My Home Improvement And Decoration Blog

Category: Home

When Do You Need Professional Pest Control Services?

There are many homes that will have a number of unwanted critters. Pests can leave behind a variety of toxic messes, while also contributing to allergies, or even damaging the structure of your house. There are some pest control issues that should always be handles by the professionals, while there are others that can be a do it yourself project.

Where are the pests coming from?

Every season will bring along a number of household stowaways, which will usually come in groupings. The sightings of insects like spiders, ants, roaches and termites will usually mean there is some sort of outside access that allows them to get inside. This may be difficult to find, but the pesticides you will find on many store shelves can do the trick if you are able to pinpoint the perfect places to spray them. By preventing the pests from making their way in and also paying attention to seasonal issues, you will have an easier time preventing major pest problems.

DIY Pest Control

You can also use over the counter products to kill pests while also preventing them from making their way into the home. Many manufacturers will recommend the spraying of any obvious openings to the windows and doors, as well as other areas like the basement, attic and garage. Be sure that any other points of entry that are less visible will be taken care of, such as under the sink. This will prevent infestations from taking place, but just be sure that you are aware of potential health risks to the family or pets with any of the chemicals that you are using. Always follow along with the necessary safety precautions and directions.

mice avoids trap

Take Preventative Measures

– Pests are always looking for food, so keep your kitchen space and eating areas clean so pests have less of a reason to raid the home.

– Store all of your trash bins with a lid, removing trash regularly.

– Make sure that your windows and screens are always in good conditions.

– Keep the foliage and branches trimmed up and away from the house. A lot of the time, pests will enter into the home through shrubs, trees and plants.

– Repair your exterior trim, decks and siding at the very first sign of deterioration.

– The regular cleaning of your home may not detract pets from coming in, but it can train your eye to look for some of the potential issues in darker areas of your house.

When Should A Professional Be Called?

When do you need pest control? It’s at the moment you realize the issue is too overwhelming to treat yourself, or when there is a risk of infestation that could lead to serious damage, it is time to think about calling a professional. A lot of pest control contractors will use advanced equipment and chemicals that will be safe for both children and pets, leaving your home free of pests for the long term.

The benefits of going with a professional will include a guarantee of the services and equipment, as well as peace of mind that they will be able to take on whatever consideration. Professionals for pest control will be familiar with all of the different pest species, the life cycles, and their living habits. As an added bonus, they will also give free estimates, putting their training to work on the areas of your home where the pests could be hiding.

You never want to leave your house open to pests like termites, carpenter ants or rats as that can lead to structural damage. This extermination is best to be left to a professional, as they can recommend when a contractor should come in to take on repairs or any changes to the home structure. Prior to doing anything so expensive, always get a second opinion.

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Improving the Air Quality in Your Home

When you put all distractions aside, the basic human needs can be summed up to only a few things. It is very unfortunate that the one thing we need the most amongst them – clean, fresh and quality air – is the one that its becoming the sparsest, even if you live outside polluted urban environments. But, before we start addressing this issue on a global level, let’s see what we can do to get more immediate results. Here are few ways to upgrade the air quality in your home.

Eliminate Possible Sources of Pollution

Indoor air pollution often occurs due to combustion or some sort of gas leaking. The worst-case scenario is when these situations are not drastic enough to be noticed immediately, so they reduce the air quality over a prolonged period. To avoid such problems, you should regularly inspect your heating and ventilation systems, and act upon the first sign of danger.

Avoid Dangerous Building Materials

Long-term air pollution is also a result of using the inadequate building materials. Unfortunately, although they are widely spread, lead, asbestos, and pressed wood all fall into this category. Removing them out of your house will take some time, but it’s worthwhile. Start the renovation by replacing your asbestos containing insulation with an eco-friendly alternative.

air-conditioning-living-room

Keep Air Conditioning Under Control

Since they have a tremendous influence on the air we are breathing in our homes, air conditioners had to find their way to this list. Yet somehow, cleaning and changing the air filters is something that very easily slips from our minds. End this bad habit and schedule filter, vent and ducts cleaning for the next time you make any bigger cleanup action.

