap re-batching process to eliminate the lye. Furthermore, you can add other ingredients – Aloe Vera, which will help keep your skin hydrated, lemon juice and even coffee. There are numerous recipes on the Internet and you can prepare exactly the type of soap you need.
With products from the supermarket, you can make all kinds of detergents and stain removers. Laundry detergent is one of them. All you need is washing soda, borax and natural unscented soap. You can use the soap you have prepared. In addition you may add various ingredients in order to achieve a different aroma. Try lavender, tea tree, peppermint, almond or something of the sort. The laundry detergent itself is easy to make. Just mix 2 parts soda and borax with 1 part of soap, processed in food processor, and you are done.
You may have not realized, but vinegar is extremely useful as a stain remover. There are numerous recipes for detergents, which include the use of vinegar. In this article we will propose a simple method for cleaning the inside of a microwave oven. Fill a cup with one part vinegar and one part water. Put the cup inside the microwave oven and switch the oven on. You need the mixture to partially evaporate. This will take between 2 and 5 minutes, depending on the microwave power. Then, using a rag you dipped into vinegar, clean the walls of the oven carefully. Remember, the interior will be hot. The last thing you will do is wash the vinegar off the walls using a wet towel.
Find more tips at End of Tenancy Cleaning London
|Posted on September 30, 2013 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
Guest blog post by Grace Bailey
As natural disasters may happen at any time throughout our lives we need to be prepared at all times. In some cases, you can get warnings on when events are happening, but other disasters, such as earthquakes, can happen suddenly and without warning. Once things hit, you need to deal with the consequences. You need to take time to prepare yourself for possible problems. Preparing today means you will have an easier time when disaster strikes, so be as thorough as possible.
The smallest thing you have to do to begin is knowing you need supplies and preparations for at least 3 days worth of time. When disasters happen, the first things that will likely go are the utilities and power. Since these things happen, you should keep that in mind and know that water will also be scarce as well. Phone coverage will likely also be affected, as well as medical help. This is precisely the reason why you need to be ready for anything just in case.
Other things will also be a problem, and you may not even think about them happening. Fuel shortages may occur as power fails, so you will need a supply of it on handy just in case. You will also need cash on hand for emergencies as you won't be able to complete any electronic transactions due to obvious reasons. Keep some simple tools on hand as well just to be able to deal with small emergencies and needs.
Your home is the area where you are likely to spend most of your time, so follow these tips to keep things safe and sound:
· Make sure you strap your appliances to the floor so they'll be safe. Keep in mind that the water heater is an important source of water. It may weight a lot and it could easily break the gas lines if it falls to the floor. Earthquakes are a serious danger to gas lines and the risks are great.
· Repair any wiring and gas connections that need special attention. Poor maintenance can lead to serious risks with potentially catastrophic consequences, so make sure you are very careful with them.
· Check the solidity of your light fixtures so you can ensure they won't crash on top of your head or furniture. These may require some extra touches to make them safer.
· Make sure you replace the gas lines around your home with flexible ones so they won't break or rupture as easily due to structural stress during an earthquake or other disasters. This goes for water heaters, dryers, stoves and so forth.
· Put some plywood on your ceiling joists so you'll protect yourself from anything falling through the ceiling. This will provide some decent protection without sacrificing the insulation of your home.
More tips on house renovations and relocation you can read at: www.hiremanandvan.org
|Posted on September 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM||comments (0)|
There is no reason to spend $30 or more for a scratching post and play center for your cat. With basic DIY skills, you can build one for under $10. The basic pieces are plywood, screws, wood glue and some carpet scrap.
Much better than sitting in the trash can
I started by purchasing one sheet of 3/8 inch plywood, 2 feet wide by 4 feet long. I also got a piece of aluminum dry wall corner bead at 8 feet in length. You can do just as well with a length of soft wood cut at 30-degree angles. I already had several pieces on heavy duty, rubber backed indoor-outdoor carpet squares. You can find remnants at carpet stores.
I decided to make a triangular shaped play area, 18 inches on all sides. I removed 6 inches from the plywood length and then cut it into three 18 inch squares. I used the drywall bead to hold the exterior edges together and used some small pieces of angled wood on the inside corners for added support. I cut three carpet squares to just a little over 18 inches square.
The carpet underneath is just to prevent scratching the wood floor. All three edges have corner bead on the outside with angled wood on the inside to hold the screws. I added hot glue to the seams for extra durability. The next step is using hot glue to add carpet to two outer sides and the bottom of the interior.
In this picture you can see the wood angle bracing at the top.
Now, for fun, I took some dried catnip and rubbed it into the carpet. You can also attached a hanging toy for your cat(s) to play with. I did not get that far before the cat claimed ownership.
