09 July 2018

8 Appliances That Are Driving Up Your Electricity Costs

We use them every day to wash our clothes, cool our houses, and cook our food. Appliances. And for all that they do for us, operating them can come at a heavy cost. While the frequency and duration of their use largely dictates their expense, some appliances just happen to require more energy than others. These devices are not confined to one area and located all around homes, both in places that can be seen and in other that cannot. Though there are a number of energy drainers that could qualify, there are eight appliances that are particularly draining and will drive up your electricity cost.


There are few devices in homes that require energy twenty-four hours a day all year round, but the refrigerator is among them. Tasked with the job of keeping perishable items cool and frozen items intact, the fridge accounts for roughly four percent of the energy used within the home each year. The impact of this appliances consumption can be minimized by investing in a new refrigerator, as manufacturers are beginning to focus more and more on energy efficiency in appliances. Keeping the internal temperature of the fridge cooler than necessary will also contribute to the electricity it requires, so consider changing things up. Maintaining a temperature of 36 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit should be optimal and help you further reduce your costs.

Water Heater

The water heater of the house is used every day by homeowners and is one of the most significant contributors to the total cost of home energy. This is the machine that warms the water in your shower, sink, and even in your washer. All of the times you left the sink running to let the water warm up or took a long shower, this machine was working overtime to provide the heat required. Much like the refrigerator, adjusting the water heater is a two-pronged approach that can involve trading in for a new, more energy efficient model or simply decreasing its overall temperature. Most water heaters remain somewhere around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but this can be adjusted down to the 120-125 degrees range to avoid unnecessary energy waste.

Washer and Dryer

With a need for electricity and heat, washers and dryers have their own part to play in the amount people are charged for energy each and every month. Due to the many moving parts and separate components of the machines, there are a few ways to reduce their cost. For the washer, consider forgoing the use or warm water and instead just wash all of your things using cold water. When it comes time to dry, know that the dryer requires more energy to be operated. You can make the machine’s performance more efficient by cleaning out the lint trap before beginning or you could consider hanging your clothes on a line. By doing that, you’ll completely eliminate the need for the dryer as well as cut off its energy usage.


Computers make up around one percent of the energy bill, but that amount can be even further reduced in a number of easy ways. If you’re in the market for a new computer, consider purchasing a laptop instead of a standard desktop. The choice will demand less energy and have the added bonus of being transportable. A bad habit that many people share is leaving their computer in sleep mode rather than turning it off completely, which also contributes. Unless you expect to use your computer shortly after putting it to sleep, be sure to power it down. This will conserve energy and have you plugging in your laptop to charge less than you would have the other way.

Electric Oven

One of the main methods by which people prepare food is the oven. Equipped with multiple cooking settings, built in timers, and even self-cleaning capabilities, ovens are tools that make cooking a bit easier. But to allow for their capabilities, a sizeable amount of energy is required. A side effect of oven use that further drives up electricity costs is the heat that is generated from them. It tends to raise the overall temperature of the house and often results in homeowners using the air conditioning to reduce the heat, undermining attempts at saving. To counteract this, as well as save on the costs of operating an electric oven, be sure to use you microwave when you. Often there are oven and microwave instructions on boxes and microwaves will not only use less energy, they will also have your meal done faster.


The fluctuation of the temperature within homes often causes the thermostat to be used as a means of regulating the climate. Due to the changes brought about by the turn of the seasons, there are peak months for their use. One of the best methods for lowering the cost of your thermostat is to use the natural cooling that you keep out every day. That means you should open up doors and windows when you can to allow for the breeze to come through. Especially at night, when the temperature is naturally cooler, don’t be afraid to open your window instead of turning on the air conditioning. The help of smart devices can also be enlisted as programmable thermostats that learn your temperature preferences and act to reduce costs can be installed.   


For generations, televisions have provided a level of comfort to homes, often being left on to fill spaces with noise. When people are in rooms, even briefly, the tv still manages to find a way to be turned on and use a bit of electricity. For television, electricity usage does in large part stem from being turned on, but tvs also use energy when turned off. It is called the phantom load and it occurs when electronic devices are powered off, but left plugged in. During this time, devices are on standby mode but still burning through electricity and as a result, running up electricity costs. An easy stop to this, can come about by unplugging devices or turning off the power strip they’re plugged into. There are even special power strips available for purchase that cut off the flow of electricity when devices are turned off.


The conclusion of most meals is marked by the clearing of tables and the loading of dishwashers. Varying slightly from model to model, this appliance rinses dishes using water of particularly high temperatures, then undergoes of a drying process. The cost of utilizing this machine, along with the others involved in making it run, make up a fair bit of the utility bill. Though operating the dishwasher will always bear and expense, the cost can be diminished and in relatively simple ways. For nights where there are not many things to wash, consider doing the dishes by hand. This will completely take the dishwasher out of the equation and save you on a load. In the event you do want to use the appliance, wait until you have filled it up completely before washing, as using the dishwasher with a full or light load used the same amount of energy.

Bio: Douglas Keller has been a financial expert for 20 years, helping people reach financial stability. He now provides personal finance tips for Payless Power, where he helps people save money on their bills every month.

Professional Tips for Restoring Furniture After a Flood

Floods can be one of the most unpredictable natural disasters out there, taking over your home and everything in it, sometimes without the slightest warning.

Even if you successfully save yourself and your family, they still wreak havoc in people’s lives because the damage floods can leave behind is often extensive and irreparable. As we all know, furniture can be expensive, especially whole rooms of it, and that’s why you’ve got to know how to recover your furniture if ever subjected to a flood.

So, to that end, following are some basic steps you should take to salvage your furniture and belongings should you ever be subjected to flood damage.

1. Assess the Damage

The first thing you should always do is take note of the damage. Before entering the room, shut off the electricity to ensure that there will be no electrical charge in the water. Then, get the furniture out of the flooded rooms and into a dry area as soon as you can—this includes even the furniture not touching the floor. Mass amounts of water can evaporate into the air and damage wall or ceiling décor just as well as if it were sitting in the water itself.

It’s important to note that if you are at all prone to flooding of any kind, be sure to invest in flood insurance and/or Act of God insurance, which is insurance that covers natural disasters including but not limited to floods.

If you already have the proper insurance, take pictures of your damaged furniture in order to document the impairment that needs to be compensated for.

Also, it is imperative that you stay away from electrical plugs or utilities until given absolute confirmation of its safety by a professional. Water is a very effective conductor of electricity and could cause serious harm or even death to those directly exposed to it.

2. Salvage What You Can

Furniture made out of more solid material such as wood is far more likely to be salvageable than anything upholstered or fabric-based. Furniture of the latter may not be able to be recovered, so be sure that if flooding is a likelihood you can expect (i.e. there’s an incoming hurricane) that you preserve the furniture ahead of time if possible.

If furniture was not preserved prior to its exposure to water, there are several things you can do to prevent further damage: For items that you can remove from the flooded room, do so. For others that will cannot be removed from a flooded area, lift them out of the water onto wooden blocks so they can begin drying. You can also cover said items in aluminum foil to keep out extra dampness. The key here is to make sure that your furniture is removed from the water and exposed to as little dampness as possible after it has been removed.

