bookmark_borderHow To Build A Solar Hot Water Heater

HOT WATER OPTIONS

Hot water for less

To get the most heat from the least amount of non-renewable energy, go for solar water heating. The next most efficient water heating option is probably a heat pump hot water system, followed by wetback water heaters and instant gas.

Saving hot water

There are several easy ways to cut down on your use of hot water without sacrificing your lifestyle:

Fit water-efficient showerheads.

Fit water-efficient taps. Consider having your hot and cold taps separate. It’s more common to have a mixer these days – make sure the handle is left in the cold position so  it doesn’t draw hot water unless you need it.

Use cold water for washing clothes, rinsing, filling the jug etc.

Turn off the water heater when you go on holiday.

Have showers instead of baths and keep your showers relatively short.

Choose water-efficient household appliances.

Fix leaks and drips.

Don’t run the hot tap unless you need hot water

Water heating options

Solar water heating can provide a large contribution using free energy (the sun) and greatly reduce your reliance on reticulated energy sources. Depending on usage patterns and household size, the next most efficient water heating option is probably a heat pump hot water system.

Solar water heating

Solar hot water heaters use the sun’s free, unlimited energy. A well-installed system should be able to deliver up to 75 percent of hot water heating over the year, in most parts of the country

However, the concept of solar hot water heating has a few challenges:

the high initial cost compared with other water-heating options

difficulty in ensuring the system’s designed and installed correctly

difficulty in telling whether the system is working properly due to the non-user friendly interfaces

needs annual maintenance.

What to Do with an Old Water Heater

Have you recently changed or are about to change your water heater? Once your shiny new toy is giving you nice hot water, what do you do with the cast-off? Here are some ideas.

Firstly, whoever is fitting your new heater may be able to dispose of the old one for you. It could be that you want to dismantle it and scrap it yourself or take it for recycling. Alternatively, you might want to repurpose it so you can carry on using it for something else.

Cut the Power Supply

First things first! Disconnect the gas or electricity that has been powering your water heater.

Gas Water Heater

On a gas-powered water heater, there will be a shut off valve located on the supply pipe. Follow the supply pipe along its length until you find a lever. This will usually be level with the pipe when on; turn it through 90 degrees to shut off the supply.

Electric Water Heater

For an electric water heater, you’ll need to find your main electric service panel. This is generally located on a wall in your garage, basement, or the outside of your home. If you know which fuse or breaker switch supplies the power to your home then either remove that fuse or switch that breaker to off. If you are unsure or can’t find the right one then use the main lever which will be at the side or top of the box. This will cut the power to your whole house.

Drain the Tank

The next step is to turn off the water supply and drain the water from your heater. The water supply comes from a cold water inlet located near the top of the tank. Again, follow the pipe until you find the lever or knob to shut off the water.

Homebuyers feel duped by hot water tank rentals included in their new homes

She’s now living with a rental contract with Enercare that lasts for the “useful life” of the appliance (an average of 14 years), paying $56.43 per month for the water heater. She can get out of it if she buys the equipment outright at $3,600 — three times the cost of lower-efficiency models offered in some stores, but less than she’d pay for the same model she currently has in her home.

Buyer seeks documentation

But the law fails to address the issue at hand for buyers of new builds. She asked her builder for documentation about her contract, but she got a response saying that they didn’t have any. Her home purchase agreement does state that a buyer executes a lease/rental agreement for the hot water tank, but her lawyer argues it doesn’t confirm that she is taking it for up to 18 years.

says that in their agreements with home builders, “the home builder is required to provide all the necessary rental details to the purchaser and agrees to do so as part of their legal obligations under their agreement with Enercare

“A homeowner is not required to rent their equipment and can purchase it outright from the builder or otherwise negotiate with the builder.” On — who had rental contracts for his hot water tank, air handler and air conditioning unit — was quoted $5,000 for each unit if he were to buy them outright. “I did the math. It just wasn’t adding up,” he says.

Landlord chooses to rent the equipment

frustration with started in November when her tenants couldn’t get hot water due to a broken part of the hot water tank. “I was so angry,”

Water Heater Repair Services

Hot water is essential to your home or business. It’s something we take for granted until we don’t have it. There are a few reasons that can cause you to have no hot water and they all involve your water heater.

TYPES OF WATER HEATERS WE REPAIR:

Standard Tank Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters

Commercial Water Heaters

Unfortunately, because many water heaters are gas or electric you usually need to call an experienced plumber to help find and repair your water heater problem. When you have a problem with your water heater you need help fast.

has many experienced technicians available to repair all types of water heaters. Whatever your water heater problem, you can turn to for fast reliable service to your water heater problem anytime, day or night. Because know that hot water problems happen when you least expect them plumbers are available

Standard Water Heaters

can replace all types of tank water heaters. Many times water heaters fail when you’re least prepared. experienced plumbers can replace water heaters same day for emergency situations.

Will a Tankless Water Heater Really Never Run out of Hot Water?

are big proponents of new technology. The newest advances for storage tank water heaters have made them more energy-efficient than ever before. But often recommend homeowners try a different type of water heater technology to take advantage of new methods for heating up water, such as a heat pump water heater, which uses heat from the air to warm up the water.

especially excited about the tankless water heater. Although the tankless water heater isn’t exactly “new” (the first versions were invented in the late 1900s), the technology that has made them useful and affordable options for households is a recent development. When people hear about the benefits of these water heaters, they’re often excited about their possibilities.

Is This Really True? Will I Never Run out of Hot Water?

Answering this requires some explanation about how a tankless system works compared to a storage tank system. A storage tank system does exactly what it says: it stores water kept at a high temperature so it’s ready for use. But this means the supply in the tank can be depleted, and it can take a while for the natural gas burners or electric heating elements to replenish the heated water supply. People can end up with cold showers until that happens.

With a tankless system, there isn’t a supply of hot water that can be depleted. Instead, the water heater heats up water as there is a demand for it. If you turn on the shower for hot water, the tankless system will detect the movement of water in the hot water lines and start to apply heat through a heat exchanger to the water. It will keep doing this as long as there is demand—and that means you won’t run out of hot water!

But … yes, there’s a downside to this. Although a tankless system can’t run out of hot water, it can be overwhelmed with demand. A single tap won’t do this: run that single shower all you want, you’ll keep getting hot water. (But please don’t do this! Save water, save energy!) If more than one tap is on-demand hot water at the same time, however, such as other showers or a running washing machine, the water heater will struggle to keep up and drain extra power.

bookmark_borderTips From A Pro Camera Operator

Utilizing One Camera Versus Multiple Cameras in Your Video Production

When shooting a new video project, one of the first decisions made is whether it will be multi-cam or single cam. Both strategies have their benefits depending on situation and context: multi-cam offers the freedom to switch between multiple points of view in a single setting, while single cam creates a more cinematic feel. By identifying your needs and your desired end product, you should be able to determine whether multi-cam or single cam is right for your project.

Multi-Cam Shooting: Fast, Affordable and Simple

Multi-cam shooting is often used for event coverage, interviews and other live events. In a multi-cam setup, two or more cameras are placed throughout a set. In the case of an event, cameras may even be in separate rooms. The end result is that the video can switch between these different perspectives throughout the process of recording. In an interview, a multi-cam setup may be used to switch the focus between speakers. In event coverage, a multi-cam setup may be used to switch between different perspectives of the same event

Shooting with multiple cameras is usually less expensive than shooting on a single camera. The shooting can be done quickly because the cameras do not need to be moved or positioned throughout recording, and it eliminates the need for multiple takes to capture a scene from a different angle. However, shooting with multiple cameras can also be seen as restrictive, because the set needs to be positioned and created to accommodate them. As an example, one might look towards sitcoms which have a multi-cam setup. Commonly, an apartment or house is only viewed from a specific angle. It can only be viewed from that angle because there is no wall there — just a camera.

Multi-cam shooting lends itself particularly well to live event coverage. A good example of a multi-cam shooting would be at a sports event. It would be prohibitively difficult to shoot a live event with a single camera, as it would be impossible to know when a recordable event was occurring. With a multi-cam setup, the entirety of a live event is recorded and the data can then be worked through in post-production.

