What To Look For During Your Home Inspection

HOME INSPECTION TIPS FOR BUYERS

Today, I will talk about my top 8 home inspection tips for buyers.   It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a home. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on your dream home, you’ll probably be anxious to move in. However, before you make a significant financial commitment, it’s best to know exactly what you’re buying. So let’s explore it right now. By the way, watch till the end of the video, as I will provide you my FREE GIFT.  My home inspection checklist for buyer pdf is now available for download. And I will give it to you for FREE. Also a disclaimer that I am not a licensed home inspector

This video is for informational and educational purposes only. Make sure to talk to your home inspector if you have any specific questions regarding your property.  If you need a referral for home inspectors, comment below and I will share to you my preferred inspectors (take note that I do not receive any referral fees for referring the companies listed). So on to our topic.  When you hire a home inspector, you get a professional, in-depth examination of the property’s structures and systems. It’s a worthwhile investment that can save you money in the long run, either by warning you away from a bad purchase or by providing a list of deficiencies you can use to negotiate with the sellers. The inspector’s report will also list minor repairs that, if made, will help to maintain your home over the long term. Additionally, a good inspector can often predict the standard life expectancy of your roof, HVAC, and other big-ticket items so you can start planning for their eventual replacement. However, many buyers make mistakes during the inspection process that cost them time and money and lead to unnecessary stress

Make sure to do your own visual inspection   Many buyers rely on their home inspector to point out issues with the property. However, by conducting your own visual assessment before you submit an offer, you can factor expected expenses into the offer price. Or, if you suspect major problems, you may choose to move on to a different property altogether.   Examine the walls and ceilings. Are there suspicious cracks, which could point to a foundation issue? Any discoloration? Yellow spots can indicate water damage, while black spots are typically mold. If there’s a basement, look for powdery white deposits along the walls and slab, which can result from water seepage

Do NOT Hire the Cheapest Inspector   We all love to save money, but not all inspectors are created equal. Before you hire one, do a little research

Attending the Inspection   Make every effort to be on-site during the inspection. Buyers who aren’t present during their inspection miss out on a great opportunity to gather valuable information about their new home.   If you can attend the inspection, don’t spend all your time picking out paint colors or chatting with your new neighbors. Instead, use your time there to shadow the inspector. It’s the perfect chance to find out where everything is located, ask questions, and see first-hand what repairs and updates may be needed

QUICK TIPS TO GROW YOUR HOME INSPECTION BUSINESS

Home inspection marketing is one of the most significant factors in the success of a home inspection business. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most complicated. Putting effort into marketing will help ensure that your home inspection business grows. It takes effort and knowhow

Marketing: A successful home inspector is a business owner who utilizes proven marketing tools and methods to promote the services they offer to potential clients and referral sources

Roadmap: Few people get to their desired destination without a plan. Make a business/home inspection marketing plan and stick to it! A good marketing plan is a document that brings together your market research. This helps you figure out exactly where your business needs to go and how it is going to get there.

Face-to-Face Marketing: Research shows that face to face marketing is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to get your name out in the market. Face to face marketing is cost-effective for reaching large numbers of people in a short time. Any activity must grab the prospective client’s attention quickly, as the window for interaction is short. Grab their attention and try to maintain it long enough for them to engage in the message you are delivering. Continue getting out in front of people when money gets tight, as this is a low cost and effective way to market yourself. Opportunities are out there, you just need to find them.

Website Presence: A website is an essential and cost-effective way for potential clients to learn more about you and your company 24/7

Tips to survive after a home inspection

Helpful tips to survive after a home inspection, it’s what home inspectors do and don’t want you to know. A home inspection and helpful tips to help you survive after your home has been poked at from top to bottom.  It’s the things you don’t see that may be destroying your home. There are a lot of home inspectors out there poking around homes to find potential damage issues around the exterior of a home. Did you know that the sharp metal objects that most home inspectors use such as an awl can cause damage below the surface of a quality exterior paint job? This pricking around the home and poking to locate areas of concern of your homes inspection may cause future damage to your homes exterior by causing a break in the protective paint barrier. Since water intrusion can absorb under the paint layer and cause future damage such as paint peeling, blistering, future wood rot, it can attract unwanted wood boring insects, not to mention those unsightly ants that love to colonize in moist places, and future decay of structural wood.

Home Inspection Tips for Sellers

Generally, the path leading up to the home inspection is longer for the seller than for a buyer! The seller prepares for the sale by decluttering, cleaning, maintaining, repairing, and staging their home. Anxiety for the seller typically grows during inspection day and when the inspection report arrives. Sellers ask themselves: “What might the inspector find? What did we overlook?” And sometimes it can even feel as though someone is intruding in their space, and judging everything about their house.

Recently, veteran real estate agents with 30+ years in the industry told me that home inspections used to simply involve a professional looking at the major appliances and systems like the furnace, HVAC and water heater.

There are many reasons that buyers invest in an inspection:

To ensure they are not buying a lemon.

To be informed about any potential additional costs they could incur after closing.

To find any issues that could potentially be a deal breaker if they are not addressed by the seller.

As soon as closing documents are signed, all of the home’s issues will the responsibility of the new owner. The contract clearly states that the home is being purchased “As is” and “With all faults.”

A buyer will have a certain amount of time that allows them to conduct pretty much any inspection they desire. A buyer will choose which inspections they deem necessary. The charges are also the buyer’s responsibility. As a matter of fact, home buyers can inspect anything they like unless it damages the home (in that case, permission has to be retrieved first).

tips for navigating the home inspection process

Selling a home can be a stressful experience for most homeowners. Keep Calm and focused on the big picture. When it comes to home inspections, most homeowners aren’t used to having a stranger peer into their attic, open every cupboard and closet or test every appliance. For some, this stress can turn into a major nightmare.

Prepare for the inevitable.

When the home inspector comes through and begins pointing out flaws, many homeowners take the comments personally. This is why it’s important to make sure that not only is your house is ready for inspection, but that you are, too.

Be proactive

Before the inspector arrives, talk with your agent about whether they plan to be in the house during the inspection. If the buyers will also be attending the inspection, the best thing for both parties is to keep the sellers away and occupied for the duration. Concerned that you won’t be able to answer questions or explain an issue with the home? Leave contact information at the house and have the buyers or inspector call with any pressing questions.

Keep Sane

When the time comes for the actual inspection process, take a minute to remind yourself that the home inspector is simply doing his or her job. Emphasizing this fact can help keep sellers grounded, even when the inspector comments on the improper installation of their favorite fixture. If you do start to get worked up about the inspection or a comment made by a potential buyer, try to redirect attention and remind them about why they’re selling their home in the first place. As much as possible, focus attention on the bigger picture and the end goal: getting the best return on their investment and finding a new home.

Start A Residential Cleaning Business

Steps to Choosing the Right Cleaning Products for your Home Cleaning Company

When you first start your housecleaning business, you only need a handful of chemicals and equipment. As your company grows, however, that arsenal must expand to include additional tools for a growing staff. No matter where you are in the process, having effective, efficient, and affordable products is critical for business success.

Start with the Supplier

From distributors who specialize in janitorial products to your local grocery store, there are a lot of places to purchase cleaning supplies. Which supplier is best for your cleaning business?

Retail: Everyone from the local grocery store to big-box national chains like and Target sell consumer-grade cleaning products. The advantage of using these vendors is they are convenient and picking up products is quick. Very often, this is where many housecleaning companies first purchase; it’s easy and works well for small orders. The downside is that this is typically the most expensive way of purchasing these products.

Wholesale Clubs: Shopping at also an option. These clubs cater to professionals and offer bulk quantities, concentrates, and refillable bottles—all of which appeal to cleaning companies. However, while they are a bit more affordable than retail stores, their prices aren’t the lowest option and product selection can vary and be suddenly unavailable.

Online and other online retailers offer all of the options you can find at brick-and-mortar stores, plus many more speciality items that aren’t readily available at Target and the like. Online pricing may be less, but shipping costs often offset any savings. Also, unless you’re buying from a well-recognized brand, you can run into problems with fine print, misrepresentation of product, or even reliability of delivery.

