Outstanding Quality Electronic Leak Detection

What is Electronic Leak Detection?

Maybe you’ve heard the term and are wondering, what is electronic leak detection? And how can it help me? Today’s homes are primarily built on concrete slabs, which makes early leak detection difficult. If your water usage fluctuates without incident or you notice an increase in usage, there may be a small to substantial leak under your slab, without you having any way to know about it. All water leaks create some amount of noise, even if imperceptible to our ears. Different types of leaks have different sound frequencies determined by the degree of pressure in the pipes. An electronic leak detector can pick up these frequencies, and a professional who is trained to understand the acoustics of plumbing can decipher these sounds. An electronic leak detector can find leaks in toilets, drains, water systems, steam pipes, and pipes that transport other liquids, such as oil.

The electronic leak detector has a transducer which is sensitive to the types of sound that come from pipe systems. When a sound is registered on the machines it is transmitted to the security system at a higher frequency. A plumbing technician will assess all information regarding where a potential leak may be happening and use an electronic leak detector, line tracing equipment, camera inspection, and static pressure testing to locate the specific source of the leak. Even a very small leak can cause cracks in the slab and flooding damage. By utilizing the current technology and understanding how they work to create a full ‘picture’ of what is happening out of sight, a leak can be detected long before the homeowner would become aware, avoiding severe and costly water damage to their home.

 

HVAC AC Refrigerant Leak Detectors

Refrigerants leak from HVAC systems due to the deterioration of joints, fittings, or parts that are welded, which become faulty with time. Leaks might be low as 1 oz every few years, but also might be much greater, such as a few ounces per day. Losing refrigerant means compromised performance of an AC cooling system, as well as greater expenses.

Measuring refrigerant leaks is important from two points of view: economic loss and environmental pollution. EPA rules mandate proper practices in refrigerant leak detection and you want to ensure compliance with these regulations.

What methods do are used to find leaks in HVAC AC cooling systems?

Traditionally, an HVAC service tech would use the soap bubble test, a visible method to detect leaks of any refrigerant. However, this method is not the most accurate and is difficult to implement in hard-to-reach places.

Another method, using a fluorescent dye, is also a visible way to see leaks. It works with any refrigerant; however, a dye must be added to the system, and a special UV light be used in the inspection. Again, inspection of leaks in hard-to-reach places is difficult to perform.

Currently, the most popular method is facilitated by the use of electronic refrigerant leak detectors. This method is the most accurate; however, one must remember to monitor the sensor’s condition as well as calibrate the instrument periodically.

 

What are a types of electronic leak detectors?

Corona discharge is one of the most traditional types. In this method, air with gases passes through an electrical field around an electrode and an electric arc (discharge) breaks down refrigerants, which are detected by a sensor and “reported” with an alarm signal (sound).

Heated diode refrigerant leak detector is a second popular type in which a heater close to a diode breaks down gases, yielding a change in current flow through diode. Such a change triggers the alarm resulting in audible leak detection.In the heated electrolyte method gases are broken down as they go over electrolytic material in the sensor. Again, the resulting change of current flow triggers the audible alarm.

Sensors using corona discharge, heated diode, or heated electrolyte detectors need to be changed quite often, so proper monitoring of their use is necessary.

Infrared refrigerant leak detectors are the best option, as their sensors typically last over 1000 hours – equivalent to over 5 years of use. In this method an air sample with gases passes through an optical window of a sensor and the refrigerants absorb IR radiation. An alarm gets triggered by the amount of IR radiation absorbed and carried over the sensor. This is by far the most accurate method, as it had been used in laboratory settings for many years and now is available to HVAC technicians.

Finally, there is an ultrasonic refrigerant leak detector, one that uses sound amplification to detect leaks. Gases passing through orifices or breaks in pipes produce a high pitch sound not detectable by a human ear but easily recorded by ultrasonic leak detector. The method is great, but the main shortcoming is that very small leaks don’t produce enough sound and they might not be detectable.

 

High Voltage Electronic Leak Detection (HVELD)

High Voltage Electronic Leak Detection (HVELD) can be performed on vertical or horizontal surfaces under dry conditions. The principle of the HVELD process involves a generator that delivers an adjustable stabilized direct current (DC) output voltage for the detection of breaches to the electrically insulated roof or waterproofing membrane.

The generator emits a calibrated voltage discharge which conducts through membrane penetrations to a grounded earth lead, such as a metal drain body or steel reinforcing embedded in the concrete slab. Should the current make contact with the ground, this will complete the circuit emitted by the generator. An audible beep from the test equipment alerts the technician of the breach. Small sparks can sometimes be seen or heard when a breach location is contacted by the probe.

The initial test voltage is based on the thickness of the waterproofing membrane and is verified (calibrated) by creating a sample breach in a typical section of membrane being tested to ensure detection levels are appropriate. In the case of liquid applied membranes, properly calibrated HVELD equipment can also detect locations where the membrane does not meet the minimum thickness requirements, even if no breach is present.

 

HVELD Limitations

Multiple false positives are possible with this type of testing if the equipment is not properly calibrated for project specific materials. Due to the high voltage, testing should not be performed in inclement weather or in wet or moist conditions for the safety of the testing operator. HVELD is also not successful if the membrane is conductive, such as black ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM).

HVELD can only be performed over conductive substrates, such as metal decking and concrete. If a conductive substrate is not present, it is possible to create a conductive substrate by installing a metal mesh or screen prior to the installation of the waterproofing membrane. However, the waterproofing membrane manufacturer must be consulted to confirm that the presence of an embedded screen or mesh material will not adversely affect the membrane material or void the warranty.

Low Voltage Electronic Leak Detection (LVELD)

Low Voltage Electronic Leak Detection (LVELD) is performed on horizontal surfaces using water as a conductive medium on the surface of the waterproofing membrane. Multiple types of LVELD testing equipment and setups are available. The principle of the LVELD process involves a perimeter conductor loop placed on the surface of the membrane. The conductor loop is then connected to an electrical pulse generator. The generator is also connected to the grounded portion (e.g., reinforcing steel or a metal drain body) of the substrate below the membrane.

Best Hardwood Flooring Tips To Save You Money

Pros & Cons of Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen

There is a lot that happens in a kitchen that can cause damage to wood. So, one might assume that hardwood flooring wouldn’t be the best choice for a kitchen. Surprisingly though, hardwood floors, when sealed and cared for properly, work well in kitchens and can be a great option.

Yes, they are prone to water damage and plank hardwood flooring requires sanding and refinishing every decade or so, but they’ll last the duration of a home’s lifetime if they are properly maintained. That being said, they do need to be taken care of, which is why hardwood flooring isn’t for everyone.

Deciding if Wood Floors are Right for Your Kitchen

Hardwood floors are beautiful and work with any design style. If you’re in the process of remodeling a kitchen with existing hardwood floors, we recommend keeping them unless you’re dead-set on replacing them with tile or an equally durable selection. If you’re not remodeling, but simply considering new floors for your kitchen, weighing these pros and cons will help you decide if hardwood is the way to go with your kitchen’s flooring.

Beauty

Natural wood is gorgeous, and the variety of color and wood grain patterns mean there’s a hardwood type for everyone. If you have a particular color in mind, be mindful that some woods take stain better than others. If you’re interested in sanding the floors and refinishing them to a color that better coordinate with your kitchen, you’ll want to pay close attention to samples, and test different stains to ensure it looks the way you want it to when the project is complete.

Durability

Water is a hardwood plank’s worst enemy. Water damage will cause a plank to warp and/or split. For this reason, many homeowners question whether wood is durable enough to be a good flooring choice. In truth, tile or concrete are the most water-resistant flooring options, but wood is a close second/third. A spill or puddle that is mopped up quickly will never cause a problem. It’s standing water, or an unresolved leak, that will cause a level of damage that would require a replacement.

 

What to Do with Furniture When Getting New Floors

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and treat yourself (and your home) to a brand new floor. Maybe you’ve gone for the hardwood you’ve always dreamed of in the dining room, or maybe you’re refreshing up the carpet in your much-loved family room. Perhaps you’re giving your home a total flooring makeover. It’s an exciting time, but how are you supposed to put a new floor in without moving your whole family out?

What to Do with Furniture When Getting New Flooring

Furniture and belongings must be out of the way in order for your new flooring to be installed. Exactly what you choose to do with your furniture will depend on several factors.

You can start to formulate a plan by asking yourself a few questions:

How big is your new flooring project?

Do you plan to get new flooring in just one room or the whole house? If you just need to temporarily shift a small kitchenette table and two chairs to a balcony, that’s one thing. However, if you need to think about all the furniture in every room in your home, that’s another.

