bookmark_borderHow Is Tap Water Testing For Contamination

Tips for testing with customers without making a fool of yourself

Once in a while, a QA manager comes up with the grand plan of testing with customers before a go-live event. The benefits seem obvious: the QA tester gains exposure to an actual customer and their specific application user workflows. The customer benefits by imparting their knowledge on how the application works in their setting with a member of the development staff. The problem is that the majority of testers don’t receive training before being sent out to the customer.

For example, customer service or sales personnel receive at least basic training on how to approach customers, what to say, what not to say, and basic business principles for interacting with customers directly as company representatives. However, QAs typically don’t receive this information.

Now, one would assume that most experienced testers have enough professional knowledge and skills to manage on their own. But think about that for a moment more, and consider some of the QA testers you know or have worked with. There are likely several examples of well-meaning, highly intelligent people with little to no personal interaction skills. Is it really wise to send unprepared personnel to a customer site without spending time reviewing etiquette and expectations?

The answer is no, and it really isn’t respectful to the employee or the customer, but it happens all the time. In order to receive the benefits of this practice, employees need to be prepared with at least the basics of how to gain information without offending or otherwise unintentionally causing harm to a business relationship with a customer. QA testers should equip themselves by thinking through possible situations and keeping the following tips in mind to make the experience worthwhile for everyone involved.

Respect is a two-way street

When arriving at the customer’s business, remember that mutual respect is essential. You may not get it, but you need to give it. It’s important to acknowledge that development staff and customers operate with different objectives for the software, whether in workflows or points of view. Discover more about this by observing their actions or reading through their tests. See if you notice a common theme where the application has repeatedly failed for them or they’re working around a configuration setting they don’t realize they can change. Ask direct questions in a professional manner. Explain what you’re trying to accomplish by gaining information about their workflow up front, so participants have a chance to give you the data you’re looking for.

Blue Water Task Force

Why do you want to test the water? What are you concerned about?

It is important to have a clear objective for your water-testing program before you begin. A clear objective or defined purpose will help you design a water testing program to meet your chapter’s unique interests and needs. All the rest of the details can then follow.

Does your chapter suspect a pollution problem at a particular beach? Are there beaches in your area that are not being tested by the authorities? Are there seasonal gaps? Are you looking for a program to activate your membership or to reach out to youth? Perhaps you have a data need for an ongoing campaign.

Who else is testing your beaches?

Before you choose what beaches you want to sample, or if additional testing is even necessary, you should find out who is monitoring water quality in your area and which beaches they are sampling.

Where & when should we sample?

Once you determine who is testing in your area, look for any gaps: either beaches that aren’t being sampled or perhaps months or seasons when no testing is being done at all. You also might want to test the water at the most popular surfing beaches or at beaches where you suspect or know there are sources of pollution nearby.

How much money can my chapter afford to spend on this program?

Testing water costs money. The Blue Water Task Force uses IDEXX Enterolert/Quanti-tray Sealer methodology to measure enterococcus bacteria levels in water samples. This method is an EPA- approved method for sampling recreational waters and is easy for volunteers and students to learn and use competently.  Bacteria results are obtained after a 24 hour sample incubation period, but this method is somewhat expensive.

Lead in Drinking Water

What is lead?

Lead is a toxic metal that is found naturally in the air, soil, and water. It is also used in mining, manufacturing, and burning of fossil fuels. The amount of lead Canadians are exposed to has decreased since the 1970s, mainly due to the removal of lead in gasoline, paint, and solder in food cans

Who is at risk?

Although people of all ages are at risk of lead poisoning, it is most serious for infants, young children and pregnant women. Children absorb lead more easily than adults and are more susceptible to its harmful effects

With exposure to low levels of lead, symptoms are often not obvious, but can still be a danger to your health. Talk to your health care provider if you are worried about lead exposure. A simple blood test can find out your lead levels.

Did you know?

The maximum acceptable concentration for lead in drinking water is 5ug/L (Government of Canada, 2019). If your water supply is higher than 5ug/L and you have kids or are pregnant, you should use a different source, such as bottled water.

Is there lead in my drinking water?

The amount of lead in natural water supplies in Canada is very low. However, lead can enter the water supply from lead pipes, lead-containing brass fittings, or faucets. Homes built before 1975 often have lead pipes and those built until 1990 may have lead containing fittings.

Water Testing

The Medical Health Officer advices that, unless you get your water from a public water system, all water used for human consumption should be treated before use

It is up to individuals obtaining their water directly from wells, creeks, rivers and lakes, to treat their water before being used for drinking, washing dishes, brushing their teeth, etc

Options for treatment range from boiling water, using bottled water to installing in-home water treatment systems.

Water Testing Services Information

The documents below contain information regarding water testing services available to residents of Cattaraugus County and educational information on how to interpret your results

The “CCHD Certified Water Testing Services Price Sheet” contains a list of all potable water testing services available through the Cattaraugus County Health Department Laboratory.

The “Coliform Bacteria Brochure” contains information regarding bacteriological testing (the standard test for potability).  This brochure aims to help interpret the results of your water sample.

The “Nitrates in Drinking Water” download contains information regarding common sources of nitrates in drinking water and way to reduce their impact on your water supply.

“CCHD Instructions for Disinfection of Private Water Systems” describes how to perform a temporary disinfection of your water system.  The Department recommends that this be performed following repairs to your system, whenever starting up a seasonal water supply, whenever a bacteriological water test indicates contamination, or whenever you suspect that your well might have been contaminated.

bookmark_borderWhat To Look For During Your Home Inspection

What You Should Expect from a Home Inspection

If you’re buying a new home, then sooner or later you’ll need to have a home inspection done. While not usually required, obtaining a home inspection is common practice in real estate and is almost entirely done for the benefit of the purchaser, even if they’re paying for it out of their own pocket.

A home inspector is a qualified person who will take a detailed look at your home and alert you to any safety hazards, hidden damage, and the expected life span of various mechanical appliances throughout the home. A house inspection may give you some negotiating power to reduce the price or request repairs of any identified issues before continuing with the sale.

What to expect during a home inspection

A house inspection is a routine process during which a home inspector takes a look at the house. Once you are under contract on a home, you’re ready to hire a home inspector. Based on what the home inspector finds, you can decide to back out of the contract without a penalty, or you can proceed with negotiations.

Meeting your home inspector at the property.

It’s always a good idea to meet your home inspector at the subject property. This way you can get to know them and ask them any questions. After the inspection, the home inspector can talk you through any issues that he/she uncovered while going through the house.

Your home inspector should inspect every nook and cranny.

A good home inspector will check out every part of your house. They’ll go in the attic. They’ll go into the basement. They’ll check every door and window, and even the roof. The home inspector will also run your water to check for potential plumbing issues. A home inspection will typically last two to three hours or more — depending on the size of the home.

Choosing The Best Home Inspector Near You

Does the home inspector have proper insurance?

Choosing one that is insured should be at the top of your list of questions. Although some areas do not require inspectors to be insured, it’s in your best interest to work with one that is. Performing a home inspection does carry some level of risk for the inspector and having insurance protects you, the client, should the inspector become injured.

Are they a member of and certified by a professional association?

Being affiliated with an association requires the inspector to follow a strict code of ethics. These associations usually require some course study and passing exams before becoming a member and receiving any certifications.

Does the inspector have a professional website?

While having a good website does not guarantee the inspector is a good one, it does offer potential clients an opportunity to learn some important information about them. Having a website with information about the inspectors license, qualifications, insurance, and what is included in an inspection should be made available. Some inspectors offer additional conveniences like online scheduling, payments, and report access.

Do they have positive online reviews?

Referrals are important when researching home inspectors, but you should also check to see if they have any online reviews. A quick online search should  reveal them if any are available. You can often learn a little about their personality, inspection style, and level of professionalism from them

Find Your Answers to Home Inspection Cost and Home Inspection Service Questions

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.

What does a home inspection include?

The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.

Why do I need a home inspection?

Buying a home could be the largest single investment you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.

What will it cost?

The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the house, its age and possible optional services such as septic, well or radon testing.

Why can’t I do it myself?

Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. He or she knows how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail.

Things Every Buyer Should Know About Home Inspections

Congratulations, your offer was accepted and you’re going to be a homeowner! After you’ve made all your phone calls to share the big news and sipped on a glass or two of celebratory campaign, it’s time to move on to the next step in the home buying process: the home inspection.

Inspections are Optional

To those unfamiliar with real estate, it can seem like inspections are just what’s expected. Watching enough reality TV can give you the impression that everyone completes all of their inspections because they are waiting for a huge problem to arise (right in time for commercial break, of course). In the real world, it’s up to the buyer to decide which inspections they would like completed – if any at all.