Single Cam Shooting: Cinematic, Controlled and Clean

Single cam shooting is most often used for commercials, promotional videos, training lessons and other similar media. When a person thinks of a movie rather than a television sitcom, they are usually comparing single cam with multi-cam. In a single cam setup, one (or occasionally two) cameras are positioned for each scene, but they are not installed permanently within the environment. Single cameras often move during shooting, with the use of dollies and tracking devices, and provide a more cinematic feel to the resulting video. Movies, dramatic television shows, commercials and music videos almost always use single camera shooting rather than multi-cam shooting.

FILM GLOSSARY

AERIAL SHOT: An exterior shot taken from a plane, crane, helicopter or any other very high position. Also referred to as a BIRD’S-EYE VIEW

ANIMATION: A form of filmmaking which consists of photographing individual drawings (cels) or inanimate objects (such as puppets or clay figures) FRAME by frame, with each frame differing slightly from the one before. When the images are projected at 24 frames per second, they appear to move (or are animated)

ASPECT RATIO: The ratio of the projected image’s width to its height. The standard for Hollywood theatrical releases is 1.65:1. Shapes may vary, from the television standard, a nearly square ratio of 1.33:1 to a very long rectangle. In the l95Os, Hollywood attempted to attract new audiences by developing various kinds of widescreen systems, such as CinemaScope and Cinerama, which average 2.35:1. The European ratio is 1.66:1.

ASYNCHRONISM: A disparity between what is seen and what is heard. At its extreme, asynchronous sound is contrapuntal; that is, the sound contrasts with the image. For example, you see a train arriving while you hear a bird chirping. Contrapuntal or asynchronous sound was supported by Sergei Eisenstein as part of his larger theory of dialectical montage.

AXIS OF ACTION: In CONTINUITY EDITING, the imaginary line that passes from side to side through the main actors, defining the spatial relations of the scene. The camera is not supposed to cross the axis at a cut and reverse the spatial relations. Ensures constant screen space and constant screen direction. A term used in film production more than as a term in film analysis.

CAMERA MOVEMENTS:

CRANE SHOT: A HIGH ANGLE, moving shot photographed from a crane (a mechanical arm which carries both camera and camera operators).

DOLLY, TRUCKING, OR TRACKING SHOT: A shot taken from a moving dolly (a platform on a set of wheels). when the camera moves towards the subject, it is a “dolly in.0 when it moves away from the subject, it is a “dolly back” or a “dolly out.0 With the use of Steadicams and other mobile cameras, a moving camera may not be mounted on a dolly in order to achieve the same smooth effect. one of the early effective uses of the Steadicam is in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, where the camera follows characters through the maze of the hotel.

PAN: A shot taken when the camera stays in one place (on a tripod, for example) but rotates or swivels horizontally. compare DOLLY SHOT, in which the camera moves bodily from one place to another.

SWISH PAN: A rapid pan that results in a blurred image. It usually begins and ends at rest.

TILT: A shot taken when the camera stays in one place (on a tripod, for example) but rotates or swivels vertically.

Who owns the footage?

I’ve been acting in a collaborative TV Pilot in which everyone gave their time and talent for no pay. Now the writer has had a major falling out with the producers and is telling them thay can’t use any of the footage shot. There were no contracts signed between any parties, and the producers made it very clear they are a start-up, so don’t have any money. Can the writer derail the whole thing in this way?

The footage itself belongs to the producers, the right to the content of the footage will be harder to determine. It’s a pilot, won’t be exhibited, and if the writer is no longer on board the series can’t be commissioned on his work anyway. Can you resolve the dispute with the writer ? If not, learn from it and get agreements in place next time. The legal ins and outs are largely moot if you haven’t got money to sue/defend over a pilot, get a new writer, there are many.

The actual tapes belong to who paid for them – which I presume is the production company. There is a myth amongst cameramen that they by default they hold the copyright to the footage they shoot, which is mostly untrue. By default, copyright is vested in the director and producer and they need to assign or licence that copyright for the footage to be useable.

If the the footage is based on a piece of writing then there is an underlying copyright in the screenplay. Without a release, I’m afraid what’s been shot is not useable in a commercial way (and probably in non-commercial ways too) without the writer signing a contract

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 does indeed attribute default copyright for the finished film (as a single entity) but that does not confer Copryright ownership of the component parts.

TIPS FOR VIDEO TECHNICAL DIRECTING IN A LIVE CHURCH PRODUCTION

I do a lot of technical directing in my church’s productions. I also have the privilege of teaching newer directors the basics of directing. I figured I would share the main tips that I teach all my new new directors. This article is great for new directors, and also good for experienced directors who just like to read random people’s rambling articles.

tips for Video Technical Directing in a live church production

When working in a live church production, there are many roles required to pull everything off. One of the most important roles in the video department is that of the technical director. The technical director is the person calling shots and putting up the camera feeds on the big screen. They’re kind of a big deal, so it’s very important that the director is trained and always on-point with the flow of the service.

The point of a live video production is to convey the worship atmosphere to anyone watching the video. The viewer needs to feel like they are part of the live congregation and get a similar worship experience. So, how do you, the director, accomplish that?

Always be thinking ahead.

It is your job to know what is happening before it happens.

This is one of the most important and obvious things that a director needs to know. As the director, it is your job to know what is happening before it happens. If there is a solo coming up, you need to have a camera ready on the soloist BEFORE they start the solo. If someone is about to speak from stage-left, get a camera on them BEFORE they start speaking. You need to always be one step ahead and think about where your cameras need to be to capture the moment.

Be specific.

What does this mean? Here is an example: you’re directing and you see a guitar solo coming up after this chorus, and you know you need a guitar shot. Most new directors just naturally say, “Somebody get the guitar.” Then, every camera gets the same guitar shot. Now, all of your cameras are redundant and not usable.

LIGHTING ASSISTANT

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ELECTRICAL DEPARTMENT

The Electrical Department provides the lighting for any production that wants to use more than natural available light. The department works closely with the Director of Photography in order to fulfil his/her creative vision for the production’s lighting. The electrical department also works closely with lighting companies, who usually supply equipment for commercials, film and TV productions. The Electrical department safely rig and set lighting in line with the Director of Photography’s plan and then de-rig the equipment before returning it to the lighting company.

Head of the Electrical Department is the Gaffer. The Director of Photography (DOP) or Camera Operator (on small scale productions) head up the Camera Department. The DOP is in charge of the overall look of the production. The Gaffer (also know as Lighting Director) is responsible for designing and executing the lighting plan. They will provide the power needed for for the lights, and work with the Grip to shape the light.

Once a DOP has chosen their prefered Gaffer, he/she will come on board in preproduction and attend prep and production meetings. Sometimes the grip and electric departments will be given a couple of days or even weeks of prep for a project. This time is needed to do several things that will make life easier while on the project. On a high end TV drama production – this time is used to read the script, watch any look references supplied by the DOP, discuss the lighting approach, equipment needed and schedule.

The Gaffer will work on equipment lists which are analysed by the Production Manager/Co-ordinator who try to make everything on the list a reality by liaising with lighting companies to get the best deal on the kit list. If the shoot involves a lot of lighting, the kit will include a generator (genny) and a large truck to transport everything to the shoot location. Any electrician tasked with driving a truck or genny needs to have a HGV licence – and liaise with the Location Manager in advance of travel in case they need to check the weight-bearing capacity of any bridges on route.

The fully assembled Electrical Department are present through principal photography and they use a range of equipment, a lot of which is rather cumbersome and bulky. Lighting equipment may include HMI, Tungsten, Fluorescent, and a menagerie of stands, scaffolding and accessories to support these different lighting options. High budget Dramas sometimes require lighting balloons (large inflatable lights which shed a soft overall light – great for ballroom and courtroom scenes). The team may be required to build a ‘tent’ around a doorway using scaffolding and blackout drapes – if you’re shooting a night scene during the day. 

bookmark_borderRepresenting Yourself In Family Law Attorney

Family law area of practice

Family law is one of the more challenging specialities, insofar as it involves counselling people through particularly difficult periods of their lives. As a family law practitioner, you’ll help your clients navigate divorces, property settlement, post-separation parenting arrangements, financial agreements (“pre-nups”), child support disputes and agreements. To a lesser extent, you may also deal with family matters involving State based issues including adoption applications and surrogacy agreements. While some lawyers specialise in one of these processes, many instead maintain a ‘general practice’, advising their clients on a range of issues.

