Drinking Water Testing Safety Facts Revealed

Air Quality and Water Testing

Mold isn’t a bad word.Every home has mold and without it the world wouldn’t be habitable for humans or animals. Mold only becomes a problem when there is too much of it,when it causes problems for your health,or when it is unsightly and causing damage to property.

This is where mold testing comes in.Take a look at this simple guide to mold testing to determine if you need mold testing,and what kind of testing best suits your needs

Residential inspection offers Air quality testing and water testing. is a full service environmental analytical laboratory, specializing in mold analysis, servicing home inspectors and mold testing professionals nationwide

unique and distinguished by offering the Mold|Safe Accuracy Guarantee, the only mold warranty in the country. The Accuracy Guarantee covers up to $3,000 for remediation of any visible mold for 90 days after an inspection when the inspection report indicates no visible mold or problematic mold counts in the air.

offers the long-sought after assurance by home and mold inspectors that home buyers, home sellers, and real estate agents can rely on to ensure they are getting a problem free property.

Well Water Testing

Prior to purchasing a home with a well, it’s important to have the well tested to make sure it’s in good condition. It’s also important to test the water that comes from the well to ensure it’s safe for human consumption

Home Inspections can provide you with well inspection services, including water quality testing services. We’ve been providing people throughout the state with well water inspections for more than a decade, and we have the experience it takes to spot potential problems during well water testing and inspection.

The water well inspectors from Home Inspections typically begin by performing load tests on a well. This helps us determine if a well is experiencing any issues with regard to water pressure, water flow or recovery. We’ll also examine the individual components within the well to ensure they’re operating properly. Following the inspection, we can provide suggestions for any repairs that might need to be made to the well, either now or at some point in the future.

Water Quality Testing

If your family gets drinking water from a private well, do you know if your water is safe to drink? What health risks could you and your family face? Where can you go for help or advice? The EPA regulates public water systems; it does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells

Approximately 15% of Americans rely on their own private drinking water supplies, and these supplies are not subject to EPA standards, although some state and local governments do set rules to protect users of these wells. Unlike public drinking water systems serving many people, they do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent to the tap. These households must take special precautions to ensure the protection and maintenance of their drinking water supplies.

What does the testing cover?













Source Lead



Arsenic, Uranium, Coliform, E.Coli, Nitrates, Nitrites, pH, Chloride, Hardness, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Source Lead, Fluoride Water Testing.

Should I test my water quality?

When you make an offer to purchase a house with a private well, perform a test to analyze water quality. Make your contract contingent on obtaining the desired test results. Use a state-certified laboratory, and if you are allowed to draw water samples yourself, be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

The EPA recommends that you test well water annually for nitrates and coliform bacteria, but the lab may suggest additional tests important for your specific property or region

Such as:

Testing for pesticides if the home is built on the site of an old orchard or farm.

Testing for volatile organic chemicals if an oil tank is buried on the property, or if commercial storage tanks are buried nearby.

Testing for lead if the home has lead pipes.

Lead tests are important for homes with public water, too, since contamination occurs after the water enters the plumbing.

The results of your water tests might show contaminants that are offensive, but not health risks. The lab can advise you about the differences between that type of contaminant and dangerous contaminants, and their possible sources. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as it takes to answer all of your concerns.

Water Testing for Private Wells and Springs

Homes in different areas obtain water from different sources: a home within the city limits may draw water from a municipal source, while homes in rural areas often obtain water from a well or spring. Water taken from a municipal system is usually monitored closely by the municipality for various bacteria and contaminants. If the bacteria count reaches a certain level due to spring runoff, heavy rains or a heat wave that explodes the bacteria count, a “boil water advisory” is issued.

People in rural areas do not have the luxury of continuous monitoring of their water source. Their water may be contaminated in a number of ways: agricultural runoff can deliver pesticides, nitrogen and coliform bacteria to their well, rodents may find their way into the well or spring, or colonies of insects may set up camp in their water source.

That depends upon several factors.

If the home will be financed with an FHA or VA loan, the lender will most likely require a Standard Scan or an FHA Scan at the very least. The FHA Scan tests for coliform, lead, nitrates and nitrites. However, it may be best to order a more complete water test if you have any concerns about nearby sources of water contamination

Ask yourself if you have any concerns about the water source as it relates to it’s proximity to agricultural areas, major highways that are heavily salted in winter, gas stations, industrial facilities, landfills, and the home’s septic system. Water can become contaminated with bacteria, e coli, and any number of heavy metals and industrial pollutants if the water source is near any of these influences.

Another concern may be the material used in the plumbing system of the home: some of the water distribution piping in the home may be made of lead, which could contribute to elevated levels of lead in the drinking water. Ask your home inspector to identify the plumbing materials in the home, including the main water inlet, to determine if lead contamination may be a concern.

Principles Of Accounting And Accountant Assumptions

Discovering the 4 Types of Accounting

Multiple types of accounting careers exist within the financial industry, with each performing a differing range of functions. Branches of accounting vary based on the employment setting, range of responsibilities and daily activities, types of available advancement, and other factors. This article will break down various types of accounting and their careers into four broad categories. Though different professional accounting sources may divide accounting careers into different categories, the four types listed here reflect the accounting roles commonly available throughout the profession. These four branches include corporate, public, government, and forensic accounting. An undergraduate degree is most often required for any accounting career, while previous master’s work, especially in the accounting field, is often strongly preferred. Below, we’ll explore the nuances of each common area of accounting.

Corporate Accounting

Overview: According to a summary published by AccountingTools.com, corporate accounting involves the use, handling, and filing of a company’s financial data often for the purpose of external reporting and tax compliance. To accomplish their role, corporate accountants must be well apprised of certain widely held accounting methodologies to maintain accurate records and to keep their financial and tax submissions in compliance with appropriate rules, regulations, and standards. A few of these common types of accounting principles, standards, and procedures include Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

Jobs Possible: The types of jobs in which someone might be involved in corporate accounting often involve external reporting. This could include working with the financial statements a corporation or preparing their tax filings. Executive positions such as financial controllers, analysts, and Chief Financial Officers (CFO’s) are also considered financial accounting roles. Many traditional financial accounting positions include managerial responsibilities.

Public Accounting

Overview: Public accountants work with external clients, most often companies, corporations, or individuals. Their responsibility to clients is to help ensure their financial statements, records, and filings are accurate. Public accountants often work closely with tax regulations and financial reporting and must maintain an up-to-date knowledge of both GAAP and the tax code. They must also understand, and be able to apply, industry-standard accounting frameworks and best practices. Public accountants must possess strong problem-solving skills and attention to detail. Excellent people skills are also key, to effectively interact with clients.

Jobs Possible: Public accounting positions are found in public accounting firms that serve external clients. Clientele could range from small local firms that serve individuals and small businesses to international corporate conglomerates that serve multi-billion-dollar companies. Public accountants can advance into management positions at a team or company-wide level, depending on the nature of the firm. Public accounting work can also often lead to leadership positions within their firms.

Government Accounting

Overview: Government accountants work within the context of local, state, or federal government entities. They often work within frameworks that differ from those employed by public accountants. Government accountants are also often more strictly vetted, and in some positions will be responsible for keeping privileged or confidential information.

Jobs Possible: Government financial professionals perform a wide range of duties. They might audit private documentation or tax submissions, maintain the financial records of government branches or bodies, or manage government resources. OneWire Resources, a resource for financial professionals, warns that government positions may not be as highly compensated as comparable positions in the private sector. However, government positions offer certain perks and advantages that can offset lower earning power. According to a comparison by Monster.com, government jobs often offer substantially better educational, insurance, healthcare, and retirement benefits than many civilian jobs.

Forensic Accounting

Overview: Forensic accounting refers to a branch of accounting that collects, recovers, and reconstructs financial data when it is difficult or impossible to obtain. In addition to understanding accounting principles and practices, forensic accountants must be resourceful, creative, and able to solve often-complex problems. A sample job listing for a forensic accountant from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stresses the importance of collaboration, communication, and investigative skills. Previous coursework in law, or related experience, is also often attractive to potential employers in this field.

Jobs Possible: Forensic accounting positions can vary widely. Some forensic accountants are employed by larger law firms while others are employed by legislative entities. Government agencies including the FBI, the IRS, and beyond also employ forensic accountants. Still, other forensic accounting professionals prefer to be self-employed and work on a contract basis for corporations, insurance companies, and other private entities.

An accounting professional may choose from a wide range of employment scenarios and desired amenities to match their ideal career situation. Options include fast-paced positions that change often and may feature significant travel, to more standard positions that provide stable working conditions and responsibilities. Career choices may include roles that require significant teamwork and interpersonal interaction to positions that are primarily data-oriented which might require minimal outside personal contact.

Industry & commerce

The success of an industrial or commercial concern is very much tied up with economics, i.e. budgeting, cash flow, cost control and accounting systems.

Director, company secretary, chief accountant, chief executive, financial adviser, management accountant and internal auditor are just a few of the possible job titles for accountants in industry or commerce.

Accountants in industry form an important part of the management team. Sophisticated computer systems are widely used to store and analyse financial information quickly and accurately.


This area is concerned with keeping records of monetary transactions. Tasks include the setting up and supervision of a firm’s internal audit, preparing the accounts and reports for directors, protecting the firm’s assets and investments, and preparing share prospectuses in order to raise new capital. Wages, salaries, taxation, expenditure and invoices are also handled in this section.


