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Calorique Blog

Our blog is dedicated to Home improvement, Energy saving, New Energy Sources.

Recent blog posts

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Kitchen Decorating Dilemmas

After taking the time to create a new kitchen space, home owners may find décor to be equally as challenging. Here are some simple rules to abide by when deciding how to decorate.

Improve your little kitchen with wonderful decorating suggestions. A little goes a long way in a tiny kitchen, so get motivated by photos of inspirational areas that produce a balance of form and performance. Having a dose of constraint to stabilize your kitchen's small-scale, you are able to proudly display a variety, hang window treatments, and personalize the kitchen to indicate your lifestyle.

Avoid consider what you've been told! Little kitchen areas do indeed have the potential to appeal just as much as their larger counterparts.

Countertop and Seat Height

Having a countertop that allows others to sit within the kitchen is a great way to make the kitchen an inviting space. Choosing the wrong height for countertops and chairs, however, will make it a challenge for guests to remain comfortable.

An easy way to avoid this dilemma is to keep in mind the relationship in height between the two items. For example, a countertop that has a height of 36” would be best accompanied by a stool with a height of 25”. If you would like, you can simply memorize those two numbers, since most kitchens you see with this feature utilize this height for optimal comfort.

Pendants over the Island

If there is an island in the kitchen, pendants are a great way to add lighting; they can highlight the intricacies of the stone you chose for your island. However, placing them too high will draw attention to the pendant more than the rest of the kitchen, and placing them too low may interfere with the functionality and line of sight. If you follow the general guidelines above for the island height, the optimal measurement to hang your pendant is 28-34” above the counter. Or, in other words, hang it 72” above the floor.

Glass Cabinet Storage

Many today are choosing to install cabinets with glass fronts; while these are very elegant cabinets, some find it challenging to decide what they should place inside them. If the cabinets seem cramped or cluttered, it takes away from the special quality of the display. If your kitchen is full of neutral colors or whites, you can utilize the glass cabinets to add pops of color in the form of vases or matching sets of dishware. Alternatively, if you do not wish to use this feature, clean white faced cabinets are always a good alternative, and with the right handles you can make them stand out on their own.

Small measurements and final touches can make huge differences in how your kitchen looks in the end. By taking time out to research the correct measurements and décor, the kitchen space I far more likely to appear cohesive is design. This allows all who use it, and those who visit it, to take advantage of this central space without sacrificing functionality or safety. 

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F. Aldea is definitely an Online Marketing communications consultant and blog author who loves to explore the hottest trends in business, technological know-how and marketing techniques and creates about a variety of stories.

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Home Improvements Pay Off In Short And Long Term

When it comes to looking after your home, most people are aware that home improvements can have a positive impact on the property. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to sell your home soon, if you want to stay in the property for many years to come or even if you are a landlord that wants to bring in the most income and achieve the best possible rental yield. There are incentives for every home owner to make changes and improvements at their property but of course, there are costs associated with caring for your home.

This is why it is important for homeowners to know their budget and to consider what benefits they will receive from improving their home. There is a wide range of options to consider when looking to improve a property, which is good as this means that there is something for every budget, but this means that you need to know what your budget is. Depending on the work being undertaken and the professionals that are being hired for the role, there may be a need to pay all or most of the costs upfront. This is another factor to consider because not many homeowners are likely to have the funds they need for home improvements lying around. This is where a degree of flexibility with respect to your financing can make a big difference, and there are options to consider.

Retain the style of your home

When you make improvements to your home, you don’t want to change the style too much or make the home stand out too much compared to other homes in the local area. While you should be keen to make improvements that add functionality and utility to your home, if they change the style of the property, particularly with respect to traditional homes, it can actually harm the value of property. This is something that property owners need to be careful with.

Then again, when you have an older home, upgrading in a tasteful, stylish and relative manner will have a bigger impact than similar upgrades in a modern home. Most modern homes should have a good enough standard to start off with, which means that there is less scope for as strong a return with these properties. If you have a modern home, it is often best to focus on the functionality a change will result in as opposed to merely looking to add as much value as possible.

Some of the most common upgrades or home improvements to consider include:

  • Upgrading your bathroom
  • Upgrading your kitchen
  • Installing vinyl replacement windows
  • Remodelling or converting a basement
  • Replacing a roof
  • Adding decking to property

While the state of bathrooms and kitchens are very important to the value and functionality of a property, there is a growing sense that the return you receive for major work in these areas is not as attractive as it used to be. This means there is a lot to be said for making more modest improvements in these areas and saving money for other work.

Adding decking is a great option to improve your home

Adding decking to the outside of a property is great for many reasons. This can make a garden area the social hub for your friends and family, and this helps to create a fantastic first impression for potential buyers. Whether you are looking to stay for many years or you are considering selling, adding a decking area to your garden is an affordable and effective way to make improvements around the home and get a strong return on your money. Adding decking to a property is a more affordable home improvement option and it can still result in a return of around 73% for your investment. When you add in the utility you receive from a decking area, this is an option that adds short and long term benefits.

If you’re looking to make home improvements but have concerns about short term funding, a guarantor loan may be right for you. This is an affordable way to generate the income you need to pay for all of the work while allowing yourself to pay it off over a longer period of time.

Home improvements can transform a property, and it makes sense to think about the ways you can make your look new. Whether your focus is on the short or long term returns, home improvements are well worth considering.

Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

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How many times have you asked yourself did I remember to lock the door? Having thoughts like this can really add stress to your day – especially if you’re away on vacation thousands of miles from home. At that point it’s really too late to do anything about it, but that won’t stop you from worrying about it. If you’re lucky perhaps you’ve got a friend, neighbour, or loved one you can trust to go over and check on things for you. Alternatively you just have to sweat it out for the rest of your trip which won’t add to the enjoyment of that vacation you’ve been planning for months to take you away from all the stress!
With a few simple and relatively affordable home modifications and additions you can pretty much eliminate the insecurities you face when away from home. We’re talking about the use of smart home technology and how you can set up these technologies to act as your own personal security net around your home. That way you can relax on the beach with a cocktail and not have to worry about whether or not you left the door unlocked.

Smart Door Locks


Since we started this article talking about the traveler that can’t remember if they locked their frontdoor or not it’s probably appropriate to take a look at smart door lock technology and how it can help your piece of mind. The August Smart Door Lock is one of the best systems on the market today and it allows you to control who has access to your home remotely using an app on your smartphone. You can grant visitor’s access by giving them virtual keys from within your app and you can set up one time access keys for service personnel as well.
You can even set up auto lock and unlock. As soon as your smartphone is a certain distance from the house the lock will be activated automatically – that way you never have to worry about if you remembered to lock the door or not when you leave. It’s great for peace of mind.


Figure 1

Video Door Bells
image 1

Another great option to help enhance your home security system is the installation of a video doorbell. Our favorite is the Ring Video Doorbell. This smart little device has a built in camera with 1080p HD video that can automatically record visitors on your doorstep as soon as it senses movement in its vicinity. This isn’t just a recording device though. It’s also a two-way communication tool. You can use the video camera to see who’s at the door and you can talk with them using the built-in two-way speaker system. All of this is done through an app on your smartphone so it doesn’t matter if you’re in the house or on the other side of the world – that person ringing your doorbell won’t know the difference. If it’s a burglar this will likely scare them off in short order.