Personality is perhaps more importance for success in family law than in other legal specialities. This is because, as a family lawyer, you’ll frequently meet with clients who are emotionally distressed or dealing with very challenging circumstances (such as the breakdown of a relationship and family situations involving family violence and abuse )

Whether or not this is an advantage or disadvantage depends largely on your disposition. For patient, compassionate and people-oriented graduates, this aspect of family law can be hugely rewarding – you’re in a position to make a real difference in your client’s life. Others may find the interpersonal aspects of family law to be draining or unpleasant.

Graduate experience

Graduates who move into family law will quickly find themselves taking responsibility for various tasks, from attending clients meetings and taking notes to preparing briefs and supporting more experienced practitioners during their court appearances. You will also find yourself drafting many diffierent documents, including correspondence, court applications and settlement documents. As noted above, the beginning of your career in family law may involve you developing the ability to remain relatively neutral when faced with emotionally charged situations.

What are my career prospects in family law?

The flow of cases in family law is fairly independent of economic fluctuations. If anything, notes the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the 2008 recession is likely to have generated more work for family lawyers, having increased “uncertainty and fear about the future”, with the “economic and psychological impacts of [rising] unemployment placing relationships under strain”.

DIVORCE LAWYERS

You thought Your Marriage was ‘Okay’.

Sure, you and your wife had problems. Just like any other married couple.  But you had spent years building a life together. You were committed to continue being a good husband and working through any issues.  Sadly, your wife just didn’t feel the same way. You were sitting at your desk at work and, suddenly, a man hands you a stack of papers that changes your life in a instant.

Your Wife has Just Served You with Divorce Papers…

Divorce is emotionally challenging for all men. Unfortunately, some men experience so much guilt and despair about divorce that they give into every demand made by their wives or her attorney, no matter how ridiculous. If your wife filed first for divorce, it means she has been preparing to do it for a while and has a clear plan of what she wants to take with her from your marriage. While you may feel shell shocked, this is no time to surrender.

Even though Your Wife Filed First, it Doesn’t Mean You Lose Your Rights

At Divorce Lawyers, we’re dedicated to helping men just like you. Good fathers and husbands blindsided by wives ready to end years of marriage and take whatever they can get

Divorce cases are not decided by who files first. Still, the person who files first does gain a few advantages. It is important that you understand that by filing first, your wife has started a series of deadlines that you must meet. She has started out prepared with a plan. Now you need to play a little catch up.

Your Wife Already Has a Lawyer

While you may have had no idea you were getting a divorce until you were served, your wife has likely been planning this for a long time. This probably means she has had a divorce lawyer for a while now. Her attorney’s legal team has carefully prepared her Petition as well as other motions and court filings. She has had time to evaluate your assets and work out what she wants to keep once you are gone. You just got dropped into a plan she has been crafting for a long time.

Family Legal Issues

Adoption is the creation of a new, permanent relationship between an adoptive parent and child. Once this happens, there is no legal difference between a child who is adopted and a child who is born into a family.

These programs can help you learn more about adoption and foster parenting:

Child Welfare Information Gateway – offers the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory, where you can find resources by state, as well as information about foster care, including kinship care and residential and group care

International Adoption – information for U.S. citizens adopting children from abroad, and families in other countries adopting U.S. children. Learn about intercountry adoption service providers.

Adoption Resources from MedlinePlus – find links to adoption and foster care resources from a medical perspective to help you, your foster or adopted child, and your other children adapt to change

You may be able to get identifying or non-identifying information about your adoption. What information you can obtain will depend on state statutes. Some states have age restrictions or require court proceedings to get information about an adoptee’s birth.

In some states, you may be able to access identifying information through a mutual consent registry. Using these registries, all involved in an adoption can declare what information may be disclosed. Some states may require the consent of both the birth parents and adoptive parents for the release of records. However, the release of information varies by state.

SECRETS YOUR DIVORCE LAWYER WON’T TELL YOU

If you’re facing a divorce, your expectations have probably been shaped by the experiences of your family and friends, and maybe what you’ve seen on TV and in the movies. The best way to know what to expect from a divorce comes from an objective party who has seen not just one or two divorces, but hundreds: your divorce attorney

You Might Not Get Your Day in Court…

A divorce is a lawsuit, and we usually think of lawsuits as ending in a trial. However, many, if not most lawsuits end in a settlement. This is especially true of divorce, where upwards of 90% of cases settle—and some reports place that figure in the 95-97% range.

…And You Probably Don’t Want To.

Sometimes a trial in a divorce case is necessary, like if one party refuses to come to the table and negotiate or is hiding assets. Most of the time, the couple can do a better job (with their attorneys’ help) of figuring out custody, support, alimony, and property division terms that would work for them than a judge can. Think about it: you know your family, your kids’ needs, your finances, your schedules. Even the best-informed judge can understand only a fraction of what you do about your family.

Your Divorce Lawyer Might Not Have Much Trial Experience.

If most divorces don’t go to trial, that means many divorce attorneys don’t have a lot of trial experience. Why does that matter if your case is likely to settle anyway? Because when you settle, you want it to be because you’ve reached a good agreement—not because your attorney wants to avoid a trial he or she isn’t confident in handling.

You Have More Control Over Your Legal Bill Than You Think…

Yes, attorney fees can be costly, and add up quickly. But your attorney may not tell you what you can do to keep them down unless you ask. You should ask, because there are some simple things you can do to reduce your attorney’s workload, and more importantly, save yourself some money.

Divorce Advice (And It Won’t Cost You a Thing)

Divorce can be costly, as most people know, with each side expected to spend, on average, $15,500, during the process, according to Nolo, a publisher of legal books and software. Many spouses spend a whole lot more.

But he and other family lawyers say there are ways to keep costs down, and maybe minimize your heartache, too. Here is some of their advice — right now free of charge.

Choose the right course.

Opting for arbitration, collaboration or mediation may help you avoid the costs of a lengthy court battle, but each of these paths has its pros and cons. A lawyer can point you in the right direction, but be sure you agree on the path.

law firm, often advocates mediation, where a neutral third party helps a couple work through issues and come to a resolution. (In arbitration, a third party arbitrator makes the final decision.)

She once mediated a case for two years before it came to a halt and ultimately ended up in court. Your lawyer has to be ready to change tack, she said, if things go south.

bookmark_borderPros And Cons Of Taking Home Renovation

OUR HOME RENOVATION!

Never in a million years did I think I’d be writing the words “home renovation.” I still can’t believe we own a house, let alone one that we renovated

started casually looking for houses around a year ago. We rented our first apartment together last July and I definitely was itching to have something of our own. We had chosen a less expensive and desirable apartment in order to save for a bigger move. I knew what I wanted more than anything a kitchen that made me excited to cook. I wanted to absolutely LOVE where we lived.

I had no intention of doing work on whatever house we found. No one in our families has experience with renovations. It’s actually kind of funny how not handy we are. Luckily I had some contractor connections from Alchemy and friends who’ve renovated before.

We basically got our house off the market, meaning we got a good deal in a market that’s been pretty insane. We were really lucky to have a friend that lived next door to the house we ended up buying who knew we were looking. The universe was working its magic!

We looked at a lot of homes that were redone, in more prime locations, and considerably more expensive. Looking back, I’m really glad we didn’t go with a more updated house. This home feels so us. We’ve really put our hearts and souls into it. And by no means has it been easy! Renovating a home is frustrating, expensive, complicated, and insanely unpredictable.

Destination Home Renovation: Important Things to Keep in Mind While Project Planning

Are you one of more than half – 53% – of American homeowners who agree that now is a good time to renovate a home? Over 60% of homeowners are prepared to spend more on home remodeling projects this year, in 2015, than those who made home improvements in 2014. In fact, the entire home design and renovation industry have experienced significant growth in recent years as more and more homeowners are choosing to improve rather than move.

