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How To Save Money On Your Electrical Bill

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Your electric bill is probably one of the most expensive monthly bills you pay out to your utility companies. You have a lot of electrical appliances around your home, some that you probably don’t really even think about such as your water heater, furnace/air conditioner, as well as your washer/dryer. Saving money is something most homeowners try to do, and trying to find ways to do so may seem impossible, but it is possible, even on your electric bill. See below for things you can do to save some bucks each month on your bill. Turn Off The Lights Sure this seems like a no-brainer, but if you have kids (or are forgetful yourself), you may want to put your lights on a motion sensor instead. This way when you walk in and out of the room the lights will turn on or off themselves. This is a good idea for kids’ rooms, which are probably left on fairly often. Using timers on outdoor lighting is a good idea as well, just in case you forget to turn them off in the evening, the timer will turn them off for you. Unplug Unplug the appliances in your home that you aren’t using. When you’re done with the coffee pot and toaster in the morning, unplug it. Electricity still runs through those appliances, even though you aren’t actually using them. It may not seem like a lot of electricity, but think about everything in your home you have plugged in that you aren’t using. All of the electricity will add up. Unplug phone chargers, hair dryers and other hair care appliances, as well as any electrical appliance or media item that you don’t use that often (such as a TV in the spare bedroom). Clean Your Large Appliances Cleaning the dust, dirt and other debris from your larger appliances such as your air conditioner, furnace and refrigerator can help keep these appliances running well, but will also prevent them from over-running unnecessarily. All of that over-running can cost you big on your electrical bill. Clean the furnace filter every month to ensure proper air flow. Clean the coils on the back of the refrigerator, as a lot of dust can build up. Other Tips: Use curtains to help hold in the heat in the winter, as well as the cool air in the summer. Wash/dry full loads of laundry. This not only helps save you on your electrical bill, it will help on your water and gas bills as well. Use energy efficient light bulbs around your home that use less electricity. Invest in energy efficient appliances to not only help save you money on your monthly electric bill, but that may also qualify for rebates through your local electric company. Use the tips above to save on your monthly electric bill, so you can spend that money on something else, like new light...

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2 Reasons to Hire an Electrical Contractor to Build Your Home Theater

Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Uncategorized |

One of the most useful resources at your disposal when you are trying to create a home theater is an electrical contractor, mostly because he or she can help minimize some of the issues that can come up when you are building a home theater. Listed below are two reasons to hire an electrical contractor to build your home theater. Eliminate the Clutter One of the biggest reasons to hire an electrical contractor to help you with your home theater is to eliminate the clutter that is so very common with many home-theater setups. When many people build their own home theaters, they typically end up with quite a few wires and cables strewn across the room or bundled up behind the television or entertainment center. This makes sense when you consider just how many cables and wires a decent home theater setup will have. Unfortunately, all of the clutter from those wires will not only make your home theater seem a bit shabby but also affect the performance of your home theater. For example, the bundles of wires located behind your home theater can actually restrict airflow to and from your components, and this can cause the components to overheat. In addition, bundles of wires can also attract a large amount of dust, which can ruin your home-theater components if the dust gets into the exhaust vents of those components. However, an electrical contractor can run the wires in a way so as to avoid clutter and obstacles, typically by running the cables through your walls or ceiling. Eliminate Interference Another reason to hire an electrical contractor to build your home theater is that signal interference is a very common and troublesome issue with home-theater setups. When signal interference occurs, you will most likely notice it when the picture on your television screen is blurry or full of static or when your speakers start popping or scratching when playing audio. This issue can be extremely annoying and can also lead to damage to your home-theater components. An electrical contractor can help you deal with signal interference by attempting to route cables in a way that keeps them away from sources of interference, such as electrical outlets, power sources, and other cables. If that is not possible, the electrical contractor will also attempt to wrap shielding materials or sleeves around the cables in order to prevent signal interference. Contact a local electrical contractor today to discuss how he or she may be able to help you with your home theater and what suggestions he or she may have for your home theater. Eliminating the clutter and eliminating any potential interference are just two of the many great reasons to hire an electrical contractor to build your home theater for you. Talk to a company such as E.J. Gray Electric to learn...

