11 December 2018

The Importance of Maintaining Electrical Safety at Home

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Electricity is vital in every aspect of life, especially in your home. It's hard to imagine living in a home without electricity; it keeps our food from spoiling, keeps us warm in the winter, provides light, and makes us cool in the summer. One thing to always remember, it's important to make sure all of your outlets are installed properly, and you have no loose wires because there is nothing more important than maintaining electrical safety. Scheduling an appointment for a professional electrician to perform a safety inspection will give you and your family some peace of mind, especially if you live in an older home. Companies, like Mr. Electric, have a team of licensed, experienced electricians who can perform safety inspections, and make your home a safer place.

Many people neglect scheduling annual electrical inspections, which is something that every home should have because it maintains your family's safety. Often times outdated wiring and primitive outlets can lead to fires, which is why it's important to have a well maintained electrical distribution system. Electrical fires contribute to nearly 51,000 fires annually, resulting in 1.4 billion dollars in property damage. A typical inspection consists of the electrician using a tool to test all the outlets, to make sure your outlets aren't overloaded, and to check for any loose wiring.

Here Are A Few Electrical Safety Tips

Never Overload

An electrical overload can be a really dangerous situation. It's important to figure out which outlets are on which circuits and avoid overloading them. Overloads commonly happen if you have too many items plugged into one outlet or extension cord. This is a problem many older homes typically face. Refrigerators, air conditioners, and space heaters all draw a great deal of power, and if all these devices are using the same circuit, it could exceed the capacity of the electrical wiring. This could cause the main electrical panel to shut off to prevent blowing a fuse.

Childproofing

If you're a parent, your child's safety is everything, which is why it's important to childproof your home by installing outlet protectors. In 2008, NEC (National Electrical Code) made tamperproof receptacles a requirement in all homes and businesses.

Avoid Having an Outlet Too Close to the Tub

When installing an outlet in your bathroom, you should try installing it as far away from the tub and shower as you possibly can. Maintaining your outlet's distance from the tub can potentially prevent a really deadly situation from occurring. In fact, it is required that all receptacles installed in bathrooms be at least 1 meter away from any bathtub or shower stall.

Updating Wiring

Outdated electrical wiring is an issue many homeowners typically have, which is why a vast majority of electrical fires are contributed to old or outdated wiring. If your home is 30 years or older, or built before 1985, the wiring is more than likely outdated, and you should schedule an appointment with a licensed electrician to have it inspected immediately. If your lights tend to flicker when you plug more than one appliance into an outlet, this typically means the wiring isn't supplying power properly and may need to be looked at.

Replace Outdated Electrical Outlets

Replacing outlets are just as important as replacing old wiring. Aging outlets are a big problem. Over time, wiring tends to settle, and can eventually even make contact with other wires. This can cause sparking and fires because eventually all wiring and outlets will degrade.

Protect your Computer

Nowadays, technology and information are two of the most important tools you can have in life, which is why if you're a computer owner, protecting your information is vital. If your circuit breaker or a fuse blows, the sudden loss of power can cause you to lose valuable information on your computer and potentially lose any unsaved documents you've been working on. You can avoid this by installing a separate circuit breaker to supply power to your computer and other electrical devices in your office.

Update Circuit Breaker

Your circuit breaker is the heart of your entire electrical system, and you want it to be capable of supplying electricity to your home efficiently, without tripping a breaker or blowing a fuse. Often times, if your circuit breaker continues to overload, it may have to be replaced or updated to prevent any future fires and to keep your home running efficiently.

03 December 2018

Get Biz and get cleaner laundry than you ever thought possible



A couple of months ago, I received what amounted to a care package from CR Brands due no doubt to my involvement with Mean Green and Roto-Rooter. In that package, among other goodies, were a box of Biz Powder and a bag of Biz Liquid Boosters.


I’d heard of Biz but I never really gave it a whole lot of thought. I’m a Tide user after all and my thinking was always that if Tide can’t getting my laundry clean then nothing can. As a good Proctor and Gamble customer I’d learned to trust and never question the wisdom of my laundry overlords. Quite honestly, I want my laundry to be clean and I don’t want to give it a whole lot more thought than that.


But the freebies piqued my interest and so the next time I did a load of whites I threw a Biz Liquid Booster pod into the machine as a test. As soon as I did it I moved onto other things and promptly forgot I’d added Biz to my laundry.


As I was folding that load of whites a couple of hours later I couldn’t help but notice my whites were indeed whiter. I’m a big fan of Clorox for whites and I thought the Clorox and Tide combo was the ne plus ultra of laundering whites but I was mistaken. Clorox, Tide and Biz make socks and towels radioactively white. It’s insane how white my kitchen towels in particular were.

I cook a lot and I mean a lot as you may have surmised and I am particularly brutal on my kitchen towels. I use the flour sack towels and I usually replace them every six months or so because eventually, they get so stained that nothing will get them clean.

But I’m telling you, those Biz Liquid Booster pods tore through really difficult stains like cocoa and dried milk.

So I kept using them and each time I used them on both colors and whites, my laundry came out looking better and better.