Now that spring has arrived, it’s the perfect time to begin fleshing out your spring or summer home renovation and design projects. There’s no need to tear down and remodel your entire home if you’re looking to add value to your property. In fact, whole home renovation isn’t necessary in order to receive a worthwhile return on investment (ROI). Even minor kitchen remodeling projects can have an ROI of up to 73%.

Therefore, while planning your home remodeling project, it’s important to keep your end goal in mind. Are you renovating in order to sell, or do you plan on staying put? This may help you determine the exact nature of your home remodel. For example, if you’re renovating in order to sell, it’s best to stick to neutral color schemes and include amenities and features that are highly sought after, such as wooden decks.

While properly budgeting for and planning your home remodeling process is important, it’s equally if not more important to determine exactly what kind of home improvement professional is right for the job. For example, unique home renovations may require the expertise and skill of the best architects in your area, whereas a general contractor could be able to complete a simple kitchen renovation with ease.

There are a number of online forums and websites for architects in your area that may be helpful in determining who may be best for your specific project. When reviewing websites for architects and contractors in your area, pay close attention to the services offered as well as any client testimonials. This information can help you to better understand how the architect or contractor operates prior to meeting for a consultation.

Ways to Save Money on a Home Renovation

Are you in the process of renovating your home? Often, major upgrades can get quite expensive if you aren’t paying attention, so if you’re on a tight budget, consider focusing on saving money while renovating.

For example, if you plan to upgrade your kitchen, it may be better to purchase low-cost materials and cabinets. You can find quality affordable kitchen cabinets online for a fraction of what you’d pay in most traditional retail stores.

powerful ways to save money during a home renovation:

1. Set a Budget and Stick to It

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when renovating their property is failing to set a budget. By not having one in place before you begin work, you’ll often end up spending more than you originally intended. Be sure to take time to figure out how much you can afford and create a budget for your renovation project.

2. Make Every Effort to Save on Material Costs

Another area where homeowners get in trouble is that they spend way too much on material costs. For example, you can buy recycled or reused building materials, which will help cut down on your costs. Even better, some of these reused materials are in excellent condition, so you’ll get a good bargain on more high-end items.

You can also check Craigslist, eBay or Freecycle to find free or cheap materials online. Many people are often literally giving this stuff away on these sites, so take advantage while you can.

3. Find Good Deals on Essential Pieces

No one said you had to pay top dollar for the most essential pieces for your home renovation. Instead of spending a small fortune for new granite countertops, you can wait a little while for the materials to go on sale. The same holds true with kitchen island installations, brand-new windows and just about anything else that needs replacing during the home renovation process.

4. Pay Cash for Materials and Contractor Expenses

This tried-and-true idea works wonders when attempting to cut down on renovation expenses. You’ll be able to save a significant amount by offering to pay cash for your materials and contractor fees for a couple of reasons. First, by paying cash instead of using credit, you can avoid the possibility of paying hefty interest charges. Second, sometimes contractors will give their customers a price break when you offer to pay cash for their services.

5. Don’t Rush the Renovation Process

Sometimes people are eager to finish their home renovations. This can turn out to be a major mistake if you aren’t patient. Instead of using your credit to pay for your expenses, wait and save up. Additionally, you might end up spending top dollar for materials or contractor fees when you could’ve paid much less if you were willing to wait a little while longer.

6. Perform DIY Renovations When You Possess the Skills to Get the Job Done

Some repairs and renovations are going to be out of your league. However, many folks will have no problem handling some DIY projects on their own. Instead of paying somebody to complete easy to moderate repairs or demolition, you can take the bull by the horns and perform these activities yourself.

7. Reuse Materials Whenever Possible

Instead of letting certain materials go to waste, feel free to reuse them whenever you can get away with it. This is a great way to save money without going over your budget or breaking the bank. For example, you may be able to reuse some of your cabinetry and appliances without replacing them.

8. Avoid Making Big Purchases Until the Items Go on Sale

If you’re renovating your kitchen and putting in brand-new appliances, you should always wait for them to go on sale. Of course, this only works if you aren’t under any time constraints, but instead of buying an appliance on a typical Wednesday, you could wait until a big Fourth of July sale is happening. You’ll save a lot of money this way, so take advantage of these excellent opportunities.

9. Shop Around When Hiring Help for Home Renovations

You obviously want your home renovations to look amazing; however, that doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar for the most expensive contractors in your area. You can shop around and get multiple bids from as many contractors as you see fit. This will help you find a top-notch and inexpensive contractor that meets your needs.

10. Sell Any Working Appliances That You Intend to Replace

Do you own a refrigerator that’s in good working order? How about a well-used stove that’s still in good condition? Instead of throwing these valuable items away when you replace them, you could list them on Craigslist, eBay or the Facebook Marketplace. You never know what someone may want to purchase. Selling your old, but working, appliances could help you recoup some of your renovation expenses and lower your costs at the same time.

tell-tale signs that your house needs renovation

There is one thing that separates a responsible homeowner from someone who is not —  the love for the house. As you spend years living in your home, you will develop deep connections with it, so much that how you take care of your house reflects what you see in yourself.

When your roof starts to crumble

One of the hardest parts of the house to check is the roofing. You cannot just go outside, walk a few steps away from your house, and check on your roof for possible damage — you’ll have to actually climb and check the roof yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. Since the roof of your house is your first layer of protection from the elements, it is imperative for you to take swift action once it leaks.

When your flooring become dilapidated

If there’s one part of the house that constantly endures stress, it’s the flooring. Floor tiles are good indicators of your house’s condition, and when they start to come off, you should definitely consider renovating.

Renovating your floors gives you an opportunity to change the vibe of your interior to better match it with your home decor. When changing your floors, you should take note of several things:

Lower-level floors are more exposed to moisture. When choosing the material to replace your flooring in these areas, consider tile or vinyl, as they are water-resistant.

Rooms that are occupied the most should have flooring that can withstand constant wear and tear.

Avoid wood and carpet flooring if you live in areas with extreme temperatures.

Consider the occupants of the room when deciding for the material. Ceramic tiles, laminate flooring, and carpet will work well with children’s rooms. If you have senior citizens living in your home, it’s a good idea to get flooring with extra traction.

When the wall paint looks worn-out

Just like how clothes sometimes make you look younger, so does a fresh coat of paint to a wall. It is best to invest in a good quality of paint and give your walls a fresh look.

Home Renovation – Some Things to Consider Before You Start

If you’re preparing to embark on a home renovation adventure, then you’re going to need all the help and advice you can get. Major renovation projects, especially kitchen or bathroom renovations

Do your research

Before you get started on any renovation project it’s essential to do your research, especially if you’re not an experienced renovator. Research will help you to gather inspiration and ideas, get an idea of the work involved,separate the fantasy from the reality, give you a sense of the material and labour costs and help you to plan out your project. Some quality research will also help you to avoid common renovation mistakes.

Plan ahead

This may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t fully plan out a renovation project. Without proper planning you’ll struggle to manage your budget and chances are you’ll end up making mistakes that will cost you a lot of time and money.

Consult the experts

Whether you’re planning on taking on some of the renovations yourself or you’re leaving it all to the professionals, you’d be foolish not to consult with as many experts as possible. When carrying out major renovations, a small mistake or oversight can end up costing you a lot of time and money.

Consider an eco-friendly renovation

Renovating is the perfect time to think about adding some eco-friendly features to your home, especially if you’re renovating an old property. There are plenty of ways to improve the eco credentials of your renovation. When it comes to bathroom renovations

bookmark_borderWhy Not Use A Payroll Service Outsourcing Provider

What are the pros and cons of outsourcing a company’s payroll function?

Managing payroll services in-house often requires an individual, or a team, with a thorough knowledge of the PAYE tax system. If your business doesn’t have these skills in-house, you can organise your payroll by outsourcing it.

What is payroll process outsourcing?

Payroll outsourcing involves hiring an external company or an individual to handle all payroll functions. The level of services you can outsource varies. Some suppliers provide a basic service; others provide the full package including liaising with the HMRC and maintaining full compliance so your business never has to deal with payroll.

