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Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Car

Many car salespeople may pressure you to leave the lot with a purchased vehicle, so it’s crucial you’re armed with information about the cars you are interested in, the budget you can afford, and the value of your trade-in — if you have one. With these details, you have all the tools you need to negotiate properly.

Here are top tips and strategies for making sure you get the best-quality vehicle at the lowest price.

Think about financing

Prior to visiting any dealership, have a sense of what kind of deposit you can put down and what monthly payment you can afford. It also helps to do some research on available auto loans to get a sense of what you qualify for. Or try a service like AutoGravity, which allows you to select rates and terms that fit your budget and then obtain offers from lenders.

Check your credit score

Knowing your credit score can be helpful as well. Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer for BeenVerified, says, “Having a good idea of your credit report and credit score and the interest rates available can help you negotiate a good deal and save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.”

Shop around

Research the cars you might be interested in before you head to a dealership, rather than going in unprepared. To determine what kind of car you want, use resources like US News Best Cars, where you can search anything from “best cars for families” to “best used cars under 10k.” Another resource is Autotrader, which can be used to search new and used cars in your area by make, model, price, body style, and more.

Compare prices

Lavelle also stresses getting detailed pricing info in advance: “Price the car at different dealerships and use online services to get invoice and deal pricing.” A reliable tool is Kelley Blue Book. Use the site’s car value tool to find out the MSRP and the dealer invoice of a car as well as a range of prices you can expect to see at dealerships. TrueCar is also helpful to use. You can search for and request pricing on any make, model, or year of car. You may get a slew of phone calls, emails, and texts from dealers immediately after, but having information from different dealerships can help you negotiate prices. You should also visit dealer sites to look for rebate offers.

Know your trade-in value.

It’s important to know the value of your trade-in before going to the dealership. Car dealers are notorious for low balling customers when buying their trade-ins. They will use tactics such as increasing the price of the car to the same amount of your trade-in. Your best bet may be to sell your trade-in via a private sale to get the maximum value.

Research the dealership.

This is a step that is overlooked by many car buyers. Look up ratings and reviews for the dealership that you are visiting. Visit online forums and sites with dealer rankings. Pay close attention to what past customers have to say about a particular dealership. This way you can stay away from high pressure dealers. There is no worse feeling when buying a car than feeling like you were ripped off when you bought your car.

Review the Vehicle History Report.

The used car has a back story to it that cannot be ignored. There may be evidence of serious internal damage of the vehicle included in the report. Carfax is one of the best sources for a vehicle history report. Do not hesitate to use it

Request a Pre-purchase Inspection. 

Let the trained Mechanic take a look at the car before the purchase is made. This does not mean that the seller is trying to deliberately pass a lemon on to you; the seller may not know about some of the problems. The pre-purchase inspection can uncover some difficulties underneath the hood

Take a Look at Some of the Reviews. 

There are number of auto related websites that have reviews of various models, including used cars. It’s a little bit more consumer education to check these reviews but will be well worthwhile

Do Not Hesitate To Negotiate.

The sticker price doesn’t have to be the final cost. The used car dealer is willing to negotiate a little bit. Be certain that you understand there is just so good of a deal. You can’t get but do not hesitate to try to achieve it

Tips for Haggling at a Dealership, According to Insiders

Whether you’re looking for a new or used car, when you visit a dealership, you better be prepared to haggle. Most of us know the basics—do your research, don’t be afraid to walk away—but negotiating can be a tricky business. We asked industry insiders to tell us what works best when haggling over the price of a car.

ALWAYS SELL OUTRIGHT.

If you’re trading in your old vehicle for a new one, you’ll typically get a better deal if you just sell it outright. While most dealerships will low-ball the value of your trade-in, new dealerships are especially sneaky about it. New dealerships are notorious for this. Let’s say you come to my lot and want to get $1500 from your trade in. I will tell you it’s worth $300, for example. You go to a new dealership and tell them you want $1500. They give you $1500, but add $1200 somewhere on the back side. New dealerships have a lot more play in their numbers, and therefore can give you more perceived value.

GET QUOTES BASED ON PROFIT MARGIN.

When you negotiate a better price, don’t just get a number for that specific vehicle,. Instead, ask for the discount related to the suggested retail price or invoice price (the amount the dealer actually paid for the vehicle).

USE MILEAGE AS LEVERAGE.

Let’s say you’re buying a used car, and you score competing offers for the same model at different dealerships. In this case, you can use the car with the higher mileage to your advantage. I’ll give you an easy example. The customer was down to my vehicle and a vehicle on another lot. We were the exact same on price, but mine had 100,000 [miles] and theirs had 160,000. The car they were trading in had 200,000. By the time the customer paid off the loan at the other guy’s lot, they would be back in the same place [in terms of mileage]. On the other hand, they could drive the car at my lot for another 7 or 8 years, and then trade in. In the end, I got the sale because my car had less miles. My tip here is that if they were going to go with the other guy, they could have negotiated to pay less because they were getting more miles.”

EMAIL DEALERSHIPS FOR NEW CAR PRICES.

Many buyers will skip the negotiation process altogether and simply email local dealerships and ask for the best price. It sounds simple, but it works. Chris Abouraad, a former dealership owner and current Sales Team Manager at CarGurus.com, says, “For new car shoppers, sending emails to local dealerships that have the exact desired model and asking for the best price can result in getting the best price.”

Top 5 Factors When Buying A New Car

When buying a new car, there are many factors to consider. The car needs to fulfill your wants, needs, and lifestyle demands. Also, you’ll want to consider the resale value, costs of ownership, desired features, incentive and trade-in options, and pricing and financing. Make sure you get the best value for your money by considering the following five factors.

Residual Value

The residual, or resale value of a car is the value of the vehicle as it depreciates with time. Some buyers may purchase a vehicle on sale or with special dealer rebates. However, these incentives could cause a vehicle’s value to depreciate faster.

On the other hand, some of the best-selling cars can also depreciate quickly in value if there are too many of them on the market. It pays to do some research beforehand and determine which cars have strong resale values. This step could potentially save you thousands in the long run.

Cost of Ownership

When buying a new car, it’s vital to consider additional ownership costs. The price of insurance, fuel, and maintenance can add up over the years. Car expenses shouldn’t total more than 15% to 20% of your total monthly budget.

Before purchasing a new car, check with your insurance company to find out how much your rates will change. Premiums may increase, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Typically, the more expensive a car is, the more it will cost to insure. If you’re exploring options for insurance, check out this article about the different types of car insurance and which one best fits your needs.

Remember that fuel-efficient cars can save significant money in the long-term. Comparing fuel economy and picking an efficient vehicle can reduce your costs of ownership. Similarly, maintenance costs also come into play. Consider the price and availability of replacement parts, as well as consumer reports.

Features and Technology

One of the most notable factors in buying a new car may be the safety devices, features, and technology. Buyers should choose vehicles with features that meet their needs but avoid extra features are unnecessary. New cars often come with advanced safety features such as adaptive headlights, automatic parking, and backup cameras. This type of technology can be very beneficial. However, make sure not to pay for technology and features that you will not use.

Prospective buyers should take more than one test drive to make sure the car is a right fit. Check for driving comfort, blind spot view, and the seating configuration. Legroom, storage space, and other amenities are also important factors that can have a significant impact on your decision.

Incentives and Trade-ins

The best time to buy a new car is when dealers clear out inventory at the end of the year to make room for new models. Usually, the beginning of October is the perfect time to purchase a car before the new model comes out. Additionally, prospective buyers should keep their eyes open for low-interest loans and other rebates near the end of the model year.

Car owners may make a better deal when selling their old car on their own. However, a trade-in at the dealership could save you valuable time and energy. Collect offers from different dealerships to get the best price for your old vehicle. Check out the following article for more tips about the best time to buy a car.

Price and Financing

To get the best price for a new car, potential buyers will have to do their research. Car dealerships want to establish lasting relationships with their customers. By showing up with price comparisons, strict budget guidelines, and a precise idea of what you’re looking for, you can effectively negotiate a reasonable price.

If you’re able to pay in cash, great! However, most prospective buyers will need a loan or financing. Check your credit history and score beforehand to get a better idea of your financing options.

Many car dealerships make the most profit from their financing department. As a potential buyer, it can be to your best advantage to get your own financing. Your local bank might be able to beat the rates the car dealership is offering. However, manufacturers often have the best promotions with interest starting at 0%.

Traits Of The Best Auto Repair Shops

Repair Information

How to Choose a Repair Shop

What should I look for when choosing a repair shop?

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and other people you trust. Look for a repair shop before you need one to avoid being rushed into a last-minute decision.
  • Shop around by phone and online for the best deal, and compare warranty policies on repairs.
  • Ask to see current licenses if state or local law requires repair shops to be licensed or registered. Also, your state Attorney General’s office or local consumer protection agency may know whether there’s a record of complaints about a particular repair shop.
  • Make sure the shop will honor your vehicle’s warranty.

How to Choose a Technician

Is one technician better than another?