As I tore through my bag of pods I started using the box of powder I’d received and frankly the result was the same. I sound like a shill but I had cleaner laundry than I ever thought I could have. The samples I received have turned me into a lifetime customer and my laundry doesn’t feel like it’s been done properly without it. Biz Powder, Biz Liquid and Biz Liquid Boosters really work as promised and I say that as a typically skeptical shopper and consumer.

Biz is a product that’s been around a while, since 1968 in fact. It was invented by a Proctor and Gamble chemist and consists of a proprietary blend of enzymes, peroxide and detergent and those things work in concert with the laundry detergent you already have. The enzymes power through protein based stains, the peroxides make dye-type stains disappear and the detergents scrub through mud and dirt. It’s a winning combination that actually works.

You can buy Biz powder in most grocery stores and big boxes and it’s easy to use, even with front loading, HE machines like mine. The instructions are written clearly on the box so be sure to follow them if you have a front loader. Follow this link for  $1 off coupon that ought to help your buying decision. Many of the stores that carry the powder also carry the liquid and it works the same way as the powder does.

The Biz Liquid Booster pods are a bit harder to find but start requesting them from your grocery store. If enough people make enough noise about it, they’ll start carrying the pods as well.

Just remember that Biz is a laundry additive, not a detergent in its own right. It helps your laundry detergent do its job better. Biz powder and liquid have uses other than the laundry too. Biz powder dissolved in hot water made short work of my kitchen floors and cabinet doors when I put it through the test a couple of weeks ago. The package label has instructions for more of those other uses if you’re so inclined.


My involvement with CR Brands this year has been an eye opener for a host of reasons and the products I’ve tried out with their help really do work and in the case of Biz, those samples have turned me from a tester into a customer. So go get Biz-y and excuse my bad pun.

26 November 2018

Great Ideas for Designing a Smaller Bathroom

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Making tight small spaces look good can be a real challenge especially if you have little to no knowledge of design. But thanks to the internet, decorating your personal space can be less of a headache. These clever hacks will help you get your bath in order and on a budget!

When you’re dealing with a limited square footage, it’s normal to make function your first priority. However, it’s also easy to compromise aesthetics when you’re worried about where to put what. It gets even more challenging when you have plenty of design options but have no idea which best to adapt.

This guide helps you get the anxiety out of the way so you can take charge and make your space work for you.

Use Light Colors

Using soft, lighter shades helps disperse and reflect light producing the effect of a bigger, more open space. If you want to have a brighter bath interior, this hack is a quick fix. It’s especially useful if your bathroom has a lot of mounted and built-in features.

White is a common choice, but you can experiment with monochromes or muted tones of your favorite shades.

Use the Same Materials for Your Floors and Walls

Often, the secret to efficient bath design is to trick the eye. Aside from using lighter tones as your bathroom theme, opting for a unified wall and floor design makes it harder to differentiate where one ends and the other begins, making your space look larger than it is.

Marble works best for the purpose although tiles are a good choice as well.

Use Open Shelves

Instead of using closed-up cabinets to store your bath items, you can instead opt for open shelves. Closed cabinets add bulk to the space and usually leave no room for aesthetic play.

By using tiered, open shelves, on the other hand, you can display not only your lovely bathroom items but also some design pieces that can add character to your overall setup. Not to mention, open shelves can be placed anywhere from the back of your bathroom door to that little space between your toilet and the bathroom wall.

You may also try using ladder shelves. This is a great open-shelf idea that plays with how the mind perceives depth by using tapered lines that only accumulate bulk near the floor.

Use Mirrors

Mirrors are fantastic reflectors, and incorporating them into your design can help make the space appear roomier and open. If you’re going to use a flat mirror, go for a large one, and install it behind your sink.

Opt for the mirror to drop down the floor instead of cutting at the chest or waist. You can also strategically put a vanity opposite a window to maximize the amount of natural light that is dispersed throughout the room.

Use Space-Saving Bathroom Fixtures

This is good advice if you’re starting from scratch or doing a full remodel. With limited surface space and functionality in mind, purchase ergonomically designed bathroom fixtures that are not only functionally efficient but also space-saving.

For example, instead of buying a standard toilet model, you can opt for a macerating toilet, which is not only compact in design but also easy to install and fit into small spaces. You may also fix a towel shelf that straddles the height and length of the toilet tank. You can use this to store small bathroom items. Additionally, if you have a small space available above the tank, you can consider squeezing in a medicine cabinet.

Light Up Your Ceiling

Extend the reach of light to your ceiling to create the illusion of a larger space. You can put up sconces beside your vanities or line a LED strip around the area of the wall just immediately below the ceiling. If you prefer to use traditional bulbs, make sure you choose one with maximum luminescence so it adequately covers the whole area.

Use Plants

Plants have a way of charming up any space, no matter how small. They also work well with windowless rooms and can help tune out the claustrophobic appeal. If you want to instantly freshen up a small bathroom, integrate a small touch of green, and see your space transform.