Buyers Are Responsible for Inspections

Most first-time homebuyers don’t realize that they are responsible for the inspections. This means that, in order to get to the settlement table, they agree to hire the home inspector, have the inspections completed within a reasonable amount of time, and shoulder the cost.

The Inspector Must Be Certified

A home inspector and a contractor are not the same thing. While a contractor may have know how to fix existing home maintenance problems, home inspectors are specifically trained on how to identify problems, even if they are slight enough to be easily missed by others.

What Do Home Inspections Cover?

As a rule of thumb, think of a home inspection like a well visit to the doctor. Your doctor takes looks at several of your body’s individual components – reflexes, blood pressure, and medical history – to make an overall all determination of your health. Home inspectors work in much the same way.

Things Home Inspectors Secretly Want to Tell You

Choose Home Inspectors Wisely

Don’t rely on real real estate agents to recommend home inspectors, a home improvement coach based. Instead, find a certified, independent inspector.

Make Sure the Inspection is Thorough

It should take home inspectors between two and four hours to check a house. “Any inspection that takes less than that is a warning,”. A small home with no basement might take less time.

Ask the Right Questions

Inspectors can’t tell you not to buy a home—they’re not supposed to give real estate advice. But they should outline major issues such as foundation damage

Prepare Your Space Properly

Sellers: prepare your house for home inspectors the same way you would for a showing. We also suggests taking care of smaller repairs, like loose doorknobs, before the inspector arrives.

Read the Full Report (Not Just the Summary)

Home inspectors use the summary to outline high-priority issues, but your concerns might extend beyond that.

bookmark_borderProfessional Squirrel Removal

SQUIRRELS

WHAT DOES A SQUIRREL LOOK LIKE?

Squirrels are about 17 to 27 inches long with a rodent-like body and large bushy tail. Their color is greyish or reddish brown with a paler belly depending on the species. The most common squirrels in Wisconsin are the fox squirrel, ground squirrel, and American red squirrel.

WHY DO I HAVE SQUIRRELS?

Most often squirrels stay outdoors. If you find them in your home or scratching in your attic or crawl space they are in search of food and warmth and will begin to nest.

ARE SQUIRRELS DANGEROUS?

Squirrels have a very destructive behavior. If they gnaw through insulation, wiring, or structures they can cause a number of problems within your home.  Squirrels can also contaminate food if they come into contact with it

HOW DO I GET RID OF SQUIRRELS?

The best way to get rid of squirrels is to hire a professional. The pest control technician will know the safest way to rid the squirrels and their nests from your home, and prevent more from coming in.

HOW DO I PREVENT SQUIRRELS?

You’ll want to make sure all potential entrances to your home are sealed off. Technicians know common routes squirrels take and can make professional recommendations on home improvements to prevent squirrels.

Your Squirrel Control & Exclusion Partner

Signs that you could have a squirrel problem in your house:

Squirrels are active creatures that are capable of doing severe damage to your home. They are excellent climbers, can chew through all types of materials and can enter through the smallest openings in order to make way into your home.

Due to their harmful activity, squirrels have the ability to do a large amount of damage to your property. They are especially prone to chewing through wood, plastic, sheet metal, insulation and electrical lines.

If you are in need of a squirrel exterminator, we offer a range of residential and commercial services to ensure that your home or your business is pest-free. We are a pest control company that is committed to removing pests and unwanted visitors from your home.

Both red and grey squirrels enjoy getting into things, especially the attic. If you start hearing scraping or rubbing sounds early in the morning, there is a good chance you may have squirrels in your attic. Their gnawing can allow them access inside your home, as they can easily crawl through small openings. Once they have gained access, they will continue to chew on anything in sight. Not only do these squirrels cause damage in your attic, but they can also carry various diseases in their waste.

Flying squirrels are small, agile and love wooded areas. They have the ability to glide through air between trees, and can do this up to 100 feet from a tree to your home.  These animals are nocturnal and travel in groups, so if you hear continuous scrambling noises from above, you most likely have a group of flying squirrels in your attic. This can result in a havoc in your attic space if they go unnoticed.

Problems Winter Squirrels

You’ve probably noticed that we have squirrels. Do we have squirrels. They’re everywhere! Usually, that’s not a problem. In fact, it’s kinda fun seeing them playing in the yard, scrambling up trees or eating an acorn on the railing of the back deck. Wildlife brings life to the nature outside our homes. But, when they start to become a problem, they are a hassle few of us have time to deal with. And winter is a common time for them to become a problem

If They Are Cold, Let Them In… No

On a cold, blustery day, we humans enjoy going into our temperature-controlled homes and being greeted by the warmth. Before we even get to the door, we’re already thinking about it. We might even have in mind exactly how we’ll take advantage of that heat, such as putting our mittened hands on the radiator in the entranceway, hovering over the wood stove in the kitchen, or standing in front of the fireplace in the living room. Squirrels don’t have these ideas on their mind. They don’t know how wonderful and warm it is inside your home, until they happen to go by a current of heat escaping from the roofline of your home. When they do, it is usually more than enough incentive for them to try and chew their way in and take advantage of that heat.

Once squirrels have gotten in, there are many ways they can be a problem all through the winter months. Here are just a few of them:

Squirrels don’t stay in your attic. They go in and out of whatever hole they’ve created and search outside for food. This can increase the damage they did getting into your home and give more opportunity for water to get in. This can lead to fungus, mold, and other water issues within your walls.

Squirrels create nests in attic spaces. The materials they use to create those nests are usually found right inside your home. They rip up insulation, tear drywall, and damage other building materials.

Squirrels may use boxes as a location to nest. The cardboard of a box can be used for nesting material or the boxes themselves can be a nesting location. Either way, squirrels can damage items you have in storage as they make themselves at home. If you have precious keepsakes in your stored boxes, those items could be damaged beyond repair.

Wildlife don’t go outside to use the restroom. When squirrels get into your home, they will do their business everywhere they roam. That can be an issue as their feces and urine can have harmful bacteria and diseases.

Squirrels bring company. While it is certainly bad to have a squirrel in your home, what they bring in with them is even worse. If a squirrel is infested with ticks, fleas, mites, or some other ectoparasite, those parasites could infest your home. The diseases associated with ectoparasites is long and scary. They can spread disease, alpha-gal allergy, spotted fever, tularemia, plague, and more. These can lead to damaged internal organs, human mortality, and lifelong health complications. The risks are dependant on many factors that are too long to cover. Reasonable caution is the best course of action when dealing with wild animals and the parasites they can carry.

Squirrel attacks. This might sound amusing but being attacked by a squirrel is anything but amusing. Outside your home, squirrels are mostly docile creatures that will flee when you get too close. But a trapped or terrified squirrel can become aggressive. A momma squirrel is even more aggressive. It is never a good idea to be in a closed room with a scared squirrel.

What Should I Do?

When squirrels get in, it is best to have them removed by a licensed and experienced wildlife control professional. There are many things that can go wrong. A professional will make sure the proper equipment and methods are used to humanely extract the animal and deal with decontamination issues and secondary pest threats. Most importantly, they’ll help you prevent future infestation.

Tips for Choosing the Right Pest Control Company

Pests are a nuisance. Although they are a common problem in many homes and commercial buildings, they are a serious problem. Not only do pests disrupt your comfort but they can also carry various contagious diseases.

While you may want to get rid of a pest infestation the moment you’ve discovered the problem, it is crucial that you take time to find a reputable pest control company. With so many pest control companies to choose from, how will you find the right one?

Year of experience

Before you hire a pest control company, see that they have been operating the business for at least a few years. Also, check to see that there haven’t been any complaints filed or investigations launched against them.

Membership with professional pest management bodies

In your search for a pest control company, look for one that is a member of professional bodies that monitor industry standards. Companies that are members of such organization will use methods that pose minimal risk to your health and the environment as they operate within strict regulatory guidelines. You can rest assured that such a company will provide safe and effective services.

Licence and certification

Do not hire a pest control company if the company is not certified and licenced. Since such documentation is only valid for a specific period, ensure that the company and its workers have current licences and certification and that they have up-to-date knowledge of regulations, products and techniques. Ensure the company is covered by liability insurance as well

Squirrel Removal

If you’re looking for a squirrel removal company in the area, we’re the ones for you. Whether or not you think the squirrels are a problem, they truly do need to go. They may seem harmless, but if you let the squirrels stay, important parts of your home could be.

What do squirrels do?

We get it, squirrels can look cute. But, there’s a reason that your dog is barking at them! They move really fast, and sure, they’re entertaining to a dog. However, your dog’s job is to protect your home. So, when your dog sees a squirrel, think of them protecting your home. Look, we love dogs. We wish our dogs could be the one thing that gets rid of squirrels. Unfortunately, they aren’t.