How long will installation take?

You’ll also need to consider the time frame for the installation. If you’re on a tight schedule and need your furniture out fast that might change your game plan.

How big is your home?

If you have several spare rooms and a two car garage, you have more options to shift your furniture than if you live in a studio apartment in midtown.

What’s your budget?

When it comes to moving (and storing) furniture, it’s generally a choice between money and muscle. Can you carry a couch by yourself or with a buddy? Can you afford to pay someone else to do it? Or do you have funds to temporarily move it to a storage unit?

Do your hardwood floor or carpet installers move furniture?

Some companies may include furniture moving in their quote, although it’s not a standard. If you do have this option, it can save you time (and maybe a sore back!). However, it may increase the total cost of your installation.

Once you have the answers to those questions, you will probably have enough information to choose between these three main strategies for dealing with your furniture while your new flooring is installed:

Musical Chairs

Simply, move your furniture to another room while your new flooring is being installed. If you’re having multiple rooms refloored, it may mean a lot of moving and carrying from room to room. It’s hard work, but it doesn’t cost a dime — and your beloved armchair never has to leave the house.

Garage or Shed Storage

This option only works if you have outdoor storage space. A shed or garage can be a makeshift home for your furniture while you’re putting in a new floor. However, you must be confident that the facilities are waterproof and secure to avoid damage to your furnishings. Otherwise, this is an extremely convenient option.

Short-Term Storage

Renting a storage unit for a full month may be overkill for a small flooring project, but it can make life a lot easier. This rings especially true if you live in tight quarters or if you’re flooring more than one space in your house. Rented storage is convenient, safe, and secure. No constant shuffling of chairs and tables or tripping over furniture awkwardly crammed into the wrong room. If you really want to give yourself a break, you can also hire someone to move it there.

 

Things You Don’t Want on Your Hardwood Floors

With distinctive grains and unique tonal qualities, hardwood floors are a beautiful, time-tested addition to any home or office. Unlike carpeting or vinyl that often needs replacing after 10 or 12 years, hardwood is a “forever floor” that can last for decades—if you take good care and the precautions listed below in our wood floor tips

To preserve the ageless style of hardwood floors, start by following manufacturer’s advice for cleaning and maintaining proper humidity in your home, and stop these seven things that can detract from the look and long life of natural wood flooring:

Unprotected “feet” on furniture can be damaging to hardwood. Cover all plastic, metal, and wood bottoms with felt protectors.

Long pet nails can scratch the wood’s protective surface. This allows dirt and debris to burrow into the grain, build up, and damage the wood over time.

High heels easily scratch and dent wood’s surface and leave it exposed to more extensive harm. In fact, a 125-pound woman with spiked heels or a shoe nail protruding from a high heel yields as much as 8,000 pounds per square inch of pressure—that’s more than enough to leave a trail of noticeable indents on the surface of any hardwood floor.

Cleaners and polishers can work wonders on vinyl or ceramic tile—not hardwood floors. Ironically, 2-in-1 cleaners containing acrylics or urethane polish actually dull wood and strip its finish after only a few applications. Self-polishing acrylic waxes can also make hardwood floors dangerously slippery.

Water, over time, will slowly deteriorate your wood’s finish and leave it unprotected. Even water from a traditional mop or steamer will eventually damage the wood and lead to warping. Instead, remove spills immediately with a damp cloth and stick to dry dusters.

Rubber-backed area rugs have two ill effects on hardwood—they prevent air ventilation, sealing any moisture or spills in the wood, and often contain glues or adhesives that can compromise and corrupt your hardwood surface.

Direct sunlight can either fade or darken your floors, causing discolorations in areas near windows. Exotic species and cherry woods tend to darken as the sun’s UV rays “burn” the wood, while other woods can lighten after extended exposure to sunlight.

 

The Impracticality of Hardwood Flooring

My absolute hands down favorite flooring choice for a home is real wood, even more than engineered hardwood. I love the look and feel of real wood in a home, in family rooms, bedrooms, anywhere. Real wood has the warmest look and a softness underfoot that tile and vinyl can’t really compete with.

But today I’m sharing my tale of woe regarding my hardwood floors, specifically in my kitchen. My kitchen addition was eleven years ago and I at the time I chose more traditional style cabinetry. If I was doing it again now I’d go with a different cabinet style like Shaker and quartz countertops not marble but that’s not the point. The focus today is on the hardwood flooring, more specifically, it’s impracticality in kitchens.

Because I’m a lover of consistent flooring throughout downstairs community spaces, when we added this kitchen to the house eleven years ago I opted to continue the hardwood into the space for seamless flow. The truth is that over time we experienced water damage in this space on several occasions, first where that French door access has to the courtyard, next under the sink and dishwasher, and this month, under the icemaker.

I’m not alone in this experience, my parents chose hardwood for their new build fifteen years ago and when their icemaker leaked a huge section of the flooring had to be replaced at great expense. I’ve heard other stories of water damage from friends and clients too because hardwood flooring’s greatest foe is water.

Ever since I refinished my hardwood floors in a dark stain a year and a half ago I’ve been anxious about any water that spills on it, whether it’s from the dishwasher or the pet bowl or any moisture spill at all. Aaaaaand just last month, the icemaker started leaking and now look what’s happened to my beautiful floors… they’re buckling from moisture and I will need to have these boards replaced. This wood runs under under the cabinetry which means the cabinets and countertop next to the fridge have to be removed to adequately repair the floors. UGH.

 

It’s Time to Stop Putting Hardwood Floors in Every Room

I almost entirely blame real estate shows for the modern malady that I’d like to call “Decor Generic-itis.” It’s marked by a distinct anxiety of making a mistake in one’s home decor scheme that leads to an almost paralyzing fear when it comes to any decor decision. As a result, you default to the trinity that nearly every prospective home buyer or makeover recipient lists on that show as must-haves: granite, stainless steel, and hardwood floors.

It’s not that these features are bad or tacky. They are not. But these features aren’t always what suit your life, personality, or your property’s overall design. When arbitrarily added to a home, they can take away character, creating an odd cookie-cutter look (thus the “generic” part of “Decor Generic-itis”). As a result, all interiors (regardless of the age of a home) can have an odd, similar look. It’s especially noticeable when someone gets the idea to renovate their home to add hardwood floors.

Hardwood floors are NOT a cure-all for property value.

Look, I’m not saying that they’ll make your home worth less. But it’s not going to be the detail that suddenly takes your house up in value to the next hundred-thousand bracket. You might recoup your costs, yes. Especially if you had bad ’80s carpet beforehand. But it seems like hardwood floors are an expected feature, so they’re not valued as much as they used to be.

Your home can echo like crazy.

Any and all sound practically bounces off of the pristine surface of hardwood floors, especially TV noise. This is only a good thing when you quickly run to the kitchen for a snack in the middle of a mystery miniseries without pausing.

It’s better to have a high-quality floor covering than a low-quality wood.

No one’s budget is infinite, after all. Skimping on material can lead to durability concerns (or even toxicity), not to mention that you probably won’t get the stain or finish you love. But you can often find higher-quality options in carpeting or tile for the same price.

Tips To Finding The Right Chiropractor For Rapid Recovery

Conditions Treated

Hip Pain

Have you felt pain and tightness in your hip lately? Hip pain affects so many movements in everyday life that it can be one of the most frustrating ailments to deal with on a daily basis. It can be commonly found in people who participate in running, hockey, x-country skiing, weight training, crossfit, and a number of other sports. The hip is one of the largest weight bearing joints in the body and is important for a number of everyday activities including walking, running, jumping, sitting, and standing

Often the pain begins without a direct traumatic event and is felt in and around the hip and groin – especially during movement. It is can be caused by problems with your muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and/or the bones. Sometimes the lower back can refer pain to your hip.

Treatment for the hip begins with a thorough history and examination followed with a formal diagnosis and treatment recommendation that often involves soft tissue work, joint mobilization, and rehab exercises. You doctor may determine that radiology (x-rays or an MRI) is necessary if the they feel that more information is needed about the joint and surrounding structures. Sprain/strains, Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI), CAM lesions, piriformis syndrome, hip osteoarthritis, sports injuries, and general hip mobility are some of the most commonly treated hip problems in our office.

Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most common complaints that adults will face. It is so prevalent that some researchers refer to it as an epidemic disease. Did you know that research has shown that chiropractic care is among the top options for treating low back conservatively? The low back collectively is made up of many part such as the spinal vertebrae, sacrum, pelvis, and hip joints. As the base of the spine, it bears much of the brunt of our day to day activities. Improper sitting and lifting posture, accidents, and repetitive strain can lead to injuries in the low back.

