Counterfeit Air Circuit Breakers Coils

Motor Protection Circuit Breakers (MPCB) and Motor Circuit Protector (MCP)

Motor Protection Circuit Breakers (MPCB)

This type of circuit breaker includes both overload protection (thermal or electronic) and fault protection (magnetic). The trip characteristics of an MPCB are specifically designed for the protection of motors, allowing the inrush current but preventing any over-current condition that exceeds it.

Motor Circuit Protector (MCP)

MCPs only offer magnetic protection against fault currents, and therefore their trip is instantaneous. To provide overload protection, it is necessary to complement them with an overload relay and a contactor.

The main advantage of MCPs is that their trip response can be fine-tuned according to the expected inrush current, which may vary according to the type of motor starter used

MPCB/MCP Providers

Allen-Bradley

Eaton

GE

Understanding Circuit Breaker Specifications

Circuit breakers come with a list of several specifications, and understanding them is vital in order to select the proper breaker for each application. The technical specifications most commonly found in miniature (MCB) and molded-case (MCCB) circuit breakers are the following

Rated Operational Voltage (Ue)

Self-Explanatory: The operating voltage which the circuit breaker is designed. A single breaker may be rated for several voltages, or may be compatible with both AC and DC voltages.

Rated Insulation Voltage (Ui)

This is the voltage at which the circuit breaker is tested under laboratory conditions. For safety reasons, this value is always higher than the rated voltage.

Rated Impulse-Withstand Voltage (Uimp)

Maximum peak voltage the circuit breaker can withstand without being damaged. The Uimp often has a value of several thousand volts.

Rated Current (In)

Maximum current the circuit breaker allows without tripping. Anything above this value will eventually cause it to trip. Low overcurrent levels trip the thermal protection in a few minutes, while drastic peaks in current (line fault, short circuit) cause an instant trip.

Service breaking capacity (Ics)

This is the largest fault current the circuit breaker can interrupt without suffering damage.

Ultimate breaking capacity (Icu)

Maximum fault current that the circuit breaker can interrupt. However, the unit is damaged permanently for all fault currents above the service breaking capacity.

Mechanical Life

Average number of times the circuit breaker handle can be operated manually before failure.

Electrical Life

Average number of times the circuit breaker can trip before failure.

Reasons Why Circuit Breakers Trip

Circuit breakers that trip frequently may seem like a nuisance, but it actually means they are doing their job properly – cutting off the electric supply when excessive current is detected. Most modern circuit breakers have two independent tripping mechanisms, and each is designed to respond to a different type of fault.

The thermal tripping mechanism disconnects the circuit breaker when its rated current is exceeded for a predetermined period of time. This tripping mechanism allows for short-duration overcurrent conditions, which are common in some applications; for example, electric motors may draw 5 to 8 times their rated current when they start, but only for a very short time.

On the other hand, the magnetic tripping mechanism has an instant response and is designed to clear high-current faults such as short circuits or ground faults. When these faults occur, they are always an issue and must be cleared as soon as possible. When you see circuit breakers labeled as type B, C or D, the letters indicate the threshold at which the magnetic tripping mechanism is activated.

A type B circuit breaker trips at 3 to 5 times rated current.

A type C circuit breaker trips at 5 to 10 times rated current.

A type D circuit breaker trips at 10 to 20 times rated current.

Thus, if a circuit breaker trips, there are two main possibilities: either a fault has occurred, or the circuit breaker is not adequate for the application at hand. This article will provide an overview of the main reasons why circuit breakers trip.

Electrical Circuit Overload – Top Reason Why Circuit Breakers Trip

Electrical Circuit Overload

Basically, an overload occurs when the current through a circuit breaker exceeds it rated value for longer than what is normal for the application, causing it to trip. For instance, if a 20-amp breaker experiences a current of 25 amps, it will likely trip in less than one minute. You can conclude that the breaker is tripping due to an overload when disconnection does not occur instantaneously (the thermal mechanism is acting, not the magnetic one)

When this happens, the solution may vary depending on specific conditions:

Check the rated current of the devices connected to the circuit breaker. If they are operating normally and the breaker is still being tripped, it was sized too small.

On the other hand, if any of the devices is drawing an abnormally high current, the issue lies in the device itself and not necessarily the circuit breaker.

Keep in mind that both situations may occur simultaneously: maybe one of the devices connected to the breaker panel is drawing a higher current than normal, but the breaker still trips even after the issue was fixed. Therefore, it is best to always start by checking the current being drawn by the appliances connected to circuit breakers.

SquareD Miniature Circuit Breaker (QO/QOB) Terminology

SquareD by Schneider Electric is one of the top brands of circuit breakers in the industry. This wiki post provides the meaning of the most common abbreviations found on the QO/QOB product line.

QO and QOB

These letters refer to the way in which the miniature circuit breaker is mounted on the panel.

QO = Plug-in (snaps in place, no bolted connection to the distribution board)

QOB = Bolt-on (Note the bolts attached to the breaker)

Some characteristics are shared by all breakers in the QO/QOB product line:

Thermal-magnetic protection = Works against both overload and fault currents, calibrated for an ambient temperature of 40°C.

Equipped with a visual trip indicator = QO/QOB circuit breakers have a small window where a red indicator appears when the unit has tripped. The handle remains in the central position between on and off.

Where can QO circuit breakers be used?

QO load centers

NQ & NQOD panelboards

OEM mounting bases

Speed-D® switchboard distribution panels

Where can QOB circuit breakers be used?

NQO & NQOD panelboards

Numerical Code

After the QO/QOB marking, Square D circuit breakers have a numerical code such as “115”, “230” and “3100”. Interpreting it is very simple:

The first number indicates the number of poles.

The following two or three digits indicate the current rating.

The three examples mentioned above would indicate:

115 = 1-pole, 15 Amps

230 = 2-pole, 30 Amps

3100 = 3-pole, 100 Amps

Additional Letter Codes – Special Applications

QO and QOB circuit breakers may have additional letter codes, which indicate the following special applications:

QO-HM / QOB-HM

High Magnetic – Designed for lighting applications with a high inrush current. Only available in 15A and 20A ratings.

QO-HID / QOB-HID

High Intensity Discharge – For use with HID lighting fixtures such as metal halide, high pressure sodium and mercury vapor. Similar to HM, but designed specifically for HID lighting applications.

QO / QOB Miniature Switch

Miniature Switch – No thermal-magnetic protection, exclusively for manual disconnection.

QOK / QOBK

Key-Operated – Manual operation is accomplished through a key instead of a handle. Only available in 10A to 30A ratings, 1-pole, 120 VAC, 10 kA.

QO-GFI / QOB-GFI Qwik-Gard ®

Ground-Fault Interrupter – Designed to offer ground-fault protection for humans, trips with any ground-fault current of 6mA or more.

QO-EPD / QOB-EPD

Equipment Protection Device – Designed to offer ground-fault protection for equipment, trips with ground-fault currents of 30 mA or more.

QO-SWN / QOB-SWN

Switch Neutral Circuit Breaker – Disconnects both grounded and ungrounded conductors in applications that require it, such as gas pump assemblies.

QOT

Tandem Circuit Breaker – Two separate circuit breakers occupy the same pole space. They are designed for loads that are light and non-continuous.

QO-PL / QOB-PL Powerlink ®

Remotely Operated – Can be switched remotely by control devices such as push buttons and PLCs.

QO-AFI / QOB-AFI

Arc-Fault Interrupter, Branch Feeder Type – Can detect an arc-fault in the branch circuit being protected, and trips accordingly.

QO-CAFI / QOB-CAFI

Arc-Fault Interrupter, Combination Type – Same as above, but also includes arc-fault protection for cord sets and power-supply cords.

The Home Inspection

What To Do Before During And After A Home Inspection

You’ve made an offer on a home and it’s been accepted, so now what? There’s probably an ample amount of time before closing, and that’s no mistake. You need to use all of that time making sure the home you made an offer on is the one you want to buy. One of the ways you can do that is by getting a home inspection. Read through this article to understand better about what a home inspection is and what to do before, during, and after a home inspection.

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection occurs after you make an offer on a home and it’s accepted. You schedule a time with a qualified home inspector, who will go through the home’s systems, appliances and structure to look for problems, malfunctions and repairs that need to be made in the home

Generally, a home inspector looks at:

Plumbing

Electrical

Heating and air conditioning

Major appliances like your fridge, dishwasher, oven, washer, and dryer.

Structure of your home, including the foundation and windows

As the inspector goes through the home, they will turn on the systems and check to make sure they’re working correctly and don’t have any major red flags. After going through the entire home, the inspector will create an inspection report detailing the state that all of your systems and appliances are in.

How much does a home inspection cost?

A home inspection can cost between $300-$600, depending on the size of the home and the inspector’s rates.

How long will a home inspection take?

The length of time it takes a home inspector to go through the home depends on how large the home is, how thorough the inspector is, and the state of the property. If the home is smaller, it can take an hour to two hours. If the home is larger or more run down, the inspection can take up to six hours.

HOME INSPECTION SURVIVAL GUIDE

It’s like a scene from a reality television show. Strangers arrive at your front door and dive into every nook and cranny of your personal space. For hours on end they open closets, crawl through your belongings, turn on every faucet in the house, flush toilets, fire up your oven and run your dishwasher or any other appliance they can find. Then, they climb your roof, wander through your basement and seemingly trounce over every square inch of your yard. Your challenge, as the contestant in this show, is to remain pleasant, cheerful and completely accommodating while these personal invaders tear through your home.

It has been reported by National Association of Realtors (NAR), nearly four out of every five homes sold in the nation are evaluated by a professional home inspector before they are sold. Hired by the homebuyer, these inspections are designed to protect the buyers from investing in a home that turns out to be a real life money pit. NAR reports that realtors recommend buyers get a home inspection nearly 99% of the time. Most buyers heed that advice, requesting home inspections in 84% of all transactions.

How It Works

Nearly all purchase contracts for homes sold today include an inspection contingency clause, a provision to allow the buyers to hire a home inspector of their choosing to thoroughly evaluate the home for any major problems.