Tips To Choose Good Residential Cleaning

First of all, it’s important to take stock of the things you really want cleaned because not all cleaning services perform the same services. For example, some do your laundry, make the beds, wash the dishes, etc. – so it’s important to know what you need before you book and make sure that the company you hire does those tasks. Don’t assume anything. There’s nothing worse than coming home and expecting the laundry to be folded and realize it’s not done because it’s not part of their service contract with you.

Need a monthly cleaning, bi-weekly, or weekly cleaning? Or maybe just a one time clean for moving out? Take a really close look at how often you need house cleaning appointments. Maybe you can get away with bi-weekly cleanings instead of weekly? Just keep in mind that generally, the more frequent your appointments are, the cheaper it will be in terms of cost per visit

Asking friends, family and coworkers who have had hired a house cleaning service before for their recommendation can save you a lot of headaches because you can be relatively sure that if they had a good experience, you will too. That’s one of the main ways grew the way we did. A side benefit of going through a cleaning service that was recommended you is that in some cases, they’ll give a referral credit to you a credit to the person recommending you. It’s a win-win for both of you.

You know that jaw-dropping cleaning quote that’s $100 less than the others? Yes it sounds great and all but you’ll definitely want to double check to see if it’s a flat rate. Chances are that it’s not and that they’ve grossly under estimated the job. Which is how you could end up with a surprise $350 bill at the end when you thought you were getting it for about $170.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each and those differences lead to huge differences in terms of your experience. Everything from online customer support chat to scheduling, appointment reminders, and more, we use technology to create a better customer experience for you.

TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING CLEANING SERVICES

Cleanliness is one of the most important things in our day to day life. This is mainly because in order to be healthy and strong for everyday chores we need to have a healthy lifestyle and being clean and neat is one of the necessities. With the busy lifestyle that people are leading lately, it is sometimes impossible to find time to do cleaning in the household or even the work place. This means that one should have an alternative on how to ensure that the place they are at is clean. Going for cleaning services is the best alternative when it comes to this.

It is however important to choose the best clean-up services owing to the fact that the cleaning companies are increasing with number on a regular basis. This requires one to have some factors in mind that they will use to choose the best one for the job. The first thing that one needs to consider is the reputation of the company. Ensure that the company is well reputable so as they can give you the kind of services that you desire.

The other factor to consider is the experience of the company. It is important to hire the services of a company who has been in the market for a long time because they have gained the required a mount of experience. This will ensure that they do a good job for you since they know too well the things that make the place they are cleaning as fresh and clean as required.

The other factor to consider is the equipments and detergents that the company is using. Considering the fact that there are a number of clean-up equipments available in the market, some work best for the job. Ensure that the company uses the detergents that you as a person desire so that they can give you the services that fit well for your needs.

Cost is yet another factor that needs to be considered when going for cleaning services. Ensure that the charges are considerably affordable and that they fit well with your budget. This will give you an opportunity to determine how many times in a month they can be cleaning for you so that your place can be clean regularly.

Key Qualities to Look for in House Cleaning Services

Great! You’ve decided to hire a cleaning service to help manage your home chores. How do you choose the right company? What are the red flags?  You’ll probably spend hours researching options online and looking at the services close to you, but what should you look for in the best housekeeper?

Reliable References

A good quality house cleaning service will have references. Depending on how long they have been in business, they should have a history of quality service.  Online reviews are a good place to start.  There you can check ratings by reviewers.  It is probably a good idea to call and get your references.  Get an idea of what the company and its employees are like.  The best house cleaning services will have these options ready for you

Flexible Schedules

You lead a busy life and you need your schedule worked around.  That’s ok, and a good quality maid service will agree with you.  Figure out what days work best.  Depending on your household, it may be a good idea to determine how often you need cleaning.  Do you have kids or teenagers? Maybe a weekly service if good for you.  Is it just you and your spouse working full time? Perhaps a monthly cleaning service will be more than enough.  The best house cleaning service will help you determine what schedule is best for your needs

A Variety of Cleaning supplies

Find out if they will use the cleaning supplies you provide, or if they will bring their own. Learn if they use cleaning supplies that are safe for your children or pets. Determine if you need to provide any special cleaning supply requests or if they will bring it all. Regardless, they should have a recommendation for what would work best on which surface.  The best companies will use the best cleaning supplies for you and your home.

The Right Equipment

Like with the cleaning supplies, it would be a good idea to find out what equipment the company has and will use in your home.  The best service will know what to use on carpet, hardwood, tile and stone.  Double check and find out what they will be using on your surfaces.

How to Choose Residential Cleaning Service?

Home is a place where we spend the majority of our time so it’s important to keep it clean and hygienic. Due to hectic schedules, people don’t have time to clean the entire house on their own therefore people hiring the services of cleaning professionals. Also, you want to hire the ones whom you can trust and who charge fair prices for the cleaning services.

Now the question arises here is how to choose the best company! In order to ensure whether you are choosing the correct company or not, it’s important to invest some time in going thorough research. Not only this, one must ask few questions before hiring the cleaning service. Remember to choose the best company if you are looking for the services of house cleaning as it’s a matter of cleanliness. Let’s go through this blog to know more about the same!

What Cleaning Products Company Utilize?

There are many companies who carry their own cleaning supplies with them. Before finalizing any company, make sure the products they are utilizing are safe and will not ruin the look of your home. It’s important to ask this question if you have pets in your home or anyone in your family member is suffering from allergies. A professional company will let you know the type of cleaning products they will utilize and what all services they offer.

Can The Company Provide References?

There are many companies that can provide a list of references without asking a single question. This way you can contact their prior customer in order to know more about the company. Not only this, one can check the reviews of their clients as they will also help you in giving clarity about the company.

How Much They Charge?

People generally look for companies who provide quality cleaning services at reasonable prices. Choose the company who can provide you a rough estimate for cleaning service as it will help you in determining whether the company is within your budget or not.

Ways To Get Rid Of Snakes By Changing The Environment

IDENTIFYING A SNAKE INFESTATION

It can be very difficult to realize that you have snakes on your property until the problem becomes more severe. Snakes will typically hide in confined spaces, avoiding contact with humans. We often find snakes living in crawlspaces, walls, gardens, decks, and any overgrown vegetation surrounding the property.

Snakes do leave behind a few signs of their presence. They can cause damage to structures, where they have created their nests. You may also realize that you have a snake problem if you see snakeskin in your yard or within your house

Many homeowners, unfortunately, discover that they have a snake infestation when they are face to face with a snake. If you do see a snake, give it space and call a professional as soon as possible

Banded water snakes are nonvenomous snakes that are commonly mistaken for cottonmouth snakes. These snakes have heavy bodies with both dark markings and lighter colored scales. Banded water snakes can grow up to three feet long and have broad, flat heads, which is another characteristic that gets them mixed up with cottonmouth snakes so often.

BANDED WATER SNAKE BEHAVIORS

As their name suggests, these snakes prefer to live in or near water—they are even known to be one of the strongest swimmers out of all types of snakes. It’s important to note they are typically found in fresh water sources, including lakes and ponds. While they aren’t aggressive, banded water snakes aren’t particularly friendly and will avoid contact with humans at all cost. When threatened, they may release an unpleasant odor or even bite; although their bite is not venomous it can still be quite painful.

How to Get Rid of Snakes

NOTE: If venomous snakes are a known issue on your property, we strongly recommend you consult with a professional wildlife removal company prior to any snake inspection or removal efforts.