Another tip would be to turn on any ceiling fans to promote drying, but this is only if the ceilings themselves are not damaged as well. Standing fans or hair driers are highly discouraged as their use of outlets is dangerous in the presence of water.

3. Call in a Professional

Despite these tips being of extra use, it is highly recommended that when dealing with water damage, you reach out to the experts such as companies like All Dry US or other water restoration services. With the help of alldryus.com (specifically in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida region) your furniture can be restored in no time at all.

Restoration professionals can strip furniture down to its base in an effort to replace the water damaged spots, but this process can be expensive, so be sure that those decisions are cost effective before you make the commitment.

Family antiques or anything of sentimental value should take priority in salvaging, and professionals should be made aware of such items as should your insurance company. In those cases, it may very well be cost effective to reach out to water damage experts, as water damage can often be permanent and facilitate health complications due to its fostering of mold and mildew.

Furniture can often be hundreds of dollars, and significantly more in large house-size quantities. Therefore, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to prepare for flooding, acquire the knowledge so you know what to do in case of experiencing flooding, and remember who to reach out to if the circumstances call for it.

05 July 2018

Landlord Success Tips


When you’ve invested in a rental property, you want to make sure you get your investment back. Being a landlord can be tricky business, but these tips will get your business running more smoothly than ever. From lease targeting to landlord software, these simple suggestions will help you take a decent business and polish it into a thriving one. In the rental property world, each day comes with new challenges, so make sure you meet your issues with a clear head.

Stick to a Business Mindset

With any business, it’s important to stick to best business practices. If you landlord part-time, you may be tempted to wiggle your records around. Remember that your business is, in fact, a business, even if it’s on the side. Keep your receipts, payment history, and all other financial information handy and organized. Not only will you want it for taxes, it can help you make better decisions later. 

Use Lease Targeting

Since it’s easy to lose money between tenants, a good landlord trick is to try lease targeting. Lease targeting is the practice of including a clause in your lease that prevents tenants from vacating at a certain time. June 1st is the prime move-in day for apartments, so try to angle your leases around early summer, if you can.

Screen Your Tenants

When tenants are unruly, you run into all kinds of problems. Some tenants may complain about noise. Other tenants may no longer feel safe in your building and start looking elsewhere. A negligent tenant may fail to pay his or her utility bills and damage your appliances by having their electricity shut off by the city. As a landlord, it’s important to run a background check on tenants, check for past eviction history, and see their criminal record. You can do that using landlord software.

Never Discriminate

While you can screen your tenants beforehand, you’re not legally allowed to turn someone away based on sex, race, color, religion, familial status, or disability. The Fair Housing Act protects anyone in this category, and some states also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, and age. Additionally, discriminating is simply the wrong thing to do.

Make Repairs ASAP

Any landlord loses money in between tenants, unless they’re lucky enough to get new tenants the day after the old ones move out. Realistically, a landlord can expect a month or two of vacant units between leases. That’s income lost, so it’s always better to retain the tenants you have. Happy tenants mean a longer lease in most cases, so respond promptly to repairs. The better you treat your tenants, the more inclined they’ll be to stay.

Inspect Before and After

Legally, you’re allowed to charge a tenant for any damages the unit suffered during their residence. It’s written right into the lease. The problem is that damages might not be apparent, and if a tenant protests, you’ll need proof that the unit has gone down in condition. Take before and after videos of a unit, making note of the damages that exist before a tenant comes in and the damages that exist after.

03 July 2018

How to Keep Your Appliances in Good Condition

Household appliances save us time and effort. Imagine life without a washing machine or dishwasher. It wouldn’t be much fun. Unfortunately, many household appliances don’t last more than a few years. A cynic might argue that manufacturers deliberately build appliances with a limited lifespan, so they can sell you a new one after five years. We don’t know if this is true, but one thing is certain: if you look after your appliances, they will almost certainly last longer.

If your dishwasher, fridge, oven, or other appliance is faulty, check whether it is under warranty. And if your washing machine is faulty and you need washing machine repair and maintenance advice from Hotpoint, give them a call.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure you get the maximum life possible out of your appliances. Ignore them at your peril!


A shiny new fridge is a joy. It’s clean and hygienic inside with no mouldy mushrooms lurking in the vegetable tray and the shelves are just begging to be filled with food. But, as proud as you may be with your new fridge, it is essential that you don’t switch it on for 24 hours when you first bring it home.

Fridges are often transported flat. The oil in the compressor needs time to settle before you switch the fridge on for the first time. Otherwise, the oil may end up in the refrigerant lines rather than the pump, which will lead to the pump wearing out much sooner than it should.
It is also a good idea to vacuum the coils at the back of the fridge from time to time. This helps to keep them dust-free. If dust is allowed to settle and form an insulating layer, the fridge will need to work harder to maintain the correct temperature.

If you take good care of your fridge, it should easily last 15+ years.


Freezers generally last a long time and require very little maintenance. If you have a frost-free freezer, it doesn’t need to de-frosted. Older models don’t have this facility, so you need to defrost your freezer when ice begins to build up. To do this safely, empty the freezer and switch it off for 24 hours, or as long as it takes to defrost.

Frost-free freezers have a drain pan. Clean it out from time to time or mould will build up. A solution of bleach and water is fine.

Washing Machines

Washing machines don’t usually last more than five years, but with some care and attention, you can keep your washing machine in perfect working order for longer.

Always empty pockets before you place garments in the machine. Coins and other metal objects cause untold damage to a washing machine drum. Foreign objects can also get caught between the door seal, which will damage it and cause a leak. Smaller objects can get stuck in the drain hose, which is equally damaging.

Prop the door open after you empty the washing machine. This allows the drum and other components to dry out. If the machine is left closed and wet, mould might build up inside, which is a health issue.


Make sure you clean out the drain filter regularly. This is where food waste ends up. If it is allowed to build up, the dishwasher won’t drain properly. You probably use your dishwasher daily, but if you don’t use it that often, pour some mineral oil and water into the bottom of the machine to keep the seals moisturized. Otherwise, they will dry out and the next time you run a load, water will leak out everywhere.

Hard water can cause numerous problems with household appliances, so pop a hard water tablet into your washing machine or dishwater every week or so. It is possible to keep your appliances in good working order for longer than you would expect using the tips discussed above.

30 June 2018

6 Signs That Your Kitchen Needs Some Updating

Your kitchen is one of the most valued rooms in your house. It is the central place where people tend to gather, share meals, entertain, and catch up with family members. For many, a total remodel is financially out of the question. However, there are times when you really have no choice but to do some updating, especially when something is either broken or so out-of-date it is no longer serving its purpose. Below are six signs that your kitchen needs to be updated.

Leaking or Slow-to-Drain Kitchen Sink

When you turn off your kitchen sink and it doesn't turn off completely, besides getting annoyed, you realize that it needs to be repaired. It is important that you fix it correctly or you can end up in a worse situation. The most critical first step is to find out where the leak is coming from, be it the faucet or the handle.

