Care And Upkeep Of Tile Shingles Roof For Your Home

Shingle Roofing – Plenty of Options to Explore

Shingle roofing is pretty widespread and is recommended by architects and roof contractors to households who would like to make a long term investment in a roof. The popularity of shingles is also because of the fact that this roofing option has many designs and patterns in it that a homeowner can pick and Roofing Types choose from. The variety within shingles is amazing something that cannot be found in other style options. Shingles can be used for new construction projects as well as for remodeling projects. It is this flexibility that this option offers that has made it the obvious choice among several home owners.

While making a choice of shingles, you have to base your decision on several factors. As a roof is exposed to the extremities of the weather, you should take care that the material you choose to install should be strong enough to resist the abrupt changes in the weather. For instance when you use slate for shingles you can be assured that heavy snow or heavy winds will not affect the strength of the roof. This is because when shingles in slate is installed the support underneath is made strong to hold the shingles. This may take more time while installation but this will also make the roof durable and long lasting. Shingle roofing in slate is also fire resistant. This is a natural roofing option and therefore is slightly cheaper than other options.

Shingles in fiberglass and asphalt are pretty new trends and they are fast catching up. Many offices and commercial complexes are equipped with shingle in fiberglass. When laid in the form of a composition these shingles tend to last long. Composition shingle also works out to be very cheap. Regardless of the type of material you think will best suit your needs, you should always take the professional assistance of a roofing Cheap Roof Ideas contractor before you get shingles installed for your roof. Consulting a roofing contractor is very important because there are some technical details about a roof that you may be unaware of. Once the installation is done it is very hard to reverse the whole process. Therefore to be safe than sorry it is always advisable to take the help of a service provider who will guide you correctly while getting shingles installed.

How Many Layers of Shingles Are Allowed on a Roof?

Benefits of Adding Multiple Shingle Layers

Most building codes allow up to two layers of organic or fiberglass asphalt shingles. That limit pertains to roofs with up to a 4:12 pitch. When it’s time to replace your roof, there are several factors that might lead your roofing professional to recommend adding shingles on top of your existing layers. One of these major factors is cost savings. Think of it this way: By leaving the existing layer of shingles on your roof, you’ll save on both labor costs and disposal costs. Both of those costs can get high if you’re dealing with multiple types of roofing material for disposal. That adds up to an average savings of about $1,000 less than a full roof tear-off.

Am I a Good Candidate for Re-Roofing?

There are some situations that require a full roof tear-off. As mentioned above, homeowners are legally limited to two layer of roof shingles. Therefore, if you already have two layers, you’ll need a full tear-off. Additionally, if your roof is severely damaged, it likely won’t be able to support the weight of a reroof and will need to be torn off. Ultimately, it’s best to work with a roofing professional to determine if your roof is eligible for re-roofing. If so, you’ll likely save quite a bit of money by leaving your existing roofing system in place beneath a new layer of shingles.

When to Consider Re-Roofing

Roof maintenance is a major part of any homeowner’s responsibility. Although roof maintenance tasks are typically minor and fairly quick, it’s crucial to stay on top of repairs so you don’t get saddled with costly, time-intensive repairs down the line. If you notice any of the following issues, reach out to your roofing professional to schedule a quick repair or a major remodel:

  • Buckling, curling, or blistering shingles
  • Missing granules on shingles
  • Missing or broken shingles
  • Damaged, ineffective gutters
  • Missing or damaged chimney cap
  • Leaks or excess moisture in the attic
  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on the flashing
  • Rubber flashing boots that are cracked or worn

So how many layers of shingles are allowed on a roof? The short answer: two. For a more thorough explanation, reach out to your roofing professional. Ultimately, it’s not recommended that homeowners complete roofing work on their own. Although this might seem like a way to save a few dollars, untrained homeowners can do serious harm to their roof – or themselves – by using incorrect or irresponsible roofing techniques.

What Are Some Suggestions To Properly Store Shingles?

  • As a general rule, store shingles in a cool dry place… in stacks no more than four feet high. If higher stacking is necessary, it is recommended that racks or bins be used to prevent the weight of the bundles on the upper pallets from bearing down on the bundles below. Slip-sheets a minimum of 3/8” (9.5 mm) plywood are also acceptable. Never stack pallets more than two high.
  • Systematically rotate all stock… so that the material that has been stored the longest will be the first to be moved out (i.e., first in, first out).
  • Arrange the stock… so that there is ample space for forklifts and other handling equipment to operate without bumping into and damaging materials in the stacks.
  • Do not store asphalt-roofing materials outdoors… for extended periods of time. If it must be done, place the materials on a raised platform or pallets so they are not in contact with the ground. In addition, cover the roofing materials with a light colored, vented plastic sheet or breathable plastic.
  • Use tarpaulins to protect them from rain or snow. Ventilate the protective covering to allow air to circulate. Do not store the shingles in the hot sun.

Cutting Shingles with Shears

Long-handled tin snips are the perfect tool for easily cutting thick roofing shingles

The evolution of asphalt roofing shingles has been a slow and steady improvement in performance, durability, and looks. Original three-tab asphalt shingles had 10- or 20-year warranties, and that was about the lifespan you could expect. Today’s laminated roof shingles have 30-, 40-, and 50-year warranties. A few have lifetime warranties. To make shingles last longer, manufacturers made them thicker. That also made them better looking, hence the new terminology, “dimensional roofing shingles” and “architectural roofing shingles,” in use today.

In some ways, newer shingles are a bit more forgiving to work with than three tab shingles, which require precise layout. In other ways, they are more demanding. For example, three-tab asphalt shingles are tough to cut, but these new thicker shingles are even tougher. You could use a utility knife to cut asphalt shingles and dull the blade or bloody your knuckles

Roofing Tool Basics

Check out information on the benefits of these basic roofing tools and how to use them.

Safety first — Always use a safety harness, rope an anchor point when working on the roof.

The basic tools used in roofing are: a utility knife, a tape measure, a hammer, and a chalk line.

  • A utility knife is used for cutting roofing material. A specialized roofer’s utility knife has a knob that turns to open the tool — eliminating the use of a screwdriver to open and close the tool. The blade — held in place with a magnet — is hooked for cutting shingles and felt more easily.
  • Hold a roofing nail with your palm facing up to get it started, rather than with your thumb and forefinger. This technique results in lessened injury if your hand is hit.
  • A plastic cap nail has a plastic sheath around it to hold the felt better. It has a broader surface than a regular roofing nail and the flexibility of the sheath makes it less likely that wind will pull up the felt. A pneumatic nail gun allows the nail and cap to be driven into the roof more quickly and with less manpower.
  • After nailing in the felt, make chalk lines as a reference to keep the rows of shingles straight. Lines should be six inches apart. Nail in the first row of shingles upside down. The first row should hang over the edge of the roof about 1-1/2 inch so that water will drip down the roof into the gutter.
  • Nail another row of shingles on top of the first row. This will be the first exposed course of shingles. The tabs of each course should be six inches off-center from one another. When that course is done, continue to nail the next course with a six-inch offset.
  • Shingles have a line of sticky material that makes them monolithic; they become like one piece so the wind can’t blow them off the roof.
  • Metal roofing is becoming popular, but a main drawback is that it is difficult to get into position to work on the roof. Suction cups solve this problem. Set the suction cup down on a flat surface and pump it up for a foothold to help you work safely.

The Benefits Of Solar Water Heaters

How to Care for Your Water Heater

Keep your water heater running efficiently and reliably with this simple maintenance routine. Water heaters work hard for you, providing warm baths, clean clothes, and sparkling pots and pans. So show your water heater some love by following a routine maintenance schedule that will keep it running for its 15-year expected lifetime, and perhaps beyond.

Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees. You’ll save up to 5% in energy costs for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature, plus you’ll reduce the risk of scalding.

Always maintain 2 feet of clearance around the appliance unless the manual specifically states otherwise.

Drain about a quarter of the tank a few times a year to remove sediment and debris. Turn off the cold water supply, hook up a garden hose to the drain valve, then run into a bucket until the water is clear. If the water remains cloudy, briefly open the water supply valve to stir up remaining sediment, and drain the tank again. This also makes the unit operate more quietly.

Annually test the temperature-pressure relief valve by quickly discharging it two or three times. Following the testing, keep an eye out for small leaks from the valve.

Examine the sacrificial anode rod every three years by loosening the hex head screw and removing it. Replace the rod if:

  • More than 6 inches of the core steel wire is exposed.
  • The rod is less than 1/2 inch thick.
  • The rod is coated with calcium.
  • You can buy a 13-inch zinc-aluminum anode rod for about $16.

