Spring Cleaning Tops for Wiping Away Winter’s Grime

While spring cleaning first came about as a cultural ritual to welcome the change of seasons, it later became a time to wipe away soot from kerosene lamps. Today, homeowners continue the practice both as a ritual and a practical cleaning. Because the task can be time-consuming, brush up on these tips for making the process go smoothly.

Clean From Ceiling to Floor

Using a step stool, reach up and dust the corners of each room where cobwebs may have formed, or use a long-handled duster if you want to stay on the ground. Clean the walls from top to bottom with a damp rag so that dirt falls to the floor before you vacuum. After cleaning the baseboards, use a dust mop on wooden floors and a vacuum with a HEPA filter to get all the heavy dirt out of the rugs and carpets.

Change Filters

Spring is the optimal time to have your air conditioner or combination furnace unit inspected and maintained by Canton OH quality HVAC equipment technicians. Minimally, you should have your filter replaced as part of your cleaning routine.

Wipe Down Cabinets

When the bright sun hits your kitchen cabinets, you may be surprised at the amount of gunk that has built up. Wipe the wood down with a damp cloth, but dry it immediately to avoid damage. Avoid soap and excess water, a cleaner combination that will dull the finish.

Squeegee Windows

Finally, clean the house’s windows both inside and out. You will be amazed at how invigorated you feel to see the spring sun shining through your crystal-clear glass. Mix water and vinegar for streak-free results, and work from top to bottom once again.

Nothing puts dreary winter memories to sleep like walking through your newly sparkling house; it is like crawling out of the fog of deep hibernation. To get that freshly awakened feel, make the most of your annual spring cleaning ritual.

The Benefits of Hiring an Interior Designer

When you decide to make some changes to your home’s interior, you may be tempted to do it yourself. However, the reality is that there can be many benefits to hiring an interior designer. If you think that an interior designer could be just what you need, here are some things to consider. 

Interior Designers Can Help You Realize Your Vision

Whether you are looking for something stark and modern or you would like a farmhouse style interior designer Denver CO hiring an interior designer can be a great way to make sure that your vision for your home becomes a reality. Because they have extensive training and can understand what makes a particular style unique, an interior designer can easily help give your home just the look that you want. 

Interior Designers Have Access to Other Professionals

Another benefit of an interior designer is that they have access to more materials and other professionals than you might on your own. This means that if you need to contract others to do work on your home, they can help you find the right professionals for you. 

Interior Designers Can Stick to a Budget

Yet another reason that interior designers can be helpful is that they can make sure that you stick to a budget. While some may think that they are good at budgeting on their own, the reality is that many may not always realize what the true cost of certain projects is. Interior designers tend to know how much it will cost to complete a particular project and can make sure that you get the design you want on a budget that works for you. 

When you are looking into making changes to your home, you may be tempted to just do the work yourself. The reality is, though, that there can be many benefits to seeking out the help of a professional interior designer. 

3 Great Ways to Add Unique Curb Appeal to Your Home

Wondering how you can spruce up your yard and make it more eye-catching? Here are three unique ways to add some major curb appeal to your home.

1. Install Window Boxes

If you want a quick way to add some color to your yard, consider installing some simple window boxes beneath the windows of your home’s façade. For homes with a more traditional style, boxes made from iron or copper provide a classic look. If your home features a more rustic or cottage-like look, boxes made of wood are the perfect complement. Treat the wood with a paint or stain and fill the boxes with blooming annuals or perennials that work with the lighting conditions of the area.

2. Create Living Borders

What should you do with unsightly property lines? Instead of leaving these areas bare, give them some visual interest and color by planting floral borders. When creating a floral border, choose plants that will give the area some year-round color. In addition to blooming bulbs which add color in the warmer seasons, include some herbaceous plants and berry bushes like winterberry holly to add pops of color even when the weather is cool.

3. Light the Landscape

Since you’ve put in plenty of hard work to update the landscaping of your yard, you need to showcase that work with quality landscape lighting. The experts in landscape lighting Elyria OH will develop a strategy to highlight the unique features of your plantings, as well as the architectural features of your home’s exterior. This finishing touch makes your home look much more attractive and charming, especially after the sun goes down.

Distinguish your home from the rest of the neighborhood by taking on these great curb appeal projects. If you follow these tips and make these improvements, you’ll create lasting curb appeal that reflects the pride you take in your home.

Tips to Find a Quality Stucco Contractor

Installing stucco on your home’s façade is a great way to protect and to increase your home’s curb appeal. While this is true, stucco installation is not a DIY job.

If you are interested in this finish, hiring a professional stucco contractor Hilliard OH is a must. However, since they are not all created equal, it is up to you to find the right person for the job. Keep reading for some tips to help you make this important decision.  

Get Recommendations

When searching for a contractor, the first step is to ask others who they have used in the past. Take time to speak to anyone who has stucco on their home to find out about the local provider they used. It is smart to create a list of options.

Learn More About the Recommended Options

The next step in this process is to learn more about each of the local contractors on your list. Find out how long they have offered services in the local area, look at past projects, and find out if they are licensed and insured. Remember, it is up to you to weed out the subpar contractors, so be sure to take your time with this step.

