Steps For Locating A Reliable Contractor Accountant

How to Become an Accountant? Education is Key

Although some people find employment in entry-level accounting positions (such as bookkeeper or clerk) without earning a diploma, most accounting professionals hold at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. Some choose to pursue more education and go on to become certified public accountants.

If you’re just starting out your school journey—or returning after an absence—you’re in the right place. Here are the accounting education options to get you started on the path to success in the field:


Associate’s Degree

Available online or in a traditional classroom, this degree provides a solid grounding in the fundamentals of accounting and accounting technology. It can pave the way to an entry-level position with an organization’s finance and administration team, such as billing clerk, accounts receivable clerk or staff bookkeeper.

Time commitment: one to two years


Bachelor’s Degree

Almost all staff accounting positions require a bachelor’s degree, which is available online, in a traditional classroom, or some combination of the two. Specific courses will depend on the school you choose, but expect to study the principles of accounting, business communications, accounting technology, business law and more.

Time commitment: up to four years, depending on your previous college credits


Master’s in Accounting

After a few years in the field, you might decide to move up the accounting ranks into a more challenging role. The master’s in accounting degree opens the door to management-level jobs in a huge variety of industries, from banking to construction to high tech.

Time commitment: one to two years


Getting Certified: CPA

Are your long-term sights set on becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)? After earning 150 credit hours in a master’s degree program, you’ll be eligible in most states to sit for the rigorous CPA exam. Then you’ll need to work under the supervision of a licensed CPA to prove your stuff. Once you’ve successfully met these challenges, the path to senior accounting roles is open.

Online Accounting Degrees

Already juggling a busy life full of work and family commitments? Consider online accounting classes, designed with working adults in mind. The online option is:

  • Flexible – Many online schools have year-round, rolling start dates. No more waiting around for spring semester to start!
  • Efficient – With short classes, weekly homework deadlines and no need to commute, you can adjust your study schedule to accommodate family and work obligations.
  • Mobile – Thanks to mobile apps and interfaces, you can access online classes just about anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
  • Affordable – The online option might save you money. There’s no need to relocate, and the tuition cost can be lower than on-campus programs.

How Business Accounting Works

People are starting their own businesses every day. If you’re thinking about joining them, you probably have a vision of what you want that business to be. What may excite you about your business is the product or service you have to offer, the success that you imagine, and the freedom of lifestyle that you are sure will come — in time. What may bore or even frighten you is the plethora of numbers you have to wrestle with. You will be asked business questions that may elicit a blank stare as your response. Cash accounting? Accrual basis? Profit and loss statement? Projections? Huh?

Whether you want to create fine oil paintings or sell pork bellies on the street, your business will require some form of accounting. That term alone can cast a glaze over the brightest eyes, but in this article, we’ll show you that accounting is a process larger than crunching your numbers. It is a tool that will help you “account for” what your business has done, is doing, and hopes to do in the future. Accounting can be a bit like painting a picture, and a little like solving a puzzle. Despite its bad press, it can actually be fun.

Keys to Success

The first step to making accounting fun is to get a grip on the terminology. If your heart skips a beat when someone asks about your balance sheet, you can calm yourself by learning exactly what a balance sheet is and how it can help you. We’ve added a glossary of accounting terms at the end of this article to get you over the hump.

Second, realize that accounting is more than numbers. It includes databases of your customers, your vendors, and your employees, if you have them. The information you keep on these people and companies will help you track your business and plan your future. With proper accounting, you might discover that people in the Florida Keys buy barrels of pork bellies in February. You can legitimately plan a sales trip for the entire month. See? This is getting interesting.

Third, the key to successful accounting is in the establishment of your accounting system and the reliable input of data. You will set up a system that is uniquely yours. Recording the transactions and information is called bookkeeping, and it must be done regularly. You won’t get a good picture of your company if the paint (data) is stored in boxes in the basement. There is nothing harder than the task of going back to find and key in reams of old information. When you do, you stand a good chance of getting something wrong.

How Can Accounting Help Your Business?

Accounting doesn’t just make life easier at tax time and give you a better idea of how your business is doing financially. Accurate accounting can also make you more attractive to clients. Here are some common ways proper accounting can help make your business more valuable for your clients:


When your business finances are in order, you have an accurate view of how much money is coming and going. You can also create more accurate forecasts for future revenue and expenses, so you can make sure you have enough cash reserves to float you through any tough times.

With stable business finances, you can offer your clients a consistent, positive experience. You won’t need to cut costs unexpectedly because money is tight, so you won’t suddenly cut down on employees or take on so much new business that the quality of your work suffers.


Proper accounting offers you up-to-date financial data about your business. And that can help you make crucial decisions about the need for, and timing of, new business investments. Could new equipment make you work faster? Could it mean you deliver better service to your clients?

Accurate financial data helps you decide whether it’s the right time to invest more cash in your company and how those expenses will affect your cash flow.


Financial records offer you insights into your expenses and cash flow, which in turn can help you make better decisions about marketing your business.

Accurate accounting information can help you decide the right time to launch a marketing campaign and understand whether your marketing efforts are delivering the results you want.

What Are the Basics of Small Business Accounting?

Now that you’ve got a handle on how accounting can help your business, you’re ready to dive into the basic principles of small business accounting. There are three main areas of effective small business accounting:


Don’t let the name intimidate you: bookkeeping just refers to keeping track of your business transactions, from revenues to payments. One of your main business goals is probably to make money, and to do that, you’ll need to know how your income compares to your costs. Proper bookkeeping can help by:

  • Letting you know if you’re making a profit, or if you’re on track to do so
  • Telling you whether you’re in danger of running out of money
  • Simplifying tax season by recording information you’ll need to file taxes


Tax season can be a stressful time for freelancers and small business owners, and for good reason: filing taxes becomes more complicated when you’re self-employed. But with proper accounting throughout the year, you can lessen tax-time headaches.

There are different types of business taxes and they vary by industry and by state, but some of the most common include:

  • Income Tax: Which requires you to pay a portion of your income to the government.
  • Sales Tax: Depending on the type of work you do for clients, you might add sales tax to your invoices that you later pay back to the government.
  • Employee Taxes: If your company has staff, you’ll collect taxes from your employees’ paychecks and pass that on to the government.

For a full rundown of filing taxes as a freelancer, check out the FreshBooks blog.


Accounting reports can help guide important business decisions. You probably face tough choices often—whether to buy pricey equipment for your business, what specific services to offer clients or whether to hire contractors to help with your workload.

There are a number of accounting reports that can help you make these decisions. Some of the most common reports include:

  • Cash Flow Statement: Shows you all your financial activities, from the money flowing into your business (earnings from clients) to the expenses moving out (for rent, utilities, staff and more). Clearly, this is an important report to get right
  • Profit and Loss Report: Shows your total income and your total expenses for a specific time period. It’s not quite as detailed as your cash flow statement, but it offers a helpful overview of where your business stands financially.
  • Balance Sheet: Shows what your company owns versus what it owes for a specific time period. In other words, it gives a snapshot of your financial position at any point in time.

Ways to Help Your Accounting Staff Be More Successful

There is a multitude of ways in which you can help your accounting staff become more productive and reach their personal career goals. Here are just a few…

* Praise employees in front of their peers – Everyone loves a compliment, but there is something about honoring someone publicly that encourages him or her like no other. When praising employees in public, be specific about what they have done right. Remember that the actions you acknowledge and encourage will be perpetuated.

* Train accountants with microlearning – It’s nearly impossible for an accountant to be successful apart from ongoing training. Most accounting firm managers know this and do provide training in some form. What training model does your firm utilize? Whether your training program is traditional (in-person), online, or blended, make use of microlearning. Microlearning allows people to digest bite-sized pieces of knowledge in short periods of time, often via a mobile device. This type of learning can be more fun than lengthy training sessions. It also increases learning retention.

* Choose the right accountants for your firm – If you want your workforce to be successful, hire the right accountants right off the bat. In the article How to Help Your Employees Succeed, Dr. John B. Charney wrote, “Leadership is about more than overseeing a team of people…it is about selecting the right people in the first place and then constantly ensuring everybody on that team is working to the very best of their ability. Make sure all your people are in the right position within the firm.” Hiring the correct employees and placing everyone where they are most effective takes time and practice, but it is key to your accountants’ and firm’s success.

Carpet Upholstery Cleaning

Caring for your Sofa

You’ve chosen your sofa, and it’s looking right at home in your living room. Now we want to make sure that it’s there for all of life’s moments. Daily life can expose your sofa to many things, but there are a few sofa care tips you can follow to ensure your sofa remains looking like new.

Upholstery fabric cannot be cleaned in the washing machine. By vacuuming and brushing your furniture frequently, it minimises the chance of dust particles settling and affecting the durability and colour of the fabric. To keep your sofa in the very best condition, we recommend an in-situ professional upholstery cleaning every 18 months. With emergencies, such as drink or food stains, a local specialist cleaning company should be contacted for advice on how to proceed.

If you have young children, sticky fingers and biscuit crumbs are likely, so investing in an easy-to-clean sofa with durable and hardwearing fabric is a must. It is important to remove stains before they sink in. Use a slightly damp, clean cloth (preferably muslin) to blot any spills as quickly as possible, but do not scrub the stain as this will risk damaging the pile, particularly on velvet fabrics. If too much water is used, it can result in watermarks and discolouration. We strongly recommend not using a cleaning solution on any upholstery.

Although our furry friends are integral to the family, they can affect the appearance of a sofa with their fur, claws and mucky paws. Durable fabrics are important in this instance where fur can be easily brushed off with a furniture brush, and any dirt can quickly be wiped clean.