New Cat scratching post and play area is approved by Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.
|Posted on July 27, 2013 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
If your current phone system is no longer working to meet your needs you may be considering a new phone system. In order to make the best choice, you should take the time to fully review both your old system and any new systems you are considering. The upgrade you are thinking about may not solve your existing problems.
Too Big or Too Small
Finding that your business is growing is great, it also may mean that you need to upgrade your business phone system. Take a good look at how quickly you are expanding and make a rational projection of where you will be in a year. Choosing a system that you need to upgrade again in six months is a waste of your time and your money.
Expanding to a Fortune 500 system could be over-kill. You best choice will come in the form of a new phone system that is scalable and grows with your needs. A key feature to look for is more voice mail capability than you think you will need. This is one area where businesses often shortchange themselves. Cisco provides a checklist to help you decide what features you need and which ones you do not need.
More Channels or More Numbers
If you are overloaded with incoming calls, take a good look at wear the jam is occurring. Having more incoming lines really will not help if you have only one person answering the phone. You may well need additional internal channels for routing the calls. Adding an extension service that can automatically route calls could be the answer you are looking for.
More of The Same But Not Better Deals
Finally, if you are not happy with the service, equipment or software you are currently using, think twice about signing a contract with the same company for the newer and better version. Whatever types of problems you are currently experiencing may not go away just because you upgraded to a new phone system. You want to discuss your options with a technician, not just a salesperson.
Really, you should think twice before signing any long-term contracts. Some companies will require a short-term commitment, but if the service is truly exceptional, the company should not need to lock anyone in to a lengthy plan.
The final consideration for your business phone system is the ease of technical use. Can you make adjustments to the system yourself or do you need to hire an engineer to change an extension number. Simply put, you want your new phone system to be user friendly. You want the same of your service provider. Free telephone and email support should be provided. For example, Avaya has a full page dedicated to downloads, solutions and assistance. All of the high-tech features will be useless if you cannot figure out how to answer the phone.
|Posted on July 27, 2013 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
Raccoons may look very cute with their little bandit masks. Unfortunately, those masks are deceptive; raccoons can be very dangerous animals. Finding that you have raccoons in attic spaces is not a pleasant experience. The first thing to keep in mind is that you should never approach a wild animal.
Your attic provides an excellent location for a raccoon to set up housekeeping. Unfortunately, a raccoon's housekeeping is not the same as yours. The most common reason for a raccoon infestation is when a female needs a warm, safe location to give birth. This means you will have more than one raccoon.
A raccoon will tear up your insulation to make a nest. This leaves areas in your attic with little or no insulating materials. Raccoons can chew through electrical wiring, too, causing loss of power and significant fire hazards. When raccoons are setting up their homes, they will also damage your roof. Besides tearing through vents or soffits, they can tear directly through roof shingles and plywood.
Raccoons can also cause a variety of biohazards. The droppings left behind are a source of odor and disease. They can also enter and block your ductwork. In addition, raccoons will often also die in attic spaces. The odor of a dead raccoon is not the least bit pleasant.
Steps you can take
Installing traps can eliminate raccoons already at home in your attic. Trapping procedures really require a professional. Inspecting and protecting raccoon-friendly entrances is the best option. This will prevent a raccoon problem from occurring in the first place.
The best course of action is to keep the creatures out of your attic space. Keep your attic brightly lit. Loud noises may work but investigate electronic pest control devices before you invest in them. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not feel evidence supports claims that electronic devices work. Poisons are dangerous and there are no poisons registered for raccoon removal.
How do you know you have raccoons in attic spaces?
Raccoons are not quiet animals. You should hear them as the scurry about and create their nests. The sounds will be larger than that of a bird. Most homeowners will also see them as they enter and exit for food. Raccoons also have unique vocal traits. Adults growl and babies have a whining cry.
Why you need a professional
Professionals have training in pest removal. A raccoon can put a tremendous fight to retain what it considers its home. Sharp teeth and claws can tear you to pieces. Raccoons may carry rabies and often carry other diseases. This presents a hazard to both you and your household pets. Even inhaling spores can lead to infection. Finally, ask yourself if you really want to take on an annoyed wild animal by yourself.
|Posted on July 14, 2013 at 3:50 PM||comments (0)|
Guest Post by Mark Healey
Have you ever felt like your home decided to fall apart all at once? Maybe your electric water heater stopped working in the middle of January or your sump pump stopped pumping during a spring monsoon. Maybe that dead tree sitting in your backyard finally gave way, falling into your neighbor’s above ground pool - releasing 15,000 gallons of chlorinated water across three yards. Any way you cut it, it’s a bad day. But don’t worry; you aren’t the first person to experience the inconvenience of disaster. Besides, misery enjoys company... right?
