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3 Fun Extras To Add To Your Landscape Design

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Fun Extras To Add To Your Landscape Design

When you are creating your landscape design, it can be a lot of fun to add a few extras to it. These extras make your landscape design look a bit different than the others in your neighborhood, and it can make it more fun and functional for you and your family. This article will discuss 3 awesome extras that you can add to your landscape design.  Yard Lights Installing yard lights as part of your landscape design can make your home a lot safer. Intruders will be a lot less likely to try and sneak on your property at night because they know that there is a better chance of them being seen. You can set up your yard lights to turn on when it gets dark outside, or you can set them on a motion sensor, depending on your preference. Yard lights are also excellent because they provide light for you and your family, if you want to stay outside after dark and eat, play games, swim, etc. If you are hooking up these lights yourself, just keep in mind that you are going to need an electrical box to connect all of the lights, as well as an electrical wire running underneath the ground to each light.  A Yard Fountain A yard fountain is great for your landscape design because it is something that will add beauty and class to your yard. To make sure that the fountain stays clean and runs properly, you will simply need to check it for mold and moss, and clean it as necessary. The fountain can have lights installed in it that are either clear or change colors. These lights will also allow you to see it at night. If you would like, you can also choose a fountain that will automatically turn off if it is raining, extremely windy, etc. This fountain will be admired by your guests, and can be something beautiful for you to watch in the mornings and evenings as well.  Outdoor Stairs  If you have any hills or uneven surfaces in your landscape, then you should consider installing some stairs in the hill. These stairs are made out of stone, wood, or whatever material you would like, and they have a very natural and “outdoorsy” look. To draw attention to the stairs you can have flowers planted on either side of them, or you can have a waterfall installed on either side of them. Contact a professional landscaping company, like The Hilltop Landscape Architects & Contractors, to help you with your installations and to discuss your...

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Want A New Fence? 4 Things You Must Know Before You Dig

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Want A New Fence? 4 Things You Must Know Before You Dig

Good fences make good neighbors, at least according to Robert Frost. And adding a good fence can make your life more enjoyable and your neighbors easier to get along with. But you need to do some preparation and planning before a single shovel hits the ground.  Here are 4 things you need to know before you start on a fence.    Know Your Goal Like any building project, a fence is a significant investment in time, money and energy. So, before you start planning and buying, you first need to be sure you know what you want (or need) from your fence. Do you want something utilitarian that keeps pests out or pets in? In this case, you can probably get away with something less expensive. Are you just looking for something aesthetically pleasing and can consider cheaper iron or steel? Or do you need privacy from the neighbors? Do you want a classic wood fence look in the front but just need functionality in the backyard? These needs will all inform which type of fencing you need for which areas – and for how much money. Identifying your real needs and goals will help you adjust your budget if it becomes necessary later.   Know the Rules Save yourself a lot of headaches later by making sure you understand the rules and requirements of your local homeowners’ association and city building codes. There may be rules governing the height, location and design of any fencing you put up. Do you need a building permit? Does the fence have to face outward? How far must it be from any property lines or city sidewalks? Do your research.   Know Your Neighbors Before starting to buy materials, talk with your neighbors about your plans. Doing so will avoid hurt feelings and other problems that may crop up from blocking views, affecting the property lines or changing the look of the neighborhood. If you want to share costs with neighbors, discuss a ‘party fence’ arrangement where both sides share the fence responsibility. However, be sure to have the property lines professionally determined and the party fence agreement written down.  Know Your Budget Fencing projects can often go over-budget when complications arise or desires change. So make sure you understand your true budget and the real costs of what you’re planning — after you’ve done the above research. If your plans are coming in over (or just at) your budget, consider some alternatives such as landscaping hedges, rock walls or a vertical garden to define part of the space instead of a solid fence. If you’re just looking for privacy or something pleasing to the eye, landscaping can be a cheaper choice that usually doesn’t require building permits or neighbor approval.  If you need to keep Fido in the yard, can you use a cheaper chain link fence in the backyard and focus your money on creating curb appeal in the front?      While it might seem like a simple project to choose a fence style and plop it into the ground. But without forethought, you might end up wasting a lot of money and effort. So be sure to know what you need to know in advance. Then go out and enjoy your new fence!...