Both of these could actually be signs of more serious underlying problems. These plumbers in Melbourne point out that “if your sink is slow to drain after doing the dishes, it could be a sign of a blocked drain as they are frequently attached to the overflow”. If you are hoping it will clear up on its own, the chances are very slim that it will. If the blockage is severe, it will become increasingly more difficult to clean it. It’s best to have a professional take a look at it and get it fixed.

Outdated Appliances

New appliances will make any kitchen look nicer. But there are other more practical reasons why updating your appliances is a good idea.

Usually older appliances use more energy than the newer models and can increase your utility bills. There is also a chance that old wiring can cause a fire. If your safety is in jeopardy, it is time to replace that older appliance.

Wear and Tear

Nothing stays new forever no matter how well it is maintained. Normal wear and tear is expected, but when the damage is more extensive, you need to do something. For instance, if your dishwasher or refrigerator is leaking, it can cause water damage. Water damage can cause your floor to peel or buckle and it can also lead to mold growth.

Chipped or cracked floors and countertops can cause dangerous bacteria to grow. When you replace them, not only will they look nicer, you will be protecting your family from mold and bacteria that can make you sick.

Your Cabinets are a Mess

It is not uncommon a cabinet doors to fall off its hinges. This is a simple fix as all you have to do is replace the hinge. Re-painting or staining your cabinets can go a long way in making something old look fresh and new. However, if your cabinets are literally falling apart and no longer useful, you should look into replacing them.

Not Enough Storage

Older homes were usually built with an insufficient amount of storage space in the kitchen to store all your pots, pans, dishes, and all the other modern things you use. This tends to lead to crowded countertops and cabinets and makes it difficult to find anything. You might want to consider investing in some updates like adding hidden storage areas, a pantry, or a movable island to add more storage space and improve your kitchen's functionality.

Increase the Value of Your Home

If you are looking to sell your home, the best investment you can make to get a competitive price for it and to sell it faster is to put some money into updating your kitchen. Kitchens that are dated (bathrooms too) are a significant barrier for resale. 

It isn’t necessary to completely remodel your kitchen to make it more marketable. As a matter of fact, homeowners who do minor kitchen remodels usually get an 81% return on their investment, while major high-end remodels only see a 59% return.The reason for this is that not every potential buyer likes the latest expensive trend. Many are only interested in shiny and new fixtures and appliances.

It is your kitchen and you know best when something old just isn't working for you anymore. It is good to know that there are many things beside a total and expensive remodel that can help your kitchen give you the look, feel, and functionality you want.

28 June 2018

Quick design tips to personalise your newly-bought home

Just bought a new home and finally realising your Australian dream? Congratulations!

Looking to personalise your new home but aren’t sure how to start or worried about your limited budget? This is the perfect article for you. We’re showing you a couple of design/decoration tips that are bound to add beauty and value to your new home.

The kitchen. As your home’s heart and soul, the kitchen deserves all the attention you can give when you first move into your spanking new home.

Adding colour coordinated pans and pans for starters are an easy way to create a great theme, especially if you want a kitchen with personal touches. You can also store your pots in a different way if you’re saving money and don’t want to replace them. Just hang them from a pot hanging rack to create a nice display that doubles as storage saver. Win-win!

Today’s homes are now beginning to pave the way to the garden plants back into the indoors. Adding a favourite leafy colour to the kitchen is a great way to enliven it and add a living decoration. Herbs and plants instantly freshen up a room and make a more natural environment that’s perfect for cooking.

Whether you like flowers, candles, vases or even fruit bowls, a centrepiece in your dining room can transform your table in a matter of seconds! The one thing to remember with centrepieces is to ensure that it isn’t too distracting. A piece too large or tall may get in the way of your conversations with people around the table or may minimise the space for your plates and cutlery.

The Hallway. Your hallway is where everyone traverses every day to go to different parts of the home, therefore it needs special care.

First off, adding mirrors can transform an area since it instantly brightens up space by reflecting any light, natural or from other sources. Choose mirrors that match your style and personality. Next, adding photos allow you to showcase your favourite family photos to visitors and family members as well.  If you want a modern look, try having your photos printed in back or white, or simply add a sepia filter to transform them into vintage wonders.

The living room. If your family loves lounging around the living room, or if you’re big on entertainment, then customising your home when you move in should be a priority as well.
Use rugs to either boost the floor space or the furniture you currently have. You’ll have a plethora of options to choose from that appropriately matches your taste and the other furniture in the room. In any case, don’t yourself to colour schemes. Experiment things and see what works in personalising the living room.

Adding throws and cushions can also add plenty of personality and style to the living room. Be creative on this one and have a go at putting your chosen designs/colours together and see how they look.

Moving into a brand-new home is an exciting event since you have a blank canvas ready to be transformed to a loving home complete with any mood or theme you like.
If you’re still on the process of purchasing a home or are considering to move from your current one, the Alkimos house and land packages in North Perth are perfect considerations as it lets you choose a home with just the right space and features your growing family needs. Simply choose from the many available home designs or even make changes once the property is turned over to you.

Best of luck with designing/decorating your new home!

27 June 2018

Popular RV Design Trends

Even if you aren’t in the RV industry, you may keep an eye on RV design trends for any number of reasons. One big reason is for RV owners who want to rent out their vehicle. There’s a huge and continuously growing market for RV rentals around the country, and many owners are finding that it’s a great income source for them.

Last year was record-breaking for the RV industries, and particularly the Thor and Winnebago companies. Winnebago’s sales went up more than 75 percent in 2017. Analysts have described the RV market as being “on fire,” and Millennials are a key demographic for RV companies.
With that popularity, comes increasing demand from renters but also growing competition. For example, according to Outdoorsy, they have more than 1,130 RV rentals available in San Diego alone.

Owners have to keep up with the design trends and know what discerning renters are looking for if they want to remain competitive.

The following are some popular RV design trends this year.


RV renters, and particularly the highly coveted Millennial group of renters, really tends to like minimalist design concepts. In fact, they often embrace minimalism in multiple areas of their life.
Minimalism works well in RV design concepts because it’s clean, fresh and uncluttered.
Keep the accessories to a minimum, color palettes light and airy, and decorate with the use of natural items, like a potted plant.


Another popular design trend that renters might like is the vintage style. This works especially well in a classic Airstream vehicle. You can provide renters with a throwback to days gone by.
Incorporate vintage style with items like quilts or antique accessories.

The idea of using a map as wallpaper on a feature wall is also a fun way to integrate a vintage sense of style into the interior design of an RV.

Luxury Elements

Something else that renters might like in an RV is the inclusion of some elements of luxury. For example, providing an espresso machine or a high-end coffee maker can be a perk that goes a long way in the eyes of your potential renters.

Another way to include some luxury is by splurging on more expensive bedding. There’s nothing more inviting for any traveler than a bed that looks clean, inviting and super comfortable.

You don’t have to go overboard, but do think about what a more high-end renter might appreciate.
You can also think about what your renters might enjoy when they’re actually in their destination and include some of those items. For example, what about portable hammocks and inflatable hammocks? They’re hugely popular and can be a great addition to a camping trip.

Finally, wherever you can try to add storage space. Even if renters are only going to be in the RV for two or three days, they’re going to want and need storage space. Look to all the tiny house shows and websites if you want some guidance on how to creatively incorporate additional storage.