You can use snake tongs to catch live snakes and physically remove them from a given area. We highly recommend you practice with a rubber snake or piece of hose prior to trying catch a live snake with the tongs. Snake tongs come in varying lengths. While the longer length tongs will keep you further away from the snake, they are heavier and a little hard to manipulate. When trying to grab a snake with tongs, you want to aim for about 1/3 of the way down the snake’s body. Grab too close to the snake’s head and you risk injuring the snake and also causing it to struggle and possibly try to escape. Grab too far to the back end and the snake may wind up in striking distance. Once you have grabbed the snake with the tongs you should carefully and slowly lift the snake while keeping the tail of the snake on the ground and gently drag it towards the area you intend to let it go or dispatch it. If you lift the snake all of the way it will likely struggle to get away.

Pros and cons: Snake tongs can be used anywhere on your property and inside the structure which makes them very versatile. The downside is that you must come pretty close to snake in order to capture them with tongs.

The second method of capturing snakes that we would recommend is the use of snake glue board traps. Some snake glue boards such as the Cahaba brand can be used outdoors next to the foundation or under structures or in gardens. Other snake glue boards are less hardy and should only be used indoors. Snake glue boards do not contain any bait or lures. This means that the glue boards will only be effective if they are used in areas where snakes are known to frequent or use as travel paths.

Outdoors you should place the cahaba snake boards in shaded areas in gardens, near foundations, under sheds or other structures, along fence lines and other areas you have noticed snakes frequently. It is important to note that snakes like to travel with one side of their bodies touching against a vertical surface and you should place your boards so that the snake slithers into the glue board. Snake traps should be checked often if you plan to live release snakes that are captured

Snakes and Toads Provide Garden Pest Control

Encountering a snake in the garden causes many people to shriek or even panic. Yet snakes and another often unloved creature, the toad, are among the most effective forms of pest control. If you tolerate these herpetological visitors – or better yet, encourage their presence – you’ll be less likely to share your garden with ravenous bugs, or bottles of pesticide.

There are several snakes that make themselves at home in local gardens. The common garter snake is identifiable by the three yellow stripes running along the back. In my garden, this snake often suns itself between rows of vegetables, absorbing heat while digesting slugs, caterpillars, sowbugs, and other garden pests. Larger garter snakes (they can grow about three feet long) also eat meadow voles, which will otherwise wreak havoc on roots, tubers, and bark.

My favorite snakes are among the most docile encountered in a garden: the smooth green snake and ring-necked snake. The grass-hued scales of the green snake blend in well. Almost three fourths of its diet consists of insects, including grasshoppers, hornworms, and other crop-munching caterpillars. The ring-necked snake, named for its golden collar, stalks similar prey, but it does so under the stars. With a back the color of night, and its bright yellow belly pressed to the earth, it’s well camouflaged for nocturnal hunting

In contrast, the milk snake strikes when threatened. Although non-venomous, the milk snake’s attitude, size (it grows to three feet long) and rows of alternating reddish-brown splotches, which resemble the patterning of a copperhead or timber rattlesnake, have earned an undeserved reputation and the misnomer of “adder.” In fact, it is harmless to all but the mice, voles, other small mammals and other snakes that comprise up to 70 percent of its diet.

You can attract snakes to your garden by providing habitat: loose rock piles, old tree stumps, brush piles, prone boards, a stack of wood, and unkempt corner swales. And since pesticides can sicken and kill reptiles and amphibians, maintaining a chemical-free garden safeguards these natural predators.

Snake Control

Non-Poisonous Snakes Identification and Description

Despite their reputation for the contrary, most snakes in the United State are not poisonous. In fact, of all the many species in the country, only a few are actually potentially harmful; rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, coral snakes, and sea snakes.

For the most part, snakes aren’t highly adaptable creatures and require a specific habitat in order to survive. Smaller species often live underground, while others, like green snakes make their homes in trees. In generalities, snakes prefer dark, cool and damp places where food is readily available.

Although there isn’t an absolute pattern for snake infestations, there are areas that seem to be more attractive than others. Firewood that is stacked directly on the ground, old lumber piles, flower beds and gardens with an excess of mulch, disorderly basements, junk piles and barn lofts. Barn lofts are especially appealing when stored feed attracts rodents, as are attics with rat or mice control problems. Pond and river banks–especially when there are boards, tires and other items in the surrounding area, additionally with unmowed lawns and abandoned lots are also alluring to snakes.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Every snake is a predator, but diets may widely vary depending on the species. Rat snakes for example, as their name would indicates, eat primarily rodents, baby birds and eggs. Some snakes eat primarily insects, while other smaller species, like earth snakes and worm snakes, eat earthworms, slugs, and salamanders. Water snakes eat primarily frogs, fish, and tadpoles.

Damage Possibilities

Aside from frightening people, nonpoisonous snakes are completely harmless and tend not to cause damage. Once a snake or a group of snakes is identified as non-poisonous, most methods for removal are inexpensive and fairly non-invasive.

Snake Removal

When Snakes Get Into Your Home

Snake are generally quite sensitive to a human’s presence so when they get into your home, they’re not easy to spot or even realize they’re there. But once you do see one, it will surely cause a concern.

Although the majority of snakes are completely harmless, there is the possibility that the snake you’ve encountered is one of the venomous types, of which means you need to take the proper precautions for the sake of the safely of your family and pets. An encounter with a snake is not worth the cost of getting bit by a dangerous one. One of the most common areas snakes enter homes is through the openings in weeping bricks. A good percentage of the time that, and open doors are their entry points

A snake problem calls for the help of an experienced removal specialist to ensure all precautions are taken, that the snake is handled and removal humanely, and that effective prevention and control methods are devised and properly implemented.

There are some key reasons that should prompt you to hire us for a snake removal job, and they are because:

if you encounter a Mississauga rattlesnake in your home, you’re immediately at risk of being bit by it’s venomous fangs

they post more serious threats to pets and children

if they are in your home because of a food source like mice or birds, they may end up carrying bacteria with them to other places of your home

regardless of species, you can get bitten, and may require medical attention

they may sleep in areas where we put our feet or step on, and severely frighten a family member

Snakes don’t particularly like to live near humans but if they accidentally make their way into your home or basement, they may need some help leaving. Snakes also hibernate in the winter and at those times are rarely seen. But come spring, they start slithering about, and are looking for the way to the front door. Sit back and let us help them get there.

The Science Of Engine Rebuilding

“Rebuilt” is a relative term when it comes to engines

Buying a classic car can be an uncertain proposition, especially when it comes to words like “restored” or “rebuilt.” “Restored” can refer to any number of finish levels, with terms like “body-off,” “concours” or “rotisserie” tossed around with abandon. The same sort of ambiguity applies to the term “rebuilt,” particularly when it comes to an engine, and it can mean anything from a newspaper-masked rattle-can paint job to a completely remanufactured long block engine assembly.

The difference between rebuilt and remanufactured — if sellers are using them correctly — is that rebuilt implies some engine components and parts were replaced as needed, while remanufactured means that the engine was completely torn down, cleaned, inspected and machined back to original or better tolerances than when it left the factory. The terms “balanced” and “blueprinted” are often associated with this type of work. Rebuilt engines run in scope from the aforementioned rattle-can job to complete remanufacture. It’s in your best interest to determine exactly what’s been done, and by whom, to an engine in any car you’re looking at. Following are a few varying degrees of “rebuilt.”

TOP-END REBUILD

As the cylinder head or heads comprise the top end of an engine, this remove, rebuild and replace procedure is known as a top-end rebuild. An overheated engine can blow the head gaskets. Clouds of white coolant or blue oil smoke might mean it’s time for a top-end rebuild or valve job. The sort of heat that breaches head gaskets usually warps cylinder heads in the process. Replacing the head gasket after an overheat involves removing the cylinder head and either sending it out for machine work and a valve job or swapping it as a core for a remanufactured head. A fresh cylinder head can breathe new life into an engine.

RE-RING AND BEARING

If the engine is out of the bay for something like a top-end rebuild, a re-ring can be considered depending on the condition of the engine, bearings and clearances — and if the deck on the block is true. Pulling the crankshaft and pistons for a good look at the connecting rod and main bearings is another way to gauge engine condition. A fresh set of piston rings and/or bearings in an otherwise untouched engine is known as a re-ring, which is not so much an engine rebuild as a refresh to restore proper compression and should be considered as a temporary lease on engine life.

