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Is your garden summer ready?

Is your garden summer ready?

 

 

As the warm season approaches, your garden becomes what it actually is: an extension of your home. Once the temperatures rise and the sun is up all day, your family and guests will feel like spending more and more time outside. For this reason, you need to take time and prepare the outdoor part of your house properly. So, in order to provide your friends and family with all the comfort they need, get ready to start a remodeling project for your garden. Trimming the lawn and hedge or watering the plants and trees are only some of the basic things you must do, since spring is just around the corner. Besides that, make sure you also invest some time in landscaping and furnishing the space, if you want to create a place where you can chill on those hot summer days. Of course, getting your garden summer ready means a lot more. There are so many details that will probably not cross your mind at first, which is why this article will help you. Read on to discover a brief list of not-so-obvious things you should take care of, in order to prepare your space for the upcoming season:

Protect yourself from insects

There is nothing more annoying that intruding insects while you are having a barbeque or sun bathing. Besides being extremely annoying, these tiny creatures can also cause allergies or spread diseases. That is why insects are one of the biggest problems for those who like to spend time outside, during the warm season. While placing nets on your house windows and doors is an efficient solution if you want to prevent mosquitos and bugs from going inside the house, this does not work in open spaces. Fortunately, there is one item in particular that will help you get rid of this problem: electric bug zappers. These will keep insects away, offering you a clear space where you can spend time comfortably. These devices are not only extremely efficient, but also very stylish, due to their neat look. Read some bug zapper reviews to make an informed decision and get yourself the most suitable product.

Clean the summer essentials

Just as you prepare your wardrobe for summer, by hiding winter items and bringing out all the thin fabrics, you should do the same with your outdoors. This means taking out summer essentials such as barbecue kit and patio furniture. Do not be surprised because they may need some serious cleaning, especially if you have not used them since the year before and you kept them stored in humid conditions (in the basement or the garage). Make sure you remove any trace of dust, dirt or rust using special products that do not affect the materials and facilitate the cleaning process.

Use decorations

Outdoor decorations are known to be a must during winter holidays, but they can also make a difference on summer days. Your garden has to become a living space! Small figurines are ideal for the patio, while some cushions, colorful trays and even curtains are perfect for the furnished part of your garden. These will make the space more appealing, welcoming and comfortable, adding more hues besides the green of your healthy plants.

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Say goodbye to heat loss through the chimney

Say goodbye to heat loss through the chimney

It is no secret that homeowners like to enjoy a beautiful fire during the arctic winters. Fireplaces are definitely the most beloved amenity because they create comfort, not to mention that they add an extra touch to the look of the home. The only problem is that the chimney is the place through which most of the heat escapes. According to many experts, the chimney is responsible for a staggering eight percent of the average heating costs. What you need in your home is a damper, a device that actually keeps the heating and the air conditioning from escaping. Products such as those found at celmec.com.au prevent the heat from escaping when the chimney is not being used.

How to perform a damper test

Taking into consideration that heat loss is an extremely costly issue, you will need to perform a test in order to determine just how much is lost up the chimney. What you should do first is light a match and hold it next to the opening of the chimney and blow it out. If the trail of smoke goes up the chimney, then you have a significant amount of heat loss. Another indication of the fact that things are not functioning properly is that the trail of smoke is blowing straight into the room. This means that drafts are coming into your home. Or the source of the problem may be the damper throat, case in which you should repeat the aforementioned test.

The benefits of getting a professional fire damper

If you are put in the situation of changing the old damper, then you need to buy a top-selling one. To be more precise, a throat damper is not enough to avoid heat loss. Although regular fire dampers work in a similar way to throat dampers, they do not provide the same results. A top-selling damper, meaning an internal one, keeps the cold air out and the hot air in your home. What happens when the cold air gets in is that the air conditioning system will have to work extra hard to compensate. The outcome is loss of energy and implicitly expensive bills.

Adjust the fire damper

In order to burn the fire more efficiently and safely, you should adjust the damper. A fire damper is similar to a window in the sense that if you leave it open, large amounts of heat will escape. Before lighting the fire, the damper should always be fully open and you should close the damper when you are not using the fireplace because you can block the passage of the air and the smoke will makes its way into the room.