You may think that squirrels are annoying, but let’s dig into why they are much more than annoying and bordering on very harmful. First of all, squirrels like to eat. They see your home and garden and think it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet. They’ll start with your plants. You know those gorgeous plants you’ve been tending to? Consider them the filet mignon for squirrels. A squirrel has no issue with eating all of your beautiful plants and flowers in your garden.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. When you have just one squirrel, it’s just a few plants. Still, squirrels like other squirrels. Soon enough, they’ll have babies, and then you have a squirrel hotel happening right in your backyard. Not only will they hit your plants and flowers, but say goodbye to seeds, fruits, vegetables, or anything else you’ve got in your yard.

Squirrel removal from your attic

Once they’ve made their way through your plants, they need to find a place to rest. Say hello to the squirrel nest. Didn’t know squirrels nest? Well, that’s because you probably haven’t seen their nest before. Do you know where their favorite place to nest is? Your attic!

bookmark_borderCarpet Flooring Imparts Your House A Soft And Classy Look

Carpet Flooring Prices:  Costs You Should Consider

Getting Started

Before shopping for carpet, it is important to set a budget and consider all costs involved. Walking into a couple stores and comparing cost per square foot will not provide the full picture. For accurate comparison shopping, it is important to know the estimated square footage of the room(s) to be carpeted, the cost of padding and installation, as well as any additional fees the retailers charge.

Measure The Space

The basic formula for Area is Length x Width. Turn odd areas into rectangles by multiplying the largest dimensions in both directions.

Rolls come in 12’ widths, so rooms with one dimension smaller than 12’ are easy to estimate. For example, in an 15’ x 11’ room, you will need 15 linear feet from a 12’ roll. Although you will only use 165 square feet (15×11) you will have to purchase 180 square feet (15 x 12).

For rooms where both dimensions are more than 12’, estimating becomes more complicated. If your room is 18’ x 22’, 22 linear feet of a 12’ roll will leave a 6’ strip uncovered. Although you could easily figure cut pieces to fill in the strip, the result may be less than attractive. The goal in installing carpet is to end up with as few seams as possible. Also, if you have a textured or patterned carpet, matching the pattern at the seams is vital for a polished look and may result in additional waste.

Leave the layout to the professionals. For the purpose of setting a budget and keeping salespeople honest, the rule of thumb is to figure the square footage of the room(s) and add 10% (multiply by 1.10). While the actual figure may be closer to the actual measurements or as much as 20% more, 10% arms you with a good estimate.

Don’t forget to include closets when you measure. And also, keep in mind that some carpet is still priced and sold by the yard. One square yard equals nine square feet. (3’x3’). To figure the amount of square yardage you need, divide the square footage by nine. And to convert a per-square-yard price to square feet, divide by nine.

Padding & Installation Expenses

Padding and installation may not be the beautiful, exciting part of the process, but they are vital to a successful carpet purchase. For more details as to why, refer to the padding and installation sections. Padding ranges from $.30 to $.60 per square foot, and installation adds another $.50 per square foot.

Some retailers will discount pads and/or square footage and may even offer one or more for free, but they are probably making up for it in product cost. When comparing prices between retailers, figure the total cost of carpet for your estimated square footage, then add the cost of padding and installation so you can compare apples to apples.

Additional Fees

At each place where you shop, ask about additional fees. Even after accounting for carpet, padding and installation, there may be more costs before reaching the bottom line. Shops commonly charge separately for carpet removal, dumping, product delivery and transition strips, for example, and trim like quarter round or base molding may need to be replaced.

Subfloor issues can also add costs to a flooring project. Consider having your floor inspected, especially if certain areas protrude or sag under foot.

Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. Companies that promise to carpet “any room” for an incredibly low price may charge far higher than average prices for additional rooms or for rooms larger than 10’ x 10’. Read all terms carefully.

Carpet cost based on durability and living situation

Maybe you don’t know what carpet material you’re going to buy yet. If that’s the case, you still know where the carpet will be installed and what you need out of it. Here are estimates on carpet prices based on different situations:

Apartment or rental: $1.00 sq.ft. ($9 sq.yd.)

Low-grade home: $1.50 sq.ft. ($14 sq.yd.)

Durable home: $4.50 sq.ft. ($40 sq.yd.)

Luxury home: $10 sq.ft. ($90 sq.yd.)

*these prices are for carpet only. padding and installation not included (these fees are covered below)

I could dedicate an article to each “situation” above, but it would bore you. Let’s cover a  few highlights and assumptions on each situation:

  • Apartments and rentals’ typically will go with an inexpensive carpet for two reasons: it allows them to replace the carpet more often for new tenants, and it makes it less of a risk if a tenant damages the carpet.
  • Apartment and rentals’ can get their square footage price closer to $0.50 per square foot with bulk orders and negotiating power.
  • Low-grade home’ carpet is great for temporary situations, tight budgets, or rooms that aren’t used often. In high traffic areas, it will only last a couple of years. But if it’s a guest bedroom, it will last a long time since foot traffic is what destroys carpet.
  • Durable home’ carpet is for the typical homeowner. They want a carpet that keeps its new appearance as long as possible. You can spend up to $10 sq.ft. here, but when you start going above $6-7 sq.ft., you start paying a lot for little improvement in durability.
  • Luxury home’ is when you want a carpet that stands out. These carpets are often made of natural materials like wool.

Cut Pile Carpet

Cut pile carpets cost $1 to $12 per square foot. The name describes a process where the woven loops are all cut to the same height and tufted at the ends. The resulting appearance is dense and soft. This type includes four subcategories:

  • Saxony or Plush: The most common type, this looks like a freshly-mowed lawn. It’s subject to fluffing or shedding, however, so it may last 5 to 10 years longer in low-traffic areas.
  • Textured Saxony: This style features twists to create a permanent curl and resist lines and wear. It’s great for medium-to-high-traffic areas.
  • Frieze: This yarn twists more tightly than textured Saxony, so it actually curls over. It creates a durable product that resists lines and works well in high-traffic areas.
  • Cable: Known for its thicker and longer yarn, this carpet offers the softest comfort. However, it is subject to wear and matting, making it practical for low-traffic areas.Loop Pile Carpet

Loop pile carpet runs $1 to $5 per square foot. This style features uncut yarn. It is commonly used in high-traffic areas of homes and businesses. Since the loops connect to the backing on both ends, it is incredibly durable and resistant to lines. Products may include:

  • multicolored threads to hide dirt and stains
  • low-and-high-profile areas to add texture and concealment

Get a Rough Estimate of Replacement Flooring Costs

calculatoronhouseThere are 5 steps to getting an approximate idea of how much a new floor will cost. They will help you form a rough estimate on the replacement cost for a new floor. At the same time as calculating a rough estimate for yourself we recommend getting a free quote from a trustworthy professional installer as a comparison guide.

Step 1: Determine the Total Square Footage Required

Since all types of flooring are sold by the square foot or square yard, knowing how large the area is that you want to cover is the first step. You’ll need a tape measure to determine square footage. If you have a blueprint that shows dimension, it will save you from having to make the measurements.

Measure rooms one at a time. It’s easiest to measure rectangles, so if you have an “L-shaped” room, divide it into 2 rectangles and measure them separately. The length of the rectangle multiplied by the width equals the square footage. For example, a room, or section of a room, that is 20 feet long and 12 feet wide produces this formula: 20 x 12 = 240 square feet. If the flooring you are purchasing is sold by the yard, divide the square feet by 9. So, 240 square feet / 9 = 26.667 square yards.

Add up the square footage from all the rooms or room sections. That number will be the total square footage being covered.

Step 2: Add 5% for Waste

Trimming the flooring will produce waste. Most manufacturers recommend 5% for waste. If you’re installing the floor yourself and don’t have experience, you might consider adding 10% for waste. So, if the total square feet to be covered is 1,200, multiple by 1.05 for 5% waste and 1.10 for 10% waste.

1,200 x 1.05 = 1,260

1,200 x 1.10 = 1,320

Step 3: Know the Price Per Square Foot for the Flooring

As you’re shopping for floor covering, make notes on the price of the materials. The most common types of flooring material include carpeting, vinyl and linoleum flooring, natural stone flooring, solid hardwood, engineered stone flooring and laminate flooring. They range in cost from less than $2 per square foot for cheap vinyl, ceramic tile and carpet to over $8 per square foot for exotic wood and natural stone flooring.

Step 4: Know the Price of Installation

You’ve got to get floor replacement estimates from local flooring contractors to find out the price of installation per square foot. The cheapest flooring to install is carpet and laminate. Vinyl and wood flooring are in the middle. Ceramic tile, stone and concrete are the most costly.

Get several estimates to find the lowest prices in your area. If you use an estimate service, the contractors are pre-screened and their bids are usual very competitive because they know you are getting more than one.