Whether it is a sprain/strain, “slipped disc”, or you feel “stuck” in a position, we will be able to evaluate and manage most cases of mechanically related back pain. Initial consultations will reveal a detailed history of the nature of your low back pain. A thorough examination will follow. Occasionally, additional information (such as an x-ray or MRI) will be necessary to arrive at a proper diagnosis. The information gathered is used to develop an effective, evidence based treatment plan to address your problem. Low back pain usually responds well to chiropractic interventions including spinal manipulation (adjustments), rehabilitative exercise, physiotherapeutic modalities (ice, muscle stim, etc.) and soft tissue work.

 

Things Chiropractors Want You To Know

Many times you might have heard the phrase “the backbone of a company/family/organization”, to indicate the importance of a particular person within the context. Just like the saying implies, the actual human backbone or the spinal chord is central to everything that your body does and experiences.

A healthy well-supported spine plays an essential role in our overall wellness. The health of your spine should be a top priority for you. In order to ensure that your spine is in optimal health at all times, you can seek the help of chiropractors. Regular chiropractic adjustments are not just a form of preventive care. They are necessary for keeping your body flexible, balanced and feeling top notch.

Although the first step towards a healthy and active lifestyle is a healthy spine, regular chiropractic treatments can help with other things as well. Ailments like migraines to bursitis of the big toe and everything in between can be treated efficiently and safely with chiropractic care.

Pain is not the first symptom of dysfunction:

Many people tend to believe that pain is the first symptom of a problem, on the contrary, pain is actually the last symptom of a problem. Many times it so happens that a patient’s back is often restricted or unstable for months or years before it starts hurting and they finally decide to visit a chiropractor. Also, people need to understand that absence of pain is not a sign of good health. While you may need to take medications for the pain, if you take a painkiller and the pain goes away, that does not mean that the main cause of the problem has gone away. Muscle, ligament and joint injuries often ensue as a result of a long-term biochemical dysfunction, at times from past injuries making the area more prone to future injury.

Athletes use chiropractic care for overall fitness and not just injuries:

The main reason why athletes choose chiropractic care is because they are movement specialists. There were many chiropractors spotted at the latest Olympic Games. Many famous athletes like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan etc. have successfully utilized chiropractic care to boost their career. These days it is very common for athletes to take chiropractic assistance. It enables athletes to prevent injuries, fasten injury recovery, improve balance and coordination, and give them greater vigor for their sport.

 

Chiropractor Talks About Improving Your Health

Every year, hundreds if not thousands of people suffer some type of low back injury. This often requires a visit to their chiropractor as a result of gardening or doing some other type of yard work. This happens a lot in the spring when people are anxious to get outside, and tend to their yards, after months of being penned indoors by the winter season.

It is relatively easy to injure your back, especially if you are moving heavy objects around the yard. While good chiropractic care is always one of the first things you should do after receiving such an injury, you also want to consider the fact that chiropractic care, that occurs on a fairly regular basis, may help to curb some of these injuries in the first place, as does following some common safety precautions when you are working in your yard.

There are a number of tips that can help you when it comes to preventing back injuries while you are working in your yard. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that in most cases, the more fit you are the less likely you are to suffer an injury of this type. Fitness is a good idea in any case, and this is especially true when you are performing any type of rigorous physical activity. Good muscle tone and flexibility will go a long way toward helping you stay healthy and free from back injuries that can be very painful.

In addition, you always want to lift properly. Always lift with your knees, and keep your feet in front of you approximately a shoulder length apart. Whatever you do, never lift with your back. This is one of the primary reasons that people receive back injuries in the first place. Another thing you can do to reduce your chances of injuring your back is to use tools that work well for you. If you are an individual with a smaller build, you need to use smaller tools, and try not to move things that are too heavy without help.

Of course, if you do feel tightness in your back or you have had an especially hard day you can typically relieve much of the tension by icing the muscles appropriately. If you prefer, you may want to alternate ice and heat in order to reduce inflammation and then relax the muscles. Ensure that you do not apply ice directly to the skin, and that you use caution when applying heat.

 

WHAT AGE SHOULD YOU BEGIN CHIROPRACTIC?

In the last few decades chiropractic care has enjoyed a tremendous boost in popularity among adults. They use it to help manage their pain, relieve chronic conditions, prevent injury, and improve range of motion, flexibility, and overall wellness. But at what age should you begin chiropractic? What is the best time to start seeing a chiropractor?

Can children get chiropractic care?

Yes, children can see a chiropractor and receive treatment. Most chiropractors will see children under 18 years of age and many will see children under 2, including infants. It is safe, non-invasive, and is medication free.

Adverse events associated with pediatric chiropractic are extremely rare and there are no reported deaths resulting from the treatment. It is largely considered to be one of the safest forms of treatment available for a wide range of conditions, including pain management.

What benefits do children get from chiropractic care?

When a child’s spine is properly aligned, they tend to be healthier. Birth itself can put the body through some degree of trauma as the infant is squeezed through the birth canal, often aided by forceps or suction.

Is chiropractic safe for children?

What many parents may not know is that chiropractors have been treating children for more than 100 years. It has an excellent reputation and studies show it is extremely safe. Studies that examine malpractice insurance coverage show that chiropractors have a very low risk and exceptional safety record.

 

Considering Chiropractic? things you need to know

doctors apply a structural correction of the head and neck which (for many people) is an unexpectedly effective form of chiropractic treatment.

So, what is this chiropractic?

care is a set of procedures that focus on re-aligning the upper neck and the head. Using a precise adjustment approach, we aim to restore balance and correct posture to the body.

wanted to help his patients find relief from their suffering. He had such incredible success that other chiropractors requested that they teach them his upper spinal or upper neck adjustment techniques.

hat’s the difference between and traditional chiropractic?

All chiropractic techniques work by gentle force. Most chiropractic techniques work by attempting to restore joint function and mobility. While typical approaches can be helpful in certain circumstances, it’s not always enough. Due to the complexity involved, this is especially true when it comes to rebalancing the position of the head and the neck.

chiropractic focuses on returning the neck and the head back to a more correct position. The atlas, also known as the first vertebrae of the neck, is used to accomplish this goal. As the correction in the head and upper neck is achieved, postural adaptations within the entire body are brought back into balance and stress is reduced.

Tax Preparation Online Saves Time And Energy

How does a tax preparer get paid?

Tax preparers are paid in a couple of different ways, depending on the client, type of taxes, and the tax preparer. Some tax preparers charge a flat fee, with additional flat charges for each additional form over the standard return. Others may charge an hourly rate based on the complexity of the taxes, the work they do, and whether the taxes are personal or corporate. Some tax preparers work as independent contractors and set their own rates, while others work for tax preparation companies or agencies and are regular employees. They can also work directly for the companies for which they are doing taxes.

 

Hiring a Paid Preparer

Most tax return preparers provide outstanding service. The IRS urges taxpayers to check their tax return preparer’s qualifications and history. Taxpayers should ask about service fees before they give their records to a preparer.

Taxpayers should not use a preparer who will e-file a return using only a pay stub instead of a Form W-2. Taxpayers should review the return and ask questions before signing. A taxpayer is responsible for the information on the tax return, no matter who prepared it.

Types of Paid Preparers

Different types of preparers have differing skills, education and expertise. Another important difference is a preparer’s ability to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.

There are two types of representation rights, also known as practice rights: unlimited and limited representation.

Preparers with unlimited representation rights can represent clients on any matters. That includes audits, payment issues, collection issues and appeals. Those with limited representation rights can only represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed. They can only represent a taxpayer when dealing with revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Credentialed Return Preparers

Tax return preparers with unlimited representation rights include these professionals:

  • Attorneys are licensed by state courts, the District of Columbia or their designees, such as the state bar. They have a law degree and passed a bar exam. Attorneys generally have continuing education and professional character standards. Attorneys may offer a range of services. Some attorneys specialize in tax preparation and planning.
  • Certified Public Accountants. CPAs are licensed by state boards of accountancy, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. CPAs must pass the Uniform CPA Examination. They completed a study in accounting at a college or university and met experience and good character requirements established by their board of accountancy. To maintain an active CPA license, CPAs must comply with ethical and continuing education requirements. CPAs may offer a range of services. Some CPAs specialize in tax preparation and planning.
  • Enrolled Agents. The IRS licenses enrolled agents. They’re subject to a suitability check and have passed a three-part Special Enrollment Exam. The comprehensive exam covers federal tax planning, representation and tax preparation for individuals and businesses. They must complete 72 hours of continuing education every three years. Learn more about the Enrolled Agent Program.