Budgetary control, forecasting needs and expenditure monitoring are the main tasks. The work may also include analysing and comparing costs, explaining financial information to non-financial managers and preparing management reports.

To cost a job, service or operation, calculations must include a price element covering labour, materials, machinery, buildings and fuel.


Treasury management involves sophisticated financial housekeeping; for instance, ensuring the best borrowing rates, keeping stock-piling and debts to a minimum, streamlining invoicing procedures and investing the firm’s money. Tax management and pension fund management can also be separate jobs.

Accountants trained in industry and commerce can do similar work in public services (e.g. local or national government) or move sideways into fields such as management consultancy.

How Financial Accounting Differs From Managerial Accounting

Financial accounting and managerial accounting are two of the four largest branches of the accounting discipline (tax accounting and auditing are the others). Despite many similarities in approach and usage, there are significant differences between the two. These differences center around compliance, accounting standards, and target audiences.

Main Objectives of Both Accounting Practices

The main objective of managerial accounting is to produce useful information for a company’s internal use. Business managers collect information that encourages strategic planning, helps them set realistic goals, and encourages an efficient directing of company resources.

Financial accounting has some internal uses as well, but it is much more concerned with informing those outside of a company. The final accounts or financial statements produced through financial accounting are designed to disclose the firm’s business performance and financial health. If managerial accounting is created for a company’s management, financial accounting is created for its investors, creditors, and industry regulators.

Past and Present Use

The information created through financial accounting is entirely historical; financial statements contain data for a defined period of time. Managerial accounting looks at past performance and creates business forecasts. Business decisions should be informed by this type of accounting.

Investors and creditors often use financial statements to create forecasts of their own. In this way, financial accounting is not entirely backward-looking. Nevertheless, no future forecasting is allowed in the statements.

Understanding an Accounting Method

All businesses need to keep accounting records. Public companies are required to do so. Accounting allows a business to monitor every aspect of its finances, from revenues to costs to taxes and more. Without accurate accounting, a business would not know where it stood financially, most likely resulting in its demise.

Accounting is also needed to pay accurate taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If the IRS ever conducts an audit on a company, it looks at a company’s accounting records and methods. Furthermore, the IRS requires taxpayers to choose an accounting method that accurately reflects their income and to be consistent in their choice of accounting method from year to year.

This is because switching between methods would potentially allow a company to manipulate revenue to minimize their tax burdens. As such, IRS approval is required to change methods. Companies may use a hybrid of the two methods, which is allowable under IRS rules if specified requirements are met.

Cash Accounting

If you’re a business owner, adopting the cash accounting enables you to focus only on corporate transactions involving cash. Other economic events — those with no monetary input — don’t matter because they don’t make it into financial statements. Under the cash accounting method, a corporate bookkeeper always debits or credits the cash account in each journal entry, depending on the transaction. To record customer remittances, for example, the bookkeeper debits the cash account and credits the sales revenue account. Don’t mistake an accounting cash debit for a banking debit. The former means an increase in company money, whereas the latter reduces funds in a client’s account.

Accrual Accounting

Under the accrual method of accounting, a company records all transactional data, regardless of monetary inflows or outflows. In other words, this accounting type incorporates the cash accounting method, but goes beyond it to take into account all transactions making up a corporation’s operating activities. In a financial dictionary, “accruing” means accumulating an item and recording it as legally binding even though no cash payment takes place. The phrases “accounts payable” and “accounts receivable” perfectly illustrate the concept of accrual. Accounts payable — also known as vendor payables — represent money a business owes vendors at a given point in time. The entity accrues the payables until it settles the underlying debts. The same analysis applies to customer receivables — the other name for accounts receivable — which represents money clients owe a business.

Upholstery Cleaning Before The Holiday Season

Steam Cleaning Upholstered Furniture

Steam cleaners remove stains, imbedded dirt and odors from most upholstered furniture, and at the right temperature, they can also disinfect sofas, chairs and ottomans. A steam cleaner relies on hot water rather than chemicals or scented shampoos, making it ideal for a wide range of fabrics and for people sensitive to fragrance. Don’t steam-clean upholstery that is sensitive to water, including leather, and always check the furniture’s care tag for specific cleaning recommendations.

Get the Right Equipment

A subpar steam cleaner makes little difference in the cleanliness and appearance of upholstery, but a unit with an upholstery attachment with stiff bristles gently scrubs the upholstery, loosening dirt and stains quickly. A medium- to large-size tank reduces refill trips, saving time; a 48-ounce tank lasts approximately 45 minutes with continuous steaming, while a small 6-ounce tank runs out in as few as 10 minutes. If a smaller unit is your only option, choose a steam cleaner that heats quickly. The temperature achieved by the device is also important: A cheap steam cleaner that only heats water to a relatively tepid temperature won’t loosen dirt as effectively or disinfect the upholstery. A steam cleaner should reach at least 158 degrees Fahrenheit to sanitize upholstery and 212 degrees to disinfect.

Vacuuming and Pretreating

Vacuum the furniture thoroughly with a soft-bristle attachment before cleaning to give the steam cleaner a head start. Pretreating stains also leads to the best results. Plain vodka removes many food stains as well as grass and ink spots, while mild detergent and water remove coffee and some fatty stains, such as those caused by cheese. Use a dry cleaning solvent on more stubborn stains. Test your chosen spot treatment in a hidden area before tackling the actual stain; not all fabrics stand up well to stain removers, and certain products may cause lightening or discoloration.

Steam Cleaning Tips

Read the directions provided by the steam cleaner manufacturer thoroughly before starting. Work your way from the top of the furniture down and spend ample time on each section. A quick once-over won’t remove dirt and stains effectively, nor disinfect the upholstery. Spend at least 1 minute per section for the best results, and up to 5 minutes per section if your steam cleaner only reaches a lower heat. Don’t add shampoo or upholstery cleaner to the tank. A traditional steam cleaner isn’t outfitted with a rinsing tank, and any shampoo will remain in the upholstery. When you’re finished, refrain from sitting on or using the furniture until it’s completely dry. Speed up the process by opening windows or setting up a box fan in the room.

Benefits of Professional Steam Cleaners

When faced with excessively dirty upholstery, hiring a professional is in the best interest of your furniture. Professional steam-cleaning companies utilize industrial-strength equipment that remove even the toughest of stains, and the technician’s experience ensures that he or she doesn’t damage the upholstery in the process. Keep your upholstery clean by steam-cleaning on your own annually, and hire a professional every other year for a deep cleaning. Depending on your lifestyle and the condition of your furniture, you may be able to do this less often or invest in yearly professional cleanings. While steam-cleaning is one of the best ways to make your furniture last for several years, over-cleaning breaks down the fabric and the dyes, wearing the upholstery out quickly. Steam-clean only when it’s necessary and keep furniture in top shape by vacuuming once a week and cleaning stains immediately with a spot remover.


Furniture stains are very unsightly and can take away from the aesthetic of even the most well designed room. Although spills are inevitable and sometimes unavoidable, they don’t always have to stain. With proper spot cleaning and routine maintenance, you can prevent unsightly stains and keep your upholstery looking and feeling like new for years to come. This brief guide will help you clean and maintain your upholstery to maintain its fresh new appearance.

Clean Spills Quickly

When someone spills coffee, soda, or red wine on your upholstered furniture, blot the spill immediately with a clean folded towel. Rubbing the spill will only cause the staining liquids to penetrate the fabric, so remember to blot gently. Before you use a mild cleaning product, test in an inconspicuous area to see if the cleaner has a negative reaction with the fabric

Vacuum Regularly

One important aspect of upholstery cleaning and maintenance is regular vacuuming. Vacuum your upholstered furniture weekly to remove surface soil and prevent dirt from becoming embedded into the fibers. If using a brush attachment, always use a soft bristled brush so you don’t snag and tear the fabric.

Turn Over Loose Cushions

You can greatly extend the life of your upholstered furniture by periodically turning over loose cushions. This easy maintenance step allows for an even distribution of wear and tear which helps the cushions maintain their shape and avoid looking dirty and worn.

Call a Professional

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification recommends having your upholstered furniture professional cleaned every one or two years. An upholstery cleaning company can remove stains and restore fabric so your furniture looks and feels like new.

Furniture Upholstery

The only downside to upholstery is what can happen when it comes into contact with liquids. Unlike solid surfaces, upholstery fabrics are vulnerable to spills and stains and, therefore, will inevitably require occasional cleaning and care. Savvy homeowners know that not all fabrics are alike. And even more importantly, they also know that this means not all fabrics can be treated the same.

To make it easier for our customers to care for their upholstered Gabby furniture, we classify all of our fabrics under one of four categories. These four cleaning codes explain the exact methods for achieving the best results when cleaning and caring for fabrics. Every one of our fabrics and samples are labeled with one of these four codes, so referencing care and cleaning instructions is a breeze.

Here is a quick look at our four cleaning codes for fabric care.

W: Standing for “water-based only,” this cleaning code is found on fabrics that should not be cleaned with solvents. Rather, these fabrics should be cleaned, but not over wet, with water-based shampoos or foam upholstery cleaners.

S: Fabrics labeled with this cleaning code are to be treated with dry-cleaning solvents. The most important thing to remember with this code is to not use water. You do not want to saturate or get these fabrics wet.

SW: This cleaning code is more lenient. Fabrics marked “SW” can be treated with shampoo or dry-cleaning solvents as you desire.