18 June 2018

Saving money with DIY plumbing

As I got ready to write this post I went back to my portfolio on Houzz to see if I had any bathrooms posted there. Sure enough:

I'm a one-time kitchen and bath designer and although I don't ply that trade as a profession any more, my years in those particular trenches left me with an unshakeable sense of what I can and cannot do when it comes to working on my house. Iworked on many, many bathrooms over the years and three years ago I designed and managed the renovations of two baths in the home I share with my partner Frank.

I'm pretty handy and I did do some of the tile work in the master bath and I hooked up the new faucets in the hall bath. I'm capable of more than that of course, but I know that there's a profound difference between my swapping out a P trap under a lavatory sink and what would surely be a ruinous attempt of my trying to re-route water supply lines for a shower. I have a strong sense of my skill level and I wouldn't hesitate to swap out a shower fixture or a toilet. By the same toekn, I would never dream of trying anything having to do with rough plumbing.

Rough plumbing pretty much means plumbing behind the walls and fixtures are any part of a bathroom you can see.

I see the same programming on HGTV and DIY that every body else sees and a lot of those shows spread a message that with the right "can do" attitude anybody can tackle any household project. That's simply not true and as I say all the time, plumbing is a profession for a reason.

What just about anybody can do is make cosmetic changes and keep up with maintenance tasks. Painting a bathroom is a simple cosmetic change that just about anybody can take on. Changing out things like towel bars are relatively easy to take on too.

You really don't need to hire someone to do routine maintenance either. If your toilet's running all the time you just need to change the flap valve and provided you follow the instructions, you can complete that without the help of a plumber and save at least $150.

Clogged drains are another maintenance task that you shouldn't need to call a plumber over. I'm a brand ambassador for Roto-Rooter and their line of home plumbing products. Shower drains get clogged with hair and soap scum and when that happens, they slow down. If you're experiencing a slow drain, get some Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover or Hair Clog Remover and try that first before you call a plumber.

Follow the instructions on the bottle and the odds are pretty good that you'll fix your problem and save a bundle at the same time. I like these Roto-Rooter products more than the other brands that are out there. Roto-Rooter products are more concentrated and they just work better. Roto-Rooter products are readily available at retailers you already patronize, so give them a try.

Mean Green keeps my patio clean

Excuse the bad rhyme in the headline but sometimes I can't help myself.

This is my patio as it looked a couple of days ago.

It's a beautiful space and Frank and I are fortunate that the previous owners of our home put such a premium on outdoor living. In warmer months, our patio serves as a dining room, a kitchen and a living room and we spend as much time keeping it looking good as we do enjoying out time out there.

Since we live in Pennsylvania, we usually get full use of that outdoor space for less than six months out of the year. During the cold months, that patio becoes almost an afterthought. My birdfeeders are out there and other than keeping the snow away from the patio doors, it's the birds who spend the most time out there.

When the weather starts to turn at the end of April, cleaning up that patio becomes my job. Typically, that clean up is an onerous task that involves a pressure washer, buckets of soapy water, hand and deck brushes and a lot of cursing on my part. Of all the spring clean up projects that have to happen, getting the patio into shape is my least favorite.

This year however, I tried something different.

As I've mentioned earlier, I'm a brand ambassador for Mean Green and Mean Green Super Strength made my least-favorite task a lot less onerous.

I added Mean Green Super Strength directly to the reservoir of the hose end sprayer I normally use to apply liquid fertilizer to my plantings and it had the effect of spraying this amazing cleaning product with just the right amount of pressure to clear away an entire winter's grime without me having to use a brush or dust off my pressure washer.

All I did was spray everything down with my Mean Green Super Strength solution, let it sit for about five minutes and then spray everything off with clean water. Mean Green is biodegradeable so I didn't have to worry about what the runoff was going to do to my flower beds. It was a real breakthrough moment for me.

As the summer progresses, I'll use more Mean Green Super Strength out there to keep our outdoor space ship shape.

You really ought to give this stuff a try. The Mean Green line of products including Mean Green Super Strength are available at Lowe's. So what are you waiting for?

09 June 2018

Undiscovered Bahamas: Top Things to do in The Exumas


If you’re looking for an ultimate escape – a vacation in the Exumas located in the Bahamian paradise is what’s in store for you. You’re most likely swim with the charming pigs and gentle nurse sharks, see giant starfish, and even feed wild but friendly iguanas.

You may want to spend your entire year boating and floating through the 365 cays, as what locals say, one cay per day. Majority of the cays are uninhabited and some are under the ownership of celebrities. Don’t worry about the place where you’ll spend the rest of your dream escape. There are numerous vacation homes in the Exumas to choose from which will truly offer a one of a kind experience from a relaxing ambiance to waking up to the stunning views every day. 

Discover the paradise of the Exumas. Let’s make the most out of your stay in this undiscovered series of islands in the Bahamas.

Let the journey begin

You can start your adventure on Great Exuma’s northern shore which is the Barraterre. You may rend a boat together with a trusty captain and guide to show you the best spots in the area. Are you curious about the color of water? It seems like a gradient from sea green to sapphire. It will definitely be the beautiful water you’ll ever see in your entire journey.
The Starfish Reserve

Here, tons of starfish will welcome you as they are being seen almost covering the ocean floor. It may be your first time to them that big! It is fine to pick them up for as long as you don’t keep them out of the water for a long time. Since the water is too shallow, you can easily find them.

Conch shell diving

Not too far from the Starfish Reserve, your guide will dive into the water and come up with several conch shells. It will be later used to make tasty conch salad. It is the Bahamas’ version of ceviche. Its ingredients include the raw conch that will be pulled out from the shell, chopped onions, peppers, lime and orange juices and some spices that they want to add up to.

Little Farmer's Cay

Here is where you find a little civilization which comprises of around 70 people. Of all the cays, it is the said to be the first one to be inhabited. It is about 40 minutes if you’re coming from Great Exuma. You’ll find a restaurant and a small grocery in the island, a place where locals gather and play dominos.

Little Galliot Cay sandbar

It’ll definitely a one of a kind experience where you can step on a footprint-less stretch of pristine sand so be ready and make your first mark. It is ideal to visit in the morning during low tide. Spend a couple of hours to hang out here where complete solitude ambiance is just so perfect. 

Thunderball Grotto

As you cross the water from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, you’ll see the Thunderball Grotto. It is a marine cave which is a perfect place to explore the world down under for snorkelers and experienced scuba divers. It’s somehow a bit of work as you paddle inside but to tell you honestly, it’s work all the effort. This grotto was featured in one of James Bond movies Thunderball and Never Say Never Again.

Staniel Cay

You’ve landed on the activity hub in the cays. It is also a favorite destination of yachters. The Staniel Cay Yacht Club is the only full-service marina that can be found in the cays. The restaurant in the club is the best place to have your lunch, dinner and ever a place to be for the nightlife.

Big Major's Cay

Here’s one of the highlights of your Bahamian paradise getaway, swimming with the lovable pigs at the Big Major’s Cay. They are so friendly. As you come to the island they automatically dive right in and swim to welcome you. Don’t forget to bring some scraps to feed them. 