Step 5: Put it All Together

Multiply material cost and installation cost by the square footage and add them together.

For example, let’s say you’re going to hire home flooring pros to install your new carpet rather than installing it yourself. Here’s how this looks when you’ve got 1,200 square feet to cover:

1,200 x 1.05 = 1,260 square feet of material needed.

Average price of carpet per square foot: $4.50

1,260 square feet of carpet x $4.50 = $5,670 for material

Installation of 1,200 square feet x $1.50 per square foot = $1,800 for installation.

Material plus installation, or $5,670 + $1,800 = $7,470

In our illustration, to cover 1,200 square feet with average carpet at average installation costs, you’d pay $7,470. If the flooring installer is going to remove old flooring and dispose of it, there may be additional costs for those services.

How to Choose Your Carpet

There are many considerations that go into the selection of a carpet. While color, pattern, and style are certainly part of the selection process, there are other things to consider as well.

  • If you own pets, you may want to look at carpeting that can be easily cleaned or that is stain-resistant.
  • Small children or busy households may also require stain-resistant carpeting, as well as stain-resistant carpet pads.
  • Material is another consideration. Both natural fibers and synthetic are available, and both will wear differently over time.
  • The height (or, depth) of the carpet is another thing to consider. Lower naps and Berber carpets are easier to keep clean, last longer, and don’t show as much wear. However, carpets with a deeper nap may be more comfortable underfoot.
  • If the carpeting will be in direct sunlight, you will want to look for a UV-resistant brand to help prevent fading.
  • If the carpeting will be near an entrance, stain-resistant fibers can help prevent discoloration over time.

bookmark_borderTax And Tax Planning

Finding a CPA for tax-planning purposes

I’m writing to you to find out if you know where I could go or who I could consult with regarding how the IRS would interpret a particular capital gains issue. I act as power of attorney for my mother, who has late-stage Alzheimer’s. She is income-poor and holds a considerable amount in stocks with a very low cost basis. I’m hoping I can sell these stocks and generate cash to take care of her without incurring a big tax liability. Thank you for your consideration.

You should consider seeking out a certified public accountant, or CPA, who can help you figure out the most tax-efficient way to get the funds you need for your mother’s care.

If you have never used a CPA before, you could ask for referrals from family, friends and even the stockbroker who handles your mother’s stocks, if that is the case. Additionally, many CPAs are members of their local chamber of commerce, and you can use that as a resource.

You should be prepared to discuss your mother’s entire financial picture, including not only her income sources such as Social Security, stock dividends and interest, but also all of her financial requirements for the care she needs at this time of her life. You will also need to know what other assets she owns besides the stocks, such as her home.

Ask the adviser

To ask a question on Tax Talk, go to the “Ask the Experts” page and select “Taxes” as the topic. Read more Tax Talk columns. To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Taxpayers should seek professional advice based on their particular circumstances.

Importance and Benefits of Tax Planning

Tax planning should be an integral part of your finances. It’s your loss if you don’t make use of the available deductions and exemptions to save on taxes. Paying taxes is a way of contributing to the nation’s development, but when the government is providing you with options to save taxes, it is only wise to do so.

Importance of Saving Taxes:

Let’s understand tax planning and its benefits with the help of an example. Consider Akash, an IT professional living in a metro city with annual compensation of Rs 16 lakh. He is currently repaying an education loan of Rs 22 lakh which he had availed to fund his higher education

How to Save Taxes?

The Income Tax Act, 1961, provides taxpayers with several options to reduce their tax payable. Various sections offer tax deductions, out of which Section 80C is the most popular. Amongst exemption, claiming house rent allowance (HRA) is the widely used exemption. The best way to save taxes is to lay out a financial plan as and when there is a revision in your salary and to stick to it. Also, it is essential that you make tax-saving investments in the first half of the financial year, so that you don’t make hasty investment decisions at the end of the year. Furthermore, it would help if you claimed all the exemptions and deductions you are eligible for. To do this, you should know and understand the various exemptions and deductions available.

Section 80C

Section 80C is the most popular section in the Income Tax Act, 1961. It provides provisions for taxpayers to save up to Rs 46,800 a year in taxes. Section 80C covers several tax-saving investment options, and investors can choose to invest in any of the options under Section 80C to avail the deduction of up to Rs 46,800 a year. The best tax-saving option under Section 80C is equity-linked savings scheme (ELSS). It is an equity-oriented mutual fund scheme, offering the dual benefit of tax-saving and wealth growth

Apart from ELSS, you can invest in government savings schemes such as Public Provident Fund (PPF), National Savings Certificate (NSC), tax-saving FDs, and so on. Cumulative investments in these options will provide deductions of up to Rs 1.5 lakh. You can also claim deductions towards your payments made towards children’s school tuition fee and home loan principal repayment under Section 80C.

What Can You Expect From a Career in Tax?

Though you probably won’t help imprison gangsters like Al Capone for income tax evasion, as a tax expert you’ll certainly hunt down creative solutions to surprising problems. Here’s a look at the tax careers out there and what you’d do in a day at the office.

Tax at a glance

Tax is an unavoidable fact of life – it affects every person, company and organisation. Everyone wants to save money on their tax bill. Everybody wishes someone would do the paperwork for them.

What roles are there in tax?

A tax role has two main parts: compliance and consultancy.

Compliance is the nitty gritty of tax – the paperwork. One key compliance job is to complete your client’s tax return according to the current regulations and file it on time. Depending on your specialism, you might do calculations, accounting and paperwork for things like setting up family trusts or estate planning. At the beginning of your career you can expect to focus on compliance while you learn the ropes.

Tax consultancy is the problem-solving side of the tax business. Tax advisors make sure their clients’ finances are tax-efficient (simply put, they find ways for their clients to pay the minimum tax possible). It means knowing tax regulations inside out and being able to take advantage of all the available tax structures, tax breaks and loopholes. This is what you’ll focus on as a qualified tax advisor.

How to Hire a Tax Professional for Your Small Business

Hiring the right tax professional for your small business is important. Getting good tax help can translate into money for your business. Ideally, you should form a long-term relationship with a tax professional so you have someone to call year-round. Because this person is so important to your business’ bottom line — and will help ease your stress throughout the year — take the time to learn about the different types of tax pros, how they can help, and how to choose one.

Types of Tax Advisers

Anyone can claim to be a tax expert. And people who prepare tax returns don’t have to be licensed by the IRS

Make sure your tax preparer is one of the following:

Enrolled agent (EA). An EA is licensed by the IRS. The EA has either passed a difficult test or has at least five years of experience working for the IRS. Enrolled agents are the least expensive of the tax pros and often offer bookkeeping and accounting assistance.

Certified public accountant (CPA) and other accountants. CPAs are licensed and regulated by each state. They perform sophisticated accounting and business-related tax work and prepare tax returns. Larger businesses or businesses with complex business tax returns often need CPAs. The larger CPA firms are expensive. Smaller CPA firms are cheaper and may be better for the typical small business.

Tax attorney. Tax attorneys are lawyers with a special tax law degree (called an L.L.M. in taxation) or a tax specialization certification from a state bar association. Tax attorneys can be expensive. But you should consult one if you have a tax problem, are in trouble with the IRS, need legal representation in court, or need business and estate planning.

Whatever type of professional your business needs, make sure he or she has specific knowledge and experience in helping small businesses. It’s even better if you can find someone who already knows a good deal about your type of business or industry.

How Tax Pros Can Help Your Business

If you find a good tax professional, you seek his or her assistance in many ways throughout the year.

simple tax

We’re not your normal suit and tie kind of CPA’s. We don’t want to just see you once a year when we do your taxes. We actually want to have a relationship with you and we want to help you plan for your future. We specialize in tax returns and tax planning with the goal of “no surprises”. You shouldn’t ever be surprised by a big tax bill or an issue with the IRS.

Rely on your go-to tax consultants to make things less taxing

If there’s something that every American knows about the IRS, it’s that it is too daunting to deal with. All those calculations, exemptions, and deductions can drive you crazy even if you’re aware of when and what forms need to be filed. The good news is that you no longer have to do taxes on your own. You can now benefit from the best tax preparation services offered by dime simple business, the only company that can make the process completely stress-free for you. We are driven by the idea that complex things can be turned into simple things, and we’ll prove that.

Meet your team of seasoned tax accountants in Alpharetta, GA who are looking forward to helping your non-profit, business, or church move forward. We will prevent your organization’s financial future from taking a beating by preparing long-term forecasts, filing your returns, and developing cost-effective strategies. We will stand behind you when dealing with the IRS and keeping up with the ever-changing tax code while looking after your interests as a taxpayer.