Linen is a lightweight, natural fabric that will crease and stretch over time, adding to its charm and character. Like all sofas, you should vacuum dust and crumbs regularly to prevent further damage and keep the fabric clean. Linen is a highly absorbent, natural fibre, so for most spills we would recommend calling an upholstery cleaning specialist to your home to avoid further damage. We suggest choosing linen for slouchy, relaxed style sofas as the natural stretching of the fabric will contribute to the relaxed look and be less noticeable in comparison to a sleek, firm sofa shape. Always position furniture away from direct sunlight.


Periodically, lightly brush or vacuum the upholstery to remove soil particles and dust and prevent them from imbedding between fibers.

Turn and rotate cushions after vacuuming to prevent excessive wear and soil deposits.

Avoid placing newspaper on fabric. The ink will permanently stain and discolor the material.

Keep fabrics away from direct sunlight if possible.

Do not use acids, dyes, paints or nail polish near fabrics.

Do not cover fabrics with darker fabrics when having work done in the home, since dyes may rub off.

Liquid spills should be absorbed immediately. Blot with white absorbent cloth or paper towel.

Spills such as jelly or soft spills should be scooped up with a soft edge spoon. If the spill has dried up, scoop it gently and vacuum the rest.

Never throw your fabric in the washer or dryer unless the fabric says it is machine washable. Remove the pillow forms before washing.

To spot clean, always test an area of the fabric that is not seen first, such as under a chair/sofa skirt. Let it dry, and then proceed if the results are positive. Do not oversaturate an area with any cleaning solutions.

Do not rub strongly and try not to let a stain dry.

Professional cleaning will prevent the gradual buildup of dirt and grime, but discuss with the dry cleaner any fire retardant finishes that may not endure through some methods of cleaning.



W To prevent overall soil, frequent vacuuming or light brushing to remove dust and grime is recommended. Spot clean, using the foam only from a water-based cleaning agent such as a mild detergent or non-solvent upholstery shampoo product. Apply foam with a soft brush in a circular motion. Vacuum when dry. Pre-test a small area before proceeding. Use a professional furniture cleaning service when an overall soiled condition has been reached.

S To prevent overall soil, frequent vacuuming or light brushing to remove dust and grime is recommended. Spot clean, using a mild water-free solvent or dry cleaning product. Clean only in a well ventilated room and AVOID any product containing Carbon Tetrachloride which is highly toxic. Pre-test a small area before proceeding. Cleaning by a professional furniture service is recommended.

S-W To prevent overall soil, frequent vacuuming or light brushing to remove dust and grime is recommended. Spot clean, with a mild solvent, an upholstery shampoo or the foam from a mild detergent. When using a solvent or dry cleaning product, follow instructions carefully and clean only in a well ventilated room. AVOID any product containing Carbon Tetrachloride which is highly toxic. With either method, pre-test a small area before proceeding. Use a professional furniture cleaning service when an overall soiled condition has been reached.

X Clean this fabric only by vacuuming or light brushing to prevent accumulation of dust or grime. Water-based foam cleaners or solvent-based cleaning agents of any may cause excessive shrinking, staining or distortion of the surface pile and, therefore, should not be used.

Prepare Upholstery for Cleaning

Prepare surface for cleaning by thoroughly vacuuming or brushing. Set up the machine, directing your attention to the hose connections at the rear.

Set Up

First, pull free the top portion of the large vacuum hose at the back of the machine. Then connect the top portion of the machine vacuum hose to the vacuum hose of the Hand Tool. Next, screw brass connection to small diversion valve, ensure it is on tightly to engage.

Remove the UPPER (white) tank. Mix Upholstery Cleaner with water in a clean bucket according to the label directions and POUR into the LOWER red tank.

Fit Upper white tank back in place, seal tank and clear dome securely by replacing restraining wire.

Plug in the power cord and position the machine. Refer to the label on top of machine and turn the machine ON for upholstery cleaning.

TEST for colourfastness by first cleaning a small, hidden area, then rub the test area with a white towel. If no colour appears, continue cleaning. A little colour on the towel means there’s some chance of colour running, but you probably can still clean safely. Dry cushions on sheets or towels laid out on the floor.

Start Cleaning

Working at a slow, steady pace, begin cleaning by squeezing the hand tool lever as you pull the tool over fabric. Overlap strokes slightly. IMPORTANT: Do NOT depress the button on machine handle while using the hand tool.

If foam builds up around the hand tool, pull a little bit faster or vacuum excess solution by passing over area a second time without squeezing lever.

When cleaning is complete, disconnect the upholstery tool then empty any remaining solution by taking the machine outside or over drain and turn machine ON for upholstery, this will empty lower tank.

Before returning to store, ensure machine is cleaned according to instructions at back of machine and vacuum hose is securely reconnected. Switch should be in OFF position.

NOTE: For velvet upholstery, fluff up damp pile with a soft brush or towel to keep from matting.

Understanding Upholstery Cleaning Codes

Checking the Upholstery Cleaning Codes before doing any kind of upholstery cleaning is vital. You need to check the manufacturer’s instructions on how it should be cleaned or whether it can even be cleaned. Certain types of Fibres will respond differently to certain Upholstery Cleaning methods. Typically, manufacturers use standard upholstery cleaning codes to advise on the appropriate cleaning method for the fabric on your furniture.

It should be noted that Upholstery Cleaning Codes must not be confused with upholstery wearability codes or grades which usually refer to something known as a Double Rub Count. Double Rub equates to the durability of the fabric of your upholstery and is different from upholstery cleaning codes. Wearability codes are something to consider when purchasing new furniture.

A word of caution

Do-it-yourself upholstery cleaning should only be done on lightly soiled furniture in accordance with the codes. Codes address spot cleaning and results cannot be guaranteed.  Always test a small out-of-site area first to ensure you don’t make the look of that couch or armchair worse than it might already be.

What are the Upholstery Cleaning Codes?

Standard upholstery cleaning codes are: W, S, WS and X.

W for Wet.

S for Solvent.

WS for Wet and Solvent.

X for Vacuum only and sometimes you may see D for Dry Clean only.

Where to find the Upholstery Cleaning Codes?

The codes will be on a tag or label attached to the furniture. You’ll usually find the tag on the base of the sofa or armchair under the seat cushions. Alternatively it may be completely underneath the frame. Or on the side near the arm rest

What do the Upholstery Cleaning Codes mean?

W (Wet) –   W refers to Water-based Cleaning. Spot clean with water only. Distilled water is ideal. To simply dab spots use a clean white or cream towel. Avoid colored cloths that might bleed their color onto the fabric.

Your Upholstery Fabric might be amenable to Professional Water Based Cleaning such as Hot Water extraction or Steam Cleaning but consult with a trustworthy cleaning  service company who will give you an honest answer as to whether your décor is agreeable to steam cleaning.

S (Solvent) – Water is a bad idea and should be avoided. It may leave water marks. It could also damage the fabric through shrinking or bleeding. Instead the fabric must be dry cleaned with a solvent based cleaning product. Appropriate Solvents help to break down grease spots leaving the area dry. After application, the fabric should be vacuumed. Ensure there is plenty of room ventilation when using solvents and make sure you use one designated specifically for upholstery. Read the instructions and follow them carefully.

WS (Wet and Solvent) – WS means the fabric allows for both Wet and Solvent Cleaning but it depends on the stain needing attention. Is the stain oil based or water based? Professional Upholstery Cleaning may be more appropriate for this code but it depends on the fibres

X (No Cleaning/Vacuum only) – Unfortunately this means your beloved piece of furniture should not be cleaned. And this is for sure something you should check for when buying a new item for your home.

Step Guide To Cleaning A Sofa

Professional Upholstery Cleaning – Sofas and chairs are not only vulnerable to surface stains, dust, and dirt, but grime can become deeply embedded into the fibres, too. Even if you can’t see the dirt, it’s there, so for cleanliness and hygiene’s sake, cleaning upholstery on a regular basis is very important – but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

If your sofas and chairs have removable covers, upholstery cleaning is simple: put them through the washing machine, or pop them down to the dry cleaners – just follow the instructions on the label. If your covers are not removable, however, you’ll need some suitable upholstery cleaning products and easy methods to tackle the stains and dirt. Here’s how to clean upholstery swiftly and effectively – leaving you time for more relaxing activities.

Which Upholstery Cleaning Products Should I Use?

You can buy upholstery cleaning products from most stores, but there are other products that you can find around the home that will also help to get your sofas and chairs clean.

Mild laundry detergent and warm water, mixed well to create suds.

White vinegar: This is a good choice for removing surface stains, but you’ll want to use a soapy solution afterwards to give the area an intensive clean. You’ll also want to air the sofa as much as possible afterwards by opening windows or by using a fan to help reduce the smell of the vinegar.

Baby wipes are ideal for spot-cleaning upholstery. They’re very gentle, so they won’t damage the material, and they’re relatively dry, so there’s no chance of over-saturating your furniture.

How To Clean Upholstery In 4 Steps

Furniture cleaning isn’t a science: try out a few techniques before choosing the one that is right for your belongings. This step-by-step guide explains how to clean a sofa:

Before using any upholstery cleaning products, vacuum the sofa or chair first to remove as much surface dirt and dust as possible. Be sure to use the correct attachments to avoid damage to the material – a soft brush attachment is ideal.

Spot Clean. Using baby wipes or vinegar poured onto a strong microfiber cloth, apply to any obvious stains, wiping gently as you go. Remember to test the upholstery cleaning products on an inconspicuous area first.

Overall Clean. Using soapy water and a microfibre cloth, gently wipe your sofa with the solution, allowing it to soak into the fabric and tackle the dirt beneath the surface. You only want to use a very small amount of water – don’t saturate the material.

Dry. Some people use a hairdryer to quickly dry a sofa, but allowing it to dry naturally is always the better option, if you have the time. To speed things up, open windows and allow the breeze to help with the drying process.