Figure 2

Smart Light Bulbs

In many cases a burglar will scope out your place before approaching looking for signs of life. That’s where a system like the Caseta Wireless smart lighting dimmer kit can really come in handy. You can use this system to schedule what time your lights turn on or off automatically, but that’s not the coolest part. This system can actually turn lights on or off at random intervals to give the appearance of someone moving through your house and turning lights off and on. It’s a great tool in your efforts to deter intruders.

Smart Alarms

It isn’t just unwanted guests you have to worry about when away from home – there’s also the possibility of an accidental fire or a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide which can put the lives of your pets left at home at risk. Nest is well known for making one of the best smart thermostats on the market, but they also make a smart home fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector combo device. This handy device can send alerts directly to your smartphone allowing you to react to a problem quickly and contact emergency personnel before it becomes a bigger problem. 


Figure 3

Final Thoughts

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg and represent a striking change in the way we approach home security. The best part is these devices are priced low enough to make them affordable for the average consumer. There’s no reason not to believe that most homes will be protected by these and similar devices in the near future.

This is a guest post by Joseph Mack from smarthomeSAGE, a blog that analyzes the impact that smart home technology has on home life.


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Woodworm And How To Deal With Them

Woodworm are the larvae of several different species of beetle, wood boring beetles lay their eggs in the natural grooves and crevices that can be found on wood. Once the eggs hatch the larvae can cause serious structural damage to a property, a woodworm infestation is bad news and should be treated as soon as it is found. The tell-tale little holes that woodworm leave are actually exit holes so many people don't notice an infestation until after the larvae have hatched, wood boring larvae can live in wood for up to ten years so can cause serious damage before they are spotted.

Beetles That Eat Wood or Lay Wood Eating Larvae

Many wood boring beetles take flight and start looking for spots to lay their eggs around April time, keep your eyes open and you might see some of the below over the next few months.

Ambrosia Beetles

Platypus cylindrus is the only member of the ambrosia beetle family found in Britain. The larvae of this beetle don't actually eat wood, the ambrosia beetle digs tiny holes into the wood and then infests it with a ambrosia fungi. The beetles and fungi have a kind of symbiotic relationship since the fungi needs the beetle to spread it and the beetle eats the fungi. You can learn more about the ambrosia beetle here.

Ambrosia beetles like damp conditions so as long as you keep your home dry you should not have a problem with them, look for leaks in the roof, around your washing machine and keep condensation under control.

Woodboring Weevils

Pentarthrum huttoni is not a species indigenous to the U.K, this beetle is indigenous to New Zealand. The first recorded U.K sighting of this species was in 1937. The first domestic U.K infestion of pentarthrum huttoni was recorded in 1947. This beetle grows up to 3.6 mm in length, it has very small protruding eyes and is dark brown in colour.

Common Furniture Beetle

This beetle has a 3 to 4 year life cycle and lays its eggs in the exit holes produced by previous larvae, adult furniture beetles do not feed they only reproduce.

Death Watch Beetle

If you have a modern home you are probably safe from an infestation of this species, the death watch beetle larvae only likes to feed on rotting hardwood. Larvae can spend up to 10 years inside infected timber and when they emerge as adults they can measure up to 7mm in length. To attract a mate, the death watch beetle bangs its head against wood, this banging produces a tapping sound.

House Borer 

This beetle is common in modern homes because it likes to lay its eggs in softwood timber. The house borer beetle can have a lifespan of up to 10 years. The house borer is dark brown in colour, it has long antennae on the front of its head and white hairs on its body.

Powderpost Beetle

This beetle is similar to the death watch beetle in that it likes to attack hardwood but unlike the death watch beetle it is not common in old houses. The powderpost beetle likes to lay its egg on wood with a high starch content, as wood ages it dries and loses its starch content.

Treatment of a Woodworm Infestation

As we said above many species of wood boring insect like decaying, rotten wood. If you have an infestion you will want to remove any damp and rotten material from your home. Damp is not good for the health, it can cause all sorts of respiratory problems, rot wood and other building materials. Dry rot and wet rot can cause just as much damage as woodworm so the removal of any damp is a good idea regardless.

Once you have located and removed any damp, you will want to remove any structurally damaged wood and treat the area around an infestation with an insecticide. Insecticides such as Boron Gel can be bought cheaply online or from your local hardware store, many insecticides can be sprayed on to an infestation or applied with a paint brush. You can treat an infestation yourself quite easily but woodworm can cause serious structural damage, to ensure an infestation is fully eliminated it maybe best to call a in a specialist.

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This post was written and supplied on behalf of Peter Cox, woodworm control and treatment specialists.

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Designer's Choice For Flooring Trends 2017

As we get further into 2017, you may be thinking about giving your flooring a revamp to celebrate the new year. But, if you’re going to go through the hassle of reflooring your home, it’s worth checking out some of the top flooring trends coming our way this new year.

So, what’s soon-to-be-trending?

Gone are the days where people notice new carpets. Instead, folks throughout the Pacific Northwest are turning to vinyl. Vinyl flooring has made some pretty serious advances in the past couple of years or so. It’s is getting more luxurious, more colorful, more resilient.

But it’s not the only flooring option either. If you’re going a different direction with your flooring this year, carpeting needs to be bolder, and ceramic tiles are getting bigger.


Why Choose Luxury Vinyl?

That’s right, “luxury vinyl”. You may be wondering where anyone could find such a thing but, trust us, it exists! Luxury Vinyl is the new and improved, popular product taking over the modern age of flooring. Thanks to technology, the old, tacky vinyl we all know and hate has given way to a clean, beautiful, and even eco-friendly option.

Vinyl flooring is more durable, pet friendly, and child friendly. Also, vinyl is water resistant and extremely easy to clean. Luxury vinyl is suitable for multiple rooms and is DIY-friendly. New vinyl floorings comes with a number of installation methods, saving lots of money in the long run.

Multiple Designs

Vinyl comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The rapidly approaching new year is earmarked by a decided rise in popularity for vinyl options that imitate other materials. Some of these imitations include tile, stone, or even marble. Wood of every conceivable shade, pattern, and color are available.

Of course, imitation tile is likely met with instant skepticism - but hold it until you see it. These vinyl flooring imitation pieces are extremely realistic and genuinely beautiful options.

Source: Pixabay

Tiles and Stone

Large Format Tiles

Tiles come in all shapes and sizes, but, for 2017 and the following decade, you may want to prepare yourself for a boom in large-format tiles. Gone are the days where tiles of 12”X12” do the trick. We are going for 12”X24” or even 36”X36”. The good news is, less grout means less lines to clean! The predicted most popular colors include:

  • Storm

  • Idol

  • Fossil

  • Nougat

Source: Pixabay


You may feel like we are trying to take you into a building site, but we’re not! Concrete flooring has become extremely fashionable, thanks to the industrial design movement, and this trend should continue to grow through 2017. Concrete is trendy, sleek, durable, and has jumped from utilitarian to city chic out of nowhere. You can choose the concrete you want according to:

  • Color

  • Texture

  • Finishes

If you’re going concrete, however, you may want to remember a few things. First of all, concrete flooring is, well — hard. For families with small kids that decide to favor the concrete trend, remember to use area rugs to provide soft surfaces, warmth, and some additional style to the area.