X: Certain fabrics should not be cleaned with water, solvents, or any other cleaners. Rather, it’s only recommended that these fabrics are vacuumed and brushed lightly.

All of our Choice Fabrics and Finishes, for instance, are cleaning code “S.” This collection features some of our most popular imported designs, now available with over 17 fabrics and 5 unique wood finishes to choose from for customized transitional-style seating. Homeowners and designers love using this collection to turn visions into fabulous designs with fabrics that enhance interiors and express personal style

There are a couple of other additional tips we always offer our customers. First, we recommend keeping all covers on cushions. They may have zippers, but we urge you never remove cushion covers to be separately laundered or dry-cleaned. We also carefully instruct customers to refrain from using bleach or any tumble method cleaning service. This may damage, shrink, or destroy the backing of upholstery fabrics. Finally, most of our pile fabrics – no matter the cleaning code – can be brushed to restore their original appearance.

Care & Cleaning

Spot cleaning

Treat spills and stains as soon as possible. Test on hidden area to ensure fabric and colour are not removed. Gently scrape any soil or mop any liquid from the surface of the fabric. Use of soap or detergent with water should be approached with caution since overzealous rinsing to remove soap residue may result in over-wetting, water marking and possible wetting of substructure (this may create other stains or damage products).

For non-oil-based stains use warm water and non-toilet soaps which do not contain optical brighteners (consider Velvet soap, Lux Flakes, Softly). Mix a small amount of soap and warm water solution and apply to the stain, rubbing gently. Blot dry with a clean towel. Apply cool water (preferably filtered or distilled water) and blot dry again. Then with a hair dryer, working out from the centre of the stain, dry quickly to prevent rings forming. It is generally preferable to clean whole panels of fabric in this way rather than trying to spot clean specific areas.

For oil-based stains following the same basic guidelines as above, apply a proprietary brand solvent based cleaner and try to clean generally in panels rather than spot cleaning specific areas. A helpful industry ‘secret’ for spot removal of oil based biro marks is by the application of conventional hair spray or Glen 20.

A First Aid Kit for Fabrics

To further enhance spot cleaning results, have introduced the Halo Fabric Care Kit which includes Halo spot cleaner for most household stains, Halo fabric deodoriser to help neutralise pet and general odours and Halo fabric protector to restore liquid repellency on fabric sections that have been spot cleaned

Professional fabric servicing

Fabrics recommend that water-based ‘Fluro chemical’ type fabric protectors be applied by licensed applicators only. Check your care label first to see if a mill-applied protection was incorporated during fabric manufacture. Fabric protectors do not eliminate the need for vacuuming, routine cleaning or proper care. They will, however, make spot cleaning and vacuuming quicker, easier and more efficient between professional cleans and keep your fabric looking cleaner longer, as well as extending its life. Professionals applying fabric protectors must always pre-test to qualify fabric suitability.


Extreme caution should be taken if considering treatment of velvets and pocket weaves with stain repellent products. Some high pile velvet and pocket weave jacquards may change in surface character if stain repellent treatments are incorrectly applied. Extra care should be taken to pre-test for these fabrics.

Upholstery Cleaning for All Furniture Types

Try as you may to protect your furniture, whether you have a house full of kids and animals or it’s just you alone, spills and stains are inevitable. And even if you are careful and manage to avoid big disasters and small spills, cleaning furniture thoroughly is an important task that many people forget about. In fact, you may not even realize how much bacteria and allergens have built up in your upholstery — and which could even be contributing negatively toward your health.

Because of all this, it’s crucial that you make sure to clean your couches and other furniture thoroughly and regularly. Professional upholstery cleanings are the best way to eradicate bacteria and allergens, but proper maintenance in between cleanings is also essential. Here is a guide to everything you need to know about furniture and upholstery cleaning for each type of furniture.

What is the Best Way to Clean a Fabric Sofa?

There are a few different ways to tackle a fabric sofa, some are things that you should do regularly, and some at larger intervals or when a spill occurs:

Dry brush

Sometimes removing dirt and crumbs can be as simple as using a dry brush to loosen and sweep it off. Be sure to lay down something to catch the debris, or vacuum after.


A vacuum also works wonders on a fabric couch. Without having to get into water and water-based solutions, you can utilize a hand-held vacuum to clean and get into the nooks and crannies.

Wash covers

The benefit of some fabric furniture is that it has covers that you can simply unzip and wash in a regular machine. If yours has these covers, be sure to check for the specific washing instructions for that material.

Use baking soda

Sprinkling baking soda over a fabric couch can be a great way to remove odors and loosen stains, before vacuuming it up. You can also create a solution for a deeper clean or spot clean, with equal parts baking soda and water. Take care using baking soda on some upholstered surfaces like microfiber and leather.

How to Maintain Leather Furniture

Many people love the durability of leather furniture, as well as the perception that it is easy to clean. However, a great deal of attention is required when you have leather furniture, as many of the most common upholstery cleaning products will break down leather finishes and could cause permanent damage.

Here are some tips for maintaining leather furniture:

Wipe up spills as quickly as possible

Be sure to use towels or cloths that are soft and absorbent to lessen the potential for scratching the leather.

Keep it away from sunlight and ventilation

Placement of your leather furniture is more important than you think. Things such as sunlight or being placed directly next to an air-conditioning vent can age the leather much quicker.

Things That Veterinarian Say That Drive Pet Owners Crazy

Questions to Ask Before Finding a New Veterinarian

Getting a new pet, or your first pet, is an exciting time. Getting to know your pet is one of the most enjoyable stages of the process of raising a pet. Especially with cats, as their natural curiosity and sudden feats of athleticism and energy are constant entertainment. Whether you’re adopting an adult cat or bringing home a kitten, you’re going to want to establish a relationship with a veterinarian.

Before you start to canvas your area for available pet hospitals and start asking questions to determine if they’re a fit, you first need to decide whether you want to choose a small practice or a large practice. The answer to this question will help you qualify the pet hospitals into a smaller groups. If you want your new kitten to see the same vet each-and-every visit, you’re going to want to select a smaller practice. With a big practice, you’re most likely going to see a handful of different vets during your various visits as your your kitten grows into a cat.

Never had a pet and don’t know which to pick? Think about your personal preference when you see your doctor. Do you like to see the same doctor every time that knows your personally or do you enjoy the technology and speed of a large clinic? You’ll likely want the same for your pet.

Once you’ve decided, you’ll be able to glean from the different pet hospitals websites whether or not they qualify as a small practices or a large one. Also, quickly factor in location. Decide how far you’re willing to travel in order to see the vet. Make a list of three or four that are the right size and distance for you and prepare to ask them the following questions.

What is the average wait time for appointments?

If earlier you decided to go with a smaller practice, you should expect the wait time to be a bit longer than if you went with a larger practice. It’s always advisable to take your cat into the vet for regular visits, which in those cases you’re be able to comfortably set those appointments well in advance.  But, unfortunately, more than likely your cat will have something come up that requires your vet’s attention. In those cases, it’s nice to have the peace of mind that your pet will get in front of an experienced vet within a couple days of calling for an appointment.

If your job makes it difficult to get away during standard hours, a related question you might want to ask is how difficult is it to obtain a weekend appointment. Some cat appointments will take you no longer than 15 minutes, in which a quick lunch-hour appointment will be doable. Others, however, can take close to an hour, which puts a strain on a cat owner with a strict working schedule.

How far is the office from your Home?

How far are you willing to go?  Many people will drive an hour or more to see a specific vet, but the majority of people want a veterinarian to be nearby, especially in the case of an emergency.

Did you know that the majority of dog owners will find a vet within 5 miles of their home? In fact, many people choose a vet solely on the basis of proximity to their home.

How much do they charge?

This is tricky and often a delicate topic, but it is important to you if finances are a priority.

You should also feel comfortable with the fee schedule.  Is it reasonable or do you feel the veterinarian is more interested in money than your dog.

When your dog will need a surgery or other procedure, it is worthwhile to ask for an itemized quote of charges so you can be prepared.  If you are given a set fee, be sure that it covers everything.

What is your AAHA accreditation?

The American Animal Hospital Association has standards of excellence, such as separate areas for quarantine, that offer an additional level of trust. Learn about a potential vet’s level of accreditation to decide if it meets your standards.

What about emergency and referral services?

If the worst happens, you need access to life-saving care. Practices often partner with other veterinary clinics to offer rotating 24-hour emergency services.

Do you have separate waiting areas for dogs and cats (or other critters)?

That can ease the stress level of your pet, and it might be a very important consideration for some owners.

Are they familiar with your particular breed?

It doesn’t mean that you won’t let them take care of your dog if they aren’t familiar with the breed; however, it does help to know if they’ve worked with other dogs of the same breed. Many pet owners actually look for this in a veterinarian. It’ll give you a lot of comfort in a way that your vet may have already encountered problems with the breed and may be able to anticipate issues or handle issues swiftly if they do come about. You can ask this question, but don’t hold it against your potential vet if they say no. It might be an opportunity for them to get to know your dog better, and in return, be able to provide better care for your pet.

How long have they been in practice?

The length of a veterinarian’s practice doesn’t necessarily reflect expertise, but in majority of cases, it just might. New practices will have many other things to get around to in order to get established, and in some ways, it might compromise the quality of care provided to your dog. Practices that have already been established for a long time are used to the back work required in running a clinic, and can therefore focus more on the animals themselves. Finding a practice that has been around for at least a couple of years should be fine, unless you’re confident and willing to work with a completely new veterinarian. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with supporting a new clinic, as long as you check credentials and make sure everything else is legit.