Install Air Purifiers

Air purifiers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be produced with some specific purpose in mind (e.g. allergy purifiers or smoke purifiers). However, they all share one common cause – they are using the purifying technology to improve the indoor air quality of your home. All you need do is to read a few air purifier reviews to find out which type suits you the best.

Take Care of Humidity

Humidity causes mildew and mold which can cause allergies and respiratory problems. The best thing you can do to keep it under control is to test your DWV system for possible leaks. Also, you should make sure that the rooms that are heavily exposed to humidity are well ventilated. If your bathroom and your kitchen don’t have proper windows, be sure to install a ventilation unit there.

plants in kitchen

Grow Plants

Plants have a huge impact on our health. Keeping them inside the house can bring you nothing but good. Of course, if your house is not fit to accommodate plants, you need make the necessary upgrades to make some room for them. If you are ready to go the length, you can turn one of your rooms into an indoor garden by expending the glass surfaces, or even upgrade your house with an entirely new room built with this purpose in mind.

Schedule Regular Cleaning

Finally, it is very important that you regularly clean sources of pollution, and prevent substances that cause respiratory problems. For start, try to mop floors and clean the dust every day and fit the rest of the schedule to your weekly and monthly routine. Just be sure that you use the cleaners that are not the sources of pollution, or you are just going to make things worse.

We hope that these few tips will help you improve the air quality in your home. Changing the world might take some time – make sure your family is safe and healthy until the fresh air is no longer a commodity.

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The Essentials for Your First Apartment

Congrats on getting your first apartment! But in order for your happiness to be complete, you need to equip it according to your particular tastes. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the process and prepare everything for your comfortable living. Let’s see what some of the essentials are for making your apartment a true home.

Entryway

Even though this area of your apartment might seem unimportant at first, entryway actually provides you with that initial sense of warmth and coziness once you get home, which is all the more reason for dedicating it some of your time. Start with rugs – welcome one for the outside and another small one for the inside. Then you can look at your best options regarding storage. You definitely need something to place your shoes in and hang outerwear, and there are truly many different possibilities on the market, so make sure to have a clear idea of what you want your hallway to look like before purchasing any furniture. Of course, keep in mind the size of the hallway, too. If you want to save some money on this area, remember that you don’t need to get specific furniture for hallway. Even small tables and old cabinets can serve the purpose.

Entryway

Living room

Now is time for some serious layout contemplation. Again, you need to assess the size of the room as well as think of a perfect furniture layout in order to get the best possible furniture for your needs. Basically, you need a sofa, chairs or armchairs and a coffee table. These are the basics. Then you can go about other bits and pieces such as adequate shelves for books and TV. Decoration comes last. Once you have the layout worked out and ready, it’s time to bring in some personality with photographs, paintings, curtains, rugs, cushions and even lamps.

Living room

Bedroom

Of course, bed is the first thing you need to think about when it comes to bedroom. If you don’t have a separate room for wardrobe then you need to get some dressers as well. Don’t forget about the mirror, too! You can save space by installing the mirror on a dresser door. Depending on the space you have, you can decide whether you want and need night stands and other cabinets. Other pieces include bed covers, pillows and all other bed necessities, rugs, curtains, lamps, alarm clock, etc. Some people use an area of their bedroom for computer work and fun, so if you fall into this category, you’ll also need a desk and a chair.

Bedroom

Kitchen and dining room

It might seem like the kitchen and dining room are the easiest parts of new apartments to furnish, but this is not really the case, simply because these areas require the biggest number of items. You probably have all the kitchen elements preinstalled, but do you also have a stove, fridge and dishwasher? Also, don’t forget about the dining table and chairs. But that was the easy part. Once you’re done with bigger stuff, it’s time to get enough of dishes such as plates, pots, cups, glasses, etc. as well as all other cooking utensils and cutlery. Moreover, don’t forget what smaller appliances you need in your everyday life such as a microwave, blender, toaster, coffee maker and similar. Food, spices, drinks also need to be taken care of as well as dish towels, sponges and soap, then paper rolls, aluminum foil, parchment paper and similar as well as a trash can.