Is Your Veterinarian Taking Short-Cuts That Put Your Pet At Risk

Tips for Choosing the Right Veterinarian

Choosing the right veterinarian to care for your furry family member and keeping them healthy is a very personal decision to make for any pet parent. Whether you’re getting a new pet or would just like to investigate switching veterinarians, choosing the right one is important because any family member deserves the best care possible – and we all want our pets to stay with the family for years to come.  Not only do you want a vet that provides high quality care, but one you feel comfortable with, too. has provides these tips to help answer the questions every pet owner should be asking:

1. Talk to your friends and family members

If your close friends and family members have a vet in the area that they like, you may want to start there. Ask them what they like about their vet and what experiences they have had with them. Has it just been general checkups, or has your pet had more extensive treatment? Personal referrals are a great way to find someone to care for your pet.

2. Make appointments with a few vets in your area

If you are choosing a vet, consider making appointments with a few different doctors in your area. When you have your first appointment, you will want to take a look around the facility and take into consideration:

  • What is your first impression of their facility – Is it clean? Is the staff friendly?
  • What types of problems they are able to deal with – if your pet has a more serious issue, can they handle it? Who do they refer you to?
  • Do they have 24-hour emergency care?
  • How many vets do they have on staff?
  • How easy is it to make an appointment?
  • Does the facility fit with your budget? Do they have payment plans if your animal were to have a serious medical condition?
  • Are they AAHA accredited? (The American Animal Hospital Association oversees and evaluates the quality of the veterinary staff, facility, patient care and the equipment they use)

3. Ask questions to determine your comfort level with your potential vet:

  • How long have they been practicing and what veterinary school did they graduate from?
  • Do they have any specialties?
  • Does the veterinarian work days and times that work with your schedule?
  • How did they interact with your pet – Were they patient? Caring?
  • Did they take their time with you or did they rush through your appointment?
  • Were they comfortable working with your pet?
  • Did they thoroughly answer all of your questions in a manner that made you feel comfortable?
  • Does the doctor ask about lifestyle and risks before prescribing optional vaccines? (I.e., some vaccines may not be necessary unless the family engages in certain activities or choices, like lots of hiking/camping, or visits to kennels)
  • Will the doctor write prescriptions and allow you to acquire them elsewhere or online (as opposed to exclusively through their office)?

Easy Tips for Choosing a Veterinarian

Although it seems intuitive, start by selecting a doctor who really likes and understands cats! Some veterinarians, even if they like cats, are more dog-focused. Here are some tips to help choose a cat-focused veterinarian.

  • Set up an appointment – Meet with the veterinarian or veterinary team to check out their services in person.
  • Reach out to front desk staff – Ask them to recommend a doctor on their team who is likes cats, excels in working with them, and is interested in feline medicine and surgery.
  • Partner – Look for a veterinarian who really wants to work with you in making decisions that are best for you and for your cat.
  • Discussions – Look for a veterinarian who spends time answering your questions, and who discusses issues other than vaccines with you. Veterinarians who like cats should discuss feline nutrition and behavior. These discussions will really help you to provide the best home environment and care for your cat.

How to choose the right vet for your dog or cat

Ask other dog and cat owners who they would suggest.

Start out by asking your local dog-owning friends which veterinarian’s office they use. Even if there is only one vet in your town, some of your friends might take their pets to a vet in a nearby area. Maybe the care is better there, or maybe the prices are more reasonable.

Ask your friends and neighbors what they like about the vet they use and what they don’t like. You can also read online reviews through Google+, Yelp and Facebook to see what other people are saying.

Compare prices.

Prices do vary from office to office, and while you probably wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for better care, why should you pay twice as much for a routine exam or vaccinations? It is worth calling a couple veterinary offices in your area. Some questions to ask related to prices could include:

  • What do you charge for basic exams for dogs? And for cats?
  • How about for senior pets? (Some will charge more for senior exams)
  • What are the prices for routine vaccinations such as rabies?
  • Do you offer any discounts for multi-pet households?
  • What do you charge for a spay/neuter surgery?
  • What do you charge for dentals?
  • Do you accept Care Credit (a health credit card)?

Ask about hours and how emergencies are handled.

Some vet offices close at 5 p.m. every weekday while others remain open in the evenings. Some are open on weekends, and some are not.

Think about your schedule and what hours would be the most convenient for you.

It’s also a good idea to ask how the vet handles emergencies. Does this particular office handle emergencies as they come in? Does it send them elsewhere? If so, where is that hospital located? Knowing this is important in case your dog is ever in need of emergency care on a Saturday or in the middle of the night. I don’t know about you, but my animals always seem to get sick on the weekends.

Other topics to consider:

  • If you have a dog that is nervous, aggressive or fearful at the vet, you will want to make sure to find someone who is tolerant, patient and experienced handling all sorts of dogs. The same is true if you have a fearful cat.
  • If it’s important to you to use natural products such as natural flea and tick prevention products, you may want to find a vet who is supportive of this vs. the chemical alternatives.
  • And finally, ask yourself if this person is someone you are comfortable talking to. Does she take the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions?

The Beauty Of Possessing Possums

How to Get Rid of Possums? Make Them Leave in a Natural Way

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Something in the attic is trying to get your attention. Now that your curiosity is up, you need to know who’s the uninvited visitor. You slowly enter and what do you see? A mess, chewed belongings and sometimes even the furry burglar in the act – the possum itself

The main culprits are usually one of the two species of possums: the common brushtail possum – as large as a cat with a big bushy tail, and the common ringtail possum – smaller in size with a bare curled tail. Both of them are adorable little critters but don’t be fooled by their big innocent eyes! They can cause a lot of problems in a household.

Why you should get rid of possums as fast as you can:

Diseases – They can carry diseases like Buruli ulcer and Tularemia and spread them through urine, droppings and fleas;

Fleas – Possible flea carriers and potential danger for your pets and kids even without the infectious diseases;

Stress for the pets around the house – The possums invade their territory and make constant noises at night which drives pets crazy;

Property damage – They can chew cardboard, insulation, electrical cables and munch on your garden plants.

Signs of a possum infestation

Of course, the fastest way to find out you have a possum problem at home is either to see one face-to-snout or catch it with a surveillance camera. If you only suspect there’s a possum around, you need to do a little bit of investigation. It’s important to identify the animal as it can be a pest like a rat or a mouse. That will determine what measures you need to take

Signs of possums to look out for:

Noises – They’re noisy little fellas. They can be vocal and growl, grunt, screech and hiss. Other noises they make come from scratching and knocking things down at night (when they’re most active), usually in roof cavities;

Droppings and urine – You can find possum droppings and urine stains. The brushtail possum’s droppings are from dark green to brown and with the size of an olive. The ringtail possum’s droppings are from dark brown to black and around 1 cm long. You can find them in different places – on the balcony, in the guttering, on garden tables, etc. It’s hard to find the difference between possum and rat droppings but in case you find either, you might want to call a pest control company right away;

Chewed electrical wiring – Like any rodents, possums love chewing on things that they shouldn’t. You definitely have a rodent problem if you find chewed electrical cables. This can create a fire hazard and your household might end up with no electricity;

Trees and flower damage in the garden – Possums love munching on plants, even decorative ones. The problem is even more apparent if you have fruit trees in your garden.

Best Ways To Get Rid Of Possums And Other Pests

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Possums Depending on where you live, pests are inevitable. When they are attacking your crops, you need to act fast. Below are some of the best ways to get rid of possums and other menaces. It’s important to be self-sufficient. Cultivating crops makes you less dependent on others.

They also have a strong scent. They can do serious damage to a garden. You will need to assess whether the damage has been done by possums or whether something else is after the crops. One way to make sure that the culprit are possums is by measuring the hole they created as they need at least 3 inches to squeeze into it.

How to protect crops from possums

Possums need to be controlled because they can eat over 65 types of plants. They can completely destroy a farm full of crops in a matter of a few days. They don’t need much to survive; a nesting place is enough as long as they have access to food. You will find their nests in hollow logs, under masses of vegetation, or in trees.

Some people have tried installing a two-strand electric fence that has wires at 4 inches and at 12 inches. This would help to not only protect the crop against possum but it would also protect the crops from damage caused by other pests. Poly tape also works well for this purpose. An electrical fence usually activates at dusk and remains on until dawn.

Trapping Possums

Sometimes you have to resort to catching possums and relocating them. This is the most economically friendly way and the most effective method as well. However, it requires daily commitment as you will have to put food in the traps and check in often. The minimum sized box for catching a possum should be 10 x 10 x 32 for traps that have single doors.

How to get rid of possums from your home

Few things are as startling as a possum thundering across the roof in the middle of the night. They’re surprisingly loud for a creature of slight proportions. While possums are cute and mostly non-aggressive, they can wreak havoc around your home and garden as well as carry and spread diseases.

Signs you have a possum problem

If you’ve heard scampering across the ceiling or in the walls during the night, chances are you have a possum or a rat in your home. Identification of the unwelcome visitor is key to determining the most appropriate action. Droppings are the best indicator as to whether the pest in your roof or wall cavity is a possum or a rat.

Cruelty-free ways to remove or repel possums

Possums are a protected species which means it’s illegal to harm or kill them, and remove them without a permit. Relocation may seem like a cruelty-free way to remove a possum from your home, but because possums are extremely territorial relocation will most likely result in the demise of the animal.

Fence them out

While possums are agile creatures and great climbers, they can only jump up to 1m high. This means a sturdy paling fence over 1.5m high can prevent possums getting into your garden. If you have a lower fence you could install fence spikes on the top of the fence to deter possums (as well as cats and rodents) without harming them

Remove access to food and water

As the saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure’, so by making your home less appealing to possums it is a great way to deter them. Start by removing access to food and water on your property.


What is an Opossum?

Opossums are the only marsupial found in North America. They live in many parts of the United States with the exception of the Rockies, western plains and parts of the northern region. Opossums usually live alone and are only active at night. Though a relative of the kangaroo,

opossums are much slower and produce a nauseating smell when threatened. These wild animals are able to survive in a wide range of conditions and locations by virtue of their flexible diets and reproductive habits. If you are dealing with an infestation, opossum removal should be handled by a professional.