Do they specialize in large or small animals?

Specialization is quite important. You might not want to take your dog to a clinic that only specializes in smaller reptiles or the like. A good veterinarian will refer you to another vet that can handle your dog’s issues if they can’t, but that’s not always a guarantee. Most of the time, you’re better off finding a vet on your own that typically works with the type of animal you have. This will eliminate issues later on when your dog gets sick and you can’t figure out what’s wrong with him or her. Time is always sensitive matter when dealing with any type of dog sickness, so it’s imperative to have a veterinarian that’s used to the type of animal you may have.

How many doctors are in the practice?

It is important to not only know how many Veterinarians are in the practice, but also who they are. There may be times when your Veterinarian is out of the office and you will need to see another Veterinarian within the practice.

In addition to knowing who the other staff Veterinarians in the practice are, it is a good idea to inquire about any services they may or may not perform and if they see emergency cases when your Veterinarian is out of the office.

What are your payment options/package deals?

It’s good to know if your Veterinarian’s office offers any type of payment plans or if payment is due up front. This can help you to prepare for unexpected Vet bills.

And while most practices require payment at the time of service, many practices offer puppy and/or senior packages. Puppies require frequent veterinary care, which leads to higher than normal veterinary bills. To offset this expense, many practices offer puppy packages, which give you discounts on exams during your puppies vaccination series and/or bundled vaccine pricing.

As for our “young at heart” senior dogs, many practices will offer discounts on certain days for senior dogs or offer a senior package that mimics the puppy discount package with discounts on annual exams and testing. It’s just as important for your senior dog to have routine blood work tests as it is for a young dog.

Some Shocking Suggestions For Possums Control


Possums are protected wildlife under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 and it is illegal for an unauthorised person to trap or harm them. If you have tried to exclude a possum from your house but have had no success, contact a licensed pest control company to trap the possum, complete the exclusion work and re-release the possum on site.

Normally possums make their homes in tree hollows but if there aren’t any they will use any suitable dark place – and the space between the ceiling and roof of a house is a great spot. This is when possums can create havoc and many sleepless nights in your home.

Blocking the entry is the only way to guarantee that the possum will not return. If the possum is removed by trapping, its home site becomes vacant, ready for another possum to move in and the problem continues. Also, possums are strongly attached to their home site and will return to it over distances of up to five kilometres.

The Environment website provides information on living with possums, including:

their habits;

determining if possums have moved into your house – and how to block them out;

their removal by licensed pest control companies.

How To Get Rid of Possums

Many homeowners have found possums taking up residence in their attic, basement, garage or outbuilding much to their displeasure. The strong scent, urine and feces left behind by possums make them undesirable house guests. Often mistaken for “large, white rats” possums are generally harmless, preferring to runaway if possible or “playing possum” if need be.

How do I prevent possums from becoming a pest on my property?

Possums are always searching for a free meal. To prevent possums from getting a free meal from you, all outdoor trash cans should have tight fitting lids and outdoor pet food dishes should be removed at the end of every meal. Make sure all pet doors are secured each night, as possums have been known to enter homes to eat from indoor pet dishes.

Make sure possible entry points on the outside of your home have been secured. Check attic vents, chimney caps, loose fitting basement doors and broken windows. Use Stuf-Fit Copper mesh and Pur Black Foam to help seal any holes or gaps that could allow access. (Please read the Rodent Exclusion article for detailed tips and products to help make your home pest proof).

Possum-proof your yard. Get rid of any unnecessary debris such as fallen trees, deep leaf litter, unused cars or lawn equipment. Keep grass cut short and trim bushes up away from the soil to get rid of possible harborages. Trim tree branches that touch or hang over your home. Eliminate any accessible areas under sheds, outbuildings or porches by filling it in with rocks or blocking entry with hardware cloth.

Repellent products seem to have little to no effect on possums and must be applied in high concentrations, often. The smell from these repellents usually is very strong and the repellents themselves can be quite expensive.

How can I live happily with the possums on my property?

Brushtail and ringtail possums are both native marsupial species that have adapted well to urbanisation and are commonly found dwelling in Australian gardens.  Ringtail possums are a social species that build nests of bark and leaves called ‘drays’ in which they usually dwell as a family.  Brushtail possums are larger, more territorial possums that usually reside in tree hollows.  Both species of possum may occasionally take shelter in the roofs of houses.

Many households are fortunate to share their property with one or more possums however they can become a nuisance if they nest in roof spaces.  If you have possums residing in your roof you should provide them with an alternative home before attempting to evict them

The key steps are:

Place a nest box in a sheltered area of your property

If possible, locate the possum’s nest inside your roof and place this in the new possum-house to encourage the possum to move in. You can also put fruit near the house (half an apple or banana) to encourage investigation of the possum-house.

Take action to make the roof space unattractive to the possum. This can be done by spreading quassia chips in the roof space (alternatively place blocks of camphor in the roof cavity). Place a light in the roof cavity and keep it switched on.

When the possum has relocated to its new home, locate their entry point to your roof space and block off access.  Make sure none of the possums or any of their babies are in your roof before blocking off access.

Prune any tree branches that give the possums access to your roof

If these steps are unsuccessful and you need further assistance to remove and relocate the possums you will need to check the legal requirements for possum trapping with your state or territory government (see below). In some states and territories a license or permit is required.

Should I Get Rid of That Possum Carcass Myself, or No?

Q: What is the proper course of action for a young Texan of questionable self-reliance when a possum decides to crawl under her house, depart the earthly realm, and begin stinking to high heaven? Do you recommend the DIY method or calling in the professionals? The favor of a timely response would be greatly appreciated.

A: is not short on scrabbling critters. In addition to plentiful possums, there are also raccoons, rabbits, badgers, armadillos, skunks, squirrels, beavers, and porcupines, among many, many others. But it’s always the possums, and sometimes the raccoons, and occasionally the skunks, that seem to choose crawl spaces beneath the homes of undeserving Texans in which to expire.

No matter the specific creature, once this happens and the decomposition process ensues, it doesn’t take long for it to become pungently evident that there is a real problem at hand. At first, there is just a slight whiff of trouble. A hint. A homeowner might arrive from a hard day’s work, open the front door, and then, on the way to the fridge for the customary end-of-the-workday libation, pass through a faint odor that was not there when she left the house that morning

It’s dismissed as the stink of a full trashcan or, perhaps, flatulence from old Spot. But then, while the coffee is brewing the next morning, it hits you again. “Where is that smell coming from” you ask yourself? “Oh, well,” you say on the way out the door.

Very soon, though, within a day or so of that first trace of stench, the smell becomes unmistakable. When death comes a knocking, it does so with a fairly rapid crescendo. Tap-tap. Knock-knock-knock. Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound. Bam! Once the unsettling realization is made that something in your very immediate vicinity has croaked, and that the godawful smell shows no signs of dissipation, the harried race to find the source is on

Cluttered closets are checked. So are crowded cabinets, seldom used guest bedrooms, and the attic. Everywhere. “Could it be under the house,” you wonder? And then, as you approach the access point, it hits you like a carcass-filled dump truck. Sound familiar?

Backyard trapping

Trapping in your backyard has loads of benefits. It can help get rid of rats from your compost bin, save your roses and fruit trees from possums, but most importantly it can make your garden a safe place for our unique native wildlife to live and feed.

We have roughly estimated that having a trap in every 5th urban backyard is enough to create a safe environment for our native wildlife to flourish. Whatever your reason for getting involved, we want to help you get started in the most efficient, effective and humane way possible.

Identify what predators you have

It’s important to know what predators you’re targeting to ensure you use the right bait and trap. There are three easy ways to find out

1. Look for any signs of predator activity eg poo or teeth marks on fruit. is a great website for identifying pest poo if you aren’t too sure!

2. Teeth marks left on chew cards can help identify exactly which predators are paying you a visit. They also tell you where in your backyard the predators are visiting and good places to put a trap. You can buy packs of chew cards from our shop.

3. Tracking tunnels are another great way to identify predators. The predator walks through ink on a pad, leaving clear footprints you can use for identification.

Get a suitable trap

Once you know which predator you’re dealing with, it’s time to select your trap. Follow our best practice guide to find out what trap you’ll need. All the traps we sell are humane and meet NAWAC (National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee) standards.

Engine Rebuilding Salvage Title Cars

How to Increase Your Horsepower

Squeeze extra power from your vehicle’s engine.

Modern cars are quite fast right off the showroom floor, but that doesn’t stop many enthusiasts from trying to squeeze every bit of performance out of them. From mild to wild, there are a variety of ways to add some extra power to your vehicle. Here are some popular methods to increase your engine’s horsepower.

Cold Air Intake

Upgrading your vehicle’s intake is one of the easier methods for unlocking some extra horsepower. In fairness, factory intake setups are generally quite effective, but there are some cases where an engine will benefit from an aftermarket intake. These setups utilize a free-flowing air filter, allowing the engine to breathe easier. In order to function properly, an aftermarket air intake needs a proper heat shield; otherwise, it will suck hot air from the engine compartment, negating any performance gains.