  • Look for shops that display various certifications — like an Automotive Service Excellence seal. Certification indicates that some or all of the technicians meet basic standards of knowledge and competence in specific technical areas. Make sure the certifications are current, but remember that certification alone is no guarantee of good or honest work.
  • Ask if the technician or shop has experience working on the same make or model vehicle as yours.

How to be get personal Auto Repairs recommendations

So you drive around in a model of car that not many own or drive. So how do go about getting personal recommendations? Well it is now that much easier. Just email or text friends, relatives and work colleagues to ask them if they know of anyone who drives a similar model and make of car as yours locally. Give them your details as well as saying you are looking for a reliable garage to service or to do some auto repairs on your car in the local area. If they don’t know of anyone,get them to ask their friends. They in turn may know someone. As the saying goes, you are no more than 6 people away from the person you want to contact or speak to. Try it out. It works. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Types of Car Repair Shops

Car repair shops can be categorized as one of three main types. Each has its strengths and weaknesses:

  • Car Dealerships: Mechanics at the dealership will be very familiar with the make and model of your car. These mechanics often receive specialized training. Repairs at dealerships tend to be quite expensive. Many car owners limit the use of dealership mechanics to just warranty-related repairs.
  • General Repair Shops: While parts often cost more at service stations, as compared to dealerships, labor often is less expensive. However, finding a skilled, honest, and affordable mechanic can sometimes be tricky.
  • Auto Repair Chains: These types of repair shops tend to focus on one thing, whether it is routine oil changes, mufflers, or brakes. Some chains offer a complete list of services. Chains can usually offer a relatively low price because they work on such a high volume of cars. These types of chains are best for specific types of routine maintenance.

How to Talk to Your Mechanic

Getting the right repairs at a fair price depends partly on communicating with your mechanic. Here’s what to say and to expect:

  • Describe the problem fully. Provide as much information as possible. Write down the symptoms and when they occur. If possible, talk directly to the mechanic who will be working on your car.
  • Don’t offer a diagnosis. Avoid saying what you think is causing the problem. You may be on the hook for any repairs the shop makes at your suggestion, even if they don’t solve the problem.
  • Request a test drive. If the problem occurs only when the car is moving, ask the mechanic to accompany you on a test drive.
  • Ask for evidence. If you’re not comfortable with the diagnosis, ask the shop to show you. Worn brake pads or rusted exhaust pipes are easy to see. Don’t let the mechanic refuse your request by saying that his insurance company doesn’t allow customers into the work area. Insist on evidence anyway.

What not to say to your mechanic!

Let’s start with what you shouldn’t say to a mechanic. It’s not that we want you to sound ignorant but it’s important you don’t inadvertently say things that could end up costing you more money. Here’s a few tips on what not to say:

  • Leave the technical talk to the mechanic, don’t try to diagnose the solution yourself, instead just explain what the situation is and let the mechanic come up with possible deductions.
  • If you need something in particular checked out make sure you let the mechanic know. Just because your car is going in for a service, that doesn’t mean every single component on your vehicle will be checked and tested.
  • If you have a particular problem you would like investigated, actually show the mechanic where it is on the car, or take them for a drive to hear the suspect noise. Telling the receptionist at the counter could lead to misinterpretation.
  • Never tell the mechanic to ‘just do what is needed’.

Maximise Your Return By Choosing The Right Accountant

How to Build a Culture of Accountability

A culture of accountability is an organization of accountable employees. Results are communicated and understood by everybody. Accountability is determined proactively, before the fact, not reactively, after the fact. When a mistake is made, the response is not finger pointing and excuses – it is about solving the problem and learning from mistakes. Every employee feels a sense of ownership for organizational results and will do what it takes to achieve those results.

So, what can leaders do to encourage a culture of accountability?

Walk the Talk

Nowadays, organizations are so afraid of lawsuits that they won’t admit mistakes. That kind of excuse making and blaming others will cascade down and permeate throughout the organizations. When a leader can stand before their employees and say “I made a mistake – and this is what we’re going to do to fix it” it sets a positive example of accountable behavior that employees won’t be afraid to emulate.

Define Results and Expectations

Don’t wait for a mistake to happen and then waste energy finding who is to blame. Instead, set clear standards and expectations before the work even starts. Then, make sure all employees are aware of and understand what results the organization is trying to achieve and what the expectations are for all employees. Every employee should have a “line of sight” to the organization’s desired results.

Gain Commitment

Without commitment, we get compliance or even resistance. “I’ll try” is not commitment. Ask: “Do I have your commitment?”, and listen to any concerns. Work with the employee to overcome barriers and figure out what needs to do to obtain their commitment.

Be Open to Feedback and Problem Solving

In other words, never “shoot the messenger”. Have an open-door environment where any employee is empowered to bring any problem to anyone in the organization without fear of repercussion.

Coach Employees on How to Be Accountable

Many individuals come from backgrounds where they never had to be accountable. They are used to awards for 5th place. They may have to learn new skills and behaviors, like critical thinking and problem before they can begin to thrive in a culture of accountability.

Hold Each Other Accountable ​

In a culture of accountability, leaders don’t just hold employees accountable for results. Everyone holds everyone accountable! Every employee takes ownership of organizational results, not just their own little part of the world. Again, leaders can role model, teach, and reinforce this kind of ownership mentality.

How to Create a Culture of Accountability in the Workplace?

Below are some of accountability in the workplace examples that constitute the most effective ways of getting employees to take ownership and promote your company’s definition of accountability in the workplace.

Below are 4 questions and exercises to do with teams and departments as you determine how to establish accountability for employees in your workplace:

  • How to be accountable and demonstrate it at work (or in a given role or task)?
  • How to take ownership of your work?
  • How to instill a culture of accountability?
  • How do responsibility and accountability impact role’s?

After getting together as a team to determine and define accountability and success at your organization, you work has only started

Set clear and measurable goals/expectations.

If you are going to hold employees accountable for delivering results, be explicit about exactly what results you expect. It can be helpful to involve the employee in the process. When employees feel they’ve helped in setting the goals, a sense of buy-in results.  While SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time- bound) have been around for more than 30 years, they are still an effective management tool. With this tool, goals or expectations should be:

  • Written — If you don’t write your expectations down, the chance for a misunderstanding of exactly what the goal is, increases exponentially.
  • Specific and measurable — Broad generalizations such as “Improve performance” are not helpful. “Achieve sales of $1.3 million” is a much better goal. It is a specific, measurable goal, not open to interpretation. There can be no disagreement regarding whether the employee achieved such a goal.
  • Achievable with effort — Goals that are too easy to attain aren’t useful. They will not drive performance. Goals that are unattainable will frustrate rather than motivate employees. Employees should see the goals as a real stretch, but achievable.
  • Relevant — Ensure that goals are aligned with one other. They should also be aligned with the company’s overall goals and with the goals of other employees.
  • Time- and resource-constrained — Be clear regarding when the goal must be achieved and the resources that the employee can use. Growing annual sales by 10 percent may be a wonderful goal, but if the employee achieves this by hiring six new salespeople or spending a million dollars on advertising, the cost may exceed the benefit.

Here’s How to Keep Yourself Accountable

The solution for finishing things: Create accountability through a buddy.

Accountability buddies can help us make meaningful progress. Surrounding ourselves with people invested in our success is the best way to make progress on our goals. Follow these steps to set up an accountability buddy.

1. Create a schedule and commit.

Decide how frequently you’ll meet. Once a week is a good starting point. You’ll have time to get things done in between your meetups (either in person or on the phone), but not so long that you start procrastinating or forgetting what you agreed to.

Then set a time and commit. Put it on your calendar and don’t let anything get in the way.

2. Help your buddy (and yourself) set better goals.

When we have a broad goal like “get healthy,” the failure comes in not knowing where to start. What do we do this month, this week, today, to make that happen?

If we can’t answer that simply, how are we supposed to act on it? Create SMART objectives that follow these guidelines:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-oriented

3. Be honest with each other.

My friend recently told me about an event he attended. A group of women were brought in to give direct feedback about how they perceived a group of men’s clothing and demeanor.

Try to imagine what happened.

“The guys were crying,” my friend said. “Nobody had ever given us this kind of brutal feedback.” My friend realized he’d never before received brutally honest feedback on how he interacted with women.

We should subject ourselves to uncomfortable situations where we take on the “beginner’s mind” and force ourselves to grow. An accountability buddy gives us the rare opportunity for brutal honesty.

4. Ask great questions.

Smart people ask questions because they know it’s the best way to get to the true heart of a matter.

When you say you were too busy to work out this week, what are you really saying?

Chances are you had time to watch Netflix or go out for drinks, so what really held you back? Maybe you were nervous about walking into a new gym.

By asking great questions, you and your accountability buddy can break through invisible barriers.

5. Gamify accountability with your friends.

I love bets. There are myriad psychological studies about public commitment, which is highly persuasive. If you tell a group of people you’re going to stop smoking, you’re highly motivated to hit that goal.

You can do this with your accountability buddy, too. If you each set a goal, bet who will hit it first. Or you can keep score of who completes more of their weekly tasks. Make it fun!