Insulate older units with a fiberglass jacket to improve efficiency, being careful to avoid contact with the flue (newer units already are insulated — check your owner’s manual to make sure). Also, insulate the hot and cold water pipes.

When leaving town, adjust the thermostat on gas heaters to “vacation” setting, which maintains the pilot light without heating the water.

The importance of keeping up with you water heater

It is important to maintain the water heater, by scheduling maintenance at a specific time periods. First of all, one of the key factors is the location of the water heater. It should be installed in the right location and set at the right temperature. However, there are some additional steps to be taken to prevent the leakage and any other damages to the heater.

It is mandatory to keep a regular maintenance schedule. This can possibly be every two months, once in every six year and once in every year. The first check should center around observing the plumbing joints for excessive or unusual corrosion. This check applies to only gas powered heaters. All the gas supply parts as well as the water heater should be checked for any flammable material surrounding these parts. The water supply should be checked by turning on a nearby hot water tap and listening for any unusual sounds. If this is running smoothly and the heater is at the right temperature, it is properly managed. It is imperative to drain the heater completely after every two months, to remove any sediments that has accumulated within. Additionally, one should consider replacing the anode rod habitually, after two to three years. A good way of identifying an anode rod in need of replacement, is by looking for large chunks of material coating missing from the main surface indicates.

How Is a Water Heater Tank Flushed?

Flushing a hot water heater tank is not terribly difficult, but it requires a confident hand to do it safely and correctly. Your  plumbers turn off power and fuel to the water heater. Running water from a faucet helps to eliminate some of the water in the tank, as well as decreasing its temperature. The plumbers use the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank to release the water currently in the tank. Plumbers may also fill the tank and drain it a second or even a third time, to help clear the sediment from the tank. The last steps include refilling the tank and resuming access to power and fuel.

Flushing your hot water heater tank is a fairly simple maintenance task that guarantees a good benefit for you and your home. When you flush the tank at least once a year, you keep more hot water for your

Flush the water heater tank once a year

Almost all water heater manufacturers will recommend flushing the water heater tank annually. But draining alone does not flush the water heater!

Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct procedure for draining your water heater. For example, this is the instructions for a Bradford White model water heater: How to Flush the Water Heater

  1. On a gas water heater, turn the gas valve to the off position. On an electric water heater, turn the electric off to the heater.
  2. Shut the cold water off to the water heater.
  3. Open a hot water faucet.
  4. Connect a hose to the drain valve on the heater and run to a drain.
  5. Open the drain valve and allow the tank to completely drain.
  6. Turn back on the cold water into the water heater.
  7. Allow the water to run through the water heater and out of the drain valve. Do this for approximately five (5) or ten (10) minutes.
  8. Close the drain valve and allow the tank to refill, keeping the hot water faucet open. When water comes out of the faucet, the tank is full.

Water Heater Maintenance

Today’s water heaters are manufactured to require little or no maintenance, but these maintenance
tips could prolong the life of your water heater:

  • Drain the water heater twice a year to rid it of collected sediment that causes corrosion. This also increases efficiency.
  • Test the pressure-relief valve by lifting the valve’s handle and letting it snap back. This should release a burst of water into the overflow drainpipe. If it doesn’t, install a new valve.
  • Lower the temperature setting on the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This reduces damage to the tank caused by overheating.

Exploring A Career In Mold Remediation

How to Keep Mold from Coming Back

Fortunately for homeowners who’ve recently undergone mold remediation, there are preventive measures that you can take to help keep mold from growing back. Here are some proactive steps that you can take to keep mold away for good:

  • Identify areas where there’s a moisture problem, and correct it. Basements and other areas prone to moist air can benefit immensely from the presence of a dehumidifier. For low-lying areas, sump pumps provide an additional line of protection by removing excess water automatically. Take note of any moisture you notice in your home. This can include dark spots on ceilings that indicate a leaky roof, or musty smells inside a closet. Fixing water leaks and replacing decaying wood can go a long way toward keeping your home free of unwanted fungi.
  • Dry wet areas as soon as possible. If water gets into your home, remove it as soon as possible. For example, if you have water in your basement from a burst plumbing pipe or a heavy rainstorm, dry out the area immediately, before there’s time for mold to take root. Even seemingly mundane things, like leaving wet clothes in the washer for a few days, can be an invitation for mold.
  • Keep out moisture with proper ventilation. Appliances that produce moisture, like clothes dryers and stoves, should vent outside. You should check your AC unit periodically to make sure it’s not generating moisture. If it’s leaking, dripping, or the coils are covered in condensate, you probably need to call an HVAC repair service.
  • Use mold-resistant building materials whenever possible. This may not be possible in already existing homes, but if you’re remodeling, building an addition, or building a custom home, it’s a good way to stay one step ahead of mold. There are newer varieties of drywall and Sheetrock that are paperless– instead of gypsum covered with paper, they use fiberglass instead. This creates a highly water-resistant surface, and mold cannot break down and metabolize it. This is especially useful in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and other areas where moisture is pretty much a given.
  • Keep your indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. If your home is humid, and you notice a lot of water condensing near windows and pipes, consider using dehumidifiers.

Are Dry Mold Spores Harmful To Human Health?

People usually think that mold is harmless unless you touch it or eat it. However, because mold spores are microscopic in size, they can be easily inhaled, get trapped in our lungs, and cause a number of health problems.

There have been many studies conducted on the topic of mold and its potential health effects. Various agencies such as U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization and Health Canada agree that exposure to mold at home or at work increase the chances of getting a respiratory disease.

Since some molds produce allergens and others potentially toxic substances, inhaling the spores can cause:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Respiratory problems like asthma and wheezing
  • Irritation of eyes, nose or skin
  • Mental confusion
  • Neurological problems
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Can Mold Cause Sleep Problems?

When you sleep, it is essential for your body to breathe as easily as possible. Otherwise, your brain has to focus harder on keeping you breathing, lowering the quality of your sleep. As a result, people who sleep in bedrooms with mold may suffer from the following sleep problems:

  • Snoring refers to any sort of noisy breathing during the night. Snoring may not wake you up, but it can cause insomnia for your sleeping partner, and it is an indication that something is disrupting the quality of your sleep. Snoring can also cause dry mouth.
  • Sleep apnea is a serious form of sleep-disordered breathing where the individual literally stops breathing momentarily during sleep, resulting in a loud gasping or snoring sound while their brain catches their breath. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs from a blockage or narrowing of the airways, as can happen from the nasal congestion associated with mold exposure.
  • Insomnia describes a difficulty falling or staying asleep. If you are dealing with wheezing, watery eyes, or a runny nose from mold, you may have trouble falling asleep. Meanwhile, the congestion you experience may make it difficult to stay asleep. Either way, being exposed to mold in your bedroom can result in insomnia, and prevent you from getting a full night of restful sleep.
  • Sleep deprivation refers to the physical, mental, and emotional state a person is in when they have missed out on a night of full sleep (defined as 7 hours or more for adults) on a temporary or chronic basis. When we’re sleep-deprived, we’re moodier, less focused, and at increased risk of social isolation and health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Sleep deprivation can also occur if you are ostensibly getting enough sleep, but the sleep is not high-quality, as can be the case when you’re snoring or experiencing apneas due to mold exposure.
  • Daytime fatigue is one of the most recognizable signs of sleep deprivation. When a person is fatigued, they have lower energy and motivation, and their productivity and emotional well-being suffer.

The following are the benefits of mold removal and remediation.

1. Stop the Spread

Hire these professionals. They will come to your house and they will find where the water is leaking into your home or commercial building. They will stop the source of the fungus. So, they can help you stop the spread of the mold in your home or commercial building.

2. Remove the mildew

If you are always busy and you do not have the time to do the work yourself, hire professional removal and remediation services. They have the right equipment for this job. They are experienced so they take a short time to remove all the mold in your home. And they do not charge a lot of money.

3. Drying and Cleaning

Hire professional mold removal services because they have proper equipment for cleaning and drying faster. They prevent the mold from growing faster in your building. I’ve personally used Water Damage Pro who serve all of Hampton Roads area.

4. Education Regarding Mold Damage

How do you prevent mold from growing in your home? You prevent mildew and fungus from growing. Fungus and mildew like damp, hot, and humid places. So, keep the moisture out of your home and keep the keep humidity below 40 percent.