Kitchen and dining room

Bathroom

After kitchen and dining room essentials, you can relax a little, because equipping your bathroom is not that hard, and it can be a lot of fun. Shower curtains, bath mats, toilet paper and plunger, towels and a toothbrush are a must, but then you can enjoy yourself while getting all your toiletries in check.

Apart from all the essentials for each room, don’t forget to buy all the necessary cleaning agents and mops as well as some tools for your emergency kit. It might take you some time, but as you finish each task you’ll only feel better and happier with yourself. Gradually completing the steps will lead you to your perfectly comfortable first apartment that you’ll be proud to call your home.

bathroom

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Keep Your Home Safe With Gas Safety Certificate

As we all know, using damaged gas appliances can be extremely dangerous – carbon monoxide poisoning is just one of many potential risks. This is the reason why we have to check all our gas units (and gas pipes) in order to be 100% sure they are safe for us and other people.

We had a big confusion about gas safety certificate in the past, because people did not know who is really responsible for inspection and how often it should be done. Fortunately, this whole procedure became clear in 1998, when it is specified that homeowners and landlords are responsible for gas safety. In the so-called Gas Safety Regulations it is also specified that the certification process must be repeated every 12 months and that it must be conducted by registered engineer.

The most important thing we have to understand here is that this procedure is not something that should depend on our mood or judgement. No, it is a legal obligation that must be done according to strict procedures.

Here are a few situation when checking gas appliances must be done before 12 month period:

  • If you notice that something is wrong with your gas units or you just think they do not work properly, you should call an engineer right away.

  • If you notice strange flame. As you know, blue flame is a sign that your appliance works good. On the other hand, yellow flame almost always means that something is wrong with your appliance or gas installation

  • Strange odor in your apartment could be a sign of gas leaking

  • Call an engineer if you notice increased condensation somewhere in your house.

Of course, all above is related to legal obligations and what we must do if we want to avoid legal consequences. But there are things that go beyond any law and things that people should do because they want, not because someone ordered them to do so. Taking care about safety is one of these things.

So, despite the paragraphs specified in the Gas Safety Regulations, there are things we can do on our own to increase safety of our gas appliances even more.

First of all, there is no need to wait 12 months to check your gas installation. You can do it by yourself or by your tenants. If there are any problems like mentioned above, call an engineer right away.

Installation of the Carbon Monoxide alarm is always recommended. However, do not forget standard gas landlord safety procedure.

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5 Tips for Upselling Your Property

The real estate market is a whimsical creature governed by deities of Supply and Demand, and even strong-boned houses in hot locations sometimes fall short of the ballpark value estimates. Still, this doesn’t mean that you should sell your estate for less than you originally bargained for: it just means that you should do your realty homework before you start calling figures. Or, you can just follow these five steps and get the biggest buck for your property bang without losing time or potential buyers to stale listings or first impressions gone haywire.

Upselling Your Property

1. Hop on the internet marketing bandwagon

Modern homebuyers don’t drive around looking for homes on sale – they just hit a few buttons on their phone and instantly access online property listings. If your realty is not already featured on the web, you’ve already missed a few good deals – but it’s never too late to turn your fate around and sell your home for a small fortune. If you’re a realtor, you can create a website for advertizing purposes, but you don’t have to go through all that hassle if you’re just looking for a quick one-time sale. Turn to Craigslist, ListedBy, eBay Classifieds for a free property listing, or tap into paid advertizing options via eBay auction, Bid4Assets, VflyerLandWatch, Lead Propeller, or Google Adwords. You can also test your luck on BiggerPockets Marketplace, Connected Investors, and forums frequented by realtors and house flippers. If all else fails, give social networks a go.

2. Don’t underestimate old-school methods, though

The fact that most homebuyers nowadays are computer-literate doesn’t mean that traditional real estate marketing is a dead dodo. Listing your property with a reputed property agent and placing a classified ad in the local paper can be the magnet for investors who prefer to look for property deals in the real rather than virtual world. You can also put up a ‘For Sale’ sign in your yard – you never know if your next door neighbor nurtures secret home extension ambitions and would be willing to pay for more land in gold.