Building Your Accountability Skillset:

Step 1: Set some goals to develop your skillset.

I’m going to prove to myself and others that I’m fully responsible for the quality of my current work, before asking for more responsibility.

I’m going to define areas where I’m weak, could use training, or need support, and then develop an action plan to fill those gaps.

I’m going to develop my own working process that others can rely on.

  • Define what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, when it needs to be done, who is involved and how the result will impact individuals, groups and the business.
  • Commit to the work, the timeline and the result.
  • Communicate that commitment to all involved. (via email, team meetings, phone calls, casual discussion)
  • Communicate progress and results on a consistent and frequent basis to all involved.

Step 2: Hold yourself accountable for your results.

Take ownership of understanding your role, your goals and responsibilities.

Take ownership of understanding the roles, goals and responsibilities of those around you so you can work effectively with others.

Take ownership of your progress so that you can identify risks and do what needs to be done to mitigate or overcome roadblocks before they impact your work.

Step 3: Be consistent in your approach.

Use this skillset as often as possible so that others learn to expect it from you and trust you to work in this manner no matter whom you are working with.

Step 4: Coach & mentor others.

If you manage others, coach & mentor them through the first three steps.

Things You Should Know Before You Purchase Hardwood Flooring

How to Pick the Right Kind of Hardwood Flooring

Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at how to choose the right wood flooring for you.

Wood is always a chic material for your floor. Something of a chameleon, it has the power to transform a space depending on the color and finish. “Wood floors add warmth, texture, and sophistication to a space, and can also set a tone or attitude,” said Nancy J. Ruddy, co-founder and executive director of interior design at architecture and design firm CetraRuddy

There’s a refinement to the look and feel that’s unparalleled. “They add an elegance and warmth in a way no other material can. It’s an understated richness like a fine cashmere sweater,” said New York-based interior designer Ryan Korban.

Consider the Space Itself

“First identify what type of mood you want to create in your environment. I tend to lean in one of two ways: either super light gray for a very soft feel or black for a sexy atmosphere. My favorite floors, which I recently did at 40 Bleecker, are cerused oak in a cashmere color by Listone. You can never go wrong with this, especially when done in a chevron pattern.

Less is More

“Wood floors spontaneously reconnect to nature. Keep the look as natural as possible and let the wood express itself. For a recent project at Greenwich West in New York City, I chose wide plank European white oak floors to complement the warm color palette of the finishes, such as Carrara marble countertops. Each are natural materials.

Hardwood Flooring Buying Guide

Hardwood Construction

Hardwood floors can be installed on any level of your home over different subfloors since they’re available in multiple constructions to mitigate moisture (see chart). It’s important to take moisture into consideration when you’re installing hardwood floors since changes in moisture can create issues, such as warping and gapping. To lessen the effects of moisture, keep moisture levels within manufacturer recommendations, and choose the right construction of hardwood flooring and installation materials. For an added layer of protection against moisture damage, install a moisture barrier.

3/4-Inch Solid

This is a 3/4-inch-thick solid piece of hardwood floor and what you might typically think of for hardwood floors. Because solid floors expand more when exposed to moisture than engineered floors, you can only install them over a plywood subfloor at or above ground level. If you have a crawl space, it’s a good idea to put a moisture barrier underneath it to help control moisture coming through the ground into your home.

5/16-Inch Solid

This is a thinner version of the 3/4-inch hardwood floor. Since it’s solid, you can’t install it in the basement or on concrete below ground level, but it’s thin enough to glue down to concrete at ground level or install over plywood at or above ground level. Urethane adhesives are required and moisture barriers are recommended for gluing down 5/16-inch solids. Most solid floors can be sanded and refinished. Check the manufacturer’s warranty.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered floors are designed for installation over concrete and to help mitigate potential moisture issues. The cross-layer construction prevents the floor from expanding as much as a 3/4-inch or 5/16-inch solid floor when exposed to moisture. Therefore, you can install engineered anywhere in the home, including the basement. Engineered floors are also more environmentally friendly and less expensive than solid floors because the veneer is only a few millimeters thick instead of 3/4-inch thick. The real hardwood veneer of engineered floors differs from laminate, which has a printed paper veneer. Some engineered floors can be sanded and refinished. Check the manufacturer’s warranty.

Waterproof Hardwood

Waterproof hardwood flooring employs hardwood and bamboo veneers as well as a waterproof core and a proprietary protective coating. This flooring option resists moisture but still presents the same texture and grain patterns of traditional hardwood, making it a perfect choice for those who’re concerned about spills but still want genuine hardwood.

THIS IS HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HARDWOOD FLOORING FOR ANY HOME

So, you’re thinking about retiring your old floors, or you’re moving into a new space, and you’re interested in a natural, easy-to-maintain flooring choice. Of course, hardwood is an excellent pick for many people — it’s easier to clean than carpets and is known to stand the test of time. But, there are so many available options that finding the best hardwood flooring can be overwhelming.

How to determine the best hardwood flooring for your home:

First, understand the pros and cons of hardwood floors.

Next, examine your lifestyle.

Then, set a realistic budget.

After that, explore various hardwood types and species.

Once you know the rest, research your finish options.

Finally, consult with an expert.

HARDWOOD IS DURABLE… AS LONG AS YOU DON’T OVEREXPOSE IT TO WATER.

While hardwood floors are durable and can withstand spills and stains with proper treatment, they are especially prone to water damage (kind of like the wicked witch of the west); this makes them a risky candidate for areas like your bathroom, kitchen, and entryways. Installing hardwood in rooms where they are exposed to liquid will lead to damage.

IT IS EASY TO REFINISH, BUT NOT SO EASY TO INSTALL.

Most people will tell you it is easy to refinish hardwood floors, as long as you can stay off of them for a few days. Even so, it is difficult to install them, even for experienced DIYers. So, in the beginning, be prepared to hire a professional for the installation. At the very least, consider

IT IS CONSIDERED A WISE INVESTMENT.

The homeowners’ paradigm is that hardwood flooring will increase the value of your property. Most homebuyer’s jump at the idea of purchasing a home with hardwood floors — in many cases, even when carpet covers the original wood flooring. So, in the long run, the initial investment is probably worthwhile.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HARDWOOD FLOORING SPECIES FOR YOUR HOME

Gone are the days when selecting hardwoods for your home meant a slim offering of narrow planked solid oak hardwood flooring in a light tan color.  Today, there are countless types of hardwood floors to satisfy everyone’s needs for wood species, color, style, performance and budget. While having many choices is always a good thing, it can also seem overwhelming, especially if you are new to the hardwood flooring world. That’s why LIFECORE thought it would be helpful to provide a way to drill down into those options, so you can ultimately choose the BEST flooring and species for you

First a note of definition and what we mean by species.  Hardwood flooring is available in many types of wood. From Oak to Hickory and Maple to Acacia; each species has its’ own unique characteristics and performance attributes.  Prioritizing your visual preference, as well as lifestyle and budget requirements, will help you determine which of the different wood species is right for your home. Engineered wood flooring is manufactured in many different species and with the addition of today’s high-performance finishes, those species now have the ability to perform very well for people with children and pets.

Where will the hardwood floors be going?

If you plan to install the flooring in a high traffic area such as a family room or hallway, consider the hardwood flooring species that have a higher Janka hardness rating. While exotic hardwoods tend to have the highest Janka ratings, many people steer clear of them not only because of the lack of sustainability but also because of their higher price and tendency to change color or fade over time.  Fortunately, you can find the perfect alternative in several domestic and bountiful hardwood flooring species that will hold up well in high traffic areas. Oak is the standard at 1300, while Maple at 1450 and Hickory at 1820 are even harder.

Are you looking for the best flooring for dogs?

Let’s face it, most homes have pets, but many homeowners understandably forget to take them into consideration when choosing flooring.  To have a home with hardwood and a dog or cat, there are tips for success, however, you can take it a step further by choosing a more rustic hardwood style and species that will keep your floors looking newer, longer. Hardwood flooring species which have knots and character marks, like LIFECORE’S Abella Acacia Luxe, will help to hide dents and scratches, and if an accident does happen, the color variations will help mask the remnants of a stain.  It is also recommended that you refer back to the Janka scale to help select a hardwood flooring species like Maple or Hickory for longer wear

What is your décor style?

While most types of hardwood floor species will work in a variety of decors, selecting them in certain colors, plank widths or styles can truly define your personal style.  Below are some examples of the best hardwood floor species, color, and style to suit your décor

How to Choose the Right Hardwood Floor Color

Installing new hardwood flooring is a major investment, which makes choosing the right one even more daunting, especially for a wood-floor newbie. Is oak better than walnut? What’s the deal with warm tones? Is a light floor a recipe for disaster? I went straight to the experts to find out what homeowners should know.

Start With the Basics

There are two basic factors that go into what hardwood floors looks like, says Patrick Bewley, vice president of marketing at California-based flooring brand Duchateau. First is the grain, which is determined primarily by the species of wood. Then there’s the finish or stain, which creates the color. “Our advice is to start by selecting the color range that is most attractive to you—the one that speaks to you and the space,” he explains. “Then, you can look at various grain patterns and surface treatments within that range and find the one that you feel works best with the selected color and your other design elements.”