Long-standing business relationships. When working side by side with dime simple business, you’ll always have a team of experts at your service, no matter the issue. We are not like those “specialists” who only show up before the deadline to file your tax return and then disappear for months. We are here day and night to help your organization thrive and secure its financial future.

Invaluable assistance for all. Regardless of what type of organization you’re managing – a small business or a church – we can make sure you’ll never be landed with a huge tax bill. Our capabilities allow us to protect the interests of all while providing hassle-free tax return services and more.

bookmark_borderQuick Roof Repair

FAQS About Storm Damage Roof Repair

Protecting the structural integrity of your roofing system should be a top priority, as it is one of the most important aspects of any fundamental home maintenance and repair agenda. As soon as your roof begins to show signs of damage or reduced performance, it is wise to contact a licensed roofing company who can locate the source of the damage and make any professional repairs or adjustments as needed. The sooner you catch a roof problem and deal with it, the less costly and invasive the repair process will be. This includes professional post-storm inspections to ensure your property is still intact.

Since most homeowners are not roofing experts, it is common to have a lot of questions and concerns when it comes time to repair a roof. Continue below to read some frequently asked questions about roof repair and replacement to gain a better understanding of your roofing system’s needs after a harsh storm.

Will My Insurance Carrier Increase My Rates If I File A Roof Repair Claim?

It is common for insurance carriers to raise everyone’s rates across the board after a severe storm or natural disaster. One way to look at this is that you should file a claim for repair since you are already going to help pay for everyone else’s. It is possible that there are exceptions to this rule as well.

Why Is My New Roof Not Covered By The Manufacturer’s Warranty?

It is very common for roof product manufacturers to exclude hail repairs in their warranties. In fact, several warranties specifically name hail as a non-covered repair. Keep in mind that newer roofs are more prone to hail damage since they have not yet had ample time to cure and gain resistance against the natural elements. To avoid this problem, talk to a trusted contractor about the affordable hail damage protection options available to you.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT THAT YOU MAY HAVE ROOF DAMAGE?

 If you suspect you have roof damage, you need to do the following:

1. Stay safe — avoid going on the roof to check for damage yourself and instead contact a professional roofer.
2. Inspect your attic for leaks or water damage. Also, if any water stains appear on your ceiling or walls, you likely need repairs or a roof replacement.
3. Look for signs of storm damage from the ground. Check for missing shingles or missing pieces of metal fascia, including any metal pieces displaced from around your chimney. Also, assess the condition of exhaust pipes, valleys, outer edges or angles where the roof meets the walls.
4. Obviously, you’ll notice if a tree fell on your roof. If so, stay out of your home until a professional can determine whether any structural damage occurred. Consider hiring a general contractor or roofer with a general contractor’s license if your home suffered structural damage, as you’ll need more than roof repairs.

I might have storm damage, where do I begin my reroof process?

The nature of the damage caused by storms can vary depending on the type of storm. Take a walk around the perimeter of your home and check for signs of damage. If you are unsure if your roof is damage, call a roofing professional. One thing to remember is before you start your insurance process, call Reliant Roofing to come and do a free inspection. We will perform a thorough inspection of the roof and we will let you know if you should pursue an insurance claim.

My neighborhood was just hit by a storm but my roof looks fine. Why do I need to have it checked?

Storm damage can be tough to see at times from the ground level. Your shingles may be pulling up and it not even be visible. Some leaks, especially in crickets or around flashing can go invisible to a homeowner for years. Unlike many types of roofing damage, hail damage is especially not always obvious, especially if you have a textured roofing material such as dimensional or architectural shingles. The outer roofing material may have shallow dents that aren’t readily visible. If these dents are deep enough to “bruise” the waterproofing layer, the smallest puncture could allow rainwater through the roof deck and into the attic, causing significant water damage.

Why can’t I inspect my own roof?

Many homeowners like the DIY aspect of some contract work. Roofing should not be one of the. Without proper safety gear and a trained eye, getting on a roof can be extremely dangerous, for you and your roof. While you may think you can save some money by going
this route, we highly discourage it. The majority of homeowners lack the safety knowledge and in-depth roofing expertise to perform the work properly and can easily make matters worse. Turn to an experienced professional like Reliant Roofing, who knows how
to conduct a roof inspection safely and thoroughly and can offer educated solutions.

Do I need a roofing contractor involved in the process?

You do not have to have a roofing contractor to file a claim, however it is beneficial to have a trained contractor on site to meet with you adjuster so nothing is overlooked and you get a fair assessment of the damages.

How do I choose a contractor?

This is a very important question and decision.
Research the company. Check out the company website tomake sure they have a location within 50 miles or so of your property, and local landline phone numbers. Qualified contractors will also carry high levels of credentials will the three major material manufacturers (Owens Corning, GAF, CertainTeed).

You should find a contractor who is in accredited with the BBB and will readily supply you with insurance, workers compensation, references, etc. upon your request.

I have received my building estimate from my insurance company and I do not agree with the scope of work in the estimate and/or the adjuster’s assessment of damages. What should I do?

Just remember that during a catastrophe, an insurance adjuster can have as many as seven homes a day to inspect. Because there is a higher volume of claims than usual, adjusters may miss things. Our representatives take the necessary time to give you an accurate assessment of the scope of damages.

To make a fair and accurate evaluation, we use Xactimate, the software that all major insurance companies use. This ensures that you will receive the maximum amount of indemnifications allowed bwind damage missing shingley your policy. If there are discrepancies between our estimate and that of your insurance company, your representative will assist you in requesting a re-inspection or in sending your insurance company a supplement letter with evidence of additional damages

 Why is my mortgage company included on my check?

As a lien holder, your mortgage company has a vested interest in confirming that your property has been repaired and they often call for an inspection after the repairs are completed.

bookmark_borderFactors To Consider Before Purchasing Kitchen Faucet

How to Reset a Faucet

Automatic faucets have made their way into the home. You can add a touch sensor or motion-activated faucet anywhere a regular faucet is used. These faucets are handy because they don’t require turning a handle to get access to water. For any number of reasons, the faucet may quit working. When the touch-sensor or motion-activated faucet quits working, the first place to check is the battery compartment. Replace batteries as needed. After replacing the batteries, the faucet make require a reset to work.

Locate the battery compartment under the sink and remove the dead batteries. Some automatic faucets have a red light-emitting diode that flashes when batteries are getting low. The light is found near or on the battery compartment.

Open the battery case and realign the batteries with the positive and negative poles in the right positions according to the layout in the battery compartment. Close the battery compartment. Make sure it locks completely before continuing.

Locate the reset button, if any, on or near the battery compartment, after changing out batteries.

Push the red reset button to reset the faucet.

Test the faucet to ensure the reset corrected the problem.

Tip

Not all automatic faucets have red reset buttons. Some faucets just require inserting new batteries or realigning the batteries in the compartment to complete a reset. on the faucet. Check the instructions that came with your automatic faucet or locate the user’s guide online at the manufacturer’s website.

Kitchen area Faucet Mend – No Much more ‘Sob’ Operas

Exhausted from all that cooking, its time for you to hit the sack. But you will find some thing in your kitchen area that’s certain to place your splendor snooze in mortal jeopardy. Is it that creaky kitchen area cabinet that you choose to vowed to established proper when undertaking the next transforming task? No, truly it’s a thing more innocuous. It can be the kitchen’s leaky faucet that appears to have launched into a singular mission of decimating all your comfort. Take it easy, you will find a perfectly pragmatic option in sight for this ubiquitous difficulty. Kitchen area faucet restore, the same as kitchen faucet set up, could seem incredibly difficult, even so the point on the make a difference is it truly is kid’s perform. Be it a bronze kitchen area faucet as well as a brass kitchen area faucet, you’re never ever far away through the remedy of the best way to restore a dripping kitchen faucet superior ball screw repair.

Know the system inside of out

Right before you can get to find out the intricacies of kitchen area faucet restore, it can be essential to familiarize on your own together with the doing work of a kitchen faucet. Kitchen taps are classified in to four various types- the cartridge kind, compression, ball and disc form. While the cartridge, ball and disc style of faucets have single handle control, the compression style of faucet is characterised by dual handles for both equally scorching and cold water. The truth is this sort of faucet is armed with washers and seals, some thing one other 3 absence. The existence of O-rings and neoprene seals ensure that you can find no leaks.

The reasons for those annoying leaks

Before undertaking any repair work, it’s important to diagnose the root cause of this galling problem. A faucet leak in the kitchen may be caused by worn out washers, seals or O rings. Even the presence of antiquated inlet and outlet seals may be the reason for the kitchen faucets not being up to snuff. Sediments in the inlet valve may lead to a leaky faucet.

Steps to fix that leaky faucet

Here are a few steps that are sure to put an end to this obnoxious problem:

* Firstly, turn off the hot and cold water valves. Loosen the screw at the base of the handle and remove the faucet.