 

What does a tax preparer do?

Tax preparers are finance professionals who prepare and file individuals’ and businesses’ tax returns. They meet with clients to gather their tax information, such as marital status, number of children and other dependents, salary and other taxable income among other information required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Then they fill out, sign and file all the appropriate forms according to federal and state tax codes. Since tax returns can range from simple to extremely complex, many people and companies hire tax preparers to do their taxes correctly and make sure they get the greatest tax refund for their situation.

Tax preparer responsibilities can include:

  • Performing administrative duties, such as answering phone calls and setting up appointments
  • Gathering and organizing personal and confidential paperwork on clients’ income, expenses, allowances and more
  • Understanding adjustments, credits and deductions, as well as federal and state tax laws
  • Doing math equations and double-checking calculations and data entries to make sure they are correct
  • Working with financial and accounting software
  • Providing clients with future tax planning advice and recommendations
  • Processing billing for time spent doing clients’ tax returns

 

Salary for Tax Preparers

Many small businesses and individuals seek help in filing their tax returns. The professionals who prepare and file their taxes are tax preparers. The complexity of tax forms that they prepare ranges from simple to extremely complex, and may include reviewing the work of other tax preparers to ensure accuracy. As professionals, their goal is to ensure that a client pays the minimum tax required and receives the largest tax return possible, where applicable. Individuals in this occupation must stay current regarding tax code changes and available deductions and benefits. Familiarity with tax law, codes and financial software, as well as a high school diploma or its equivalent, are requirements for this occupation.

A Tax Preparer will usually earn wages on a scale from 24000 to 36000 based on levels of tenure. Tax Preparers will most likely earn a compensation of Thirty Seven Thousand One Hundred dollars every year.

Tax Preparers can make the most money in Massachusetts, which has average pay levels of approximating $60440. Professionals that work in these jobs are compensated highest in Finance and Insurance, where they can get salary pay of $48940.

 

What is the Pay by Experience Level for Tax Preparers?

An entry-level Tax Preparer with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $11.19 based on 155 salaries. An early career Tax Preparer with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $12.21 based on 624 salaries. A mid-career Tax Preparer with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $14.51 based on 286 salaries. An experienced Tax Preparer with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $15.47 based on 267 salaries. In their late career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of $20.

Why You Need A Divorce Lawyer

Should you file for divorce first?

When marriages begin to fall apart, most spouses know that something is wrong. However, many spouses are hesitant to be the first one to file for divorce. Some are unsure about whether divorce is really the solution, others may wonder if they are being hasty and still others may just not know how to proceed. While people’s hesitation to file divorce is understandable, people considering divorce should be aware of the potential benefits that accompany being the first spouse to file for divorce.

Financial benefits of filing for divorce first

Being the first spouse to file divorce means that a person can begin the proceedings at a time when he or she is financially prepared to do so. A person would have had time to collect copies of all important legal documents, such as deeds, bank and investment account statements, wills, life insurance policies, social security cards, titles to property. They will need these papers as part of the property division process, and it may be more difficult to obtain copies after the divorce starts. Also, a person can assess the family finances and determine the extent of their assets and debts, so they will have an accurate idea of what will be divided in the property division.

People filing for divorce first also have the advantage of doing so after they have ensured that they have access to money and credit to meet their needs during the divorce process.

Possible legal benefits of filing first

One of the main legal advantages that a person gains by filing the divorce petition before his or her spouse does is that the filer can request a Standing Order from the court when filing the petition. Such an order prevents either spouse from making changes to beneficiaries on policies such as life insurance or retirement accounts, selling, borrowing against or transferring property, changing bank accounts and other similar financial moves. This can be important if the spouse filing divorce suspects that the other spouse will attempt to hide assets.

The person who files for divorce also chooses the jurisdiction in which they litigate the divorce. In situations where spouses have lived apart from each other for a substantial period of time, possibly great distances from each other, filing the divorce petition first can prevent having to conduct matters related to the divorce far away from where a person lives.

If the matter should go to a hearing, the person who files the petition usually presents his or her case first. This can be a drawback for a spouse if he or she does not wish to reveal his or her strategy to the other spouse. The other spouse then has the opportunity to adjust the presentation of his or her case after seeing the other side.

Talk to a lawyer

Many people become paralyzed by indecision when faced with such a monumental question as whether to file for divorce, or just wait until their spouses file first. This is not a decision that a person should make without gathering all the information possible. Those who feel their marriages are coming to an end should speak with a seasoned divorce attorney who can discuss their specific situations with them and help them decide the best way to move forward.

 

Surprise, I’m Divorcing You

Not everyone sees the divorce coming. Surprise can be unsettling and may give you an advantage. You have had time to plan, hire a divorce attorney, open new bank accounts, apply for new credit cards, plan where you would live, plot out custody schedules, etc. You have a head start. Plus you are mentally prepared.

When divorce papers are filed, the court orders a Joint Preliminary Injunction (JPI). A JPI prevents either spouse from selling or encumbering assets. Basically a JPI prevents either party from making any unusual financial moves without the court’s permission. You, with your planning, already made your moves.

 

Your divorce team can be lined up in advance, and without interference.

Achieving the best possible outcome from a divorce requires a team of qualified experts on your side. Filing first means you can take the time to interview and retain the right people. You know you’ll need an excellent divorce attorney, and in financially complex divorces, it’s also essential to have an experienced divorce financial planner on your team. In addition, I recommend a compassionate therapist to help you cope.

Being able to interview/consult attorneys first can also protect you from the possibility that your husband could “conflict out” the best lawyers in your area. All he’d have to do is meet with each one just long enough to establish an attorney-client relationship, after which they would be prohibited from representing you.

 

The Disadvantages of Filing First

Like many things, there are also negatives to filing for divorce first. It depends on your situation because every relationship is different. However, some disadvantages of filing first revolve around money and strategy.

  • You Alert Your Spouse to Your Demands –When you petition for a divorce, you usually have to list your desires or demands. The other party sees this at the time they are served. This allows them to know exactly what you want and come up with a counterattack.
  • Sometimes Pay More Fees – The individual who petitions for a divorce first might have to pay the filing fees. Because you go first, you may also have to pay more in attorney fees if your lawyer is busy gathering information.
  • Set Forth the Dissolution of Marriage – If you and your spouse are discussing divorce, you make it solid by filing for it. Usually in these cases, there is little chance of reconciling, since one party has already made the move.

 

Legal Advantages of Filing First

Filing first lets you choose where your divorce will be adjudicated.

Divorces are generally decided in the jurisdiction in which they are filed. If you and your husband have already separated and live in different counties or states, or if you spend equal time at homes in Connecticut and New York, for example, it is worth your while to check into the legal implications of filing in the different venues legitimately available to you. State laws can be widely different regarding such crucial considerations as child custody customs and division of marital assets, including whether or not an ATRO is part of the process. Your experience and expected outcome might vary widely in different jurisdictions. Do your research, and consult with attorneys wherever you might file.

Event Planner Think, Feel And Treat Each Event As Their Own

What is the importance of event planning?

Invest in event planning not just event marketing

Many organizations, especially nonprofits and associations, focus on having one annual event that is meant to be a fundraiser or a idea-raiser.  Events are a great way to publicize an organization, get people together, and provide value to attendees. Except when the events don’t go well. And that is a big exception.

Unfortunately,  many events have better publicity than planning, and that is guaranteed to backfire. What I mean is that event organizers spend inordinate amounts of time and money to make sure that people know and attend a conference, and spend much less time and money on the logistics of the event.

Lesson: Make sure the details are correct, and that everyone has the same information.

The people who were involved with greeting and registering were doing neither when I arrived at 8:50. Badges were still being put out. No one handed me a program. It was disorganized.

The program did not start until 10:15. From there, everything ran late. No one thought to tell people where the breakout sessions would be, and one was on a different floor (the session I was signed up for).

Lesson: Timing matters.

The “panelists” for the session I attended were sitting and chatting amongst themselves for 25 minutes, ignoring the fact that 40 people were sitting and waiting for them to start.

Lesson: Explain expectations to presenters.

And then there was the issue of lunch. It was supposed to be “grab and go.”  I am vegetarian and guess what, there was not a single vegetarian option to be found.

Lesson: If you are going to offer food (and there is no other food available on site) then you have to consider dietary restrictions.

The bottom line is that the event organizers did not pay attention to the organization aspect of running an event. While I am sure that some people got some value from this particular event, these lapses in logistics wasted my time (and my money).