Last year, it was all about cool and white tones. Today, everyone is going towards warm and rich materials such as terracotta. In the 80’s terracotta was used as a border tile, today these tiles are naturally matte and are becoming most popular for use in bathrooms and kitchens. Terracotta is a great way to give your home a rustic, cozy feel. Pair it with a few terra cotta planters and some lemon trees, and you’re practically in California.

Source: Pixabay


Cut-And-Loop Carpet

Carpets will likely never go out of style. Most people would opt for carpet because of the comfort factor, despite the numerous other flooring options.

So, if you’re on the team that favors soft, cozy flooring options, we’ve got tips to the carpet style guide coming our way. A style of carpet that has caught the eye of trend forecasters worldwide is the cut-and-loop carpet. This is carpet that actually has a pattern in the weave, creating geometric shapes, swirls, and other designs throughout the actual carpet. Crazy, right? Instead of shags and friezes, people are opting for these patterned carpets to add some subtle flair and visual interest to homes.

Patterns range from subtle to bold and colors expected to be in style for 2017 include:

  • Neutral delights

  • Soft and gentle tones

  • Luxurious tones

  • Character patterns

Wood Flooring


With the rise of the eco-warriors has come some new types of wooden flooring that are growing in popularity. Bamboo has been around for a long time, true, but it is now being reintroduced in a far more broad array of colors. While you might think bamboo is nothing more than a fast growing grass, bamboo is actually classified as a hard wood. These beautiful planks can be narrow or wide, and will add a touch of modern elegance to your digs.

Reclaimed Wood

Hipsters, rejoice! Classic looks using new technology are on the rise for 2017. Reclaimed wood from new factory-finished hardwood flooring is all the rage.

Let us say it again — all the rage.

This unique solution offers all the charm of reclaimed timber without the expense of salvaged lumber. And, well, the splinters. A primary benefit of factory-finished reclaimed wood is that, unclaimed it’s authentic counterparts, it is very resistant to moisture fluctuations. This means minimal wrapping and shifting, regardless of humidity levels.

Source: Pixabay


Cork offers a level of comfort that other hardwoods do not. Many people will be opting for cork instead of hardwood because of the amazing acoustic insulation it offers. The biggest factor pushing people towards cork flooring is the fact that it no longer comes in just blonde. Today, you can find cork flooring in an array of palettes thanks to its factory finish. This also allows the flooring to be more durable. It’s worth noting that cork is very prone to moisture damage and fades quickly with light.

American Hardwood

Another great option for the eco-warriors among us is American Hardwood. Unlike bamboo and cork, American Hardwood is not imported from the other side of the world. You can find good, old American Hardwood on your doorstep. To top it off, North America is replenishing forests as quickly as we cut them down. Some of the American Hardwoods making a comeback include:

  • Oak

  • Hickory

  • Maple

  • Heart pine

Source: Pixabay

Recycled Materials

Going green is something everyone is taking more and more seriously in the 21st century. From cutting down on natural resource depletion to a focus on recycling, we are trying just about everything when it comes to being more responsible for our environment! Below are some of the top eco-friendly flooring ideas coming to the surface for 2017.

Recycled Carpet

Many carpets today are piled high with toxic pollutants. Not only is this bad for the environment but it could also be detrimental to your health. Companies today are offering carpets from recycled materials. Carpet is hard to recycle as it made up of so many different types of materials, however, organizations are now offering this product from the get-go.

Other Recycled Products and Materials

Wood and carpet are not the only materials being recycled to make flooring in 2017. Companies across the country are recycling a range of incredible and unusual products to make various types of flooring for both indoor and outdoor use. Some of these include:

  • Rugs made of old flip flops

  • Porches made of plastic bottles

  • Carpets made of recycled clothing

  • Leather or rubber flooring from shoes

Source: Pixabay

At Carpet To Go keeping up with our customers choices is important to us. We want to help you make the right choice from both an aesthetic and environmental point of view. If you’d like to discuss the various options available to make your home more stylish while reducing your carbon footprint, pick up the phone and call (206) 382-1253. Alternatively, get in touch with our flooring experts for a free consultation here.

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  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: https://pixabay.com/en/office-home-house-desk-chair-lamp-1078869/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: https://pixabay.com/en/interior-design-home-white-design-437204/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: https://pixabay.com/en/oriental-oriental-garden-852868/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: https://pixabay.com/en/wall-furniture-design-apartment-416060/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: https://pixabay.com/en/table-chairs-modern-design-decor-629772/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: https://pixabay.com/en/plastic-bottles-bottles-recycling-115069/

I'm the marketing manager for Carpet To Go, a Pacific Northwest carpet and flooring installation company. At home, I love to spend time with my wife and 2 kids and play golf every chance I get. At work, I help connect my clients to their customers through content that helps people solve problems. 

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Buildings: Design to construction

At Thurston Building Systems we have a dedicated team of designers and developers who can create a building that will provide all of necessary facilities and dimensions for you to be able to make the most of it. We understand that everybody has a different view on how to utilise a room and the different benefits it can provide to the end user. That is why we approach every project with a clean start and never use a one size fits all template.

Through the development of your construction process we have begun to realise it is important to really spend time listening to your ideas so that we can carefully tailor the design and build to meet your specific needs and expectations. Plus, as well as ensuring that we are your requirements are fully heard and incorporated, we long history in the field of modular, portable and specialist buildings provides us with the knowledge to advise on aspects of each project and suggest additional ideas to enhance and improve both the function and appearance of your development. You can rest assured that our specialist in-house experts will design and tailor your proposed building to your exact specifications, inside and out.

We like to make sure that we do things face-to-face so that you know who we are and we get a real sense of what you want to achieve. From requiring an ultra-modern high spec building to wow clients in or a more traditional-looking building to blend into your current surrounding, your options are practically unlimited. We aim to deliver and design a building that is both aesthetically pleasing and also practical.

Once we have fully understood your brief we’ll prepare an initial proposal, including cost estimates and space plan. From there we welcome amendments and changes to ensure that you’re going to really love the building. It is here where the ideas in your head really do seem to come to life and lets you see the real potential it can make to your business or home life. 

With a dedicated project manager, we take your build from design to paper as efficiently as possible to ensure that your new building reaches site when you need it. Plus, with a project manager knowing all of the ins and outs of your project we’ll begin to understand how your building will be delivered and pre-empt any problems that may occur. It provides you with complete peace of mind.

Modular, portable and specialist buildings are not purely for business use, they can make a great habitable space at a lot more affordable price than traditional homes, especially in towns and cities where property prices are constantly growing and show no sign of slowing down. From schools, sporting facilities to the health sector, we have a range of buildings that suit every need.