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3 Things You Should Do Before Building A Home On Your Raw Land

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Now that you are ready to build a home on your raw land, it’s important to take a few steps first that will help ensure that you’re building in the right location. Here are three things you should do before you start your building project: Hire a Land Surveyor One of the first things you should do before building anything (let alone a home) on your land, it’s important to have it surveyed by a professional so you know exactly where the property lines are so nothing is built too close to them. By getting your land surveyed, you’ll also find out where any easements and right-of-way designations are if any, which will help ensure that you don’t end up living in the middle of a road that your neighbors have to drive on to get to their homes or backyards. Power, phone, and water lines are typically included in land surveys, so you can be sure that you don’t build anything over lines that may need to be replaced or upgraded at a later time.   Get to Know the Neighbors You should also get to know your neighbors a little before you start building to be sure that you don’t build too close to anything on their property that may annoy you or become inconvenient as time goes on. Stop by to say hello to each neighbor so you can get to know their personalities. Spend some time barbecuing or picnicking on your property while the neighbors are home to see how loud they get throughout the day and how many noisy animals they have around. The more you know about the neighbors, the easier it will be to build your home in a place where you won’t bug the neighbors and they won’t bug you. Design Your Landscape Before building your house or any other structures on your property, consider designing your landscape. Decide which types of trees you’d like to plant and where you want to plant them, and determine where you’ll plant shrubs and a food garden. You should also figure out whether you want to install fencing and if so, in what areas. Building your home around your landscape design instead of the other way around will increase the chance that you’ll spend more time outside once you move in because the yard will have been customized to your specific needs and wants. The use of these techniques should make it easy for you to build a comfortable home in the perfect location on your raw land.  For more information contact an engineering firm like Crest Engineering...

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Landscape Renovation: 4 Beautiful Ways to Put Rocks to Use

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you are in the mood for a landscape makeover, there may be no better way to go about it than with a natural element. Rocks and stones can add the perfect amount texture to your yard without requiring much maintenance, if any at all. Here are four ways that you can use rocks in your landscape: Say Goodbye to Your Mulch Mulch may look great and be beneficial to your plants, but it is also has to replaced every single year. This can expensive and time consuming on your part. To eliminate this problem, why not replace that mulch with rock? It will be more expensive upfront, but there are numerous advantages. For starters, rocks are extremely durable and will last virtually forever. In addition, they look marvelous in your landscape. This is particularly true if you have foliage of a deep color and you choose stones of a pale color – the contrast in hues help to brighten things up. Last but not least, the rocks will help to impede the growth of weeds. Create a Focal Point Just as you can use a piece of furniture, water element or a uniquely-cut shrub as a focal point, you can also use an unusually-shaped boulder. This works particularly well in small gardens where decorative shrubs could become overwhelming. However, it works just as well in larger landscapes for visual interest, as you can place a large rock near dull hedges that lack visual appeal. Build a Border Around a Water Element If you have a water element in your landscape, particularly a pond, larger rocks will give the area an enchanted look. The right type and color of stone can actually help hide the pond liner and make the pond water look mesmerizing. When selecting pavers, try to avoid the traditional rectangular ones. Instead, opt for a more natural look since this is going to be part of your landscape – choose stones that are irregular in color and shape, yet similar in size. Create a Path of Stepping Stones What landscape is complete without stepping stones? This type of path can provide a picturesque option for virtually any yard, especially if you have a shady area that leads up to your home since this isn’t really an area where plants are able to flourish. Plus, it’s a great way to keep muddy shoes out of the house. For the cleanest, smoothest look, use large stepping stones leading to the door in the color of your choosing and surround them with small pebbles, such as pea pebbles, in a contrasting shade. For more advice on how to use rocks in your landscape or for assistance on doing so, get in touch with a contractor like Southwest Brick & Fireplace in your local...

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Sprinkler Systems: What You Should Know About This Effective Fire Prevention System

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Sprinkler systems are the number one way to protect your building in the event of a fire. Routine maintenance of your system is essential, and testing should be done to ensure your system is in good working order. While many buildings still don’t have the protection a sprinkler system offers, it’s important to understand that they are effective at preventing the spread of a fire 96% of the time. In addition, the water damage from a sprinkler system that goes off is way less problematic than the damage caused from fire hoses. When you want to protect your property and the people within from a fire, smoke detectors simply aren’t enough. You Should Check the Sprinkler Heads Periodically To ensure that your sprinkler system will work well in the event of a fire you need to check on the sprinkler heads once in awhile. Look for paint, dust, or other debris that could be blocking the sprinkler head. In addition, make sure that you have at least 18 inches of room between the sprinkler heads and any shelving that may have been put up for storage. The sprinklers will need this space in order to water down an area effectively if a fire starts. The Entire System Doesn’t Go off at Once You may be worried that a small fire is going to soak your entire building because the sprinkler system engages. This is not how sprinkler systems are designed to work. In the event of a small fire beginning in an area, only the sprinkler heads that can reach the fire will become engaged. If the fire spreads, more sprinkler heads will be put to work in an effort to subdue the fire. Why Smoke Detectors Aren’t Enough Smoke detectors are great at warning those within a building that there is a possible fire, but nothing happens to help stop the spread of the fire when only smoke detectors are used. This is a particular problem in buildings that have people inside who may be less mobile or unable to get out of the building on their own. A building equipped with both smoke detectors to warn people and a sprinkler system to subdue the fire are the most effective at preventing injuries and buildings becoming totally destroyed. Sprinkler systems save lives, and they can put out small fires in a building before the building becomes engulfed in flames. It is the best protection you can get for any building. For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website...