Once the contract has been signed, inspections usually happen quickly. After an appointment is made with the seller, the home inspector arrives with buyer in tow, and goes through the entire house. Typically, a home inspection will take two to three hours or more and include a check of the home’s structural and mechanical condition. But besides the structural and mechanical inspection, inspectors may also do tests for septic systems, water wells,  radon gas, check for wood destroying insects, or perform other services requested by the buyer.

According to TPREIA, a basic home inspection includes an evaluation of 10 different areas of the home: structure, exterior, roofing system, plumbing system, electrical system, heating system, air conditioning system, interior, insulation and ventilation, and fireplaces.

Here’s everything you need to know about home inspection checklist

Getting the keys and stepping into a newly completed home is always exciting for home buyers. That excitement comes with a tendency to think about things like where the furniture goes or who gets which room. However, a lot of people forget that as with anything you purchase, you need to check that the home does not have any defects. This should be the main priority as soon as vacant possession is delivered.

This is like a warranty period where any defects in the property will be rectified by the developer without any additional cost – and of course no hassle for you. We have put together a few tips and checklists to ease your house inspection journey and to ensure you are buying and up to code property that is worth

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a process of going through a new property to identify any defects or poor workmanship so that the developer can rectify it at no extra cost to the property owner. It is a process where you check your home thoroughly if there are any red flags. It could be the structure, utilities, grounds and rooms. It is also important to inspect the home from a safety standpoint to make sure it is hazard-free. Usually, homeowners will hire an expert to inspect the house. The inspector will then deliver a report of the major component of the home, its condition and whether it requires fixing

When should a home inspection be done?

A home inspection should be done once the buyer gets the keys to the property. Bear in mind that there will also be other owners submitting defect lists so there could be a waiting list for rectification works. To avoid disputes with the developer over who or what caused the defects, be sure to do the inspection and submit the defect list before you do any renovation or fitting works.

Who pays for a home inspection and how much does it cost?

The cost for a home inspection is borne by the homebuyer. As a buyer looking for defects in a new home, this makes sense as you would not want someone paid for by the developer to be doing this for you. The price of a professional inspector’s services depends on the size of the property assessed and the location.

Home Inspection: Find Out What an Inspector is Looking For

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the home inspection can make you sweat. Before you get too worked up, take a deep breath and realize that a home inspection isn’t a pass or fail thing. In fact, no home inspection will yield perfect results.

But some inspection reports are more concerning than others, and it’s important to know if an issue is a minor repair or a money pit. Here’s everything you need to know about home inspections!

What Is a Home Inspection?

Home inspections are a vital part of the home-buying process because they help the buyer avoid any surprises with the home they are purchasing. A home inspection includes an evaluation of structural elements, electrical features, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems.

A qualified home inspector will look for any health and safety problems, as well as any positive or negative property conditions. When the inspection is complete, the home inspector will provide a written, comprehensive report that details any issues with the home.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

The buyer pays for the home inspection. The cost can vary, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that it may cost a home buyer $300–500 for a home inspection. That may sound steep, but paying a few hundred dollars is worth it to avoid a costly surprise down the road!

The Keys to Performing a Proper Property Inspection

Buying a property is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make, so you should make that the property you are going to buy has a sound structure, is pest-free and properly maintained. In order to do this, you will need to conduct a number of property inspections throughout the purchase process.

Personal inspection

An open-house viewing is the first chance you get to inspect a property. It offers a great opportunity for you to see the overall quality and features of a property. If possible, take someone else along with you, as that can person may be able to see potential issues and faults you may personally overlook.

What should you inspect?

To help you with your personal inspection, we have compiled a list of the things that you should check inside and outside the house you are buying.

Inside the house

Bedroom: How many bedrooms are there? How is their size? Are there built-in wardrobes?

Bathroom: Are there broken surfaces or damaged enamel? Cracked or lifting tiles and loose grout may be signs of water damage. Check if pipes have leaks, as well as if the toilet flushes properly and refills without an abnormal noise. Also make sure to check that the shower screen seal is correctly fitted.

Kitchen and laundry: Inquire about the age and quality of the benchtops and cupboards. Make sure there is room for all your appliances.

Taps: Check the colour and water pressure, as well as how well they drain.

Walls and ceilings: Are there cracks? If the damage is severe, repairs might cost thousands of dollars.

Doors and windows: Do the doors and windows open and close properly? If not, the frames may have warped (if they are wood) or rusted (if they are metal).

Flyscreens: Make sure they are fitted where necessary and are not damaged.

Floor coverings: Check the carpets for wear and tear and whether they need to be replaced. Lift rugs to make sure they are not covering any damage.

Furniture: Think about how your furnishings will fit with the property, whether you will need to replace them and what you may need to add.

Insulation: If you can look through the manhole into the roof, do so to check the age and condition of the insulation. In addition, ask if the walls are insulated.

Heating and cooling systems: Ask how old the units are, how well they perform and when they were last serviced.

Electrical wiring: If you find old-fashioned switches and sockets, check if they need to be replaced.

Power points: Check if they are all working, as well as if there are enough points in the right places and whether you will need to add more.

New paint: Paint is often used to hide faults, so run your hands over the walls and look at them from different angles to see if there are any problems. To see the paint job in a better light, consider inspecting the property on a bright sunny day, preferably during daytime or lunchtime.

Damp: Are there stains, water marks or paint damages? Use your sense of smell (as paint might have been used to hide damp).

Mould: Is there mould in the bathroom? If yes, it may be a sign that there is a ventilation problem to fix and that you will need to re-grout and repaint.

Pests: Look for signs of pest trouble (such as rats, mousetraps or poisons). Look particularly for signs of termite damage (such as sagging floors, springy floors and steps, and hollow-sounding beams)

Outside the house

Orientation: Which direction does the house face? It will give you an idea of the temperature of the living area.

General appearance: Check the overall state of the property. Look for damaged windows, cracks in the brickwork or cement work and whether repainting is needed.

Extensions: Check the quality of the workmanship on any extensions and look for the council approval.

External structures: Make sure carports, sheds, pergolas and decking are stable and in good condition.

Privacy: Is the property overlooked by neighbouring houses? If so, it can affect your enjoyment of your external spaces. Consider whether screens, fences or high-growing plants or trees will fix the problem.

Fencing: Do fences and gates need repairs? If so, find out your share of the cost.

Garden: Check its general condition. Are there sufficient taps for watering? Will its size and shape meet your needs? How much work will be required to maintain or improve it? In addition, check the age, condition and type of trees in it as well as whether any trees – including those owned by neighbours – have the potential to damage your property.

Roof: Are there missing, cracked or sliding tiles? A sagging roof may be a sign of underlying structural issues.

Gutters/downpipes: Look for leaks, rust, warps, holes and signs that the gutters overflow. If there are trees nearby, think about whether their leaves will cause problems. Check whether the downpipes are in order and fixed well to the stormwater drain.

Drainage: If patches in the garden are wet or muddy, it may be a sign of poor drainage. Look for any water damage on both the property itself and any surrounding structures.

Swimming pool/spa: Are there cracks or bulges in pool bottoms and sides? How are the lighting, filtration and heating systems? Check for evidence of leaks, repairs and maintenance, as well as the condition of the surrounding paving.

Fuse box: Is it modern? Does it meet safety requirements? If in doubt, get an electrician to check the box as well as the house wiring.

Asbestos: Were asbestos used? Where? (Most often, it can be found in walls, roofing and fencing.) Inhaling asbestos dust can cause serious health problems so, if there is any doubt, bring in a professional to do the assessment and removal.

Simple Guide To Becoming A Tax Preparation

Tax Preparation Services May Now Become Necessary

In today’s economy, self-employed people often have the greatest job security. The reward of entrepreneurship is independence, financial freedom and more. Imagine creating your own secure source of income–with unlimited potential! You can establish a great new home-based business that can be part-time or full-time… and even grow into a brick and mortar business. The choice is yours, and always will be when you’re a business owner.

Benefits of starting a tax business

  • Earn $100/hour or more as an experienced pro
  • Reduce your own tax liability
  • Your skills will make you more marketable
  • Work 3 months of the year and make a great income
  • Have your summers and holidays free
  • Be more secure – you control your own destiny
  • Start at home with minimal expenses

It’s easier and less expensive than you think!

  • Minimal start-up costs
  • Get your tax business started quickly
  • No franchise fees or royalties
  • No accounting background or degree required
  • We teach you everything you need to know and do it faster than you think!
  • No need to reinvent the wheel – we offer tax manuals on policies and procedures, tax preparation marketing, personnel and expansion

Huge growth potential

Millions of Americans pay a tax professional to prepare and file their tax return every year and Congress continues to make more changes to the tax code. These changes make taxpayers even more confused and frustrated and they are seeking out the help of Tax Professionals more than ever.

As the number of taxpayers continues to grow, so does the need for qualified Tax Professionals. And now, with the recent changes to the U.S. economy, it’s more important than ever for taxpayers to claim all of the credits and deductions due them and pay no more than the exact amount of taxes they owe. Starting your own tax business will enable you to meet this growing demand and also give you the flexibility and security you deserve.

The Gloomy Future of the Tax Preparation Industry

Undertakers and those in the funeral and burial business will always be able to rely on a steady stream of customers. And because taxes are, of course, the other inescapable element of life, income tax preparers have enjoyed a similar level of job security for the past several decades. But changes in the demographics of both those in the industry as well as their clientele have created an element of uncertainty regarding the future of this profession. Taxpayers now have more options than ever when it comes to filing their returns, and preparers have been forced to offer an ever-wider array of products and services in order to maintain their business.

A Changing Marketplace

In 2017 there were about 152 million individual returns filed in America.1 And despite all of the recent changes, taxpayers still have three basic avenues to choose from when they file. About half of filers went to a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or a tax preparation franchise such as H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt to have their taxes prepared.2 Filers with complex returns, such as those who have business-related income or deductions from corporations, partnerships or oil and gas leases, or day traders who will require complicated basis calculations will continue to use trained professionals to prepare their returns. But the majority of filers with simpler returns are being presented with more and more options that make it possible for them to accomplish this task on their own. Of course, these software programs have been available for years to allow even those with moderately difficult returns, such as someone who runs a side business out of his or her home and itemizes deductions, to file their returns electronically.