Typically, businesses outsource payroll to:

  • an accountant or bookkeeper
  • a specialist payroll company

Outsourced payroll pros

Experience and knowledge

Payroll outsourcers are experts in everything related to paying employees, taxes and government compliance. Complexity increases greatly when you operate across multiple states and countries. Are you taking advantage of all possible tax breaks? Penalties are high even when mistakes are honest. A payroll outsourcer bases their business on knowing all the intricate details and stays up to date on the new and upcoming legislative changes. Payroll outsourcing agreements usually have a liability aspect that protects you in the event of an audit, if the taxman comes back with questions about what has been declared and filed.

Cost

Smaller companies in particular may struggle with the costs of doing payroll. Training internal staff, procuring the necessary equipment like check stock and printers plus arranging contracts for things like direct deposit transfer all add up. An outsourcer is able to offer an affordable cost as they are doing payrolls for a number of companies so you’re getting a volume discount. As you consider an outsourced payroll vendor, compare their prices to all of your internal staffing and hardware costs to get a true picture.

It allows for more payroll services to be offered.

Outsourcing payroll can allow a small business to offer additional services, such as direct deposits and 401k contribution deductions, that they may not be able to do on their own.

Payroll taxes become much easier to file.

Outsourcing payroll will also generally create the financial reports needed to make filing payroll taxes a lot easier for a small business. For some businesses, they may even find that they can even outsource the filing process so they don’t have to even really worry about the tax paperwork.

Payroll outsourcing can offer greater security.

With data security becoming a great concern for employers and employees alike, outsourcing payroll can give a small business a more secure data system then they could establish on their own. One contract may provide multiple servers, backups, and other security technologies that protects their employee data.

The Cons

  • Difficulty obtaining wage and employee data — Depending on your payroll service provider, you may encounter hurdles in accessing payroll figures and other employee data because the information resides on another company’s server.
  • Delayed corrections to payroll errors — If mistakes occur, a payroll firm may not respond as quickly as you or your employees wish.
  • Cost — Not all vendors tailor services and prices to your company’s size. Do research on vendors beforehand and purchase only those services that make sense for your financial situation.
  • Risk of vendor going out of business — It happens — payroll administrators, especially newer ones, fail. In this unfortunate situation, you may lose access to your payroll data, or worse, your money.

What are the risks of outsourcing payroll?

The downside of outsourced payroll is mainly associated with the lack of in-house personnel. While many HR and payroll companies have 24/7 help to ensure you’re never caught in a payroll emergency, the lack of face-to-face contact can be a pain-point for some employees.

Similarly, the loss of control that is inherent to outsourcing may not be suitable for your business, as you’ll be permitting another company to access your team’s private information.  has been designed to offer better security around data, but the idea that your information is no longer secured within your business may not rest easy with you or your staff.

You should also be aware that your legal responsibilities won’t lapse because you’ve chosen to outsource. Keeping channels of communication open and constantly updating your supplier is important, and of all the risks of outsourcing payroll, the assumption that your chosen provider no longer requires your involvement is perhaps the most likely to cause issues.

bookmark_borderWhen Local Moving Companies Make Sense

Moving and Storage Services

Moving usually requires you to do more than just pack your items into boxes and transport them across the city, state, or country. Depending on your moving dates, closing dates, and travel plans, you might also need reliable storage services so you can keep your items safe throughout the entire moving process.

a cost-effective, secure moving & storage service. can store your items at our warehouses across the country while you’re waiting to close on your new home, preparing to sell your old home, or simply looking for a place to store some extra belongings.

MOVING & STORAGE SERVICES YOU CAN RELY ON

offer many types of storage services so you can choose the perfect one for your needs, including:

Long-term storage

Short-term storage

Storage-in-transit for up to 180 days

Many of facilities meet the high security standards set by the US military and government. No matter what you’re storing with us or for how long, you can rest assured that your belongings will be safe the entire time.

also available to pack your belongings before you store them, especially items that are particularly prone to breaking. We’ll wrap them securely so that when you retrieve your items, they’ll be in the same condition you left them in.

LOCAL AND LONG DISTANCE MOVES

Are a family-owned moving and storage company. Whether moving your home or business, will move you local or long distance. Customer comfort is #1 priority, and this makes us a preferred choice of the domestic market.  Small or big, every moving project receives unparalleled attention from to make your experience worth investing every penny.

RESIDENTIAL MOVERS

At Family Moving, put the word ‘Family” in name because that’s how treat our customers. want you to feel like you are an extension of family when arrive to conduct your estimate, during your move and after have pulled out of your new driveway. It is important to that we deliver on promise of being professional, courteous and delivering exceptional service.

HOW DETERMINE RESIDENTIAL MOVING RATES

local moving and long-distance residential moving services are comprehensive and customized to your specific needs. don’t push pre-set moving packages on you or try to sell you upgrades at every turn.

residential moving services include:

Full service local and long distance moving

Packing/unpacking servicesconsulting

Packing Supplies/Box Service

Long and short-term storage

Loading and unloading services

Large item/appliance delivery

Piano and specialty item relocation

In-home furniture shifting

Free no-obligation estimate

The best way to understand what can do for you is to talk to us! can provide a basic estimate right over the phone, and then schedule your in-home written estimate usually within 24 hours

The Ultimate Moving House Checklist

Moving isn’t as simple as packing all of your belongings and driving over to your new apartment. In fact, it can take several weeks of careful planning and preparation, especially if you live in a busy city

we’re following up with the “Ultimate Moving House Checklist”, a 6-week guide to help you meticulously plan your next move. We’ve covered everything from preparation to packing, moving out to settling in. Follow along as we share years of industry experience helping customers make the big move.

Let the right people know

After you’ve made the big decision to uproot your life, there are many important people to notify about your upcoming move. Start with your real estate agent or landlord to ensure you’re not paying for another month’s rent. Updating your address will ensure that none of your services are interrupted and that you continue to receive all of your bills and subscriptions. Don’t forget to disconnect your utilities, cable, and internet, and arrange to have them set up in your new home.

Hire in advance

Removalists and cleaning companies can book up quite quickly, so we recommend arranging these services well in advance. The same goes for hiring a handyman to make repairs or renting out a storage locker for all the things your partner won’t let you keep in the living room. To find the best rates, we recommend getting quotes from several companies, comparing the scope of work offered, as well as estimates regarding cost. It’s common sense, but the earlier you book, the more options you’ll have. Lastly, if you’re moving interstate or overseas, don’t forget to confirm your travel plans.

Clear your calendar

Many people underestimate the stress that comes on moving day. Set yourself up for success by clearing your schedule. If possible, plan to take the day or even the whole week off from work. Arrange for childcare or a petsitter if necessary. With your sole focus on the move, there’ll be fewer opportunities for unexpected setbacks to arise.

Moving & Storage

Moving from one home to another marks a milestone in your life. It can be hectic, emotional, overwhelming and sometimes, just plain annoying. For your peace of mind

All very professional and courteous. These guys wrapped the furniture and carried everything out. Then when we arrived at the new house they brought it all in and placed it. Some things were placed in the wrong rooms (miscommunication on my part) and they had no problem swapping things around

With local residential moving services, we can:

Help you plan your move

Move you a few miles or across the country

Provide pads, stretch film, 2 & 4 wheel dollies and other equipment

Wrap all items to ensure they’re secure

Pack your entire household, deliver it and unpack it

Give you organizing tips and checklists, and perform a final sweep for forgotten items

Load and unload in a certain order according to your preferences unless utilization of space prevents it

Provide secure, climate-controlled storage for items that need storage

Local Moving Services you can trust

team understands that moves can be stressful, and do everything we can to make it easier for you and your family. treat your belongings with care and make sure the move is secure, fast and efficient. residential movers provide both local and long distance moving services. So, whether you are moving across town or out of state

meets or exceeds all state and federal requirements for a commercial moving company. No matter if you are moving your business just a few miles or across the country,

How to Choose a Mover

Learning if a mover is registered with FDACS should be your first step when researching a company to handle your moving and storage needs

In addition, find out the following information:

How long has the company been in business?