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Look These 3 Places For Stud Welding

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Look These 3 Places For Stud Welding

You might not realize it, but stud welding can be found just about everywhere. The best part of all is that most people don’t even realize it is there to begin with. Products that are commonly used in your everyday life contain stud welding. However, most people never stop to think about how the item was made or what causes it to function the way it does. To help you understand how stud welding is used, consider some of the following uses. Equipment Used in Food Service Establishments The next time you visit a fast food establishment or restaurant, take a look around you. You will see a bunch of microwaves, worktops, ovens, kitchen hoods, mixers and so on. Check to see what they are fastened together with. You aren’t going to see a lot of fasteners on the components because welding studs are responsible for holding everything together. Thanks to this particular type of welding, the appliances look amazing. You aren’t going to be able to see a bunch of stud welding on the appliance, which creates a sleek appearance. Another benefit is that you don’t have to worry about any food debris collecting around the screws because they are non-existent. Building a Ship Have you ever sat back and thought about how everything was hung inside of a large cargo carrier or submarine? Just about everything on these ships is locked into place using stud welding. They can easily be attached to one side of the ship, while a component is bolted into place on the other side. The last thing you would want is to be on one of these large vessels that is held together with a bunch of tape and holes. A weld stud is safer and more efficient. Panels in Elevators The next time you have to step into an elevator, spend some time looking at their switch panel. Most of these units are equipped with stainless steel panels, without any screws involved. Weld studs hold the switches in place. This means no marks on the panels’ front. Not only does it look amazing, but it also means that a vandal won’t be able to tamper with the panel. While you might not think about all of the applications of stud welding, it tends to be found in more places than you think. Spend some time looking around the next time you go somewhere and see if you can spot other places where stud welding is used. To learn more about stud welding, contact a company like Northland Fastening...

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Frozen In The Summer: How Too Much Cool Can Make Your Home Hot

Posted by on Jul 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Frozen In The Summer: How Too Much Cool Can Make Your Home Hot

Air conditioning systems are a critical part of modern living, for better or for worse. People have become dependent on being cool on demand and may not be able to deal with a hot household for too long. Unfortunately, the desperate desire to get cool as quickly as possible can lead some people to damage their air conditioning systems by turning the temperature down too low during hot, humid days. To understand the problems this behavior creates, read on.  Air Conditioners Can Freeze During The Summer Air conditioners work by creating a cool liquid vapor that flows out of the system and cools the air around it. Whether you’re using a window-mounted unit or central air that distributes through the rest of the home, evaporative cooling is in use. The cooling component can work against you during certain circumstances. The condenser is designed to maintain a cold temperature with certain types of refrigerant that won’t freeze under the air conditioner’s temperatures. Unfortunately, if the air conditioner is turned down to a low enough temperature for a long period of time, water from the air can begin to collect and freeze. A combination of humid weather, hot outside temperatures and a cold air conditioning unit can create a continuing pool of condensation that seeps into other air conditioning components, eventually leading to a freeze that can damage some parts. The motor that turns the air conditioner and some of the paths used for air and liquid passage can become blocked by ice, leading to burnouts if the fan motor can’t turn and ruptures if tubes are blocked. Troubleshooting Iced Air Conditioners The reason for turning the air conditioning too low can vary from person to person. Maybe you need a room to be as cold as possible to protect electronics, but you lack the equipment to keep humidity away from the air conditioning unit. Maybe you were so desperate to get cool that you dragged the temperature as far down as it could go. Either way, having the air conditioning at its lowest settings for a long period of time could mean hotter days if the unit breaks down because of ice. The first thing to attempt is to turn the air conditioning off. Don’t risk burning out the motor or other components. Ice and other liquids aren’t likely to get into any electrical components, since they’re designed to be used during rainy days at well, so your main issue is trying to use moving parts that are frozen. If the components haven’t already broken, the ice can melt away in the hot weather and you can use the air conditioning system again. If it doesn’t work after that, be sure to contact an air conditioning professional. There may be specific parts that need to be replaced or safety mechanisms that need to be reset. Ask an air conditioning professional for advice as soon as possible to get cool quickly and hopefully dodge a full...