3. Declutter and depersonalize for deeper pockets

Once you’ve tackled advertizing, turn to your estate and see whether a minor update could help it win a higher sale figure. Most homebuyers prefer their home-to-be depersonalized, clutter-free and served on a sparkling clean plate, so cart off ungainly clutter piles to an outdoor storage unit. Also, don’t forget to clean up your act both indoors and al fresco before ushering in viewers: property deals depend on first impressions, and most homebuyers won’t bother to take a second look at a property with dismal curb appeal.

4. Style your property right to dial up the contract call

Home styling is growing increasingly popular among realtors and property owners looking to sell fast and for a fortune. Essentially a cosmetic home makeover, styling can boost property appeal and present your home in its finest guise (which you can take down and sell off for bonus cash once the contract is signed). Home stylists often use luxury items such as artwork and vintage accessories to amp the home look, but you don’t have to buy a ton of suave extras unless you’re truly desperate. A shy show of hardbacks, scented candles, potted plants, fine linens, and lush drapes, rugs, and cushions strategically scattered around your home will do the trick granted the place is not in an eyepokingly derelict shape.

style it up

5. Always be at home when buyers come knocking

Many homeowners cover their advertizing and styling bases and still fail to cash the property in because they schedule home viewings at all the wrong hours. If you’ve set your eyes on speedy property sale, make yourself and your show-ready home available to potential buyers 24/7, and avoid rescheduling house tours at all costs. House hunters know that time is money and few of them will care to drop by at an hour more convenient to you if you’ve stood them up once.

Upselling property is not actually as difficult as it sounds. If you’re still here, you have the know-how already, so put it to good use and you’ll soon be counting your small fortune. Good luck!

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The Finest Home Builders In Seattle

When you are looking to have a home built, you are going to want to go to the best. It is simple and you are not going to want to spend money on those who are not willing to produce quality. It just does not make sense and no one should have to go down such a path. Look to focus on the quality that is in offer because this will ensure you get full value for what you are on the look out for. Here is what you are going to get with the best home builders in Seattle.

Meticulous Planning

The planning phase is always important and you are going to want to customize the process as much as possible. If that is what you are aiming for, make sure you go with the right people. You never want to go with those who are not even sure about how to plan.

This is a risk as everything will end up going downhill from there, if you take such a risk.

The best builders are the ones who are willing to put in the hard yard and are going to plan with care.

home builders seattle

Fast

There is never a reason where the builder is not willing to focus on time management. If they are not even willing to do this, what is the point of going down this path? It just does not make sense and that is a risk you should not be taking at all.

Look to go with those who are quick and proven. It will save you a lot of time in the long-run and that is always good.

You never want to be running around trying to get things to work all the time. It is not fun.

Proven

Do you want to go with those who are not proven? It might work or it might not. This is never a good position to be in and those who do get trapped like this tend to hate what they have done. Go with builders who have a track record behind them with regards to what they can do in the area.

You always want to go with these people because the job that is done will be perfect. They will know what it takes to do a good job.

These are all of the qualities you should be seeking for home builders. Where is the value in going with those who are not even good at what they do? You should never have to compromise in this regard and those who do are going to miss out. This is never a risk you should be looking to take. Remain as patient as you can be and go with the right home builders in Seattle. When you do this, the results are going to pour in and you are going to love the value you are getting in general. These are the qualities to focus on as much as you can.

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Winter Is Coming – Set Your Home for It

The arrival of every new season should be hailed by making all the necessary preparations to set your home into the ready mode for every new forthcoming season. Since now we are waiting for winter (in the northern hemisphere), every home owner should do a couple of easy repairs to get ready for this season. Most of these actions are inexpensive and can be done with a use of duct tape and maybe a few more items.