What Do Opossums Look Like?

Opossums grow up to 40 inches in length, about the size of a house cat. Their bodies are covered in white or grayish hair. Opossums have a long, pointed face with round, hairless ears and a rat-like tail. Additionally, females have a pouch on their stomach for holding newborns.

Opossum vs. Possum

Although the average person may use the terms “opossum” and “possum” interchangeably, they are different. An opossum is a white and gray marsupial that is found primarily in North America. In contrast, a possum is the name used to describe a marsupial

Opossum Removal

In order to prevent an opossum from taking up shelter in a residence, homeowners should store trash in sealed receptacles with animal-proof lids, preferably in a locked shed or outhouse. It’s good practice to bring pet food dishes inside at night to avoid attracting opossums and other nuisance wildlife. Homeowners should also remove other obvious sources of food and shelter from the property, such as fallen berries and fruits, as well as woodpiles and logs. On a nice day, Inspect the outside of the home for holes and access points, such as broken vent covers. To further limit opossum accessibility to a home, tree branches hanging near roofing should be trimmed, as opossums are skilled climbers and leapers.

How to keep raccoons and possums away from your house

Major cities are being overrun by raccoons, but the “trash panda” isn’t the only invader. As opossums, skunks, and other furry pests make homes in our neighborhoods, it’s important to know how we can respect nature without letting it ruin our yards.

What attracts raccoons and other fuzzy nuisances?

Animals adapt to human-created habitats through a process called urbanization. As it turns out, some mammals benefit from our tendency to replace everything with a strip mall.

found raccoons were uniquely suited to living in cities. In fact, city life might actually be better for them. Think about it: humans arrive, kill or drive off big predators, install sources of clean water like sprinklers and hose spigots, and leave out bins of food. We even build culverts that help critters avoid roads. Some crafty animals have been known to build dens in the space under houses. In fact, raccoons are living so high on the hog that we’re giving them diabetes.

How to keep raccoons, possums, and other furry pests away

Wild animals are generally drawn to humans because it’s the path of least resistance to food, water, and shelter. Make these harder to get and they’ll leave on their own.

Most pest mammals will eat almost anything, so start by firmly securing any trash or compost bin. Use “animal-proof” containers and be sure to regularly remove rubbish, especially scraps of food. Bring in any dog or cat food you might leave out during the day and ensure your pets stay inside after dark—you don’t want them to become food themselves. If you have food sources you can’t bring in, such as bird feeders, hang them high enough so that they’re difficult to reach from the ground or a branch.

Examples In Effective Procurement Engine Rebuilding

What Is a Seized Engine ?

Seized engine moments are perhaps one of the lowest points for a driver. It’s very annoying when a vehicle’s ignition cranks, the fuel tank is full, and the spark plugs are new, yet the car cannot start. This behaviour is typical with seized engines.

Engines are said to be seized or locked when mechanical failures lock down the crankshaft from rotating on the bearings in response to piston movement. The locking of internal components, such as the piston getting stuck to the cylinder walls, piston rod bearings malfunctioning, and crankshaft breaking, are some of the primary causes of crankshaft lock down.

Seized engines are a nightmare as it usually means replacing costly parts or worse the replacing the engine entirely.

Causes of seized engines

An engine can jam due to several reasons that include:

  • Inadequate engine lubrication – the starvation of lubricant causes moving engine parts to start grinding, and friction builds up. The friction emits heat that causes engine parts to expand. The expansion reduces the clearance between the moving part and may eventually constrict the movement when the pieces start grinding. The excessive heat may also melt and amalgamate or weld the parts together, locking down the engine. Continued grinding also causes the parts to wear out and eventually malfunctions and gets stuck. For example, the piston head and the cylinder sleeves may wear out, eventually causing the piston to stall.
  • Rust – when a vehicle is unused for long, rusting of the engine parts may occur. When sensitive parts such as piston sleeves or the piston and crankshaft bearings rust, their movement is restrained, and the engine seizes.
  • Bending of the engine parts – with usage, some of the vehicle parts may bow to pressure. When parts such as the piston rod or the crankshaft crook out of alignment, they may cause jamming and lock the crankshaft.
  • Damaged piston or crankshaft bearings – the bearings play a significant role in facilitating smooth movement of the piston and the crankshaft. When the bearings are damaged, this movement is cramped and may lock down even the entire system, seizing the engine.
  • Broken crankshaft – although rare, crankshafts at times develop cracks and eventually break. The broken crankshafts jam the pistons against the piston sleeve, stalling the whole engine.
  • Excessive heating in the engine – heat may not necessarily come from friction due to lubricant starvation. Sometimes lack of coolant, continuously overworking the engine beyond its designed capacity, poor carburettor jetting or poor ignition timing may cause excessive heating. This excessive heating causes the oil to overheat, lowering its lubrication properties and eventually leading to metal-to-metal wear that seizes the engine.
  • Accumulation of water in the engine – water may accidentally find its way into the engine. Since water is not compressible like gasoline and does not ignite readily, it causes the engine to seize up.

Symptoms of a Bad Starter

The starter in your vehicle is a crucial part of the ignition system. As its name indicates, the starter in your Volkswagen is responsible for starting the engine. In order for it to start, the engine has to be turning quickly so that it can create combustion. The starter is an electric motor that turns the engine over when you turn the key or push the ignition button. When you do this, a relay connects a strong electric current between the battery and starter solenoid. That allows the pinion gear of the starter to connect with the flywheel, which is connected to the crankshaft. When the starter motor turns the flywheel, the rest of the engine will rotate so that combustion takes place in the cylinders and the engine runs on its own.

If the starter is damaged in any way, the chances of the engine turning over and starting aren’t good. But there are other things that could cause this problem as well, from a dead battery to a bad alternator. How do you know if the starter is to blame? These symptoms can give you a good idea, but ultimately it’s best to have the experts take a look.

Your Engine Doesn’t Turn Over, But Electrical Accessories Work

In general, if your engine is turning over but still not starting, it’s not likely to be a problem with the starter. The noise that you hear when your engine cranks means that the starter is doing its job, but there’s a problem elsewhere. But if you’re met with no noise, it may be that the starter solenoid or relay is broken, and is not sending the current through. There are many reasons that an engine might not turn over, and not all of them are related to the starter. A dead battery, for example, could also cause the car not to start. To make sure that the battery isn’t the issue, turn on electric systems in your vehicle like the radio, the headlights, the A/C. If they’re weak or don’t turn on at all, or if they dim when you turn the key, the problem may be with the battery and not the starter.

You Hear a Whirring, Grinding, or Squealing Sound from the Engine

If you hear either a gentle whirring or an irritating screeching sound coming from under the hood when you turn the key, it’s likely that a bad solenoid is causing freewheeling. A freewheeling starter motor is one where the pinion gear isn’t able to connect to the flywheel. This means that the pinion gear is spinning (producing that whirring sound), but the lack of connection keeps the engine from doing the same. And if you hear a grinding noise, it may be that the gear is making some connection to the flywheel, but not the right kind of connection.

You Hear a Clicking Noise

This is a tricky one, because a clicking noise might not necessarily be caused by a bad starter. In fact, clicking when you turn the ignition key is often caused by loose battery terminals or a weak battery. However, it could also be due to the starter relay or solenoid not getting enough power. If the starter relay has been damaged and isn’t sending enough current, the sound it makes can be just like the clicking you hear from a dead battery.

You See Smoke

Smoke coming from your vehicle is never a good sign. In order to turn your engine as quickly as it does, the starter needs to use a good amount of electricity. Still, it has a limit as to how much it can handle, and going over that limit could cause the part to start smoking. Though it could be caused by an electrical short in the starter, it’s also possible for this to happen when using the starter too long. Instead of constantly cranking the engine, which could cause the starter to start smoking, wait a few minutes between tries.

The Starter Won’t Stop

The starter is supposed to run only when you’re starting the engine. It’s right there in the name, after all. Once the engine is started and you stop turning the key or pressing the button, the starter will disengage from the flywheel until you next turn on your vehicle. Or that’s how it’s meant to be, anyway. While most of the starter problems we’ve discussed lead to a starter that won’t activate, the opposite can also happen. If a starter stays on, the entire starter and the flywheel could suffer massive damage and need to be replaced. If this happens to you, turn off your car immediately and have it towed to an authorized service center.

Tapping the Starter Helps

This last one is just as much a tip as it is a symptom. If you suspect that the starter is at fault, grab a hammer (or another heavy object made of metal, like the tire iron in your trunk or a quality wrench). Open the hood and locate the starter–and make sure that it’s actually the starter! Then, tap the starter with the hammer or other tool. It’s important that you tap relatively gently, rather than whacking the starter. Hitting it too hard could damage the starter and make your current problem even worse.

There are a few important things to note. The first is that not all starter problems can be resolved by using this technique. If you hit the starter and nothing happens, it could still be a starter problem. The second thing to note is that this is just a temporary fix. If it works, you should take the opportunity to drive to the dealership to get the starter tested and replaced if necessary.

How do I know if my tractor engine is seized?

People also ask, what are the signs of a seized engine?

Seized Engine Symptoms

The most prominent seized engine sign is complete engine failure, i.e., no matter how much you try, the engine will not start.

On cranking, loud clunking sounds can be heard from a seized engine, due to the stater hitting the flywheel.

Also, will a seized engine turn over? A seized engine means the electronics in your vehicle may still work (i.e. the radio, A/C, etc.) but the engine itself will not turn over. Instead, you may hear a knocking or clunking sound.

Also know, how do you unstick a tractor engine?

While there are a few different methods for freeing a stuck (or seized) engine, here’s our favorite. First, pour a high-quality penetrating oil down the cylinders (through the spark plug holes). Use up the entire can, dividing it between each cylinder. Let it sit overnight.