 

Why is event planning important?

It is important because it is your guideline towards effective production. Event planning involves the A to Z procedure, equipment, team, and all aspects making up the event. Let me give you an example: when you decide to travel, don’t you have a plan that suits your budget? It includes choosing the city airline, hotel, and also the program and activities.

Planning is not only applied to events, it is also applied in marketing (marketing plan), business (business plan) and so on. An event plan is like any other plan, important to keep track of the budget, required tasks and activities.

 

Why Having an Event-Planning Checklist Is Important to Keep You Organized

Planning an event doesn’t need to be an overwhelming and frustrating task. If you know how to make things easy for yourself, planning an event can actually be fun and exciting. Undoubtedly, the number one thing you can do to ensure your event is planned properly is to create an event-planning checklist. A carefully planned checklist will ensure you stay organized, focused, and on task. Here are some of the most important reasons why:

A checklist clears your mind

There are so many things to think about when planning an event. If you try to keep all of your thoughts, ideas, and tasks in your head, you will easily become overwhelmed. Creating a detailed and organized checklist will allow you to get everything out of your head and onto a piece of paper.

The first step you should take when creating your checklist is to brainstorm and write everything that comes to your mind. Once this is complete, you can group tasks together and organize them. The perfect checklist is one that has all your tasks listed in order of importance.

A checklist allows you to organize all of your contacts

Your checklist should include tasks that involve communicating with your event contacts. When your checklist is organized properly, all of your contacts will be listed somewhere on your checklist. You won’t have to search for your contact’s information or wonder if you’ve contacted everyone to finalize arrangements. Everything will be right there on your checklist and you can mark it off when you’ve completed it.

A checklist helps you keep track of finances

Including finances on your checklist is a great way to keep track of how much money you spend when planning your event. You can make a checklist that includes finance estimates or exact numbers. When you make a payment, you can check it off and it will be marked as complete. If you have a separate accounting sheet, you can easily transfer all expenses from the checklist to the sheet because everything is listed and organized.

A checklist helps your employees/volunteers

If you have employees or volunteers that are helping you plan your event, a checklist can help them tremendously. They will know exactly what tasks are most important and what tasks they need to complete. Creating a group checklist that everyone has access to is a great way to ensure everyone knows tasks have been completed. You can use a computer program to help you create a group checklist or you can do it by hand. The only thing that’s really important is that you and your helpers are on the same page and able to communicate.

A checklist will allow you to enjoy your event

After you create a great checklist and follow it, you can sit back and relax knowing your event will be an amazing one. You’ll be able to enjoy your event without having to worry if you mistakenly forgot to take care of something. Your event will run smoothly and the attendees will be able to have a great time because everything will be taken care of. The piece of mind that a checklist can bring you is priceless.

 

How to Plan an Event: The Complete Event Planning Guide

Develop Your Event Goal and Objectives

The very first step in planning your event is to establish a tangible goal and objectives.  First, start by asking yourself: Why are you organizing this event, and what do you hope to achieve? If you know your organization’s key goals before planning, you can ensure that every part of your event is optimized for success. Are you trying to raise awareness for a cause, or collect a predetermined amount of donations for your next project? Are you hoping to attract 50 guests, or 500? Setting a goal with quantifiable metrics of success will make it easier for your team to ensure that you reach them.

Organize Your Team

Any event takes a concerted team effort to handle all the details. Consider identifying one key Event Manager or Event Chair as well as individual Chairpersons for subcommittees, such as:

  • venue management;
  • speakers;
  • entertainment;
  • publicity;
  • sponsors;
  • and volunteer management.

Assigning individual roles to team members creates a system of accountability, as well as preventing tasks from falling to the wayside. Plus, it’ll allow you to delegate – but don’t forget to account for committee meetings in your event plan timing!

Establish Your Budget

Establishing your event’s budget is one of the most important parts of planning an event. I’ve seen many great ideas fall by the wayside because the team who originally came up with it forgot to take their budget into consideration before beginning to plan.

Some of the critical expenses you need to include in your budget are:

  • Venue: This cost should encompass the rental as well as any insurance you need to purchase.
  • Food and Drink: This field is pretty self-explanatory. However, remember that the amount you can afford here might also dictate the number of tickets you’re able to sell.
  • Entertainment: This field can be customized however you need it to be — whether it’s allocated for speakers, a DJ, or even a talking pig, make sure you have wiggle room for travel and accommodation costs as well as any compensation.
  • Décor: Will you be going with a DIY mason-jar theme, or one that’s a little fancier? Establishing the costs upfront will help you determine which one you can afford.
  • Staff: This category might often be forgotten, but it’s key to account for the transportation and lodging costs of your staff, especially if you’re headed out of town. Even budgeting staff time (what would they be spending time on if they weren’t working on this event?) can help you decide whether that extra meeting is worth it.
  • Marketing: Whether you decide to promote your event through Facebook or go old-school by putting flyers up all over town

 

Event Planners Are Personable

What do all events have in common? People. Successful event planners are personable, engaging, good conversationalists, and excellent listeners. Event planning is a social profession in that the result – the event itself – will include a group of people, large or small. Understanding people and enjoying talking to them is part of the job.

This does not mean that, as an event planner, you will spend most of your day at client lunches and having cocktails at social events. Event planning is hard work, and much of it is spent at a desk with a phone or computer; however, a personable demeanor is a must when tackling one of these common event-planning tasks:

  • Negotiating with hotels
  • Discussing menus with catering managers
  • Meeting with vendors
  • Pitching your event ideas to a prospective client
  • Networking anytime and anywhere
  • Supervising event staff
  • Working your event and interacting with guests and workers

In daily life, most of us remember the pleasant, helpful people with whom we interact, and that interaction can make an experience much more constructive for both parties. Knowing how to relate to different personalities, how to connect with someone, and making a positive impression are keys to success. No one wants to work with or assist someone who is difficult to talk to, hard to understand or rude and unprofessional in any way, so consider being personable an essential event-planning skill.

Deciding On The Best Residential Roofing Company For You

Signs of roof damage

Here are the items you should pay particular attention to when inspecting your roof for damage:

Material failure

Flashing is the metal that connects the chimney, vents and skylights to the roof. Also, it connects porch roofs to the second story. Inspect the flashing every 10 years to ensure it hasn’t corroded or cracked, that rubber gaskets around plumbing vents haven’t deteriorated and that the metal collars on vents used with gas appliances remain tight. Estimated cost of flashing: About $50 per roll.

Check the surface of asphalt shingles to ensure their grains are intact. If they’ve been abraded (by weather or walking on the roof) replace the shingles, then stay off the roof. This is true for cracked tiles, too. Estimated cost: About $30 per bundle, but can vary based on the roof type.

Wind and tree damage

Tree branches that rustle gently in a breeze can also crack tiles, abrade asphalt shingles and damage fascia boards if they brush or strike them. Prevent tree damage by keeping branches at least 10 feet from your home and by ensuring that trees can’t hit your home if they fall during high winds. If a tree hits your home, evacuate until an engineer or general contractor ensures your home is safe to inhabit.

After storms, check your roof for missing shingles, worn spots and cracked or broken tiles. Also, look for broken fascia boards and loose metal sheeting. Estimated cost: DIY prune for free.

Wildlife

Raccoons may be cute, but they can be destructive by ripping off shingles, nesting in attic insulation, compressing it and leaving excrement. Squirrels and roof rats may cause similar problems. Inspect your attic once or twice each year to ensure it’s not home to unwanted wildlife. If critters have invaded, contact a wildlife specialist to remove them, then find and seal their entry points and repair any damaged roofing. Estimated cost of wildlife removal: $200-$500.

Moss

Moss on the roof is more harmful than beautiful. Its spores collect between shingles, growing and spreading to form mats a few inches thick. These mats store rainwater, which wicks underneath shingles, soaks the underlayment and, if unchecked, rots the roof sheathing.

If you have moss, remove it. An air broom works nicely. Don’t power wash the roof, because that can drive water underneath the shingles or tiles. Once the moss is gone, apply a chemical treatment or zinc or copper solution to kill any remaining moss spores. Alternatively, install zinc or copper strips at the roof’s peak to kill moss in the coming decades. When reroofing, consider shingles with built-in moss inhibitors. Estimated cost of chemical spray: About $15.

 

Hail Damage

Usually hail is not something that you can miss—it is typically a widespread weather event in a neighborhood and not isolated to just one house on the block. Hail can bruise a shingle causing an indentation that may be hard to see but that can crack the shingle allowing water to infiltrate over time. You may need the assistance of a professional roofing contractor to determine the scope of the damage. If you have hail damage, you will need to file an insurance claim.