5. Increase Value of Your Home

Hire a professional inspector to inspect your house. If mold is growing in your house, get rid of it immediately. And more importantly, get rid of the source!

Removing Mold With Foggers

Mold bomb foggers and certain mold aerosols are effective at eradicating the accumulated spores. In addition, the fogger is great for treating areas that are hard to reach. If you only have a mold problem, a smaller mold fogger in the form of an aerosol spray may do the trick.

However, you might not be able to mold that invades a large area of your home with commercial mold foggers. Serious mold infestation usually requires a cold fog machine. Don’t hesitate to contact a mold removal company if you suspect that some materials in your house have been damaged beyond repair.

For mild invasions and mold prevention, feel free to use over-the-counter mold bombs in any room of the house. They are also a good solution for removing spores from different types of furniture, wooden decks, and walls (drywalls included).

In addition, regular mold bomb foggers work great for killing spores that appear in your car, RV, and window sills. And besides eradicating the spores, they also aid in killing the bacteria and viruses that may come with mold.

A Car Dealer Scam To Avoid

How to Choose the Best Car Dealer?

When shopping for a used car, you as a consumer will probably encounter many car dealers, financing companies, and insurance agents. The simple part is choosing the financing company (if finding it yourself), and the insurance agency. But, the big question is, how do you choose the best dealer, or at least one that will make you feel comfortable on the long run. To chose such a dealer, this article will have you equipped with the knowledge, that will help you make this decision yourself.

It is very important that you deal with a dealership that has salespeople you feel comfortable dealing with. Whether you already did, or are soon to be telephonicly speaking, and electronically mailing sales people, going for test drives, requesting on line quotes. How do you chose between all of them.

You will need to analyze their dependability by evaluating the speed your phone calls and e-mails were returned. Furthermore, once they did replay, how clear of an answer did you get, and did he or she try to steer you from the main subject. I never suggest dealing with salespeople that are not straight forward, it is just not right. Please don’t be deceived by the pushy salespeople, drive what you want, not what they make more money of. Furthermore, how interested were they in helping you, in other words, how specific were the questions they asked you, and were they really trying to understand what you are looking for, or did they just want to get you into the dealership.

Important Things To Consider When Choosing A Car Dealer

Owning a car is something you have always wanted; after months and months of saving, you are now ready to hit one of the car dealers in town for your dream car. However, the whole process being something you have never done before, just like any other first-time buyer, you are excited and confused all at the same time. You practically don’t know where to start. To help you find the best deal in town, here are top tips to consider when choosing a car dealer.

What is that you want?

As when you are making any other big purchase, it will make a lot of sense if you know what you want before you see a car dealer. Do a little bit of research on the model of cars you have in mind and get a clear picture of what the cars currently cost. Thankfully, there are some ways you can pull this off. Other than talking to friends who already own cars, there are tons of websites that you can get useful information about cars. Take you PC and take a quick look at these sites for the amount of information you can net will simply blow off your mind. In other cases, knowing the type of car you want to buy can also determine the type of dealer to go for; For example, there are dealers that specialize only on top of the range cars, and they are those that deal with smaller and cheaper cars. So the amount of money you are willing to spend on your car will dictate where to go to.

Experience and reputation of the car dealer

How long has the dealer been in operation? The longer the time the dealer has been in business, the better. An experienced car dealer knows so much about cars, and you can be sure you will get the best. An experienced dealer will be able to advise on which options are best for you. It does not even stop there; buying a car is huge, and a small mishap could cost you a lot of money. For this reason, it will make sense if you know the type of dealer you are doing business with. Reputation is king, and you may want to check their track record before you buy the car. What are some of their previous customers saying? In the end, make sure you go to a reputable car dealer in town if you don’t want to get into problems later on. It is as simple as that.

BUYER’S GUIDE: CHOOSING A CAR DEALERSHIP

There are many decisions to be made when the time rolls around to buy your next car or truck. You’ll need to determine kind you want, which options you need, and how much you can afford. You also have to figure out where you’re going to buy that car, and this means choosing a dealership

A good dealer can make the difference between a satisfying experience and an exhausting process  with lots of time spent dickering over price. It’s stressful, and the last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable with the dealership, their processes, and the people in charge of finalizing the transaction.

Read dealer reviews

Online reviews are a critical part of a dealership’s marketing today. According to one study at Search Engine Land, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. The internet makes it possible to do in-depth research on a dealership before you decide to walk through the showroom doors.

Be careful, however, of crossing a dealership off your list because of one or two bad reviews. Most of us have favorite businesses, whether they’re plumbers, clothing stores, or restaurants. Most of us have also had the experience of recommending a business only to have someone else say they had a terrible experience there and would never give them any business.

Ask your friends

Word of mouth is a powerful sales tool, which is why dealers work hard to create a positive experience for every customer. Ask around for the experiences of others. Check with friends, family, and co-workers and find out what kind of experiences they’ve had at local dealerships over the years. Sometimes they’ll even have the name of a specific salesman who was particularly good.

How to Buy a Car – Essential Tips to Get the Best Deal

I loathe the process of having to buy a new car. Dealing with pushy, overbearing car salesmen can be extremely frustrating. As a result, I do whatever I can to avoid buying a car. I perform all recommended DIY car maintenance checks, I keep my vehicle for as long as I can, and I consolidate my trips both to save on gas and decrease wear and tear on my car.

Do Your Research

The most important thing to know before you buy a car is that knowledge is power. It’s a mistake to arrive at a car lot without first researching the car you want to buy. You can find out just about anything you want to know about a car online. Edmunds.com, Consumer Reports, and Kelley Blue Book are great places to start researching cars in your price range.

Look into Pre-financing Options

Many people obtain financing from the car dealership, but this isn’t fiscally responsible. Dealership interest rates are typically much higher than loan rates obtained from banks and credit unions. Your bank or credit union is one of the best places to start researching car loan rates, and you can obtain “relationship discounts” that you won’t find anywhere else.

Shop Around

Unless there is an emergency situation, shop around before you buy a car. I have an established rule in place whenever I shop for a car: I always make sure that I walk out of at least one dealership. This way, I always know their rock-bottom price, often given to me just before I leave. It might also make sense to explore out-of-town car dealerships. Dealerships price their vehicles differently depending upon their location.

Buy a Car You Can Afford

If you are considering buying another car before your current vehicle is paid off, you need to seriously reassess whether or not you can really afford to buy another car. You don’t want to be saddled with an upside down car loan. A much better option is to wait until your current vehicle is paid off. Then set aside the money that used to pay for your monthly car payment in an interest-bearing account for one year, while continuing to drive your old car.

Steps to Finding the Right Car for You

If you’re new to car buying or haven’t made a purchase in many years, it can be hard to know where to begin. How do you find the car that will exactly suit your needs for years to come? It just takes a little research and planning. When you know the kind of car you want, you can then decide whether you want to buy a new car, lease a new car, or buy a used car.

Assess Your Needs

The “right car” depends on who you are and what you expect from a car. Some of us like to make a statement with our cars (“I’m rich and hip” or “I’m earth-loving and retro”). Some like to go for spirited drives on weekends (“Give me more horsepower and a loud engine”). In those cases, practicality tends to take a back seat to how the car makes you feel.

Set Your Budget

Unless you’re paying cash for your car, you’ll need to think about financing your purchase or lease. How much can you really afford to allocate toward a car payment each month? The general rule is that your monthly new-car payment should not exceed 15 percent of your monthly take-home pay. A used car will be less expensive, but the same rule should apply. If you’re looking to lease, aim for a monthly payment that’s less than 10 percent of your take-home pay. You’ll also want to factor in an additional 7 percent of your monthly income to cover fuel and insurance costs. Knowing your budget beforehand will help you when negotiating your next car or truck.

Decide If You Want to Lease or Buy

Leasing and buying each have pros and cons, and how you feel about these may help guide your decision on which route to take. For example, a lease requires little or no money down and offers lower monthly payments. But when the lease ends, you have no car and will need to go shopping again. On the other hand, buying a car is more expensive initially, and the monthly payments are higher. But when you pay off the loan, you will own a car that you can drive for as long as it runs.

Consider Other Cars in the Class

Do you have your mind (or heart) set on a specific car? Many shoppers do. But in today’s ever-changing marketplace, new cars are always hitting the showrooms, and one that you’ve never even considered could be right for you. Edmunds lets you research and compare similar cars to find the one that truly fits you best.

Why You Need A Divorce Lawyer

Steps To Choosing The Right Divorce Lawyer

Make your choice.