What will cause an engine to seize?

An seize is usually caused by overheating leading to the pistons exerting sufficient friction on the piston walls that the engine stalls. Things expand when hot. Pistons expand when hot. Often when an engine has seized, the heat and pressure of the pistons against the cylinder walls fuses them together, like a weld.

Conventional Vs. Mobile Home Remodeling

Times to Hire a Contractor

Wondering if it’s time to hire a general contractor? These pros are experts at managing all aspects of a project, including applying for building permits, hiring subcontractors, overseeing work and cleanup, and more. If you’re thinking of undertaking a major home improvement project, remodel or new build, a general contractor will likely be a key member of your team.

General Contractor vs. Specialized Contractor

A specialized contractor is a pro with a single specialty area of practice, like electricians and plumbers. A general contractor (GC), on the other hand, oversees all on-site aspects of a construction project, including the work of any specialized contractors. The GC is your point person — the one with a bird’s-eye view of the entire project and the person you call about everything related to the project.

You’re Ready to Implement an Architect’s Plans

If you’ve been working with an architect to design a custom home, once the plans have been finalized it’s time to find a contractor who can bring the design to life. It’s important that these pros work well together, so if your architect suggests contractors he or she has worked with before, it’s a good idea to consider getting bids from them. But even if you do go with one of the contractors your designer suggests, don’t neglect to do your own due diligence — check references, ask to see past work and double-check that he or she is insured.

You Want to Exercise Your Design Chops

This certainly isn’t the case for all homeowners, but for a certain design-savvy subset — like contributing writer, whose remodeled bathroom is shown here — taking on a (relatively) small design project with the help of a general contractor is an exciting proposition. Working with the pros at Innovative Construction, selected her own fixtures and finishes to transform a ho-hum bathroom into a light and lovely space.

You’re Making Changes to Your Kitchen

Anytime you know you’ll be needing multiple pros at work on a single project, it’s usually worthwhile to hire a general contractor to oversee and coordinate the project. In a kitchen, for example, pretty much any work that goes beyond altering a single element (like replacing appliances) will require multiple pros, including a plumber, an electrician and a carpenter or cabinetmaker. Your general contractor can maintain the larger vision for the space (including a kitchen designer’s plans, if you’re using them), hire and oversee subcontractors, schedule the work and maintain the site.

Most Popular Features for a New Kitchen? A Pro Tells All

Embarking on a kitchen remodel is both an exciting and daunting endeavor for most people. My goal as a kitchen designer is to guide my clients through the multitude of decisions that need to be made. To begin, I always ask what they envision in their dream kitchen. Not surprisingly, there is a universal chorus on their requirement list, unlike their wish list, which is diverse and based on their specific desires. Read on to find my most requested kitchen must-haves.


It may not surprise you that the most common request I hear from a new client is for a kitchen island. It’s very typical for people to dream of an island that’s the focal point of their kitchen and is big enough for food preparation, extra storage and seating, like the one shown here.

Long and narrow. One option is to rethink the depth of your island. Not all islands are meant to have seating. Some simply function as another work surface with perhaps a bit of storage below. In this photo, the combination butcher block and stainless steel island adds a warm yet industrial element to a gray Transitional-style kitchen. The openness of the island adds an airy feeling to this galley kitchen space.

Itty bitty. Remember, as nice as it is to have a large island, you won’t enjoy all that extra counter space if it’s difficult to walk around the kitchen. A key component of getting your island right is the work aisle clearances. Sometimes the space you have means only the smallest of center islands will do.

Large Single Sink

I’d say that 98 percent of my clients request a single-basin sink that is 30 to 33 inches wide and 9 inches deep. What makes the single basin all the rage? Most of my clients comment that their current double sinks cannot fit large pots and pans — and that drives them crazy!

Remodeling Your Kitchen in Stages: Planning and Design

If you’ve got several cookie jars stuffed full of $100 bills, then executing a full-scale kitchen remodel all at once makes sense. But what about those homeowners whose cookie jars are filled with, well, mostly cookies?

You can still get that beautiful kitchen of your dreams, you just need patience and a well-thought-out game plan that breaks up your remodel into several stages spread out over time. That way you can save up (fill that cookie jar!) and spend only what you can when you can. Maybe this month it’s painting the cabinets. Maybe later in the year you buy new appliances

Look Before You Leap

A phased remodel gives you the ability to spread out payments over time, which is good for people who can’t pay for a full remodel up front and aren’t comfortable taking out a large loan to cover it. Breaking up a project also allows you to change your plan between stages, something much more difficult when you’re in the middle of a full-scale remodel. If you decide to reverse course in some aspect of the plan, it will likely cost less than changing course would have been if the whole remodel were done at once.

But a phased project requires immense patience and strategy. Your first impulse may be to dive right in, but I’m here to tell you: don’t. When planning a kitchen remodel over stages, it is important to rein in those early rash decisions. Do not buy new appliances, fixtures or countertops. Do not paint, do not replace windows, do not knock down that wall and do not replace your cabinet hardware.

If you act on impulse and rip out that awful tile countertop and replace it with a gorgeous slab, you have seriously limited yourself going forward. What if you end up wanting to change out the undercounter sink or, worse, modify your entire kitchen layout? That stunning new countertop may have to go, and you will find you have wasted time and resources.

Times to Hire a Design-Build Firm

Wondering if it’s time to hire a design-build firm? Unlike the more traditional path (known as “design, bid, build”), which involves hiring a designer and a builder separately, hiring a design-build firm gives you design and construction services under the same umbrella. Whether led by an architect or a builder, all true design-build firms include both designers and builders at their core.

If you are thinking of remodeling, adding on or building from scratch and want the ease of working with a single firm from start to finish, a design-build firm may be the right choice for you.

You Like the Idea of Working With a ‘Master Builder’

Once upon a time, the professions of architecture and construction were not as separate as they typically are today. And while it’s true that even in a design-build firm, the design work and the construction are generally handled by different people, a close collaboration between these two wings can result in something akin to the “master builder” approach that was once more common.

You Want a Specialist in Construction Methods

Because the design-build model brings all members of a project team — including the designer, contractor, engineer and any specialty subcontractors — together early on in the process, you can be sure that tricky construction issues are taken into account from the get-go.

You’re on a Tight Schedule

Disagreement between the designer and the contractor on how things ought to be done can result in serious slowdowns. When you’re working with a design-build firm, however, everyone is on the same team — which can translate into faster timelines. Also thanks to this collaboration, building can often begin even if there are still a few small finishing touches to iron out in the design.

Trends That Will Define Home Design

It’s not only a new year but a new decade. And what the months and years ahead will bring is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, though: The modern home and how people choose to live in it will constantly be changing. To get an idea of what’s to come, we browsed thousands of home design photos, spoke with countless home design professionals

Three-tone kitchens. Two-tone kitchen cabinets — meaning the upper cabinets are one color and the lower cabinets another color, or the perimeter cabinets are one color and the island is a different color — dominated kitchens in the past couple of years. So it’s only natural that designers are building on the trend rather than doing away with it.

a deep navy defines the refrigerator and pantry wall to the left, joining white perimeter cabinets and a superlight wood island base. Wood via the beams, ceiling, shelves and flooring adds to the diverse three-tone palette.

used a three-tone strategy in this kitchen, which is one of the most popular kitchen photos uploaded in 2019. Sage-green cabinets surround a dark stained wood island base, while an inky painted window frame (Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore) punches up the design considerably.

This cabinetry from Yorktowne combines a honeyed white (Safari Classic) with green (Eucalyptus Classic), and two warm wood cabinets with open shelves flank the range. A wood X-detail contributes to the three-tone approach.

All You Need To Know About Electric Water Heaters

Heat Pump Water Heaters in Cold Climates: Pros and Cons

We chose a heat pump water heater for our new house, and as I’ve recently discussed here, there are a lot of reasons why you might be doing the same. Using an air-source heat pump, heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) extract heat out of the air where they are located to heat the water

That means that a HPWH cools the space where it is located. That’s a good thing in the summer—it doubles as air conditioning—but in the winter it’s not so helpful. That’s especially the case in a cold climate in a house without a standard heating system.

Cooling the space where they are located

In a typical New house that has a furnace or boiler in the basement producing a lot of waste heat, a heat pump water heater can use some of that waste heat and it’s not really very noticeable—the less efficient the heating system the less noticeable is the effect of the HPWH

But we don’t have a heating system in our basement. As a result, our HPWH cools the space. With the cold weather we’ve had (as I write this it’s about –2°F) and our basement has stayed pretty cool: typically 50°F–54°F, though with the exceptionally cold weather we had a few weeks ago during a time of heavier hot water usage, the temperature dropped as low as 47°F. Our basement temperature would probably be considerably lower if my wife and I used a lot of hot water, but we’re pretty frugal.

In cooling the space where it is located, a HPWH makes the heating system work harder. In our house the heating system is a single mini-split air-source heat pump wall-mounted unit on a first-floor wall. That system delivers heat to the basement through the uninsulated floor and through the basement door, which we usually leave closed.

Your Water Heater Loves to Care for Your Family

Hot water—it’s one of those things you don’t think about much. But when it’s gone, it’s all you think about! Don’t stress over something that you can’t fix.

What’s Wrong with Your Water Heater?

Is your system not working like it should be? If your water heater isn’t doing its job, there’s a good chance something is wrong with it.

Here are the most common problems people have with their water heaters:

Not enough hot water- Pure and simple. If your water heater isn’t meeting your needs, then it’s time to call in the professionals.

Leaks- Don’t pay for hot water you’re not enjoying! Our plumbers will locate any leaks and properly seal them.

Unpleasant odors- This can indicate your system is rusting or decaying from the inside. Have your water heater repaired by a professional before it becomes unsalvageable.