Performance Exhaust

A performance exhaust is one of the most popular modifications for enthusiasts. Just like a performance intake, a performance exhaust is designed to flow better than a stock setup. Aftermarket exhausts are usually louder than stock but may also save a few pounds. Depending on your vehicle application, additional exhaust components (such as a downpipe or a set of headers) can maximize any exhaust system gains.


This is probably the most cost-effective way to add power to a modern car. When a manufacturer produces a vehicle, the ECU (engine control unit) is often tuned conservatively to allow for lower grade fuels and to minimize some of the stress on internal engine components.

Aftermarket software (also referred to as a “flash”) is designed to take full advantage of your engine by adjusting the ignition timing to smooth out power delivery (often requiring premium gasoline). Many turbocharged vehicles see considerable power gains from ECU tuning, as it also allows the turbocharger to produce more boost pressure, which equates to more power.

If you choose to go the software route, be sure to purchase from a reputable tuner, as engines are very sensitive to changes. Tunes are often available in “stages,” meaning you’ll need to select the tune that best suits your engine’s current configuration (stock vs. supporting modifications).

Forced Induction

If your vehicle’s engine is naturally aspirated, forced induction will provide some hefty power gains. Forced induction can come in the form of a turbocharger or a supercharger. Turbochargers generate power by using leftover exhaust gases to spin a turbine wheel, which forces more air into the engine. With more air, the engine can burn extra fuel to produce more power.

A supercharger works similarly to a turbocharger in that it forces more air into the engine. However, a supercharger is belt driven, so it requires some engine power to operate. The benefit of a supercharger is that it has an instantaneous response, whereas a turbocharger may have a bit of lag while it builds boost.

Since adding forced induction puts more strain on your vehicle’s engine and drivetrain, you may need supporting modifications, such as a heavier duty clutch or cooling system. This will vary by vehicle application, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Performance Engine Build

If you’re dead set on getting the most performance out of your existing engine, then you’ll need to deep dive into a performance engine build. This requires rebuilding the engine with performance parts such as beefed up cylinder heads, upgraded pistons, and a stroker crankshaft to name a few. If you’re not comfortable disassembling an engine, then this is best left to an experienced engine builder.

Engine Conversion

If you’ve run out of bolt-on power upgrades and don’t want to tear your existing engine apart to modify the internals, then an engine conversion may be the next logical step. This is not for the faint of heart, but swapping in a more powerful motor can be an effective way to increase your vehicle’s horsepower. Some engine swaps are fairly plug-and-play, while others may require extensive fabrication. It’s best to do some research or talk to someone who has performed a similar engine swap to get a sense of what’s truly involved with an engine conversion.

Ways To Increase Engine Power

This post is in response to Ian Wright’s guide to car modifying. He covered a lot of bases, but engine performance wasn’t really one of them. So I decided I would do that, because an engine is arguably the most significant/important part of a car.

Engine Rebuild

If you have a high mileage engine and want it to make more power, you should consider rebuilding it before you throw speed parts at it. Replacing bearings, piston rings, machining the crankshaft and cylinder walls can really make a difference. A freshly rebuilt engine will be making more power than the same engine that’s been chugging along for hundreds of thousands of miles without any major work done to it.

Free Flowing Exhaust System

An internal combustion engine may be one of the mechanical objects that comes closest to resembling a human body/organ system. One big reason being is that an ICE needs an efficient way to breath in order to maximize it’s performance; that’s where a good exhaust system comes in. Uncorking your engine’s exhaust system will make it louder, more powerful and some believe more fuel efficient.

Increased Bore And Stroke

If you want an engine with more displacement but don’t want to do an engine swap, increasing the bore and stroke of the engine is a good option. What it does is increase the distance the pistons travel up and down in the cylinder walls and the size of the cylinder walls and pistons. Long story short your engine can intake and detonate a lot more fuel. How it’s done is by changing the crankshaft and connecting rods for stroking and increased bore and piston diameter for boring.

Improved Air Intake System

A good percent of factory air intake systems are built with production cost in mind, not performance. Whether or not an aftermarket air intake system will improve your engine’s power is dependent on the car that you are modifying. Some stock air intake systems are hard to improve on where an aftermarket one might actually decrease power instead of increasing it. A third possibility is that the system will have very little to no gains in power.

Better Fuel Delivery

If you have more than enough air going into your engine, try looking at increasing your fuel flow. You can increase it with a swanky Holley carburetor, a racing fuel pump or fuel injectors from HKS.

Aftermarket Camshafts

Camshafts control how much the intake and exhaust valves lift off the cylinder head and how long they are lifted off the cylinder heads. By putting an aftermarket camshaft in your engine, you can see some big power increases because camshafts play a big role in engine breathing.


Sometimes, you can make power with a stock engine just by tweaking it a little. Whether it’s upping the boost of a turbocharged engine, tuning for race gas or E85 or advancing ignition timing, most factory engines have some room to grow power wise. Tuning has more significant gains with boosted engines compared with naturally aspirated engines.

Boost And Nitrous

While this engine modification can yield the most results, it can also be the most expensive and dangerous. You can increase your engine power drastically, but supercharger and turbocharger kits can easily cost 4 figures. Another potential cost is fortifying your engine to take the boost/nitrous. It’s big risk, big reward with boost and nitrous, the question is, do you want to take it?

How to Rebuild 4 Cylinder Engines for More Horsepower

When rebuilding an engine, you can opt to have additional work done to improve engine performance over stock levels. Your upgrade path will differ based on whether you want a naturally aspirated or turbocharged engine. In either case, more horsepower is developed by machining work on the head, replacement of valves and valve springs, raising or lowering engine compression, and replacement of bottom-end components such as rods and crank. The exacting nature of detailed head work is challenging and best left to a professional shop, but bottom-end and basic head-work can be accomplished by the dedicated home mechanic.

Step 1

Port and polish the intake runners, and gasket match the exhaust ports. An engine head is nothing moire than a series of gas channels, directing air in and out of the engine. Modern engines feature cast components, and these often come with small blemishes and rough areas embedded in the metal. Using a die grinder with a carbide tip, you can clean up the intake ports, polishing them to a smooth shine. On the exhaust side, bolt up the exhaust manifold gasket and use the die grinder to make sure the exhaust ports fully match the gasket shape and size, as these ports are typically slightly smaller.

Step 2

Replace the valves and valve springs with aftermarket units, or have a shop perform a valve job. The shape of the valves affects performance, and by removing material at the top of the valve’s cap, you can improve airflow since you are reducing obstruction in the air channel. In addition to the valves, using titanium or high-strength valve springs will allow you to increase the redline on your engine, increasing your power band.

Step 3

Installer a thicker or thinner head gasket. This is an easy way to make more power depending upon whether you are naturally aspirated, or turbocharged. For a naturally aspirated engine, a thinner head gasket — or having a professional shop shave the head — will increase compression, and thus increase power. On a turbocharged engine, a thicker head gasket will lower compression, which allows the engine to safely handle more boost.

Replace the crankshaft, rods and pistons with forged aftermarket units. Most engines come with cast internal components, by swapping to forge internals, the rods and pistons become far more heat resistant, which allows you to increase compression and timing in a naturally aspirated engine, or increase boost and timing in a turbocharged engine. In addition to more heat resistance, the forged pieces may be lighter than stock allowing for better throttle response. Some aftermarket companies produce stroker kits, which are complete bottom-end assemblies that allow you to increase the displacement of your engine via a revised crankshaft, rods and pistons. Stroker kits might allow you to turn a 1.8 liter engine into a 2.0 liter engine, which will generate more power.

Home Remodeling Project Design Strategy

How to Find Your Renovation Team

Who Will Help You Build Your Vision?

Before you meet with a professional, know what you want to accomplish. Is your goal to tear out your entire kitchen and start fresh? Are you looking for less costly upgrades, perhaps replacing cabinet fronts and a tired backsplash? Do you want to remodel your whole house?

Some homeowners know only that their current home isn’t working for them but they aren’t sure how to fix it. If you are in this group, you will probably want to work with a design or building professional. This pro will help you develop a construction plan that fits your budget, meets local building safety codes and reflects your personal style.

How to Select Your First Team Member

When hiring your first design team member, you can start with a builder, architect, designer, design-build firm or remodeler. Each profession has its special emphasis, but there can be some overlap in services too

In very general terms:

Architects and interior designers create concepts and draw plans. They also may offer construction management services, involving consulting and coordinating with the various agencies overseeing your project, and manage the bidding process when you search for the right contractor.

Design-build firms offer both design and building services, some with in-house architects, others by contracting out the design work.

General contractors build the plans.

Landscape architects create designs and plans for outdoor spaces.

Rules for which pros can draft plans vary by state (and in some states by county or municipality) and with the size and type of project. The professionals you contact can explain the rules in your area.

The survey also showed that architects and designers were valued for helping clients integrate their personal style into the design. Homeowners appreciated architects for understanding and complying with local building codes, and interior designers for finding the right products or materials.

Have a Design Dilemma? Talk Amongst Yourselves

The structural bearing for the house was collapsing, and if she didn’t find someone to address the problem immediately, she would be in trouble. Stuck on the problem, Marusa began browsing the Discussions forum, where she frequently posts and comments in the Design Dilemmas section

He found that the structural bearing was, indeed, collapsing. So he jacked up the corner and installed new framing, fixing the problem. Marusa then asked if he could look at some other problems. He’s now going down there two to three days a month to rebuild a section of her house.