Does the company offer extra services, such as packing, unpacking and storage?

What type of protection does the company offer against loss or damage?

Does the mover have a good reputation for settling claims?

Does the company offer arbitration for claim disputes?

Does the company have a good record of meeting its delivery schedules?

Can the company provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage, general and legal liability coverage?

Plan Ahead

Estimate that it will take between two and six weeks to plan and prepare for a move. During this period, have at least three moving companies evaluate the items being moved and provide a detailed estimate.

Schedule the Move Wisely

Late May through August is typically a busy time for moving companies, so it’s best, if possible, to schedule a move during spring or late fall. Keep in mind that weekend rates tend to be highest, both for truck rental agencies and moving companies.

Estimate and Contract

Prior to providing you with any moving services, your mover must supply an estimate and contract, in writing. The estimate and contract must be signed by both parties and include the following:

Name, telephone number, physical address and state registration number of the mover

Date the contract or estimate was prepared and proposed date of the actual move

Appropriate pickup and delivery address, name and telephone numbers of the shipper

Name, telephone number and physical address where the goods will be held, if necessary

Itemized breakdown, description and total of all costs and services provided

Acceptable forms of payment available

bookmark_borderHow To Choose The Right Carpet Flooring For Your New Home

How to Measure for Carpet

You will need to know how to measure a room for carpet in order to get a realistic idea of how much is required. It is one of the first steps before shopping for carpet to install yourself or providing installers with the needed dimensions. Making measurements most often applies to broadloom wall-to-wall carpet. Measuring a basic square or oblong area is easy, so long as you make allowances for doorways and entry stairs.

Tools and Supplies You Will Need

  • Measuring tape or a laser distance measurer
  • Calculator or calculator app
  • Paper and writing instrument, or note-taking app
  • Graph paper and a pencil, if you choose to draw your layout

Instructions

Most measuring tasks are easier done with two people if you are using a measuring tape. You can do it solo if you are using a laser distance measurer.

Measure Room Width and Length

  • Lay your tape measure against the wall at one end of your room, and then extend it to the opposite wall. Or, use a laser distance measurer to find the measurement between the two walls. Note this number as the length.
  • Do the same for the other two walls in the opposite direction. Note this number as the width.
  •  

If your room is L-shaped, measure it as two separate rooms. Measure the long portion of the L as one room and the short portion of the L as another room.

Closets should be measured as their own separate rooms.

Measure Carpet for Stairs

When measuring an area that leads to stairs going down (such as a hallway or landing), be sure to measure around the nosing (the ledge at the top of the stairs). Hold your tape measure against the opposite wall (or halfway into a doorway), and wrap it all the way around the nosing until it touches the back (riser) of the stair below. Your carpet will need to be this measurement in order to wrap around the nosing.

Measuring for the stairs themselves involves special considerations such as the shape, size, and configuration of the stairs, as well as the direction of the pile and pattern motifs (if applicable).

Calculating Square Footage

You now have the measurements needed, with allowances for doorways and appropriate measurements for stairs included, to calculate the square footage of the room. Multiply the width of the room by the length of the room. Note this total.

Add a Little Extra

Once you have taken your measurements, you should always add a little extra to your requirements. This allows for walls that are not perfectly straight and gives you a bit of a safety net. When measuring, add about 3 inches to each piece of carpet you will need.

Find the Ideal Carpet for Your Home

Installing new carpet and not sure how much you need? Our Carpet Calculator will help you estimate the material and man-hours necessary to get the job done. Carpet replacement is a big job. With so many options to choose from, the process can be overwhelming. Below, we’ll break down some top considerations for choosing the best carpet for your home and lifestyle.

Carpet by Construction

Berber/loop carpet features large, uncut loops of fiber typically made from wool, nylon or olefin. Dense and highly stain resistant, this type is not recommended for homes with pets as their claws can snag fibers.

Shag/frieze is a durable, twisted, short-pile construction ideal for high-traffic areas. This is a popular commercial carpet option as its fibers curl in different directions and hide footprints.

Pattern carpet offers a combination of cut and loop pile, allowing for more texture and pattern options. The pattern looks as if it’s been cut into the carpet and usually features several tones from the same color family.

Plush carpet has a closely packed yarn construction that offers a soft, smooth surface that’s ideal for formal settings. Drawbacks include visible footprints and other markings.

Textured carpet offers a soft feel with a tight construction that helps resist soiling. Textured is the most popular living room carpet as it holds up to wear and tear.

Carpet tile, available in glue-down or peel-and-stick options, is made with an adhesive backing that allows for easy do-it-yourself installation.

How to fit your carpet

  1. Clear the room: make sure all furniture has been removed and any ornaments on mounted shelves etc. are also removed. The clearer the room, the quicker the fitting.
  2. Arrange the fitting: Choose a convenient time of the day for you. Try to be there, if you can. Otherwise try to have someone you trust, just to oversee the job.
  3. Check whether the fitter will take up your old carpet and underlay. This may be a chargeable service.
  4. Remove the old carpet if necessary
  • Vacuum the old carpet to cut down on dust
  • Use a pair of pliers to pull up the edge of the carpet, near any wall.
  • Use a utility knife to slice the carpet into manageable strips
  • Pull up the underlay with the carpet if you can. It may be stapled, but can be easily removed.
  • Roll the carpet as you go along
  • Place the rolled carpet out of the room
  • Clean the floor with a vacuum or brush in order to remove any leftover debris

bookmark_borderCommercial Painting Estimating Guide

A Beginner’s Guide to the Many Different Paint Types and Finishes

If you’re looking to add a splash of new color to your home, choosing the right type of paint and finish for the job can be a little daunting at first, especially if you’re a novice when it comes to paints. Not only are there a multitude of colors to choose from, but there are paints made from different materials and several types of finishes, or sheens, available as well. Different paints also feature their own attributes, such as ease of cleanup and durability, which will impact your project and the final product.

There is a lot to consider, but with just a little research, you can confidently choose the ideal paint and finish for your project and avoid feeling any buyer’s remorse once the paint dries.

CONSIDER THE AREA YOU WILL BE PAINTING

This step is important, because certain paint finishes mesh differently with certain rooms. For example, if you’re painting your kitchen, you should choose a paint that cleans easily and is fade-resistant, like a high-gloss finish. If you’re painting a room that receives ample sunlight, it might be best to stray from shiny sheens that reflect too brightly and instead opt for a matte finish.

PAINT TYPES

Paints are made from a variety of different materials. While the most common paints are water-based and oil-based paints, there are also specialty paints and natural wood finishes that are mineral spirit or thinner-based. There are also paints made from natural oils and alkyds. The paint type you choose could change the entire dynamic of a room or your home’s exterior.

  • Primer and First Coat – It’s recommended you first apply a base coat of primer before painting any wall. Interior decorative finishes last much longer and are less likely to peel and crack when a primer coat is first applied. Primer also helps cover up old paint and minimizes the appearance of old stains and even odors.
  • Water-Based – Water-based paint – either latex or acrylic – is the most common paint type used on interior walls. In general, water-based paints are quick drying, feature easy clean-up, are resistant to cracking and provide a more stable covering. Plus, water-based paints are considered more environmentally friendly, as they carry low levels of toxic emissions (VOCs).
  • Oil-Based – Oil-based paint is a nice option if you’re looking for a higher quality alternative to water-based, as they are more durable, feature a more attractive gloss and possess a smoother finish. It does, however, require turpentine or paint thinner for clean-up. Using oil-based paint on trim while using water-based on the walls is a popular choice, as trim takes more abuse and walls require more frequent cleanup.

Finishes

There are many types of finishes and while no one finish is better than another, they all have applications that they are best suited for and varying levels of sheen (how much light bounces off of it).