SHORT BLOCK

If the cylinder walls are scored, the crankshaft and bearings are shot, pistons holed or the deck is warped, then it’s time to send the rotating assembly and block out to your favorite machine shop. The block is decked, bored and honed for new pistons. The connecting rods are resized with new rod bolts installed. Camshafts are reground or replaced. The crankshaft is either polished or cut and then polished. Timing chains or belts are renewed. The finished rotating assembly minus the cylinder head (or heads) is known as a short block. A short block can mean sending the original to the machine shop or exchanging your rebuildable core for a like remanufactured short block.

Buying a replacement car engine – what do you need to know?

Engines are the heart of any vehicle.  If you’ve got an engine problem, you’ve got a car problem. Despite their importance, though, engines can be purchased second-hand like almost any car parts.  However, there are many things you’ll need to consider when purchasing a replacement second-hand engine for your vehicle.

Which type of engine do you need to get?

Understandably, car engines aren’t completely interchangeable.  This doesn’t mean that there isn’t some crossover: two slightly different models released by the same company within a five-year period might well be able to use the same engine.

Long or short block?

One of the main considerations is whether or not the engine is a long or short block.  These two variations can actually be found on what is otherwise the same engine, so it’s an important point.

The difference between the two is on which engine components are included:

A long block engine includes the full works when it comes to parts: cylinder heads, camshafts, valves, valve springs and an intact head gasket.  As such, long block engines can normally be installed quickly and easily, and will make a suitable replacement for any engine that’s been written off.

A short block engine, on the other hand, is designed for cases where the full engine doesn’t need replacing; just parts of it.  A short block engine is usually much cheaper as a result.

A note on replacing parts: it’s worth checking (and double-checking) to ensure that it’s not a single part of the engine causing the problems.  The following individual bits are all capable of causing wear and tear:

Engine valves.  These work together, one responsible for taking in the air and fuel mixture and the other responsible for expelling exhaust.

Piston.  This is a piece of cylindrical metal that moves upwards and downwards within the cylinder.

Piston rings.  These seal off the area between the cylinder’s inner edge and the outer edge of the piston and prevent the leakage of fuel and air into the sump during the compression and combustion phases.

Connecting rod.  This allows the crankshaft to be connected to the piston; both ends may rotate to allow for full movement of both pistons.

Crankshaft.  Changes upward and downward strokes of pistons into a circular pattern, allowing the pistons to perform their function.

Oil sump.  Otherwise known as the oil pan, this surrounds the crankshaft.

Should I Buy A Car With A Rebuilt Engine?

An engine can wear to the point of being unable to perform adequately. At that stage, it must be taken apart and then put back together with new parts to replace the worn components. Tell tale signs of an engine that needs to be rebuilt include high oil consumption and white smoke coming from the tail pipe.

Rebuilding an engine is a detailed process that includes the cleaning and assessment of the short block, replacement of the piston rings, bearings or other components in addition to reconditioning of the cylinders in order to make sure the engine is in top shape. This can sometimes be a sign that the engine has experienced some wear and tear, though

Where was it rebuilt?

Our expert for this article, Troy Snyder, is the chief operating officer of NADA Guides, a publication that follows the transaction prices of used cars. The folks at NADA Guides offer great insight into the value of used cars. “A rebuilt engine can be as good as the OEM one,” Snyder said. “Sometimes a rebuilt engine can maintain the original engine warranty.”

If you’re looking at a car with a rebuilt engine, he said that you should look at where the service was performed. “Certain organizations (like a dealership) are trusted to handle such a job,” she said. “If you go down to your regular mechanics shop there’s more risk involved.”

Even so, Snyder said vehicles with rebuilt engines aren’t necessarily something you should avoid. “I wouldn’t put a rebuilt engine in the same realm as a salvage title,” he said. A salvage title could have many underlying problems like flood damage or a serious accident history, while a car with a rebuilt engine has just one concern: the motor.

Engine Rebuild and Replacement Services

Affordable Engine Rebuild Service Near You

There is a good chance that an engine rebuild could save you a whole ton of cash, depending on the root of the problem and the parts required to fix it. As one of the few shops in partnership with NAPA, you can take comfort in the knowledge that we use only the finest auto parts and have the skill required to integrate them seamlessly into your engine.

At times, an engine rebuild can save you anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of the cost of replacing the engine completely. Depending on the parts needed and the number of man-hours required doing the job. Often, repairing the engine will also give you a good opportunity to replace a few parts that would have otherwise been neglected. Let us take care of your car’s needs. You may also find there are a few upgrades you would like to make while we have our heads under the hood.

In some cases, simply replacing the engine may be a better option than an engine rebuild. It will add valuable years to the life of your engine and turn a once problematic and fickle vehicle into the working and reliable car you require as a driver. Replacing the engine also removes the quick and potentially annoying addition of miscellaneous parts such as hoses, belts, filters, and coolant. Rest assured, our number one priority is providing you with the best option for returning your vehicle back to you in a stable working condition.

Reliable Engine Services You Can Trust

The vast majority of engine rebuilds could have been avoided with proper diagnostics from a qualified and honest mechanic. We are ready to be realistic and forthcoming with, what we know, is one of your most important investments. An accurate diagnosis of the root issue is extremely important in saving you money, both in parts and the cost of labor. Unlike other mechanics, we are dedicated to the idea that healthy engines make for happy people. Fixing the problem correctly the first time gives you, our customers, a reason to come back.

Choosing the Right Machine Shop for your Engine

Every month, we receive emails from enthusiasts asking what steps should be taken to begin building his/her engine

Build it right the first time.

So what do you look for in a good machine shop? We’ll try to shed a little light on the matter, so that next time you are hunting for the right place you know you’re in good hands.

Foremost, the first and most important thing you want to address is knowing how you plan to drive your vehicle (time attack, drag, autocross) before you start your project. All too often, we hear about customers wanting a stout, reliable street motor who suddenly change their mind in the middle of a machine job and request that their setup spins to 8,000 rpm with the addition of a big turbo or nitrous, all while on a budget.

Machine Shop

Is the shop clean or messy? Most machine shops are typically cluttered, but on the flip side, a shop that is messy will typically reflect the machinist’s work. A shop that is clean will have machinery that is clean. Simply stated, clean tools do their jobs better.

Types of Machinery/Tools

The defining characteristic of most shops is the type of machines they operate. Is the equipment new, top of the line, and well maintained? Many customers prefer old-school machinists using old-school machines, but take into consideration that as a piece of equipment gets older its ability to hold narrow tolerances slips, particularly if it has not been regularly maintained and periodically calibrated. CNC machines are regularly calibrated or replaced due to wear and tear issues every 10 years to keep up with newer, more improved technology.

Expat Tax Preparation

What To Ask When Choosing a Tax Advisor

“What’s Your Tax Background?”

First, define a tax preparer’s credibility by asking for professional credentials and background. Experience is key when it comes to taxes and year-round accounting services.

CERTIFICATIONS ARE CRITICAL WHEN IT COMES TO TAX AND ACCOUNTING. IT’S ALL ABOUT ACRONYMS:

CPA: A certified public accountant, or CPA, is certified to act as a public accountant. A CPA is the only licensed qualification in accounting and is granted after you pass an exam. CPAs can practice in other areas of accountancy besides taxes, too.

EA: An enrolled agent (EA), the highest credential awarded by the IRS, is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals. Only enrolled agents, attorneys, and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS.

“How Do You Charge Clients?”

Accountants and tax preparers can charge in a variety of ways: by the hour, by the return, by the complexity of forms filed, or even a percentage of the total amount of your refund (a practice that is frowned upon). And with cloud-based accounting, you may have an upcharge to use the platform. While you might not get a hard number of the amount you will owe, establish the context of cost so you are not surprised down the road.

“How Do You File Taxes?”

Most individuals prefer e-filing a tax return, yet many tax preparers will mail them. Define the filing method they use with clients. (Generally, a paid tax preparer who files 11 or more tax returns is required to electronically file.)