If your hail event was significant in terms of widespread damage, you will have roofing contractors who specialize in “storms” knocking on your door within days of the event. As always, you should use your best judgment when selecting a contractor.

Potential signs of hail damage:

  • Other collateral hail damage around the house; dents on cars or other items on your house or in your yard.
  • A distinct pattern of small round-shaped divots on the edges of the shingles.
  • Indentations in the shingle where granules are missing.
  • A large pile of granules at the end of your downspout; a small amount is normal, especially on new shingles.

 

Water Damage:

Leaks can occur as a result of storm damage such as heavy rainfall, hail, or snow accumulation. If you live in an area that sees heavy snowfall, you need to be sure that your roof is able to support the weight of the snow and properly sloped so that the snow will not sit on the roof for long periods of time. When the snow melts, it can cause serious harm to the roof. Moisture can leave your home vulnerable to mold infestation as well.

 

Identifying Wind Damage to Your Roof

If you’ve recently experienced winds of 45 mph or higher, then call us and we will get outside and take a look at your roof for some of the common signs of roof damage. Signs of wind damage on a roof include loose or missing shingles, chimney issues, curling or peeling shingles, granule loss, damaged soffit or fascia and indoor leaks. High winds can also cause tree branches to fall and damage a roof.

Spots of Granules Missing from your Shingles

Like hail, wind can cause loss of granules (the sandpaper-like part of the shingle). The first place we look to determine if you have missing granules is by inspecting your gutters for the granules, as this is where they tend to pile up.

Edge of Roof Curling from Peeling Shingles

The edges and other pressure points on the roof are most likely to sustain damage from wind. During our inspection we’ll look for curling shingles where the wind took hold and began to peel the shingles. Shingles keep out water, so if they’re loose it will lead to water damage and a quickly deteriorating roof.

Entire Shingles Missing from the Roof

One of the easiest ways to tell that you have a wind damaged roof is the loss of entire shingles. If you find shingles in your yard or around your house, you’ll definitely want to have a professional come out and look at what else could cause you trouble. Strong winds can completely rip shingles off leaving your roof vulnerable.

Cracks or Tears in a Flat, Rubber Roof

If you have a flat roof, we’ll look for missing pieces or tears in the material. Wind can lift up the material and rip it away or leave it with bubbles which hurts the integrity of the covering.

 

Why Your Roof Damage Might Not Be Covered by Insurance

Roof replacement can be prohibitively expensive for many homeowners. A new roof costs just over $7,000 on average in the U.S. but could cost up to a whopping $30,000 if your home has an expensive roofing material, is especially large or possesses a complicated roof shape or slope.

In the event of a storm or falling tree, you would hope your homeowners insurance would cover basic roof damage. However, your insurance company may deny you coverage precisely because roof replacement is one of the costliest home repairs.

Caveat #1: Your Roof Is Too Old

You may assume your home insurance will cover your roof damage in the event of a fire or break-in, and in most cases, that’s a Is your roof too old to be covered in case of disaster? Find out by calling us today! reasonable assumption to make. However, roof coverage might not apply if your roof is deemed “too old.”

Caveat #2: The Damage Was Your Fault

Homeowners insurance usually covers roof damage in extraordinary circumstances beyond your control. However, it is highly unlikely your roof damage will be covered if the insurance company can reasonably put the blame on you for a roof malfunction.

One of the most common instances where roof damage may be deemed “your fault” is if you have a roof leak due to normal wear and tear. For example, if a roof shingle came loose and blew off your roof, exposing the underlayment to rain, and you never fixed the issue, your insurance would likely not cover the resulting water damage. From their perspective, you should have called a roofing professional to inspect and maintain your roof.

Your insurance company may also refuse to cover your roof damage if you attempt to make a minor roof repair and end up making the situation worse. For example, some roof shingles and tiles are delicate and may break or fall off when tread on, or you may try to nail a shingle back in, only to cause a leak by puncturing your roof in the wrong place. Since you directly caused or exacerbated the damage instead of calling a qualified professional, you would be responsible for paying for repair or replacement.

Caveat #3: Your Roofing Material Is Too Financially Risky to Cover

The ultimate goal of an insurance company is to make money, so they generally don’t want to cover roofing materials that are highly expensive, easily damaged or both. Wood shake roofs are a particularly high risk because they cost a fair amount of money, have a similar or shorter lifespan than shingle roofs and burn easily. Many companies won’t cover wood roofs at all because of their susceptibility to wildfire and water damage. If you have a wood roof, be sure to do thorough research before committing to an insurance policy.

Metal roofs, while fire resistant, are also quite expensive to replace and can be easily dented by hail. Slate roofs are luxurious but heavy and costly to install. With these types of roofs, insurance companies may try to dismiss damage as “cosmetic” so they don’t have to replace the costlier roofing materials. They may also charge a premium for coverage of a more expensive roof.

On the flip side, insurance companies often reward homeowners with impact-resistant or wind-resistant roofs with better coverage and other incentives, as these roofs reduce the chance that they’ll have to pay for hail and windstorm damage.

Choosing A Fantastic Exterior Painting Color May Not Be Very Easy To Do

Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors for Your House

Picking house paint colors isn’t just difficult; it can be terrifying! If you choose colors that are boring and blah, your house will seem flat and featureless, but if the paint colors are too bold, they can overwhelm the architecture or might even infuriate the neighbors. The potential rewards are substantial, though. Getting it just right by choosing the perfect exterior house color and trim combinations can change your life.

As you consider paint colors for you home’s exterior, keep in mind that the best paint colors are those that highlight the most beautiful features of your home. That’s one reason to know a little bit about residential architecture since history can tell you a lot about what colors have worked for various house styles over the years. Also remember that skillful use of color can sometimes disguise design flaws, boosting the curb appeal and market value of your home

 

Choose Your Shade First

The first thing you will want to do when deciding what color you want to paint the exterior of your home is to choose the shade of a color first. When I say “shade”, I mean do you want a light, mid-tone or dark color on the body of your home? At this point, you don’t have to consider anything else except to make a decision if you want a light or white color, a mid-tone or medium shade, or do you want a dark color.

For most of you, choosing a shade is an instant easy decision and you immediately know that you want a light or dark colored home.  However, some of you may not be sure and are open to any shade and need a little help making that decision. It will help if you search Pinterest for exterior homes for inspiration to determine what shade would look best for your home. For example, if you have a ranch style home, search “ranch style home exteriors” in Pinterest search to see all the different color options to inspire you

 

Not All Exterior Paints Are Equal

I have learned so much over the years about exterior paint products from my own projects, client projects and also working with paint companies. Unfortunately, I have also learned the hard way that not all exterior paints are created equal. Nothing is more frustrating than spending a fortune to have your house painted and you have to repaint within 2-3 years!

DURABILITY

The most important factor when choosing an exterior paint is durability.  You may be surprise to know that a highly durable exterior paint finish should last at least 5-10 years. Yes! You read that right! The best exterior paint that is applied properly can last up to 10 years! It is possible!

PAINT AND PRIMER (ALL-IN-ONE)

In my opinion, nothing is more important than using an exterior paint product that has primer in it. This is absolutely non-negotiable for me and the most important requirement that I have when it comes to choosing an exterior paint. The reason it’s so important to me is that unlike traditional paints, primer paint contains binding properties (fancy word for glues), which means the primer will act as a sealant.  Primer creates a binding layer (or) sealed layer on the material being painted that will increase durability making it more water and mold-resistance. Not too mention that you will have better coverage because primer will mask underlying color and imperfections better! That’s exactly what we need to have from an exterior paint.

 

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Even if you apply all these steps there are still some traps that you need to avoid:

Wait for the right weather conditions

It might sound obvious not to paint exterior surfaces whilst it is raining, very windy or particularly dusty. However, even smaller changes in weather can affect your work. Hot weather and direct sunlight can cause your paint to dry too quickly. Cooler temperature can stop the paint from sticking to the surface as it should. The best temperature is between 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drips

Drips are common, look bad but are completely avoidable. How can you remove drip marks? If you notice a drip when your paint is still wet, then simply brush it into the surrounding paint. If the paint has dried, leave until the surrounding is completely dry and then carefully sand the area before touching it up with new paint

 

Protect your home by following these tips:

  1. Cover air conditioning units, landscaping and other surfaces close to the work area with drop cloths, old sheets or blankets.
  2. Tape windows and doors.
  3. Remove accessories such as light fixtures, doorbells, shutters, mailboxes and other detailed features. You can put them back on after the job is done.
  4. If bushes or other plants are close to the surface area to be painted, trim them back or tie them with twine to allow space to work and to keep them from touching the paint while it’s wet.