Allan's Cay

Another highlight of your dream escape is can be experienced in Allan’s Cay. Get ready with your grapes and stick. This destination is home to hundreds of wild but friendly iguanas. Just put a grape on your stick and they’ll crawl towards your position. It’s really an exciting experience!

Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

This is a protected area and the first of its kind in the world. It boasts of some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the Bahamas. Since it’s rich with marine biodiversity and still unspoiled to the point that the water has essentially never been fished, you’ll definitely be amazed of the world down under. Other activities that you can engage yourself with when in the area are hiking and bird watching.

Compass Cay

It is notably known as an unspoiled deserted island boater’s paradise. The setting here seems to be tie up your boat and grab a Kalik Beer while hanging out with fellow boaters that came from the different part of the world. Here, you don’t need to be afraid to swim with the harmless and friendly nurse sharks. They are adorable.

Shroud Cay

If you go around at the back of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park by means of boating, it is possible for you to climb to one of its highest points. If you want to do it, you need to be prepared as you’ll wade through around shoulder deep water and be ready to climb a rocky path. Don’t worry, it may take much energy and effort, but it’s okay. The 360 degrees view is so stunning!

Norman's Cay

Be ready to taste the best cocktail and excellent Bahamian cooking in one of the best restaurant in the Norman’s Cay, the MacDuff.

04 June 2018

The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Gutters


Are you a commercial business looking to replace your gutter system? You may not know, but when replacing your gutter system for the first time there are many different factors that you need to take into consideration to ensure that you choose the perfect system for your business. One of the big decisions that you will have to make is whether to opt for residential gutters or commercial gutters and this decision is normally based on the type of property that it is needed for. In this article, we will be taking you through the main differences between residential and commercial gutters, so you can choose the one that will be best for you.

 The Installation Process

One of the biggest differences between commercial and residential gutters is how they are installed. Residential gutters are designed to be installed in your home. They will be installed on the edge of the roof and this is normally a shed, gable, or hipped roof. With commercial guttering, these are normally installed in commercial properties which are often bigger and you will also often find that they have flat roofs.

The Size and Style of the Gutter 

Another big difference to consider when choosing between residential and commercial guttering Is the size and style. The size and style used for a residential property will not be the same as that of a commercial property. In a residential property, you will tend to find that U-shape or K-style gutters are used, however, in commercial properties the preferred choice is often commercial box gutters. When getting commercial box gutters, you will first get a quote for the cost of the job. If you are happy with this quote, the work can then begin. The first stage is to remove the previous gutters and they should be recycled if this is possible. If not, then they should be disposed of properly. The next stage is to have your new commercial box gutters installed. This is done with either steel or aluminium and they will be affixed to the building with industrial strength brackets for long term secure fastening. The final inspection will then be carried out to ensure that the new guttering system is performing to the best of its capabilities.

Negative Repercussions

It is vitally important that you understand the difference between residential and commercial gutters as choosing the wrong one can have disastrous consequences for your home or commercial property. If you do not have the proper coverage then you risk having your gutters not being able to do their job properly. This can then lead to leaks in the roof and your gutters becoming damaged. This can result in lots of time and money being wasted trying to correct this problem and changing the gutter system.

Laws and Regulations 

Depending on where you live, there can be different rules and regulations that you need to follow when you are having new guttering systems installed. Make sure that you check out what your local laws and regulations are. This is particularly important if you own a commercial property as it is likely that there could be regulations about the gutter size, how they are installed and where exactly the water drains out.

Don’t Always Opt for the Biggest Guttering System

A common mistake that many people can make it opting for the biggest guttering system that they can which is often true in residential properties. The thought behind this is normally that you can achieve better coverage and it will require less maintenance, however, the experts will tell you that this is not the case. Just because a guttering system is bigger, this does not necessarily mean that it will be a better fit for your particular property. It is also worth remembering that big gutters can also require more maintenance than small gutters as they can end up collecting more debris.

The Aesthetics 

As well as all of the practical advice above to take into consideration, it is also important that you think about the aesthetics of the guttering system that you are choosing. When you put a large commercial gutter system on a residential home it can appear bulky and take away from the lovely look of your home. What’s more, it will also cover the fascia board and trimming that you want to carry out to keep your home looking the way that you desire. Take a look at other houses that you like and see what gutters they have installed. This can give you a better idea of what exactly you should opt for, just make sure you are looking at places with a similar style of roof!

30 May 2018

The Items You Need to Improve Your Home Décor

No matter whether you are decorating your very first home or are looking to overhaul just one room that needs sprucing, interior design is lots of fun and is the ultimate way to put your own stamp on a home to make it yours. However, interior design can be a tricky, and costly, process and so it is vital that you are not wasting your money on unnecessary purchases. In this article, we are taking you through the items that you should consider implementing in your new interior design project that will instantly lift a room.


One of the easiest ways in which you can spruce up your home is to bring the outdoors, in! Really, this type of purchase can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. This can range from anything from a gorgeous bonsai tree to a simple fern. It is also important to consider the maintenance of plants and so you may want to opt for one that is not going to require a whole lot of attention from you. Plants come in a tonne of different shapes, sizes and colours, so no matter what the colour scheme is of your home, you should be able to find one that fits with your room.


A good investment to make in any room when it comes to interior design is a rug. This can add colour, warmth and texture to any room and it is definitely an essential for any room that has a cold wood or tiled floor. Always try to check it out in person before purchasing online so you can get a better idea of its real size and how it will fit in your room.


Another easy way to add some gorgeous finishing touches to a room when having an interior design overhaul is to get good artwork. We would recommend getting a focal piece for a room as not only will it add that little something extra to your room, it will also act as a great conversation piece. At an online art marketplace such as Fine Art America, you can choose from a wide range of wall art prints including framed prints, canvas prints, art prints, metal prints, acrylic print and posters. With millions of unique products to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect artwork for the room you are designing.


No matter whether you are changing up the interior design of your kitchen, living room, or dining room, chairs are normally always involved and can be a great feature in any room. Opt for a comfortable feature chair that everyone will want to sit in and that adds personality to a room.


Finally, don’t forget the importance of a good pillow. Pillows provide the homely feel to a room and you can even match them to your artwork for a polished and sleek look. We would recommend keeping away from the unusual patterns and textures and opting for classic styles with soft edges and clean colours.

29 May 2018

Pests in Your Home: More Than Just a Nuisance

Pests are almost unavoidable, populating every part of the globe. The problem is that for every specimen you see there are many more that you don't. Once they enter your domain, they tend to reproduce and invite others and before you know it you have a pest infestation. Not only are they a bother, but they can get into and contaminate your food supply, bite, cause allergies and disease and damage the structure of your home. The good news is that you have the ability to reduce the risks of pests entering your home through common sense measures and professional services.

When to Use Pest Control

A fly here and there or a stray ant making its way to your sink may not warrant the need for professional help. However, if you live in a bug-friendly region like Northern Virginia and turn on the lights to find many bugs scurrying to seek cover, calling the pros is certainly something to consider. Luckily there are many companies that specialize in pest control in the Northern VA area and other places where a variety of bugs pose a threat to homeowners. They can do a thorough search of your home, including the outside perimeter to see if you have an undetected infestation. Then they will then provide a monthly treatment designed to address your particular needs based on their findings.