Availability is important – not only within the working day, but also year round.

First ask: “What is your typical response time?” (Even in the heat of tax season.) Point blank: you may have a question that needs prompt attention, so choose an advisor who is available and quick to respond – preferably within 48-hours.

Then ask: “What is your availability year-round?” Even after taxes are filed, the IRS may need more information about your tax return, so the preparer should be available to you. On top of this, your taxes are just one part of your overall tax and financial picture, so it’s important to find an advisor who suits your needs throughout the year.

How to Choose a Tax Preparer for Truckers

Think – Who did your income taxes last year? Did they give you good service? Were you happy with the result? Did they even KNOW trucker taxes? Over a year ago, the TruckingOffice team made a commitment to go beyond simply providing the very best bookkeeping and record keeping services available. We began a search for the very best in other important services that all professional drivers need, like factoring, insurance and tax services.

The questions we asked ourselves in our search are the same ones that you should ask yourself if you happen to be searching for a new preparer:

Do they give prompt, attentive service?

Do they know trucker taxes inside and out?

Do they provide a great value for the fees charged?

Have they been around basically forever? Do they have a track record? Have they proven themselves?

And finally, are they fun and pleasant to deal with?

If filing your taxes is about as fun as a trip to the dentist, or if you answered “No” to even one of the questions above when you checked out another tax service,

Questions to Ask a Tax Preparer

When interviewing a prospective tax preparer, ask these questions:

Do you have an IRS issued Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)?

Do you offer a free initial consultation?

How do you keep up with the latest tax law?

Do you regularly take continuing education courses?

Are you a member of any professional tax or accounting organizations?

What are your professional credentials?

Do you abide by a code of ethics?

How do you determine your fee to prepare my return(s)? Is it a fixed fee or an hourly rate? Is it based on a % of my refund?

Who will prepare my return? Will it be you or someone else in your office?

If you have employees who will work on my return, do they hold any credentials and do they take continuing education courses?

When do you require payment?

When can I expect to receive my completed tax returns back from you?

How long have you been in business?

Are you bonded or insured?

Do you outsource any tax preparation services?

What happens if I get audited?

Will you store my tax information? How will it be stored and for how long?

Can I contact you after tax season if needed regarding my return?

Enrolled Agents (EA) – People with this credential are licensed by the IRS and specifically trained in federal tax planning, preparation and representation. Enrolled agents hold the most expansive license IRS grants and must pass a suitability check, as well as a three-part exam. They complete 72 hours of continuing education every 3 years

Certified Public Accountants (CPA) – People with this credential are licensed by state boards of accountancy and have passed the CPA exam. They must meet education, experience, and good character requirements established by their boards of accountancy and comply with ethical requirements as well as complete continuing education to maintain an active license. CPAs can offer a range of services; some CPAs specialize in tax preparation and planning.

Attorneys – People with this credential are licensed by state courts or their designees, such as the state bar. Generally, requirements include completion of a degree in law, passage of an ethics and bar exam and on-going continuing education. Attorneys can offer a range of services; some attorneys specialize in tax preparation and planning

How to become a professional tax preparer

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

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.

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.

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.

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 TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TAX PROFESSIONAL FOR YOU

How do you choose a professional?

For anything, really?

When you need legal or medical advice, an electrician, or a mechanic?

Do you take the phone book and choose a random entry?

Do you drive around stopping at the first place you find?

No. You shop around. You ask friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations. Never do you go in blindly. But most importantly, you ask questions! So why would you choose just anyone to hire to prepare your tax return? Why would you use a chain tax service where you don’t know a single thing about the person who will prepare your tax return? Many people already have a tax preparer they trust and have been working with for years.

You are the boss in this scenario, and the professional is working for you. You need to be the one who makes the decision to hire a particular person to prepare your income tax return.

You’ll even hear about a “friend of a friend” whose sister used this guy out of a back room without windows who got them a huge refund when they should have gotten peanuts.

Sadly, it’s hard to tell who is qualified, who is for real, who should be trusted with your income taxes. There isn’t a perfect way to find out about a person or company other than to ask around or check out reviews online.

Finding The Right Residential Roofing Service

Importance Of Understanding Your Residential Roof Warranty

Complete Understanding

The majority of homeowners and building owners tend to focus on the overall length of their roofing warranty. They never fully understand what said warranty consists of, unfortunately. The majority of warranties were designed to protect the manufacturer more so than the building owner. Before any work is performed, here are a few questions you should ask your contractor:

  • What type of warranty am I receiving?
  • What is the term of the warranty?
  • What will void my roofing warranty?
  • What are my maintenance responsibilities?
  • What does a typical warranty cover?

If possible, ask for a warranty template before purchasing a new roof or coverage. Read through the paperwork in its entirety, ensuring you understand all the little intricacies and small print.

Benefits of Understanding Roofing Warranties BEFORE Your Next Roof Installation

A new roof is a big investment and roofing material costs have steadily risen over the last decade. That makes the warranty that a roofing contractor offers more of a decision factor when gathering estimates for your next roof replacement.

It might surprise you what may or may not be covered on a roof warranty. That is why it is so important to do your due diligence and find out what the typical warranty will cover before your purchase a new roof system.

Most homeowners tend to focus on the length of the warranty, which is rarely the root of roofing malfunction issues. Often homeowners confuse a ’30 year warranty’ or ’50 year warranty’ product warranty  with the workmanship or craftsmanship warranty offered by the roofing contractor.  Manufacturer warranties vary – some cover just certain material, such as shingles, while others cover the entire system.

Manufacturer warranties are often tiered, offering coverage on the material versus the entire system and/or labor cost for repair. Most require the contractor to perform warranted repairs for the first few years after the install.

Most roofing contractor’s warranties cover workmanship, not materials. These are the warranties you are better served paying more attention to. The roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty is where the rubber meets the roof. If something goes wrong with the roof, the roofing contractor is the one you will call.

4 Common Ways You Could Potentially Void Your Warranty.

1. Antennas and satellite dishes – If you drill holes in your roof to install an antenna or satellite dish you could possibly void at least part of your roof warranty. Since any leaking could be caused by the holes that you drilled.

2. Skylights and solar panels – Keep your warranty in mind before starting a home improvement project that involves major roof work, such as installing skylights or solar panels that require roof penetration or the removal of shingles

3. Pressure washing – Homeowners might choose to pressure wash their roof because of issues such as moss buildup. But they can severely damage their roof in the process because of the strong force of pressure washing.

4. Ventilation – Improper attic ventilation can also nullify your roofing warranty. Inadequate venting can trap heat in your attic and wear out your shingles.
In a nutshell, before installing that new satellite dish, solar panel or skylight, make sure you can do the work without turning your roof warranty into a useless piece of paper.

The Importance Of Understanding Roof Warranties Featured

As the area’s most trusted roofing contractor, we encourage our clients to fully understand the extent of their coverage. It’s beneficial during times when unexpected damages or maintenance issues spring up over the years. Here’s a deeper, more insightful look at roof warranties.

Know Your Coverage

Knowing the full extent of your coverage prevents you from spending more than necessary should issues arise with your roofing system. You can also be better prepared, financially, knowing which aspects of the roof isn’t under coverage should repairs or a full replacement be needed.

Have Leverage

Warranties are legal and binding and they ensure that whatever work you need, only a qualified roofing professional does it. Furthermore, and perhaps the biggest advantage you’ll have as a homeowner, is your warranty guarantees an inspection by no less than the roof manufacturer’s representative.

Protect Your Investment

Protection of your investment is what warranties come down to. As one of the most important and most expensive components of your home, it’s crucial to have a safety net should anything go wrong. Your roof bears the full brunt of extreme weather all year round and this daily stress can do a number on your roof.

Understanding the ins and outs of your roofing warranty lets you know what you are and aren’t entitled to. This keeps you from unnecessary spending during repairs and helps you prepare your financial resources for things not covered by the warranty.