Let it flow down the house

gutter_cleaning_mnSince fall usually leaves the gutter full of various pieces of wood, brick, concrete, mud etc, cleaning the gutters before the arrival of winter, snow and cold weather is something that will have many positive effects. First of all, when the snow starts melting down, it will just flow down the gutters, into the ground. Lack of space for flowing away can cause the water originating from snow find its own way, which can lead to leakage in the ceiling or damage on the wooden under-roof items. Secondly, clogged gutters before snow mean that in case of very low temperatures and excessive amounts of snow and strong winds, your gutter will become a potentially dangerous thing. With such a large mass stuck inside it, it can be taken down by a storm and crash onto something else in its surroundings. If you discover that your gutters are in need of repair, contact a reputable contractor like Allstate Roofing.

Shut off the water in the basement

Most of us have a water supply system in the basement, as well. However, as winter comes, basements become incredibly cold, which then affects the pipes in this part of home. Nobody wants a pipe burst when the temperature falls below zero degrees (Celsius; 32 F), so make sure that all the basement-only pipes are shut off. Apart from the basement set of water pipes, close all the outside water inlets, as well. Not only that pipes bursting in the middle of winter are hard to repair, since it is cold outside and you need to be skillful at plumbing and possess all the necessary tools, but they are also a financial pain in the neck. If you cannot do it yourself, you have to call a plumber and the whole thing becomes a real nuisance. To prevent all that, just shut the water off.

Heating system to be tested

No matter whether you live in a house or in an apartment building, you have to test your radiators or stoves already in September or at the beginning of October. For those getting heating from a town central heating system, it is vital that everything is checked before the authorities start with their checks. If you have slightest doubt that there is something wrong with the valves or radiators, call the professionals from your central heating service to test your heating devices.

If you use wood to make your home warm in winter, always call a chimney sweeper somewhere in the middle of fall to clean the chimney and make your wood-using heating system safe and sound.

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Tips For Ergonomic Computer Workstations

Improper desk set up which strains your back & wrists, may lead to repetitive stress-injuries, poor posture, headaches and neck pain. An ergonomic workstation will allow you to be more comfortable when working for prolonged hours at your home or office computer. As a matter of fact, proper desk set up will increase your productivity since you’ll feel less stiff & achy, thus allowing you to easily focus on the tasks at hand. Keeping your workstation-ergonomically correct will prevent tension build up in the body, maintain alertness & prevent chronic injuries. All the things you need to use should be quite easy to reach so as to help you maintain a good and comfortable posture whilst conducting your day to day work. Some simple adjustments to the workstation will greatly enhance your work experience.

ergonomics computerComputer Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse
Desktop computers are the best choice-for an ergonomic workstation since the monitor & keyboard are separate & can be easily adjusted to give you a comfortable working position. In case you use a notebook or a laptop, an external keyboard or monitor will help create a proper ergonomic setup. Your monitor needs to be centered right in front-of you and you should be an arm’s length away-from it when seated comfortably in your working chair. The monitor’s top should be at your eye’s level. You shouldn’t have to tilt your-head so as to comfortably view the screen. You should also have adequate room or space for your mouse and keyboard so as to add comfort. Your keyboard needs to be centered to your-body around the alpha numerical keys, instead of including the numerical-pad, which is generally less frequently used. Your mouse should be-at a comfortable short distance; typically to the right-of the keyboard & 1 to 2 inches above your keyboard. This will help avoid overreaching & will keep your wrist straight whenever you are using the mouse.

Furniture
An adjustable chair that has lumbar-support will help reduce the back strain & discomfort. If the desk is big, a chair with wheels can be quite helpful as it’ll allow you to easily move in front-of your desk & access all the things you need without exerting pressure/strain on your back or even forcing you to stand up. Your chair should have armrests so as to reduce strain-on the arms especially when you are not typing, & be reclined to a 100 to 110 degrees, since this is a much more relaxed posture. Your chair is basically at the right-height when your eyes-are in line with your computer monitor’s top, your feet are both resting on the surface of the floor, and you don’t need to bend wrists so as to reach your mouse or keyboard.