The divorce attorney you choose to represent you is local, professional, knowledgeable, responsive and communicates well. This attorney is someone you trust and feel comfortable with. This attorney supports your basic philosophy toward divorce and has a style that works for you. This attorney recognizes the importance of your children and puts them first in the legal process by not making unreasonable child support demands or custody arrangements. This attorney is affordable. Divorce is a highly personal and emotional process, the outcome of which can have a significant impact on your life. This is an important decision, and there are no guarantees in this process. However, if you follow these steps, you’ll find the right one — the one who listens to what you want, advises you well and has your best interest at heart.

Look for red flags.

Unfortunately, many attorneys will tell you what you want to hear just to close the deal. While this is your life, it’s a business for them. There are no guarantees in this process, so if an attorney is making promises, don’t believe it. If an attorney talks about high-profile clients or divulges confidential information based on other cases, it’s highly likely they’ll do the same to you. If they aren’t respectful of other divorce attorneys you’re interviewing, it’s a sign that they won’t be to you either. And if during your consult, they’re constantly distracted by phone calls and emails and can’t focus their sole attention on you, they likely won’t during your divorce case. Make sure the lawyer you choose acts according to the professional ethics of the industry and treats you with the respect and attention you deserve. This might be their business, but it’s your life.

Interview and research potential attorneys.

Start with an initial phone call. Ask them about their experience and specialization within family law. Ask them about what type of client they typically represent. Ask them about their rates. Most divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee and require a retainer — a fee charged in advance. Some lawyers will also negotiate fees based on anticipated settlements. Don’t waste your time (or theirs) on a meeting if they’re out of your cost range. Most divorce attorneys provide a free consult to discuss your specific situation and what their legal approach would be. So take advantage of it to gather as much legal advice as possible! Typically, the attorney you meet with will not be handling the day-to-day issues related to your case, so ask to meet the colleague or associate that would. The divorce process can also include financial experts, parenting coordinators, coach facilitators, and forensic appraisers. Find out your attorney’s access to these resources and if any would be relevant to your case, as it will affect overall cost. And even if you have no intention of heading to trial, look at the attorney’s trial record and history of success in court. This track record is an indicator of your attorney’s success in negotiation.

Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Your Initial Interview with When Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

The outcome of your divorce proceedings will change the course of your life forever, so invest the time and money to find the lawyer who will do the best job for you. Interview two or three lawyers before deciding who’ll represent you. Remember: it’s your responsibility to retain a lawyer who’s not only good at his or her job, but one whose personality and outlook are compatible with yours.

Family Law Firms: Does Size Matter?

You also need to decide whether you’d like to be represented by a sole practitioner or a full-service law firm. Your choice will be partially dictated by your spouse’s choice: if the divorce is relatively easy and friendly, you can probably agree on what kind of representation you need. If the divorce is very bitter; if there are children, money, or large assets at stake; or if your spouse is just plain “out to get you”, consider hiring a “top gun” – whether that be a well-respected individual or a team of lawyers at a prestigious law firm.

Choose a Divorce Lawyer Well-Versed in your Unique Issues

In each divorce, different issues come up that require special attention, so it is best to find a lawyer who concentrates on the specific issues that may arise in your divorce. Here are some examples.

Choosing a Divorce Attorney

Appropriate skills and experience

An old adage states, “There are horses for courses.” This saying is as true for an attorney as for any other professional. In other words, when you select a family law attorney, you want one with the legal skills and knowledge needed to get the job done for you.

Personal style

If you are relying on an attorney to do more than simply review your divorce paperwork, you must be prepared to share details about your personal life, marriage, and finances. Therefore, you must feel comfortable with whoever represents you.

Affordability

If you don’t have much money to spend on legal help, you may have to hire a relatively inexperienced lawyer instead of a seasoned professional. New attorneys tend to cost less than lawyers who have been practicing law for years and already have solid reputations. However, working with an up-and-coming or novice attorney has a potential advantage. In order to build up a good reputation, the attorney may be willing to work a little harder for you than a seasoned lawyer would.

How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer

Decide whether you need an attorney. You may not even need to hire a lawyer for your divorce. Most divorces, especially if there are no children involved and neither party contests anything, don’t require an adversarial legal process.

Give yourself (and your spouse) time. Reduce the fear and the perception of the need to “legal up.” Try to mutually agree not to take any steps that will materially affect either of your financial situations without giving each other notice and reasonable time to respond.

Create a list of local divorce attorneys. When creating your list, include the attorney’s name, address, phone number, and website address. You can find nearby divorce attorneys by:

Finding “The One”: How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer

Start by making a list of what you are looking for in a divorce attorney. There are four aspects to consider:

  • First, the issues at play in your divorce. For instance: Do you have kids? You’ll need someone skilled at custody and child support issues. Own a business with your spouse? Tap someone who has experience with business valuation. If gaslighting, violence or intimidation were at play in your split, you absolutely need someone with experience in domestic violence. Jot down everything specific to your case.
  • Second, you want to consider the type of working relationship you want to have with your attorney. Yes, most lawyers will do what’s necessary to handle your case, but the process will go much more smoothly if you select someone who is willing to develop a relationship with you based on how you’d like to interact with them. For instance, do you want a lawyer who will run the case and consult you as needed, or do you desire more involvement?
  • Third, you need to consider what specifically you want the attorney to do for you. Are you anticipating things going relatively smoothly, and just need some guidance as you file paperwork? Are you interested in meditation or another type of dispute resolution, or are you anticipating full-out litigation?
  • Finally, consider costs. Is hiring an attorney going to be a major financial hurdle, or is money of little concern? Knowing your resources going into an initial consultation will help you hone in on an attorney right for you.

Laminate Flooring History And Timeline

Laminate Floor Buying Guide

What Is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is a synthetic product made of several layers that are sealed together in the lamination process. Designed to be affordable and durable, laminate flooring consists of four distinct components:

Wear Layer

The wear layer helps resist scratches from daily wear, creates an easy-to-clean surface and maintains a fade- and stain-resistant appearance.

Décor Layer

The décor layer is a printed image that recreates the natural look of wood, tile or stone.

Core Layer

The core layer gives laminate its structure and dent-resistant properties. Laminate flooring is much more resistant to dents than real hardwood flooring.

Backer Layer

The final backer layer provides additional support and stability.

How to Choose the Best Laminate Floor

How is laminate flooring constructed?

Each layer in the laminate flooring structure serves a distinct purpose, but they all work together to make it reliably durable. What the layers are called and the exact specifications for each layer may differ depending on the manufacturer and the product, but here’s what you’ll find in Armstrong Flooring’s laminate flooring products:

– Wear Layer – VisionGuard® is a clear, hardened melamine layer that protects the floor from spills, stains and fading and resists scuffs and scratches. Many of our high-quality laminate flooring products actually have Commercial VisionGuard®, which has a higher abrasion test rating and provides ultimate protection.

– Design Layer – A photographic image displays highly realistic visuals of hardwood or natural stone.

– Inner Core – HydraCore™ is our moisture-resistant HDF (high density fiberboard) that provides the flooring with stability, durability and moisture resistance. Our highest quality laminate flooring products feature HydraCore™ Plus, which further adds a more substantial feel and optimum sound absorption.

– Backing – This balancing layer reduces warping.

Laminate Flooring Buying Guide

How Laminate is Made?

There are two types of laminates . One, known as DPL, or Direct Pressure Laminate, the other known as HPL, or High Pressure Laminate. With the HPL process, the backing and top wear layers are treated separately and then fused directly onto the core, creating a very strong floor suitable for very heavy traffic.

HPL laminates consist of the same four layers as in Direct Pressure Laminate, with the fifth layer being a special high-strength paper. HPL flooring is generally more expensive than DPL flooring but many residential applications won’t require this type of floor. To better understand which laminate is right for you, learn more about how laminates are made here.

The Accessories You’ll Need

You’ll need more than just the planks of laminate to complete your floor. Underlayment, moldings, transition pieces, trim, even adhesives will need to be part of your installation. Make sure your vendor has all these pieces ready for your job.

Underlayment

Underlayment is a thin foam padding that absorbs sound as well as some of the very minor imperfections in the sub-floor. You will also need either a separate moisture barrier or an underlayment with a moisture barrier if your floor will be on or below grade or in an area subject to moisture. You can purchase underlayment by the roll and lay it down before you install your laminate or you can buy a laminate with a pre-attached underlay, making installation even quicker and easier.