Facts on Roofing Warranties

1. Only Defects in Roofing Materials are Covered

Warranties on roofing materials only cover manufacturing defects and not deterioration of the roofing system due to prolonged use. The lifespan of roofing materials depends on multiple factors including the installation procedure, environmental factors, and conditions such as the ventilation and insulation of the building. If a roofing material comes with a warranty of thirty years, it simply means it will remain free from any manufacturing flaws for thirty years.

2. Only Specific Conditions are Covered

Roofing warranties usually cover specific conditions, such as algae resistance, manufacturing defects, and blow-off resistance. If you get comprehensive cover for the roofing system, it is important to know the specific details and not assume that all eventualities are covered.

3. It is vital to Know Cover and Compensation Details

As a customer, it is important to go through details of the manufacturer’s warranty. If there is algae coverage on the roofing system, you may get compensated for cleaning the roof and not on residential roof repair or complete replacement of the roofing system. Understand the specific details of available covering to ensure that you are protected against known defects that may otherwise prove heavy on your pocket.

4. You Must Go Through the Installation Warranty

Apart from the manufacturer’s warranty, it’s also important to consider the installation warranty provided by your residential roofing contractor. Know what’s covered in the installation warranty and the length of cover. Warranty attributes are a great way to measure the confidence of your contractor in their work.

5. Always Take Note of What’s Not Covered

Apart from getting a comprehensive understanding of what is covered under roofing warranties, you must also get clarity on what’s not covered. Problems such as inadequate ventilation, defective design of the building, and faulty drainage systems are usually not covered under the roofing material and installation warranties.

This blog is a continuation of our first installment in this two-part series on ten must-know facts on roofing warranties. As emphasized in our first installment, it is always important to understand the finer details of your roofing material and installation warranties. Triumph Roofing and Construction provides free roof inspection services to help you assess the health of your materials and roofing structure. This write-up discusses five more facts that you need to know about roofing material and installation warranties. Let’s start.

Toilet Installation In Simple Steps

Things You Need To Know Before You Purchase A Composting Toilet

If you’re in the market for a composting toilet there’s going to be a lot of questions floating around in your head, like where do I buy one, how can I install it, do they smell? Well, we’re going to try and cover all the things you need to know before you jump in and purchase a composting toilet.

#1 They don’t smell
If a composting toilet is maintained correctly there should be no smell at all. Fans and vents will move any unwanted smells away from your bathroom, shed, boat or RV (depending on where you have it installed and the type you have) but the only smell that should be coming out of your toilet is an earthy smell similar to the gardening section in a Bunnings or supermarket or a nursery.

#2 They are more maintenance than a normal toilet
It’s true. A composting toilet is going to be more maintenance for you but if you’re looking for a composting toilet our guess is that a little extra work isn’t going to put you off. A composting toilet, whilst a little more work, is about taking personal responsibility for reducing your footprint on the planet. Composting toilets help you do this by reducing the water you use in the bathroom considerably (about a swimming pool’s worth of drinking water is flushed down the toilet every year by the average family) and eliminating your reliance on treatment plants that use natural resources to treat your waste.

#3 Some people will be weird about it
There’s a pretty good chance that if you have friends that have only ever used a traditional western flush toilet, they’re going to be like “I do what in where?” Keep this in mind for your next dinner party or get together, people will ask you questions and be part fascinated and part weirded out or worst case disgusted. A simple remedy to this is to ask them if they’ve ever been to the loo in a national park, if they have there’s a good chance they’ve used a composting toilet. If they don’t have a problem going there, what’s the problem going here?

#4 You don’t need to buy special toilet paper
Normal every day toilet paper is fine to put in your composting toilet. You can even throw in the roll when you’re done with it if you like! If you really want a breakdown of the types of toilet paper you can use in a composting toilet, take a look at our article called What toilet paper can you use in a composting toilet?

#5 It’s worth getting some extra chambers/drums or a composting bin
Depending on your level of usage, purchasing some extra chambers for a batch system is always a great idea as they will enable you to swap over the compost chambers easily without having to transfer the compost to a pile in the backyard or another container. If you have a system like the Clivus Multrum CM2 extra chambers you simply remove the full chamber and replace it with an empty one while the full chamber cures in a sunny spot in the garden. If you’re using a draw type system like the Sun-mar or Ecolet range you can empty the drawers directly into your composting bin.

Note: it’s advisable not to use compost from your composting toilet on plants that you’re going to consume. Around the base of fruit trees is fine.

Urine Command

Urine is the safest of bodily fluids — typically it’s sterile. In most parts of the world it’s probably safer to have contact with urine than with the local water supply. Leptospirosis and schistosomiasis can be carried by urine, but if those diseases are in your area, it’s still usually better to apply urine to the soil or a compost pile than to flush it into a body of water.

The urine-diverting throne has a funnel in the front of the “drop zone” which carries the urine away to a jug for immediate use as an excellent fertilizer. This greatly reduces the volume of material that goes into the composter. The weatherstripping on the underside of the seat and lid is there to block insects. For a one-way valve, drop a ping-pong ball into the funnel; pee goes in, smells don’t come out. A water trap pipe from a sink with mineral oil in the upper part can do the same.

Why is the Carousel a Batch Composting Toilet?

A batch composting toilet system utilizes two or more interchangeable or movable bins. One is filled at a time and then turned aside allowed to cure while another bin fills — just as with twin-bin and triple-bin yard composters. By not continually adding fresh excrement and urine to older, more advanced material, the material decomposes more thoroughly, uninterrupted by the added nutrients, pathogens, salts, and ammonia in fresh excrement. Also by dividing the material, it can have more surface area, and thus better aeration. Batch systems require monitoring the level of the bins to determine when a bin has filled and a new one must be moved into place. However, because there is more surface area and the material is divided, there is often less or no mixing and raking of the material.

Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet

1. Ease of installation

The composting toilets can be installed almost everywhere. They are easy to install and are particularly popular in remote areas or areas that do not require permanent residence.

2. Save up on the usage of water

Composting toilets operate just like standard toilets, although they do not require a water source. Since they do not need water for flushing, they save up on water. They are, therefore, the best to use in rural areas or in places where a source of reliable water is unavailable. They are also perfect in places where there is low water pressure or high septic demands

3. Cheap to install

As already mentioned, composting toilets do not require the use of water or a connection to a septic or sewer system. As a result, they have fewer installation requirements, are easy to install, and are cheap to purchase. In fact, most composting toilets go for less than $1,000 and cost less to install.

4. End-products enriching the soil

the compost end products are profitable to the soil as they add nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. It operates as organic fertilizer or manure that can be used to enrich the soil. Additionally, it eliminates the need for an individual to purchase inorganic fertilizers. In residential areas, the products can be used for domestic gardening like in trees, flowers, or other plants.

5. They save up on space

Composting toilets do not require a water connection and, therefore, can be installed literally anywhere. They are, therefore, perfect for places where size is limited and can even be installed outside.

Reasons You Need a Compost Toilet

Compost toilets offer a solution to those who wish to maintain a small carbon footprint. Learn about the benefits to choosing this type of sewage system.

1. Compost toilets are truly off-the-grid and will lower your power consumption.

Ventilation and lighting aside, compost toilets use very little power. As much as 13 percent of energy used in the US is related to water. Compost toilets cut back on energy throughout the entire treatment process—from the septic system to the treatment plant—in turn helping waterways.
Take the Chesapeake Bay, for example. Here, nearly 1.5 billion gallons of wastewater from 500 sewage treatment plants flow into the bay every day. Human waste contains dangerous pathogens, viruses and bacteria which can harm wildlife and ecosystems.

2. They are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

A compost toilet is great in rural areas without access to septic or existing plumbing systems. Because they don’t need much in the way of infrastructure, these potties have a small impact on the environment. Treating waste onsite cuts back on environmental disturbances and financial costs of connecting to and maintaining vast sewage systems. Everything that goes into the toilet, including paper, is capable of being recycled, further reducing the need for commercial fertilizers.