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Three Tips To Consider When Buying Power Tools

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Tips To Consider When Buying Power Tools

New contractors can often get their start in the business by using hand-me-down tools, but when your business begins to grow and you find yourself busier, it’s time to give your toolbox a makeover and treat yourself to some new gear. Correctly buying tools, whether you’re a professional contractor or a weekend warrior who often finds him or herself getting called to friends’ houses, isn’t as simple as visiting a big box retailer and buying the house brand. Although online research can help you stretch your dollar, these useful tips can also play a helpful role in your pursuit. Watch For Plastic Regardless of the type of tool you plan to buy, you need something that will be durable when you roll up your sleeves and get to work. When comparing different products and different brands, take note of how much plastic is found on a tool. Although plastic is lightweight, it lacks the durability of other products and an ill-timed breakage could soon have you back at the store. Many high-quality tool brands favor tough alloys that make the tool a useful combination of light and durable. When you’re inspecting a tool’s materials, look up the manufacturer’s warranty; brands that frequently use plastic don’t typically offer the lifetime warranty that better brands offer. Grip Is Everything Whether you’re looking for a roofing hammer, reciprocating saw or a tape measure, hold the item in your hand as though you’re using it on the job site. Cheap tools might look visually appealing and may even be durable, but seldom feel right in your hand. The process of testing a tool’s grip is more than just holding it briefly on the way to the store’s checkout area. Take several minutes to hold the tool, move it around in your hand and check the balance. Higher-end tools have a high ergonomic quality and perfect balance. Realistic Expectations It’s easy to have a flashback to the character Tim “The Toolman” Taylor from the TV show “Home Improvement” and think that more power is better, but this sentiment isn’t always the case. It’s important that you’re realistic in your shopping. A 24-volt cordless drill packs plenty of power, but there’s nothing wrong with the 18-volt version, either. If you know the type of work you perform and don’t anticipate needing the extra voltage, there’s no sense in paying for it. Likewise, think of the scope of toolkits. A 180-bit driver set might be exciting to picture in your possession, but if you don’t think you’ll realistically use all these elements, you’re spending more than you need to and adding extra weight to your toolkit. For further assistance, contact a local outlet, such as Bourget Bros Building...

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Landscaping Tips For A Smaller Outdoor Space

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Landscaping Tips For A Smaller Outdoor Space

If you have a smaller yard or patio that you are hoping to landscape, making the most of this space is key. There are elements that landscapers (such as those from Randles Landscape & Design) can help you source to make a smaller outdoor space feel inviting and spacious. Here are four space saving ideas to keep in mind when it comes to landscaping a small outdoor area. 1. Focus on Your Needs People want different things out of their outdoor spaces. If you have a small area to work with, choose a landscaping element that fits your needs. If gardening is your passion, your space should mostly be designated to this. If you want to entertain and barbeque, make this the focus. You should try to pick one central outdoor activity or look for your yard in order to maximize your space and actually use it. 2. Versatility is Key Having mobile items will help with rearranging and for accommodating guests. The more plants that you can have in movable planters will keep these from becoming barriers. If chairs and tables are on wheels, these can easily be moved around to accommodate your needs. If you have a barbeque or outdoor dining set, these don’t need to live outside all of the time. Large seasonal items can be brought outside when needed and kept out of the way in a shed or garage other times of the year. 3. Keep Plants and Decor to Size If you have a small outdoor space, this isn’t the best environment for huge ferns or large pots that can overtake your space. You can still make a big statement with smaller plants and outdoor decor. Source smaller plants that can line the side of your yard rather than be the main focus. 4. Streamline Your Look If your yard is overtaken with too many plants, figurines and fountains, it is going to feel cluttered and closed off. Try to keep things as simple as possible with a clean, fresh look in your yard or on your patio. Try to keep table tops clear and keep plants and hedges maintained and cut back. An organized yard will tend to look more spacious. Having a small yard or outdoor area doesn’t mean that your outside time needs to suffer. Make sure that you don’t go overboard with your decor. Keep it simple and within the size you are working with. Working with the space you do have and knowing what your needs are will keep your landscaping plan on...