The Discussions page is a place where homeowners share their remodeling experience, find professionals to hire, help other homeowners solve problems and brainstorm design ideas. It’s also where pros find clients, network, offer advice and hone their problem-solving skills. And the feedback can be generous and ongoing

Personalize your Discussions Page

Each topic on has a Follow button; click it to add the topic to your Discussions home page. By selecting the topics you find most interesting, you can customize your experience to better suit your needs and interests. The latest posts in the topics you are following will appear on your Discussions page.

You can also filter posts by activity level. For example, highlight one of your topics and then play with the Activity choices. You can see the most popular discussions or you can switch to see what’s new, which posts haven’t been commented on yet or which posts have been featured.

What to Know Before Beginning a Bathroom Project

Design professionals, who field the same questions from clients day after day, know that a little upfront knowledge on the part of homeowners goes a long way in smoothing the construction process.

Minimalism (Almost) Never Comes Cheap

“Clean, sleek lines” is what my clients ask for. Think single sheets of material, no seams, no handles and no grout lines. The most common misconception I come across is that this is a cheap look to achieve. People are fooled by the apparent simplicity of the aesthetic. But to achieve a truly beautiful minimalist look, the detail in the build needs to be precise.

Specifying no cabinetry handles often means pricey opening mechanisms or hand-cut cabinetry. No seams in stone means buying oversized slabs and having an expert stonemason on hand to book-match the ends perfectly. And no grout lines means either huge tiles that take two tilers to lay (doubling the labor cost), or porcelain sheets that can be cut and installed only by a stonemason — onto a wall that most likely has to be straightened instead of just packed.

You Will Need a Good Tiler

Unless you’ve done tiling before, and done it well, don’t try to do it yourself. Planning the tiling and tiling itself are both art forms. I have seen far too many new bathrooms that look good only when you’re not wearing your glasses. Once you see a crooked tile or uneven grouting, it cannot be unseen.

A tiler who plans the space, tile by tile, to ensure the placement of cuts and grout lines will be perfect is worth their weight in gold. You may be tempted to tackle a job that seems straightforward, but don’t do it. Especially if you have contrasting grout.

Ways to Get a Luxe Bathroom Look for Less

Although we all love to drool over images of gorgeous designer bathrooms, we may not have the budget to go all-out when the time comes to spruce up our own washrooms. But that doesn’t mean your remodel has to be generic and uninspired.

Grout Color

Tiling all or most of your wall surface gives it a nice polished look, but the costs can really add up. White ceramic subway tiles are the most affordable option at most big-box stores, but the finished look can sometimes seem a little flat. Make your installation stand out by using a dark or colored grout, like in the bathroom shown here. Because guess what? Gray grout costs the same as white.

Larger-Format Tiles

Another idea is to search for an out-of-the-box dimension rather than the typical 3-by-6-inch format. Tile sizes like 2 by 9 inches or 4 by 8 inches will make your bathroom stand out from the rest.

Trim Accents

Or consider giving your standard tile a punch by splurging a bit on trim pieces as accents. These will give your room an interesting, graphic element, but the small quantity needed won’t break the bank.

Tile Rug

Most bathroom designers will tell you that if you want to splurge on any one part of the renovation, it should be the floor, because it has the biggest impact. Instead of laying a pricey stone mosaic everywhere, you can save by designing a “rug” with just a few square feet of something eye catching, and using large-format field tiles in a coordinating stone around it.

A Pro Organizer on What to Consider Before You Remodel

Remodeling is an opportunity to create a space that reflects your personal style — but just as important, it’s an opportunity to incorporate better functionality for your everyday living. As a professional organizer, I’ve seen homes that were aesthetically gorgeous but just didn’t flow well for my clients’ needs. This can happen when family needs change or when a home’s layout simply isn’t maximized for productivity and efficiency.

For the most successful remodel, you’ll want to consider how you live now and how you’d like to live ideally. After all, remodeling is a chance to set new, more organized habits. Why not create a home that will make implementing your new habits easier?

How Do You Use Your Spaces?

Consider the routines of your household members. How do you currently use your spaces? What isn’t working? For example, if you are a no-shoes-indoors household and shoes tend to pile up near your home’s entrance, consider having an attractive built-in added to the front entry or the garage (or wherever you enter the house) to store shoes

Similarly, if you have children, consider where they do their homework. If you want them to be in common areas near you as they work, you may want to plan for work surfaces with storage nearby for their supplies. That way, you can prevent the “I’m still using it” clutter that can linger for days.

Also consider where you will work. Dedicating a space for important papers, basic office supplies, electronics chargers and equipment, checkbooks, and thank-you cards will help keep you organized. How frequently do you lay out paperwork and work on your laptop? If you often work from home — even if that work consists of managing other family members’ schedules and papers — an ergonomically designed workspace could boost your productivity and be better for your body than working from the couch. If your work at home is limited to paying a few bills online, perhaps you don’t need a dedicated work surface. However, I still recommend planning space for keeping your office supplies and files organized in one location

Gas Instantaneous Water Heaters


The thermostat and pressure release valve on a water heater was designed to help keep your family safe. Watch as one of Master Plumbers shows you how to test your water heater’s pressure valve and keep your home’s hot water system functioning properly. In addition to testing the pressure release valve on your water heater, keep your thermostat set at a safe temperature, and flush your water heater annually. This will allow you to keep your system in good working condition and spot any minor problems before they become major issues.

I’m gonna discuss problems that sometimes occur with the temperature and pressure relief valves on the water heaters. Relief valves discharge for usually two reasons

1, there’s excessive pressure building up inside the system that is exceeding 150 pounds of pressure.

2, the temperature inside the tank is exceeding 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Both of these situations can be very dangerous and the temperature and pressure relief valve will open to prevent an explosion

If you notice water on the floor around the water heater and there’s no evidence of a tank or plumbing leak, it is probably a sign that the water heater’s temperature and pressure relief valve has recently opened and relieved itself. First you should test the water pressure in the house by using a pressure gauge that you will screw right onto a hose bib or a faucet.

You could pick up one of these gauges at any home center. Most plumbing codes state that the maximum water pressure coming in the house should be 80 PSI or less. If the water pressure exceeds this amount, a pressure reducing valve will need to be installed on the water main. Note that the ideal water pressure is between 50 and 60 PSI

You want to make sure that the thermostat is not set too high. If the thermostat is set to high or if it’s faulty, the T&P valve will discharge to relieve the pressure inside the tank. Remember for a standard water heater the temperature should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You could try flushing the T&P valve to make sure it didn’t become filled by sediment.

Ways to Save on Your Water Heating Bill

Heating a home is expensive, but so is heating water. If you’ve already made a big effort to reduce your home’s heating costs and your utility bills are still higher than you’d like them to be, your hot water heater could be the culprit. According to Energy.gov, heating water accounts for around 18 percent of your utility bill. That makes it the second-biggest energy expense in the home (behind heating and cooling), so tweaking your hot water heater set up and usage habits could lead to some pretty substantial savings.

Lower the Thermostat

Take a trip out to the garage or down to the basement to see what temperature your hot water heater is currently set at. If the thermostat is set above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, bump it back. You’ll save 3 to 5 percent for every ​10-degree reduction, and you’ll reduce your family’s risk of burns.​

Fix Leaky Faucets

Do you have a leaky faucet that you’ve been putting off fixing? Then consider this: a faucet with a slow leak (that’s 60 drips per minute) wastes 3,153 gallons of water per year. If that leak happens to be coming from the hot water tap, you’re not only paying for that wasted water but also the energy it took to heat it. Do you want to see how much your leaky faucet is costing you? The American Water Works Association has a drip calculator you can use to find out.

Go Low-Flow

Putting off a bathroom update is one thing, but don’t put off replacing old plumbing fixtures. If your showerheads and faucets were manufactured before 1992, replace them with low-flow models. Modern showerheads use half as much water as older showerheads.

Find Ways to Use Less Hot Water

Try to be more mindful of your hot water use. Take shorter showers, wash laundry in cold water, and only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Examine your daily routine, and look for opportunities to scale back on your hot water usage.

Domestic water heating

Domestic water heating is the process of warming water for personal use, and it can consume a large amount of energy. In homes, water heating can consume 15-25 percent of energy used in a home depending on the house type, number of inhabitants, and the lifestyle of those who live there. It’s important to note that water heating is often more than all of the electrical needs of the household, see graph below.

use – on average – 75 liters of hot water each day for dish washing, clothes washing, cleaning, and personal hygiene. This water volume is fairly high, and heating it can result in high energy bills

The energy source for water heaters tends to be the same as what people use for space heating, although this is not always true. Possible energy sources include electricity, natural gas, propane, and oil

Each source has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, electric heaters require no venting but cannot operate during a power failure and use a lot more primary energy than natural gas. Natural gas fueled heaters require adequate airflow and ventilation but heat up more quickly and use less primary energy. Propane has similar benefits to natural gas, but the fuel is more expensive and requires scheduled delivery.

Costs can be reduced by choosing a more energy efficient water heater, reducing the amount of hot water used, or installing a drain water heat recovery device to reduce the heating load. These devices are simply pipes that take the heat from the used warm water flowing down the drains and transfers it to preheat water entering the hot water tank

Some Useful Tips For Hiding Water Heater In your Home

Water heaters without any doubt are a must as far as our homes are concerned. They provide hot and pure water for various uses during the cruel winter months. However, there are a few things which must be kept in mind when installing a hide water heater. They could become a big eye sore and could spoil the overall aesthetics of your home. There is no point spending hundreds or even a few thousand dollars on your best tankless water heater if they become an eyesore for the home.