* Make sure you line all the parts of the faucet in the order in which you remove them, so that putting them back does not seem to be like a jigsaw puzzle.

* Put a piece of tape around the plier to prevent any tell-tale signs of repair on the faucet.

* Remove all the inner parts by loosening the retaining nut.

* In case you find that the ball valve is damaged, replace it immediately.

* Replace all the springs and seals that are worn out.

* Remove all traces of sediments on the inner parts. Check for cracks on the O rings and gaskets.

How to fix a Ceramic disc faucets

Ceramic disc valves are simply another type of cartridge. Discs inside the cartridge control the water flow. This type of valve is sturdy and reliable and rarely needs fixing. In fact, many manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee on the cartridge. If yours is damaged, check with the manufacturer to see if it’s covered by a warranty.

Leaks can result from faulty rubber seals or a cracked disc inside the cartridge. Since it’s difficult to spot a cracked disc, and disc cartridge replacements are very expensive, it’s best to start by replacing the seals and reassembling the faucet. Then if the faucet still leaks, remove the disc cartridge and take it to the store to order a replacement.

Early versions of ceramic disc faucets may be more fragile and can crack if subjected to a blast of pressurized air. That’s why it’s important to leave the faucet open as you turn the water back on. This allows air trapped in the lines to escape. When the water runs smoothly, it’s safe to turn the faucet off. Manufacturers have improved the strength of ceramic discs on newer faucets to withstand air blasts, as well as abrasive debris that may get dislodged from the inside of pipes.

Replacing the Faucet Valve Seat

In case the compression type of faucet is still leaking from its spout despite servicing the valve, then it’s possible that the faucet valve seat is nicked or cracked.

The faucet valve seat consists of a metallic component which is threaded and screwed into the valve base. You should use the seat type wrench to remove the faucet valve seat. This wrench resembles the taper hex type of wrench.

You’ll need to detach the valve once again. Then insert the wrench deep within the housing of the valve until it fills the hexagonally shaped hole.

Next, rotate the wrench in a counterclockwise direction to remove the valve seat. You’ll easily find replacements in your local hardware stores.

You can carry the old faucet valve seat with you when buying a replacement to ensure you purchase a matching replacement.

bookmark_borderAdvantages Of Using Photo Booth In Parties

Tips For Choosing A Photobooth For Your Event

When planning events, it’s so important to give your guests something memorable from the event. Albeit an experience or something they can take with them, the gesture goes a long way. If you choose to go with the option of hiring a photobooth for your event, you can offer your guests free prints of the photos they are taking.

Location Is Everything

If you’re booking your event venue knowing you’ll have a photo booth there, be sure to choose a venue that’ll be big enough for the booth to set up. If this is something you have decided after you have made a booking, the standard size of the booths are around 3m x 3m. This again will be dependent on the type of photo booth you select.

Choosing The Type Of Photo Booth

Thanks to the many technological advancements, the way we know photobooths have changed! As there is now a large variety of photo booths, the technology can be adapted to fit the shell of the photo booth.

Choosing Your Photo Booth Backdrop

Surprisingly enough, the backdrop is an important consideration to bare in mind when deciding on where you’ll be setting the photo booth up. You can choose if you want a backdrop with a custom background, an open air backdrop with the view in the background, or if you prefer the booth to be enclosed.

Will Guests Be Standing or Sitting

This links very closely to where you set up your photobooth and how much space is available. To ensure a much smoother transition between each picture, having your guests stand when they take their picture is recommended. You can give guests the option to sit just as long as they’re a smaller group, and are willing not to use as many props. That way you’ll avoid any sort of injury!

THE NEXT GENERATION OF PHOTO BOOTHS HAVE THEIR SIGHTS SET ON YOU

A machine named Queso wants me to pose like a spy. A short video shows three people making finger guns, backs against one another, and even though I feel awkward doing this alone in the middle of a Las Vegas convention show floor, I oblige. Next, Queso says to pretend like I’m thinking, and I’m beginning to understand why this photo booth was named after cheese. Finally, it tells me to jump around. I hop a few times until Queso floods me with light for the final time. Then I quickly gather my things and move behind the machine to retrieve a copy of my pictures.

But there is no printout — yet again. I came to the fifth annual Photo Booth Expo hoping to go home with a comically large pile of selfies, but none of the 40-something exhibiting photo booths have printed out anything. Instead, they’re offering to email or text links to the photos for easy online sharing

This is the state of photo booths in 2019. What was once on a highway to extinction has been reborn as an Instagram machine, transforming the humble self-portrait into theatrical displays for social media currency. While the machines pander to the young demographic that loves these experiences the most, they’re also monetizing a valuable asset in exchange: their data.

To photo booth operators, there are two types of customers, says Brandon Wong, founder of Photobooth Supply Co. (PBSCO). First, there is the birthday, wedding, and anniversary party crowd, which are the types of events that make people want to take home a souvenir. “Everyone’s already dressed up, looks great, and wants a fantastic picture to hang up,” Wong says.

The photo booth’s modern revival roots back to 2010, the same year that both the iPad and Instagram were born. Event photographers could now build smaller, cheaper photo booths that relied on the tablet and then email the photos to customers instead of having full-sized cameras and photochemical solutions. All the while, Instagram encouraged people to think of their online counterpart as a visual homepage that’s filled with unique photos that presented them as their most interesting, beautiful selves

Tips to Survive a DIY Photo Booth Experience

Most everyone has probably been to some type of event that had a photo booth set up for the guests.  Photo booths seem to have gained a lot in popularity, especially at weddings, but you may see them at birthday or retirement parties, or a variety of other gatherings.  They can be lots of fun and offer little pressure to those being photographed.  Even those who generally don’t like sitting in front of a camera will often break out of their shell, garner a few props, and take a few silly photos.  Not only is it a fun experience that will leave some fond memories, but the resulting photos can be a valuable keepsake for the guests who get involved as well as the event’s honorees.

Recently, I was asked if I could set up a photo booth at a big surprise going-away party.  This wasn’t a paid gig, but rather a favor for friends and something I wanted to try out.  After all, it’s just a matter of setting up a camera, a light or two, and letting people take pictures of themselves. Pretty simple, right?  Well, there is a bit more to it than that, so I took to the internet to learn what I could about setting up a photo booth.  What I found was information that was either over-simplified, using a point-and-shoot camera and maybe a flash, or a much more complicated system utilizing a full enclosure and lots of fancy (and expensive) gear that I don’t have.  I knew that there had to be something in between, that would provide some decent images with good lighting, without being overly complex and expensive to set up.  That’s what I set out to do and this article provides some of the things I learned along the way. Note that this article does not deal with the business side, such as how much to charge for your photo booth, insurance needs, or contracts, but rather the gear that is necessary and how to set it up.  So, let’s get started!

Scout the Location

As with most types of photography, but especially where portraits of people are involved, it’s a good idea to scout out the location of the shoot to get a ‘lay of the land’.  There are a few things to look for on these reconnaissance missions that will help you prepare your gear and to make sure you have everything you need when the shoot starts.  This will help to increase your confidence level and also help to remove some of the variables so that you can focus on providing the best experience possible.  For my particular experience, the event was being held in a location that I was familiar with, so I already had some idea of what to expect.  However, it was still a good idea to set up several hours in advance to determine the best layout for the photo booth in relation to how the venue was arranged and the activities that were going to take place.  Additionally, it is important to figure out the location of the nearest electrical outlets to plug in chargers, battery packs, lighting, or your laptop.  As they say, if you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.  So don’t skimp on this part

Safety First!

OK, so it is Tip #2, but safety should always be paramount, especially when we are photographing people, and particularly for a photo booth, because there is lots of activity, with people coming and going.  Be sure to eliminate or at least minimize any tripping hazards, such as cables, extension cords, tripod or light stand legs, etc.  If anything is left unsecured, there is a chance it could take a tumble if it gets bumped or someone catches a foot on it in all the excitement.  I learned this the hard way.  Within 10 minutes of opening my photo booth, one of my light stands ended up lying on the floor, mangling the brand new umbrella that was attached.  Thankfully, no one was hit and the umbrella was still functional after a little ‘persuasion’, but this could have been avoided. Since the light stand will be top-heavy, consider using sand bags to add some weight to the bottom.  If possible, even consider attaching the legs of the stands to the floor, possibly with duct tape. Make sure that all cables and cords are secured with cable ties and routed in areas where there will not be any foot traffic.  After setting up the photo booth, make a precursory run through it and check for anything that could be a potential problem and deal with it then.  Make sure to make getting in and out of the photo booth as easy as possible, with plenty of space between the flow of traffic and your gear

Establish Some Rules

This one kind of goes along with the previous tip.  A photo booth will generally consist of lots of photography gear, including your camera, tripod, and lighting setup.  People will be in and out of the photo booth all evening, so you want to be sure that equipment stays just as safe as the guests.  Unless you plan to closely monitor the photo booth (and even if you do), it’s a good idea to set some rules beforehand.  This is particularly applicable if there will be a lot of kids at the event.  In all of the busy-ness, it can be difficult to keep track of everything that is going on and what each person is doing.  It’s a good idea to ask that all children 10 years old and younger be accompanied by an adult.  We all know that kids can be quite curious and may wonder about what all those buttons on the camera do.  The last thing you would want is for a young bundle of energy to get up close and personal with your gear.