Undertones Matter

Just like with paint colors, it’s crucial to consider the undertone of your flooring. Most designers warn against anything wood finishes that skew very red or orange, which have a tendency to look dated. But that doesn’t mean that you should steer completely clear of warm undertones. In fact, says Bewley, one of the biggest trends in wood flooring right now is a warm take on of-the-moment gray. “These new tones mix the coolness of gray with warmer undertones, creating high livability along with an on-trend look,” he notes.

Think About Upkeep

You might love the look of a certain type of wood flooring now, but think about how it’ll hold up—and how much effort you’re willing to put into keeping it pristine. As a rule of thumb, says Bewley, “harder woods, such as European Oak, are a good choice for high-traffic and kid-centric spaces, whereas softer species, such as walnut, are better suited for lower-traffic areas.”

Swatch Before You Stain Your Floors

Thinking about staining your existing floors? Just like with paint colors, you’ll want to apply swatches before you commit to one. What appears to be a light neutral on the chip in your local hardware store might end up looking totally different in your space, depending on everything from light to the wall color—and, of course, the wood itself. “The species and tone can impact the final appearance,” says Behr senior product manager Rick Bautista. “For example, if you’re using a traditional transparent or semi-transparent stain, a clear pine board stained with a chocolate color will appear different than a darker, redwood board stained with the same color.”

Hot Water Heaters

How to Choose the Right Water Heater for your Home?

A water heater is the necessity of every home and is required wherever the water is used. But, in many cases, we see major problems with the water heater within a year. And these problems occur because before buying the water heater we don’t research well or consider the kind of water heater required for our home. Thus, to help you all in this article, we will be giving you basic tips and the way to choose the right water heater for your home.

Conventional storage water heater

Conventional storage water heaters are the most popular water heaters. These water heaters maintain and reserve hot water and you can use it anytime you turn on the tap. These water heaters are very convenient to use, but they consume more electricity than other types of water heaters as it needs to heat the water constantly to make the water hot for a long time.

Instant water heaters

An instant water heater only heats the water when the tap is turned on. As soon as the tap turns on, the cold water travels to the heating element in the water heater and instantly turns hot. This is why these water heaters are called instant water heaters.

Air-water heaters

The air-water heater generates the heat from the air and is extremely efficient as it consumes less electricity. You can save up to 60% of electricity by using air-water heaters.

Solar water heaters

Solar water heaters are very energy-efficient as they rely on energy from the sun. But, the installation of solar water heaters is very expensive and may not be affordable for many people. Thus, using Solar water heaters is a better idea.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WATER HEATER FOR YOUR HOME

A cold shower. If you’ve ever experienced one, it’s not something you’ll likely want to repeat. But without a reliable water heater in your home you may have the pleasure more often than you’d like. There are plenty of other good reasons to consider upgrading or replacing your current water heater beyond a shocking shower. If your current water heater is pushing 10 years old, the likelihood of failure will increase. In addition, older water heaters are much less efficient than newer styles and models. And consider the damage a leaking or broken hot water heater can do to your home. So before you get stuck with an emergency repair or replacement consider the different kinds of water heaters and evaluate which is best for you.

Let’s Talk Fuels

To enjoy hot water in your home, you’ll need a fuel source to heat the H2O. Not all of us will have the same options available, depending on where we live, so there will be sources that you can rule out right away. Let’s examine the options.

Electricity — Electricity has a lot going for it. It’s readily available and works with conventional tank-type designs, plus on-demand tankless heaters, heat pump systems and other options.

Natural gas and propane — These fuel sources also work with a variety of heater types. One advantage of this fuel source is availability during a prolonged power outage. Even if your home is dark, you can still enjoy a hot shower. Of course, if you use propane it’s necessary to ensure that you keep your tank filled.

Solar — You don’t have to live in southern state to utilize solar energy for water heating, but the efficiency of these systems is greater in areas like the southwest, where temperatures are generally warmer and the sun shines more frequently

Choosing a New Water Heater

We walk you through the pros and cons of high tech water heaters – tankless, heat pump, condensing gas and point-of-use models. They save energy and can save you money as well. When your old water heater dies, consider replacing it with one of these types, as well as efficient conventional models.

Compare water heaters before you buy

Water heater technology is changing—fast! And even though all the new models are more energy efficient water heater models, that doesn’t mean you’ll find them the most cost effective for your family. So before you plunk down big bucks for a high-tech heater, take a minute to understand how each style works, its pros and cons, and its projected payback to best the best gas water heater. Your goal is to find the right balance between performance and efficiency for your particular home. However, if you’re really into numbers crunching, use the worksheets at energysavers.gov

First, check the ratings

There are two ratings to check before you buy any heater: the energy factor (EF), which tells you how efficient it is, and the first-hour recovery (for storage tank heaters) or flow rate (for tankless).

Tankless water heaters

Instead of keeping 40 or 50 gallons of hot water on call 24 hours a day—which wastes energy—a tankless unit heats water only when you need it. A flow sensor detects when you open the faucet. Then the gas valve opens and the burners fire up. The heater measures the incoming water temperature and calculates how quickly the water should flow past the burners. So, if the incoming water is 65 degrees F (typical summer temperature), the heater will provide its maximum flow rate. But if the water is only 35 degrees, the heater will throttle back the flow rate by almost 50 percent. Check with your local utility to find out the water temperature. The average home center price for a tankless heater is $1,000, plus about $200 for a stainless vent.

Tankless Water Heater Pros:

Nothing beats a tankless heater for putting out lots of hot water—it never runs out.

A tankless heater saves about 30 to 50 percent in energy costs over a conventional gas heater (minimum EF of .82 vs. .54 for conventional).

A tankless heater is small and hangs on the wall, freeing up floor space.

How to choose your water heater: our advice

ASSESS YOUR NEEDS

The quantity needed of DHW depends on how many people live in your household and on their habits. If you have reasonable hot water consumption, on average, 40 to 50 liters of DHW per day and per person is to be expected. An accurate assessment of your needs is necessary. Indeed, if underestimated, you will get cold showers! At the contrary, if overestimated, your electricity bill will increase since too much hot water is produced for nothing. Smartly, some water heaters memorize your daily consumptions and adjust hot water production depending on your actual needs

WATER QUALITY

The water quality of the distribution system can directly affect the lifetime of your appliance. If you have a balanced water, then there is no problem. However, if it is too hard, it can cause scaling, in particular to the heating element. If aggressive, it can cause a faster tank corrosion. Rather, select a water heater fitted with Steatite heating element protected by enamelled steel sleeve. Beware of water softeners, incorrectly tuned, they produce a far too aggressive water, therefore, too corrosive

WHICH MODEL TO CHOOSE?

You can select either a conventional electric, a heat-pump or a solar water heater. Another important point: Pick the right spot depending on how much space is available. According to models, water tanks can be installed in many ways (wall mounted horizontally or vertically, floor standing…), in the most confined spaces or can require more space, even a technical room (for solar or heat pump water heaters).

ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

Cost-effective to purchase and easy to install, it is the simplest solution: the tank water is heated by an electric heating element. Simple and effective: a modern electric water heater combines electronic thermostat and digital display unit. The most modern ones include self-learning functions

SOLAR WATER HEATER

You can expect 50 to 70 % savings on your DHW bill by selecting a solar water heater! The water is preheated naturally by the solar collectors located on the roof. Indeed, they contain a heat conducting fluid able to transfer the solar energy to the hot water tank, through a heat exchanger. This option requires some more space and a roof adapted to solar collectors or a terrace.

BUYING GUIDE FOR WATER HEATERS

India is famous for its extreme weather conditions; as we are well versed with the changing temperatures, it’s always better to be fully equipped to sustain these climate changes. Although we love the winter season, we should definitely hand it down to the man who invented water heaters to help us shower in the cold, chilling winters of India. The rattling of teeth and the shivering body can only be stopped by a warm, relaxing bath. That’s where our hero, “water heater” comes in.

Want to know how a water heater works?

A typical Electrical water heater works on a simple mechanism, a electric heating unit is connected to a 220- volt circuit. To warm up the water, the current is allowed to pass through certain electrical-resistant heating element which is fixed in the middle of the tank. Power is delivered through a thermostat, which controls the water temperature.

We have the new way for getting hot water without worrying about the increasing electricity charges i.e. Solar water heater. The solar water heating system works on the principle of thermosyphone process and forced circulation. It uses Solar energy and can give up to 50-70C * hot water. The core of an ETC Solar water heater is a solar collector basically in the form of tubes and a storage tank. Evacuated tube acts as an absorber in the solar water heater and evacuated tube consists of two glass tubes having vacuum in between which is an excellent insulator. The incident solar radiation falling on the tube passes through the outer transparent tube and strikes the outer surface of inner tube. It absorbs heat energy and then passes to the cold water flowing in the tube. Thus a solar collector is one which turns the sun’s radiation into heat. A storage tank is exactly what it sounds like; It holds the water. An evacuated tube technology based solar water heating system is most energy efficient and cost effective.