The Digital Age

The tax preparation process itself has steadily become faster and more efficient as more and more information is now available in digital format. A growing number of preparers can now import much or all of their client data from personal finance websites, such as Mint.com or bookkeeping programs such as Quicken, directly onto their tax returns with a single click instead of entering all of those numbers manually. And electronic signatures that are entered with the client’s verbal permission often make it unnecessary for clients to physically appear in the preparer’s office. Mobile apps now allow taxpayers who file short forms to bypass computer preparation altogether.

Value-Added Services

Smart tax preparers know that preparing a client’s tax return is also an extremely effective form of prospecting for other types of business. One of the key reasons for this is that most clients do not view their preparers as salespersons but rather as professionals or advisors. This strategic advantage allows those with the proper training, licensure, and experience to quickly ascertain a client’s overall financial situation and offer insurance or investment products, or other services that may be needed, such as auditing, bookkeeping or even comprehensive financial plans. The additional revenue that can be generated from this approach can be substantial in many cases.

How to become a professional tax preparer:

1. Create your PTIN

Anyone who prepares tax returns and charges a fee for their services is required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) . There aren’t any educational requirements to get your PTIN. You can create one online on the IRS website. The process only takes about 15 minutes. You can also apply for a PTIN by completing and mailing in  Form W-12. 

2. Apply for an EFIN

If you plan to file tax returns electronically, the IRS requires that you have an Electronic Filing Identification Number or EFIN . You can complete your application quickly on the IRS website, here. You will also need to provide your fingerprints to the IRS unless you are already a certified licensed professional, like a CPA or attorney. It should take about 45 days to get your EFIN.

3. Register with your state

Every state is different. Depending on where you plan to work, you may or may not need to register as a tax preparer. Look up your state’s requirements before you begin accepting clients.

4. Work at an office

When you are just starting out as a tax preparer, you may find it helpful to work for an established tax prep service for a brief period. Not only will you be able to ask questions and gain experience during tax season, but you could also learn valuable lessons about the state and local requirements where you plan to start your business.

5. Choose a tax prep software

Every tax preparer is different. Depending on your level of experience in the industry, you may require certain things from your tax preparation software. Consider your needs first. 

  • How much support and tax filing assistance is included?
  • Can you install the software on your desktop?
  • Does it come in a cloud-based version?
  • Can your provider also help you grow your revenue as you gain experience?

Market yourself

While there many ways to market your new practice, here are a few common ways that tax pros get the word out about their practices so that you can start to develop a plan around marketing your own practice:

  • Build a website: A website is a must-have for a business today. Use your website to tell your potential customers about you and your business model, and to list contact information. Our tax pros have found that it’s important to include your picture on the website, and that understanding SEO is also a key factor in success. Some of our other recommended marketing tactics below will cover additional ways to build out your website.
  • Connect on social media: Social media can help you connect with potential clients and others in the industry, and develop a brand that represents your practice. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all great platforms to establish a social presence and connect with clients, peers and others in the industry, and some tax pros link to their social channels on their websites. With a large and growing number of social groups and communities online, finding trusted and useful online communities to turn to for networking, information and help can sometimes be a challenge, so read our article on “5 Online and Social Communities for Tax Professionals” to get our recommendation on where to start.
  • Network: In-person networking is important to growing your business as well. Many states and some cities offer local tax and accounting associations. A few national associations such as the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) have local chapters, and major accounting organizations like the AICPA and the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) have national conferences every year to help you network with industry experts and earn continuing education credits. Don’t forget your business cards at home! Read our article on “5 Reasons you Should Join a Professional Association” to learn about more of the benefits.
  • Use content marketing: From testimonials and case studies to articles that showcase your expertise, content marketing can be a way to stand out in the industry. You can host content marketing on your own site and share it via your social media channels to spread the word. Get lessons from a pro about how to use content marketing to grow your practice.
  • Use direct marketing: Flyers, brochures and emails can be helpful vehicles as you spread the word about your services. Some tax professionals include discounts and other incentives in their collateral. Consider advertising your services using bulletins distributed by community centers, churches, and grocery stores.
  • Ask existing clients for referrals: Word of mouth is important to many clients who are looking for a tax pro, so don’t be afraid to ask your current clients for referrals. You may also consider rewarding clients for referrals with discounts or other incentives. If you don’t have any clients yet, set up referral program with your friends and family. Let them know now you are starting tax business — you can help them with theirs if they can refer some friends to you. Get tips on how to ask for referrals.
  • Partnerships: Partner with other professionals who offer services that compliment, but don’t compete, with yours. For example, you may be able to partner with an insurance agent, offering services to his or her customers while referring the agent to your clients who are looking for additional coverage.

Services you can add to increase your revenue as a tax preparer

As a tax preparer, a lot of your income for the year is earned in just a few months. Naturally, you’ll want to maximize your revenue during that time. And, depending on your financial goals and needs, you may want to supplement with other services that you can do year-round. Here are some ways that you can continue to serve your customers and use your expertise to earn more money in and outside of tax season.

1. Offer bank products

Bank products are sometimes called “settlement solutions” or “refund transfers.” Bank products allow you to deduct your tax prep fee from the client’s tax refund, which means you can offer your services at ‘no out-of-pocket cost’ to your clients. You can even help them receive a portion of their refund right away, instead of waiting for the IRS to send the money. 

2. Become a service bureau

This is one opportunity that is especially interesting once you’ve established yourself in the tax prep business. As a service bureau, you can diversify your revenue by reselling tax software that you trust using your own label/brand. You help other tax preparers grow their business, and as a result, your business grows, too. 

3. Become an enrolled agent

This is one career move you can make that will set your tax business apart from the others. The enrolled agent status is the highest credential awarded by the IRS, but not everyone tries or succeeds in earning the title. To become an EA, you must meet a set of requirements that includes taking exams, passing a suitability check, and continuing your tax education. 

4. Offer bookkeeping 

If you are already preparing taxes for a business, it may be natural to offer bookkeeping as an additional service. Bookkeeping includes keeping track of an entity’s financial statements, transactions, expenditures, and income. As a tax preparer, chances are you already possess many of the skills needed to be a successful bookkeeper. 

You need a high school degree to offer bookkeeping as a service. You can be certified or obtain a license if you choose, but it is not required. Still, having a license may help to attract more business, and the coursework could be beneficial in the long run.  

5. Manage Payroll

Running payroll for a client business is another service that doesn’t require a specialized degree. There are a number of payroll software solutions that are designed to make payroll simple and accessible. 

For many small business owners, hiring someone to manage payroll tasks is a worthwhile expense because they have more time to focus on earning and increasing revenue. For you, it can mean ensuring that your client is in compliance with the laws and their employer tax info is being properly tracked.

Eye Care Is More Than A Visit To The Doctor

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED or Graves Eye Disease)

What Is Graves’ Eye Disease or Thyroid Eye Disease?

Graves’ eye disease, also known as thyroid eye disease, is an autoimmune condition in which immune cells attack the thyroid gland which responds by secreting an excess amount of thyroid hormone. As a result, the thyroid gland enlarges and excess hormones increase metabolism. The hypermetabolic state is characterized by fast pulse/heartbeat, palpitations, profuse sweating, high blood pressure, irritability, fatigue, weight loss, heat intolerance, and loss of hair and alterations in hair quality. When the immune system attacks the tissues around the eyes, it causes the eye muscles or fat to expand.

The eyes are particularly vulnerable to Graves’ eye disease, because the autoimmune attack often targets the eye muscles and connective tissue within the eye socket. This likely occurs because these tissues contain proteins that appear similar to the immune system as those of the thyroid gland. Ocular symptoms can range from mild to severe; but only 10-20% of patients have sight threatening disease. Another tissue that can also be involved in the immune attack of Graves’ eye disease is the skin of the shins.

Signs and Symptoms of Graves’ Eye Disease

In Graves’ eye disease the tissue around the eye is attacked, and the result is inflammation and swelling, causing:

  • Redness and pain
  • Puffiness around the eyes
  • Bulging of the eyes
  • Dry eye and irritation, occurring when the eyelids cannot close completely over bulging eyes

Progressive swelling may cause:

  • Increased pressure inside the eye socket
  • Pressure-pain or deep headache, which worsens with eye movements
  • Decreased vision, when swollen tissues push on the optic nerve

The muscles around the eye are particularly susceptible to the attack of lymphocytes. As they tighten and lose their ability to stretch, these symptoms can occur:

  • The eye is pushed forward in its socket causing a “staring” appearance
  • Restriction of the eye’s normal movements, resulting in double vision

As symptoms build, many patients fear they will lose their vision. Fortunately, patients almost never go blind from Graves’ eye disease.

Problems associated with thyroid eye disease

Dry irritated eyes

TED may cause you to experience dry, irritated and often teary eyes. This is usually due to the eyelids retracting and or protruding. When the eyelids do not close completely at night, the cornea (clear front portion of the eye) dries out and becomes quite uncomfortable. The use of lubricating ointment for the eye at night and artificial tears during the day can provide a great deal of relief. Do not be afraid to use the tears frequently, as much as every 1/2 to 1 hour if necessary.

Double vision

TED can cause swelling, irritation and scarring of the muscles that move the eyes. This can lead to double vision. Double vision may not be present all the time, sometimes it is noticeable only when looking in certain directions, while in other patients it is always present. Often the amount of double vision will change week to week. At times it can disappear completely without treatment. Once the double vision has been stable for at least several months, surgery can be performed to correct it if necessary. Dr. Dailey will refer you to a referring provider for the surgery.

Eyelid retraction

TED can cause scarring in the eyelid muscles. This scar tissue contracts or shortens, causing the eyelid to retract and increasing the white showing above and below the colored part of the eye. The amount of retraction tends to be variable, often changing week to week. In some patients the retraction will disappear with time. In addition to contributing to an unusual appearance of the eyes, the eyelid retraction can cause significant dryness, irritation and tearing. Light sensitivity is another common complaint. Severe drying of the front of the eye can occasionally lead to vision loss.

It is usually preferred to wait for the eyelid position to stop changing before proceeding with surgery. Surgery involves moving the eyelids into a more normal position. In the upper eyelids this is usually performed by removing or stretching the scarred muscles. In the lower eyelids, a graft is often needed to help push the eyelid upward. Eyelid repositioning can make a tremendous difference in both the feel and appearance of the eyes.