Restore Your Sofa With Upholstery Cleaning

Cleaning Household Upholstery Furniture

The smell of new upholstery furniture is an absolute delight! Not to mention the look and feel of it too. It’s soft, comfortable and more importantly, 100% clean! But then the weeks and months roll by and your brand new upholstery now smells dusty, looks dingy and feels dirty. It’s true; upholstery ages quickly if not cleaned or maintained regularly; and when that happens, it makes the whole room look rather drab. No one wants that, so if your upholstery furniture needs cleaning, you’ve come to the right place!

Vacuum Upholstery Thoroughly

Dust is the enemy! Unless vacuumed properly, dust gets smeared across your sofa and cushions when cleaning, making a much bigger mess of things. Hence, it’s never a good idea to skip step 1 when cleaning upholstery furniture. Use a soft brush attachment (or a specially made upholstery cleaning attachment) to vacuum the entire couch, removing all surface dirt and dust. Be sure to vacuum between crevices or cracks for any hidden dirt or particles. Here’s a good tip for thoroughly cleaning these hard to reach spots: take an empty toilet roll and attach it to the vacuum nozzle; then flatten the other end of the roll and start vacuuming nooks and crannies!

Attack Obvious Stains First

If you find stains or patches of discolouration due to dirt and dust accumulation over time, spot clean these areas first. Much like the process of removing carpet stains, we’ve found vinegar to be quite effective; however, you can also purchase a special upholstery cleaning agent for stain removal. Remember to specify what type of material your upholstery is made of when purchasing a cleaner as certain types of material demand specially made cleaning agents. Also, before you use vinegar or any cleaning product on your upholstery, test it out on an inconspicuous area just to be on the safe side. Allow it dry completely before checking for any damage. Once you’ve got the all-clear signal, begin spot cleaning by pouring the cleaner onto a clean microfibre cloth and rub the stain away as gently as possible.

Let the Deep Cleansing Begin!

Again, you can purchase a suitable cleaning product for your upholstery material, or make your own cleaning solution using a mild laundry detergent mixed with warm water. Soak and wring a clean microfibre cloth in this solution and gently wipe the entire surface of the upholstery, allowing some of the soapy solution to penetrate the fabric for a deep cleanse. Be careful not to let too much water soak into the sofa; wring the cloth properly each time you dip it into the solution. You may require more than one microfibre cloth (Alternatively you can rinse the same one under running water and reuse it). It’s important that the cloth is clean at all times as you wipe so that no dirt from the cloth is transferred back onto the upholstery.

Drying Your Freshly Cleaned Upholstery

To dry your sofa out, get as much air into the room as you can. Open all the windows in the room, regulate the fan to top speed (push the sofa directly under the fan if it already isn’t) and leave it there until all the dampness has dried up. To speed up the process, you could also use a hairdryer but frankly speaking, air drying upholstery is the best option. You’re your upholstery dries up naturally, it allows the detergent smell to air our and fade just enough so that it isn’t overbearing when you sit down on the couch

 

Easily clean your car seats with these great tips!

How to Clean Car Seats with Household Products

Spills happen.  But when they happen, your car seats can become quite messy and stained.  So, to help you keep your car clean and mess-free, we have some useful and easy-to-do tips on how to clean car seats with household products. You’ll notice that the cleaning items needed are linked so that you can easily purchase them.

Cleaning Cloth Seats

Instead of taking your car in to a cleaning service, there are several ways that you can clean your cloth seats on your own

For instance:

Use club soda.  Lightly spray it on the stained area and use a brush to scrub away the stain, then wipe it away with a clean towel.

Use a baking soda solution.  Mix ¼ cup of baking soda with a cup of warm water, then use a light layer of the solution and a toothbrush to scrub away the stain.  If the stain is difficult, let the solution sit for around 30 minutes.

Use a vinegar mixture.  Mix a cup of vinegar, a few drops of dish soap and about a gallon of hot water in a bucket.  Then dab the mixture into the stain and use a brush to scrub it out of the seat, use clean water to rinse the seat off.

Use laundry detergent.  If you don’t have a specific upholstery detergent/cleaner, you mix some laundry detergent with hot water and dampen the stains with it.  Use a towel with cold water to rinse the detergent off the seat and scrub the stain away.

Cleaning Leather Seats

Leather seats need extra care compared to cloth upholstery because of the premium quality of the material.

To clean messes and stains off of leather, try one of these do-it-yourself ways:

Use nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol.  Blotting the stain with a cotton ball that dipped in the alcohol will slowly lift the mess from the leather.  And once the stain is lifted, clean the alcohol off the seat with warm water and dish soap.

Use a non-gel toothpaste.  A more unique technique, dab a bit of toothpaste on the stain and then use a clean toothbrush to gently scrub away the stain.

Use a lemon juice and cream of tartar paste.  Mix an equal portion of lemon juice and cream of tartar into a paste and apply to the stain.  It should sit for about 30 minutes and then you can wipe it away with a damp sponge.  The paste has a bleaching effect, so it should only be used on light-colored seats.

The vinegar mixture works on leather seats as well!

 

How To Clean Your Sofa

Couch potato or not, you need to clean your sofa – all the crumbs and chips from last year’s World Cup could be turning green in between the cracks and cushions. That coffee stain from last week is starting to look like an outbreak on the sofa, what would your friends say?

Keep your most frequently used furniture clean and hygienic to last many more movie nights. Although you should be getting your sofa professionally cleaned every 6-12 months, giving your sofa a good DIY clean in between can prevent stubborn build-ups that could potentially damage the upholstery material.

Vacuum All Over

Vacuum everything – the cushions, in between the cracks, and all over the surface of your sofa. Remove any large debris, coins, pens, paperclips, crayons or keys from the sofa (did we miss anything?). You can cover the vacuum nozzle with an old stocking or pantyhose and secure it with a rubberband to stop coins from being sucked up while you’re vacuuming.

Identify Your Fabric

Your sofa should come with a care tag that gives instructions about what to do and more importantly, what not to do! Read the cleaning instructions carefully and identify what cleaning products you should use for your fabric to avoid permanent damage

As a general guide, most tags would indicate this as:

“W”: It’s okay to use water to clean, or a water-based detergent if you’re using a steam vacuum

“S”: Use only a solvent-based cleaner or a dry-cleaning detergent

“SW or WS”: You can use either water or a solvent cleaner/dry-cleaning detergent

“O”: Indicates the material is ‘Organic’ (natural fibers) and should be washed with cold water

“X”: Only vacuum or use a brush to clean, get a professional upholstery cleaner if it needs shampooing

 

How to clean a sofa

Whether you ban food and drinks from your sofa or eat your dinner on it every evening, here’s some advice to keep it looking spick and span. We asked almost 2,000 Which? members how regularly they cleaned their sofas; a quarter of them cleaned their sofa once a month and the same number cleaned their sofa roughly once every few months.

If, despite your best cleaning efforts, your sofa is looking grey around the edges, it could be time for a new one. Head to the best sofa retailers page to find out which store tops the table for best customer service, value for money and range of sofas

The most common sofa stains

Sofa stains are incredibly annoying, especially if your sofa is covered in a light fabric. But what are the most common causes of stains? We asked our Which? members

Sofa cleaning tips

If disaster strikes and your sofa ends up splattered with red wine or curry sauce, attend to spills immediately using plain water first.  In the case of small spills on a fabric sofa, it’s important to avoid the instinct to rub at the stain. This only pushes the spillage deeper into the fabric, which of course makes it harder to clean.

Sofa protection

Prevention can be easier (and cheaper) than cure – top tips to keep your sofa looking showroom-fresh include:

To maintain your fabric sofa, it should be vacuumed or brushed weekly as dirt accumulating on it can lead to the upholstery wearing and its colour dulling.

To avoid fading, place furniture out of direct or prolonged periods of sunlight, and away from heat sources.

Avoid cosmetic products such as sun cream or body lotion coming into contact with your upholstery.

Beware of sharp objects like studs, belt buckles and toys snagging fabric. Velcro is also best avoided.

 

The Right Way to Clean Velvet Furniture

Choosing velvet furniture is choosing to make a bold style statement in your space—there’s no ignoring its soft sheen, rich color, and innate elegance. But velvet’s commanding presence also means that any discoloration or stains are that much more visible. No more hiding a dusty apartment…once the sunlight hits a velvet couch, there’s no hiding those annoying, allergy-inducing particles.

