Improvement For All

Author: Barry Hale Page 2 of 12

3 Negative Effects Weeds Can Have on Your Lawn

Even though your lawn may host a variety of plant life, the emergence of weeds is usually a problem. They clash against your landscape design and can multiply faster than you can pull them. Beyond these annoyances, they can actually bring greater harm to you and your lawn than you would expect. Deal with weeds fast to avoid the following problems. 

1. Nutrient Competition 

Weeds are invaders that do not fit in your ecosystem and contribute nothing to it. Still, they consume air, sunlight, water and other nutrients that the rest of your lawn needs to grow and thrive. As a result, the native plants in your space can shrink, dry and even die prematurely. They can also lose their defenses against other dangerous factors such as plant disease, drought and insect infestations. Some weeds can even attach to other plants as parasites. 

2. Lack of Space

Another problem with weeds is that they can take up too much space. Whether you have a complex landscape or a simple lawn, you likely designed it so it could support certain flowers, crops or other plants. Weeds impact this curated environment by taking up space, which weakens existing plants and displaces potential new plants. They can also multiply fast and consume more space if not handled carefully. Professional weed control services Oklahoma City OK ensure these pests are eliminated without further spread. 

3. Health Hazards 

If you or anyone at home suffers from pollen allergies, you should be especially careful about weeds. Some of these plants, including ragweed, English plantain and sagebrush, can produce pollens that trigger allergies, asthma and other related conditions. Meanwhile, other weeds such as poison hemlock, creeping buttercup and monkshood contain toxic chemicals that can cause skin irritation to humans and even pets. Proper weed maintenance can prevent these issues. 

Weeds not only disrupt the landscape you created, but have plenty of other harmful effects. Search for weeds and treat them quick before they spread and become difficult to remove.  


6 Ways You Can Reduce Your Utility Payments

Your utility statement comes in every month, possibly adding hundreds of dollars to your monthly budget. You may wince at the number, wishing you could spend that amount on other upgrades. By making a few tweaks now, you could save big down the road. Consider making the following five modifications to pay less each month.

1. Upgrade Appliances

Older appliances tend to use more electricity and water, adding up your total quickly. When one begins to die, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model. Each new unit could save you a lot in the long run.

2. Seal Windows and Doors

The HVAC unit runs more when your home isn’t properly sealed and insulated. You want to close it off to keep excess air from escaping and coming in, altering the temperatures. Seal off windows and doors to minimize cracks. In addition, work with attic insulation service Elgin IL to reduce loss from there.

3. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Control your air more with a programmable thermostat. This device allows you to change the temperature throughout the day or with a change in weather. Don’t run it as much when you’re not at home, and put it back on when you’re ready to walk through the door.

4. Swap Out Lightbulbs

LED lightbulbs use less electricity. Change out your others. It’s a bit pricey upfront, but they last for years.

5. Use Your Dishwasher

If you’re washing by hand, stop. You’re consuming too much water. The dishwasher is programmed to use a specific amount each day, conserving utilities.

6. Make Use of Power Strips

Your appliances use energy just from being plugged into the wall. Put them into a power strip and turn that off when they aren’t needed. They won’t’ pull as much electricity.

Yes, you could pay less in utility by making a few essential changes. Monitor your thermostat. Seal off openings and consider investing in energy-saving devices.

Taking a Look at Architectural and Engineering Services During Construction

Architecture and engineering are generally considered to be design services. Licensed, experienced professionals employ best practices and compliance with governing codes to create a set of plans that a contractor will use to build a facility. One might think that a designer’s job is finished after the plans are complete and construction has started. The reality is that architects and engineers are needed until the project is built.

Answering Questions

Even though a contractor has a complete set of plans and specs to build the project, questions may arise during construction. This could be due to something unclear in the details or a material that was specified during design is no longer available. Architects and engineers need to be on-hand to answer the contractor’s request for information. Responding to RFIs is crucial for keeping the project progressing.

Reviewing Submittals

When a construction company is contracted to build a job, that organization has agreed to build it in accordance with the specifications. Often these specs will indicate certain criteria for building materials while allowing the contractor to choose a supplier or vendor. The contractor must then make submittals to an architect or engineer for review and approval. Some examples of submittals include concrete mix designs, paint samples, shop drawings and details from a steel construction guide Rock NE provider.

Making Changes

Differing site conditions, owner-requested changes and contractor-requested changes will require input from an architect or engineer to provide an updated design or approve a solution from the contractor. It’s important that field changes fulfill the original intent of the plans. The designer is best suited to offer guidance and re-issue new drawings.

Architects and engineers aren’t just responsible for creating blueprints or drawings. They’re also needed to provide knowledge as the project is being built. These designers help answer questions, review submittals and approve field changes to the original plans.

How To Install Kitchen Cabinets

While hiring experts to install kitchen cabinets will always get you the best results, installing cabinets by yourself isn’t too difficult. Below, you will find a step-by-step, do-it-yourself process for kitchen cabinet installation. 