What are the types of water heaters available in the market?

Who doesn’t love options? Even in the niche sector of water heaters, there are a lot of options available in the market for you to choose from. Depending on your needs and convenience, you can shop for a suitable water heater.

Storage water heaters (6 Litres and above):

The most basic and classic form of water heaters are Storage Water heaters. They are widely used for domestic purposes. The reason behind it being called storage water heaters is because of the storage tank installed inside the appliance. It can store hot water for a significant period of time even without electricity and thus allowing for usage as and when required

Outsource Or Domesticate Electrical Installation

WHAT MAKES A GOOD ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION?

An electrical installation comprises all the fixed electrical equipment that is supplied through the electricity meter. It includes the cables that are usually hidden in the walls and ceilings, accessories (such as sockets, switches and light fittings), and the consumer unit (fusebox) that contains all the fuses, circuit-breakers and, preferably residual current devices (RCDs)

There are many factors that contribute to a good electrical installation such as:

Ensuring there are enough sockets for electrical appliances, to minimise the use of multiway socket adapters and trailing leads

Covers are in place to prevent fingers coming into contact with live parts (broken or damaged switches should be replaced without delay)

A Residual Current Device (RCD) protection is installed to provide additional protection against electric shock

Satisfactory earthing arrangements are in place to ensure that a fuse or circuit breaker can quickly clear an electrical fault before it causes an electric shock or fire

Satisfactory protective bonding arrangements are in place where required (so any electric shock risk is minimised until a fault is cleared)

Sufficient circuits are provided to avoid danger and minimise inconvenience in the event of a fault

Cables are correctly selected and installed in relation to the fuse or circuit breaker protecting the circuit

An RCD (residual current device) is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It provides a level of protection that ordinary fuses or circuit breakers cannot provide.

Tips for electrical wiring

Electrical wiring is a potentially dangerous task if done improperly. One should never attempt working on electrical wiring without knowing the below tips & tricks followed by even the most experienced electrician

Power Tests

Always check & test wires and devices for power inside the box you are working in to prevent electric shock before working on them. Sometimes, even if you shut off power, some wiring may be connected to another circuit & hence may still pose a threat of electric shock.

Uncoil Cable

The best way to easily instal cables is to straighten them out first. Pull the cable from the centre of the coil & lift a handful of coils. Next step is to toss them across the floor as if you’re throwing a coiled rope. Once untangled, it helps in easier handling & neater storage.

Amperage Rating

Amperage Rating or Amp needs to be checked for all electrical wiring & devices. Before installing or changing wiring, one must have the appropriate amp rating for all circuits. For example, a 30-amp circuit must have a right-gauge wiring to prevent fire hazard.

Grounding Wires

Grounding provides a safe path for extra electric current to pass in case of a fault or any other issue. Follow the manufacturer’s wiring diagrams & understand grounding systems.

Key Factors To Look For When Choosing An Electrical Contractor

With so many cowboys masquerading as qualified, experienced electricians from a safety perspective, it has never been more important to choose the right electrical contractor for your residential or commercial project. Many people are tempted to opt for the cheapest quote, which more often than not could turn out to be a costly mistake. That said, knowing who to trust for your electrical installation and maintenance is not always easy, as there are many factors to take into consideration when making your decision. Read on to learn some important points to consider when making your decision

Risk of choosing the wrong contractor

Picture the scene; a rusty Robin Reliant three-wheeler pulls up outside your property. After screeching to a stop, several men in string vests jump out and promptly light their cigarettes as they loudly argue about whose responsibility it was to pack the tools that were forgotten. A couple of the men decide to go back to get them, screeching off in the rust bucket. Meanwhile, the remaining man asks you to show him what needs fixing whilst he curses about how unhappy he is to be expected to do a day’s work and complains about his incompetent colleagues.

The chances are that you would shy away from letting this group of unprofessional people into your property, let alone touch your electrical systems. You’d be able to quickly tell that they are not ‘trustworthy’ contractors in any sense of the word.

NICEIC – CERTIFIED

The most critical factor to look for in an electrical contractor is whether they are accredited and approved by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC). It is advisable to hire an electrician with NICEIC certification as the organisation assesses the competence of both domestic and commercial electricians to ensure safe systems of work that conform to standards set out by the IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers), who set the standards for electrical installation work.

QUALITY WORKMANSHIP

While some of us believe we can recognise high-quality electrical work when we see it, the reality is that not many of us fully understand the fundamentals of electrical systems. This lack of knowledge makes establishing what constitutes a quality electrical installation open to interpretation. The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) developed the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) in the 1990s to take away subjective judgements of this essential quality.

What you Should Know About Electrical Installations

Electrical installations can look mysterious. There are some basic requirements for electrical installation, and some things people need to know about them. Quality of workmanship, standards of performance, and possible hazards are some of the more important issues in electrical installation, and it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the basic requirements.

Electrical installations basics

New technology requires a very wide range of new electrical installations. These are very different from the old systems, particularly in communications, media systems and IT areas.

All electrical installations are regulated. Installation of electrical fittings must:

Comply with Australian Standards

Comply with safety best practice requirements

Have certified safety compliant components under state certification regulations or Australian Standard compliance marks, including “Regulatory compliant”, or Electrical Safety Type Test marks

Be conducted by appropriately licensed contractors

Issues, problems, and hazards

Everybody’s seen old or doubtful-looking electrical installations. The rule of thumb is that the worse it looks, the less likely an electrical installation has been professionally done or serviced. These tacky-looking messes are real hazards. Electrical wiring and connections need to be done properly.

Things to look out for:

Smells of ozone or burnt plastic: Wiring issues.

Scorch marks: The electrical board may have taken damage and be unsafe, even if there wasn’t a fire.

Any overheating appliance: Either the appliance is unsafe or there’s a power issue.

Odd noises or behavior in machinery: Electrical installations can be damaged by operating machinery which can create hazards by damaging wiring. The system should be taken offline instantly and checked ASAP.

Water around electrical fittings: Very serious problem, requiring immediate service. Water can do tremendous damage very quickly near live power sources. Water damaged areas around electrical fittings should be repaired, because they’re no longer water resistant.

Anything flickering: It’s normally the appliance, but if not it’s the power. Again, be suspicious

WIRING MATERIALS AND INSTALLATION METHODS IN ELECTRICAL CONSTRUCTION WORKS

Electrical wiring needs expertise attention to every building projects. It directly related to the safety of human beings and utilities / equipment people handle. The scope of electrical wiring shall cover supply, installation, testing and commissioning of all conduits and accessories, wiring, switches, socket outlets, spur outlets, junction boxes / pull boxes, GI pull wires, ceiling roses making connections etc. Unless otherwise indicated wiring shall consist of PVC insulated, copper conductor wires installed in heavy gauge steel galvanized conduits.

GALVANIZED STEEL CONDUITS AND FITTING

Conduit Type: In general interior and exterior wires ways shall be Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT).  Conduits shall conform to all provision of Underwriters laboratories UL 797, American National Standard Institute c80-3, Federal Specification WWC-563A and National Electrical Code Article 384.  The conduit shall be straight, have a circular cross section sufficiently accurate to accept approved couplings and fittings.  Wall thickness shall be uniform through and welding of seams shall be continuous and thoroughly done.  The interior surface shall be free from injurious defects

Number of conductors in tubing: The numbers of conductors in a single tubing shall not exceed the percentage fill specified in the NEC.

Coupling Connector, Bends: Coupling and connector used with tubing shall be made up tight.  Bends in the tubing shall be so made that the tubing will not be injured and that the internal diameter of the tubing will not be effectively reduced.

Enhance The Looks Of Your Home & Office With Window Cleaning

How to Choose a Window Cleaner

EXPERIENCE

•     Find out how long they have been in business.  Make sure that they have an established business, not one that was started last month.  It doesn’t take much to start a window cleaning business, but it takes hard work and satisfied customers to stay in business for a long time.

•     Make sure they wash windows all year long (when temperatures are above freezing) and are not washing windows just as a summer job or second job. 

•     Be careful about franchises, they are great for fast food but not for window cleaning. Quality, experience, and customer service vary with each owner. The original business may have been great with high standards, but your experience with the local franchise may be less than stellar

PROFESSIONAL

•     You should expect your window cleaners to be presentable. They shouldn’t be wearing jeans with holes, cut-off sleeves or other clothes that do not have a clean appearance. 

•      A professional window cleaner will not smoke on your property or smell of smoke.   

•     A professional window cleaner will have a vehicle dedicated to the business which is marked with the business name.  They shouldn’t be working out of the trunk of their car.

•      The way a window cleaner presents himself/herself is representative of how your windows will be cleaned.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

•     You want to make sure that the company or window washer you choose verifies with their  customers that they are satisfied with their windows.

•     Make sure that the window cleaner stands behind their service.  A good window cleaner will come back if you find something wrong or something that was missed.   Everyone makes mistakes and good window cleaners will return free of charge to correct the problem.