Anthropologie’s website has pages of swoon-worthy velvet sofas and chairs to peruse, so who better to ask for advice on how to clean velvet? According to Anne White, the brand’s head of home interiors personal styling, the first thing you should think about is actually completely unrelated to the furniture. “If you’ve opted for a bright, richly pigmented color, like navy or chartreuse, we recommend avoiding direct sunlight, which can cause the fabric to fade,” she says. “Consider window coverings substantial enough to protect your piece but lovely enough to catch the eye. The technology for window films, which block the sun’s rays without blocking your view, has improved and may be another avenue to explore.” Craving more velvet cleaning tips? Read on to learn how to clean velvet furniture and protect it from wear and tear and those inevitable spills.

Vacuum the fabric

Remember those pesky dust particles we were talking about? Well, in terms of regular maintenance, all you need to do to the item itself is give it a good dusting. “We recommend regular vacuuming,” says Anne. “A soft brush can also loosen surface dirt and brush it away.”

Tackle spills the right way

If a friend does happen to spill their cocktail on your couch, White suggests blotting the area immediately with a clean, dry absorbent cloth. We then recommend mandating said friend to a different spot in your home. No one likes a party foul.

Test cleaning products

If a dried stain is staring you in the face and you just can’t help but do something about it, test any cleaning product (even basic soap and water) on a hidden spot to ensure it doesn’t ruin the fabric. Mix soap and water to create a sudsy solution. Use a soft cloth to blot the stain with the suds, then let the fabric dry completely.

Tips For Minimizing Auto Repairs

Why You Need to Hire a Mobile Mechanic

Cars are very important because of the mobility they offer. Moving from one place to another is much easier when you have a vehicle. You can also run your errands smoothly. The freedom you get to enjoy during your travels is also essential. However, owning a car comes with its own set of challenges. You have to fork out a lot of money when it comes to maintenance.

There are several practices you have to observe to keep your vehicle in the perfect condition and make sure it serves you for an extended period. Car breakdowns are a common occurrence for many. They might happen to you anywhere and anytime of the day. The sad part is when you experience it when you are traveling.

There are some issues you can fix by yourself while others will require the services of a mechanic. You should look for a mobile mechanic who can sort you out. They will come to fix your car anywhere and anytime. Mobile Mechanic Atlanta is one who can sort out your auto problems fast.

You must consider the availability of the mobile mechanic youtire repair want to hire. The best ones are those who offer 24-hour services. Compare service fees between the different mobile mechanics and go for one with considerable charges. There are several reasons why you should consider hiring these type of mechanics. They include:

Convenience

You will get to enjoy some great level of comfort when you hire a mobile mechanic. There is no need to stress yourself out about what to do, especially when you experience a break down in the middle of a highway or during your travel. These mechanics will come very fast to fix your vehicle and save you the inconvenience.

 

Saves Costs

Hiring a mobile mechanic will also help you save on a lot of costs. There is no need to seek the services of a towing company because the mobile mechanic will fix all the mess at your car breakdown point. The necessary on-site repairs will be conducted, and you will save on the amount you would have used to tow your vehicle to the nearest garage.

No More Queues

You do not have to worry about standing in queues because mobilemobile car service mechanics will report to where you direct them and conduct the necessary repairs or maintenance practices. Going to a garage may see you spend a lot of time in a long queue waiting for your car to be serviced. Seek the services of a mobile mechanic to save time.

 

Benefits Of Using A Mobile Mechanic

We all know that the vehicles we drive require periodic maintenance to keep them operating at 100%, but sometimes life can get in the way. Work, family and many other factors can take precedence over taking our cars to the mechanic to have servicing and repairs carried out. Having to take a day off work to drop the car off and wait around until it’s completed, or work out a way to get to and from work as well as doing the school run can make the idea of visiting the mechanic shop a daunting thought.

But, there is a solution to all this – mobile mechanics. Mobile mechanics usually operate from a fully stocked van or utility, and can perform almost all the same tasks that traditional bricks and mortar mechanical workshops can. Here are 5 benefits of using a mobile mechanic for your next service or repair.

  1. They come to your home or workplace

The most obvious benefit of using a mobile mechanic is that they can work on your car at your home or while you are at work. As long as you have a flat, safe area away from main roads, a mobile mechanic can carry out servicing and repairs, leaving you to continue your day at home or work without having to worry about getting to and from the workshop.

  1. They can come to you when you are broken down

If your vehicle has left you stranded on the side of the road with a flat battery, or something more serious, a mobile mechanic can make their way out to you and may even be able to fix your vehicle on the spot, saving you from paying for a tow truck to your nearest workshop and then waiting for them to have an opening available to look at your vehicle.

  1. They can carry out almost all servicing and repairs on site

Mobile mechanics are fully qualified to carry out the necessary repairs on your vehicle, from brakes to timing belts and everything in between. There can be some repair jobs that they are unable to carry out, such as repairs that require a hoist, but the mobile mechanic will be able to inform you of these repairs and can often organise a workshop to carry these larger jobs for you.

 

Mobile Auto Service – The Pros and Cons

Not too long ago, I was testing a car down Berger Road when I saw a man working under a school bus! He was changing the oil on the street! This got me thinking about mobile vehicle services. Some mobile automotive services are already common, such as mobile detailing and mobile windshield and glass repair; but what about mobile mechanics?

Mobile mechanics have increased in popularity over the last 8-10 years. This trend has likely been influenced by economic necessity stemming from the recession as well as the shift towards customer convenience.

PROS

  1. Price: Mobile mechanics do not have the added overhead of a facility and associated equipment. The resulting lower costs can save customers 20-30%.
  2. Convenience: Mobile mechanics come to you at home or at work. This eliminates the need to take time from work, school, or other responsibilities in order to service your car, and can save you a significant amount of money.
  3. It makes sense: This mobile option is ideal for certain preventive maintenance jobs that don’t take too long.

CONS

  1. Limited access to the larger equipment needed to service vehicles:

Lifts: Mobile mechanics may not have access to the lifts that allow for inspection of a car’s underside.  This step is very important, so ask if they have a professional quality lift rather than a jack and stands as with the mobile mechanic featured in the photo below. A jack and stands  can be dangerous on uneven surfaces especially on the side of a road. Professional grade balancing equipment: This equipment for balancing tires and aligning vehicles cannot travel with the mechanic.

  1. Fewer resources: There is no one around to provide help if the mechanic needs a second hand or a second opinion. (Though with smartphones this is not such an issue now.)
  2. Lack of more complex tools: Some factory equivalent scan tools cost so much they are out of reach for mobile mechanics.
  3. Limitations based on job size: Larger jobs- those that require removing the interior of a car, for example- would be impossible to do in a driveway.
  4. Limitations due to weather: Limitations in emergency situations.

 

HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL MOBILE AUTO REPAIR BUSINESS

Have you ever thought about starting a mobile auto repair business? Or as a vehicle owner, have you thought about how convenient it would be for mechanics to perform vehicle services right at your home? This isn’t a foreign concept. As a matter of fact, there are many auto repair professionals who do just that for a living. However, franchise and independent service shops still outnumber mobile repair businesses by a wide margin.  Mobile auto repair is a very attractive service to many consumers, given the inconvenience of dropping off their vehicle and arranging rides while carless. So why isn’t mobile auto repair a more widely available service?

Mobile Auto Repair is Not That Simple

In a world of technology and convenience, it’s logical that a mechanic would come right to your home to service or repair your vehicle. However, house-call repairs are easier said than done.

Here were some of the common themes across respondents:

Inadequate Infrastructure

  • Tools & Equipment – Not able to carry all necessary tools or heavy equipment, such as a lift. Having tools and equipment easily accessible at the shop is ideal.
  • Location – The client may not have the best set up, such as a garage or even driveway. Some office parks and gated communities might not even allow vehicle maintenance and repair on their property at all.
  • Parts – Obtaining parts can be challenging and time-consuming. Some jobs end up needing additional parts for repairs that were not originally diagnosed.
  • Weather – Poor weather conditions make outdoor jobs miserable and sometimes impossible

Insurance/Safety Issues

  • Insurance for a mobile repair business is costly
  • Working alone is not always the safest – some jobs more than others
  • Poor weather conditions can also be a safety issue
  • Leaks or spills of containment can be hazardous if not properly cleaned up

Cost Tolerance

  • Customers aren’t willing to pay extra for the convenience of house-call services
  • Many customers believe that rates should be significantly cheaper since the mechanics don’t have shop overhead. However, mobile repair jobs often take longer and there are many other expenses involved.