Eye protrusion

TED can cause an accumulation of fluid in the fat and muscles around and behind the eye. This can push the eye itself outward making it much more prominent. Coupled with eyelid retraction this can alter the appearance and comfort of the eye. Although less variable than eyelid retraction, the protrusion of the eye can return to normal on its own. After being stable for several months or more, it is sometimes desirable to surgically move the eye into a more normal position. This can be accomplished by removing a portion of the bones surrounding the eye. The swollen fat and muscles around the eye can then fall into the extra space, allowing the eye to move backward. This can go a long way toward returning the eyes to their pre-thyroid appearance and relieve the relentless pressure and irritation most patients feel around their eyes.

Common Eye Problems

The following common eye problems can be easily treated. But, sometimes they can be signs of more serious issues.

  • Presbyopia (prez-bee-OH-pee-uh) is a slow loss of ability to see close objects or small print. It is normal to have this problem as you get older. People with presbyopia often have headaches or strained, tired eyes. Reading glasses usually fix the problem.
  • Floaters are tiny specks or “cobwebs” that seem to float across your vision. You might see them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day. Floaters can be a normal part of aging. But, sometimes they are a sign of a more serious eye problem, such as retinal detachment. If you see many new floaters and/or flashes of light, see your eye care professional right away.
  • Tearing (or having too many tears) can come from being sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes, or having a condition called dry eye. Wearing sunglasses may help. So might eye drops. Sometimes tearing is a sign of a more serious eye problem, like an infection or a blocked tear duct. Your eye care professional can treat these problems.
  • Eyelid problems can result from different diseases or conditions. Common eyelid problems include red and swollen eyelids, itching, tearing, and crusting of eyelashes during sleep. These problems may be caused by a condition called blepharitis (ble-fa-RI-tis) and treated with warm compresses and gentle eyelid scrubs.

Common Eye Conditions

Nearsightedness – This is also known as myopia. A person can see objects clearly when they are close to them, but objects at a distance will appear blurred. Nearsightedness affects about 30% of the population and is easily treated with contacts or glasses.

Farsightedness – This is also known as hyperopia and is the opposite of nearsightedness. A person can see objects clearly that are far away, but objects close to them are blurry. This is also easily treatable just like myopia.

Astigmatism – The surface of the cornea or lens is not spherical, causing your eyes to focus at two separate points instead of one. This can cause eye strain, discomfort, headaches, blurred/distorted eyesight, night vision problems and more. We can easily treat astigmatism with proper contacts or eyewear.

Macular Degeneration – This is a deterioration of the center part of your retina or the area in the back of the eye that receives the images and sends information to the brain. A person will start to see a gray/black dot in the center of their eyesight which will gradually grow larger. This condition is the leading cause of vision loss and is incurable, however, the effects can be slowed with treatment.

Cataracts – The clouding of the lens in your eye that can affect only one eye or both eyes. The lens sits behind the colored part of your eye (the iris) and will cloud over, causing light to scatter and blur. You may also see a double vision with objects. This condition generally is caused by age or injury but sometimes can be caused by genetics, past eye conditions, surgeries, chronic illnesses, and medications.

Glaucoma – Condition where the optic nerve of the eye is affected. The optic nerve carries images from the retina to the brain. Glaucoma often has no noticeable symptoms and is not painful. You will gradually lose your peripheral vision though, and that loss will continue. With frequent eye exams, we can detect glaucoma and greatly slow down the progress of the disease.

Tips for Healthy Eyes

  • Protect your eyes from too much sunlight by wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) radiation and a hat with a wide brim when you are outside.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Make smart food choices.
  • Be physically active and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Control diabetes (if you have it).
  • If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focused on one thing, you can forget to blink. Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet for 20 seconds to prevent eye strain.

Pet Snake Tips

Snakes: Information

Few animals are more disliked or misunderstood than snakes. Irrational fears and feelings that people have about snakes come from misunderstandings and superstitions handed down from one generation to another. Snakes are not mysterious at all, and their colorful, fascinating life histories do not justify the anxiety many people feel about them

Most of the 50 species and subspecies of snakes found are harmless. (A subspecies is a geographic race of a species.) The five species of venomous snakes found in the state include the Osage copperhead, western cottonmouth (water moccasin), western pygmy rattlesnake, massasauga rattlesnake and timber rattlesnake. Although you should respect venomous snakes and approach them with caution, most snakes you may encounter in an urban environment are harmless and beneficial because they eat insects, mice and other rodents.

Snake biology and habits

Snakes are reptiles — a group that also includes lizards, alligators and turtles. Reptiles have been around for millions of years. Snakes are ectotherms, which means they regulate their body temperature by taking heat from their environment or by giving off heat. Because their body temperature is affected by environmental temperatures and varies with surrounding conditions, snakes are inactive during hot seasons (aestivation) and cold seasons (hibernation). Snakes may go for several weeks without eating because of frequent periods of inactivity.

Because snakes are coldblooded, they must rely on behavior to regulate their body temperature. During the hot part of the day, snakes move to shaded areas. On cool days, they sun themselves on rocks or in warm and open areas. Snakes often seek out paved roads because they are attracted by the heat from the road surface.

Because snakes have a backbone, they are classified as vertebrates, the same group as fish, mammals, birds and humans. The snake’s skeletal system is unique. Snake bones are light and highly movable. The lower jaws and skull are connected by a piece of stretchy material called a ligament. This ligament allows the snake to open its mouth wide and move each jaw independently. Thus, a snake can swallow prey much larger than its head.

Don’t wait to see a snake

Use Snake Deterrents to create an avoidance zone

Snake Deterrents have been developed to repel many kinds of snakes. They emit a pulsing vibration into the surrounding soil. When the snake perceives the vibration as a source of danger most snakes will choose to avoid confrontation. (Similar principle to bush walkers walking noisily to scare snakes away.)

Snake Facts:

Scientists have evidence that snakes can detect the direction of vibration!

Vibrations as small as one billionth of a meter can be sensed by some snakes!

Snakes hardly hear airborne sounds but are sensitive to vibration.

Most snakes choose to avoid danger.

Snake Deterrents:

Vibrate to signal danger.

Vibrate within the snakes pitch range.

There are a number of factors to consider:

To protect one spot, one snake repellent may be sufficient. To protect the area immediately around your house, one repellent at each corner could be enough to provide overlapping vibration between adjacent repellents. Best coverage is when the snake repellents are away from the walls, say 5m.

Some situations may require more repellents.

Soil types: The 25m apart is a maximum range for most soils, but for sandy soil or soil with a lot of fine stones, you should reduce this to 10m apart.

Hard objects: If you have pathways, you’ll need a repellent on both side because the vibration doesn’t pass through hard objects in the ground. This applies to concrete, bitumen, gravel, pavers, etc.

Shallow top soil: If your top soil is shallow then reduce the separation between repellents.

Multi-level ground: You’ll need snake repellents on both levels where ground is terraced because the vibration won’t travel between levels.

Soil cracks: If the soil is dry and cracked you’ll need repellents on both side because the vibration doesn’t cross the gap

Ways to Stop Snakes From Slithering Into Your Yard

With a drier and hotter start to summer this year, more snakes are following their prey into areas that are irrigated and provide good cover and food. Unfortunately, this describes many people’s yards, and for a lot of people, the sight of a snake strikes fear. To further the problem, many companies take advantage of people’s fear of snakes by selling products or services that are ineffective, and in some cases, may increase the danger to people and pets

Most people’s fear of snakes stems from the worry that they are venomous. Most won’t want to be close enough to tell, but venomous snakes have a pupil that resembles a cat’s. It has an oblong shape with peaked ends that look like a slit in the center of the eye. Non-venomous snakes usually have round pupils. The snakes most people are likely to see in their yards will be non-venomous, such as the garter or gopher snake.

If you encounter a snake in or around your home, keep calm and follow these tips.

Mow grass often and keep it fairly short. Snakes are less likely to reside and move through short grass because it increases their exposure to predators such as owls and  hawks. Shorter grass also makes snakes easier to spot.

Avoid over watering your lawn. Too much landscape water may attract prey species such as worms, slugs and frogs, which in turn may attract snakes seeking a meal.

Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and away from your home and garage, and keep branches off the ground. Creating a 24-to-36-inch space under trees and shrubs will help keep snakes away and will make it easier to spot them if they do slither in.

If you feed birds, keep the feeder away from the house or consider not feeding them. Birds are messy eaters and often leave seed scattered below the feeder. Seed on the ground attracts rodents, which may also attract snakes seeking a meal. Store bird seed in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid.

Feed pets inside. Feeding them outside can attract insects and rodents which, again,  attract snakes. If feeding outside is necessary, be sure to clean up uneaten food promptly. Store pet food in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid.

Store firewood, excess lumber and other types of debris away from your home. These provide prefect places for snakes to hide.

Think before you landscape. Avoid using mulch and large rocks in your landscape, as they attract snakes and their prey and can create breeding and overwintering habitat. Instead, use smaller, tight-fitting rock such as gravel or river rock. Also avoid landscaping with water gardens and Koi ponds.

Seal cracks and crevices on sidewalks and foundations, and consider getting an energy audit. These can be a great way to identify places that allow air conditioning and heat to escape the home. These same cracks and crevices may be used as an entry point by snakes and other small creatures.

When all else fails, consider fencing. Use 1/4 inch or smaller rigid mesh or solid sheeting and bury it a few inches into the ground. Include a bend at the top to prevent snakes from climbing up and over.

Do not use snake repellents or sulfur, as they are ineffective. Do not use mothballs because the active ingredient is naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene – chemicals that are toxic to insects and mammals, but are not effective against snakes. Using mothballs outside your home also violates product labels and puts your family and pets at risk. Do not use sticky traps outside. Traps placed outside capture all sorts of non-target animals and result in a slow, agonizing death.

If you have issues with snakes in your chicken coop, avoid using ceramic eggs or golf balls. Snakes that eat these artificial eggs die a slow and painful death over many weeks, and new snakes will show up to take their place. Instead, focus on improving your coop to prevent snakes from entering and follow the deterrents recommended above. If using ceramic or other artificial eggs to encourage a brooding hen to lay, glue them down to prevent snakes from eating them.