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Repairs that will help you sell your house faster

Repairs that will help you sell your house faster

If you have decided to sell your house and you want to find a buyer as soon as possible because you already have a new property in sight and you need to close the deal before someone else steals it from you, you will need to make a few investments and repairs around the house, that will help it sell faster. Even though many real estate agents advice of advertisement, sometimes the biggest marketing tool is the house itself. This is what you should repair to find a buyer quickly:

 

Restore your fireplace

There is nothing like a functioning fireplace to determine people to buy a house and the repairs will not cost you a fortune if you choose to work with a company such as http://www.integritymasonry.ca. When you have a newly restored, fully functional fireplace in your house, you can be sure that more people will be interested in it and you will have higher chances of selling it faster.

 

Do some general masonry repairs

Damaged mortar joints and soaked bricks give the impression of an old and uncared-for house so make sure that is not the case for your property. Have a look around the house before you decide to place it on the real estate market and look out for any masonry problems. The first impression a person makes about the house will probably influence his buying decision and you need everything in your favor if you want to sell your house fast, without compromising on its price.

 

Take care of your front yard

Keep your pathway clear, get rid of the entire cluster and repaint your planters. It is inexpensive and it will make your entire home stand out. Sometimes incredible houses do not get sold because their front yard is not cared for. The front yard plays a very important role in a creating a good first impression.

 

Polish your floors

Whether you have hardwood floors or something else, make sure the floor looks nice and polished by the time potential buyers come to visit. Floors dress up a house beautifully and if you pay just a little attention to this deal, your house will be sold faster than you can imagine. Even if your wood floors are quite old, a simple sanding will restore their former beauty and may even help you to obtain a better price because everyone appreciated solid floors these days.

 

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Steps in becoming a Maryland home improvement contractor

Steps in becoming a Maryland home improvement contractor

Home improvement is a field that enjoys a great level of popularity. This fact is not going to change anytime soon, as there will always be a great demand for dedicated contractors. If you want to be part of this field, then follow the right steps and you might just build a strong, profitable business.

 

What do home improvement contractors do?

 

The funny thing about this field is that even though people actually call upon specialists more often than one would think, there are still a few basic pieces of information that remain unclear, one of them being the actual job of a contractor. This specialist has great responsibility on his or her shoulders, being in charge of the site supervision. He puts together a team that will take care of various improvements like repairing and painting walls, installing the floor, taking care of the remodeling and so on. If you collaborate with a Maryland home improvement contractor, you should see him often, on the construction site, supervising and coordinating the workers.

 

How to become a contractor

 

Although many people out there think that building or repairing is something is that they are naturally good at, when offering these services to others, you have to first earn a license. All contractors need a license to start their own business in this regard. Acquiring it means passing an exam. It is true that not all states require contractors to have a license, but most do. If you are thinking of operating on the Maryland dedicated market, know that such an exam is mandatory. So, now that the general idea is clear, perhaps it might be wise to look at the actual steps involved in obtaining that license and starting your own home improvement company.

Step 1

All individuals interested in earning a license have to first register for the exam. You can complete this task online, by visiting the PSI website and sending them the necessary information before being approved to sit for the exam. You will have to fill in the application you are offered with the requested details.

Step 2:

Once you have registered, the actual preparation begins. All those interested in obtaining the legal right to work as contractors will be offered certain pieces of information regarding the exam. For instance, in Maryland, this is made up of 55 questions and it lasts for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Also, you will have to answer questions regarding the field of home improvement, but also safety regulations and labor law. Luckily, you can find exam preparation courses to help you study.

Step 3:

If you have passed the exam, then you will apply to the Maryland Home Improvement Commission to be registered as a licensed contractor and start operating on the dedicated market. Keep in mind this license will expire after two years. On the other hand, if you do not pass the exam, you need not panic. You can retake the test, but after a period of 21 days, which should give you enough time to prepare. However, you will have to pay the fee again.

 

Is obtaining a license worth it?

 

Looking at the facts stated above, you might think that it is just too much work involved in obtaining a home improvement license. However, thinking of the future benefits, the fact that you could build your own business, work in a industry that is quite profitable and that you might end up doing what you like, it does appear that your efforts truly are worthwhile.

