30 September 2021

Amba Products' heated towel racks come in two new finishes

Photo by Mike Kotsch on Unsplash

My bathroom has two things in it that get me through a Pennsylvania winter. The first is the heated floors and the second is my Radiant heated Towel rack from Amba Products. I cannot imagine facing a walk in shower on a 20-degree morning in February without either of them.

I fell in love with both of those features while staying in hotels in Germany. Winter mornings in Köln are a lot like winter mornings here and when we re-did the master bath a few years ago a heated towel rack was high on my list of mandatories. I'm the proud owner of a Radiant Curved in chrome and I picked chrome because that's what all of my metal finishes are. If it were up to me, all metal fixtures everywhere would be chrome but that's just me. I know there are people out there who want something other than chrome finishes.

Well, those people are in luck because Amba Products' heated towel racks come in two new finishes. Their Solo, a free-standing model, is now available in matte black. 

The Radiant Hardwired Straight and the Radiant Small are now available in polished gold.

Here are some closer shots of those two finishes:

Amba Products is the country’s premier distributor of heated towel rack systems and these two new finishes expand the company's offerings to nine stocked finishes.

Peter Manidis, marketing manager for Amba, stated, “For many years, polished and brushed finishes dominated interior design. However, over the last few years, there has been a shift within the industry, paving the way for less conventional finishes like matte black and polished gold.”

Previously, polished and brushed stainless steel were the only finish options offered within the Solo collection. After the success of the matte black color in other collections Amba decided to introduce the finish to the Solo collection, one of its bestselling product lines.

The polished gold finish is only available in select models within the Radiant Collection. It is an entirely new finish offering for Amba Products, and the company will use its launch to determine whether to expand the option to other collections.

Amba Products, headquartered in Atlanta, distributes more than 150 affordable heated towel rack models in both mounted and free-standing profiles. Each corrosion-resistant high-grade 304 steel rack is 100-percent recyclable and packaged with fully recyclable materials. Heated towel racks are stylish and functional additions to any bathroom, laundry room, or mudroom. They are energy-efficient and keep towels fresh while decreasing trips to the laundry and reducing airborne mold.

Amba Products was established in 2004 with a clear goal in mind – to make the heated towel rack a must-have item for every bathroom in North America. Amba now proudly boasts the largest variety of products and serves more than 1,200 retailers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Visit their website to learn more.

29 September 2021

Dealing with a leaky faucet

Photo by Jos Speetjens on Unsplash

When you turn your faucet off and it doesn't actually shut off completely, panic usually sets it. After you’re done getting angry, you usually need to call a plumber  or head to the hardware store to try to fix the problem. But, what should you purchase? A lot of DIY solutions just aren't right, and they can actually leave you worse off than when you started. Plumbing is a profession for a reason and it's important to know when to defer to the professionals. 

If you don't understand how plumbing works, the time to learn us not during a plumbing emergency. So after you've called for help with your Pittsburgh plumbing, here's a quick primer on faucets to study while you wait. 

Determine where the leak is coming from

If you don’t know where the leak is coming from, you can’t fix it - period. So, try to determine if it’s leaking just from the faucet itself or if the water is also coming out of the handle. If it’s leaking from the faucet, you may need to replace a seal, or you might need to replace the whole faucet, depending on what’s damaged and how badly.

If the leak is coming from the handle, it may be a simple O-ring. When the plumber arrives, point out the source of the leak and ask his or her opinion.

Shut the water off

Shut the water off before the plumber arrives to minimize water loss. When the plumber arrives he or she will turn it back on to see the leak in action.

The shut-off valve for most kitchen sinks is usually underneath the sink. It’s a small handle that you can turn to shut the water off. Sometimes, it’s a lever.

See if you can remove your faucet handle

If you have a single-handled faucet, pry the small plastic cap off the top of the handle. If you have a dual-handle faucet, you’ll need to take the decorative cap off both the hot and cold water handles. If you have a handle-style faucet, instead of a twist knob, you can usually unscrew the end of the handle and then unscrew the fixture. If you're unsure don't try this, wait for the plumber.

The business part of a faucet is the cartridge, and it lies underneath the decorative cap or handle. If the cartridge is worn out or cracked, it’s entirely possible that water could be seeping through here to the spout.

Fortunately, this piece usually pops out so that you can replace it. If it doesn't you may need to replace the entire faucet unit.

That cartridge usually has rubber O-rings that it uses to fully shut off the water supply. These O-rings can wear out or crack over time and it's the O-rings that are the usual culprits in a leaky faucet.

There are many professionals to turn for help with your Pittsburgh plumbing, but unless you know what you're doing, you are not one of them. Call a plumber!

28 September 2021

Lighting control systems and you

Photo by Reinaldo Kevin on Unsplash

Without quite realizing it, my bedroom's part of a quiet revolution in commercial lighting control systems. In the old days, when someone wanted to turn on the lights, all he or she had to do was turn on a light switch. But that's not quite how it's done any more.

Here's what I mean and here's how this relates to me. When I get up in the middle of the night I don't fumble around in the dark like I used to. They were dark ages, literally. 

Instead, I say "Alexa, turn on the light." And almost by magic, the light on my night stand turns on and I can make my way to the bathroom without stubbing a toe. I've been using a smart bulb linked to my Echo Dot for about a year now and it still seems like some kind of a high tech miracle. That I can also tell my light bulb to dim or turn off in an hour, or even turn on every evening at 7:13 makes me feel like I'm a character on The Jetsons.