Do not bring out the guns, shovels or other weapons. Discharging a firearm toward the ground can result in bullet ricochet. If needing to get a snake to move on, use a water hose to spray the snake, which will encourage it to find a new place to take up residence.

Snakes

ADAPTATIONS

Snakes belong to the reptile family along with turtles, lizards, crocodiles, and alligators. Reptile young are hatched from shelled eggs or born alive and are essentially miniature versions of their parents. Reptiles depend on the outside environment for body heat because they do not produce it internally.

Snakes do not have eyelids! Their eyes are covered by a protective transparent scale.

Snakes hear by picking up vibrations through their skull and jaw bones.

Snakes smell with their tongue! Odor particles are picked up by the tongue and deposited on a special organ in the roof of the snake’s mouth which then sends information to the brain. This sense of smell assists the snake in finding food and identifying potential mates or enemies.

A snake’s dry and scaly skin provides protection as they move over rough or prickly terrain.

The outer skin covering is shed and replaced several times during the year and shed skins are good clues to the presence of secretive snakes.

Snakes are predators. The smaller Michigan snakes feed on invertebrates such as worms, slugs, or insects. The larger species take larger prey, such as frogs, rodents, birds, or other reptiles.

Snakes must swallow their food whole. This is possible due to flexible connections between many of their skull and jaw bones and stretchable skin, which allows them to swallow prey larger than their heads.

Non-venomous snakes have tiny, recurved teeth that are useful for holding and swallowing prey.

Venomous species have these same recurved teeth, as well as enlarged teeth for injecting venom.

REPRODUCTION

Snakes usually mate in early spring. Although the majority of reptiles reproduce by laying shelled eggs, many snakes give birth to babies that develop inside the mother’s body. Of 18 snake species, 10 are live-bearing and only 8 lay eggs.

Egg-laying usually occurs in early summer, with the eggs deposited in an empty rodent burrow, in moist sand or soil, or under a log or stump.

Depending on the snake species, clutch size ranges from 1 to 50 eggs.

Most snakes abandon their nests soon after the eggs are laid, but females sometimes coil about the eggs for varying time periods.

Hatching occurs in late summer or fall when the baby snakes cut their way through the leathery egg shell using a specialized “egg-tooth.”

Live-bearing snakes give birth about the same time in late summer

The number of young born can vary from 5 to 50 depending on the species.

The babies often emerge enclosed in a thin membrane which soon ruptures.

There is no parental care of the young, though they may remain near the female for several hours.

SNAKES AND PEOPLE

17 of 18 snake species are harmless, and the one venomous rattlesnake can be identified with minimal training. All snakes can be avoided with simple precautions when visiting natural areas. Learn more about snake safety tips and snake bite treatment

Snakebite

Key Points

Specific advice about children with potential snakebite should be sought early from a clinical toxicologist (Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26, 24 hrs/day).  This should particularly occur with envenomation by snakes of snake-handlers or other sources of exotic snakes, as well as by those bitten by snakes in locations other than.

In Victoria, there are 3 venomous snakes – Brown, Tiger and Red-Bellied Black.

Antivenom should be administered early if signs of envenomation.  Brown and tiger antivenom will cover all snakes.

Background

Snake bite is uncommon and envenomation (systemic poisoning from the bite) is rare. The bite site may be evidenced by fang marks, one or multiple scratches. The bite site may be painful, swollen or bruised, but usually is not for snakes

Assessment

Focus on evidence of envenomation.

Once the possibility of snakebite has been raised, it is important to determine whether a child has been envenomed to establish the need for antivenom.

This is usually done taking into consideration the combination of circumstances, symptoms, examination and laboratory test results.

Most people bitten by snakes do not become significantly envenomed.

Role of snake venom detection kit (VDK)

A VDK is rarely indicated as

There are only two types of antivenom required for snakes (tiger and brown) and both can be given to treat envenomation without identifying the snake, and

The diagnosis of envenomation is based on the aforementioned history, examination and laboratory test findings.  A VDK is NOT used to diagnose envenomation.

A VDK may be indicated if the snakebite is from a non-snake.

Attempted identification of snakes by witnesses should never be relied upon as snakes of different species may have the same colouring or banding.

VDKs can have significant rates of snake misidentification with both false positives and false negatives and should therefore only be performed by an experienced laboratory technician.

The results should not override clinical and geographical data. Discuss use and results with a clinical toxicologist

How To Choose The Right Type Of Truck Tires For Your Truck

Important Things To Know About Commercial Truck tires!

Among the essential asset of a truck are the tires. The function of tires is to connect the truck and trailers to the road. Often it isn’t very easy to understand the importance of truck tires. Tires help the drivers to steer on the terrains, which can be diverse safely. It won’t be wrong if we say that the tires play an essential part in the working and driving a vehicle.

To purchase the right type of tire is essential to benefit your commercial truck for all purposes. You might need the right quality tires for your commercial trucks or regular vehicles. It can create a big difference in how the rig runs and save your time and money both. That is why it is advised to the trucks’ users to take more care of their truck’s tires.

When we talk about purchasing tires, the first thing to focus on is getting the right quality tire even if you need to pay more for that. Getting an inexpensive one, or you can say, getting a low-quality tire will always create a hurdle for you. It is essential to always go for a high-quality truck tire to get future benefits.

Here are few reasons why you must get a high-quality commercial truck tire:

Save time and money: by getting the right kind of tire, you may save money and precious time. Although you need to pay more at first, you will realize that this helped save a lot of money and time both in the long run. You might see that the good ones are tough through ten and also 1000’s of miles. It merely explains that there is no need to add more money to the quality of the tire. Another advantage you will find will be to save on the hassle of getting new ones frequently.

Getting cheap quality tires might waste your time. It might also get on your nerves and for the commercial trucks especially.  As there is a lot of load carried on the commercial trucks, by fitting weak quality tires, it may create problems, and you will soon realize that the truck’s tires last longer. The situation will then become uncontrollable. By getting the right quality tires will help you save your time, energy, and money. It is much better to get the right quality tire as it will help to get an excellent rolling resistance. The fuel consumption will also be less as the trucks glide smoothly, and there is no need for acceleration.

Taking good care of your commercial truck tires will help decrease the truck’s running cost as it costs a lot of money. Here are some of the measures that one needs to consider and take care of and follow.

Keep the tires inflated: you are advised to check the tires’ inflation and check the air in them. It must be inflated so that the tire stays smooth, and it won’t create any hurdle. You also need to check the air that how much it is inflated while at the same time filling up the gas to check that it remains complete.

Inspecting the commercial truck tires regularly:

It would help if you inspected the tires of your truck regularly. Check for wear and tear. They often get less efficient at the time of treads to wear out, resulting in more cost. You need to purchase fuel, which makes the traction low and might lower the tires’ life.

MONEY-SAVING TIPS:

1. Don’t think that you can save money by replacing only one tire in a pair of drive or trailer tires. The new tire with deeper tread will most likely wear down prematurely, causing you to have to replace it more quickly. Even though it is more expensive to replace both simultaneously, especially when they are close to needing to be replaced anyway, they will wear at the same rate.

2. Many truck drivers do a visual inspection of the depth of their tire tread when they check their tires with a “tire thumper.” This may not be adequate, depending on your company’s requirements. If you are an owner-operator, measuring the depth may be more important to you because you’re paying for the tires.

3. Watch for other problems associated with uneven wear on a tire tread, which may be an indication of a problem. For example, a tire that wears more on one side than another may be a sign that your truck has an alignment problem. Replacing the tire in this case will not solve the problem. The truck must first be realigned.

4. Experts recommend that you measure tread depth at least once a week.

How to extend the life of commercial truck tires

Commercial truck tires represent a significant cost in truck driving. Extending the lifespan of your tires can help you save money and can keep you and everyone around you safer on the road. Most of what you need to do to keep your commercial tires in good shape is staying on top of regular maintenance. Get in the habit of doing the following:

Buy High-Quality Commercial Truck Tires

The first step you should take is to buy high-quality commercial truck tires that are built to last through extensive testing to ensure durability. Buying cheap tires may seem like a good idea to save you money up front, but it will end up costing you money over time. High-quality tires last longer and reduce the amount of maintenance they need.

Carefully Monitor Inflation

Improper tire inflation can lead to a host of problems, including increased wear, irregular wear, and blowouts. In the worst case scenario, poorly inflated tires can be a serious safety hazard. In the best case, it causes your tires to wear more quickly, meaning you’ll need to replace them sooner. Tires that are underinflated wear more quickly on the tire shoulders. Under inflation, in more extreme cases, can also weaken the tire sidewalls and ultimately lead to a structural failure. This is when ruptures and tread separations can happen. On the opposite end of the spectrum, over inflation is also a problem. An overinflated tire will wear more quickly in the middle and is also more likely to cause a blowout. Both kinds of improper inflation cause your tires to wear quickly in some areas. To prevent this problem, it’s essential to conduct regular tire inspections. Keep in mind that even if you adjusted your tires to the right PSI, they will lose pressure gradually over time, and more quickly in cold weather.

Rotate Commercial Tires Regularly

Your tires wear differently depending on where they are located. Front tires wear more quickly on the shoulders, and rear tires generally wear more quickly in the middle. Overall, rear tires wear a little more quickly. Rotating your tires regularly helps to equalize this wear and keep all of your tires in good condition for longer. Ideally, you’ll be able to line up your tire rotations with other necessary service. You should, however, rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, even if your truck isn’t due in for other service. The inconvenience will be worth it for increased ride comfort and better tire longevity.

Visually Inspect Commercial Tires

The last thing you can do to help is regularly inspect your tires. It’s a good idea to make a visual inspect part of your pre-trip routine. Look over your tires to check for bulges, cuts, or irregularities in the tread wear. Irregularities may mean that your tires are wearing unevenly due to misalignment or improper inflation. A quick visual check can tip you off that a problem is emerging, enabling you to adjust your tires before the problem becomes serious.

Will Lifting My Truck Change the Ride?

If you’re looking to lift your truck, you might be wondering whether a lift will change how your truck rides. Truck lift kits are great for adding more ground clearance, and they give you space for larger tires. Depending on the make and model of your truck and which lift kit you choose, these modifications could change the way it feels to drive your truck, resulting in stability and handling issues. Luckily, most of these issues can be fixed with some additional modifications. Learn more about how lifting can change the ride of your truck and what you can do to fix it.