Get Estimates

Before hiring anyone, be sure to get two to three estimates for the work that needs to be done. Ask for the estimates in writing so you can compare them line by line. The key is to find the contractor who offers the most value, which means you may not hire the contractor offering the lowest price.

If you want to ensure that the stucco job exceeds your expectations, use the tips and information here. This will help you feel confident with the decision you ultimately make and ensure that the curb appeal you want is achieved.

3 Cost Effective Energy Upgrades for Your Home

Whether your home is relatively new or old enough to contend for historical status, electrical system upgrades are a great way to make sure you are safely and efficiently delivering power to every room in the house. Whether you’re expanding the capacity of your breaker box, rewiring old systems with updated infrastructure, or simply adding a few outlets to key rooms, safety is key. Here are three improvement ideas that can save you a lot of money, but in the interests of safety, please let a licensed professional take care of any major electrical projects unless you have professional experience with the work yourself.

1. Expanded Breaker Box Capacity

Older homes sometimes have breaker boxes set up to handle lower electrical capacities than a modern home needs. From power tools to big screen televisions, modern lifestyles require a lot of amperage. If your home is set up for less than 150 amps overall, consider an upgrade to make sure you’re not overloading the system when you run multiple appliances. This is also a great opportunity to expand the breaker capacities for high traffic areas, as well as a chance to add new circuits with additional outlets. Professional wiring and panel installation Philadelphia can take care of the whole operation in a single pass.

2. Green Home Features

If you’re interested in adding solar panels or other alternative power options to your home, professional electricians are trained to help integrate the new systems with your existing breaker box and power connections, allowing you to draw off the local grid as needed while generating as much of your own energy as possible. Existing green systems can also count on professionals for increased storage capacity, system maintenance, and other important tasks.

3. Smart Energy Systems

Smart energy meters and outlets help you understand your power use so you can identify ways to make it more efficient when you need to control costs. If you’re thinking about a smart home energy system, professional installation from a qualified team is a great way to make sure you have someone to help you walk through all its features.

The Top Signs You Need a Termite Inspection

Termites can cause serious damage to any home or property. They can live in your home’s door frames, the windows, or foundation and remain hidden for years. The termites will feed on any wood in your home, from the skirting boards to furniture and everything in between.

Since termite damage is often subtle, it is necessary to know the signs of a problem. When you know what to look for, you will also know when it is time to call the professionals for a termite inspection Wichita KS.  

Head Banging

Have you ever wondered what termites sound like? One of the top signs is clicking sounds coming out of your walls. When the colony is disturbed, the soldier termites will warn the others. This is done by the termites banging their heads against the wood.  

The worker termites eat the wood. They are loud. You can hear them munching away if you put your ear close to the wall. This means that if you hear banging or munching, it is time to call for professional help.

Flying Termites

Another sign of termites is if you see flying termites. These are called alates or swarmers. The flying insects are the ones that have let the nest to mate and form a new colony. If you see these swarmers, you should call for help right away, as they may make a new colony in or around your home. Once a colony begins, it can stay hidden for years, and you should not give the termites a chance to eat your home.

When it comes to termite problems, there is an array of signs you should know about. Knowing when to call the professionals for an inspection and treatment will help ensure this problem does not become bigger and cause even more damage.

Texas as a Land of Extremes

The state of Texas is a land containing extremes in environmental conditions and population density. Ranging from mountainous regions of western Texas to the sandy beaches along the gulf coast, the environment of Texas differs wildly. Likewise, acres of dense trees in east Texas contrast with the cactus dotted desert of the western parts of the state. There are also sections of land with hardly any sign that humans exist at all and modern bustling metropolitan areas within its borders. Visiting sightseers to the long miles of rural western counties will notice iconic windmills, an occasional oil pumpjack and miles of ranch fencing Texas. Those who fly into Dallas or Houston can shop along busy streets surrounded by skyscrapers.

Extremes of Environment in Texas

The spectrum of environmental conditions in Texas is wide. Humidity varies from coastal areas in the southeast of the state with persistently damp conditions to the far west of the state that is desert dry. Peaks of just under 9,000 feet in elevation dot western counties while the gulf coast is at sea level. Eastern parts of the state include piney woods forests and the southwestern region has mile after mile of treeless acres. Diverse wildlife reflects this variability in climate from the city-dwelling pigeons to the racing chaparral along rural highways and mountain lions to the bobcat.

Extremes of Population Density

Few places on earth have more wide-open spaces than Texas. The Lone Star State includes sparsely populated areas like Loving county with an average of less than one-half person per square mile. Dallas county, on the other hand, a true metroplex environment is home to almost 3000 people in the same space. Tumbling along with a tumbleweed where there is elbow room aplenty or sharing a crowded elevator in a skyscraper, extremes in the state population are undeniable.