Measuring and Marking the Walls

Find the highest point of your kitchen floor and use a tape measure to create an even line 34.5 inches above this point. This line marks the top of your bottom cabinets. To find the bottom of your upper cabinets, make an even line that is 17-18 inches above the line you just drew. Then, use a stud locater to find the studs in your wall and make a mark for each stud. Be sure to also mark the locations of your fridge, oven, and microwave. 

Installing the Upper Cabinets

Remove the cabinet doors to make the kitchen cabinets in Milwaukee WI easier to maneuver. To support the cabinets, screw some cleats directly under the line you marked for the upper cabinets’ bottom edge. Lift the cabinets onto the cleats and, using your previous stud marks, screw the cabinets against the studs. Then, screw the cabinets together. It is recommended that you install the upper corner cabinets before installing the adjacent ones. 

Installing the Base Cabinets

Place all the base cabinets in their correct positions, making sure that the cabinets are level with the floor and walls. Correct any unevenness by installing shims where they are needed. Install the corner cabinets first and screw them into the wall studs. After screwing the corner and adjacent cabinets together, align the adjacent cabinets to the corner cabinets and attach the adjacent cabinets to the wall studs. 

Once these steps are complete, you can begin removing the cleats, replacing the doors on the cabinets, pushing drawers into their places, and installing the trim and countertop.

3 Things To Ask Yourself When Choosing an Apartment or Condo

When you are looking for an apartment or condo, there are a few important things that you should always consider. While some things, such as who you have for neighbors, can’t be helped, you can control other housing aspects by asking yourself these three important questions before choosing a new place to live.

1. How Safe Is the Property?

The safety of tenants should be the property owner’s first priority. These safety issues can range from how the buildings are constructed to how clean the public areas are to whether it’s gated or not. Some of these things (e.g., structural integrity) will be hard to tell upfront, but others will be obvious. For instance, are there security measures in place? Are the parking lots kept free of debris, and is commercial pressure washing Oviedo FL regularly done to keep the outside of the buildings free of mold? Do the units meet the building code (e.g., have smoke alarms installed)?

2. How Convenient Is the Location?

Location is always important in real estate, but when it comes to rental apartments or condos, it is especially important, as the location is one of the main reasons many people choose to rent instead of buy. The location of your apartment or condo complex will make a real difference in how convenient your life there will be.

3. How Suitable Is the Layout?

By definition, an apartment or condo is a relatively small living space. So it is important to consider how the layout fits with your lifestyle since space will be at a premium. For instance, if you are a packrat, take careful note of how much storage the unit has. If you value outdoor space, make sure to look for a patio or balcony. If you like to entertain, go for something that has a more open layout to increase the space for entertaining. 

Looking for a place to live is always complicated, but if you keep these things in mind before you make a choice, your life won’t have to be.

Tips for Home Fire Preparedness

One of any homeowner’s biggest fears is the possibility of experiencing a house fire. Being prepared in the event of a fire can not only potentially save belongings, but keep loved ones safe. Here are some tips for home fire preparedness.

Have an Emergency Plan

Every homeowner should have an emergency plan that includes what to do if a fire is found in the home. This plan should be known well by all members of the household and should include what to grab, where to meet and how to get out of the home safely. If there are pets in the home, the emergency plan should include them as well. Including age-appropriate directions for small children can help keep them safe as well.

Keep Safety Equipment In Good Working Order

If a fire does happen, having working safety equipment can mean the difference between life or death and can help save your home. Homeowners should replace batteries in smoke alarms, make sure that there are smoke alarms in all areas of the home and test the batteries regularly. Homes should have at least one fire extinguisher in high-risk areas, like the kitchen, which fire detection and suppression NYC professionals say should be maintained and inspected per regulations. There are other options for home fire safety equipment, including window ladders for houses with more than one story.

Keep Important Documents Fire Safe

Should a fire happen in the home, homeowners should ensure that any important documents, like birth certificates and social security cards, are kept in a fire-proof box. Some people may decide to keep other personal items like family photos in a fire-proof container as well, but this is a personal choice for families to make.

The potential for a house fire is a nightmare scenario for most homeowners, so following these tips can keep loved ones and belongings safer. 

5 Questions to Ask When Shopping for Homeowner’s Insurance

Choosing homeowner’s insurance can be challenging. There are so many options for coverage, and it’s not always easy to decide which types of coverage you should go for. If you’re a new homeowner choosing a policy, it can certainly be an overwhelming feeling.

Here are a few questions you should always ask when you start comparing agencies that offer homeowners insurance Newark DE

How Much Will Your Home Cost to Rebuild?

If your house is destroyed by a fire or storm, you’ll need to rebuild from scratch. When shopping for insurance, make sure your agent is knowledgeable on home values and the costs associated with construction in your area.

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

If you live in an area commonly affected by tropical storms or hurricanes, you may need to consider a separate flood insurance policy. It might surprise you to find out that not all standard policies cover flood damage, which can be an unfortunate surprise for many homeowners after a storm comes through.

How Much of Your Personal Property Will Be Covered?