Stability and a New Center of Gravity

When you lift your truck, whether it’s by two inches or twelve, you’ll change the truck’s center of gravity. Your truck will sit higher off the ground, so the center of gravity will be slightly higher as well. This means your truck may not be as stable once the lift kit has been installed. If you take a fast turn or reach top speeds on the highway, you might notice the truck doesn’t handle the way it used to when you were sitting closer to the earth.

Adding larger and wider tires can help you solve this issue. You’ll have more contact with the road, so your truck won’t feel as unstable, but your truck’s center of gravity will be altered, regardless, so it’s usually best to adjust your driving habits accordingly. If your truck’s lift is more than a few inches, take turns slowly and refrain from accelerating too quickly.

Suspension Fatigue and Damping

Lifting your truck can also lead to some suspension problems. You might notice less suspension damping during long trips and on rough, uneven roads, but this only tends to be an issue if you’re lifting your truck more than a few inches. Over time, this lack of dampening can lead to more serious problems and even damage your truck’s suspension system.

To combat these issues, you can invest in reservoir shocks to help smooth out your ride. You can also consider buying coilover shocks, custom leaf springs, and traction bars for even more dampening relief.

Steering and Handling

If you love to go off-road, you might want to modify your truck’s steering system with off-road lugs to keep your steering components more secure, but this can lead to problems when you’re driving on paved roads, making it more difficult to steer and handle your truck in all kinds of situations. You might notice a wandering steering wheel and more resistance behind the wheel, or that your wheels are slow to react to the steering components. This usually means your steering system can’t handle the larger tires or your steering components are misaligned.

Check to see if the tie-rod is parallel to the axle and the traction bar and panhandle bar are parallel to each other. If not, you’ll need to get these components back in sync with each other or have a professional tinker with your steering system. Adding a hydraulic ram can also help you smooth out your lifted truck ride. You might also just have to get used to handling your truck a little differently than you’re used to.

Home Renovation Secrets

How to Get Your Dream House with These Home Improvement Tips!

It doesn’t matter what kind of home you own, there are always ways to improve it. Whether you want to simply remodel a room or have the entire property renovated, there are home improvement experts available to help you. Making improvements to a home, no matter how simple or complex, will increase its value.

Choose improvements that add a lot of value

This is especially important if you plan on selling the house someday. Some home remodeling/addition projects have a high return on investment. Some of the highest ROIs include:

Attic bedrooms

Basement remodel

Backup power generator

Deck addition (particularly wood or composite)

Entry door replacement with fiberglass

Bathroom remodel

Bathroom addition

Use lighting tricks and mirrors to make small rooms appear larger

Clever use of indirect lighting, such as installing cove lights in soffits, creates the illusion that the walls are higher. You can also use mirrors to give off the illusion that a small space is larger than it is. For instance, you can group several small mirrors together on the wall and paint their frames. They have many uses in small kitchens as well. A mirror placed behind the stove will bounce available light around. You might also want to glue mirrored tiles to the front of kitchen cabinets.

Brighten a dark room up with highly lacquered walls

Lacquered walls are very trendy, and they don’t appear to be going away anytime soon. This design can be used in any room, and any colour can be used. However, you must first make sure that the walls or woodwork is in top-notch condition. Just as long as the walls don’t crack or move, the lacquer will hold up fine for years to come.

Don’t forget the little things

Details play an important part in home improvement. In the kitchen and bathroom, it’s okay to splurge on custom cabinet knobs, pulls, and faucets. Would you prefer a one handed faucet, two handed faucet, hands-free (motion sensing) faucet? What kind of material would be ideal for your kitchen and/or bathroom? Stainless steel? Chrome? Oil-rubbed bronze? You can also have new fixtures installed.

How To Get The Most Out of Full House Renovations?

Full house renovations take a lot of time. You not only have to consider each individual room, you must consider the house as a whole, as well as the landscape. You might even have to leave the house at some point during the renovation and stay someplace else. If one thing goes wrong, it could affect the entire home and compromise the whole project.

Hiring a project manager is essential. Unless you have a lot of experience, you probably won’t be able to manage the entire project yourself. A full house renovation requires a lot of work and organization.

It’s also a huge investment. If you want to get the most from your investment, here are a few ideas:

Don’t be afraid to spend extra time and money on the kitchen. It gets a lot of wear and tear as people go in and out of it every single day, cooking, eating, cleaning doing dishes, etc. Go for high quality cabinets with a tough exterior finish and a solid flooring solution. The appliances and furniture should all be high quality and durable as well.

Have your heating, cooling, and insulation improved where necessary. You might want to conduct an energy audit to learn where you should insulate. Have pipes, your AC, and heating system inspected. You might also want to invest in better windows.

Don’t make any changes to the bathrooms without first checking your water supply lines and the water heater. Know your local plumbing code and keep the street-side water supply lines in mind. You wouldn’t want to invest in a luxurious new tub just to find out that the tank is inadequate for it.

Determine if your roof, gutters, siding, soffits, etc… are in need of replacement or if repairs will suffice. Some materials begin to show wear and tear more quickly than others. Know the maintenance requirements for your current roof and compare it with the maintenance requirements with other materials.

Consider whether or not it would be worth it to replace all of your exterior walls. If a lot of siding needs to be removed, you might as well replace everything. If there is brick at the main level, you might want to go with wood siding or cement as an addition. Replacing the doors and windows simply to match the new siding is an aesthetic choice that might not be worth the money. Only have them replaced if there is a structural and energy-efficient need to do so.

If you plan on adding on to your house, take care of the existing space first. Don’t have another room built on until you’ve renovated the attic, basement, and other storage areas already existing on the property.

You will also want to take care of the house itself first before moving on the landscape. Start from the inside and work your way out.

Renovate for the future, not for the present. Don’t cut any corners and settle on low quality materials. Also, think about the design. Don’t invest in a particular type of flooring, wallpaper, furniture, paint job, etc… just because it’s trendy right now. Otherwise, it will seem outdated a decade or two from now. Go with a timeless look.

How Can I Prepare for the Kitchen Renovation Process?

Remodelling your kitchen can completely transform your home. For many families, the kitchen is a natural place where everyone gathers, enjoys meals, and shares the highlights of their days. A kitchen home renovation can be used to add updated appliance for easier meal preparation and can make the space more visually appealing and welcoming.

Set a Budget

First, you must decide how much you can afford to spend on your new kitchen. Take into consideration new appliances, flooring, wall finishes, fixtures, and labour. Always leave some extra funds leftover for unexpected needs.

Choose Your Appliances

If your kitchen renovation includes replacing some or all of the appliances, this will be one of the biggest costs and focal points of your project. This is an opportunity to completely change the aesthetic, function, and energy efficiency of your kitchen. It is important to know which appliances you will be installing, as you will need to fit your counters and cabinetry around these pieces.

Create Your Design

Next, you can begin to draft your overall design for the kitchen. This includes where the appliances will be installed, as well as what the overall look of the room will be. You can choose a colour scheme, the type of cabinetry you would like, whether or not you will add elements, such as a kitchen island, and what type of flooring you would like in the room. Remember to calculate the costs of each design element to ensure that they will all fit within your kitchen renovation budget.

Determine If You Need Alternative Living Arrangements

While the kitchen may only be one room in your house, it is certainly an important one. If your home renovation is going to keep you from being able to use your kitchen for many days, you might consider making alternative living arrangements. Depending upon your project, these arrangements may only be necessary on days when it is necessary to turn off the electricity and/or water in order to safely install the appliances. Obviously, it may not be necessary to leave your home, but this could be a more enjoyable option for you and your family and can allow the work to proceed more quickly.

How Can I Change My Living Room During a Home Renovation?

When making home renovations there are some projects that immediately come to mind: upgrading the kitchen or making the bathroom more modern. But, how can you make improvements to your living room when there are no appliances to upgrade or cabinets to replace?

Update the Flooring

Has your carpet become faded and riddled with stubborn stains? Take this opportunity to rip out the old and install new. Or, if the kids and pets are out of the house, consider putting in beautiful, natural hardwood floors for a warm and sophisticated look.

Make Your Walls More Exciting

There’s more to decorating than just eggshell white walls. You can completely change the feel of a room by painting in a light and neutral tone that adds personality without making the room feel smaller. If you want to experiment with bolder, darker colours, you can paint a living room accent wall in a hue that compliments the rest of your chosen design.

Get Creative with the Lighting

Many people underestimate just how important lighting is in a room design. During your living room home renovation, you can have your contractor install recessed lighting. You can install can lights that are recessed into the ceiling, providing overhead lighting without taking space away from the room, or you can install recessed lighting behind panels in the walls in order to highlight decorative items

Install an Advanced Home Entertainment System

If you like to entertain, watch movies, or play video games in your living room, you might consider having your contractor help you with your entertainment system. During your home renovation, you can rewire your living room to better incorporate a surround sound stereo system, wall-mounted electronics, and many other types of technology.

Home Renovations Before and After: What to Expect?

You might be wondering what to expect with home renovations, before and after. Before you call a contractor to acquire an estimate, you should first do some research on your house and neighborhood. The more you know about your home, the better you will be able to prepare.

What to Consider Before Committing to a Remodeling Project

You need to know the age, design, and model of your home. Was it built with a standard or custom design? Learn as much about the history of your home as you can. If you are thinking about adding onto your home, you must first check with the municipality to see if there are any constraints or restrictions. Assess existing conditions and have a clear understanding of zoning laws. This is especially important if you are planning to have the exterior of your home renovated.

Estimate Your Budget and Begin Planning the Project

How much of the house requires remodeling? Do you want to stick with the interior or do exterior renovation as well? Are there any specific rooms you want to put a lot of focus on? Contact a contractor to come and review the preliminary plans with you and give you an estimate.

If you are flexible, you will be able to save money. If you have nowhere else to go during the renovation, you might want to stick to one area of the house at a time. You may decide to work with designers or architects. Let them know about your personal tastes and requirements. Do you want a traditional living room? Country kitchen? Vintage bathroom? Sleek, contemporary bedroom? Whatever you want, it’s recommended that you get the details on how long it will take to perform the required tasks in writing. A reputable company also provides liability insurance for clients.