Disrupting Your Life

Pests are more than just a nuisance. They come into your home seeking shelter and food. The problem is that if you don't properly seal dry goods or prolong your cleanups they will take root. Things like replacing the paper flour and sugar bags with plastic resealable containers are a step in the right direction. Wiping down counters and appliances, vacuuming and cleaning floors often also helps. If you have children make sure to limit their snacks to certain areas so as not to spread the insects to other areas of your home. Leaky pipes that produce moisture can also cause insects to stay around. Bugs like the cockroach hang out near moisture-prone areas. By eliminating access to water you can help to rid your home of these critters.

Hazardous to You and Your Family

During the spring and fall months, many people open their windows and doors as a way of bringing in the fresh air. Unfortunately, if your screens are not sealed properly or have holes in them, that's not all that will enter. Insects such as flies, mosquitoes, and bees will also find their way inside. Flies regurgitate every time they land on you, your furniture, countertops, or your food. Since they collect food from dirty sources like trash cans, they can spread diseases like typhoid causing family members to become sick. Many mosquitoes carry the West Nile Virus which is especially dangerous to seniors and young children and bees that have a hive near your home can become territorial and protective making them aggressive and willing to sting. Before opening your windows make sure that the screens fit tightly and that there are no visible holes.

Compromising Your Home's Structure

If you live near a construction site or an abandoned home, you may end up with insects like the carpenter ant or termites. Since they work their way from the inside out, early detection is critical to preserving your home's foundation and structure. Once you see one it's almost always too late. If you reside near suspect areas or if you think you may have a problem, have a professional take a look to confirm or allow you to breathe a sigh of relief.

Preventative Measures

Regardless of the climate, you live in, pests will find a way indoors. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce the possibility of them entering. Trim hedges, cut back tree limbs and remove weeds from around the perimeter of your home. Make sure your outdoor spigot is completely off and dispose of any stale source of water accumulated from recent rains. If you have a wood pile near your home, move it back at least 5 to 10 feet from your foundation.

Humans and pests coexist, so there is never a way to completely eliminate them from your home. However, there are many ways to prevent an infestation and keep them under control.

21 May 2018

Ways to Update Your Home

It might seem like a superfluous task to fix up your home. You already live there and, as long as things work, you may feel fine with the way things are. However, taking the time to remodel and repair has beneficial effects on your cost of living, quality of life, and your overall health. The how and why might seem baffling at first, but there are a number of ways to update your home, at an affordable cost. Here are just a few tips to help you get started.

The Why

Updating your home can affect your health. A remodel is a change in your life, and change is good for you! It allows you to practice flexibility and adapt to different circumstances. Change also pushes you out of your comfort zone. When you learn to be okay with the changing circumstances around you, you get out of your rut. This can also help you manage anxiety and stress in a more healthy way, with positive coping skills and acceptance, instead of a fight. Changing your home can be a deep emotional experience. A home is full of memories and it can seem disloyal to change anything about the way it has always been. However, if you welcome the change, you may find it becomes even better than what it was when you began. You can do it.

Kitchen Remodel

A kitchen remodel is one of the most popular home updates, and with good reason. Modernizing your kitchen can improve everything from basic cooking to family gatherings during the holidays. Some ways to do this include switching to stone or glass countertops, and sanding and painting your wooden cabinets to give them a new flair. If your kitchen needs more than a few slight changes, you should consider a full and complete kitchen remodel. This gives you the opportunity to work up close with design professionals to reinvent your kitchen. The creative choices are up to you; however, you will have the chance to run them by a designer, to be sure you have what you want. Remodeling this way also takes some of the DIY pressure off of you. From the financial aspect, a full kitchen remodel can cost upwards of $15,000. If the price is too steep, a remodeling company might help you get the financial assistance to make the changes you want to make. Don’t be afraid to ask about their financial aid options.

Appliance Repair

Now is the time to fix that old dishwasher you keep saying you will address someday. Even the most state-of-the-art appliances can receive a great deal of wear and tear over the years. You want to be sure your appliances work as they should, so they last even longer. This is why you should contact a company who makes this their specialty, like appliance repair Bend. They can fix your appliances, from microwaves, ovens, and refrigerators, to more specialty appliances, like your patio heater or pizza oven. If you aren’t sure whether to repair or replace an appliance, experts suggest that if the repair costs more than fifty percent of the cost of replacing, you should purchase a new one. The best way to avoid full replacement is proper upkeep. Regular maintenance ensures the lifespan of your appliances.

Security and Locks

If your home security is not up-to-date, you need to make it so. Statistics show that 66% of burglaries are residential, and that homes without a security system are 300% more likely to be targeted. Don’t let you and your family become prey because of an overlooked necessity. Luckily, there are many self-service security technologies you can install and monitor yourself. These allow you to track video footage for specific times and dates. You can also use a company to help you set up your new security system, if you don’t feel comfortable attempting it alone. If the idea of this is baffling, you can start small. Changing your locks can be as easy as contacting residential locksmith services to help you renew your home security. By taking this step, you lessen your chances of being a victim of a forced-entry, making your home and family safe and sound under any circumstance. There are so many options to protect you, so get cracking.

New Roof

If you don’t already have a metal roof, it’s a good idea to consider getting one. In comparison to asphalt shingles, metal roofs are stronger and tend to last longer. Metal roofs have also been shown to minimize heating and cooling costs, lower insurance rates, and can have environmental benefits. The panels of a metal roof fit together to provide superior coverage. Unlike asphalt shingles, the metal panels lock together and are less likely to fall off and break due to weathering. This results in fewer leaks and fewer repairs. You very well may end up needing to replace shingle roofing as soon as seven years after its installation. While you might pay more for a metal roof up front, the cost exponentially beats that of repairing asphalt tiles. Find a local contractor to help you decide if residential metal roofing is right for you.

The changes you make to your home will improve your life. Installing newer, energy efficient technology can lower your environmental impact and cost of living. Not only will your appliances and amenities be newer, but your life will feel easier knowing that things work the way they should. No more damp clothes coming out of the dryer or putting out buckets under your leaky roof when it rains. By embracing the change that comes with fixing up your home, you will learn how to be adaptable in any situation. Remodeling will help you jump out of your rut into a brave new world--and a beautiful, fresh-feeling house.

Ways to Waterproof Your Kitchen

In a home, the kitchen is often the center of all activity.

Almost all residents and guests pass through the kitchen and use it for its many purposes – crafting meals, enjoying a snack or a drink together, passing quick conversations over breakfast before work or school, washing hands, and much, much more.

The kitchen also receives a lot of water activity, and sometimes it is unwanted water. Spills, steam vapor, pipe leaks, overflowing sinks and a myriad of other problems can strike a kitchen at any time. Especially when living in a tropical climate like Florida or other wet and humid places prone to leaks and flooding, keeping your kitchen dry can feel like a very real and very important challenge.

However, there are ways to keep this beautiful and essential space safe and dry in your home.


Whether you’re building a kitchen from scratch or just want to update your existing space, check out these three great ways to waterproof your kitchen and protect it from as much potential water damage as you can.