Unusual noises- Bangs and rattles can mean there’s sediment buildup in your system, which can severely damage it. Call us to get your system working and sounding as it should.

Discolored water- Your water should always be crystal clear. Discolored water is a sign of rust in your pipes or water heater. If your water is an unusual color, this warrants professional attention.

When It’s Time to Part Ways with Your Water Heater

Water heater repair can sometimes be cost-prohibitive. You’ll pay for the necessary repairs only to face another problem shortly thereafter.

You can avoid this scenario by opting for water heater replacement. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s probably on its last legs. When we examine your system, our plumbers will tell you the condition of your water heater and what we recommend

Water Heaters

What Should I Do If My Water Heater Is Leaking?

Is your water heater leaking? Here’s what you need to do: First, find the location of the leak. This will be helpful for you and your service technician. Turn off the power supply by switching the water heater circuit breaker to “off” for an electric water heater or by turning the dial to “off”

Hot water is one of those things everyone takes for granted in our modern society. A hot shower on a cold winter evening is relaxing. Hot water washes away dirt from laundry and grease from pans. And hot water comes in handy as an emergency defroster.

Most homeowners in Champaign are accustomed to reserving a corner of their basement or utility closet to a huge water heater tank. Cold water enters the tank, gets heated to a certain temperature, and is either used or slowly cools down. If it is not used, it needs to be reheated.

Energy Usage Drops

Regardless if you heat your water with natural gas, electricity, propane, or some other fuel, tankless water heaters use less energy. Instead of heating water only to let it cool down when you’re not using it, a tankless water heater operates on demand. When you request hot water in the shower, in the kitchen, or in the laundry, the tankless water heater prepares just the water you need and no more.

One Less Thing to Juggle

When hot water is limited to how much your water heater tank can hold, you may find yourself juggling when each family member showers or when you run your dishwasher or washing machine. Since tankless water heaters produce hot water on demand, you don’t have to schedule these daily tasks any more or worry you’ll run out of hot water when you need it most.

Water Heater

Unsecured water heaters often fall over, rupturing rigid water and gas connections. If your water heater does not have two straps that wrap completely around it and are screwed into the studs or masonry of the wall, then it is not properly braced. This illustration shows one method of bracing a water heater

Fresh water after a disaster may be as close as your water heater – provided, of course, that it remains standing upright. A typical water heater holds 30 to 50 gallons of water.However, this supply of water is extremely vulnerable to the ground undulation (swells and rolls) and ground acceleration of earthquakes, causing them to tip over.

Changes to strapping recommendations

Your tank may be strapped, but incorrectly, as old methods are no longer recommended. Experts have modified the recommended procedure for strapping water heaters because many tanks broke through their strapping

Experts recommend these two important changes:

Secure both the top and the bottom, rather than just the top or just the middle, of the hot water tank.

Use heavy-gauge metal strapping rather than plumber’s tape. Many water heaters in both the 1989 and the 1994 earthquakes broke through the plumber’s tape that was intended to keep them secure. The thin metal in plumber’s tape has been found to be too brittle to be effective.

Secure your water heater.

There should be very little space between the water heater and the wall. If there is more than 1 or 2 inches, attach a wooden block to the wall studs with long lag screws (see illustration on page 20). The purpose is to prevent the heater from tipping backwards.

Wrap the heavy-gauge metal strapping 1½ times around the tank. Start by placing the strapping at the back of the tank. Bring it to the front and then take it back to the wall (see illustration below).

Secure this strapping to the wall studs or the wood block using several 1/4″ x 3″ or longer lag screws with oversized washers. If you are securing it directly into concrete, use 1/4″ expansion bolts in place of the screws.

Replace all copper and metal piping with flexible natural gas and water line connectors.

Hot Water Heaters

By default, tap water is neither hot nor cold. It depends on the temperature of the pipes. If it’s the winter, your water will be cold and hot if it’s the summer season. If you want to get hot water constantly, you need a water heater.

Hot water heaters are mechanically simple in terms of function. Cold water goes in, hot water comes out. This applies to the many types of water heaters in the market today. But what is it about water heaters that make them complicated? I can think of two things: the installation and the maintenance.

Knowing the kind of water heater that you have, and knowing the kind of water heater you want to purchase, can help you prolong the lifespan of your heater and also help you save money on repairs and installation. Listed below are the different kinds of water heaters available in the market today and some interesting tips on how you can go about with the installation and maintenance of your old or new hot water heater system.

Gas or Conventional Storage Water Heater

Gas water heaters are the most common type of water heater and are by far the oldest unit around. This water heater possesses an insulated storage tank used to hold quantities of heated water and can store anywhere between 30 and 80 gallons. Conventional water heaters are usually powered by whatever service is present in your home – like natural gas, liquid propane, oil, and even electricity. Inside the tank, you’ll find a gauge that reads the water temperature and when the temperature drops to a preset level, the unit will start up to bring the water temperature up. This is a continuous heating process that goes on for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It heats when you sleep or when you’re away on vacation. Gas water heaters actually force you to pay for heated water that you don’t even use but one good thing about gas or conventional water heaters is that there’s always hot water waiting for you.

Simple maintenance tips for gas water heaters

Draining and flushing should be done twice a year to prevent the build-up of sediment and minerals.

Check if your pressure relief valve is still working or in good condition.

Prior to doing any maintenance, be sure to turn off your heater’s power supply or set the gas switch to the pilot position.

Tankless or Instantaneous Water Heaters

If you don’t want to be bothered with a huge tank in your home, then you can go for the tankless or instantaneous water heaters. These water heaters are often called “hot water on demand” because they only provide you with hot water when you ask for it, which makes it very practical due to the significant energy savings that you get out of it. You only get to pay for the hot water that you use. The only downside to these tankless water heaters is the low flow rate and its inability to accommodate simultaneous household use. If you’re using the hot water for showering, you can’t use hot water for taps or for the dishwasher at the same time. If this poses a problem, then you need to buy another tankless water heater for separate appliances. This is what most homeowners usually do. They have a designated water heater for the kitchen tap, dishwasher, bathroom tap, shower, and other plumbing appliances and fixtures. A conventional water heater can last for up to 15 years while a tankless water heater can function for 20 years or more but its longevity can come at a cost, literally. Tankless water heaters cost twice as much as conventional models.

Night Vision WiFi Camera Operator


Why get into technical production?

Yeah, the director thinks he’s pretty important, sitting in his fold-up chair and dishing out the orders Likewise, the actors and actresses might think they’re the dog’s danglies, flouncing around the set and retiring to their trailer when it all gets too much.

However, these guys would be nowhere without the technical production crew responsible for operating the cameras, coordinating the lighting and recording the sound.

The technical production crew are the heart and soul of the TV and film industries. They’re probably not going to be wearing the sharpest tuxedos or the most incredible gowns on the red carpet, and they’re certainly not going to be on the cover of Hello magazine anytime soon. However, these guys are the people who truly “make the magic happen.”

What roles are needed in the camera crew?

This tricky task is in the safe hands of the people who work in the camera crew. The different tasks that these guys undertake are all part of a meticulous and subtle art, which should never detract from the on-screen action. The choice of lens, the exploitation of focus and the movement of the camera all have an impact on the final visual product.

Job roles within the camera crew completely depend on the size and nature of the shoots you are working on, and career progression can involve taking a lot of little steps.

A Guide to Film Set Lingo and Hand Signals

Working on a film set can be a loud experience, with a variety of terms or jargon bandied about that has developed over the past hundred and twenty years or so. I wanted to share with you a smattering of what is said, not said, and what it all means.

Hand signals

These can help to reduce the noise on a set, which is a good thing, since the last thing you as a crew member want is to be noticed for being too loud.

Counting  As an assistant camera person, you often need to share information, but you want to keep the noise to a minimum and not disturb the actors. Still, information such as lens focal length and T-Stop has to go out to your second, or to the continuity person. So it is necessary that you be able to share simple numeric information between takes without interrupting the workflow or the actors’ concentration. This brings us to the need for a one-handed signal. This is simple: fingers straight up—1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Fingers horizontal—6, 7, 8, 9. A closed fist indicates zero/ten.

CP-47  A spring-style wooden clothes pin, great for attaching gels and diffusion to barndoors.

Cover Me  As in, “I have to step off set for a minute and don’t want to disturb the boss, so just pay attention and fill in for me for the next few minutes.” Wave your hand palm down over your head. This is usually used by a key to their first, or a first to their second. It keeps the set moving harmoniously.

Camera Movement Techniques

Early movie cameras were limited by their size and weight. And by early, I mean for the first 150 years of cinema. Throughout the golden age of hollywood a camera was a device often ridden across train tracks by a camera operator and a focus puller. Camera movement was bound by this technology, but that didn’t stop cinematographers from moving their cameras — along tracks or with cranes — the smallest amount of movement required an astounding amount of preparation, planning, dedication and off-camera assistance.

The basic camera moves were all developed in this age of cinema; cameras could move up, down, left or right. They could tilt or pan if you had the proper mount, and zoom if you had a zoom lens.

Every time we learn a new craft or skill, we need to learn the basic moves or techniques that define that function. Beginning to learn to shoot video, whether for a hobby or a budding business, requires some knowledge of the basic moves that define good video shooting practices.

Back when I was in high school taking TV Tech, we would practice making a TV Show called “The Skills Card Test” — we hated doing it. The studio looked so inviting — the cameras, the lights — that we wanted to get on with being Steven Spielberg and skip over the boring stuff, like learning how to actually use the equipment. “The Skills Card Test” consisted of a number of grey cards on stands, and the camera operators had to perform certain camera operation tasks that related to things that were on the cards. So, while the camera operators practiced panning between two dots, zooming from one box to another, the directors practiced directing, the narrators practiced narrating, the Technical Director practiced Technical Directing (which involved setting the levels for the cameras, making sure that the lighting wasn’t too bright or too dark, among other technical tasks), grips gripped, gaffers gaffed and production assistants learned to do everything else. What I realize years later is that doing that boring show over and over during the first three weeks of class taught me not just to appreciate finally getting to write scripts and make our own TV shows, but I realized that I learned right there in a few weeks what it takes many people years to learn on their own.