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5 Tips To Keep Your Work Site Safe While A Crane Is In Use

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Tips To Keep Your Work Site Safe While A Crane Is In Use

If you are lifting large or heavy objects on your construction site, you probably already know that a crane can be one of the most helpful pieces of equipment for the job. Although cranes can be handy, they can also be dangerous. Luckily, there are ways that you can help keep your work site safe while cranes are in use. 1. Hire a Crane Operator If no one who is working on your work site currently is certified to use a crane, then it’s best to hire a crane operator temporarily to help with this project. Current laws state that most crane operators of large cranes need to be certified or otherwise qualified. Plus, your well-meaning employees could get hurt or could hurt someone else by operating equipment that they don’t know much about. 2. Mark Off Safe Areas Mark off “safe areas” near where the crane will be used. You can use temporary fencing, caution tape, flags or spray paint that is painted on the ground. These should be no-go zones for cranes. Then, those who are working inside of these zones can be kept safe, and they will know to be careful and remain cautious when walking out of these safety zones. 3. Encourage Safety Equipment Use Everyone on any construction site should always be wearing a hard hat, even if they aren’t currently operating equipment. There is far too great of a risk of an accident when a crane is in use, but a hard hat can help keep all of your employees protected. Also, encourage the use of vests and other reflective clothing that can help make each employee more visible on the job site. This can make it easier for crane operators who are working on heavy equipment to see these employees. 4. Require Safety Classes Although it’s true that only crane operators are generally required to take safety classes, it’s smart to put everyone on your job site through a safety class. Then, everyone will know how to keep themselves and other employees safe while on the job. 5. Ensure That You Have Insurance Coverage Ensure that you have proper business insurance and workers compensation coverage in place. Then, if someone does get hurt, you will be able to assist them with medical treatment. As you can see, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your work site is safe while a crane is in use. Then, you can use this handy large-scale equipment to make the job easier without worrying about putting your employees at risk. To find out more, speak with a business like Cook Crane...

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3 Signs Your AC Needs A Repair Soon

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

No one likes that moment during the summer where the heat is simply unbearable. In fact, the only thing between you and scorching heat at that point is your air conditioning. However, if it’s not working, it can’t do anything to keep you cool. It can be difficult to tell when you need a repair, so consulting a professional is always the best course of action. Even so, there are some common signs that let you know it’s definitely time for a repair: 1. The System Stops Regulating Temperature A lot of people wrongly think that their unit must be working perfectly if it is still turning on and they don’t think anything else of it. But there could be some big issues stirring up that you might not notice. If your room isn’t cooling down to the temperature that you set or the unit is taking longer to cool the area, it’s time to call in a professional. This could indicate that a faulty fan, broken thermostat, or poor levels of refrigerant are present. 2. Noisy System If your AC is making weird noises, you should be concerned. Some systems make noises by default, but if you notice unique sounds that weren’t there before, it could be a signal. Humming is fine, but a hissing or screeching sound means a big problem is happening. It might be a bad motor belt or a leak, and you should call your AC contractor as soon as possible to help you fix it. 3. Leaks in the System One commonly overlooked problem is a leak in the system. The units typically have an intake for warmer air and they run it over a coil to cool it down before blowing it out again. This results in condensation as a byproduct and it’s only a problem if the water starts leaking out of the closed system. It could be a sign that a drain or pan is malformed or clogged up. Not only could it run your AC unit, but various parts of your home. Call a professional to repair your AC as soon as you discover such a problem. AC’s can be heaven in the hot summers when the scorching sun is ablaze. However, a broken unit is the opposite of fun, causing extreme heat and frustration. You can catch problems before they arise by looking for the three warning signs above. That way, you can stay cool, calm, and happy. To learn more about AC repair, contact a business like Davis Repair...