1. Choose Your Floors Wisely

If you’re building or redoing your kitchen, an easy way to be smart about waterproofing starts with the materials you use to build and decorate this space.

An easy switch to keep your kitchen safe is using tile instead of wood or laminate floor. Tile, when bound together by grout, is sealed off from water. This will keep your floors safer from water, whether it’s a quick spill or a hefty flood. With tile flooring, you can wipe up or drain your kitchen much faster and without fear of further damage, mold or any other underlying issues!

2. Bring the Outdoors In 

While you can swap out flooring choices fairly easily in a new kitchen, choosing cabinet materials may not present as simple of a switch. It’s probably pretty practical to believe that your kitchen will include wood cabinetry, which could be damaged by leaky pipes or flooding if left unprotected. Water-damaged wood can also harbor mold, a definite health hazard.

Thankfully, there are special cabinets made to be waterproof, weatherproof and life proof. Turning your search for new cabinets to the outdoors can result in some pretty amazing finds.

With the rise in popularity of outdoor kitchens, outdoor cabinets have been created to withstand rain, snow and other soggy experiences. Using these cabinets inside can save you a lot of headaches in the future if something were to go wrong.

3. Protect What You’ve Got

If you’ve already got a kitchen you love and don’t have the desire, time or budget to replace any of its existing features, have no fear. Thankfully, tools have been created to help protect your kitchen as well. There are ways to waterproof your kitchen, mainly your cabinets, that can make a big improvement with just a little time and elbow grease.

First, protect the insides of your cabinets with vinyl tiles. These tiles usually run incredibly cheap, and many come with peel and stick adhesive already fixed on the back. Use these tiles to cover the plywood bottoms of your cabinets. This will help protect the wood from inevitable, daily drips, small leaks and spills.

Also, be sure to laminate your cabinets. Laminate can be found at any home improvement store and will add an essential extra barrier between the wood of your cabinets and water, preventing damage. You can laminate your cabinets yourself with a little sandpaper, wood glue and some nails, or you can call a professional to do it for you. Either way, this is a step that should not be skipped.

What If Water Has Already Struck?

Your kitchen is a beautiful space that deserves the protection it needs to continue to thrive. Accidents happen easily and quickly, so don’t delay on taking these steps to preserve your space.

But if you’re already dealing with a water damage crisis, don’t fret. It doesn’t mean the end of your kitchen. It will mean, however, that you will need to contact true experts in water damage restoration. If you do live in a humid state, like Florida, you will want to be sure to find Florida property restoration experts who specialize in the efforts and techniques required to repair water damage when the climate is so naturally wet and humid. It will take a bit more work, but you will be able to get your kitchen back.

So, go forth, and enjoy your water-proofed kitchen free of anxiety!

18 May 2018

Making the most of your space

Roughly seven in ten homeowners in Britain say they are not happy with their home and 28% of participants stated that their home is simply too small for them…

So, how can this be resolved? By making just a few changes to your home, some DIY spirit, a few decent decorating tools and a bit of good old fashioned elbow grease you can quite literally transform your home to not only appear bigger but to have much more useable space. Try a few of the tips and tricks in the infographic below and you’ll be surprised how much of a difference you can make.

15 May 2018

The Colorful World of Laminate Flooring

Flooring is not something that you would frequently consider as a key aspect of your home design. After all, when looking around your own or someone else’s home, you will rarely look at their floor first. Normally it’s their wallpaper, mirror or other decorative feature instead.

In reality however the floor is the most critical aspect of your room design. This is because the tone and color pallet of your floor, acts as a catalyst to the rest of your room design. From wall coverings to furniture, it all goes through what kind of floor you have in the room.

From tiled flooring to natural hardwood flooring, each type and style will affect the direction that your home design will take.

So what if there was a type of floor which is flexible enough to meet your exact design ambitions, while also delivering the charisma found within natural hardwood flooring.

Thankfully there is such a combination – the colorful world of laminate flooring.

This is one of the most customizable forms of home flooring, allowing you to fulfill your design ambitions by designing from the ground up.

This is thanks to a thin printed layer within each piece of laminate flooring, allowing for a wide range of colours and shades, normally difficult to obtain in natural wood flooring.

For example, take a look at our white laminate flooring, offering a distinctive wood look and feel in a sleek and cool white finish; allowing light to envelop the room like nothing else.

What’s better is that this does not need staining or any other expensive work to achieve this look. So how does laminate flooring achieve this feat?

It all lies in its design, as each piece consist of a durable and hardwearing central layer – which the printed design is layered on. After this a transparent layer is then placed over this, creating the desired effect.

This allows for multiple colors and grain effects including brown, oak effect, black and grey laminate flooring.

This offers limitless possibilities when renovating your home as with a simple snap, click installation common with most laminate designs, you can completely change the tone of any room.

For example say you are looking to maintain the soothing and sophisticated look in your bedroom yet need to replace your aging carpet. Then how about some brown laminate wood flooring. On the other side of things, say you were wanting to define your new dining room space, how about some traditional oak laminate flooring, for a traditional restraint look and feel.

What’s great is how long this new color and tone will remain within the home. Bypassing the fragility and high maintenance of tiles, hardwood and vinyl floors; the 4 layers found in laminate gives it enhanced durability.

This makes it a great option for rooms with heavy traffic levels such as the living room, thanks to its hardwearing design. This also means it is easier to clean and maintain, as spillages and dirt can simply be mopped away, without much risk to your floor.

Once this foundation is down then you can begin to design your room around the unique tones and color pallets available with laminate wood flooring, or even simply find the color that’s fits your current design.

09 May 2018

Top Advantages To Installing Solar Shades In Your Home


If you’re looking to replace your current blinds or shades over your windows, you’ll definitely want to give solar shades a close look.

Solar shades are unique over other kinds of window treatments in that they work by reflecting the rays of the sunlight rather than allowing it to come through the window, while simultaneously absorbing the heat from outside.

The best analogy would be to think of solar shades as sunglasses. Your sunglasses can both filter and shield sunlight, and solar shades are the same way.

Now that you know what solar shades are and why they work, you might be wondering why exactly they would be a wise investment for your home.

Here are the top advantages to installing solar shades in your home:

They Are Available In Numerous Designs

Most blinds and shades are available in a wide variety of styles, designs, colors, shapes, and textures, and solar shades are no exception. It’s not like you’re limited to just one or two designs. You can certainly find a set of shades that will complement the colors and furniture in your room to give that room a more appealing and attractive look and feel to it.

They Block UV Rays

One of the best benefits to solar shades is the fact that they are effective at blocking ultraviolet (UV) rays. This is important for your family’s health, because UV rays can potentially cause diseases such as skin cancer.

They Protect Your Furniture

There are many natural enemies of furniture, including spilled beverages, pet hair, and of course, sunlight. In fact, sunlight can really degrade your furniture and cause it to lose value. Solar shades are very efficient at filtering out sunlight and especially UV light, which means you’ll protect the investment you made into your furniture.

They More Efficiently Regulate Heat

Solar shades do far more than just keep sunlight out of your home. They are also very efficient at minimizing the amount of heat that transfer into your home from the outdoors. When that heat is blocked, it means that your home can feel like a cool haven from the hot and humid air that’s outside.