  • Matte – Matte finishes deliver a pigmented and smooth look, with little to no sheen since they absorb light. They cover imperfections and stains but are not very durable, which means they are best suited for low-traffic areas like a bedroom.
  • Eggshell – Eggshell finishes are similar to matte finishes in sheen and are one of the most popular finishes. They are perfect for mid-traffic areas such as hallways and living rooms since they are more washable than matte sheens.
  • Satin – Satin finishes are the most commonly chosen finishes, providing a soft, almost pearl-like sheen. It is ideal for indoor or outdoor use and is resistant to mildew and facing. Satin finishes work well in high-traffic areas such as kitchens or playrooms, as well as areas that are exposed to moisture such as laundry and bathrooms.
  • Semi-Gloss – Semi-gloss finishes are more reflective than satin, with a smooth and shiny appearance. They are also resistant to moisture and stains, so they work well in high-traffic or high-humidity areas. One downside is that they are more likely to show blemishes on surfaces since they reflect light, so using a primer is an important step before painting with a semi-gloss paint.
  • High-Gloss – High-gloss has the highest level of reflection, giving a high-shine and glass-like finish to any surface. It is ideal for doors and cabinets, as well as outdoor spots that have great curb appeal, such as shutters. It is also the most durable and easiest to clean of all the paint sheens.

Different paints for different places

Find out at a glance if a paint shade you like is suitable for your space by reading the tin. You’ll find that some paints are designed for particular environments: for example, you can buy paint specifically designed to withstand steam and condensation that’s ideal for bathrooms. Kitchen paints are moisture-resistant and can withstand grease and stains.

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a multi-step finishing process. In the first step, a product (usually a metal part) is cleaned and prepared for coating. Next, it is coated with a fine powder. The powder covers the part’s surface. In the final step, the part is moved into a curing oven. The product is then heated in the oven, allowing the powder to melt and flow into a uniform coating that adheres to the part. This creates a very durable and attractive coating around the product once the melted powder cools and harden

Acrylics – The Beginner’s Choice

Acrylics are widely favored by those just starting out with painting as they are easy to use and do not require any special supplies. The downside is they dry very fast.

Acrylics may suit you if:

  • You are a complete beginner and do not want to worry yourself with the complexities of oil and watercolor painting.
  • You want an easy cleanup time.
  • You are painting on a limited budget.
  • You enjoy experimenting with mixed media.
  • You are sensitive to the harsh chemicals involved with oil painting.

The downsides of acrylics are:

  • The paint dries very fast. This means you only have a limited amount of time whilst your paint is responsive on the canvas.
  • Some colors darken as they dry (the colors which are lighter tend to have a greater change).

bookmark_borderTermite Control Using Bait Stations

Homeowners Can Prepare For Termite

How often in life do you plan for something that is upcoming? Are you the type who has every detail accounted for before an important event, or are you more of the “whatever happens, happens” kind of individual? No matter what kind of person you are, one thing is undeniable – termite season is here. If your home does not already have termite protection in place, now is the time to start considering steps you can take to ensure it will!

What Termite Swarmers Are & What They Could Mean For Your Home

There are a lot of dangerous creatures in life that we can agree don’t need wings. For instance, if lions, tigers, and bears could all grow wings once a year, it would raise some serious concerns for everyone; yet, home-wrecking termites do sprout wings once a year, and most homeowners don’t even know it! This is not surprising since winged termites can be mistaken for flying ants or other known flying insects. Unlike most other flying insects, however, winged termites pose a serious threat to your home.

If you see termite swarmers around your property this spring, it is not a good sign. They are either a sign that your home already has a major termite problem, or a sign that a termite problem is on the horizon. That being said, let’s discuss some practical prevention steps you can take as a homeowner before termite swarmers show up.

Steps To Take To Mitigate Your Risk Of A Termite Infestation

If you are not seeing termite swarmers around your home, and there are no signs of an already existing termite infestation, there are some things you can do to deter future termites from settling down on your property. Before we start our list of helpful tips, you should know one fact: termites are attracted to water-damaged wood and moist conditions. Every step below works to reduce or eliminate these attractants as much as possible.

Trim back greenery from the perimeter of your home. This allows more direct sunlight to touch your home’s exterior and keep it dry.

Find and fix any leaky piping or appliances inside and outside of your home.

Eliminate sources of water build-up.

Make sure your gutters and drains are in good working order.

Fix or replace any structural wood of your home that has been water damaged.

TERMITES

Termites cause billions of property damage every year – don’t let your home be compromised by these hungry creatures. Termites love to eat and digest wood and other cellulose material (like cardboard and paper). The wood studs and joists in your home are made of the same cellulose wood material, the wallboard has a paper backing, and those cardboard boxes you have stacked in the corner are mighty tasty

TERMITE TREATMENTS

In the thousands of termite treatments we’ve performed, we’ve continuously learned and adapted our treatment methods to be the most effective in battling termites. Whether you need a spot treatment, a soil barrier, a complete perimeter barrier, or the foundation’s stemwall treated,

DO I HAVE TERMITES?

The best defense against termite damage is a good offense, mainly, your own eyes. What you should look for are the small, sandy mud tubes the termites build and travel within. Check around the foundation of your home – if you see a sandy-looking ‘vein’ going from the soil up to the stucco/siding, it’s probably termites.

HOW DO I STOP TERMITES?

The best way to stop termites is to remove potential food sources and eliminate moisture problems.

EXAMPLES OF FOOD SOURCES:

Wood chips abutting the home

Firewood stacked against the home

Wooden fence or gate posts that are in direct contact with the soil and are also in contact with the home

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?

A termite infestation can cause a lot of damage to your house. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), they cost homeowners an estimated $5 billion a year to control and repair damage

IS TERMITE DAMAGE COVERED BY MY INSURANCE POLICY?

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), many homeowners insurance policies don’t cover termite damage or removal. Termite infestations may be prevented with routine home maintenance and is the responsibility of the homeowner.

ARE THERE ANY SCENARIOS IN WHICH HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE WOULD COVER TERMITES?

If termites were to chew through your home’s wiring and cause a fire, your insurance company may step in to help pay for the damages, as fire is a covered peril under most policies

To help prevent termite damage to your house, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends:

Avoiding moisture accumulation by diverting water away from your home’s foundation (make sure you have properly functioning gutters, downspouts and splash blocks)

Regularly checking for changes to all your wooden areas, like windows and doorframes

Inspecting the foundation of your home bubbling paint, or wood that sounds hollow when you tap it

Maintaining an 18-inch distance between the wood portions of your home and the soil (termites can still gain access by building so-called shelter tubes or chewing through non-wood materials, but barriers can be built to discourage them)

HOW TO SPOT TERMITE DAMAGE IN YOUR HOME

The type of damage your home suffers often depends on the type of termite you’re dealing with. The three most common types are dampwood termites, drywood termites and subterranean termites. Dampwood termites prefer wet wood, drywood termites (which are rare in the U.S.) seek out dry wood.

TERMITE FAQ

Can termites spread disease?

Yes, termites do bite people but only if you get them angry. Most termites have to be biting on thin skin (like between your fingers or similar) before you’ll even be able to notice their grim determination. They don’t set out to bite people, but they will bite in defense and they do tend to hang on. The bites of bigger species like Mastotermes, Macrotermes and some dampwood termites are quite easily noticed. I’ve seen small blood marks from a Mastotermes bite near a technician’s navel. Strangely, it is much more often the meek-looking workers that bite (me) than the big-jawed, heavy-set, scary-looking soldier termites. Alates (swarmers) may have bitten me. I’ve never noticed.

What’s a termite lifespan?

There’s no simple answer to this one. It depends. The species, life-type, wear and tear, the colony’s health–all these things affect the potential for a termite’s long life. A worker or soldier termite can live to about three years in my lab, but most probably only live a year or so in the wild. They can also get killed soon after starting work and so, on average, many only last a few months. A reproductive female, the termite queen is something quite different. In some mound-building species queens are reported to last more than 40 years, perhaps several decades more! The reproducing males also last a long time

As usual, though, termite reality is stranger than we first thought. Imagine an amoeba, a superbly simple single-celled animal. If one splits (binary fission), producing two individuals, is the original one alive or dead? I think it is still alive. Do we think the same if the animal is multicellular and reproduces less simply? The issue arises with termites.

Like, where did they live before there were termites to live in?