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Exterior Home Renovations: Why You Should Opt For Hardie Plank Siding

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Known to some as cement board or fiber cement siding, hardie board siding has been around for some time now. It is becoming more and more popular as the years go by. It is a very long-lasting, low-maintenance material that has the ability to add depth and character to your home in a way that some other types of siding cannot. Here are three reasons you should consider hardie plank siding: 1. Hardie Plank Siding Has a Strong Resistance to Fire. There are many types of siding that you can choose for your home, including wood and vinyl. However, these won’t hold up in the event of a fire. In many cases, they will only add fuel to the fire and cause the fire to become worse, which is the last thing that you want and need in a terrible situation like that. With hardie plank siding, it has a natural resistance to fire. While heat will transfer through it, it will not ignite the way vinyl and wood will when exposed to a flame. Plus, if your homeowners’ insurance company knows you have hardie plank siding on your home, you may be able to secure a discount on your premium – and saving money is never a bad thing! 2. Hardie Plank Siding Doesn’t Attract Termites and Other Annoying Pests. In addition to being fire resistant, hardie plank siding also has the ability to resist mildew and rot – both of which will attract termites. Termite damage can really damage the exterior and interior of your home. By having hardie plank siding installed, this I s not something that you have to worry about nor do you have to worry about paying for an exterminator or a contractor to repair the structural wood damage. 3. Hardie Plank Siding Is Long-Lasting, Low Maintenance and Inexpensive. According to BobVila, hardie plank siding has been known to last 50 or more years with the appropriate installation and maintenance. BobVila also says that every 15 years or so, the homeowner will likely need to apply a finish on the siding in order to maintain its appearances and durability. Other than that, the only maintenance that is really needed on the siding is some light cleaning over the years whenever needed. In the long run, hardie plank siding is quite affordable since maintenance is minimal and upfront costs are somewhere between $5.74 and $10.87 per square foot. If you would like to consider hardie plank siding further, consider reaching out to a professional contractor or a siding supplier in your area. Remember, hardie plank siding can be purchased in an assortment of colors and can be made to replicate a number of different looks. For more information, contact a business such as Side-Pro,...

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Farming Attachments You Can Rent Along With Your Case Construction Equipment Rental

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Case construction equipment covers much more than just heavy construction machines. In fact, the Case brand makes dozens of front end attachments for their machines. If you own and operate a large farm, you may find it more conducive to rent some of your seasonal equipment rather than purchase it. Here are a few farming attachments you can rent along with your Case construction equipment rental. Auto Rakes This is a bit of a misnomer, since there is not too much about this additional accessory that is “auto.” An auto rake will make your plowed fields perfect for planting by removing big clods of dirt, rocks, and soil while raking it into perfect rows. This is also an excellent equipment rental accessory for perfecting the ground where you plant your family’s garden. Bale Handlers If you bale your hay into cylinder shapes, it makes them look very nice and keeps them tidy, but it also makes it impossible to scoop up. The cylinder hay bales tend to roll out of the way or roll away from you when you accidentally drop them while trying to pick them up with a machine. A bale handler attachment grabs these types of bales from both sides with “hugger arms.” Then you can pick them up, move them to a hay wagon, or move them into a barn or trough nearby. Bale Spears Taking a three-pronged approach just became literal with this attachment. It has three prongs in triangle formation on what looks like a forklift end piece. When you drive your rented front loader into an upright bale, the prongs spear right through and allow you to carry the bale everywhere on the end of the prongs. Choppers When you need help clearing trees and brush around the farm, a choppers accessory is ideal. This particular accessory fits on the end of both mini-loaders and full-size loaders. As it grinds up the wood and clippings fed into the choppers, it spits the bits back out again. Ergo, if you want to save the bits for mulch, you may also need a Case mulch bag for the choppers. Just ask the equipment rental place for what you want. Short-Term Rentals As is the case with all of the attachments and/or accessories listed above, they are all short-term for the daily rental price. Your rental store may have a few of them, all of them or none at all. Be sure to use them right after you rent them so that it does not become a problem after your rental expiration date has...