A camera exists in a three-dimensional world and can move anywhere along the XYZ axis. This means it can move up, down, left, right, as well as forward and backward. So that the director and camera operator can effectively communicate, there are names for each of these moves. This means the director can give a series of verbal instructions, and the camera operator knows exactly what to do without anybody having to get out and draw diagrams.

Sports Cameraman: Career Requirements and Information

Sports cameramen must have in-depth knowledge of video equipment, excellent hand-eye coordination, and communication skills. These positions require a college degree. The outlook for camera operators points to faster job growth than average

Essential Information

Sports cameramen work to capture sporting events and must be attentive and steady-handed. Earning a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting, film studies or communications gives candidates the necessary education to pursue this career, which typically begins by putting in time as a production assistant. Demand for the position is expected to increase, but competition for these positions is also increasing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sports Cameraman Career Requirements

The highly specialized and technical profession of filming sporting events requires a cameraman to have an in-depth knowledge of video equipment. This knowledge most often comes from formal postsecondary studies. Most universities, technical and community colleges offer associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in film studies that teach the techniques and theories needed by successful cameramen. Potential majors include broadcasting, communications or film production.

Additional Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts growth for TV, video and motion picture camera operators to be faster than that of other occupations from 2018-2028, and competition for these positions is expected to be stiff due to a high supply of cameramen candidates. The job requires a person to work unusual hours, and there is frequently much travel involved. Many sporting events are at night or in primetime hours, and a cameraman needs to be available to travel to any city, or country, in which an event takes place.

Some sports cameramen operate as freelance workers and provide their own equipment and assignments, but the majority are hired on salary by major networks or individual sports teams. According to the BLS, the median wage of all camera operators was $54,570 as of 2018.

How we organise our film production team

One question we’ve been asked a few times is: “What does your film production team look like? How can our department/agency/organisation build a team like that too?”

Flexible roles

Filmmaking, like user research, is a team sport. We usually get a team together for each film, and we take a flexible approach to assigning tasks and roles, depending on what’s required.

With a bit of juggling, it is possible for one person to do everything: setting up the camera, recording the audio, and conducting the interview. It’s possible, but we don’t recommend it – this approach is hard work for one individual, and you’ll get much better results by spreading the load a bit further.

Film-making roles

The camera operator is responsible for the recorded image. They need to make sure the subject is well framed, properly lit, and in focus. Lighting is a skill in itself, whether that means making use of available natural light or setting up specialist lighting equipment. Recording the sound properly means someone has to listen to it while the interview is taking place. We usually combine those three roles, so the camera operator is in charge of setting up lights and listens to the audio while watching the camera screen as well. It’s quite demanding and requires a lot of concentration, but it works for us.

If you can separate out the technical roles of camera operator and sound recordist, you’ll make life easier for both of them. That means they have fewer tasks to juggle at once. We don’t do this for every shoot, but it’s useful to have it as an option.

A Critical Tip To Remember When Representing Yourself In Your Own Divorce Or Family Law Attorney Case

Family Law

The divorce process is long, complicated, and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. By knowing where to start, what to expect, and which issues to address, you can best position yourself to overcome many of the obstacles you may be faced with during a divorce.

The first step in a divorce is to determine if divorce is necessary, unavoidable, or already decided. Often this answer will be clear. Often you or your spouse will have already decided on divorce. If this is unclear however, take steps to repair your marriage before proceeding with divorce. Divorce should be your last step, not your first

Once you have decided that divorce is the best option for you and your family, or that it is unavoidable, you should begin divorce preparation. Take a deep breath and examine what you have going on. Consider your finances, your emotional state, and resources. It can be very helpful to take the time to create an exit strategy

Make a projected budget. This is an important first step that will give you the clarity to understand your financial needs moving forward. Take the time to fully understand your income and expenses.

Protect sensitive and private information. Change your email and computer passwords along with other important login information. While you may not necessarily be doing anything wrong, divorce is an emotional time and you should protect yourself from any negative actions your spouse may intentionally or unintentionally take against you with the access they have to your private accounts.

Sever financial ties by opening your own bank account. Keep enough funds to support yourself and your children pending a divorce. Be careful not to transfer funds that could possibly belong to your spouse.

Keep a journal of all facts, times, dates, and events surrounding your marriage, children, and divorce. This will likely be helpful for you and your lawyer moving forward.

Speak with an attorney about your rights and get advice specific to your situation. Divorce is a complicated process. It will be very helpful to spend an hour or two getting advice about how to move forward and better work through your specific needs.

Take the time to talk to your spouse about wanting a divorce. This will likely be a difficult conversation, but it is a necessary step. Take the time to explain, calmly and with clarity, your intentions with the divorce. This is an opportunity to mitigate the irreparable trauma and complications of the divorce.

When you are ready, reach out to your close family and friends for support.  The divorce process can be long and frustrating. Those nearest to you are often the ones who can help you the most during this time in your life.

How to choose a divorce lawyer

Divorces are filled with complex legal, financial, and emotional issues that vary from person to person. Therefore, you should choose an attorney who is best suited for you and your particular circumstances. To get started, you will want to choose an attorney who is experienced in family law and who has a good reputation. Reach out to friends and family to ask if they can recommend an attorney. Or visit professional websites such as LinkedIn and Avvo. These websites will provide you with information about potential attorneys, reviews, and helpful links.

Once you have identified a list of potential family law attorneys, your next step is to call the attorney’s office and ask to discuss your case. This is a great opportunity to ask about the firm’s experience, costs, and how they can assist you given your specific needs. Then, when you feel comfortable and confident with an attorney, should you hire one.

Not All Divorces Are The Same

There are not many situations have not seen and successfully resolved. are respected lawyers in field and in the courts. are often appointed by family court judges to serve as guardian ad litem for minor children. skills and years of experience can make the process less stressful, more effective and efficient

Firm For Family Law Issues

Facing family issues can be a stressful time. But with experienced and compassionate guidance, even the most complex issues and strained situations can have a positive outcome.

Advocacy And Resolution

understand the stress, anxiety and emotion that affect men and women who are involved in family conflict. work with you and advocate for you to find the most feasible and best solution.

Helping You With A Variety Of Issues

With over 30 years of combined family law experience, attorneys are able to guide you through your family law issue. have extensive experience assisting clients with the following matters:

Mediation, pro se divorce mediation

Custody and visitation rights for grandparents


Divorce proceedings

Child support

Child custody and placement


Collaborative divorce proceedings

Understanding family law

As a small law firm, provide a great level of personal attention that you need during such a highly emotional time period. family law practice includes all matters related to divorce and issues with children.

Experienced. Aggressive. Affordable

Going through a divorce isn’t something anyone expects when they get married, but sometimes a marriage fails and there is simply no other choice. However, divorce is one of the most stressful things a person will ever face, and this is especially true when children are involved.

If you’re thinking about a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, now is the time to protect your own interests and contact a County divorce attorney who can help you figure out what to do next. The choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life. If you have children, their lives are going to change dramatically as well.

understand what’s at stake in every divorce case and family law matter, so always treat it with the importance it deserves. aggressively pursue client’s interests and ensure that their voice is heard by acting as their personal advocate with the Family Court. are also skilled negotiators who will tirelessly to achieve realistic goals when working with your ex-spouse and their attorney to determiner important issues involving property division, alimony, child support and child custody.

divorce lawyers are ready to help you with any of the following issues:


Collaborative divorce

Child custody

Child support

Custody and support modifications

Spousal support (alimony)


Protection orders

Temporary support

Parenting plans

Child relocation

Military divorce

Same sex couple’s divorce

Prenuptial agreements


Large asset cases

Uncontested Divorce

family law and have many years of experience, there are few situations we haven’t encountered. Still, your situation is unique and requires personalized attention from an attorney who cares about the end result.

Family Lawyers

Divorce Mediation

The end of a marriage can be intensely stressful. Emotions often flare as a couple tries to resolve issues like alimony, child custody, and child support. Unfortunately, the traditional divorce process can deepen hostility between the spouses when they confront important questions concerning their future. In many situations, couples whose relationship is not abusive or completely broken should consider pursuing an alternative to divorce through the courts.

This alternative can consist of asking a neutral mediator to help the couple settle property distribution, child and spousal support, and all of the other key issues that arise when a marriage ends. A mediator can listen to the interests of each spouse, tell them how a court would rule on any disputed issue, and help them draft a divorce agreement that a court is likely to approve. People often find mediators through personal referrals, but it is also possible to find a capable mediator online or by asking your lawyer for a suggestion. However, the lawyer of either spouse may not be the mediator.

Mediation has been successful for many divorcing spouses seeking to make a plan for the future that satisfies each of them. It may be a much less expensive and time-consuming process than going to court for hearings, and everything that is discussed during mediation remains confidential (as opposed to litigation proceedings, which are public hearings). Mediation offers spouses more flexibility than the traditional divorce process because they can make their own decisions on key issues, within legal limits, rather than asking a court to make them. Entrusting a court with deciding who lives with your child or how much alimony you have to pay can be a nerve-wracking experience. Mediation allows you to avoid that unpredictability and is more likely to produce a stable long-term result.

Although it may sound like arbitration, mediation is a distinctly different process. In a binding arbitration (not all arbitrations are binding), the arbitrator essentially functions as a judge, making decisions that are binding on each spouse, whereas a mediator cannot make binding decisions. If the spouses reach an impasse in their negotiations, a mediator may recommend a solution. But a mediator cannot force you to reach a settlement.