Ultimate Guide to Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring was developed in Sweden in the 1980s, and it­’s come a long way since then. High-end laminates offer a textured appearance, so the finish looks realistic from up close as well as from afar. Original laminates don’t have these finishes and tend to look more realistic from a distance. Laminate floors can replicate many types of wood, including all colors of oak, Brazilian cherry, mahogany, walnut, chestnut, hickory, maple, ash and pine, just to name a few. For people who want the look of more than one surface in their home, laminates can also mimic stone.

All of these traits make laminate flooring an attractive choice for people who want exotic and authentic looks in their homes. In this article, we’ll explore what goes into making laminate floors and why their designs are so realistic. We’ll also give you some tips for cleaning and maintaining laminates.

Buying a Laminate Floor

Installation

With laminate flooring, the installation is usually pretty simple. Most products will have “click together” designs that will simply lock into place like a child’s toy. Others may require a small amount of adhesive to be used in order to secure them in place. This affects the price because it gives you the option to do the work yourself, effectively eliminating the added expense of having to hire professionals.

Life Cycle

With any floor, you can’t just think about the cost at the time of installation. You also need to factor in how long the material will last, and how well it will hold up in a particular environment. With laminate floors you are buying a relatively temporary product, that will wear down over time and have to be replaced. That means that it may not be as cost-effective as other more premium options.

Maintenance

Laminate floors do not exist in a vacuum, although a vacuum can be a great way to clean a floor. The main thing to remember is that the material you choose will have to be cared for overtime. Some of the cleaning procedures for different products can be involved, rigorous, and require the purchase of a number of specialty items. Luckily laminate has a protective-wear layer which actually keeps most of the dirt and debris off of its surface, making it easy to sanitize whenever you think it is proper.

How To Fix A Clogged Toilet

Tips for Choosing a Toilet

How to choose a toilet — The Basics

Whatever you call it, the bathroom toilet is one of the most important items in your house. While the color and cost matter, how much water it uses and how well it flushes matter more. A good one conserves water and generates enough power to clean the bowl in a single flush. (A bad one can be a 20-year pain in the butt.) This article will help you choose a high-performance dunny that will fit your bathroom, budget and backside. You might want to check out these 50 mind-blowing toilets before settling on what you want.

A new generation of low-flow models

Since 1994, low-flow toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or less have been the federal standard. The first generation of low-flow toilets sucked—or rather, they didn’t. That’s mostly because manufacturers tweaked a few things to reduce the amount of water used but didn’t change the basic design. You had to flush the darn thing twice (so much for water savings!). But 15 years later, more of these toilets actually work. Manufacturers have made significant design improvements such as larger trap-ways to prevent clogging and larger flush valves that allow a more powerful rush of water to enter the bowl. The following tips will make choosing a new bathroom toilet a lot easier.

How Much Do New Toilets Cost?

You can get a “contractor special” cheap toilets for less than $75. But everything from the working parts to the quality of the glazing will likely be low quality. And don’t expect a powerful flush from cheap toilets. You’re going to use your toilet every day for years, so get a good one. Plan to spend $100 to $500 for a gravity toilet and $225 to $600 for a pressure-assist model.

Shop plumbing supply houses and bathroom showrooms

Home centers offer some but not all of the top-ranked toilets. Click here to check out the latest Home Depot toilets. For the widest selections in makes and models, visit bathroom showrooms and check online retailers.

Consider Future Repair Costs

Custom seats and unusual flush mechanisms add a cool factor, but they’ll cost you time, money and frustration if they ever need replacing. A replacement custom seat, for example, costs more than $100 (if you can even find one years later).

How to Unclog a Toilet

Stuck with a clogged toilet in your bathroom? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Clogged toilets are a common issue that homeowners will face every now and then, and can get frustrating at times. Follow these steps to unclog your toilet like a professional plumber!

Now that you’re prepared, follow these steps:

Step 1: Once you notice the toilet is clogged, prevent the toilet from overflowing with water by turning off the water. Do not try to unclog your toilet by continuously flushing it.

Step 2: Cover the floor around the toilet with old towels or paper towels to prevent a mess

Step 3: Grab your rubber gloves and toilet plunger and insert the plunger in the toilet with the rubber cup covering the trapway hole completely

Step 4: Vigorously pump the handle of the plunger for 5-10 minutes. You’ll notice the water in the bowl will begin to drain. This may take a few tries depending on how clogged the toilet is.

Step 5: Take the plunger out of the toilet and set it aside. Turn the water back on and try flushing the toilet once to see if it is unclogged.

Step 6: If you flush once and the toilet is still clogged, repeat steps 4 and 5 until the toilet is unclogged and the flush is back to normal.

Hacks for Stubborn Clogs

Sometimes a plunger just isn’t enough to fix the even the most stubborn clogs. If you find yourself exhausted after repeatedly using the plunger with no results, have no fear! Try these hacks to help loosen the clog.

Avoiding Future Clogs Starts with a High Performance Toilet

Are you finding that it doesn’t take much to clog your toilet and that you’re constantly busting out the plunger? Make sure that you are only flushing toilet paper. Flushing common toiletries such as facial tissues, cotton swabs, tampons, or dental floss can easily clog your toilet because they do not break down in water. Alternatively, if you own an older toilet, you may want to invest in a new toilet for your bathroom, as some older toilets are engineered with weaker flushing power. American Standard offers a variety of toilets that have high performance flushing technology that can last for years to come. The Champion collection of toilets range from a 1.28 – 1.6 gallons per flush flow rate, and are EPA WaterSense Certified to help conserve water.

Choosing a Toilet

A head-to-head comparison for our readers with nothing to go on.

At first the toilets in our house were merely sluggish. Then they got slower and slower until they didn’t flush at all. But the toilets weren’t clogged. Something was in the sewer line. So I rented a sewer snake, unscrewed the clean-out and fed the hungry snake down the chute. In it went 10 ft., 25 ft., 40 ft. Still, the pipe didn’t drain. As I pondered the problem, my young son stuck his head out the window, his little fists full of his favorite action figures, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “Turtles live in the sewer, Daddy,” he said.

Gone are the days when we could flush toys.

After our sewer was deturtled and the attendant blockage removed, our toilets flushed magnificently. What was amazing was that all those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could ever have been flushed down the toilet at all. But those were the days of the 5-gal. flush. With that much water chasing after them, an entire flotilla of Ninja Turtles could’ve been flushed home at once-and might have been

How 1.6-gal. gravity toilets work

Regardless of price or style, all gravity toilets depend on gravity to pull the water-and waste-through the system (drawing right). When the handle is pushed, a flush valve opens, and the water in the tank drains into the bowl, either through rim openings, through the large siphon-jet opening across from the drain at the bottom of the bowl or through a combination of both. The gravity-fed speed of the water pushes the waste through the trap and into the drain

What this country needs is plunger lessons

Complaints against the 1.6-gal. toilet include sluggish or incomplete flushing; a small “water spot,” as the area of the toilet bowl water surface is called; staining; and the need to double-flush or triple-flush. Critics say that if a 1.6-gal. toilet is flushed more than twice, it uses more water than the now illegal 3.5-gal. toilets.

These toilets are here to stay, so we’d better get used to them

Patrick Higgins is a licensed plumber and chairman of the ASME/ ANSI Plumbing Fixture Committee. Higgins has a great deal of personal and professional experience with 1.6-gal. toilets.

What You Need to Know About a Clogged Toilet

What You Need to Know About a Clogged Toilet

We all know it. The horrible feeling after we flush where we see the water rise instead of fall. The panic. Especially if this happens to us while visiting someone else’s home. The awkwardness that follows. It’s a situation some of us have nightmares about. Well, we’ve got some tips to help you and your guests be spared of the embarrassment of a clogged toilet. Believe it or not, most often clogged toilets are the result of poor toilet maintenance and not just a one time… deposit. If you’ve recently experienced the unfortunate circumstance of a clog in your home then it might be time to pay a little more attention to how you’ve been treating your porcelain throne.

What Is a Clogged Toilet Anyway?

A clogged toilet is the backup of toilet water and other contents caused by a blockage in the toilet itself or the drain pipes. Sometimes the blockage is partial and sometimes it’s full. Both can be easy or difficult to repair depending on what they’re composed of. Regardless, they’ll both result in your water having no escape path through which to be flushed.

Why Do Clogs Happen?