3. Compost toilets are ideal in places that are prone to drought or where water is scarce.

More than a quarter of the average American’s household water use comes from flushing toilets. At five flushes a day, one person may use as much as 2,336 gallons each year. While federal law requires that toilets purchased after 1994 use 1.6 gallons or fewer per flush, outdated systems can use as much as seven gallons each time. Not only will you save money each month on your water bill, with a composting toilet you could also save as much as 6,752 gallons annually.

4. Humanure acts as a natural fertilizer to enhance growth of non-edible plants.

Waste created from a composting toilet can be used as an organic alternative to traditional fertilizer to help promote soil health. One person using a compost toilet can produce more than 80 pounds of organic humanure each year, and with nearly seven billion people on the planet it has the potential to serve as a renewable resource. Humanure is best used by burying the compost around tree roots, shrubs and garden beds of non-edible plants.

5. The entire system is self-contained.
There are two types of composting toilets:

  • A self-contained system is connected in a single unit. These options are great when working with confined space or a multi-story house.
  • A centralized system utilizes a large, centralized tank installed under or outside of the home where all waste is flushed into. This is a great option for an experience similar to the more traditional toilet.

Both systems eliminate the need to transport wastes for treatment and disposal (bye bye, septic system). Sewage and wastewater contain bacteria, funguses, parasites and viruses that can be dangerous to human health. By reducing the need to transport raw sewage (either via infrastructure or by cleaning septic systems) the risk of exposure becomes less of risk to people living in these areas.

Pros And Cons Of Different Carpet Cleaning Methods

Types of Carpet Cleaning Methods used by Companies

While you are spoilt for choices when selecting carpet cleaning company for your home or business, it is important to understand the different types of carpet cleaning methods used by different companies as not all carpet cleaning methods work for your carpet.

Here are the types of carpet cleaning in the market:

Hot Water Extraction Cleaning

Commonly known as steam carpet cleaning, hot water extraction cleaning use high pressured hot water to agitate the carpet fibre and dissolve dirt in the carpet.

Hot water extraction cleaning typically involves application of cleaning agent on soiled surface, agitation of carpet with brush and followed by rinsing. After cleaning agent settle in the carpet for a short duration, the carpet will be “washed” by a carpet cleaning equipment to rinse the cleaning agent thoroughly and finally left to dry in room or air conditioned temperature

An average sized carpeted office of 3000 sq ft would normally take about 2 hours to clean and will take at least 4 hours to dry. Most cleaning companies would advise carpet to be cleaned in the late afternoon so that after cleaning is done, the carpet can be left to dry over night and office operation can resume back to normal the next morning.

Bonnet Cleaning

High-moisturised equipment has been used along with an absorbent pad dipped in a cleaning agent to spruce up the upper surface or fibre of the carpet. A bonnet cleaning method is used by professionals to absorb dust, grime, soil and dirt from the upper layer of your delicate floor coverings using a cutting-edge machine.

It utilises the cleaning product, which is mixed with carbonated water and then used as a spray over the carpet. After that, professionals will attach the absorbent pad with the floor machine to get rid of soil and dirt from the surface of the carpet. The machine absorbs all the dust and dirt and leaves your carpets sparkling clean.

This method is ideal for companies and hotels because it quickly washes the carpets without disturbing the clients, guests and visitors. However, bonneting doesn’t clean the floor coverings deeply, but most of the carpet owners prefer to use this cleaning method as a temporary solution.

Dry Cleaning

This is one of the latest cleaning methods and has gained increasing popularity and approvals by leading carpet manufacturers because of its effective cleaning performance and convenience as it doesn’t require drying time. This involves the use of specialized machines to clean carpets with recently developed chemical technologies that permit no-moisture, or very low moisture cleaning, resulting in carpet beautification, and removal of stains, dirt, sand, and allergen.

Carpet Shampooing:

Shampooing of carpet may seem to clean heavily soiled carpet, the technology’s disadvantage is it leaves behind high amount of wet foam residues in the carpet and takes a long time to dry, becomes sticky when it dries because no rinsing is done after shampooing and rapid re-soiling of carpet, which makes this method less popular than the others.

DRY FOAM: This method is very similar to shampooing in that relies on the aggressiveness of the brushing action, which is usually counter-rotating cylindrical brushes. The only difference is that the solution is whipped into a foam and applied right before the brushes instead of a liquid as in shampooing.

Preconditioning: Applying preconditioning agents to the carpet hot early in the process allows time to bond with the soil particles and easier to remove afterward. This helps to loosen up stubborn dirt. The choice of preconditioning agent depends on the carpet ‘s fabric. You may want to use alkaline solutions when working with synthetic fiber carpets and a mildly acidic solution like diluted acetic acid on woolen carpets.

Encapsulation:

Foam encapsulation use synthetic detergents as a base that will crystallize into powder form when dries. Loosened dirt particles in carpet fibre will be encapsulated into powder once the applied cleaning foam dries and, finally, vacuumed or brushed when the foam dries after cleaning.

The froth encapsulation cleaning method has overtaken carpet shampooing technology as the former uses less water during cleaning which result in shorter drying time compared to the carpet shampooing. The froth encapsulation cleaning has gotten thumbs up by those who advocate using of eco-friendly products since there is less chemical residue left out after cleaning when compared with carpet shampooing.

Even though this method has shown good cleaning results, this cleaning method is not in a position to clear heavy soiling carpet due to the technology’s limitation.

DRY FOAM

This method is very similar to shampooing in that relies on the aggressiveness of the brushing action, which is usually counter-rotating cylindrical brushes. The only difference is that the solution is whipped into a foam and applied right before the brushes instead of a liquid as in shampooing.

Preconditioning

Applying preconditioning agents to the carpet hot early in the process allows time to bond with the soil particles and easier to remove afterward. This helps to loosen up stubborn dirt. The choice of preconditioning agent depends on the carpet ‘s fabric. You may want to use alkaline solutions when working with synthetic fiber carpets and a mildly acidic solution like diluted acetic acid on woolen carpets.

How To Install A Switches Installation

Generator Transfer Switches: Benefits for Your Home or Office

Today, more and more homes and office buildings are installing permanent generators that can operate all or most of the appliances and electrical items in the building. The use of permanent whole-house generators has become necessary as people are more dependent upon electronics than ever before. For example, even fireplaces, stoves and phones now require electricity so having a power outage can make it literal impossible to stay in your home or office building. Of course, if you have installed a whole house generator or if you have installed a generator for your office environment, you need to be able to use your generator. Generator transfer switches allow you to do just that.

What are Generator Transfer Switches?

Generator transfer switches are switches that are used to switch the source of power to your home. Typically, power enters your home through a main power line from your electric company. The power is then distributed to all of the items in your house that require electricity so those items can operate. When the power goes out, however, you need to change the source of the power. Instead of drawing from the power line that gets electricity from the utility company, you need to draw power from the generator and transfer that power to the appliances and items in your home or office. Of course, when the power goes back on, you will then need to do the reverse and switch back to having your power come from the electric company.

When making the switch from generator power to power provided by the electric company, it is important that power from the generator does not travel back out and down the main line that is required to bring power in from the electric company. This line is meant only for power to come in and it can be dangerous to have power from the generator travel out. A generator switch makes sure that this does not happen. A generator transfer switch has an “Off” position that the user must switch to before the switch from generator to electric-company power is made. This ensures that the power is completely off before the change is made so that no power travels the wrong way down the power line to cause damage

Benefits of Generator Transfer Switches

Generator transfer switches provide many benefits. The most significant and important benefit is that they make the use of a generator safe. In many locales, you are required to have your generator transfer switch installed by an electrician, which helps to go an extra step further in ensuring the safe use of your generator in your home or office.

Generator transfer switches can also make the use of your generator much more convenient. It is possible to opt for an automatic generator transfer switch so that when the power goes out, the source of your power can switch automatically over to your generator and you will not lose power to the important systems in your home. Automatic generator transfer switches so have the advantage not just of safety but also of maximum convenience as well.