But that's just me and a single bulb in a reading lamp. It's fun and it definitely makes my life a bit better. But what if, instead of a single reading lamp, someone could control all of the lighting in a busy restaurant or an international airport? What if, instead of just turning off and on or dimming, a lighting control system could help a building meet energy efficiency standards?

Well, those kinds of lighting control systems are here already. Such systems make my single smart bulb seem like an intellectual lightweight.

Lighting control systems play an essential role in today's modern commercial buildings. A well-designed lighting control system should achieve two primary objectives. 

First, it will provide a user with the ability to control the lights in their space best to meet their needs. A great example of this would be a restaurant, where the staff wants to control the dimming levels depending by the time of day. 

The second objective of a lighting control system is to meet energy code requirements. Everyone wants to save energy, but Federal, State, and City codes mandate specific energy codes that must be followed. Energy codes are designed to reduce costs and energy consumption by automating light fixtures. These codes account for things like the amount of natural light coming into the space or if the room is occupied or not. Some more progressive energy codes require lighting control systems to dim the lighting if there is a high energy demand and the energy grid is stressed. 

Lighting control systems used to be large cabinets of dimmers or relays installed in a mechanical room and connected to a computer that required a programmer or integrator to make them work. Modern lighting control systems take a different approach to lighting control by providing a control system that installs faster, works out of the box and can be activated in minutes by anyone with a smartphone. These systems come in both wireless and wired setups, which allow it to be installed in new construction or be retrofitted into an existing building.

Think of it as a smart bulb but for a whole building. Ten years ago, I was in Germany for a meeting. During a break I walked into the men's room and the lights came on as soon as I walked into the room. I'd never seen anything like it and I was amazed by those motion detected lights. 

Lighting control systems have come a long, long way since then and I invite you to learn more about them before your next project.

25 September 2021

Some Advantages of Buying New Homes

Everyone wants to have a residential property they can call their own. We are not just talking about a rented property that you call home. Here, we mean a property that you can call yours simply because you own it.

When it is time to take action towards owning a property, we all are usually faced with two options. It is either we build something from the scratch or buy a property.

The truth is that both options have their advantages as well as disadvantages. Understanding the highs and lows that come with either option will help you make the right decision. And for the record, allowing the decision of others to influence yours is not the right way to go about this.

This is because you have your peculiarities that should determine the best option for you. Speaking of the advantages and disadvantages of either building or buying a property, you can get more information here: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/062614/should-you-buy-or-build-home.asp

This article intends to help you make the right choice. We will do this by paying attention to what you stand to gain if you buy a home for sale on the market.

We will also discuss a few other things in passing. The need to make the right decision in this regard is why we strongly advise you to keep reading.

The Benefits that Comes with Buying a New Home for Sale

Some of the benefits of buying a new home for sale include the following:

Avoiding the Stress of Building

Those homeowners that decided to build and are willing to speak the truth will attest to the fact that building can be very stressful. This is even if you have contractors, consultants, or even building development and design professionals to help out.

This is because you will be called upon to make key decisions at the very least. Also, you would need to visit the project at various points in time to see the state of things.

Furthermore, there are so many professionals involved in the building process. Surveyors, carpenters, home inspectors, architects, plumbers, and many more are involved. The truth is that dealing with every one of them can be very burdensome.

Well, you should know that buying a residential property is less stressful. You simply check options and strike a deal as long as you like the property and have the means to pay. This is a reason you might want to consider this option.

Many Options to Choose from

One of the said disadvantages of buying a home is not getting your dream property. The argument is that building means that you are involved every step of the way and you will make sure you get what you desire.

Well, this fact is not entirely true about buying new homes for sale. Firstly, this is because there are many options in the market. You likely would come across one, two, or some of the new homes for sale that ticks all or most of the boxes. So, we beg to disagree with the dream-home theory.

Secondly, you could add a few touches to the newly purchased property to meet your demands. You might want to consider buying rather than building for this reason.

A Modern Touch

If you must buy a residential property, we strongly advise that you get one that is newly constructed. This is for several reasons. The touch of modernity in the designs and other aspects of the property is one of the reasons we advise this.

This is not something you can be sure of if you buy an old or vintage property. Trying to upgrade an old or vintage property will also come at an expensive cost. This is why we recommend getting something that is newly constructed.

Other than this, an old constructed property might have seen its best years before you decided to buy it. So, it is just safer for you to buy something new.

Choice Areas

The truth is that there are many benefits of building a home. However, one of the usual downsides is not being able to build in a choice area. This might be because you cannot get land in your area of choice.

Well, the chances of finding a home in your area of choice are a lot more likely. You may just have to do some serious renovations to make the property fit into what you want.

Time Concerns with Building Are Avoided

The subject of time is another usual disadvantage of building. Building a property takes time no matter how fast the construction team is.

Well, this is not a problem if you choose to buy a home and have the means to do so. This is because you can move in after the deal is struck with the seller.

Financial Incentives

We are not saying that buying a property costs less than building. This is because there are many instances when building turns out to be the more cost-effective option.

Be that as it may, we have realized that there are more financial incentives attached to buying than building. For instance, applying for a mortgage loan seems easier this way.

This is because you have a detailed amount that is required to purchase the home for sale. Well, it is not that easy with building even though you can apply for a mortgage loan.

This is because the first mortgage loan might not be able to cater for the project as initially thought. This happens a lot and is why a second mortgage may be required.

The bad news is that getting a second mortgage is not a stroll in the park. Also, the terms may not be so favorable. For more on the processes involved, you can read this.

On a Final Note

There are several benefits attached to buying a home for sale. This is especially true if what you are getting is a new home. We also advise that you deal with experienced and capable service providers in the sale of these properties when you decide to buy.