There are multiple reasons but most of them lead to one main cause – improper use of the toilet. This means that homeowners are flushing things down the toilet that have horrible repercussions on the pipes and plumbing. Many of the things our plumbers find being flushed down Edmonton toilets are repeated from home to home, so let’s clear up some of the common misconceptions of items that are “safe to flush”!

What NOT to Flush

Time and time again our plumbers encounter clogged toilets due to a build up of the same types of items from home to home

Hair: Your brush is full of hair so you pull it all out of the bristles. You’re left with a handful of locks – you may not even know it, but you’ve reached a critical moment in your toilet’s maintenance. Do you flush it or throw it in the trash? We hope you choose the latter. Numerous homeowners clog up their toilets due to the misconception that hair is safe to flush. It isn’t! Hair is much stronger than you’d expect and when it gathers it creates a net that catches anything solid that makes its way down the pipes of your toilet. Large amounts of hair buildup alone can be dense enough to cause a clogged toilet so it’s very important to avoid sending any hair down your drains. This goes for your shower too (that’s why we recommend using a drain hair catcher in your home’s water fixtures).

How to unblock a toilet

There is never a good time for a toilet to become blocked, so when the worst happens you’ll want to make light work out of a potentially big job.

It’s easy to panic and grab the toilet brush to use as an impromptu plunger, but with water rising and the blockage seemingly immovable, you’ll want to take calm steps towards clearing out the clog with minimal mess and fuss.

What to do when your toilet is blocked

If you have a blocked toilet, the first rule is not to panic – even if you’re in a hurry, guests are arriving any minute, or the estate agent is about to pop round. It can be alarming when your toilet is blocked and nothing’s going down, but these steps will help you get to the bottom of the problem.

Close the flapper: If you’ve flushed once already and nothing’s happening, whatever you do avoid the temptation to flush a second time and risk the nightmare of an over-flowing toilet. The first thing you’ll need to do is lift the lid of your toilet tank and close the toilet flapper with your hand. Don’t worry! The water in the tank is perfectly clean. Look out for a circular drain stopper attached to a chain. This is the flapper. Closing it will prevent more water entering the bowl.

Protect the area: Rather than grabbing frantically at nearby bath towels or unspooling metres of toilet paper, place newspaper or paper towels around the toilet to catch any splashes or drips. It’s also a good idea to open a window or switch on the extractor fan to assist with expelling any unwanted odours that may emerge.

Advice From Reputable Electricians On When You Should Consider An Electrical Upgrades

Electrical Upgrades to Consider This Fall

Beacon Electrical Services should be your number-one destination this fall if you are looking to eliminate electrical hazards, better the performance of your electrical system, and most importantly, keep your family safe. With cooler temperatures and shorter days on the horizon, the last thing you want is outdated electrical features that will result in frequent power loss and a higher risk of electrical fires or shocks. Without these electrical upgrades you may even see your property decrease in resale value.

GFCI Outlets: When you install a ground fault circuit interrupter in your home, you are not just guaranteeing better electrical performance; you may even guarantee you save a life or two. Perhaps that sounds a little over-the-top, but it is the truth. A GFCI outlet will greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to accidental electrocution. It is an incredibly helpful tool, especially when you consider that the American Burn Association reports that 400 deaths occur each year due to shock. Think of this upgrade as adding a gatekeeper to maintain the flow of input and output current in your home. Thanks to a built-in circuit breaker, the GFCI outlet will cut off power altogether once it detects something irregular between the input and output, single-handedly preventing shocks. These outlets should be installed in areas of your home like bathrooms and garages, where the risk of water mixing with electricity is higher.

Outlet & Switch Replacement: Have you taken a look at your home’s outlets and switches recently? Are they looking damaged beyond the point of repair? Well, it may be time for replacement, for the sake of safety and convenience. Some older homes are still equipped with two-prong outlets, which would be a reliable source of electrical power if it were still 1966. But in 2016, you need reliable three-prong outlets that will be able to meet all of your electrical power needs. Outdated outlets & switches are incredibly unsafe, so do not play any games with your safety and instead replace them with something new.

Aluminum Wiring Replacement: Similar to two-prong outlets, many older homes are also still equipped with aluminum wiring. Again, in 1966, this would have been fine, especially since aluminum was considered an acceptable wiring alternative due to the rising price of copper. However, fast forward 50 years in the future, and aluminum wiring is now considered a safety hazard. If you are living in of these unlucky homes, it is time to make the upgrade to copper wiring instead.

Electric Service Panel Upgrade: Many homeowners do not even think about their electric service panel all that much, even if it is probably the most essential element to your home’s electrical system. A part of the reason is because electrical service panels tend to last a longer time and do not require frequent upgrades. However, if your panel has gone two decades without upgrading, you are due for a change this fall. You need a working service panel that will evenly distribute power to all of your appliances to ensure safest effective electrical performance.

ELECTRICAL UPGRADES

Often, when people think of needing electrical upgrades for their homes, they think of simple, practical upgrades like new outlets and lights. While these things are great, there are a number of electrical services you can access to upgrade the electrical work in your home.

BASIC UTAH HOME ELECTRICAL UPGRADES

Most homeowners have at least a few areas in their home where some basic electrical upgrades can have an impact on the overall functionality of the space. Whether it is due to outdated or too few outlets, upside-down switches, or other issues, having some basic electrical upgrades can make your home more comfortable.

HOME WIRING UPGRADES

Determining when your house’s wiring needs to be upgraded can depend on several factors, such as if you need an entire wiring overhaul or if you need something a little simpler—like having a new dedicated circuit installed.

SMART HOME ELECTRICAL UPGRADES

One type of electrical upgrade that is continuing to rise in popularity is smart home upgrades. These upgrades can make it easier to control different things in your home from your thermostat to the lights in your home

LIGHTING UPGRADES

Upgrading the lighting in your home can revolutionize it. Instead of avoiding a dark and uninviting room, with the right lighting services, you can transform a darker room into a welcoming oasis of light.

Electrical Upgrades

Electrical upgrades are important in keeping your home modern and convenient. Unfortunately, most homeowners overlook their importance. Carrying on with older electrical fixtures can wind up costing you more money on service & utility bills. What most homeowners don’t realize, is making just a few small upgrades can mean a huge difference for life in their home. As homes age, fixtures will become both outdated and unsafe. For example, outdated outlets may not be able to meet modern electrical demands, and instead, leave you without power going to your most essential appliances. If these outlets are damaged in any way, you may also put your family’s safety at risk, since damaged outlets will lead to a higher chance of fires and electrical shock. Upgrading your electrical fixtures may also be essential if you just moved into a new home and discovered that its current electrical system isn’t up to standard. After all, you want to ensure that your move-in goes as smoothly as possible. You can imagine how difficult it could be to enjoy your new home if your electrical system is out of date.  Whatever your electrical needs, Papalia should be the first place you call. Call Papalia today to ensure your electrical system is up to date!

Calling Papalia for High-Quality Electrical Service

At Papalia, we make it our mission to instill electrical utilities that will meet a wide range of electrical needs. Our team of specialists will be available to consult with you to determine what upgrades your home needs. From there, Papalia can install new lights and fixtures immediately. Here at Papalia, we are equipped to meet the needs of homes of all sizes and styles. With our help, you will enjoy greater efficiency in your home, meaning less dread when your next utility bill arrives. Since your new lights and fixtures will also work for a longer period, you won’t have to worry about making another electrical upgrade for a long time to come. This can potentially save you tons of money on replacement costs in the process. Even better, you will also have safer electricity so you avoid the risk of house fires and electrical shock. Above all else, life in your home will be so much easier, especially when you know have electricity that you can count on.

GFCI Outlets: A GFCI outlet is equipped with a built-in circuit breaker that will quickly cut off power when it senses irregular current. If the current is not stopped in time, a person coming into contact with a faulty outlet may be at risk for experiencing an electrical shock severe enough to cause tissue damage. A GFCI outlet should be installed in places where water and electricity are bound to mix like bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and laundry rooms.

New Outlets: If you are still living 40 or 50 years in the past, your home may be equipped with two-prong electrical outlets that are now considered unsafe. Also, these outdated outlets may struggle to meet your modern electrical needs, resulting in power loss and frequent calls to your local electrician. Make a plan to call Papalia so you can be equipped with three-prong outlets, to ensure your electrical needs are met, and to keep your home safe.

Electrical Service Panel Upgrade: An electrical service panel is one of the most important aspects of your home’s electrical system. Though it can last a long time in providing you with high-quality power, there will come a point where you will need to replace it. At its best, a panel will distribute energy to each of your most essential appliances. However, once a panel stops operating properly, its performance will become inconsistent, and may even become a fire hazard.