Sadly, your personal property won’t be spared when your home is destroyed. However, a good homeowner’s insurance policy will help cover the cost of all or most of your belongings.

Do You Need Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance will cover you if someone gets injured on your property or if you cause damage to someone else’s property. Also, if you have to go to court or payout damages for a lawsuit, liability insurance will cover you.

Are There Any Discounts?

Insurance can be expensive. However, you may be eligible for discounts. Make sure you ask your agent what discounts might be available to you. 

In addition to asking the questions listed here, make sure you do your own research on other aspects of homeowner’s insurance that might be confusing to you. If you’re armed with knowledge when you sit down to talk rates, you’ll be in a much better position to get the best deal. 

4 Steps to Bail Someone Out of Jail

Bailing someone out of jail isn’t something you look forward to. But, unfortunately, getting the phone call to come bail a friend or loved one out of jail happens quite often. 

If you’re not sure how to bail someone out of jail West Chester PA, like most places, requires a few specific steps. 

Gather the Relevant Information

In order to bail someone out of jail, you’ll need a few critical pieces of information. Specifically, you’ll need to know the following four things:

  • Cost of bail
  • Whether a hearing has been held
  • Charges that are being filed 
  • Where the person is being held

Once you have the answers to the questions listed here, you’ll be ready for the next step. 

Contact a Bondsman

The bail bondsman assumes responsibility for your bail by pledging your money or property. He or she will help you understand what your options are in terms of bailing out your loved one. You’ll have to fill out some paperwork, and then the bondsman will send you on your way.

Post Bail

To bail your loved one out of jail, you’ll need to post bail. In most cases, you won’t have to pay the total bail amount in order to have your loved one released. The bondsman will tell you what percentage you’ll have to pay.

Go to the Jail

Once you’ve arranged to pay bail for your loved one, you can head to the jail to pick them up. The bail bondsman will take care of arranging for their release. Then, you can take your loved one home or to a lawyer.

Once you’ve picked up your loved one, you can head home. Ideally, the situation will be resolved quickly, but if the charges are more severe in nature, be sure to have your loved one contact a lawyer as soon as possible. 

How To Reduce Stress on Your Next Family Vacation

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing ways to get away from your life and unwind. However, they don’t always work out like that. Between making sure you packed everything and keeping the kids happy, you’re likely ready to scream before your plane even takes off. When you want to have a good vacation, you need to find ways to reduce your stress. Here are some ways you can do that. 

Hire a Nanny

As much as you love your kids, there will be some nights that you want to get away from them and enjoy some alone time with your spouse. If you can, ask a family member to come with you and offer to pay for their trip if they’re willing to spend some time watching the kids for you.

If you don’t have anyone to ask for help, consider turning to a local service specifically for nannies Monroe NJ. Services that provide nannies conduct thorough background checks and ensure that all of the people that work for them have up-to-date safety certifications, so you can be comfortable knowing your kids are in good hands. 

Pack Activities

No matter where you’re going or how long the trip will be, always bring along a bag of activities and toys that your kids can use. You want to choose a variety of things to play with so they don’t immediately lose interest in what is in the bag. Choose coloring and activity books, tactile toys, and learning games that you can play with them. 

Bring Food

One of the biggest ways that a trip is ruined is because kids are hangry. The kids are so hungry that they turn angry, and once they get angry, they’re hard to deal with. To avoid this situation, always have a small cooler bag of good, whole foods for them to eat. Avoid foods like chips and fruit snacks that offer little to no nutritional value. You’ll find that giving the kids those foods won’t help alleviate their hunger, and they’ll still be hangry. 

3 Simple Ways To Boost Your Curb Appeal

When you’re trying to sell your home, the first thing that buyers will notice is your home’s curb appeal. If your lawn and the outside of your home are cluttered and aren’t well-maintained, then the buyers will likely worry that the home’s inside is in the same state of disrepair. Maintaining proper curb appeal doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Here are some simple ways to improve your curb appeal. 

1. Maintain the Landscaping

One of the easiest ways to increase your curb appeal is to keep the landscaping in good condition. Keep the lawn mowed, and the weeds pulled. Cut back any trees or bushes that have grown out of control and rake up any leaves that have fallen. If you don’t want to maintain the landscaping Ellington CT yourself, consider hiring a company to do it for you. 

2. Put Things Away

You might look at some items as useful things that everyone has, so it doesn’t matter if you keep them out, but you’d be wrong. It doesn’t matter if it is a water hose, trash cans, or your kid’s toys. If you aren’t using it, you should put it away. A yard full of stuff is chaotic and doesn’t look good, which isn’t going to make a buyer feel confident about the house, and they likely won’t want to put an offer in on it. 

3. Wash the House

If you don’t regularly powerwash your house, then it’s likely covered in dirt and debris. Over time, the dirt starts to dull the paint color, and the house doesn’t look as nice as it could. When washing the home, make sure you don’t get too close with the power washer and use a gentle attachment. You don’t want to take off parts of the paint; you just want to remove the dirt and show the beauty of your home. 

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