We want to make sure than any project we undertake is going to really benefit the client for years to come. That’s why our bespoke designs are incredibly important to provide the right balance of aesthetic design alongside practicality.

This article is written by Becky Nesbit with helpful information from Thurston Building Systems  

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Sell Your Home In The Winter With These 5 Easy Tips

It is merely a myth that selling a home in the middle of winter is an impossible feat, even though the bleak days, cold weather, and holiday festivities may mean you see less buyers interested in a showing than usual. The fact is, the number of homes being sought in the winter by buyers can be lower, but those on the lookout for a house are often very serious about finding a home and more willing to make an offer. Part of successfully selling your home in the winter relies on you as the seller. So grab your snow shovel, get the place nice and toasty, and increase your chances of selling your home in the winter with these easy tips. 

Keep tabs on the weather. 

If there is one thing you cannot control or sometimes even rightly predict in the winter, it is the weather. You could book a showing on a Monday afternoon expecting no snow for later in the week, and then see an all-out blizzard on the day of the showing. So if you are trying to sell your home during this sometimes volatile weather season, you will need to keep tabs on the weather. If you spot a snow storm on its way after you've scheduled a showing or open house, reschedule right away. The last thing you want to do is leave potential buyers in the dark when arrangements must be made because of the weather. 

Get cozy with the snow shovel.

In normal winter scenarios around your house, you may skip shoveling altogether and choose instead to only leave the house in snow boots. However, if you want buyers to be more interested in your property, it is a better bet to keep the walkway, driveway, and porches cleared of snow as much as possible. No buyer wants to show up to take a look and find that even pulling in your driveway appears to be a challenge. 

Use snow to your advantage. 

There's something charming about a snowman parked in the front yard in the winter, so don't hesitate to gather up the family and create an impressive one to welcome prospects. You could even get creative and stick a for sale sign in the snowman's hands or dress him up in a real estate t-shirt or cap just for fun. 

Take it easy on the holiday trimmings.

Through the winter, there is bound to be some change in the outward or inner appearance of your home if you celebrate the holidays, but don't get too over-the-top with your decorative efforts. While clients will want to envision a happy holiday home at certain times of the year, going overboard will make it hard for them to focus on the house at all. Skip the pieces that could be considered tacky r gaudy, like plastic Santas and giant lawn ornaments, and instead go for classic decorative items like small twinkling string lights on a front-door wreath or garland on the banisters of the stairs.  

Keep your home nice, warm, and inviting in spite of the cold. 

No one likes a cold and drafty house in the winter because this in no way feels inviting or cozy. If you usually keep your thermostat turned down and wear sweaters and wool socks around the house, make sure you crank up the heat a few hours before a prospect is scheduled to stop in for a visit. Your home will be much more appealing to a buyer if they step inside and immediately feel warm and comfortable. 

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned 

Jodi Bakst is the Broker-Owner of Real Estate Experts, a full service residential real estate and property management company working in Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary, Apex and Morrisville, North Carolina

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Top Strategies And Pitfalls When You Have Multiple Home Offers

Getting multiple offers for your home is a dream. Every seller wants to be in such a position? The alternative, receiving too few, or none at all, is much worse. So, usually sellers who receive lots of buy offers begin thinking they are in the money. All will go well. They have beat the odds.

Well, not so fast. If your home is on the market and has a bevy of prospective buyers, it is time to strategize more than you may think. Never let your agent mislead you. Things can still go awry. In fact, in this current real estate market, that is often the case.

To help you survive the real estate selling game unscathed, following are the top strategies and possible pitfalls for multiple buy offers.

1. Take the Highest Bid and Reject All Others

“Buy low, sell high” is the central maxim of all investing. Yet, never let that entry-level Economics course in college fool you. External factors, beyond your immediate control, can mean having to throw out traditional economic theory. For example, the highest bidder may suddenly inform you that they cannot come up with the funding. Perhaps their offer proved so appealing because it was impossible to begin with.

If you have turned away other prospects, they may be unwilling to return to the table. And, even if they do come back, they will probably be less cooperative this time. You may walk away with less than expected , because of believing in the ability of the highest bidder to come through. Sometimes, if it looks too good to be true, perhaps it is.

2. Ask For Higher Re-bids

Informing all bidders of the highest offer and asking them to counter is another popular strategy. You will now have the chance to set the lowest possible price. Everyone will have to beat that number.

Do be aware that this method of negotiation can turn off some prospective buyers. Families, in particular, who may not have much to offer, but really want to buy, can feel slighted. They may stop returning your calls.

3. Negotiate With One Buyer, Sideline the Rest

This tactic avoids some of the complications mentioned in point two. You can counter the offer of one buyer and deal solely with them.

Quite often you have a certain sort of buyer in mind. For example, if there is a family involved, you might want them to have the chance to negotiate absent outside distractions. Sidelining all other offers and working out the best deal for you and the family benefits you both.

4. Go With the Cash Buyer

Cash rules in the real estate game. When a buyer has cash in hand, you can usually count on the deal going smoothly. The fewer bankers and lenders involved, the better.

The only real downside of cash buyers for sellers is that most are quite savvy. They have had to use their wits to accumulate and hold onto so much money. These buyers will usually want to include various stipulations and contingencies in the home contract.

Watch out, because the contract can work overtly in their favor. One common contingency in cash contracts is that the buyer has to first sell their present home before closing on your property. You could wind up waiting months, or longer, for this deal to close.

Sell Your Home and Make a Profit

Armed with these strategies, you are ready to tackle the real estate market. Just be sure to understand all the possible pitfalls associated with handling multiple home offers. Never assume a deal will close until it actually has.

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Jodi Bakst is recognized as one of the top listing agents in the Chapel Hill, Durham and surrounding area.  She is known for providing superior customer service and making use of the most advanced marketing systems and technologies that showcase her listings and get them sold

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interior design as a good carrier choice
To do interior design for a living you don't necessarily have to study it in college. We live in the day and age when higher education is important, but it also means that after college you are very capable to become anything you want, and change your career in 10 or 20 years after you graduate.

Here are just a few reasons why interior design is a good career choice:

  • Your age doesn't matter.

It's only about your skills, imagination and the ability to inspire others.

  • You can do more!

The competition in this niche is pretty high. And it might seem like it's a challenge, but it's also for your own benefit. Learn from your competitors, build connections, and don't be afraid to think and act outside of the box. Use social media actively. Sharing your pictures and ideas on Twitter and Pinterest is a great way to find more clients, and it also works as a free advertisement. In addition to that, you can write reviews and tutorials for magazines thus sharing your ideas with wider audience.

  • It can be your side/part-time job.

Flexible schedule is huge benefit of this job. Perfect for staying at home moms and those who have a day job and don't want to quit.

Check out some inspirational ideas from those who already chose interior design as a profession and even life!