Reasons You Need to Upgrade Your Home Electrical System

The electrical systems in a home are usually ignored by most people—until something goes wrong, at least. When a home electrical system suddenly fails, that’s when people start to take notice and try to find ways to fix it. However, it can pay to hire electrician services to make some electrical upgrades to your home sooner rather than later.

To Bring Your Home Electrical System up to Code

Building codes may vary from one year to the next, and new safety standards may have been implemented since your home electrical system was installed or updated last. Performing an electrical upgrade can help bring your home’s wiring back in line with current building codes.

To Prevent Fire Hazards

When electric system maintenance falls behind, there is a risk that frayed wires and other issues can create fire hazards. So, one reason to upgrade your home electrical system is to minimize fire risks.

To Meet the Power Needs of New Appliances

The average household consumes a lot of energy—and that amount is likely to rise as more and more modern technologies rely on electricity. In fact, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “In 2017, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,399 kilowatt hours (kWh), an average 867 kWh per month.”

To Add New Outlets for Added Convenience

Here’s a common problem: you want to move your TV to a different wall, but there aren’t any outlets near where you want to put it. Maybe the house is old enough that electrical outlets weren’t a major concern or the designer had a specific layout in mind that you don’t want to conform to. Either way, the lack of electrical sockets is going to be inconvenient for your plans.

Electrical Upgrades to Consider for Your Home

Homes rely on electricity more and more in the modern day, so it’s incredibly important to keep your home’s electrical system in top shape. There is a wide array of electrical upgrades to consider for your home. These upgrades not only improve the quality of your home, but they can also help you lower your energy bills. If you need a great Hoover electrician, you need the expertise of an experienced technician from our team. If you’re interested in some possible upgrades for your home, keep reading below.

Ceiling Fans

Do you have a ceiling fan in your home? Ceiling fans are helpful here in the heat of our Alabama summers. Ceiling fans work to move air throughout the room from the ceiling to the floor to create a breeze—this allows your body to feel cooler.

Additional Outlets

Do you have enough outlets in your home? Are these outlets adequate? It’s important to have enough because it’s common because your requirements for electrical power to grow quickly. If you find yourself using multiple power strips and extension cords for your daily tasks around your home, you’re a good candidate for an electrical upgrade.

Whole-Home Surge Protection

A power surge can destroy your electronics and cost you thousands of dollars in replacement costs. To avoid this disastrous occurrence, you should have whole-home surge protection. Power strips don’t provide adequate surge protection across your home, it only provides surge protection for small spaces. Our surge protection services will keep your home safe.

Electrical Panel Upgrades

If you live in an older home, it’s likely that your electrical panel could use an upgrade. Outdated panels have limitations on available space to add circuits or they have fuses. Many old panels are of low quality or simply stop working and need to upgrading. Your electrical panel is extremely important because it distributes the electrical power to the various areas of your home.

Commercial Cleaning Companies For Businesses

steps to choosing the right cleaner

Recent studies say that having a clean office space increases work productivity. It is imperative to have a clean and adequately maintained office premises to have a positive impact on your customers and motivate your employees. Most business owners find it essential to hire professional cleaning services for the cleanliness and hygiene of their workplaces

Check online reviews

This should be the first step for searching for suitable commercial cleaners as it will provide you with quick and easy results for you to check credibility, authenticity and reliability as well. Online reviews are also a great way to compare cleaning companies and the quality of their services. Facebook, the commercial cleaning companies websites and also Linkedin are a good start

Compare quotes

Once you are done with your research, shortlist a few companies, get in touch with them and arrange an onsite assessment. The companies will give you all the details of the services they provide along with the charges and some may even visit your office to get the details. This is a great chance to ask any additional questions you may have.

Reputation

Ask for references!!! Call the commercial cleaning company’s current customers if you want to know more about the business. Some of its clients and customers would be able to tell you whether the organisation is honest and reliable. They will tell you about the quality of their services. A good reputation will be proof of its credibility and excellent services.

Experience

Considering the experience of the cleaning company is an essential factor. Experience will be a proof that they have developed a proper system and can easily handle any cleaning issues involved.

How To Choose A Good Commercial Cleaning Company

If you run a business, then you know that cleaning can take up a lot of your time. Cleaning is vital to keep the environment safe and hygienic for both customers and employees, but it can eat into your time considerably. 

Select A Cleaning Company With Experience

Not all cleaning companies are created equal: some are better than others. The reason for this had to do with the structure of the industry. Cleaning companies can be set up by anyone: you don’t need any license or training. An untrained person can set up a cleaning business and start offering janitorial services in Houston without jumping through any hoops.

Select A Company With A Customer Focus

Many commercial cleaning companies in the Houston area don’t spend the time they should getting to know their clients and understanding their needs. An excellent commercial cleaning company doesn’t see its list of clients as generic. It takes an interest in each company and then looks for ways to serve them as well as possible. Every business has varying cleaning needs. A restaurant, for instance, is very different from a factory. Both, however, need professionals who can clean in a way that is consistent with a company’s goals.

Select A Company With Great Customer Service

Not all cleaning companies offer great customer service, and that’s a problem. Excellent customer service means that you can get in contact with your cleaning company when you need them. Being able to speak to a customer representative is vital if, say, you want to change your cleaning schedule or ask for a different method of cleaning that really targets the dirt.

Select A Flexible Company

As a business owner, you know how important it is to have a flexible cleaning service. With a flexible service, you can arrange cleaning on short notice, change your cleaning timetable, and get specialist cleaning services, as and when you need them.

How To Choose The Right Commercial Cleaning Service

Cleaning an office or any type of business premise on a regular basis can be quite a difficult and time-consuming task, especially if the area is larger. However, keeping these spaces clean is extremely important for the well-being and safety of both your employees and clients.  You have observed that your office is getting dirtier day-by-day, but you don’t have the time to physically visit each and every cleaning company in London to check if they’re worth hiring or not.

Naturally, we all want the best quality service at the most competitive prices when it comes to hiring a cleaning service. Here are some of the factors that must be considered when hiring commercial cleaning services.

Check online reviews of the various cleaning services offered in your area in order to get a sense of the professionalism of the company

One of the things that make hiring a commercial cleaning service provider a worthy idea is the fact they have professional equipment. Check the condition and age of their equipment. A company that has relatively new and clean equipment is the best option for your business.

Never hire an uninsured cleaning company. Any legitimate and professional cleaning company will have insurance and those are the ones you should hire to clean your office premise.

Tips for Choosing the Right Commercial Cleaning Company

Look for an Established, Experienced Commercial Cleaning Company

Focus on companies that are:

Well established, having been in the cleaning business for a number of years and possessing the skills and experience to ensure a thorough clean.

Qualified to clean the type of buildings you’re responsible for – whether commercial, office, industrial, institutional, or more.

Inquire about Training Requirements for the Company’s Staff

Your cleaning company should provide comprehensive training for new staff, continually educate its teams on the latest cleaning techniques and health and safety protocols, and prepare its employees to use the newest materials and equipment.

Examine the Company’s Certifications and Standards

It’s important to make sure your cleaning company maintains rigid standards of excellence (like Sunshine’s Quality Assurance Program) and holds the highest certifications. Commercial cleaning companies should also be fully bonded and insured.

Determine if the Company Is Committed to Green Cleaning

Green cleaning means taking a holistic approach, caring for buildings, their inhabitants, and the larger environment by using health- and eco-conscious materials and practices:

Products and packaging that meet established health and safety criteria

Microfiber technology (where applicable) to extend the life of scrubbing pads

Equipment that reduces noise pollution

Choosing the Right Commercial Cleaning Company

Nobody enjoys working in an unclean or disorganised office environment. Employees may not feel valued if they are expected to work in a dirty environment all day.Imagine being expected to store your lunch in an unclean fridge or to work at a desk that had not be cleaned in weeks, it is reasonable to assume that you would end up dreading going to work.  As well as being unpleasant, unclean workplaces can be distracting for your employees and can actually have a direct negative impact on their mood. In fact, studies have shown that an unclean office restricts the ability of the brain to process information and can have a drastic toll on mental and physical health. Therefore, the importance of keeping your workplace clean and organised cannot be overstated. This is why it is always advisable to hire a professional and experienced commercial cleaning company.

This can be an intimidating task as there are so many of these companies, however there are a few simple guidelines you can follow to make this task simple and trouble-free. Your staff will be pleased to learn that you are hiring a commercial cleaning company and that the burden of cleaning the office no longer falls on them.  The following 5 guidelines will make finding a suitable agency a breeze.