Few people give thought to the effectiveness of preventive maintenance. Unbeknownst to the homeowner, this ‘set it and forget it’ mentality can wreak havoc on their home, let alone their wallet. For instance, renters typically rely on their rental unit’s owner to take care of repairs. When renters become homeowners for the first time they assume total responsibility – unless they have money to pay for professional contractors. This assumption of responsibility can be taken in stride or as a burden.
Depending on your situation and capacity to perform work, proper maintenance can range in cost. If you’re handy with tools, prices drop significantly as you won’t need to pay for labor – just supplies and personal time. On the other hand, if you are unwilling or incapable of rolling up your sleeves then you should consider reserving a portion of each paycheck for future needs. Think of it as a personal insurance plan.
Even if you know that maintenance is pertinent to home health, prioritizing and organizing a maintenance plan may prove difficult. Thanks to technology, the existence of web applications and tools can help with organization; like this FREE maintenance scheduler by Allstate, for instance. A tool like this maintenance scheduler will help you stay organized and track progress. It even provides recommendations to help you get started, like cleaning your gutters or water heater. With a bit of know-how, effort and a friendly reminder, remembering what to do and how to do it can be a breeze.
Here are some tips to get started:
You can use the above tool to schedule an entire year’s worth of maintenance, updating as new tasks come to mind. Besides, it’s better to take care of small problems before they become big problems. Also, if you need the assistance of a professional, it might be a good idea to book their service ahead of time.
On Top of It:
When you receive a reminder, take time to actually perform the task at hand. Commit one or two hours each week to doing work. Throughout the year if you perform, on average, 2 hours of work per week you’ll produce 104 hours of maintenance time per year. That’s only 17 minutes per day. Plus, over the course of 8 years, you’re looking at 832 hours. Remember, your home is an investment and if you choose to sell it, you’ll want a good return.
you’re working with a service provider or busting out the elbow
grease, you should document your work. Proper documentation will
alert you of service provider quality and allow you to record
problem areas for future reference. It’s also good for leaving
method notes for time efficiency purposes.
The bottom line is, appropriate maintenance routines help avoid severe collateral damage. Consistent maintenance can also help you preserve a good relationship with your insurance company. If you regularly depend on your insurance provider to cover damage costs, you risk losing a contract renewal.
|Posted on June 30, 2013 at 4:55 PM||comments (0)|
While advertising through email and other online options becomes more popular, many businesses still use regular mail to contact customers for billing and generating sales. Printing your own postage saves a considerable amount of time over post office lines. Before you choose postage service, check online postage review information to determine if the service is appropriate and will save you money.
Many services are available, from ones that allow full label production from any printer to those that use a meter to print only postage or imprint directly on an envelope. No matter what service you choose, you must carefully weight you letters or packages. For letters, you must also ensure that you do not exceed maximum thickness rules for first class mail.
The company advertises that you can save up to 80% over using a postage meter. However, you must look further into the product descriptions to see the actual savings. For example, Stamps.com states that you can save 5% on Priority Mail International and up to 15% for domestic Priority services. As with any service, you must weigh your mail to determine the amount of required postage. Stamps.com provides a 5-pound postage meter with the service. You can upgrade to a 25-pound meter at an additional charge.
The Stamps.com software system requires a computer with an Internet connection and a printer. You will need to use designated labels in the printer to print postage correctly. The regular service is a subscription with a fee of $15.99 per month. The company also offers a Pitney Bowes meter service. This service is currently $19.99 per month and you must use the Pitney Bowes meter to print postage.
One online postage review stated the software was easy to use but customer service and the ability to cancel the service was lacking. Complaints include an inability to cancel the service online, customers must call the billing department to cancel and often end up paying for an extra month of service. The subscription costs may also be too high for light users.
Endica offers electronic postage solutions with a pay-as-you-go service. DYMO Stamps requires no monthly subscription. You can print postage from your own printer of you the DYMO LabelWriter with label sheets or rolls. Multiple levels of subscription services are available. The standard service costs $9.95 per month. Free solutions are available for online sellers that print postage for packages. If you plan to use Endica, you must purchase your own postal scale. Check the online postage review for Endica before you sign up. Some users indicate that the subscription service is expensive for light users.
USPS offers all the same free supplies that other online postage companies provide. You can also get your supplies delivered to your home at no additional charge. If you order actual stamps, there is a delivery charge. Both individuals and business can open a free account with USPS; business that makes bulk mailings will receive discounts.
USPS will provide refunds for damaged postage; users must wait one to two weeks to ensure that postage was not used. There is no subscription charge to use USPS online. You simply pay for your postage when you print it.
True customer service with USPS does require a phone call or trip to your local post office. You can request help through the online service section but do expect to wait several days for a response. Always check for the availability of an online postage review before you select a service. While initial offers may be tempting, you could find yourself locked into a service that ends up costing more than you expect.