•     You want a customer focused business that has window cleaners that take the time and care to do the job right the first time, not one that will do a rush job trying to get to the next site.

PROTECTION

Before you let any window washer on your property make sure that they are insured.  In the unlikely chance of them damaging something or of someone getting injured, for example, from a falling ladder or a  moving motor vehicle, you should have the peace of mind that they have the insurance to cover any damages. They should have liability insurance, not just auto insurance.  Any professional window cleaning business will have insurance, if they don’t you should find someone else.

PRICE

•     Quotations for your home or business should be free so that you can decide based on price and other factors listed in this guide who you should hire to clean your windows. 

•    All quotations should be the actual expected cost to do the job.  They should not be low-balling the cost in order for you to choose them only to surprise you with additional costs later. If something was missed, a good window cleaner will contact you before doing any work that will cost you more money.

•    You should expect the window cleaning business to tailor the quotation to your needs and budget such as only doing the outside or only doing windows above ground floor.  

•    The old adage that “you get what you pay for” holds true for window cleaners.  The lowest quotation will probably be of lower quality and more of a rush job as that cleaner has to get to the next job as soon as possible to maximize profits.  Look for a balance of price, experience, reliability, and customer satisfaction.

TOP TIPS FOR CHOOSING A WINDOW CLEANING COMPANY

We have all been there when we try to clean our windows, and we cannot reach some parts of the windows. In the end, you notice that you still have some of the areas within the window that are dirty. How can you ensure that you get quality window cleaning services? It will be a question that you will look for its answers immediately you find out that it is hard for you to conduct this cleaning service. For you to find quality window cleaning services, you have no option rather than hiring a professional window cleaning company.

If you decide that you are going to look for an experienced window cleaning company, make sure that you identify the right factors you should put into consideration because we have various companies out there providing the same cleaning services. The first step that will help you to identify the right company is conducting research. Through your research, you are likely to know a lot of information about window cleaning and some of the reputable companies that you need to hire

Documentation

Whenever you are in search of any company, one of the things that you should never forget to check or ask is the documentation. You need to be sure that you are dealing with experts who are qualified, and they should have their certification. When we are talking about certification, we mean that a company in question here should provide all the documents that indicate whether the services it offers are legal and quality. For those companies that will not be willing to show you their certifications, make sure that you move ahead and look for other qualified companies.

Check References

Any cleaning company worth their title should be able to offer you with first-person references. But if you find out that they are not ready to provide this, then you should not think twice but move to the next company. In this case, those companies that are not proud of their services show that they are either inexperienced or new in this industry

Services

A company image is enormous when it comes to window cleaning. If a specific type of company offers quality services, be assured that many people within its neighborhood will be talking more about the quality services it provides. In this case, a professional cleaning company such as the SAS Windows Company is well-known due to the quality cleaning services it offers. A professional company should provide quality services and clean all the parts of the window, including the frames.

How to choose a window cleaner?

Coral Windows asks: how to find a window cleaner

Picture the scene, you’ve had your new Coral Windows installed, and you want to keep them looking as good as the day they were fitted. Here at coral we’re experts at helping keep glass looking its best and we’ve given you a surefire checklist to ensure you keep your new Coral Windows or Conservatory looking as good as new for years to come.

Sparkly clean windows are a sure fire way to improve the look of your home. They give your house a fresh look, a welcoming feel and allows oodles of natural sunlight to come flooding through. Doing a DIY job can take a huge amount of time, and even after you’ve managed to clean just the downstairs windows you can often find they still look streaky and patchy. This is why most people find it a worthwhile investment to have a trustworthy, reliable window cleaner who has the products, experience and equipment to do a superior job.

Safety

Safety of employees will be a priority for any reputable window cleaning company. Risks are high when it comes to cleaning windows and therefore it is essential they have liability insurance. If you are at all unsure whether they have it, request to see a copy and if they can’t produce the goods then do NOT use them.

Professionalism

The vast majority of window cleaners are professional, hard working, reliable and value their customers but as with any profession there are cowboys out there and the last thing you want is to get ripped off by shoddy workmanship and deceptive practices.

Price

There are a few things to consider when thinking about the cost of hiring the services of a window cleaner. Prices can vary a great deal according to location, frequency, size of your house and the number of windows you have.

How to Choose a Window Cleaning Company

Interior and exterior window cleaning is part of basic building maintenance. Many homeowners decide to hire a professional window cleaning crew rather than do the job themselves, in addition to other spring cleaning activities. Hiring a professional, reliable window cleaner is worth the extra time you’ll need to spend screening several companies.

Get Several Quotes

The first step in choosing a window cleaning company is to contact several window cleaning companies in your area. Each company should send a uniformed representative to your home to inspect the windows and speak to you about any specific concerns you have before giving you a written quote.

Ask for Proof of Insurance

Any window cleaning company should carry both liability and workers compensation insurance for all of its employees. This protects you in case a window cleaner is injured while working on your property. It also ensures that any damage caused by the window cleaners will be covered by their insurance.

Check References

Ask for references from several of each company’s local window cleaning clients. They should be able to easily provide a list of three to five satisfied clients for you to call. Take the time to call several references from each company you are considering. Ask them specific questions about the quality of work, timeliness, and reliability of the window cleaning company.

Make Your Own Decision

Compare each window cleaning company’s references, price, and services, and decide which one makes the most sense for you. If you are dissatisfied with your original choice, do not be afraid to cancel the service and hire another company on your list the next time you need your windows cleaned.

Tips on choosing a window cleaning company

A professional window cleaning company will save you time, money and reach those windows that you can’t reach. We all like to see the wide world, especially when doing the home duties on a clear summers day. Achieving the results you desire, may require professional assistance.

Don’t climb your ladder, without safety equipment. Hire a professional, here are some invaluable considerations before attempting to clean your own windows.

Safety – Are you being honest when you say you can clean your windows safely? Are you able to reach all the windows, even those above a roof, or extension?

Time – Do you have the correct equipment and experience to carry the job out in a safe and timely manner? Hiring a professional will save you on time and proficiency.

Quality – We have all seen the gadgets currently available on the market, firstly they are not designed for external window cleaning above ground floor. Does you equipment purchased at a local convenience store leave streaks? There is a reason professionals use professional equipment, like water fed pole window cleaning, safe and streak free

Always ask you window cleaner for credentials

No matter the tradesman you’re hiring, ask for details of their insurance, this way you know you’re hiring a profitable company with your and their best interests at heart.

Ask to see where you can read reviews from other existing clients, getting to know another persons experience of a company you’re considering to hire is invaluable.

Ask to see expamples of their quality of work, either photos on a social media or websites, or videos on youtube of their work.

Ask about other work, most window cleaners have access equipment and licences for plant equipment, this provides a good point of access for those jobs most households find difficult to complete. For example, gutter clearance and cleaning, solar panel cleaning, conservatory roof cleaning, cladding cleaning, some window cleaning companies even offer an internal window cleaning service.

Move fragile or heavy items, keep a clean and tidy work area for those who you invite into your personal spaces. Most window cleaners prefer items such as large garden furniture to be moved, providing clear access to the properties windows. Moving items will also prevent those simple accidents from taking place, move those flower pots and ornaments to prevent damage and make life easier from the operator.

The Right Way To Patch Vinyl Flooring

How to Calculate Thickness

To find the depth of a vinyl plank you need to account for the protective wear layer, core, and the backing. To better evaluate your options you’ll need a basic understanding of how companies assemble vinyl planks. In-depth videos and diagrams explaining the process are available online.

Be careful: Vinyl plank manufacturers often display the wear layer thickness as opposed to the actual thickness of the plank. As most of these products ship from overseas, they reflect the metric measurement.

For actual plank thickness, you’re looking for measurements in mm. You’ll find a wide range here, with lower quality planks falling in the 4mm range and higher quality planks boasting 8mm or thicker.

Will there be a transition from your vinyl planks to another type of flooring? If so, you’ll need to keep that in mind when calculating the thickness of the planks. Awkward transitions between rooms will make your floors uneven and unattractive.

The disadvantages of vinyl floors

Yes, vinyl floors are remarkably inexpensive and look like they’re made of real wood, but choosing them can actually cost a homeowner much more in the long run.

Some disadvantages of vinyl flooring include:

  • Cannot be repaired
  • Can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Shorter lifespan than wood floors
  • No impact, or negative impact, on home resale value
  • Difficult to remove, especially if adhesive is used during installation
  • Not eco-friendly; difficult to recycle

Types of Resilient Vinyl Flooring

There are several categories of vinyl flooring, and while all are grouped under the label “resilient,” they have very different methods of installation and some different merits.