A google search will reveal reputable agencies in your area, it is a good idea to check recent reviews of the company online, dated reviews are often unhelpful and may no longer be relevant. Testimonials on their own website are also often a good indication of the reputation of the company. If they have an active online presence it is a good sign. It means that they are keeping up to date with the goings-on in the cleaning industry

They should offer a wide range of services as well as the daily clean they should offer services such as window cleaning, floor polishing and high dusting. They should also be willing to offer a suggested cleaning rota and suggest the frequency needed of their services.

They will be working in your private premises and will have access to your offices, therefore, it essential that the company are able to demonstrate their hiring practices. They should be able to guarantee that all of their employees have the right to work, the correct ID and a security check. This ensures that they are a reputable company and gives you the peace of mind you deserve.

Be understanding of your specific needs. A professional company will always listen and put the customers’ needs first. They should be flexible and willing to adapt to your needs. This means that if there is an emergency situation such as flood, they will be responsive and will be there to clean.

They will tailor a commercial clean to suit your budget. If your budget is limited they should be able suggest a schedule suitable for your budget that still delivers high quality cleaning and standards.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In Your House

Tips to Prevent or Control Bed Bugs

Make sure you really have bed bugs, not fleas, ticks or other insects.

You can compare your insect to the pictures on our Identifying bed bugs Web page or show it to your local extension agent.EXIT (Extension agents are trained in pest control issues and know your local area.)

Don’t panic!

It can be difficult to eliminate bed bugs, but it’s not impossible. Don’t throw out all of your things because most of them can be treated and saved. Throwing stuff out is expensive, may spread the bed bugs to other people’s homes and could cause more stress

Think through your treatment options — Don’’t immediately reach for the spray can.

Be comprehensive in your approach. Try other things first. Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques may reduce the number of bed bugs and limit your contact with pesticides. If pesticides are needed, always follow label directions or hire a professional

Reduce the number of hiding places — Clean up the clutter.

A cluttered home provides more places for bed bugs to hide and makes locating and treating them harder. If bed bugs are in your mattress, using special bed bug covers (encasements) on your mattress and box springs makes it harder for bed bugs to get to you while you sleep. Leave the encasements on for a year. Be sure to buy a product that has been tested for bed bugs and is strong enough to last for the full year without tearing.

Regularly wash and heat-dry your bed sheets, blankets, bedspreads and any clothing that touches the floor.

This reduces the number of bed bugs. Bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers Remember to clean them when you do the laundry.

WHAT ATTRACTS BED BUGS?

You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression, “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” And as a child, bed bugs might have been some creature that you thought only existed in silly bedtime rhymes. But these insects are absolutely real and, if you’re like most people, you don’t want to find them anywhere in your house

What Do Bed Bugs Eat?

Bed bugs need the blood of warm-blooded creatures to survive. Though they may feed on animals, bed bugs are generally found feeding on the blood of humans

As bed bugs feed on warm-blooded creatures, it’s only natural that they’re attracted to you. Specifically, they’re drawn in by your body heat, the carbon dioxide you exhale and other biological signatures. In fact, they’re called bed bugs because they’re often found on or around bedding. Cracks and crevices in box springs, headboards and bed frames make cozy homes for the bed bugs that are waiting for you to rest so they can get a nice warm blood meal.

How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are adept at hitchhiking. They’re typically transported by people or their belongings, such as suitcases, purses or coats. More or less, any place where you’ve sat or rested is a location where you could pick up bed bugs. In addition, people who travel — or who have guests come to visit — might have an increased risk of getting bed bugs

What Should You Do if You Suspect Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are excellent hiders and prolific breeders and can live for around 12 months as an adult, so this isn’t a situation in which do-it-yourself methods are a good idea. If you think you have bed bugs, your best bet is to contact a bed bug control professional.

How To Choose A Pest Control Company

FIND A PEST CONTROL COMPANY: NARROWING YOUR BEST OPTIONS

According to Andy Architect of the National Pest Management Association, there are more that 19,000 pest management firms operating in the United States. Unfortunately, these companies are not all created equally

Use web and telephone directories to locate several pest management firms in your area. Some may designate themselves as bed bug specialists, but this designation should only be an indicator and not a deciding factor

Only utilize companies that have been registered to apply pesticides by the pesticide regulatory agency in your state. Lacking this license should serve as an immediate red flag

Search for companies that use integrated pest management (IPM) services. IPM is a form of pest management designed to minimize the use of pesticides. Companies that utilize an IPM approach are more likely to provide ongoing monitoring and a multidisciplinary approach to bed bug management

INTERVIEWING COMPANIES: QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD KNOW TO ASK

Once you hire a pest management firm they may be entering your home and spraying pesticides or performing services that can cost hundreds of dollars. Interviewing the selected companies is not only your right, it is strongly advised.

What to Do If You Have Bedbugs

You woke up with some strange marks on your pillow case. Or, you’ve noticed mysterious red welts on your arms. Maybe you’ve spotted them right there in your bed. Bugs!

Bedbugs have spread rapidly over the past two decades, and the prospect of infestation can strike fear into the most cool-headed of people. We understand—at least five of our staff members have battled bedbugs in the past few years, including me. When we were researching our guide to the best mattress cover, we found a real lack of levelheaded, practical advice on what to do if you suspect a bedbug infestation at your home.

To find out the first steps you should take if you think you have bedbugs, we talked to Molly Wilson, then the director of the Bed Bug and Urban Pest Information Center at Virginia Tech; Jeff White, technical director of Bed Bug Central, an educational resource on dealing with bedbugs; and Matt Kelly, owner of Philadelphia-based Prodigy Pest Solutions. We also put together some tips on how to avoid encountering or bringing home bedbugs when you travel

Don’t panic

If you think you have bedbugs, don’t move furniture out of the room, don’t throw mattresses and other belongings away (we’ll explain why this is almost never necessary), don’t rip up carpet, and don’t use DIY pesticides on the bugs—all of this can spread the bedbugs further throughout your home.

Identify

There are many bedbug lookalikes, including carpet beetles, spider beetles, roach nymphs, and bat bugs, Matt Kelly explained.

Bed Bugs

Until fairly recently, most people (and even pest control professionals) had never seen a bed bug. Bed bug infestations actually used to be very common in the United States before World War II. But with improvements in hygiene, and especially the widespread use of DDT during the 1940s and ‘50s, the bed bugs all but vanished. The pests persisted, however, in some areas of the world including parts of Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Over roughly the past decade, bed bugs have made a dramatic comeback in the U.S.― they’re appearing increasingly in homes, apartments, hotels, health care facilities, dormitories, shelters, schools and public transportation. Other places where bed bugs sometimes occur include movie theaters, laundries, rental furniture, and office buildings. Immigration and international travel have contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs in the U.S. Changes in modern pest control practice, less effective insecticides ― and a decrease in societal vigilance ― are other factors suspected for the recurrence.

Description and Habits

Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals. Although the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) prefers feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents. It has done so since ancient times; bed bugs are mentioned in medieval European texts and classical Greek writings back to the time of Aristotle.

Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” long and reddish-brown, with oval-shaped, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles or other household insects. The immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, and they don’t jump like fleas do ― but they can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Adult females lay their eggs in secluded places, depositing 1, 2 or more eggs per day, potentially hundreds during their lifetime. The eggs are tiny (about the size of a dust spec), whitish and hard to see without magnification, especially on light-colored surfaces. When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces. At room temperatures, bed bug eggs hatch in about a week. Newly emerged nymphs are straw-colored and no bigger than a pinhead.

As bed bugs grow they molt, shedding their skin five times before reaching maturity. A blood meal is needed between each successive molt. Adult females also must feed in order to lay eggs. Under favorable conditions (70-80°F), the bugs can mature fully in as little as a month, producing multiple generations per year. Cooler temperatures or limited access to blood prolong the development time

Bed bugs are very resilient. Nymphs and adults can persist months without feeding which is unusual for most insects. The ability to survive without a blood meal is longer at cooler temperatures ― potentially up to a year or longer at 55°F or less. In temperature-controlled buildings, a more typical duration is about 2 to 6 months. Consequently, it is usually impractical to leave buildings unoccupied in hopes of ‘starving out’ an infestation. When infested dwellings such as apartments are vacated, bed bugs often disperse to nearby units, or reduce their activity until the unit is reoccupied.