Why rent a photo booth

Having a photo booth at your event will be the ultimate hit and life of the party! Our photo booth provides a very unique and entertaining experience that everyone will enjoy from the moment they arrive. Just like many of our customers say “the least expensive and the best part of our event”.

What makes your Photobooth stand apart from your competitors?

We are Wedding and Events Photographers. As Photographers we want the best picture quality and prints coming out of our booths, we used top notch real professional Full Frame Cameras, not consumer cameras, real Professional grade lenses and lighting to insure the best picture possible. Also, our booths have video mode and is available in most of our packages. We also have a variety of Professional Modern Backgrounds for you to choose from. We do our best to make sure your photos leave a lasting impression. Oh and let’s not forget about our props! We have the most fun props and props/signs! That’s how we stand out of the competition.

How does it work?

Just get in, You will be in front of a large 21-23″ Screen with live view,  touch the screen to select Color or Black & White, Push Start for Photos smile and the booth will do the rest! Images will be displayed on the monitor inside the booth, 10 seconds later the pictures are printed and available outside the photo booth. (The options vary with the model of the booth.) Or Push Start Video wait for the countdown and start saying your Message when you see the green bar. An Attendant will always be on site to guide you through!

Can I view My photo before it prints??

Yes, there is an option that requires you to confirm the photos if you are happy you hit Print if not you hit Re-Take, it is convinient but is not recommended as it will slow the line. If it Prints Automatically it will have the line moving much faster.

How long does it take to get a photo printed?

It takes about 10 seconds for the photo to be processed and printed. It’s super fast!

Choose the Best Photo Booth for Your Event

Adding a few surprises to your event is a great way to help guests break the ice, loosen up and get into the spirit of the day or night, whatever your intended outcomes. An excellent choice is photo booths, and there lots of different ways you can use them to help everyone have fun

Your Venue

Choosing the right event products is about finding the best setup for the space you have, so look at your venue and party area before selecting a photo booth. If you have limited space, for example, many think that a photo booth isn’t an option at all. However, you could consider a social media pod where lack of space is an issue. This has the same effect as the magic selfie mirror but is more versatile because it doesn’t require as much room, is easier to use and no host is required, as well as being cheaper which is always a bonus

Your Event Purpose

The type of event you’re hosting should influence the types of product you select, helping you to meet the aims of the day or night and ensure everyone has a good time. You can even combine photo booths with props the reflect and enhance your event theme. If you’re planning a product launch or corporate event, for example, social media pods are a great way to spread brand awareness online. On the other hand, the most up to date photo booths will have in-built Green Screen technology to help you create different themes and backgrounds. Equally, if the purpose of the event is for having a good time and celebrating, such as a wedding or Christmas party, magic selfie mirrors are a really fun and interactive choice.

Your Guests

How much thought you put into the guest experience is something which is going to define how they remember your event, so choosing products based on the mixture of people you have coming is always a smart move. For example, if you have a diverse range of age groups attending (especially at weddings and family parties), a traditional photo booth is often the best choice as it means young guests can reach the camera and older generations may feel less shy when in an enclosed booth, helping to get everyone involved. However, magic selfie mirrors are perfect for full length and wider shots, which is great if you have a lot of people who’ll want to show off their outfits or larger groups are involved.

bookmark_borderWhen Do You Need An Electrical Upgrade

Is it Time for an Electrical Wiring Upgrade in Your Home?

While it may seem like a permanent component of your house, residential electrical wiring often has a finite lifespan. If you’ve purchased an older home or lived in your present residence long enough, the time eventually arrives when re-wiring the house may be necessary. Some of the reasons are related to the age of the electrical system and/or its original configuration. Others are simply a result of the changing times and higher demand. Here are some scenarios that may cause you to consult a qualified electrician about upgrading your electrical wiring.

Does the house have aluminum wiring? Abut 2 million houses built in the late 1960s and early 1970s do. Connections in aluminum wiring are known to be at high risk for failure. This could cause a dangerous fire or, at the very least, interrupt power to household circuits. Replacement with copper electrical wiring is indicated.

Are circuit breakers tripping? That can be a symptom of a system that’s not up to the task of providing enough electricity to meet current demand. The rapidly increasing number of electrical devices in today’s homes has made the old standard 60- or 100-amp systems increasingly obsolete. Today, new houses are typically constructed with wiring and panels rated for at least 150 amps. (Circuit breakers that repeatedly trip may also indicate a faulty appliance or dangerous shorts, so they should always be checked out by a qualified electrician immediately.)

Safety Issues with Older Wiring

Faulty wiring is the leading cause of residential fires, according to a 2009 study by the National Fire Prevention Association. And the older your house is, the greater the chances that the wiring might be outdated or unsafe.

Old wiring—even knob and tube wiring that dates back to the early 20th century—isn’t inherently dangerous, but unless you were around when the house was built, you can’t be sure the electrical system is up to code. Plus, materials such as wire insulation can deteriorate over time.

If you don’t know when your wiring was last inspected, it’s worth paying a licensed electrician to give it a once-over, especially if you have any of these warning signs:

  • Breakers that trip or fuses that blow repeatedly
  • A tingling sensation when you touch an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • A persistent burning smell from a room or appliance
  • Warm, discolored, or sparking outlets
  • Two-prong ungrounded outlets throughout the house
  • No ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in kitchens, baths, and other areas exposed to moisture.

Another reason to consider upgrading is that some carriers refuse to insure houses with older wiring, or charge owners higher premiums

Signs You Need Electrical Updates

If you want to keep your home safe, you need to make sure your electrical panel is up to snuff.

You might be surprised to find how many common electrical issues can be traced back to a faulty electrical panel. Remember, your panel is linked to your entire electrical system, so if the panel is malfunctioning, the damage is more widespread than the basement or dining room.

Your Home Relies on Fuses and a Fuse Panel

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with fuses and fuse panels, per se. A fuse and a circuit breaker both protect an overloaded circuit by interrupting the flow of electricity, switching off the power before the circuit blows. The way they do it is very different. A fuse contains a piece of metal that melts when overheated, while a circuit breaker has an internal switch mechanism that cuts power when it senses an unsafe power surge. As we said, there’s nothing technically wrong with fuses and fuse panels. They’re common in older houses built before the 1960s. The problem is that, because it uses a melting piece of metal, they’re a major fire hazard.

Old or Faulty Wiring

If your electrical panel is up-to-date and your lights still dim and flicker, that’s a sign that your wires may be old. If you’re not sure whether your wires are old or faulty, there are a couple other red flags you can look for. A burning smell near electronics or appliances isn’t a ghost–it’s the scent of burning wiring. The same thing applies to a shock or tingling sensation when you touch an appliance. Sometimes it’s static electricity, but if it happens often, it’s probably not static. And if you see any discoloration near plugs, it’s time to switch off your power and call an electrician. Generally, if you live in an old house, it’s a good idea to get your wiring checked regularly–the house likely contains outdated wiring systems that may need to be replaced.

Your Circuit Breaker Often Trips

A circuit breaker should “trip” when it overloads—this is a safety feature that prevents hazards. But if your circuit breaker always trips, that’s a solid sign you need an electrical service upgrade. It means that the electrical panel can no longer handle your electricity requirements. This means you now have too many appliances that your breaker can handle. This forces the breaker to supply more electricity than its capacity. This can overheat its circuit, which can then fry up the circuits of all appliances connected to it.

Lights Keep Flickering or Usually Turns on and off

Do your house lights flicker when you power on your air conditioner? Perhaps they go on and off whenever you run any high-wattage appliance. Either way, this can mean that your electrical panel is already going beyond its capacity. This situation often precedes a constantly tripping circuit breaker. Upgrade the electrical panel now before it damages your appliances’ internal components.

The Electrical Panel Gets Warm or Emits a Burning Smell

The heat or burning smell can indicate severe overloading. These signs can also mean a failed circuit breaker or a disconnected wire. All these issues can trigger a house fire. Turn off the electrical panel as soon as you notice these signs. Then, have expert electrical service providers repair or replace your electrical panel.