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Easy Energy Saving Tips

There is always the need to work on saving energy, no matter what home you live in and whether or not you are using a lot of electricity. This can be saved fairly simply in most situations, such as turning down the heat during winter and avoiding the use of air conditioning during not so terrible summers. Prices for electricity and fuel are rising in many areas around the world, but there is more to this than power consumption and the monetary aspect of it all. There is also the environmental aspect that needs considering, so you will find the following tips on energy saving addressing all issues across the board:

 Blocking your chimney

Having an unblocked chimney that is unused during the winter will bring in draughts that would be easily avoided otherwise. Not addressing the issue means your home’s warmth will escape, thus increasing the use of energy. If you happen to never use the fireplace, then you would do better to cap it off to minimize the potential loss of heat and energy. Use an inflatable chimney balloon if you want to keep it operational or wall it off entirely if you plan on never using it. Make sure you work on cleaning your chimney to keep things looking good and to avoid spilling dust all over the place. You can use a cleaning company that specializes in chimney cleaning to make this work if you don’t have the time or experience in doing so.

 Installation of a voltage optimization device

Using one of these will allow you to monitor power consumption in your home as well as making sure you figure out which appliances have the biggest draw and ways you can make a difference by addressing the issue. Using a professional electrician will give you a chance to install it with perfect results, so make sure you consider that option when you work on using it.

 Use of cavity wall insulation

Heat can be lost easily via cracks and holes in your walls, but you will be able to save up some money and keep your energy bills low if you ensure good insulation. Cavity wall protection will allow you to cover energy saving in a better way.

 Proofing your home against draughts

This is one cheap and fairly easy solution you can work on, but it is often avoided due to its poor aesthetic appeal.  You can use that to block any draughts that happen to come under doors, around your windows and pipe work, as well as loft hatches and other locations that lead to the outside. You will need to do some cleaning once in a while, but in the end said cleaning will be worth it as blocking these areas will make them harder to deal with. Draught excluders can also be installed in your home to keep things under control, but overall eliminating these gaps will be the only way you can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

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Words Affect How Fast, And For How Much, A Home Will Sell For

When people are searching for a home to buy, sometimes an idea, or a feeling, are just as important as the actual features when it comes to getting them to make the purchase and agree to a good price. A recent study by Zillo Digs, suggests that listing a "barn door" might help sell a home faster and at a better price, than one that does not have this listing.

This does not refer to a literal barn door, but rather points to some ideas that people view favorably when considering the design of a place they might like to buy. The Zillo Digs company studied 2.8 million listings for single family houses and condos listed around the nation from January 2014 through March of this year in their study.

The study used a complex model that measured attributes, as opposed to those that did not have those attributes, and how fast they sold and for what price they commanded in the market.

The people who did the study pointed out that just listing "barn door" by itself is not what makes a house sell. Rather the words convey an idea of how the place is designed. A barn door is not the traditional opening to an outbuilding where animals are kept, but is more a design feature that gives the idea of open space. Barn doors are generally sliding doors and come in all types of shapes, materials and sizes.

The top four

Here are the top four items on the list and the impact it had on price.

  • Barn Door, 13.4 percent
  • Shaker Cabinet 9.6 percent
  • Farmhouse SInk 7.9 percent
  • Subway TIle 6.9 percent

What these four items have in common is the idea of simplicity, or a rustic atmosphere, which is very popular now. It also conveys the idea of an earlier time when function was the guiding force.

Even so these items are not cheap. "Barn doors" may be made of stainless steel and cost as much as $3,000, and farmhouse sinks are made of stainless steel and are also rather costly. Even so they may be worth the cost, the study suggests.

Times are changing

The study also showed that some items that may have helped sell a house even 20 years ago, are not as effective today.

Here are some items that do not fetch as good of a price today:

  • Jacuzzi, 0.9 percent
  • Exposed beams, 2.3 percent
  • Chandelier, 1.8 percent
  • Solar panels, 1.8 percent

While these are still positives, they are not as positive as they would have been a couple of decades ago. Some of this is semantics with changing times. The words "pendant light" adds 4.7 percent to the price, over the chandelier at 1.8 percent. The two items are not that different, but pendant just sounds a lot more modern than chandelier.

Bottom of the top

Rounding out the study, some things have fallen in popularity. The term "breakfast nook," once very popular is now No. 50 and barely affects the price. Fireplace, walk in closet and outdoor kitchen, are also things that once would have added value, but now seem to have virtually no effect, the study said.

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Jodi Bakst, Broker-Owner of Real Estate Experts based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is known for her strong negotiation skills

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Keep Up With AC Maintenance Before It's Too Late

Your air conditioner might be largely forgotten as the cooler months set in, but that next heat wave may be on its way. Switching on the AC after a long, system hibernation is often a recipe for failure. As an alternative, consider a basic maintenance schedule that will help you save money over the years. When you care for your AC system on a regular basis, it'll last longer and cost you less in upkeep costs.

Replace the Filter

The simplest task that you can perform for the AC is replacing the filter. Every system uses a rectangular or square filter that captures dust and debris. Over time, this filter fills up and creates a veritable blockage to incoming air. As a result, your AC system works harder to pull the air into its components. This extra stress wears down parts and causes more costs over time. Replace the filter once a month when the AC is being used on a regular basis.

Comb the Fins

The outdoor component to your AC system has a collection of fins around the coils. These fins direct air across the coils in order to cool the refrigerant. Because this system section resides outside, these fins become damaged over time. They might bend and block air flowing across the coils, which reduces the system's ability to cool the interior. A simple tool that you can use at home is a fin comb. Simply "comb" the fins so that they're parallel to each other. The system will work almost perfectly with straight fins.

Look for Leaks

Your AC unit has several leak points that should be accounted for on a regular basis. Access the indoor unit, and look for the condensate drains. Made of PVC pipes, these drains should allow drips of condensate to funnel out of the system and into the home's plumbing. Leaks shouldn't be found on floors or under the AC unit itself. Take a close look at the refrigerant hoses too. If any of these hoses are leaking, contacting a professional is your next step.

Hire Professional Help

Part of a successful AC maintenance schedule is hiring professionals at least once a year. These technicians can test areas that require special tooling, such as refrigerant levels and temperature-sensor accuracy. Ideally, schedule an appointment in the spring before hot weather arrives. If there are any major concerns to address, the technicians can work them out before the outside temperatures become too uncomfortable. Professionals complement your maintenance, and allow the system to work for a longer time period with fewer repair costs.

Clear Away the Dust

Shine a flashlight across your interior AC unit, and look for any accumulated dust. Use a vacuum extension to gently remove any dust along the coils. A dirty AC system must work harder to produce cool air. Dirty coils can't properly transfer heat, but clean coils will allow the system to work perfectly with each cycle. Clear dust and debris from your exterior unit too.

If you suspect that there's an electrical problem with your AC, consider calling a technician and electrician. An AC technician is entirely capable of troubleshooting the system's electrical components, but there might be other underlying issues that require an electrician's expertise. Don't postpone your AC maintenance, especially if electrical problems are involved. Safety should be your top priority.

Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.

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Conservatory Decorating & Design Ideas

Whether you’re planning to use your new conservatory as a dining room, summer sun trap, extra lounge or even a study or playroom, you’ll need to carefully consider its design before you start decorating. Here are some conservatory interior design ideas to get some inspiration flowing.