Ergonomic furnitureFrequently Used Items
The frequently used items need to be kept close. Keep staplers on your desk or in your top drawer along-with notepads, pens and phone logs. Your phone should be no-more than an arm’s length away. If you’re frequently on the phone, it’s best you invest in a hands free headset. This will allow you to easily work on your computer using both hands or even take notes without cradling your phone under your chin.

Proper computer workstations are basically designed to enhance comfort and benefit the user, rather than the user having to conform to the workstation. An ergonomic workstation offers the user many physical, mental and productivity benefits.

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What You Need To Know About Using Container Shelters

It’s very well known that when you need a container shelter for general storage, for machinery servicing or maybe for site work, you actually need a very solid structure that you can fully rely on. Not only that, but everyone has different needs and expectations when it comes to how their container shelter should look, the materials it’s made of, its height and so forth.

Therefore, if you’d like to have one or more container shelters built, then you should know that you’ll first of all need to speak to a reliable company that offers such services in order to see what your options are. In general, a shipping container subframe is going to provide you with plenty of space that you can use in many ways, including storing dangerous goods. And if you want to relocate it, then you don’t need to worry about that, since such shelters are built with relocation in mind without causing too much disruption.

Main pros of using a container shelter

1. Solid build quality.
2. Very simple to install and fast to relocate.
3. Comprehensive engineer certification.
4. Available in a wide range of height and spans (from as little as six meters up to thirty five meters)

container shelter
Features

Each company has their own process and materials they use for making a container shelter, but most of the times they’re going to be made out of high strength woven polyethylene fabric. Not only that, but since they are generally exposed to sunlight, these shelters are made with UV ray protection in mind and are wind rated for your region. Containers are also specially treated against rust and many of them feature non-corrosive steel.

Environmental

A container shelter is 100 percent environmentally adaptable and since the material is semi-translucent, you don’t need to worry about using electrical lighting solutions during the day, therefore saving a lot of money on power. On the other hand, if you need extra coolness and shade, there are semi-blockout and full block-out fabrics available.

Safety

Safety is very important when it comes to getting a container shelter and one of the things you’ll love about it is the fact that it can easily and effectively dampen sound waves. As previously mentioned, the fabrics are UV stabilized so they can easily reflect the sun’s damaging rays. In terms of wind rating, they are rated for maximum 300km/h with the cover still attached.

Ideal for workshop applications

If you plan on getting a container shelter to open a new workshop, then you’ll be very happy to know that they are an ideal solution for those who want to use them this way. You can also fit yours with doors and windows in order to enhance the covered space.

All in all, a container shelter is a great choice if you want to use it for storage space or for workshop applications and what makes it so amazing is that it provides a one hundred percent clearspan interior that is free of braces and wires. As a result, you get a massive height clearance that you’ll fully appreciate once you start using the shelter.

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Tips For Choosing Your Ideal Hot Tub

If you’ve decided to purchase your own hot tub (and if you are doing…choose a Vita Spa model…you won’t regret it!), you need to be certain of picking the best model for your requirements, so here are some useful tips to make sure you get the very best.

Obviously your budget is a large consideration and will determine the size and specification of hot tub you end up choosing. However, don’t just automatically opt for the cheapest model thinking it will do. Consider models slightly higher in price as well as you may be pleasantly surprised to find how much more space you can get for very little more money.

Think about who will be using the tub. Will it just be yourself and partner or do you have a large family who will never be away once you have had it installed? For convenience, it’s going to be best to buy the biggest model you can afford if that is the case.

Where do you plan on locating your new hot tub? If it’s going to be positioned in your garden then how much space do you have? If space is not a problem then you could really enhance the appearance of the surroundings by installing decking at the same time or even paving if you prefer. Add some large shrubs in pots and you can really transform an area fairly easily.

How about placing your new tub in its own garden building if funds allow? That way you will have all year round access in comfort rather than having to brave the elements in the colder months.

What do you want to get from your new hot tub? Will it just be an aid to relaxation, will you use it to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis or as a way of treating insomnia? Do you want to exercise in it? If so you may want to consider a swim spa instead. You’ll get all the usual benefits but with far more space to exercise in as well.

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