 

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Protect your family against carbon monoxide poisoning

Protect your family against carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that has managed to poison and steal the lives of too many people. Even though a great number of poisoning incidents go undetected, carbon monoxide poisoning is still considered the most common cause of injury and death across the world with the number of incidents increasing dramatically during the winter when poorly installed or defective heating systems are used. Therefore, hiring a certified and insured company to install and safety-check your boiler might very well save your life and protect the health of your loved ones. We often needlessly worry about the dangers that we have no control upon, especially when it comes to the well-being of our family, but we fail to take basic preventive measures against carbon monoxide poisoning. This happens because people are not well enough informed about the dangers they expose themselves to by neglecting the annual boiler and heating system inspection. With more than 25% of monoxide carbon exposure incidents ending up in the death of those affected more severely, numerous campaigns that warn people about the devastating consequences of monoxide carbon poisoning have emerged and special alarms have been developed to signal the presence of this gas in the air when it is above the normal levels.  In fact, gas poisoning is easily preventable, as long as people are ready to use an alarm and hire city gas services to inspect and repair their heating systems.

 

While the causes of monoxide carbon poisoning are numerous, the main cause is improper use and installation of boilers, as well as defective heating systems. This is why people should rely on professional help when installing their boilers. More than that, the company responsible with boiler installation, repair and inspection needs to be gas safe register approved and insured. If you can also find a company with accreditation and experience in the heating industry, you can rest assured that your boiler has been installed properly. Another important rule that can help you prevent any unwanted accident is to call upon a specialist the moment your boiler shows signs of malfunctioning. Postponing the repairs or ignoring the signs can have grave consequences, not to mention that defective heating system waste energy. Replacing old boilers at the advice of a professional is also something you should not postpone, because there is a limit to repair services, especially when the system is old. Timely boiler replacement is necessary to ensure the safety of your loved ones.

 

All in all, monoxide carbon poisoning is a threat that we should not ignore, especially when it is so easily preventable. New and old boilers alike should undergo regular services.  When it comes to your family’s health, it is always better to be safe than sorry and given the incidence rate of gas poisoning and the gravity of the situation, boiler installation and repairs should be left in capable hands. There is simply no room for compromises, so you should carefully check out the reliability of the city gas services you plan to hire.

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Craft ideas for toddlers – fun and educational activities

Craft ideas for toddlers – fun and educational activities

It is common knowledge that children of all ages and especially toddlers like to imitate their parents and follow them around. We might first think that it is cute and fun to have a mini you imitate all your actions never leaving your side. However, parents know that no matter how adorable, and they can certainly be sweet, it is not helpful at all for a toddler to follow you around the house while you are trying to tidy up, cook or simply relax. What is more, trying to put the cat in the washing machine is not exactly your and its idea of fun, but unfortunately there is no stopping a bored toddler, unless you can offer a better alternative. A little crafting project that does not involve scissors and glue, as for instance putting small ribbons on their stuffed animals, will not only keep the little ones occupied, it will also make them happy.

 

Parents learn to become inventive and come up with all kinds of stories to make even the most tedious task seem like the most exciting thing ever.  By becoming very good at keeping their children involved in inoffensive activities, parents can finally have a moments’ peace and save the pets and the furniture from play time with the toddler, which never ends well. A small dose of ingenuity can save you from the insistent pleas of letting them wash the dishes, fold the clothes and chop the vegetables, not to mention that it will help you keep them away from the TV and tablets.

 

You can start by crafting together with your toddler to make it seem more fun. If your little one sees you immersed in the project, he will instantly become curious and will start imitating you. It is important to make the job seem important and to showcase whatever you are doing afterwards to make him feel proud. This way you ensure that he will be more willing to craft in the future as well. A great crafting idea for toddlers is making small ribbon bows. You can cut the ribbon yourself and teach him how to do it. If he is too little to manage it, you can make the bows yourself and make it his duty to inspect the house and choose the places where you could use some cute decorations. This way you will stir his imagination. If your children are old enough to make their own small ribbon bows, you can use them to decorate the house.

 

Kids are always such cheerful and inventive creatures that it would be a shame not to help them develop their creative side, especially when that would also mean keeping them occupied for a couple of hours. Teaching them that there are multiple ways you can use the ribbon bows they made with their own hands such as making a head band, decorating a greetings card, accessorize their clothes and so on, will help them feel useful and important.

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