Make it your statement piece by using a gorgeous metallic vase to add edge and character. Instead of using leafy indoor species, you may also opt for creative terrarium setups.

Although the bathroom environment can be harsh for plants, especially with its constantly changing temperature and humidity level, there are plants that can thrive its rough conditions, regardless of whether or not you have a green thumb.

Here’s a great list from Natural Living Ideas.

Final Word

Making a small bathroom look stylish and expensive is not impossible, even when you’re on a budget. Feel free to follow these tips, but don’t be afraid to experiment with your own style. The sky is the limit.

Save time and money with Dryel


A couple of months ago, my friends at CR Brands sent me a sample kit of Dryel, the at-home dry cleaner. While I was happy to receive a sample, I have to admit I was a bit of a skeptic.

About a month after I put the kit away in the laundry room, Frank and I had tickets to the Pennsylvania Ballet’s season opener in Philly and since it was kind of a big deal I had to wear a suit. I don’t have to get dressed like that very often but when I do I want to look as sharp as anyone does given the circumstances.

When I pulled out my suit I realized that there was an oil spot in the lapel I hadn’t noticed before. The suit I wanted to wear was light gray and the oil stain was as obvious as the nose on my face. I was a bit miffed but I remembered that I had a Dryel kit waiting in the wings and now was the chance to use it.


I sprayed the stain with the included stain spray and then put my entire suit into a Dryel bag along with a Dryel cleaning cloth. I put that whole shebang into the dryer and crossed my fingers. 20 minutes later I took my damp-ish suit out of the Dryel dryer bag and hung it up as instructed. In less than ten minutes, my suit was ready to wear and honestly, the oil stain on the lapel was gone completely. It was like magic. It saved me about 12 bucks, at least two day’s time and a whole lot of heartache.

Putting a wool suit in the dryer was a bit of a leap of faith but man it worked perfectly.

Dryel is a terrific product and while even they’ll admit it doesn’t replace dry cleaning completely, it’s a great way to freshen and spot clean clothes between dry cleanings. Dry cleaning anything is an expensive pain in the butt but Dryel does take away some of the sting.

Dryel works in the dryer. A Dryel kit comes with a fabric laundry bag and four cleaning cloths. The cleaning cloths are activated by the heat of the dryer and the bag concentrates the steam produced. That steam dissolves oils and odors and an included spot cleaning pen makes short work of more obvious problems like my oil stain.

Dryel’s available in the laundry aisle in most grocery stores as well as at Target and Walmart. I found it the other day at the two grocery stores I frequent, Wegmans and Giant. It retails for less than ten bucks and included in that kit are four cleaning cloths and it’s safe to consider those four cloths as four trips to the dry cleaners. Dryel kits pay for themselves after one use and that’s pretty cool.

One use turned this skeptic into a believer so give them a shot, you won’t regret it.

20 November 2018

How To Get The Right Lighting In Your Home


When it comes to interior design, it is important that you consider the lighting and how it might affect the look of the room. Getting the lighting right is not always easy but there are some things that you can do. Here, we are going to give you some tips on how you can get the right lighting in your home. Keep reading if you’d like to find out more.

Consider The Size

If you are planning on adding an interesting overhead lighting piece, then you should make sure that you get the scale right. Huge overhead lighting can work really well but you should make sure that you place other lights in the same room in the right place in relation to it. Consider going for some geometric shapes that will make your room look amazing.

Use Table Lighting

One of the mistakes that a lot of people make when lighting their home is to only use overhead lighting. Table lighting is very important, and it can really help to improve the atmosphere that the room has overall. This is why you should consider investing in some table lamps from Pagazzi.com which could look amazing in your living room, bedroom or hallway. Table lamps can totally change the entire look of the room so don’t underestimate them when planning your design.

Mix And Match 

Another great tip for those who want to get their lighting right in their home is to mix and match the colours. Think about choosing a few different lamps that you can place in the same room for a great effect. Don’t overdo it with the mix and match but make sure to make a statement with your colour choices. You will love the effect that this has on your rooms.

Choose Statement Lamps

When it comes to choosing the lamps that you are going to have in your home, think about investing in some statement pieces. These can be one of the main features in your living room or bedroom and it will impress all of your guests. Make your lamps eye catching especially if you aren’t opting for a statement ceiling light as you will need something to draw attention to.

Try Out Different Ceiling Light Styles

Our final tip for those who want to get the lighting right in their home is to try out some different ceiling light styles. You’ll find that you can get many different types of styles and it is important that you try out a few of them. Think about adding some strip lighting to one room and a chandelier to another. Try out different styles and you will be able to find one that you love. Each room has a different purpose, so it makes sense that it has a different style. While you are trying out different styles also consider different types of bulbs as these can have a massive effect on how the room appears overall.

Final Verdict

If you want to get your lighting right in your home, then you should make sure to think about the tips that we have given you in this article. Consider adding a mixture of table lamps, floor lamps and overhead lighting to each room to make it work for every occasion. You should also think about mixing and matching on your colours and designs when it comes to table lamps and make sure to try out different light bulb shades. Follow these tips and you should be able to have an amazing looking home.

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