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A New Winter Wonderland — 5 Tips For Designing An Indoor Pool

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you’re an avid swimmer in a climate that isn’t conducive to outdoor pools, you can still have the pool of your dreams… indoors. But indoor pools can have their own challenges to design and include in your home. If you’re thinking of adding an indoor swimming pool, here are the top things you need to know before digging. It’s Easiest to Integrate Early. Adding an indoor pool is best done when designing new construction, rather than adding on to an existing home. If you think you may want to add a pool inside, this may affect your decision whether to purchase an already-built house or to build a custom home instead. Because of their unique structural needs, adding a pool while building a new home may save you a lot of money in the process. It Needs Air Quality Attention. While the actual indoor, in-ground pool is structurally similar to an outdoor, in-ground pool, the biggest difference in cost and maintenance comes from the environment needed in the room in which the pool is housed. Temperature and humidity must be controlled so as not to cause damage to the building. This usually means installing a dehumidifying system, angling the decking to lead water away from the walls, and creating steady air circulation.  You’ll Want to Protect Walls. Added vapor and moisture protection goes into the room’s structure, too. Plastic vapor barriers or waterproof boards are built into the walls and ceiling in order to prevent any moisture from reaching the home’s framing and encouraging rot or mold.  It May Need More Space. An outdoor pool area may not seem to be as large as that needed for an indoor pool because of a smaller visual footprint and the ability to spread out. Inside, you will need to add storage spaces, create sufficiently large decking and lounging areas, and raise a roof that’s taller than standard rooms in the home. For this reason, don’t underestimate the amount of square footage that a useful and entertaining indoor pool will take up. By working with a custom pool designer early (and possibly alongside your architect), you can find a comfortable size and shape for your dream pool. Add Lots of Sunshine. Design your pool room with a lot of natural lighting via skylights and windows — or even a retractable roof — in order to create a welcoming environment. This may affect where you plan to place the pool in the home’s design. However, you also want to build in nighttime lighting so that you can enjoy the pool during any time of day.  By learning about the unique needs and design of an indoor pool, you can create just the right one for your family. And then, you can splash around any time of the year without ever leaving the comfort of your home. For more information on custom swimming pools, contact a company like Nassau Pools Construction...

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What’s Worth Recycling in Computers?

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you’re getting rid of an old computer, you should know that inside your computer, there are a lot of scrap materials and whole components that could be useful to someone else. Recycling centers can take your old computers and parts in multiple forms, so it’s up to you if you want to turn in specific metals such as aluminum or copper for a specific pay rate or get an easier bulk payment. Here’s an overview of what computers have to recycle to make the decision a bit easier. What Parts Can Be Reused? Not every part in a computer is totally useless, even if the system stopped working due to physical damage. Certain components may still be working and can be taken out for reuse while everything else gets recycled. Electrical damage, burnouts, and other issues with physical damage can’t be easily predicted, but here are a few of the more commonly reused parts. Power Supply Unit (PSU) – As the power source of the computer, power supplies are built to last. They’re the most at risk for electrical damage, as they’re the first component exposed to electricity, but if the PSU is still working, it’s likely still useful for multiple generations of computers. Desktop computers may have become more advanced in even a decade, but power demands only increase significantly if the computer is for high demand activities such as gaming or graphic design. Memory – Random Access Memory (RAM) – RAM is in the form of rectangular sticks and isn’t easily damaged. RAM sticks are so sturdy that many computer hobbyists and technicians keep them in drawers, unlike other sensitive components. For most computers, RAM falls under the Double Data Rate (DDR) standard, with DDR3 being the most commonly found generation as of 2016 and DDR4 quickly increasing in use. Generations have physically different notches for fitting pegs to prevent mismatching. Processor – The processor connects to a socket with many small holes for the processors pins. These pins are easily bent and broken and should only be handled by a computer expert. If someone wants the processor, consider just giving them the entire motherboard it’s set in. Hard Drive – Hard drives are used to store information, so make sure to erase any of your information before selling or recycling. Scrap Locating and Removal for Computers If you’re building piles of scrap metal for melting, have a system for scrap recycling, or have noticed an increase in recycling payout rates, here’s a few of the more commonly recycled components and their materials. Computer case – The computer case is the largest and most noticeable metal recycling point. Although modern computers are often covered in plastic molds for appealing designs, the frame is still made of aluminum for structural strength. Industrial computers or systems used in rugged locations may have steel frames. Heat Sinks – Heat sinks are solid blocks of aluminum or copper with thin, machined fins used to transfer heat away from the processor or other components. Be careful, as the fins are sharp enough to cut with just the brush of a hand. Papercut-like incisions are normal when handling heat sinks. Aluminum heat sinks are more common than copper heat sinks, with copper being mostly for gaming and other high-performance systems. Processors –...