What to Expect After Renovation

Your project isn’t complete until everything is inspected. Your contractor should ensure that all the systems in your home – such as plumbing, wiring and HVAC are functioning properly and efficiently to suit the new remodel.  There will also be a cleaning up and waste disposal process. Ongoing maintenance and monitoring is important.

Laminate Flooring Simplified

Laminate Flooring Test Results – Health Issues and Solutions

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) tested formaldehyde levels released from specific types of laminate flooring made in Ch between 2012 and 2014 and sold at Lumber Liquidators stores in the United States. CPSC tested the same type of flooring that had some of the highest formaldehyde levels in tests conducted during a recent consumer investigation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) estimated (modeled) indoor formaldehyde levels that may be present in typical homes with this laminate flooring. In the model, we used near worst-case conditions so that our conclusions and recommendations would protect public health.

Short-term Health Effects

Irritation and breathing problems can happen in anyone, but children, older adults, and people with asthma or other breathing problems are more likely to have these symptoms. If you installed this type of flooring in a home that already had elevated levels of formaldehyde from other products (like cabinets, furniture, or curtains), your chance of having those symptoms increases.

Long-term Health Effects

Studies of workers who breathe in very high levels of formaldehyde over many years have shown a link to rare cancers. Formaldehyde exposure from the tested laminate flooring would be much lower and would last for less time than the exposures linked to those cancers. However, whenever you are exposed to a cancer-causing chemical, your cancer risk increases.

estimated the increased lifetime risk of cancer based on

Installing flooring with the highest formaldehyde levels

Breathing in formaldehyde at those levels in the house all day long for two years

Note: We chose a two-year time frame because several studies have shown that indoor air concentrations of formaldehyde from new building products usually decrease over time, particularly during the first two years.

Homemade Laminate Floor Shiner

Laminate floors require very little effort on your part to shine. However, the little effort you’ll be putting into keeping the flooring’s natural allure and brightness needs to be deliberate and done often to prevent dirt from accumulating and dulling up the surface. One key to retaining your laminate floor’s shine is the type of cleaner that you use – not brand, just the type. The less chemicals used in cleaning, the more shiny and long lasting the floor will be. Below are some simple tips you can use to keep your laminate shining with a homemade laminate floor shiner.

Vacuum

You want to get all of the dirt and dust off the floor before using a liquid cleaner. Remember that laminate floors are wooden and their shiny surfaces can make them get scratched easily – so be careful with the type of vacuum cleaner you use. Get a hard floor attachment, so you can clean scratch free. If you don’t have that attachment, you can always use a broom to get the dirt off.

Choose Your Cleaner

Most commercial cleaners are either soap or oil based – bases that will cause product build up and ruin the shine on your laminate floor. Of course if you search diligently, you’ll probably find something made specifically for laminate floors, but they definitely won’t be as cheap as something you’d make yourself at home. Plus, you probably already have the ingredients at home to make this cleaner, so you may not have to spend a thing.

INGREDIENTS

Water – 1/2 cup

White vinegar – 1/2 cup

Rubbing alcohol – 1/2 cup

Mix all of them in a spray bottle. Check that the spray nozzle works, and voila! Your laminate floor cleaner is ready for use.

Don’t Pour, Spray

Don’t forget that your floor is essentially wood – which hates water. Once you have your spray bottle filled with your homemade cleaning solution, you want to spray it lightly on one section of the floor (not all at once). To determine the size of area to spray, just see how far you can reach with your mop, and spray that area. You want to spray just enough surface and mop it up immediately before the cleaner dries up. Also, try not to spray a surface you might get boxed in – if dried cleaners looks terrible, footprints look even worse.

How Can I Clean My Laminate Floors Without Damaging Them?

Laminate is a great alternative to real wood flooring. Not only is it cheap, it’s easy to fit, maintain and clean. But this durable type of flooring isn’t indestructible. It can still be scratched, and if water gets into the joins catastrophic damage can result.

Prevention is the best cure

Keeping your floor clean at all times is the best way to prevent scratches, water damage and general wear and tear. The tiniest of dirt and grit particles can cause severe scratches, which might eventually allow water to seep in. Protect your floor by insisting people take off their shoes before stepping onto your laminate.

It’s also a good idea to use mats and runners in high-traffic areas, as dirty shoes can do untold damage to laminate over time. Also, place a non-slip mat at each entrance to your home. And if you ever have to move furniture, place rubber stoppers on feet to prevent severe scratching.

Can you vacuum laminate floors?

The short answer is yes. In fact, some careful vacuuming should be performed on your laminate floors every day. Do some research to find the best vacuum for laminate floors in the UK. Once you’ve chosen one, make sure you use it daily — even if your floors look OK. Choose a model with a hard floor mode, as this will increase performance and provide added protection.

Cleaning your laminate floors

It’s important to remain vigilant when it comes to droppages and spillages. Clean your floor as soon as you notice something with microfibre cloths and a natural cleaning solution. For example, a mild solution of vinegar and water is all you need to clean and sanitise everyday spillages.

FLOOR CLEANING & DISINFECTING TIPS

Right now, many of us are cooped up at home and while the situation is far from ideal, it can be a great time to get some cleaning done. It’s not only important to keep a clean home to lower the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and other germs, but getting a head start on spring cleaning can help you feel productive and make your home a more pleasant place to be. If someone in your home is sick, it’s important to not just clean, but to disinfect surfaces and your floors are no exception. While you might not consider the floor a frequent touch point, it is important to keep these high traffic areas as clean as possible, especially if someone has walked through your home with shoes or if you have pets who might be carrying in dirt, germs, and bacteria from outside. From cleaning to disinfecting, we’re here to share some tips to help you keep your floors clean and safe.

Should I Clean or Disinfect My Floors?

One of the first things to note is there is a big difference between simply cleaning and disinfecting your home. Cleaning helps to remove germs but does not kill them, though this does lower the risk of spreading infection as it reduces the number of germs. Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This does not necessarily clean dirt or remove these germs, so it is always best to clean first and then disinfect to lower the risk of spread. However, disinfecting requires specific products to complete effectively and these supplies might be hard to come by if you don’t already have them on hand. The good news is, if no one in your home is sick it is only necessary to clean (without disinfecting) to reduce the spread and keep everyone safe and healthy. Keep up with a daily cleaning schedule and follow the CDC’s best practices like frequent and thorough hand washing to maintain a healthy household.

Cleaning Tips for Hard Flooring– Hardwood, Laminate & Vinyl Flooring

Just like any other time, daily use of a microfiber mop or Swiffer is a great way to keep your hard surface floors clean. You can vacuum with a soft-bristled floor brush attachment to clean up even more dirt, dust, and debris. Depending on the type of flooring in your home, you’ll want to be careful with any kind of mopping- hardwood and laminate floors can be damaged by moisture so opt for damp mopping with those instead. If you have vinyl flooring, you can mop with either a store-bought cleaner or a solution of apple cider vinegar and warm water. Routine cleaning here will help to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses

Disinfecting Hard Flooring– Hardwood, Laminate & Vinyl Flooring

Again, it’s important to clean hard surfaces prior to disinfecting, and if you’re using a disinfecting product be sure to carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions prior to use to know how long your disinfectant needs to be in contact with the surface to kill germs. It’s also good to know the difference between cleaners that kill bacteria and ones that kill viruses and look for the latter. Many anti-bacterial cleaning agents are also disinfectants that will kill viruses but double check the label.

Cleaning Tips for Soft Flooring– Carpets & Area Rugs

Depending on the amount of traffic, daily or weekly vacuuming is recommended. Go slowly while vacuuming to make sure you’re thoroughly picking up all the dust and debris—slow passes with your vacuum can pick up more ground-in dirt than fast passes. A lot of dust and debris tend to hide underneath or behind furniture, so if you can, move or lift your furniture to vacuum more thoroughly. If you’re cleaning the entire room, it’s smart to vacuum both before and after dusting- once before to pick up existing dust and once again after to pick up any that has made it’s way to the carpet after your other cleaning efforts.

Flooring

Flooring is the general term for a permanent covering of a floor, or for the work of installing such a floor covering. Floor covering is a term to generically describe any finish material applied over a floor structure to provide a walking surface. Both terms are used interchangeably but floor covering refers more to loose-laid materials

Subfloor

The floor under the flooring is called the subfloor, which provides the support for the flooring. Special purpose subfloors like floating floors, raised floors or sprung floors may be laid upon another underlying subfloor which provides the structural strength. Subfloors that are below grade (underground) or ground level floors in buildings without basements typically have a concrete subfloor. Subfloors above grade (above ground) typically have a plywood subfloor.

Flooring materials

The choice of material for floor covering is affected by factors such as cost, endurance, noise insulation, comfort, and cleaning effort. Some types of flooring must not be installed below grade, including laminate and hardwood due to potential damage from moisture.

The sub-floor may be finished in a way that makes it usable without any extra work, see:

Earthen floor adobe or clay floors

Solid ground floor, cementitious levelling/wearing/granolithic screeds, polymer-modified concretes and levelling/wearing screeds.

Carpeting

Carpet is a soft floor covering made of bound carpet fibers or stapled fibers. Carpeting refers to wall-to-wall coverage, whereas a rug is simply used to cover a space. This type of flooring is typically used indoors and can be used in both high and low traffic areas. It typically lasts for 15-18 years before it needs to be replaced. The quality of a carpet is usually measured in face weight, or how many fibers there are per square inch. The higher the face weight the more plush a carpet will feel

Installation Methods

Today, there are two primary forms of carpet installation: tackless installation and direct glue down. Tackless installation occurs when tack strip is installed around the perimeter of a room and the carpet is stretched over padding onto those tack strips to hold it in place. Before this installation method, carpet was tacked down with staples throughout the installation which is why the new method is called tackless installation; as you no longer need nails in the middle of the floor. Direct glue down occurs when you spread special carpet adhesive over the substrate and then roll the carpet onto the glue to hold it in place.

Home Renovation Projects That Are Great For A Vacation

Which room should you renovate first?

Many people move into a home with the intention of making renovations to it. They could be anxious to create a space that lives up to the potential they envisioned when they first saw it.

Due to this inherent desire to turn a house into a home as quickly as possible, when you first move into a new space, you might feel the urge to tackle everything at once. However, diving right into every single project you can think of is a recipe for exhaustion and overspending.