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2 Fire Hazards You Should Avoid During An Electrical Outage

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Electricity may have not always been a necessity, but in the modern home an electrical issue that causes an outage can make you feel like you are living in little more than a tent. While you are waiting on the residential electrician to arrive for repairs, you may be tempted to do a lot of things just to make your home feel more functional. While using a flashlight and firing up the grill out back is fine, there are definitely some things you could do that can put you and your family in danger. Here are two unsafe practices to avoid during an electrical outage that could easily cause a fire in your home. Using Candles for Overnight Lighting Candles can be a great temporary source of light in a dark room and many of them will burn for hours before burning out. However, did you know that between 2007 and 2011 more than 10,000 house fires were the result of a candle burning? Even worse, the majority of these fires originated in the bedrooms of homes after people fell asleep. If you must use a candle for a light source, make sure that it is never left unsupervised and always extinguished before you fall asleep. If you have little ones who are afraid of the dark, allow them to leave a small flashlight burning instead of a candle. You may have to buy new batteries in the morning, but fire will not be a concern with a flashlight. Using a Neglected Fireplace for Heat If you have electric heat and power problems in cold temperatures, you may be tempted to gather up some firewood and strike a match to that old fireplace to keep everyone in the house warm. If it has been a few years since you have used the fireplace, it is never a good idea to start when the chimney has not been thoroughly inspected and cleaned out. The last thing you want is a house full of smoke and a potential fire hazard in addition to no power. If you have to, take up refuge with a neighbor or family member until the electrician arrives. Being without electricity temporarily can be a hassle, but it is not a time when you should forget to keep safety in mind. It is always a much better idea to rough it in the dark or the cold for a few hours than to make costly mistakes that could put your family in...

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What To Know About Your Home’s Oil Heating System

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you have recently purchased a home that uses oil for its heating system, you may have some questions about how it works or what it will cost you.  As the majority of new homes built use electricity or natural gas, you may be unfamiliar with how oil functions. How Oil Heats Your Home In an oil heating system, the oil is kept in a tank, where it is saved until your thermostat detects that the house is at a lower temperature than desired.  Oil is then pulled into a burner and converted into a gas, which is a fuel and air mixture. This gas then heats different elements, depending on your heating system. The heat is distributed to your home one of three ways: Warm air, distributed through vents Hot water, sent through baseboards Steam, distributed through radiators How to Order Oil for Your Tank Oil can be ordered by quantity, by your determined budget, or you can simply have your tank filled when you notice it is getting low.  It is recommended that you should refill the tank before you go below a quarter of a tank.  To know the size of your tank, it is ideal to have it initially filled from empty, if possible. It is also recommended that you keep your oil tank mostly full, if not completely full, in the summer months, to avoid condensation on the inside of the tank.  How Much Oil Will You Use? As with any other resource, your oil usage largely depends on the size of your home, it’s location, and other factors.  However, the average oil usage in the height of winter months (December through February) is about 100 gallons of oil per month. The remaining months of the year match the usage of these 3 months combined. Care for Your Oil Heating System While oil heating is safe to use, and as clean as any other heating system, it does have special needs to watch out for.  An ill-used or unused tank can leak oil into the soil or local water system.  To avoid this hazard, you should have your tank inspected both before the winter season, as well as at least once during.  If you have an unused oil tank, you should have it safely removed from the premises by professionals. Some companies offer all services for your tank, such as pumping, cleaning, filling, and removal.  Other companies specialize in only one or two of these services.  To find the company that you need, you can contact Cash Oil or search in your local phone directory under “oil-waste” or “recycling,” to have your tank cleaned, or “oil tanks,” to have it filled or...

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