What Does The Transfer Switch Do?

In simple terms, a transfer switch is a permanent switch that connects to your power box that changes the power load between two sources. For permanent sources of backup power, this happens automatically when the first source of power becomes unavailable. This is ideal because it seamlessly keeps the energy flowing with minimal delay. In the case of a generator for residential whole house power use, the generator is plugged into the transfer switch located on the circuit panel. When the generator is turned on, the transfer switch changes the load from grid power to the generator.

What Generators Need A Transfer Switch?

Standby generators for homes and businesses almost always need one. Since they are always waiting for when the power goes down, it is important to have this extra piece of equipment to keep the power flowing without downtime. However, portable generators don’t strictly need a transfer switch, but it is usually a good idea. The biggest benefit of having a transfer switch in a residential setting is that you gain the ability to power things up via your circuit breaker panel instead of having to use extension cords. This includes hardwired devices, such as your dishwasher, hot water heater, air conditioning, and ceiling fans. All you have to do is plug the portable generator into the transfer switch and you’re good to go!

How a Transfer Switch Works

Skipping the transfer switch and connecting your portable generator directly to your electrical service panel could fry appliances, endanger utility workers who might be working on power lines, or damage your generator. Plus, you don’t always know when power is restored, unless you see your neighbors’ lights go on.

A transfer switch lets you easily and safely power what you need most—your refrigerator, your furnace or boiler, a sump pump, and more. Think about it: Power to these devices can come from your utility or your generator but not both. The transfer switch works by having a dedicated set of switches for each of the circuits you want to power.

With a transfer switch (about $500 to $900 to install, including labor), you’ll have one connection to make—plugging one end of a cable into the portable generator and the other into a dedicated box connected to the transfer switch.

How Does a Manual Transfer Switch Work?

When the power goes out, everything will go dark if you have a manual transfer switch. You’ll need to grab your flashlight and go out to the generator to start it manually and connect it to the transfer switch. Then you’ll need to switch your home or business over to receive power from the generator. When utility power comes back on, you need to manually switch the power back to the utility company and turn off the generator.

How Does an Automatic Transfer Switch Work?

As the name implies, everything is automatic with this type of transfer switch. The power may go out for a second or two, but the transfer switch senses this and automatically signals your generator to start up. Then the transfer switch connects your home or business to the generator. When utility power comes back on, the transfer switch disconnects the power supply from the generator and shuts the generator back off until the next power outage occurs.

What is the difference between an interlock and a transfer switch?

An interlock needs a human to operate it. They cost less, in general.

A transfer switch can be (and usually is) automatic. They cost more, in general.

An interlock setup can usually feed power to any circuit in the panel (but if you overload the generator input the generator breaker will trip.) This is also controlled manually, by the user turning other breakers off and on.

A transfer switch setup can only feed specific circuits, since automatic operation means there’s nobody to turn off circuits to shed load, so the loads connected to the generator must be less than or equal to what the generator can supply, if all are operating.

Solutions To Squirrel Problem

Why Should Squirrels Be Treated?

When squirrels enter a loft space, they can cause structural damage by tearing up loft insulation for bedding, chewing timbers, pipe work and stored items, and posing a fire hazard by stripping insulation from electrical wiring and/or chewing through cabling which can cause fires or electrical problems. Insulation may be pilled into large balls for the nest or drey. They may also be very noisy, and if they drown in uncovered water storage tanks, may contaminate the water supply. For these reasons, it is important to keep squirrels out of lofts. Squirrels in gardens are also destructive pests, eating plants, bulbs, stripping bark and will eat bird’s eggs and chicks. Grey Squirrels are classed as vermin. It is illegal to release a trapped Grey Squirrel.

Preparation Prior To Treatment

Don’t attempt to block any entry holes prior to treatment. If you do this they may cause further damage trying to get back into their ‘home’.

Treatment

The treatment of a Squirrel infestation is much more difficult & time consuming than the other rodent pests. Control of Squirrels in outside areas can be carried out in some circumstances but needs to be carefully considered as once a family of squirrels has been removed from an area that territory will be re occupied sooner or later. How soon this happens depends on the population of the surrounding area. They will prey on birds nests, eating eggs & young. Feeding squirrels in gardens will increase the density of the population possibly harming other wildlife. To control them we will use trapping & poisoning. The technician will use traps that kill the squirrels. Legally these types of traps have to be checked daily so can only be used if you are able to do so. If you see or hear an animal caught in one of the traps that is in distress you must phone our office.

Signs Of Squirrels In Your Home Or Business

Our figures suggest people have more problems with squirrels during the spring and autumn when they’re looking for food.

These are the seven signs easiest signs to spot when looking for evidence of squirrels in your home or loft.

  1. Scratching and rustling sound from your loft or a wall cavity
  2. Spotting droppings in the loft – although you might need a pest controller to identify these droppings 
  3. Smell of urine in the loft area might indicate the infestation has been going on some time
  4. Spotting lots of other squirrels around your property, particularly near your roof or on high fences
  5. Fruit and nuts being stolen from bird feeders, or the feeders being disturbed/knocked over
  6. Bark being stripped from trees in your garden
  7. Holes in vents or damage to your insulation foam.

Combination of Traps, Baits, and Repellents

​​Use a combination of traps, bait boxes, and two different repellents in the same pattern as numbers one and two above, but alternate the traps and bait boxes at random.  Sun Tzu, in his seminal work, The Art of War, advises us to know our enemy, in this case, squirrels.

Their natural inquisitiveness will lead them to investigate each time a trap turns up where a bait box used to be and vice versa.  Alternating liquid repellents will further confuse the squirrels, increasing the chances of them being funneled into the areas where you’ve set your traps and bait boxes.

An All Repellent Method

An all-repellent option, this one uses the ultrasonic spikes together with multiple liquid repellents to drive the squirrels away from your hard and garden.

The spikes have to stay where you place them.  Just make sure that none of them are on the same tempo or beat, thus you always have one or more them sounding while others are quiet.

​Spray the repellents around all the trees and poles in the yard as well as around the spikes. Squirrels will sometimes investigate the source of the irritating noise in an attempt to stop it. 

Liquid repellents will aid in keeping them away, reinforcing their perception that something bad is taking place and they should head for greener pastures somewhere else.

Squirrel Control Recommendations

  • Removal of any diet source: bird seed for example, because they attract the squirrels is the first order of business.
  • Using gutter guards and covering downspouts will reduce the number of squirrels that are entering through the rooftop and facia boards.
  • Live trapping method of trapping squirrels is the only way to remove unwanted squirrels. Catching a squirrel is really the only way to get rid of squirrels in your attic, once they have chewed holes. It is important to seal up and repair all entry points after trapping the squirrels, so they no longer have access.
    1. Locate the trap along the path of entry and places of known foraging activity.
    2. Go about 4-5 miles away to relocate the squirrels, or it will find its way back to your area.
    3. You may want to consider local ordinances for trapping squirrels, in that they differ. Sometimes a professional trapper with a nuisance control license is needed to not only capture the squirrel but relocate it as well.

How To Get Rid Squirrels In The Attic

The following recommendations combine advice, rules, and tips to hasten the elimination of squirrels from the attic:

  • Take away foodstuff, the smell is likely to attract squirrels. Clean the attic from everything that can be used for nesting: paper, old wallpaper, wool things, etc.
  • Place your pets’ hairs around the attic. The permanent feeling of an enemy will frighten the pests.
  • Dampen cotton cloths in ammonia and place them wherever squirrels can gather. The sharp smell will drive the animals away. After your tattle tails disappear, switch on a ventilator or air ionizer (purifier) to clean the air.
  • Place around the attic small cotton balls or pieces of fabric dampened in naphthalene: near boxes, in corners, wherever else you’ve seen rodent activity. To increase the repelling impact, combine it with other types of rodent-repelling substances or essential oils.  But be careful: naphthalene is highly flammable and classified as a dangerous fire hazard.