Conservatory Design Ideas

Think through each of the sections below to establish an overall conservatory interior design.

Conservatory type

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to choose what type of conservatory you want to install – you might want to go for something that matches the style of your property or the period it was built in – of course, you could go for something completely different. Either way, it’s a good idea to keep your conservatory size in proportion to the rest of your home. The main styles to choose from are:

  • Victorian conservatory
  • Edwardian/Georgian conservatory
  • Lean-to conservatory
  • P or L-shaped conservatory
  • Gable-fronted conservatory

A good way to start formulating a conservatory design is to choose a colour theme, some popular choices include: 

  • As conservatories are very connected with the outdoors, many people pick a colour scheme which reflects that. Nature-inspired schemes incorporating a lot of greens, blues, whites, tans and creams are ideal.
  • Alternatively, you may have plans to create a warmer, Mediterranean-style conservatory using oranges, yellows and reds.
  • Using a mixture of black, grey and white will help create a modern, minimilistic conservatory interior design.
  • You might like to use the same, or a slight variation of the colour scheme you’ve used throughout the rest of your home to create a seamless transition and avoid the ‘bolted-on’ feel many conservatories have.

Conservatory flooring

Flooring makes a real difference to your conservatory, both in terms of style and practicality; you’ll want something durable and long lasting that matches your conservatory design. Some common conservatory flooring options include: 

  • Wood
  • Laminate
  • Natural stone such as slate or granite
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Lino
  • Bamboo

Conservatory blinds

The right conservatory blinds will provide privacy, help filter the sun’s glare in summer or conserve heat in the winter. Choose blinds that match or compliment the rest of your conservatory design, think about material, colour and texture – options include:

  • Pleated blinds
  • Roman blinds
  • Roller blinds
  • Venetian blinds
  • Solar blinds

Conservatory furniture

The type of furniture you choose will be heavily influenced by the rest of your conservatory design – going for a nature-inspired theme? Then choose wooden or even bamboo furniture and include plenty of plants and some earthy-coloured rugs and throws for winter.  A Mediterranean-style conservatory might need some brightly-coloured fabric sofas, clay ornaments and ceramics; choosing glass and metal furniture for a modern conservatory works well too. Of course, you might want to go the other way and pick one or two signature pieces of furniture to base your entire conservatory design around.

Conservatory heating & cooling

Since it consists of so much glass, your conservatory will be much more subject to outside temperatures than other parts of your home, even if you use specially-coated glazing. This means you’ll likely swelter in summer and freeze in winter unless you think carefully about heating and cooling your conservatory. Installing ceiling fans or an air conditioning system will help keep your conservatory cool in summer while standard radiators or underfloor heating will allow you to carry on using your conservatory in winter.


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Central Air Vs Window Units-Which Is The Better Option?

When it comes to air conditioning, there are essentially two different styles that you have to choose from; central air and window units. Both units will do a fairly good job at keeping the house cool, but they both come with their own sets of pros and cons.

Central Air

Central air is preferred by many as it keeps the temperature within the home consistent. Though this is the most costly way to get air conditioning initially, over time it does provide some cost savings. Since it is regulated by a thermostat, you can adjust the settings to kick lower when you are home and increase the temperature when the home is vacant. Being able to control the temperature from one central location is nice.

When it comes to downsides with central air there are a few. They do need to be serviced by an HVAC technician at least once per year. They can leak refrigerant or have a compressor go bad. All of these things can be costly. They do have longevity on their side. The average unit's lifespan is between 15-20 years. If the unit is experiencing a mechanical failure, the entire home will be uncomfortable till it is fixed.

Additionally, there are many complaints that the basements are cooler and upstairs warmer with central air. To get the upstairs to an adequate temperature, an additional unit should be considered. However, many just turn the thermostat down lower to accommodate. Unfortunately, it causes other areas in the home to be like a freezer. Regulating the entire home at one time can be hard and the homeowner may have to consider more runs of duct-work to solve problems of inefficiency.

Window Unit Air Conditioners

The window unit air conditioner is still widely used. They are great for homes that do not have central air, or for those who have central air but have warm spots they need to compensate for. These units start at 5,000 BTU and go up to 33,000 BTU. The smaller units run on an 110 outlet, but the larger units will require special wiring for a 220 outlet. They are fairly inexpensive to purchase. A 28,000 BTU unit runs on a 220 and costs under $1,000 to purchase. This unit will cool 1,900 square foot, which is the size of the average home.

These units must be mounted into a window or wall, as they drain condensation as they run. They are great for homes that need intense cooling in one area. They also have thermostats and can be programmed to turn off and on as needed.

The downsides to these units are also hard to ignore. First, the condensation that they leak can damage the side of a home if the AC is not tipped at the right angel. The constant running of water can cause mold issues too. It is important to make sure the water drips away from the home. Additionally, these larger units can really damage a window by taking them in and out. It is best to leave them in the window to avoid damage, but they must have a winter cover to protect them during the inclement weather.

Final Thoughts

You must do whatever possible to ensure your families comforts. Central air systems are nice and the best way to go for most people. However, there are certain circumstances where window units just make more sense.

Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.

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Pros and Cons of LED Lightbulbs

You might remember playing with LEDs at school or in the science kits your kids got for Christmas, they are often used to help us learn how electrical circuits work. You have probably seen them on newer Audi's and a lot of other brands of new car, televisions, computer screens and many traffic lights now use LED lights too. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode and these new bulbs offer many benefits over the traditional, incandescent bulb which was invented by Thomas Edison. In this post we are going to look at the pros and cons that LED bulbs can offer.


In 1962 Nick Holonyak, Jr. was working for General Electric and invented the first visible-spectrum LED. The first LED lights where red diodes, pale yellow and green diodes were created next. Shortly after their invention LED lights became part of calculator displays. In the 90s after the invention of blue diodes researchers discovered they could coat them with a phosphor to making the blue diodes appear white.

Energy Efficiency

When they were first invented LED bulbs were no more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. According to this blog post about LED light bulbs, “the original range of LED bulbs was very limited. Just a few, like the low voltage dichroic and GU10 lamps were introduced. Many of these bulbs were available in only one watt making them of very little use. It was believed that background or decorative lighting would be their main role.”
After a push for further research and development Philips developed the first 600 watt LED bulb. Modern LED bulbs offer better energy efficiency because manufacturers string several low energy consuming LEDs into each bulb, 40 one watt LEDs can produce the same amount of light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb.

Cooler to Touch

LEDs don't produce heat like incandescent bulbs do, incandescent bulbs produce heat in the form of infrared radiation which makes them hot to the touch. Being cooler to touch means LED fixtures can be positioned in locations where the heat generated by other light sources would be an issue. Even LEDs lose 60-95% of their power through heat output.


LEDs do not have fragile filaments that can be broken and they can last for up to 60,000 hours, the maximum lifespan of traditional bulbs is 2,000 hours which reduces waste and the need to change them (obviously).

Not Toxic

The low energy bulbs which have replaced incandescent lights in many homes and workplaces these new bulbs contain mercury and argon gas, the bulbs and the chemicals they contain have caused a wave of concern around the world.