Termites are just cockroaches that have learned to cooperate very well. They are thought to have begun as something like the wood-feeding cockroach genus Cryptocercus. The microbes that live so successfully in their guts are derived from similar free-living forms in rotting logs that get eaten when cockroaches eat the rot.  So both the ancestoral microbes and the ancestoral cockroaches were living in logs and soil well before termites came about.  You can imagine a termite as a streamlined cockroach shaped by the needs and profit of the microbes as well as the benefits of living in social groups. Over time, the gut organisms became adapted to their unique habitat and co-evolved tightly with their hosts to the point that most are critical for the termites’ success.

They don’t, just the vast majority of them.

Termite scientists are a fairly conservative lot, and like patterns. Termes is a Latin word meaning wood worm. It is a widely followed convention that the genera of termites be given names with -termes at the end, but it isn’t required by the rules of naming animals. Just makes things easier I guess. Some genera don’t. This is because the taxonomist who authored them broke with convention

Termite Control: Liquid VS. Bait

The most destructive insect in the United States is the subterranean termite. These wood-destroying insects cost U.S. property owners billions of dollars each year in repair costs, and billions more to exterminate these pests and arrest the damage being done. But it does not have to be this way. You can actually stop termites before they enter. The two ways that work best are liquids and baits. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of these two processes, and see which works best

Liquid Barrier

This process, which creates a barrier of termiticide in the soil around a structure to kill termites that pass through, has been the industry standard for controlling termites for many years. This method is extremely effective, but it has two drawbacks. First, it is necessary to bore holes and trench around the foundation of the structure and this can sometimes be problematic. Second, some liquid barriers do a good job of killing termites, but they do nothing to destroy the colony that is sending workers to breach the barrier. When the liquid barrier slowly wears out, worker termites will eventually find a way through.

realize that liquid barriers can have drawbacks. That is why we use Altriset. This eco-friendly product doesn’t just kill termites, it also works to kill the colony that is attacking. Chlorantraniliprole, the active ingredient in Altriset, causes a paralysis in the jaw muscles of worker termites, slowly making it so they can no longer eat. Those workers then carry and spread Chlorantraniliprole to other workers in the colony, causing them to starve and die. This can work its way all the way back to the colony and kill the queen. Without a queen, the colony dies.

What is most amazing about Altriset®, compared to other termiticide barriers, is that it doesn’t affect other beneficial insects. You don’t have to worry about honey bees or earthworms dying off because of your termite treatment. Altriset® is completely safe for the environment. And, if you’re looking to protect a new home, Altriset is the perfect product. It can be put into the ground before construction, without trenching, and protect a home for years.

Termite Bait

Baits work in two ways: they can be used to monitor for termites, and they can be used to kill termite colonies

bookmark_borderProven And Effective Eye Care Tips

Tips to Save Your Vision

More than 20 million Americans suffer from severe vision loss. While not all eye diseases can be prevented, there are simple steps that everyone can take to help their eyes remain healthy now and reduce their chances of vision loss in the future.

Here are tips from the Academy to safeguard your vision:

Wear sunglasses

UV blocking sunglasses delay the development of cataracts, since direct sunlight hastens their formation. Sunglasses prevent retinal damage; they also protect the delicate eyelid skin to prevent both wrinkles and skin cancer around the eye, and both cancerous and non-cancerous growths on the eye. Check for 100 percent UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV-A rays and UV-B rays.

Don’t smoke

Tobacco smoking is directly linked to many adverse health effects, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Studies show that current smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to develop AMD than people who have never smoked. Smokers are also at increased risk for developing cataracts.

Eat right

Vitamin deficiency can impair retinal function. The belief that eating carrots improves vision has some truth, but a variety of vegetables, especially leafy green ones, should be an important part of your diet. Researchers have found people on diets with higher levels of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are less likely to develop early and advanced AMD.

Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam

You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages. During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate or widen the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye, the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. This enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if your vision is at its best.

Know your family’s eye health history

Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition, since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk of developing an eye disease or condition.

Eye Tests and Exams

Everyone needs to have their eyesight tested to check for vision and eye problems. Children usually have vision screening in school or at their health care provider’s office during a checkup. Adults may also get vision screenings during their checkups. But many adults need more than a vision screening. They need a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Getting comprehensive dilated eye exams is especially important because some eye diseases may not have warning signs. The exams are the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages, when they are easier to treat.

The exam includes several tests:

  • A visual field test to measure your side (peripheral) vision. A loss of peripheral vision may be a sign of glaucoma.
  • A visual acuity test, where you read an eye chart about 20 feet away, to check on how well you see at various distances
  • Tonometry, which measures your eye’s interior pressure. It helps to detect glaucoma.
  • Dilation, which involves getting eye drops that dilate (widen) your pupils. This allows more light to enter the eye. Your eye care provider examines your eyes using a special magnifying lens. This provides a clear view of important tissues at the back of your eye, including the retina, macula, and optic nerve.

Myopia – a widespread problem

Take a look at your child’s class photo. How many of the kids are wearing glasses? We’ll bet it’s up to half the class. That’s because Singapore has one of the world’s highest rates of myopia. When you cultivate good eye care habits in your child, you could help delay the onset and progression of myopia.​

Here are some simple eye care tips for your child.

Reduce time spent on near work

  • Reduce the time your children are allowed to spend playing games on hand-held electronic devices, handphone games and other computer-related activities such as blogging and internet chats.
  • When indoors, monitor the time your child spends on continuous reading, writing and other near work. Encourage your child to take a break after 30-40 minutes of near work such as reading or writing. Your child should look at distant objects for 3 to 5 minutes. They could look out of the window into the distance or at nearby greenery, or go outdoors for a while.

Increase time spent on outdoor activities every day

  • There is a growing body of evidence that outdoor activities may delay the onset or progression of myopia in your child. So get your child to spend time playing ball games, walking in the park or go on family picnics at the beach, etc.
  • Outdoor activities should not include reading or playing hand-held games outdoors. Instead, encourage your child to engage in fun activities that involve body movements to increase physical fitness. Better yet, join in the fun!

Encourage other healthy eye care habits

  • Ensure there is adequate lighting in the room.
  • When reading, make sure they hold the book about 30 cm away from their eyes.
  • Choose books with a large print.
  • Refrain from reading in bed and in moving vehicles.
  • Make sure when using the computer, the monitor screen is about 50 cm away from their eyes.
  • Place the computer screen at a distance from the eyes.
  • Adjust its screen to reduce glare from the reflection of other light sources.
  • Sit at a distance from the TV that is appropriate to its size. The bigger the TV, the further away your child should sit.
  • Sit upright in a comfortable chair.

Take your child for eye check-ups yearly

Even if your child has been screened for myopia in school, it’s a good idea to take them for a check-up if they are squinting, having headaches or blurred vision.

Ensure a healthy lifestyle

  • Encourage them to eat a balanced diet.
  • Try to make sure your child has at least eight hours of sleep each night to rest the eyes.
  • Instead of just playing computer games, get them to participate in outdoor games as well.

Factors That Can Impact Your Vision in Winter

Before we get to the eye care tips for winter specifically, let’s first get introduced with the factors that can impact your vision through winter.

Outdoor Dry Air

With outdoor temperature dropping significantly in winter, the air also cools down, unable to hold as much of humidity as held otherwise through the rest of the year. During winter, cold winds blowing outside can turn out to be quite dehydrating for our skin as well as eyes, both of which need adequate moisture to remain healthy. For our eyes, exposure to cold dry air means losing essential moisture content rapidly (due to quickened process of evaporation) through the eye surface (which is comprised of 99% water), getting irritation due to excessive dehydration.

UV Radiation

Excessive UV exposure via direct sunlight is already known to increase the risk of cataracts as well as skin cancer. That’s why experts recommend resorting to sunscreens and sunglasses during prolonged outdoor activities. The bad news is that you can get excessive UV exposure due to reflection from snowy surfaces (though not getting the sunburns necessarily!) and it is equally bad for your skin and eye health.

Warm Indoor Air

Cold dry air is not the only nuisance for your eyes in winter, warm dry air indoors can also be equally (if not even more) dehydrating and damaging for your skin as well as eyes. In fact, the re-circulated indoor air is also laden even more with other dehydrating elements like ambient skin flora and bacteria.