Many states have begun to require that divorcing spouses go to mediation for certain sensitive issues, especially child custody and visitation rights. The main difference between court-ordered and private mediation is that private mediation can cover many more issues related to divorce. For example, you can use it to divide your property or handle other financial matters. To make mediation as effective as possible, you should listen to your spouse and leave your mind open to compromise. Sometimes starting with relatively minor issues is a good way to open this conversation before addressing more important and contested areas.

Estate planning & divorce?

An estate planning lawyer is an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of estate planning and is capable of creating comprehensive estate plans tailored to individual needs. Estate planning attorneys review, analyze and make recommendations regarding personal and administrative aspects of a client’s assets. They need to have a good understanding of the process of probate, as well as a good understanding of the potential future effects of various taxes, including estate, gift, and income taxes.

While not everyone will require the kind of complex plan that would be suitable for a wealthy person, or for a person with many different types of assets, even those of modest means often have specific concerns that an estate planning attorney can address. Estate planning attorneys are familiar with the wide variety of planning instruments available to help people on all economic levels provide for their own future health care and financial needs, as well as for the future needs of their family members or other beneficiaries.

What is the Difference between an Estate Planning Attorney and a Family Law Attorney?

While both estate planning attorneys and family law attorneys are concerned with issues that involve the well-being of families, family law attorneys focus primarily on matters related to divorce and parenting, while estate planning attorneys focus primarily on protecting assets, preparing for future health care needs, and creating plans for asset distribution. The two practice areas are interrelated and sometimes overlap. For example, a prenuptial agreement may be coordinated with an estate plan. People going through a divorce need to know how property distribution in the divorce will affect their estate plan. They may need to revise estate planning documents to ensure that a former spouse does not continue as an unintended beneficiary, or does not retain the power to make medical decisions. There are many documents beyond wills or trusts that may be affected.

Characteristics of Good Estate Planning Attorneys

If you are looking for an estate planning attorney, you probably already know that you will need someone who is well-versed in the tools available for estate planning and who has a solid grasp of which tools are best-suited for which particular circumstances. If you are going through a divorce, make sure that your estate planning attorney knows this and understands what the ramifications may be. Don’t overlook the importance of personal qualities as well. A good estate planning attorney will be interested in your wishes, will demonstrate a high degree of sensitivity regarding any family or health concerns you may have, and will be proactive and creative in helping you turn your wishes into reality.

Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney

You will be able to work more efficiently with an estate planning attorney if you take some time to plan ahead for your first meeting. Collecting documents and making a list of assets and liabilities is critical. One reason that it makes sense to work on estate planning concurrently with divorce planning is that both processes require many of the same documents, allowing you go through the tedious process of collecting documents only once rather than twice. In addition to collecting your documents, make sure that you think about exactly what you are hoping to accomplish. Are you concerned with protecting children or other potential beneficiaries? Do you anticipate dissension in the family over the decisions you are planning to make? Are there potential future events that require contingency planning or periodic review of your plan?

Categories: Legal

Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Home Renovation

Ways To Tell If a Home Renovation is Well Done

housing market is full of houses and condos that have been recently renovated by developers. The quality of these renovations varies greatly, and we wondered if there was a way for house hunters to tell the good renovations from the bad.

These tips are not foolproof: a home may have fancy appliances but shoddy workmanship where it counts, or be well done throughout but have mid-grade fixtures

Still, here are ten tips that we hope will help:

Look at the locks. Schlage and Baldwin are the “gold standards,” said, while a Home Depot or Quickset lock may indicate a renovator who wasn’t willing to spend the extra money.

The quality of appliances vary greatly. Write down the serial numbers and see what the developer paid for the appliances.

Take note of the bathroom fixtures, and do some research on the price and quality. Kohler is widely used and respected, and a rain shower often costs significantly more than a typical shower head. Again, a mid-range product doesn’t necessarily mean that the house is not well done, but a high-range product shows that the developer was willing to invest more.

The quality of plumbing fixtures can be determined by weight; the heavier the fixture, the more metal used, which generally translates to a more expensive product. You may not be able to pick up mounted fixtures, but holding a handle may give a sense of the weight.

Doors also fall into the “the heavier, the better” category. Swing the interior doors to determine their weight; solid core doors are heavier than hollow core, and are more expensive.

Cabinets and kitchen drawers also vary. One trick is to look at the drawers to see if they are dovetailed. Dovetailed woodwork indicates a higher quality, though a lack of dovetailing doesn’t necessarily indicate a poor job. Here are a few ways to check out the cabinets.

Perhaps the biggest worry when buying a renovated home is whether the developer has covered up large problems — mold, cracks in the foundation, a bad electrical system — with drywall or quick fixes. Look for water damage, which may indicate mold, or bring a trusted inspector or experienced real estate agent with you.

To that end, get your hands on the inspection report if you can.

An A/C system can be a good indicator of how much the developer cares. The difference between the cheaper systems and the nicer ones, like Trane and Carrier, can be just a few hundred dollars and is sometimes determined by the installer; seeing a Trane or Carrier means that you have a developer who insisted on a better system.

Finally, a good developer is usually willing to put their name on the product. If you have a hard time finding out who is responsible for developing or renovating the home, you have a right to be suspicious. Don’t be afraid to ask for references of past work, and call the current owners to find out if they are happy in the home.

The Worst Home Renovation Trends Over The Past 30 Years

Whether you’re binge-watching Fixer Upper, scrolling through the ‘gram, or following along with your favorite blogger’s renovation journey, sprucing up any space can look so deceptively simple. A little shiplap here, a little sledgehammer action there, and you’ll find up with the easy, breezy home of your dreams.

In reality? Remodeling your home is easier said than done. Not only does the most mundane project require lots of elbow grease, but most renovation projects have an expiration date. To put it lightly, your “wow” factor can turn into a “What was I thinking?” just a few years later.

Make no mistake, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder — and your renovation projects are no exception. Your home is your happy place, and creating a space that represents you and your style is timeless. That being said, we’ve noticed some former remodeling trends have seriously lost their steam over the past 30 years. While they aren’t bad, there are some newer ways to approach renovating your home that might feel more design-forward for the times.

As the design world crept into the ’90s, the industry took a turn for sensible, multi-functional design. While we love the appeal of an ottoman with hidden storage or a sofa bed — hey, they come in handy when you have guests over — we’re still scratching our heads over the once-popular glass-blocked walls

Want to give your hardwood floors a fancy finishing touch? Back in 1990, parquet was the trend du jour. By definition, parquet is a geometric mosaic created to give your hardwood floors a decorative edge

Should You Renovate Your House Before Selling it?

collectively spend over $300 billion on remodeling and repairing their homes every year. However, diving into demolition is one thing when you’ll get to enjoy those shiny granite counters and new soak tub for years down the road. The question of “Should I renovate my house before selling?” requires more calculated thinking purely based on ROI and the marketability of your home in its current condition.

“I know that most of the time, you’re going to get back 65% to 70% of what you’re going to spend, assuming that it’s something generic enough in nature to where the next buyer is going to appreciate it,”

When does selling your home “as is” make sense?

Sellers who need to max as much money out of their property as possible—perhaps to purchase a larger home or apply toward their retirement—will be more motivated to take on renovations than homeowners who are short on time,

But it’s not unusual for a homeowner to get a job transfer out of state that starts within weeks, leaving no time to renovate, said. “In that particular case, we’d always want to say, ‘Well, gee, if there are some basic things we can do just by pressure washing the outside or doing a few things like that.’ But in lieu of doing all these possible updates for the buyer, let’s just reduce the price drastically to compensate for those numbers and get it sold.”

Another option is to sell your house “as is” to an investor. You’ve heard of these companies that have for decades shown up on billboards and in your mailbox with promotions promising to buy your house for cash instantly. The catch has always been that you’d have to sell your house for a steep discount to get this type of offer, but what you may not realize is that today’s direct-buy investor market has been stirred up by the entry of new competition.

Easy Do-It-Yourself Renovations

Refinish or Reface Kitchen Cabinets

Consider either refinishing existing cabinet doors with paint, stain, or laminate; or reface them, which means putting new doors on existing kitchen boxes. Hint: Order one door and one drawer front before ordering the whole set so you know they’ll really work. Check out more budget-friendly kitchen renovation tips.

Buy New Knobs for Cabinetry

Replace wood knobs with modern stainless ones, or swap cold metal ones for antique colored glass knobs (Anthropologie always has a great assortment).

Add Track Lighting

Because these are lights that go on the surface of the ceiling, as opposed to “pot” or “can” lights that are recessed, you can install these yourself.

Insulate the Attic and Other Energy-Sucking Areas

Caulk around windows and spaces between the floor and baseboards. Service your furnace so it produces the most for the least, and insulate your visible pipes for heat loss. Buy a “draft stopper” or “draft guard” for the bottoms of your doors (a cheap fix from $10 per door) so wind or heat doesn’t slip through.

Tile the Bathroom Floor or Kitchen Backsplash

Make sure your surface is flat and dry surface — like a cement or plywood subfloor, an even wall, or a tiled surface you want to cover with new tiles. Use spacers between tiles and the notched trowel to create even ridges on the mortar under the tiles.

I want to renovate my house – where do I start?

If you’re thinking of renovating your home, chances are, your mind is flooding with ideas. You’re most likely getting advice from family and friends, as well as the many different home renovation blogs online.

Determine your intent

Are you renovating to fix issues that plague your home or to increase its resale value? Think specifically of what your issues are in terms of space, light, and storage.

Examine your home

Before anything, take a look at what could benefit from changes in your home. You can go from one room to another to work out systematically what needs upgrading or renovating. Check the flooring, the walls, the ceilings, and lighting and air flow.

Identify issues

This is tied closely to determining your intent. By finding out what needs fixing in your home, you can work with the designer to create a home design that meets your needs.

Find out your budget

Find out how much money you have for a home renovation project that you would meet your needs.