Cost of Installation

The initial installation and purchase cost of LED lighting can be quite expensive, LED bulb will cost over ten time a traditional bulb. Initial cost is the only drawback to LEDs really but LEDs can last 58,000 hours longer than traditional bulbs (just one LED bulb can last as long as 58 incandescent bulbs), they are much more energy efficient and non toxic so are a good long term investment.
This post was supplied by David Easter Managing Director of online electrical wholesalers, Cannon Electrical.
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Have You Considered A Regency Style Conservatory For Your Home?

Regency Style Conservatories

The Regency style is a reflection of the best of British architecture, bringing elegance and sophistication with classic lines and design.

The Regency period is renowned for its elegance, grandeur and beauty. Adding such luxury to your home in the shape of a conservatory will make your property a finer place to live and a desirable offering should you ever decide to sell up and move on to pastures new.

What Is The Regency Style?

Regency architecture refers to the British buildings that were built in the early part of the 19th century, the Regency era. The beginning of the 19th century saw George IV as Prince Regent, and so the term Regency was coined. As the design proved so popular, the style has been recreated right up until the present day and can be applied to both interior and exterior design.

Its popularity is largely due to the simplicity that afforded it such elegance in many classic examples of the style. While there are certainly more opulent buildings from the era, such as the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, the classic lines of Cumberland Terrace in London are more what springs to mind when one thinks of the Regency style.

Interestingly, despite their differences, both of the aforementioned buildings were designed by John Nash, the leading architect of the day. It was he who was responsible for the glorious building that surround Regent’s Park in the capital as well as many of the properties that make London what it is in the well-to-do districts of Pimlico, Mayfair and Victoria.

Away from the hubbub of London, other examples of stunning Regency architecture can still be found in Bath, Somerset and Buxton, where many of the building were designed in the style of the day.

Regency Style In The Home

Regency style is very much back in vogue of late, and the baseline Greek and Roman influences are being incorporated into modern homes across the country. Property owners are paying attention to details such the Regency plastercraft that adorns the walls and ceilings of their homes, giving rooms focal points around which conversations are started.

And then, there is the conservatory. A fabulous way to extend one’s home and add value to your property. Regency style conservatories, such as those offered by The Caulfield Company, breathe a new lease of life into a home using classic lines and design that have stood the test of time for many generations.

Gable ends and ridged roofs are synonymous with the period, and the light that is brought into the home via the conservatory’s many windows will brighten up even the murkiest interior. Natural light can be in short supply in many homes, and the Regency design is the perfect way to overcome the darkness, especially in those winter months.

The extra room that a conservatory gives you can be used in any number of ways, but the added floor space is always welcome, regardless of what you choose to do with it. Occasional room, summer room, dining room, the choice is yours.

Whatever you decide upon, these elegant extensions will give you years of pleasure, whether you are on the inside looking out or the outside looking in.

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Chloe Cotton is editor-in-chief at The Happiest Homes, a leading UK digital home magazine.

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Your Licensed Plumber and Plumbing Issues

Plumbers are a diverse group of professionals. Today, plumbers, like doctors, specialize in the types of plumbing they prefer and are trained to perform. To fully understand plumbing issues would require the level of knowledge and experience, not to mention licensing, as your plumbing expert. The design of plumbing systems is often misunderstood when plumbing issues arise. It is always best to leave these issues with plumbing professionals who understand plumbing systems best.

Do All Plumbing Issues Come from a Clog? 

The first thing to visualize about your plumbing system is that there are several major parts. Most of these are familiar in homes and commercial buildings. These include:
. Drains
. Faucets
. Piping
. Bathroom equipment
. Municipal drain traps
. Sprinkling systems for safety and landscaping use
Not all plumbing issues stem from the toilet, though it may be possible that a single toilet clog can lead to a bigger problem with the main drain in the home or building.

How a Toilet Can Mean Bigger Problems

When plumbing issues arise, the issue may be a slow leak or major break in plumbing pipes. The most common issues that arise are usually with kitchen and bathroom plumbing. The ripple effect of a clog that is not immediately repaired leads to more clogging in the entire plumbing system. The worst-case issue is in a bathroom with a clogged or dysfunctional toilet. Since toilets drain into a single main drain system in the home, a clog affects the remainder of the system and prevent other drains from functioning properly. 

How City Sewerage and Septic Tanks are Affected by Toilets 

There is a close relationship between a toilet and main drainage pipe in homes and commercial facilities. In some homes and buildings, toilets drain into the local municipal sewerage system via the nearest piping system located between the structure and the street. It is the responsibility of the municipality to maintain free flowing sewer systems. When one or more structures on the same streets have clogged toilets, it is easy to see how it can become a major sewer system backup. 

In some homes, toilets drain into underground septic tanks. A septic tank should be inspected and cleaned by the property owner(s). Septic tanks are subject to unseen wear and require integrity testing to prevent leaks and cracks.

What are Some Unique, Unexpected Issues Your Plumbing System Could Have?

There are certain unique, unexpected issues that can arise with your plumbing system. For example, today's newest refrigerators are connected to water lines for ice makers. These lines wear and leak. A licensed plumber will inspect the line that carries water from water pipes to the ice maker. 

The same is true of dishwashers. These kitchen appliances often become clogged with food particles, causing a backup. 

In bathrooms, it is possible that hair builds up in drains and clogs sink and tub drains causing a back up. Perhaps, one of the most unusual, unexpected issues your plumbing system could have is when a toddler accidentally or intentionally drops a toy into the toilet, flushes it and then it becomes stuck somewhere in the plumbing system.

Professional plumbers could write science fiction novels about the various and sundry unusual items that end up flushed into toilets. If the object is large enough to flush, but not large enough to pass through a plumbing system, this novelty issue needs a professional plumber.

Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.

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When it comes to making the best use of your money, there has long been a lot to be said for investing in bricks and mortar. This has long been the case and many people will tell you of the long term benefits that come from buying property. This has been seen in the United Kingdom in recent times due to the difficulty that many people face when trying to get on to the property ladder. The fact that many first time buyers have found themselves priced out of the market means that there are properties on offer to people who can obtain a mortgage. There is also the fact that there is a rising demand for rental property, all of which means that people investing in the buy to let market in the United Kingdom have a genuine chance of making short term rental income while also benefitting in the long term from owning property.

However, this may well change due to the upcoming changes in stamp duty. As of the 1st of April 2016, anyone in the UK buying an additional property that is valued at £40,000 or more will find that they have to pay an additional 3% levy on stamp duty. This means that buyers will find that they end up paying a lot more for property, which may impact on their ability to buy or their desire to buy. If you are looking to get involved with the buy-to-let market, it is vital that you are aware of your rental yield. The rental yield is the return you can expect to make on your investment and the more money you shell out, the lower your rental yield is likely to be. If you cannot obtain an attractive rental yield, you would be advised entering the market in this area or location.

These changes will impact on the UK buy-to-let market

The changes have been introduced to impact on the number of buy-to-let operators in the hope that this will stimulate the market for first time buyers and people who are currently renting. There definitely needs to be some action taken when it comes to the property market in the UK but many property experts have doubts and concerns over whether this is likely to be the best solution in the long term. There is no getting away from the fact though that many investors will decide that investing in property in the United Kingdom isn’t worth their while.