Here are some reasons why people might decide to renovate their homes, and tips for how to choose which room to renovate first.

Why Do People Renovate?

Everyone has their own reasons for why they choose to renovate. Here are a few popular ones:

  • To Personalize: Some people choose to make their manufactured homes, even more, their own with customizations. Whether it’s a quick repair or major overhaul, personalization helps mobile homeowners create a welcoming environment that suits their own unique tastes.
  • To Fix Issues: Sometimes, sellers don’t make all the post-inspection repairs a buyer desires (for example, repairing a chipped countertop), but negotiation is reached anyway. In these cases, the buyer may choose to renovate early on.
  • To Upgrade the Style: A home that was last renovated two decades ago may look worn and a bit outdated. Or, the home might be designed in a way that doesn’t suit the new owners’ personal taste. This might lead them to want to renovate to give their home an upgraded style.
  • To Increase its Value: Some may opt to invest in a renovation in order to increase the overall value of their home. Upgrading kitchens, adding bathrooms, and making general facelifts are common projects taken on to increase the value of a home.

Which Room Remodel Will Increase Your Home’s Value?

Who knows what will happen in the time it takes you to remodel one room to another. If you need to choose which room to remodel first, you’ll want to choose the room that will recoup the remodeling costs and create actual equity.

This is why experts agree that choosing to remodel your kitchen or bathroom first is traditionally the smartest move. And while kitchens typically cost more to remodel than bathrooms, they tend to yield a better return on investment, so they end up paying for themselves over the long run. But which upgrades to your kitchen and bathroom should you make?

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas

This depends on the current state of your kitchen or bathroom, so do a little bit of calculating here. If you spend a certain amount on the entire remodel, but won’t be able to recoup more from the sale, then it might not be worth it. Sound investments when remodeling your kitchen include upgrading to stainless steel appliances, installing new granite or quartz countertops and installing new hardwood floors or tiles. Depending on your existing home, you might even be able to limit the cost of your remodel by refurbishing your existing floors.

Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

When it comes to your bathroom remodel, new flooring, bathroom vanities and updating bathroom fixtures are your best bet. You might be able to save remodeling costs by reglazing your tub rather than getting a new one. In the bathroom, details can really make a difference. So whether it’s for a master bathroom or a smaller one, simple upgrades like putting shiny knobs on cabinets and purchasing a sparkling new faucet for the sink can go a long way.

Where Do You Spend The Most Time?

Another aspect to consider when deciding which room to remodel first is where do you and your family spend the most time? Perhaps you are certain that you’ll be living in this home for years to come and resale isn’t a top concern at the moment. You know you’ll remodel everything before that day comes.

In that case, you might not want to remodel the bathroom before the living room, even if a bathroom remodel offers a better resale value. Or maybe the idea of enjoying a relaxing bath after work each evening is high on your priority list. In that case, you might want to remodel your bathroom before your kitchen.

Start with issues, not solutions

If significant alterations or even an extension are envisaged, take time at the outset to reflect on what’s propelling you to undertake the work in the first place.

Think specifically of what your issues are in terms of space, light and storage. Exploiting each of these elements to their fullest is key to achieving a home that fits your needs like a glove. Whatever your space and budget, there’s an optimal solution for each part of this home-design trinity.

Compare what you have with what you want

Where your issues relate to use of space, start by preparing an inventory of the rooms you have now and how they’re used. Next, itemise the spaces you’d like to have and the uses you need to accommodate. Imagine you’re writing the brief for your ideal home.

Comparing both these lists should identify any ‘gaps’ that need to be filled. The challenge then is to see if your existing home can be rethought to meet these needs.

For example, can the extra living room you’d like be accommodated in a first-floor room? Or in a loft? Can the guest bedroom double as a home office? Be broad in your thinking to achieve best use of your resources, both spatial and financial.

Maximise your existing space

If you feel you need more space, first check that the rooms you already have are working sufficiently hard before reaching to extend. Perhaps you even have an unused room. Could it be reinvented and put to work in a different way? Is it actually a ‘problem’ room (see below) with issues of light, warmth or arrangement that need to be solved before it can be put to any use?

Could the dividing walls between the rooms at the back of your house be removed to create that coveted kitchen/dining/family room? If you do decide to extend, make sure the existing house and extension flow and that, between both areas, your needs in terms of space and storage are fully met.

Choosing A Residential Painting

Safety Precautions You Should Take When Paint Spraying

You will be glad to hear that paint spraying really is not dangerous work. However, there are hazards, and if you allow the presumed safety of this task to lure you into a false sense of security, you may run into problems.

Today we aim to help you protect yourself against the hazards of painting. Read on for a guide on how to stay safe as you paint.

1. Ventilation:

Finding a ventilated space to paint in is one of the most important precautions that you can take. Keep in mind that the fumes that paints produce aren’t exactly good for you. Many people find them disorienting and even nausea inducing, so be sure that the space you are breathing in has plenty of fresh air. Ventilating a space can be as simple as keeping the doors and windows open.

2. Dress for the Occasion:

In terms of practicality, you are going to want to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on. However, wearing an old shirt is not what we mean when we advise that you dress for the occasion. To stay safe, you are going to want to make sure that you wear good protective eyewear. You will also want to wear a painting mask, gloves, and something that covers your arms and legs. While paint exposure to skin is not the end of the world, it can lead to rashes and irritation. That in mind, it is best avoided when possible.

3. Avoid Heat:

Wet paint and heat don’t go so well together. Avoid painting on surfaces that may be prone to sparks, or heat exposure. Lightbulbs, chords that are in any way damaged, and other volatile materials should not be introduced to paint. Smokers are also going to need to avoid sparking up in the room that they are painting. The cigarette smoke will certainly be detrimental to the ventilation of the office, and the sparks and flame can lead to a fire. And that is pretty much it! Staying safe when you paint isn’t extremely difficult, but it’s definitely important

Improper Ventilation

One of the biggest risks associated with painting involves being in a confined area with little to no airflow. The fumes from the paint can be toxic causing headaches, dizziness, and other harmful side effects. In addition to keeping the doors and windows open, you should also wear a respirator to help filter the toxins out of the air.

Having to Work at Different Heights

When trying to reach ceilings and the upper sections of the walls, you will need to use a ladder or scaffold. When setting up a ladder or scaffold, make sure the legs are securely set on a level surface. If the scaffold has wheels, make sure they are locked before you attempt to climb onto it. Always make sure that you have everything you need prior to getting on the ladder. If you can’t carry the items, climb the ladder and then have someone hand things up to you one at a time.

Slick Surfaces

Spilled paint is common when you are painting a large area. It’s easy to drip paint without knowing it, especially when you are taking the brush or roller from the tray to the surface. Even if the paint is dropped on a tarp, it can make the area extremely slippery. One of the best ways to prevent a slip and fall accident on a slick surface is to wear shoes with non-skid soles. When you get down off of your ladder or before you leave an area, try to wipe up spills or paint drippings you can see. This will prevent you from forgetting they are there and slipping on them when you come back to finish the job.

Uneven Surfaces

Uneven surfaces can cause you to trip and fall. There may be differences between the floors in adjacent rooms which leads to an uneven surface. Setting up a ladder on an uneven surface can cause it to be wobbly and unstable. If you plan on laying down a tarp or plastic before you paint, make sure to smooth it out and lay something heavy along the edges. Make the surface as smooth as possible so there is nothing to trip over or catch the ladder on if you have to move it.

Stay out of heat and away from fire.

Make sure to keep away from heat, sparks and open flame. Don’t smoke. Extinguish all flames, pilot lights and heaters. Turn off stoves, electric tools and appliances, and any other sources of ignition.

Leave the spray paint can whole.

Do not puncture, incinerate or burn aerosol cans. Do not discard cans in a trash compactor. But do recycle them when empty.

Take the following precautions when painting lighting and electrical fixtures:

Read and follow all lighting/fixture manufacturer stated safety precautions.

Ensure corded lamps are unplugged from electricity.

Inspect electrical cords for any damage that could come into contact with unwanted paint or overspray.

Do NOT paint wiring.

Do NOT paint light bulbs.

Do NOT paint damaged cords which may have exposed wiring.

Do NOT paint parts of fixtures that get excessively hot, unless using a High Heat paint specified for that purpose.

Take the following precautions when painting objects in contact with open flame (candle holders, fire pits, etc.)

Do NOT paint in the vicinity of an open flame.

Do NOT paint any surface that will be in contact with an open flame, especially the insides.

Do NOT leave open flames unattended in any situation.

If using High Heat paint, read back of product label to ensure expected heat is within the recommended temperature ranges of the paint.

Painting safety

A fresh coat of paint is an easy way to spruce up your home’s exterior or your favorite room in the house. But when painting indoors, you should follow certain measures and painting safety precautions to protect yourself and your family.

Prepare for Safe Painting 

Many interior paint, stain and stripper fumes aren’t just harmful to inhale, they can also be extremely flammable. You should always keep the area well ventilated by opening doors and windows. Use an exhaust fan to remove fumes from your workspace. Never paint or use solvents, strippers, stain, caulking or clean-up supplies near an open flame like the pilot light of a furnace or water heater. And never smoke while painting!

Safety Alerts!

  • When working with solvent-based materials, it’s best to wear a respirator to prevent inhaling harmful fumes. When sanding, you should wear a dust mask to prevent particles from entering the lungs. If possible, use a power sander with a sawdust collection bag.
  • If you can avoid it, don’t sleep in a freshly painted room for at least two days.
  • Use canvas drop cloths instead of plastic on the floor. Cloth stays in place better and is less slippery than the alternative.

Be Safe Around Electrical Outlets 

Be sure to practice painting safety when painting or working near electrical outlets, cover all exposed outlets with painter’s tape. If you need to remove outlet or switch covers to paint, turn off the power to the room before you start.

Clean Up and Dispose of Paint Properly 

Many people don’t know that leftover latex paint has to dry completely before you can dispose of it. Even if you have used all the paint from a can, allow the empty container to dry with the lid off before discarding. If there is less than a quarter of the can left, you can let the paint dry by leaving it in a well-ventilated area until it hardens, stirring it once every few days. When leaving paint out to dry, be sure to keep it in an area that’s away from children, pets and open flames.