However, it is possible to find out ways and means by which you can conceal water heater and prevent it from being seen by the naked eye. But this has to be done carefully and without the disturbing the efficiency and functionality of these water heaters. Here are a few important points which if kept in mind could help in more ways than one.

Getting The Basics Right

It is important for you to get the basics right when it comes to hiding your water heater. You must have a permanent place for the same so that you can plan ahead and come out with the right plan for hiding it or concealing it. Before buying a water heater, you must ask some basic questions.

This could include the size of the water heater, the capacity it is supposed to hold, the power connections which are required for it and much more. This will help you to come out with the right plan for keeping the water heater hidden from the naked eye without disturbing the efficiency or defeating the purpose for which it is being used. You can consider using a hybrid water heater.

Using A Cloth Or A Pegboard Screen

If you look around you could come out with a number of options for hiding the water heater. In many cases you also could have a water softener which also could become unseemly and ugly. Hence your plan for concealing the water heater should be foolproof, practical and workable from the long term perspective.


When you’re in the market for a new or replacement water heater for your restaurant, hotel or apartment property, correct sizing is crucial to the success of your business. With so many commercial water heater options out there, here’s what you need to know to get it right.

Depending on how much hot water you need to run your business, there may be multiple commercial water heater tank sizes to meet your needs. With so many options available, how do you know what type and size water heater to choose? We can help point you in the right direction.

What You Need: A steady supply of hot water, when and where you need it–so your restaurant, hotel, apartment or craft brewery business keeps running smoothly.

The Bottom Line: Size too small and you won’t have enough hot water to run your business, especially during peak operating times. But size too large and you’ll end up spending excess money in both upfront capital and long-term operating costs. Whether you run a restaurant, hotel, apartment complex, senior living facility, salon or fitness center—any business that depends on hot water needs the right water heater sizing and setup.

Our Best Advice: Only work with experienced and knowledgeable commercial water heater professionals: you’ll not only keep your customers, you’ll also save money across the board.

What Tips Should You Keep In Mind When Hiring A Carpet Flooring Cleaner

Does carpet suit your room and lifestyle?

Carpet acts as a trap for allergens and is capable of holding significant quantities of soil, dust and other substances. The carpet holds on to the particles until you are ready to remove them.

Carpet is ideal for cushioning our footsteps. Carpet provides safety protection for the whole family, but especially for toddlers and older individuals. It is also warm under foot.

Carpet will reduce noise generation in two ways – at floor level by cushioning objects hitting the floor, for example footsteps or dropped items, and by absorbing other sounds around your home creating a more peaceful indoor environment.

Easy to maintain. A good vacuum cleaner, a periodic wet clean and prompt attention to spills is all you need to keep your carpet looking good. Professional carpet cleaning is recommended every 12-18 months to keep your carpet looking new and to satisfy supplier warranties.

Which carpet fiber will work best for you?

It is important to choose a carpet fiber that will work best for the space in your home. There are four synthetic types of fiber. Each fiber type offers somewhat different attributes of style options, colour options, soil resistance, stain resistance and texture retention

Nylon – The most popular carpet fiber as it performs extremely well. It is one of the more expensive fibers available. Nylon 6.6 Fiber is a more premium type of nylon fiber than “Type 6” nylon that’s also used in a lot of rugs. It has greater strength and resiliency which adds to the product’s overall durability. Though not inherently stain resistant, most nylon carpets feature a stain-resist carpet treatment for protection against household spills and stains.

Polyester (PET) –  is naturally stain and fade resistant. Is best at retaining colour and won’t fade over time. It’s also capable of providing a very soft feel though it’s not as resilient as nylon and is more prone to compaction. Best uses for Polyester styles are low to medium traffic rooms such as bedrooms.

Polypropylene (also called Olefin) – is a relatively inexpensive fiber. Its strengths include superior stain resistance, with the exception of oil-based stains, and low cost. It is a solution-dyed product, which means colour is added during extrusion in its molten state rather than topically applied. (Imagine a carrot vs. a radish). Because of this dye method it has superior resistance to bleaches and sunlight fading. However it has poor resiliency, which can lead to crushing. Polypropylene’s provide an excellent value and good performance.

Wool – remains the premier fiber in carpet construction and it can be expensive. It has excellent resilience and durability. Wool cleans especially well. Unfortunately, wool tends to “wear down” or the pile tends to wear away. In some cases bald spots may occur as a result heavy traffic loads. Wool is a natural fiber with a natural protective membrane which acts to repel moisture and is a natural stain resister. Because it can absorb a large quantity of moisture without feeling wet, wool carpet doesn’t conduct static electricity in the way synthetic carpets do. Less static means less dirt.

A word about soft carpets.

Demand continues to grow for carpets with a very soft feel, often referred to as “soft carpets”. All major carpet brands provide a good selection of soft carpet styles.

Note that as some soft carpets are so soft, that the total surface density is much higher which in turn increases the suction between vacuum cleaner head and the carpet surface, thereby making it more difficult to maneuver the machine. Some soft carpets require a gentler cleaning action so as to avoid unnecessary wear and will require a special vacuum cleaner.

Which Types Of Flooring Are Best For Cold Weather Climates?

In colder climates, many types of flooring will always give you cold feet. For cold climate homes or winter homes, you’ll want to choose flooring materials that will keep you and your guests cozy.


This flooring type is the most obvious choice for cold homes. It’s also the cheapest. As you know, carpet is like a warm, cozy blanket between your delicate tootsies and your unforgiving cold floors. It’s a no-brainer for cold homes.

However, there are some drawbacks you may not have considered. For one thing, carpets are the most difficult flooring type to clean when it comes to tracked-in snow and muddy messes. For two, fluffy carpets + cold, dry weather = electric charges. In other words, carpeted flooring is notorious for causing wintertime static shock. This may be fun for your kids, but not so much for your grown-up party guests.


Now, this flooring choice is the opposite of carpet. That is, it’s the least obvious choice, and more expensive. Because tile is an excellent conductor of heat (and therefore, cold), it can easily get as cold as the snow on your porch. But, for this same reason, you can optimize it for cold climate. Tile is the best choice as a covering for artificially heated floors.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Now here’s a healthy compromise between the two options above. Vinyl plank flooring gives you the best benefits of almost every flooring type. It looks like a hardwood floor, insulates almost as well as carpet, and is as water-resistant and easy to clean as tile. And it’s one of the cheapest flooring options available.

Carpet – Before Installation

What to know and do before your carpet is installed.

You’ve learned all there is to know about carpet, shopped smart, made your best choice, and now it’s just a matter of waiting for the installers, right? You know better, of course. The next step is to be knowledgeable and prepared for the big day when the new carpeting will transform your home.


Carpet installation is a skill that is developed through years of experience, so using professional installers is just plain smart. Also, understanding the basics of carpet installation will increase your knowledge of the process and enhance your confidence in the professionals working in your home. Some of these basics follow.


This shows the overall layout of the carpet, the correct placement of seams and transitions, and assists them in the preparation and cutting of the carpet.


While seams are inevitable, it’s the professionals who excel at minimizing and hiding seams. They call on years of experience and tried and true methods. Case in point: they’ll insure seams are placed away from areas subjected to pivoting traffic, and not run seams perpendicular to doorway openings.

The pros know what to do about transitions. When two different flooring products meet – say, carpeting and a hardwood floor – it’s called a transition. Your professional installers will try to match the surface heights of various flooring products to minimize transitions.

Flooring specialists


We have the perfect floor for you. Whether you desire hardwood, vinyl, laminate, ceramic, or carpet we have the floor for you.


We will always be competitive in pricing with our competitors. We believe in taking care of our customers. Product for product we usually win in pricing.


We do a lot of business with all the major manufacturers and many of the smaller ones as well. Whatever you’re looking for we probably have it.


All of our installs are guaranteed for 12 months. We always takes extreme care so you can rest assured when we install your new floors.

When it comes to flooring, we know our stuff. We are one of the highest rated flooring installers and for good reason.

Vacuum Cleaning Tips for Your Floors

There are several helpful and easy cleaning solutions to keep your house free of dust, germs and microscopic mites. While disinfecting the counter-tops and picking up the clutter helps, today we are going to focus on how to keep your floors clean with a vacuum cleaner.

The vacuum is one of the most valuable tools a homeowner can own to help keep their floors clean. There are many different types of vacuum cleaners available on the market, all with their own set of pros and cons. So if you need a vacuum cleaner, then it would behoove you to do the proper research and start cleaning.

Don’t Make It Harder

The first vacuum cleaning tips is probably the most obvious — don’t make it harder than it should be. You’d be surprised at how many people inadvertently create additional messes that make vacuuming more difficult than it should be.

Once is Not Enough

To truly pull up the dust and hair on your floor, it is usually better to vacuum multiple times in the same area. On top of this, it would also be wise to go over the areas from multiple directions, as this will help pull up dirt and debris more effectively.

Create a Schedule

Another important cleaning tip when vacuuming your home is to create a schedule. Whether you pick a certain day of the week or month, following a regular schedule and sticking to that routine will help ensure that your floors are clean at all time.

How To Become A Professional Wedding Photographer

Secrets of Wedding Photographers

Wedding photographers are by your side nearly every moment of your wedding day. They’re snapping away at your most intimate moments: your first glance at the person you plan to be with forever, your smile as you’re finally wed, and your initial step onto that dance floor. But how much do you really know about how they work—and why they’re so expensive?