  • Resilient sheet vinyl: This is the most common form, consisting of a thin flexible sheets of vinyl bonded with a printed design and transparent wear layer. Sheet vinyl comes in 6- or 12-foot wide rolls, which means that the flooring can be laid with very few seams. This makes it the best (and cheapest) form of vinyl for wet locations, such as bathrooms. Sheet vinyl is normally installed with a glue-down bond, although there are some forms that are installed with just a perimeter bond.
  • Resilient vinyl tiles: This product is largely the same as sheet vinyl, except it is sold in boxes of square pieces, which are either glued down with troweled-on adhesive or by a pre-applied adhesive exposed when a peel-off backing is removed.
  • Luxury vinyl: This is quite a different material, a thicker, semi-rigid form of flooring that is manufactured in either long planks (known as LVP, or luxury vinyl planks) or tiles (known as LVT, or luxury vinyl tiles). Marketed as rigid-core vinyl by some manufacturers, these products are made with relatively thick layers that give the flooring some rigidity. Either way, luxury vinyl tiles or planks are usually floating floors that snap together at the edges and rest over an underlayment with no glue-down bond. Of all the forms of vinyl flooring, this is the most prestigious, and in the right application, it can actually add real estate value to a home. The plank forms generally are manufactured to resemble wood, while the tile forms are made to resemble ceramic or stone tile.

UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE IN MATERIALS

There are various types of vinyl flooring and each provide different benefits to home and business owners. Vinyl plank flooring provides the look and feel of hardwood without the cost, as well as its durability and stain resistance ability. Vinyl tile flooring is assembled piece by piece, making it even easier to replace one if damage occurs. This saves you money down the road. The last type of vinyl flooring product out there is vinyl sheet flooring. Your flooring expert will roll out a single sheet of LVT in the specified room and glue down the material. Vinyl sheet flooring is perfect for bathrooms and kitchens because it doesn’t contain any seams, reducing the amount of moisture underneath the material.

While one may think all flooring is the same, that’s not the case. The thicker the vinyl flooring material, the more durable and long-lasting it will be. For example, thicker vinyl flooring could last you over 25 years while thin vinyl flooring material will last you between 5 to 10 years total. Both of these ranges include normal foot traffic, which shows you just how important it is to purchase quality flooring materials from your flooring manufacturer.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Luxury Vinyl Flooring Contractor

Once you have identified promising commercial flooring contractors via your research, ask them the following questions:

  1. Are you properly insured? In the event that something goes awry during the flooring installation — whether with the installation itself, damage to the surrounding area, or injury — the insurance the flooring installer has for his or herself, any employees or subcontractors should cover these issues. If the flooring contractor you select does not have insurance, you may be responsible for covering any costs.
  2. How long have you been installing luxury vinyl flooring and can you provide references? The installation of luxury vinyl flooring requires a different skillset than other types of flooring installations. Ensure the flooring installer you hire has the experience needed by asking him or her to provide references as well as a list of luxury vinyl flooring installation projects he or she has done, ideally accompanied by photos. If the projects are within driving distance, you may even be able to visit them.
  3. How much experience do you have with luxury vinyl flooring installations that require signifigant subflooring preparation? Although luxury vinyl flooring itself is fairly easy to install, proper subfloor preparation is crucial regarding the longevity of the vinyl flooring. Renovation projects are more likely to have imperfect subfloors compared to new construction, so the ideal commercial flooring installer knows how to evaluate their condition and make them suitable prior to installing the luxury vinyl flooring.
  4. When bidding for a project do you include subfloor preparation costs? Usually commercial flooring contractors estimate projects based on a set of drawings and therefore cannot properly factor in any needed subfloor preparation without seeing the space in person. When looking at bids, only compare the estimates without any subflooring preparation costs so that you are able to compare apples to apples. By excluding the prep costs, you can compare simply the material and labor costs first and then evaluate the subfloor prep costs as a separate bid once the contractor is on site.
  5. How soon in the construction process do you recommend beginning the luxury vinyl flooring installation? It is highly advised to refrain from installing the flooring until there is a permanent working HVAC system and the windows are installed. Flooring should also be among the last finish items installed prior to furnishings being brought in so that damage from other trades fitting out the space is avoided or minimized.
  6. What is the estimated timing for installation? Based on the construction timeline, the flooring contractor should be able to provide you with an approximate installation date as well as a date for when furniture can be delivered. By reading the flooring manufacturer’s installation manual, the flooring contractor will know when furniture can be put on the floor without damaging it. For example, Parterre Flooring Systems recommends a minimum of 24 hours without foot traffic and a minimum of 72 hours without heavy or rolling traffic for our 3mm products.
  7. How will clean-up be handled? To ensure that your space is clean and organized after installation, ask the flooring installer if they will be responsible for disposing of any flooring remnants and cleaning the flooring surface prior to leaving. You may also want to ask if floor protection will be provided, as some commercial flooring installers put down heavy duty craft paper, like Ram Board, to protect the flooring until the space is ready for grand opening. Doing so minimizes the risk of damage from tradespeople who may come in after the flooring has been installed, such as paint spatters or tracking in dirt or debris.
  8. Do you offer a warranty or extended warranty? Typically the luxury vinyl flooring you purchase comes with a limited manufacturer warranty. Aside from the product warranty, most commercial flooring contractors offer a one-year warranty that covers their installation, though some offer extended warranties. You’ll want to know what warranties they offer and what exactly is covered by them.
  9. Can you work on multiple projects simultanously? If you have more than one flooring installation happening at once, being able to consult one contact for all your projects will help to simplify the process. Having a commercial flooring installer who has additional branches of their own business or can recommend another installer will save you time and possibly money.
  10. What is the payment schedule? To know what to expect, you’ll want to be aware of the flooring contractor’s payment schedule ahead of time. Knowing whether a deposit is required prior to installation, as well as when final payment is due, will help you budget properly.
  11. What are my responsibilities? Ask what the flooring contractor expects you to do in order to be able to efficiently install the luxury vinyl flooring. You may have to move furnishings and other materials in and out of the project area unless the contractor is willing to do so for an additional fee.

The Need For Garbage Disposal Management

Even the Best Garbage Disposal Clogs Up Sometimes – What Do You Do?

Garbage disposals are a lifesaver. It gets rid of your whole household’s unwanted leftovers, peels, and stale or expired food. It’s one of those things that you just know would be there, one that you expect to work. Most of the time we take them for granted. That is, until it tries to win back our attention by getting clogged or worse, refusing to work!

Before this happens and causes a disaster, it is just more logical to make sure your garbage disposal is in tiptop shape, all the time. Here are some tips to help you keep them so:

  • Run the garbage disposal regularly, even if there’s nothing to grind. Just turn on your water and run the garbage disposal to keep the parts moving. If you forget to do this, your disposal could freeze, rust, or even corrode. Another possibility is that those leftover debris inside can harden. This will result to foul odours and clogs, too.
  • Let your disposal run longer even after it has finished grinding up garbage. Just keep the water and the disposal running for about a minute or two after it does its job to ensure everything has been flushed out to prevent any clogs in the future. It will also be beneficial if you just run cold water with a bit of dish soap down the drain to help clean it out thoroughly and remove any stink.
  • Make sure you use cold water, not hot, when you use your garbage disposal. It is true that hot water is great for cleaning and disinfecting most things. Unfortunately it does not work as well with garbage disposals. Why? It melts food that is supposed to be ground, making waste cling to the sides. In contrast, cold water hardens food and makes them easier to grind up and be pushed out.
  • Cut up waste into smaller pieces. Yes we hear your sighs. But it’s only logical to do so. Your garbage disposal has limitations and its motor and blades could only grind so much. Do not expect for it to work like a monster that would just gulp down large chunks and not be bothered at all. Go easy on it a bit by cutting your waste into ‘bite size’ pieces. That is, if you want to keep your garbage disposal longer and do not want to deal with a jammed or clogged disposal sooner or later.
  • Do not put grease or oil, potato peels, big bones, glass, metal, plastic, or paper , and expandable foods. These things can easily clog your garbage disposal.

How Garbage Disposals Benefit the Environment

One thing that is clear: tossing your leftovers in the garbage disposal is better than tossing it in the trash.

There’s no denying that disposals help reduce the amount of trash that winds up in landfills. Instead of being tossed in the trash, the humble garbage disposal grinds up the food into tiny bits that can be sent down the drain to be treated at a wastewater facility. In an instant, disposals remove food waste and keep smells from hanging around the house until garbage day.

Of course, to be effective, the disposal must be used properly. Unless you want to call Roto-Rooter every other month to fix your disposal, you need to ensure that you only put appropriate food items down the disposal. Fibrous foods, fruit pits, potato peels, grease and bones should never be put down the disposal.

Garbage disposals are the next best thing when you don’t have a way to compost your waste. The appliance helps reduce waste in landfills, but there are concerns.

Will A Garbage Disposal Clog My Pipes?

NO. A garbage disposal which is used properly will not clog your pipes. However, the key to making sure that your garbage disposal doesn’t clog your pipes requires proper installation and then usage that is compliant with your particular model. Before you install any kind of garbage disposal, you have to make sure that the drainage pipes are clear in the first place.

This is why a garbage disposal should always be installed by a professional plumber. They can check for preexisting clogs and also clear them out. Remember, a garbage disposal is supposed to be a convenience, not a nuisance. There is nothing like installing a new garbage disposal and then have it clog your pipes simply because you did not check the pipes first.