This isn’t to say that investing in property is a waste of time. Just because the UK options are diminished doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of owning property or investing in this market. There are many foreign markets where there are reasons to invest in the property market, and this could be a great way to use your money in an attractive manner. Some people may be looking for a holiday home, some people may be looking for a way to generate monthly income from renting out properties and it may even be that you have your eye on the long term benefits of using your money wisely to own property. No matter the reason you have for investing in the foreign property market, it is important that you use your money sensibly, and this means undertaking a level of research.

Get advice from the property experts

There are many foreign property experts and specialists that will help you make the most informed decision. If you want to get a taste of what is on offer, you will find it of interest and benefit to visit an expo or exhibition which puts you in front of property experts from around the world. One of the most popular foreign property exhibitions would have to be the MIPIM event, and this is held in Cannes every year. Attending this market will put you in front of many property specialists and if you need any guidance or help, you will be in the perfect place to ask the people that know.

Cannes is not likely to be a place you can invest in property but you’ll find that staying in Cannes is a pleasurable experience. This is a glorious destination and with stylish Cannes apartments and great restaurants, the time away from any exhibition will be enjoyable and comfortable. If you are looking to invest in property properly, make sure you get the best advice.

Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

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If You Have A Winter Boiler Emergency, Avoid Cheap Plumbers

Avoid cheap and ill-qualified plumbers for emergency repairs. We outline how to choose the best qualified plumber and end up with a trustworthy tradesman.

Whether it can be put down to fate, or simply because equipment has to work harder when temperatures drop and thus weaknesses show up, emergencies such as broken down boilers always seem to happen when winter bites. In situations like these, the priority is to get warm as soon as possible, so people tend to make hurried calls to plumbers who may not be the best people for the job.

Indeed, surveys have revealed people mostly focus on price rather than ensuring their chosen plumber is properly qualified to attend to the work.

A distress call in every sense

When heating is interrupted by a boiler malfunction, the priority of course is to fix it. This is where mistakes can be made - calling a plumber to deal with an emergency is a ‘distress’ call and you might overlook the plumber’s suitability for the job when you and your family are cold.

The problem

Simply searching online for local plumbers or flicking through the Yellow Pages leaves you open to picking someone unsuitable. They may be either cheap because they lack experience, or may take advantage of your need to get the boiler fixed quickly and levy unreasonable charges, such as excessive emergency call out fees.

Avoiding cheap plumbers

If you do find yourself phoning round and come across someone offering a particularly cheap price to come and repair your boiler, think carefully. Are they cheap for a reason? Are they qualified to do the work?

Qualifying your plumber

If you have a gas boiler, it’s absolutely essential that you use the services of a Gas Safe registered plumber. This is a national, checkable register of qualified plumbers who have the right credentials to work on gas appliances. Don’t even think of using a plumber who isn’t Gas Safe registered.

Checking their Gas Safe qualifications

They should have the Gas Safe logo - the yellow triangle - displayed on their website and vehicles.

The plumber who calls should carry a Gas Safe card with his actual name and the date of expiry on it.

You can check the plumbing firm is Gas Safe registered by conducting a search on the Gas Safe register website.

Preparing in advance

It may not be uppermost in your mind in the summer months or while your central heating system is performing flawlessly, but lining up a plumber you can trust for situations when you need some help in a hurry is a very good idea.

It enables you to evaluate and choose a plumber without being under pressure when something goes wrong at an inappropriate time. In any event, it’s a good idea to have your boiler and appliances checked regularly even when all appears to be working well. To this end, a reliable plumber who can do this and help in emergencies is important.

Finding a reputable plumber

Steps to take to find the best plumber.

  • Word of mouth - who do friends, neighbours and other people you can trust use?
  • Industry contacts - similar to the above, but maybe someone in a related industry can recommend someone; for example, an electrician you have a good experience of may have a plumbing recommendation?
  • Websites - many plumbers have a web presence such as the website of Essex and East London-based plumbers Ascot Building Services Ltd. Does the plumber you’re thinking of have a professional looking website? Are they Gas Safe registered?
  • Contact - talking to one or two plumbers can help gauge how helpful they are and what terms they operate under (for example, do they charge emergency call out fees?)

Doing the groundwork

Teeing up a plumber to help you in all your plumbing related tasks from general maintenance checks through to major repairs and renewals is time well spent. It’s far easier and more effective to do this when there is no pressure to quickly get warmth and hot water flowing again when you have an emergency in the middle of winter.

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Terry Lewis is the founder of ABS Plumbing and Drainage. His company offers plumbing, heating and drainage services to all over London and Essex. If you need a plumber, call Terry and his team.

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Is your home energy efficient?

Before you layout cash on a new heating system it is advisable to improve the overall energy efficiency of your home, you can make your home more energy efficient by adding insulation and improving your windows. Reducing the heating load of your home may enable you to purchase a smaller furnace and reduce your overall heating costs, it is also better for the environment. In this post we will look at how you can improve your homes energy efficiency.

Wall and Roof Insulation

The first thing you can do to save energy is insulate your walls and roof space, good insulation slows the rate at which valuable heat flows out of the house in the winter months and it can keep your house cooler in the summer. Insulation means less energy is needed to heat or cool your home. Many homes are built with an outer and an inner wall with a small gap in between, on many new homes these cavity walls are already insulated but this is not the case on older properties.

How Does Cavity Wall Insulation Work?

Air is a very effective natural insulator, heat does not travel through air that easily. In the winter time we are told that the best way to keep warm is with several layers of clothing. Layers of clothing trap air and stop your body heat from escaping, fibrous materials like wool keep us warmer than less fibrous materials such as cotton.

Cavity wall insulation works like a woolly jumper, the material injected into the cavity wall of your house traps air in between its fibres creating an ‘air matrix’. Insulating your cavity walls is a good idea but insulating your loft and walls is even better, heat rises so it is a good idea to make sure your roof is insulated too. Roof insulation is also made from a woolly material that can be laid in rolls, rolls of glass wool are easy to lay but it can irritate the eyes, skin and lungs so adequate protection is required.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostats can save energy, they will reduce the amount of work your new furnace needs to do when your family is out. You can reduce your heating bill by about 2% for each degree that you turn down the thermostat during an eight-hour period,.

Replacing an existing thermostat for a programmable one is a job that most homeowners should be able to do themselves.

Get New Windows

Double and triple glazing can make your home more secure, reduce noise pollution from outside, reduce condensation and it is more energy efficient. These types of glazing units trap air and work in a very similar way to the insulation methods already mentioned above, modern double glazing units are often fitted with pyrolytic, low-emissivity coated thermal glass. The glass used in modern windows is designed to let free heat in from sun whilst stopping the heat already in the house from escaping.

If you are happy with your homes heat retention abilities a new furnace or heating system may add to your overall energy efficiency.

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This post was supplied by Mark Stubbles who writes for FurnacePrices.ca, a site that supplys furnace quotes get a free one

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