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Paved Driveway Have Weeds? Tips to Restore It So It Looks New Again

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Uncategorized |

A paved driveway can look attractive when it is brand new, but over time it can start looking run down due to the elements. Weeds can quickly make your driveway look unattractive. Fortunately, you can make your paved driveway look new again by following the tips below. Use Chloride to Remove Weeds Weeds can come up through even tiny cracks. The weeds do not actually come from below the ground, but tiny seeds get into these cracks, and when it rains they start to germinate. It can be difficult to remove these weeds because the roots grow below the driveway surface. You can use chemicals to remove the weeds and moss, but many chemicals you can buy are toxic. You can save money by instead using chloride, which can be purchased from a hardware store. It comes in plastic containers in different sizes. How much you choose to buy depends on the number of weeds you have. Before you get started, put on a thick pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands. Pour enough water over the weeds to dampen them but not saturate them. Put small handfuls of chloride granules over the weeds and spread it out evenly. Use a garden hose set to a fine mist to spray the chloride granules until they start to dissolve. You do not want to mist them so much that they become saturated. Let the chloride sit for approximately one hour, or until the granules have completely dissolved. Use your hose on regular spray to spray the chloride off. Chloride is a strong chemical, so do not let children or pets around the chloride or let anyone walk over it. Repair Cracks Once the weeds are gone, you should repair the cracks so they do not come back again. This is generally very easy to do. Go to a home-improvement store and purchase pavement crack filler, which comes either in a tube or a pourable form. If you purchase crack filler in a tube, you will also have to have a caulk gun to apply it. Make sure there is no debris left in the crack. You can use a pressure washer to flush out this debris. If you purchased the pourable crack filler, shake it up to mix everything up before you start using it. You do not have to do this with the tubed product. Fill the crack in with the filler carefully, making sure it is completely filled in. Smooth out the filler so that it is flush with your pavement. Let the filler dry for approximately 24 hours before you walk on it. If your driveway still looks run down, you should consider installing a brand-new driveway. Contact a company such as Southwest Slurry Seal, Inc. for more information or for help with repairing the cracks in your...

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3 Tips For Air Conditioning Maintenance

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016 in Uncategorized |

A whole lot can go wrong in your home when you do not put frequent time and energy into caring for your air conditioning system. It is for this reason that you will need to hire a seasoned professional who can handle the work for you, as you also follow some do-it-yourself air conditioning repair tips. When you combine these practices, you will have the opportunity to keep your home nice and cool, while also avoiding some expensive repairs that could have been avoided. Start by using these three air conditioning maintenance tips below.  Tip #1: Stay On Top Of Changing Your Air Conditioning Filters Your air conditioning filters provide a barrier between the outside elements in your rooms and the inside of the air conditioning system. The filter prevents debris and dust from building up inside of the air conditioner, which will cause it to overwork and break down. Doing this will also prevent energy waste, since it lowers consumption by 5 to 15 percent. You need to buy the right sized air conditioning filters for your HVAC system and take it upon yourself to change them every couple of months or so.  Tip #2: Wash Down The Condenser Unit Make sure that you are maintaining the air conditioner’s outdoor moving parts in addition to the indoor unit. Start by locating the outdoor air conditioning machinery, so that you can vacuum and clean the condenser unit. First, turn off the power to the unit by accessing the shutoff switch. Make sure that you are choosing to clean this machinery on a day that is at least 60 degrees, since this is the minimum temperature for testing out your HVAC system. Once the unit is off, use a shop vacuum to thoroughly remove dust from the fins and then wash them down with a hose. Restart the system and your air conditioner should run smoothly, since it is free from dirt and debris.  Tip #3: Check Your Refrigerant Lines If you want your HVAC system to stay nice and cool throughout the summer time, you will need to check out the refrigerant lines. Give it a visual inspection to make sure that nothing appears clogged, cracked or damaged. If you need to replace your refrigerant line, call up a qualified professional heating and cooling contractor who can handle the job for you.  Follow these three tips to the best of your ability and hire an HVAC contractor, like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating, who can help...

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