Worn-Out Wiring

If the wiring in your building is more than 40 years old, chances are it won’t be able to meet your needs safely and efficiently, especially if it hasn’t been properly maintained.

Your electrical wiring could be unsafe if you notice:

  • Your lights flicker or dim frequently, particularly when a large appliance such as a refrigerator or A/C kicks on.
  • Equipment and appliances run slowly or can’t reach full power.
  • Breakers trip or fuses blow repeatedly.
  • You need extension cords to get power to all your equipment.
  • Your switch plates and outlets feel warm.
  • You feel a tingling when you touch a metal appliance. This means the appliance isn’t properly grounded and could cause electrocution.
  • Outlets are brown or melted.
  • Outlets spark or warm up when you plug something in.
  • Parts of the insulation around your wiring has melted.
  • You notice a burning or hot plastic smell in a certain room.

Some issues don’t pose an immediate threat, but should still be corrected to ensure the safety of your building’s occupants. Two-pronged, ungrounded outlets should ideally be replaced with three-pronged grounded outlets. If your kitchen, bathrooms, and other rooms with high moisture levels don’t have GFCI outlets, these should be installed. GFCI outlets have a “test” and “reset” button in the middle between the sockets. They can detect abnormal current flow, and prevent shorts and resulting electrical fires.

bookmark_borderThe Perfect Movers For Your Local Moving

Moving Long Distance vs Local – Long Distance Move Takes More Time

With more preparations in play, the time and effort required will skyrocket. It will not be anything that is not manageable, of course, but the process will tax you. Let’s say that you’ve done your scouting and you now know where your new home is. You need to hire a moving company next. And you need to hire them well in advance if you want more time to choose the best option. A couple of months before is a good time to consider hiring your movers.

Another Difference Between Moving Long Distance vs Local – Moving Costs

Now we come to the real difference. If you moved before in your life, you know how expensive it is. Regardless of the fact that you are doing a DIY move or hiring a professional moving company, the costs will be significant. That means that you need to form a moving budget. Long-distance moves will require a much bigger budget than the local moves will. You also need to consider your movers, as well. You want to have a reliable moving company as your partner, especially in the long-distance moves.

Factors to consider when planning your move

So what are the considerations you should make when determining whether your move is going to be a do-it-yourself job or one that you’ll leave professional movers to handle?

The following factors could sway your decision one way or the other.

Cost is more than money

When it comes to cost, it’s easy to conclude that a DIY move will be cheaper than hiring professionals. However, there are some things that money can’t buy. For example, in a DIY move, you’re in charge of the heavy lifting. You could damage or lose furniture or belongings that an experienced professional’s experience could have delivered unscathed or mover’s insurance would cover.

On the other end is the cost of time, physical effort, packing supplies and gas, risk of personal injury, and other considerations that might cost you money in the long run.

So, it’s important not to just think of costs in terms of dollar signs. That’s only half the picture.

Availability of time

How soon do you need to move? If your move is planned in advance, it’s much easier to make an informed decision about how you would manage a do-it-yourself move or pay for a professional service. This gives you the time to brainstorm with all of the people involved and gather the required resources. But if you have a tight schedule, you may discover that your circumstances make the decision for you.

Distance

Distance is an essential factor to consider when deciding which moving option you’ll go with. For instance, friends and family could help you move locally. But if you’re talking about a 500-mile move, that’s a bigger ask. You might have to call in the pros.

Also, your small van may be more suitable for carrying your stuff if you’re making trips to a place nearby than it would if you were attempting to make numerous hundred-mile trips.

Amount of stuff you are moving

If you’ve lived in the same house for a few years, it may not be easy to appreciate how much stuff you’ve accumulated until the day you have to pack it for a move. While you may want to choose to DIY, there are instances where you just have too much stuff to handle. A big move with lots of boxes and furniture might require the professionals.

On the other hand, if you’re moving out of a small apartment, planning to declutter, or have been living the minimalist lifestyle, a do-it-yourself move might be a good option.

Availability of helpers

They said they’d be there for you, come rain or shine. But things come up, and commitments wear off with time. When moving, getting help from your friends, family, or neighbors isn’t always a guarantee. If you can’t find enough people you can count on, the do-it-yourself option may be impractical.

Hiring Movers

Pros

  • You won’t have to lift a finger – Leave the heavy lifting to the professionals. After all, these trained movers were hired for a reason. By enlisting a reputable moving company, you won’t have to worry about lifting and carrying any of your heavy couches down the stairs and out the door. You also won’t have to worry about straining muscles, scratching up new floors or begging friends to help with the lifting. Instead you can focus on babysitting your children, watching your pet and other important tasks at hand. Or you can just kick back and relax.
  • Efficiency – Assuming that you’ve hired a legitimate and experienced moving company, I’d venture to say that your movers will be pretty reliable. Unlike friends who can flake, the moving company is under contract to assist with all agreed upon aspects of the move. The moving company should arrive on time with the appropriate moving supplies and equipment – saving you from the not-so-fun task of gathering dollies and furniture pads at the last minute. In the long run, hiring a reputable relocation company saves the customer a lot of moving hours.
  • Less stressful, overall – In general, hiring movers saves you from many of the common moving day stresses. In addition to a moving company’s time-saving benefits, hiring help will also save you from having to maneuver a giant moving truck down the highway. Moving trucks are notoriously tricky and challenging to drive. Trailers aren’t much easier either. If the idea of loading and driving a large moving truck stresses you out, then I highly recommend hiring movers to help.

Cons

  • Less flexibility – When you hire professional movers, you limit your own control over the move. From the date/time of pick-up to the manner in which the movers load your belongings, there’s not much you can do to change when and how you move. Worst case scenario: you could end up waiting weeks for your moving truck to arrive, if the relocation company has multiple stops along the way. For those who like to be in complete control, hiring a moving company may not be the best option for you.
  • Impersonal – Chances are, you don’t personally know your movers. Handing over your precious belongings to complete strangers can be a bit nerve-racking, to say the least. That’s why it’s so important to do your homework, read reviews and check ratings before enlisting a moving company to help you with your relocation. To avoid moving scams and rip-offs.

Why You Should Hire A Professional Mover

Whether it’s for residential or commercial needs, moving is one of these troublesome instances when experience and professional know how can mean the difference between a good  move and a bad move.  If you are planning to move, now or in the future, you might find yourself wondering “Should I hire a moving company or move by myself?”  When deciding on between a DYI Move or using professional movers, take the following instances into consideration:

Experience

Several indisputable facts show that hiring the services of a highly experienced professional moving company is your most beneficial option when moving across country:

Safety

Professional movers are trained to use the most appropriate and efficient moving techniques to ensure that your household items are properly packed, shipped safely and promptly delivered to your new home intact and unbroken.  The use of appropriate wrapping and padding prevents items from shifting inside the boxes during transport, careful maneuvering through narrow corridors and steep staircases, proper loading of items, securing all items in the moving truck and competent driving skills will account for the safety of your household items.

Know-How

Professional movers know their stuff!! They know how to properly handle heavy and bulky items, odd-shaped furniture and sensitive electronics, so all your belongings are efficiently and safely transferred to the moving truck and then into your new home. Additionally, movers know the shortest and safest to the final move destination, and are very familiar with the peculiarities of the local area which allows them to avoid any traffic or parking problems.

So, why should you hire a professional moving company? Because experience matters and results in safety, speed, reliability, efficiency and peace of mind.

Cost savings in the long run

The allegedly high cost of hiring movers can be a good reason to make you think twice before using the services of a professional moving company. However, contrary to popular belief, hiring movers may prove to be as economical, or even more so, as performing a DIY move.

Of course, there are plenty of factors that come into play when trying to determine the final relocation costs, such as moving budget, time, distance and complexity of the move. One common Do-It-Yourself mistake is to underestimate the cost of moving on your own, that is, without using a moving company.

Accountability

Keep in mind that one of the top reasons to hire professional movers is that the best movers in the country come properly insured, which means that the pros will be held accountable for any type of damage to your belongings.

If you’ve made up your mind to move without hiring the services of a professional mover, it’s important to understand that you cannot hold your friends responsible for accidentally damaging one or two of your things. After all, your pals are not professional movers, so they can’t possibly have the extensive training, experience, and expertise of the pro movers. If a friend of yours broke something expensive – accidentally, of course – all they could do is say they were sorry. And that would not be enough to console you in any way, would it?

Professional movers come adequately insured but you should still purchase additional coverage if you happen to be moving valuable items. If you choose to get Full Value Protection, your movers will be liable to compensate you with the full cash value for any damaged or missing items.

Thus said, you should never count on the Released Value Protection – the “coverage” that comes into effect when you sign the moving contract and that is offered for free. Why? It’s practically non-existent so treat it as such.