Many times, the bride and groom assume the photographers just need 15 minutes for family photos, she says. But those family photos could easily take 30 minutes, because a family member is always missing. “We need to make sure we have enough time, and that we’re not rushed and hectic,”


Her perfect question: “How do you deal with XX situation?” Ho explains that since every wedding is unique, you need to find a photographer that’s perfect for you—and asking about experience will help you make that decision. It will also help you understand the reason you’re hiring a professional wedding photographer, rather than someone who just dabbles in photography, for your big day.


says couples always ask about his price and his availability. But he loves it when the conversation turns to his overall style and approach, and they get to know him as an artist. “Then we can understand if we’re a good match,” says. “Not a lot of clients go there, and I wish more clients would ask me about my approach.”


Sure, wedding photographers may charge a few thousand dollars for what seems like eight hours of work. But they also met with you countless times before the wedding. And do you realize how many times you emailed? Then there’s the editing process. Those photographers put many more hours of work into those pictures than you ever imagined. Also, that camera equipment wasn’t free (and it needs to be upgraded every couple of years)


For most couples, choosing their wedding venue is the FIRST thing they do after deciding on a date for their wedding. This makes total sense! Before you can begin envisioning your wedding day, you have to know where it’s going to take place! While there are tons of factors that affect what kind of venue you choose – guest count, accessibility, local things to do nearby, budget, if you can bring in outside caterers, the getting ready space or indoor & outdoor options, not to mention your vision and the desired vibe for your wedding day – and so much more! The purpose of today’s blog post is to share a few additional things to consider when choosing your wedding venue – from a photographer’s perspective! I’m going to walk you through each portion of a wedding day and discuss how the venue affects lighting and space, and ultimately, your photos of the day!

What to Consider with the Getting Ready Space

If you are hoping to get ready at your wedding venue (instead of at an outside location like your home or a hotel room), then you’ll need to make sure the venue has a getting ready space you can envision yourself and your bridal party in. Take into account the size of your bridal party vs the size of the room. You definitely don’t want a cramped space with hair and make up artists trying to get around, too. If the bride and groom’s rooms are in the same building, you’ll need to exercise a LOT more caution when moving around to make sure you don’t see each other. It’s much easier when the bride and groom have their own separate buildings to get ready in!

offers completely separate buildings for the bride, the groom, the ceremony site, cocktail hour, and the reception! This is ideal! They are spread out throughout their property – so much so that they have golf carts on site to carry people up and down the hill. So there is no need to worry about your groom accidentally seeing you too soon. It also means that the stress of setting up the ceremony space or reception room will be so far away, you won’t hear about any of it and you can relax!

Next, in order to create the well-lit, natural-looking photos you dream of, then I highly recommend getting ready in a room with a lot of WINDOW light. If the venue’s getting ready space is small and without any windows or access to natural light, then you might want to consider getting ready at a different location.

A photographer’s hack: What I have also done before when the getting ready space is a little less than ideal is stage the dress zip-up in a better location! We can move you to another area at the venue with better lighting and/or space and re-enact the “zipping up” and bridal portraits. This is what we did for my bride Jacqueline and her bridal party!

Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You to Know

Know your own taste.

I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not the photographer for everyone. Shocker, I know. Every photographer has their style, I included, and I don’t alter it from client to client. I know what I like, I know where my gifts lie, and I take care to ensure my portfolio shows you the best of the best of my work. Do you like light and airy? Black and white? Dark and moody? Somewhere in between? Do you prefer candid or posed images? These things matter. Be sure you are a huge fan of the work of the photographer you choose because it’s too late to decide you don’t like the images they create on your wedding day, and especially once they’ve delivered your gallery. Remember, it doesn’t mean you dislike them as a person. It just means their work might not be a great fit for you, and that’s okay.

Your photographer should be one of the first vendors you book.

I’m sure you’ve had hundreds of people tell you your day is going to be over in the blink of an eye – they aren’t wrong – but what many of them don’t know is that photography is a big factor into your wedding day timeline. It affects everything from makeup to cocktail hour to getting ready to family portraits. Why? Well, if you want all of those things documented, I need to know exactly when and where they’re happening and ensure I have plenty of time to photograph them all. Operating without a wedding day timeline, or even worse, not working with your photographer at all, causes unnecessary stress for everyone, especially you. It’s important that we go over your photography hopes and dreams, and any extra special wedding day plans you have, so I can help you create your perfect wedding day timeline. And, I’ll help you stick to it.

Unplug your wedding.

Trying to create the best images from your wedding day becomes more difficult when I have five guests either shooting over my shoulder or edging into the frame just to get their very own image of your wedding day. It’s even more complicated when you begin your walk down the aisle to the view of iPhones and iPads in your face. When you’ve dreamed of your wedding day, what do you want to remember most – the people at your wedding, or images of their phones in front of their faces? (Read more about why to unplug your wedding here.)

Give me the family photo list, but remember – I got this.

I know you are dying to send me every incredible Pinterest image and shot list you’ve found, but I don’t need it. Your wedding, your day is unique to you, and you hired me for my style and experience – not to see how well I can re-create another photographer’s vision. I promise we will create images you will cherish for years to come.

Food is Good.

I need a meal. A hot meal. Not a stuck-in-the-kitchen-handed-a-bag-of-chips-and-a-cold-sandwich meal. I eat what your guests eat, and I eat when your guests eat. I know what you’re thinking, “But, you could be taking pictures during that time!” Well, I could, but I shouldn’t be. Your guests don’t want pictures of them eating any more than you do, so by using the time when you’re guests are enjoying the delicious meal you suggested to enjoy said meal myself, I am better able to jump back into documenting your day when I’ve finished! (Trust me, you don’t want a hangry photographer.)

Ask The Photographers: Do You Need To Visit My Wedding Venue Beforehand?

We know that when it comes to booking your wedding photographer you’ll often have lots of questions, and one of the most frequent ones that we hear is “Do you need to visit my wedding venue beforehand?”. Well, we asked that exact question to our members, and what follows is 35 different photographers’ viewpoints and opinions on whether it’s necessary or not, from all over the world – a really interesting and informative read:

“I can understand that a couple might get some comfort from their photographer either having shot at their venue before, or (if they haven’t shot there before) from their photographer visiting it before the wedding. Like many photographers, though, while I once also liked that comfort of knowing what was ahead of me, now I actually love getting to new venues for the first time, and almost never do a pre-wedding scout. The reasons are twofold

Firstly the practical reason. I can quite easily now do a “virtual scout” – venue websites are usually good for showcasing their best bits, google “<venue> wedding photo” will spit out more photos of weddings from a venue than I’ll want to look at, and even Google Maps on satellite view allows me to get the lay of the land if there are grounds that I might hope to use. That’s all useful where I may have a logistical concern about the venue – will there be a good location for family photos; what is the light like in the ceremony room; is it practical for the couple to get from the ceremony space to the gardens without needing to go via the drinks reception (and if not, how will that impact the timings). Much of that is also addressed by a quick phone call to the wedding coordinator at the venue too, of course. So for the practical stuff (which usually drives the concerns the couple may have if a venue is new to their photographer) you can figure out most things without a visit.

All of that, though, is secondary to the far more important reason – the creative one. I relish photographing a new venue because it’s a new creative experience for me. The novelty of a new venue ALWAYS trumps the familiarity of one I’ve shot at many times. It helps me see the wedding day differently to how I’ve seen other days, but also to how other photographers have seen weddings at that venue before me. I have a thought I express to couples when I might get asked to take a photo like one they’ve seen at their venue, for instance. “We can get that photo, but rather than get you other people’s wedding photos, wouldn’t it be better to get you your own wedding photos?”. And no better way for me to do that than to be seeing a new venue with fresh eyes and finding light and compositions that fit my style.

Finally of course – in the context of documentary photography in particular – the venue is what it is. Similar to the ceremony space, the bride’s family home, or any other location that might be in play on the day. A good photographer will get you good photographs in any location. And if you truly want documentary photographs of your day you really don’t want your photographer arriving with a preconceived set of shots in his or her head based on a previous wedding or a scouting visit where the light was different and the space wasn’t filled with you and your guests.”

Things Photographers Wished All Clients Knew

This post was inspired by one of my favorite Podcasts, Young House Love, a show all about home renovation, on which they did an episode called “This is How You’re Annoying Your Contractor”, interviewing general contractors who gave funny, enlightening, and – despite the somewhat negative connotation of the episode title – actually really helpful insight to make projects go more smoothly. 

I asked real photographers in multiple professional circles for their input, and added my own thoughts and feelings on the topics as well.  In this article, you’re going to hear me speak very candidly about things that can help your relationship with your photographer go more smoothly (if that’s with me, then Yay! Win for both of us!…but if it’s with someone else, I hope I make a positive impact no matter where you go!).

I hesitated even writing this post, because, well, frankly, who wants to admit to their potential clients that sometimes things aren’t just sunshine and rainbows all the time?

It’s tempting to keep this kind of “behind the scenes” information as our own photographer-water-cooler talk. But then I checked myself and realized that if you’re my type of couple, then you don’t need a bull-honky fantasy story that pretends that everything is always perfect.

Once you find a photographer you trust, trust them.  They want you to be happy.

This came from several photographers who iterated some version of