The people of Texas are perhaps its greatest indicator of diversity. There are many culturally rich signs of Spanish heritage as well as Native American populations that roamed a wild west Texas landscape first. Some early settlements of European immigrants retain their flavor as well. One resident Texan that many people associate with the state are the rugged individualists known as cowboys. Working ranches are still home to saddles and lassos that help this hardy folk to herd livestock. Environment, population or personalities, Texas is indeed a land of extremes.

What Your Product-Based Business Should Know About Contract Manufacturing

If you’re unfamiliar with contract manufacturing, you’re not alone. While it’s an industry that many are unaware of, it’s an excellent opportunity for those looking to grow their product-based businesses rapidly. Many successful, at-scale companies use contract manufacturing to maximize efficiencies and reduce cost.

What is Contract Manufacturing?

At its core, contract manufacturing is a type of outsourcing. The business and the manufacturer enter into a formal agreement regarding the construction of parts, components, or complete products. All the products produced by the contractor for the business are sent to the business for use in product construction or final sale. Thus, the contract manufacturer acts as a supplier to the business in the process of production.

How is Contract Manufacturing Used?

Many business models can use contract manufacturing. The most common forms are:

  • Production of parts or components: also known as contract machining, this form of contract manufacturing allows the business to obtain highly specialized, detailed, and complex parts that would be too cost-prohibitive to make in-house.
  • Production of complete goods: Referred to as private-label manufacturing, a business contracts with a manufacturer to make an entire product that is then sold under the business’s brand rather than the manufacturers.
  • Use of facilities and equipment: a way for manufacturers to make money during equipment downtime, this model lets a business “rent” equipment from a manufacturer to make their parts or product.

Why Use Contract Manufacturing?

For many companies, contract manufacturing is a way to reduce costs. Machining equipment and facilities require large capital expenditures. When scaling a business, that capital is better spent elsewhere. Another reason is to reduce manufacturing time for products. Contract manufacturing allows you to have two or more teams working simultaneously to complete the components for the product.

You should now have a better understanding of what contract manufacturing is and why businesses use it. If you’re looking to scale your product-based business, contract manufacturing could help.

Thoughts Before Getting A Dog

Dogs are one of the most popular choices for those looking to get a pet. While they are an animal, they can be trained to be your friend. There are several things you need to consider before getting one though, and here are some of the most important ones.

The Finances

Once you get your dog, you need to realize that there will be more costs along the way. You’ll have to make sure it’s being fed, has plenty of toys to play with, and make sure your home is dog-proofed. These thinks will cost money, and some of them will be reoccurring expenses each month. You also need to plan for unexpected, as well as regular, vet visits. If something is wrong with your dog, you’ll want to get him looked at right away, and this will take money.

The Care

Getting a dog means that there are multiple responsibilities added to your life. The animal’s life is now in your hands. Daily walks, playtime, and training are all a major part of making sure your pet is happy and obedient. You can’t go away and expect the dog to look after itself, you’ll need to find a sitter or perhaps look for boarding kennels Jacksonville FL. You might want to reconsider getting one if you know you won’t be able to care for it the way it needs to be.  

The Breed

Don’t go out and get the first dog you see. As tempting as it might be, do some research on the different breeds that are available and see what would suit your house best. Think about how you live, where you live, and what you can handle. Some dogs are noisemakers, others are more reserved. There are those that will protect you at all costs, and then there are ones who instinctively want to make friends with every person they see.

While you may want a dog, you really need to think about what it means to get one. It will create a whole new world for you to live in.

Fire Pit Safety Tips

A backyard fire pit is a great addition to any home. It offers countless hours of outdoor entertaining, relaxation and even outdoor cooking. It’s a spot where family and friends can gather and memories can be made. Ignoring fire safety measures, however, can send the good times up in smoke. Backyard fire pits and outdoor heaters accounted for approximately 5,300 injuries in the U.S. in 2017. To keep loved ones and property safe, follow these fire safety tips.

Heed No-Burn Notices

Sometimes environmental factors may warrant a temporary ban on outdoor burning, and in those instances local governments may issue no-burn alerts. Whether it’s due to wildfire concerns during excessively dry periods or unhealthy air quality levels, it’s important to know the conditions, and any corresponding alerts, before starting a fire.

Limit Sparks

While the crackling and popping sounds of burning wood adds to the ambiance, it also releases embers into the air which could start fires when landing on trees, plants, buildings and individuals. Reducing these sparks is made much easier when using a screen. These mesh coverings are ideal for keeping embers from escaping and also preventing people and pets from falling into an open flame. Coverings are available for any type of fire pit, so simply search online for a custom fire pit screen to keep your family safe.

Use the Right Wood

Many individuals make the mistake of assuming that all wood burns the same, and that line of thinking can increase the risk of both wildfires and health concerns. Seasoned, dry hardwoods such as oak and walnut are ideal, as they burn hotter and cleaner. Cedar, pine and other softwoods do not burn as efficiently, resulting in more sparks and smoke, which can worsen breathing conditions for individuals with asthma, COPD and other respiratory issues. Most importantly, however, is to avoid burning pressure-treated lumber, plywood and other construction waste. These products contain harmful chemicals that result in toxic smoke.

Backyard fire pits are a great source of fun. Just follow these tips to stay safe.