The next part of using a garbage disposal and making sure that it won’t clog your pipes is that you need to only put food particles down the drain that you feel will wash away down a sewage system. Even the most powerful garbage disposer is only capable of so much. So if you have a household garbage disposer, you need to treat it with some respect. You have to remember that anything you put down your garbage disposal will travel though your drainage pipes and ultimately need to clear them. This is why it is so important to only put food particles that can be liquefied into your garbage disposal so that any food waste that you have will reach its final destination.

Clogged pipes from a garbage disposal are totally avoidable if you follow a few simple rules. If you buy a home, make sure the pipes are unclogged from the previous owner. Make sure that you also buy a garbage disposal that is the right horse power for your situation, and then use it properly.

Garbage Disposal Use and Maintenance:

Garbage disposals should not be the place where you dump grease. This is not the place to dump your excess fat or grease from frying meat.  These items have a tendency to plug up the drain line and are sure to cause problems with the disposal. Simply collect the grease in a bowl or Ziploc baggie and dispose of it elsewhere.

Run plenty of COLD water while you are using the disposal to eliminate food wastes. If you are using it to eliminate 1 pound or more of food waste, you must plug the drain first. Fill the sink with 1/4 of the way full with cold water. Pull the drain plug out and turn the disposal on. This should thoroughly wash the drain line free of any garbage that might cause a problem. Be sure to avoid using hot water on a regular basis, because this could cause unwanted problems.

Troubleshooting Garbage Disposal Problems

Garbage Disposal Not Working, No Noise

If the garbage disposal doesn’t do anything—meaning it doesn’t hum or make a sound—it probably isn’t receiving power.

Look for a garbage disposal reset button on the underside of the disposal and press this reset button. This simple touch may be all that’s needed to get it running again.

If that doesn’t do the trick, determine whether your disposal is plugged into an electrical receptacle under the sink or hard-wired (directly connected) to an electrical box there.

If your disposal is the plug-in type, unplug the disposal from its electrical outlet and test the outlet with another appliance, such as a hair dryer. If the outlet doesn’t work with another device, go to the circuit breaker panel and reset the circuit breaker that serves the disposal. This breaker is often on the same circuit used by the dishwasher. Reset it by turning it all of the way off and then back on.

If your disposal is hardwired to an electrical box, go straight to the circuit breaker panel and reset the breaker the same way.

Garbage Disposal Hums or Is Jammed

You’ll know your disposal is jammed or clogged when the motor hums but the disposal doesn’t grind, is overly noisy, or runs and then stops before you turn it off.  Don’t continue to run the disposal when it’s jammed—this can burn out the motor.

Even when jammed, a disposal will usually drain.

The jam is often caused by a piece of bone, a fruit pit, or something similar stuck between an impeller blade and the drain hole.

Be sure to unplug the disposal or turn off the electrical circuit that powers it before making any repairs.

If the motor has burned out, you’ll need to replace the disposal. Amazon has some great deals on garbage disposals. Also please see the HomeTips Garbage Disposals Buying Guide for useful buying tips and advice.

To clear a jammed disposal:

1 Unplug the unit or turn off the circuit breaker that serves it.

2 Under the sink, look at the bottom of the disposal for a hex-shaped hole. If you see one, find a 1/4-inch hex wrench that fits the hole (often there is one attached to the disposal).

Fit the hex wrench into the hole, and force it back and forth a few times to free the impellers. (Note: Some models have a reversing switch that accomplishes the same action.)

3 If your disposal doesn’t have a hex hole or you can’t find a hex wrench, put a short broom stick into the disposal (with the with the power disconnected!), force it down against one of the blades, and try to rotate the impeller back and forth.

4 If something has been put in the disposal that shouldn’t have—such as metal, rubber, glass, or fibrous food waste such as artichoke leaves or banana peels—use tongs or pliers to pull the material out. Never use your hand.

5 You may have to remove the disposal to clear a jam. In some situations, this is easier to do than it might sound.

How To Properly Install An New Electric Circuits

Thinking of upgrading your electrical panel or service? Some things you should know.

What Is an Electrical Circuit Overload and How Can I Prevent It?

Electrical circuit overloads happen when more amperage is transferred across an electrical wire than the circuit can handle. For example, if you plug a laser printer into the same outlet as your computer tower, and the circuit doesn’t have enough amperage to support both devices, the circuit breaker will be tripped. A tripped circuit breaker cuts power to all devices using that circuit and brings productivity to a halt.

In order to avoid overloading your circuits and the possibility of electrical fires, outlets and wiring should be upgraded to have sufficient electrical capacity. Let the licensed professionals update and install the right circuits in your home or business today.

How to Update your Electrical System?

  • The first step is to upgrade your panel by bringing more power from the utility to your home. You can replace the existing meter and circuit breakers to allow it to handle more power or replace an electrical panel or circuit breakers that are obsolete, damaged or dangerous. Doing this enables your electrical system to have more power to distribute without affecting the wiring inside the home.
  • The second step includes adding extra circuits that can distribute the power to your rooms and appliances.
  • Updating the system may also include adding new electrical outlets and replacing the used cable, old cable wires and receptacles.

Do I Need To Upgrade My Electrical Panel?

To learn about the capacity of your current breaker panel, look on the inside. There will be a tag, usually, on the door, that will list maximum voltage, current and power dissipation capability for the panel and busses. Most breaker boxes are 100, 150 or 200 amps. The average home typically requires 200 amp panels to fully operate all of your appliances and meet your electrical needs.

If you answered yes to our questions above, or find that your current panel doesn’t meet modern home electricity requirements, you may decide it’s time for an upgrade.

Tips for Upgrading the Electrical System in Your Home

The average cost of a complete wiring upgrade can range anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 for medium to large homes (those from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet). This includes the opening of walls, installing the wiring, switches, and outlets, then closing the walls back up. The bill might deter you at first, but there are well-supported reasons to make the investment. This guide will offer essential tips when considering a complete electrical upgrade.

Consult With the Professionals

First things first. The level of electricity running throughout your home has the power to kill or injure you. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there were 136 fatal and 2,210 non-fatal electrical injuries among electricians in the workplace in 2017. If there is a risk for trained professionals, then there is certainly a risk for the noble DIYer.

Professional licensed electricians will be well versed in compliance with the National Electrical Code (NEC) as well any local code requirements and restrictions. They can better help you devise the best plan for upgrading your electrical wiring. You can find a comprehensive breakdown of the NEC here.

GFCIs Are Crucial for a Safe Home

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)—also known as residual current devices (RCDs)—are currently required by the NEC to be installed in outlets that run along your kitchen and bathroom countertops and in unfinished basements. This safety precaution is intended to protect against home electrocution in areas most likely to house electrical appliances that share close proximity to water.

These requirements were not always mandatory. If your home is older and has not had an electrical wiring upgrade, then you should consider bringing it up to code. Installing GFCIs is a task that requires electrical experience, so ensure you are well versed in what’s involved if you are considering doing the upgrade on your own. Keep in mind that this may require the installation of new circuit breakers in your electrical panel, a task best left to the professionals.

Upgrade Your Electrical Panel and Service

Older homes, those built more than 30 to 40 years ago, were designed to use an electrical service ranging from 30 to 50 amps of power. But today, a central air conditioning unit alone can require up to 200 amps to operate. The fact is clear that many older homes are simply not properly outfitted for the electrical demands of modern life.

An obsolete electric system is not only a frustration—as lights flicker and the breaker trips more frequently than is pleasant—but it is also a safety hazard. Between 2012 and 2016, electrical failures and malfunctions were the second leading cause of all reported house fires.

If you are experiencing any strange noises coming from your panel, burning odors near outlets, having circuit breaker trips more than once a month, or if your lights flicker and dim to compensate when you turn on the vacuum, you should seriously consider upgrading your electrical panel as part of your electrical wiring upgrade.

Consider Structured Wiring

Smart home technology has become commonplace as costs drop and tech advances. Keeping up with the trend, homeowners are increasingly connecting their flat-screen TVs, internet service, home security system, phones, and appliances through a fully-integrated smart home ecosystem. While many connected home devices connect wirelessly through Wi-Fi, many will continue to require hard-wired (and more secure) Ethernet connections. That’s why structured wiring and structured media enclosures have become standard fare in most new homes.

Properly outfitted with the right low-voltage wiring, networking cables, and high-capacity coaxial wiring, you can ensure connected devices are accessible from every room of the house as well as remotely. If you are interested in preparing your home for the connectivity of the future, you should consider running structured wiring throughout your home in tandem with a central structured media enclosure.

Getting the Right Size Service for your Home

The EC should quickly be able to tell you what size service you will need. Here are some examples for your reference:

  1. Home 1. The home is 2000 square feet, all gas appliances, with heating. This home would need a 60 amp service.
  2. Home 2. The home is 2000 square feet, all electric appliances, with heating. This home needs a minimum of 200 amps.

If you believe that your home needs a service upgrade, then you should know that cost difference between a 100, 200 and 400 amp size service panel are negligible. So, you need not worry about breaking the bank by installing a larger service panel.