They Reduce The Need For Air Conditioning

Since solar shades work wonders for reducing the temperature inside of your house during a warm summer day, the need for your air conditioning is naturally reduced. This will enable you to save more on money.

Furthermore, during the winter, solar shades will likewise to help conserve the heat inside of your home, which will make your home more energy efficient and also help you to cut your expenditures on your monthly bills.

Installing Solar Shades

Our solar shades the only great window treatment option? No, but they definitely are among the most technologically advanced window treatment options available, and are an excellent way to improve your home without spending a ton of money.

Top Tips for Renting Out Your Spare Room


If you’re looking for some extra cash, you might have considered renting out your spare room. This is a great idea that works well, but it is important that you consider everything before letting someone move in. We’ve put together a list of some things that you should consider when deciding to rent your room out.

Get References

If you are going to let someone move into your home while you are living with it, you want to make sure that both you and your property are safe. By asking prospective tenants for references from previous landlords, you can figure out who is the best tenant for you. Perform a few of your own background checks, have a look at their public online presence if you possible to understand what sort of person they are!

Providing Facilities

There are some rules when it comes to renting a room. You need to consider that you will have to include a bathroom and access to your kitchen. Although you may not want to share your space with them, it is not as simple as letting them sleep on your spare bed.

If you’d like to make some extra cash but don’t have the space, you could always use the space in your garden to build somewhere. You can buy all the custom-made parts from Armstrong Steel and have them ship it to you. This way you can build a steel building for your new tenant and give them more space!

Advertising the Room

If you’re going to rent a room, make sure that you advertise it in a safe place. You don’t want your message to reach the wrong people and you also don’t want to be only getting responses from time wasters! Using a trusted website such as Easy Roommate to advertise your room will make sure that everything is using the right channel. You don’t even need to pay to list it here so take a look at our advice on listing rooms.

Set Rules

People who rent out their spare rooms often have issues with their tenants doing things that they don’t want them to. This is why it is important to set out some ground rules before the tenant moves in. If you don’t want them playing music at 1am or having people over, make sure to tell them before they sign anything. This way you can avoid any problems and be happy with your tenant.
Inform the Right People

If you own the house you live in, you cannot simply just rent out your room. It is important that you inform both your mortgage provider and your insurer just in case something happens. By doing this you will cover your tracks and ensure that everything goes to plan.


Overall, we think that is important that you make sure to consider everything when you are thinking about renting out a room in your home. Being a live-in landlord is different to one that is not present so make sure to do your research!

02 May 2018

The Do's and Don'ts of Good Landscaping Design

Creating a lovely yard requires more than a shovel and a few potted plants. It takes a lot of design, planning, and elbow grease - all in that order. Once you’re through with the design, you have to carefully plan how to implement it. However, in every stage, you must know what to do or not to do if you’re to succeed. Let’s look at some of the do’s and don’ts of proper landscaping.

Royalty Free Photo

Do Keep Some Grass

Are you tired of digging deep into your finances to maintain the lawn? Then replacing the grass with a deck or brick paving seems like a good idea. But as far as aesthetic appeal and feet-friendliness are concerned, having a fully-paved yard might not be such a bright idea. So how do you strike a compromise between cost and yard appeal? Simply mix the natural and artificial. By all means, install the paving, but also retain some grass.

Don’t Mix Landscaping Styles

About the styles to use, what’s the secret to effective landscaping? In one word, it’s “consistency.” When you pick a theme, stick to it from one end of the yard to the other. And as tempting as it might be, avoid throwing in any beautiful style that you see on your drive home. Doing so only turns your backyard into a cluttered, embarrassing mess.

Do Create a Centerpiece

Looking out over the yard, do you see any feature that draws your eye? Or, do you see only grass? Now picture the same yard with a small pond, elaborate fountain, or cozy fire pit. Even in your mind, you immediately notice the effect such a centerpiece would have. So, install one, but don’t go overboard. Remember, the idea is to create an affordable, eye-catching focal point, not an overly-fancy, expensive one.

Don’t Plant Non-Native Species

This can’t be repeated enough: Never install a plant that isn’t native to your climate or location, no matter how beautiful it is. But how much harm can it do, anyway? It can do a lot of harm, especially if you start with your pocket. For starters, plants that can’t adapt to the local climate soon wither, leaving you with another landscaping bill on your hands.

And just like weeds, they can turn invasive and spread uncontrollably from your yard and into the neighborhood. So how do you know which species are best suited to your location? You consult a professional, of course.

Do Consult a Professional

So, you have no clue about landscaping? Then know this: there’s no such thing as an accidental masterpiece in either landscaping or anywhere else for that matter. An appealing yard is always the result of detailed planning and extensive know-how, not of shifting things around hoping for the best. So instead of making a mess of things, consult landscaping teams like Architectural Landscape Design, and let them design the yard for you.

Don’t Plant Trees Close to the House

Despite being native to your area, trees have no place near your house. In fact, the farther away from the house you plant them, the better. And here’s why. During winter, snow-laden tree branches often break and fall onto your roof, costing you thousands of dollars in repair bills.

So how far from the house should you plant a tree? For short trees, make that no less than 20 feet. But for tall trees, the minimum distance increases to 50 feet.

As you landscape, remember to compromise between beauty and cost. Install stand out elements that catch the eye but without clashing with each other, damaging the environment, or destroying the house.

30 April 2018

Clever Space-Saving Tips for Your Apartment


With the size of the average US apartment measuring around 889 square feet, apartments are steadily shrinking as developers squeeze in as many units as possible. But however small you think your living space may be, it's likely to be much bigger than one particular apartment in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen which measures just 78 square feet. Regardless of how small your apartment, there are many tricks to maximizing every bit of space you have.

Maximize the space under your bed

Your bed is hiding lots of potential storage space underneath. If you are buying a new bed, look for one with plenty of built-in storage underneath. If you already own a bed but it's low, get some bed risers to raise it up. Then you can store away items in rollaway boxes in the new space you've created. You could even invest in an elevated bed that you fold into the wall, leaving you with a great space to use during the day.

Consider scale and proportion

When choosing new furniture, make sure you pay close attention to scale and proportion. For armchairs and couches, you need to look for designs that are compact and tight rather than a traditional three-piece sofa that will simply overpower the space. And of course, the golden rule is to try to find a piece of furniture that has built-in storage or has a multipurpose function.

Make the most of high ceilings

If you are fortunate to have an apartment with a beautiful high ceiling, then make the most of it by creating a mezzanine level with a space that you can fill with floor-to-ceiling storage. This is a fantastic way of giving your apartment a luxury feel, while also giving you an extra level between floors. And of course, some much needed extra storage.

Use visual design tricks

The ultimate trick for maximizing a small space is to distract the eye. By providing a point of visual interest, the focus will not be on how small a room actually is, but on an eye-catching design instead. Creating a busy feature wall with some bold artwork and different sized picture frames will distort the perception of space. Using mirrors is another great cheat to making a room feel much bigger and brighter.

With a little investment, time and some creative thinking it is possible to make the most out of every last bit of space in your apartment without compromising on style or comfort.
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