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How to Protect Your Home and Loved Ones from Fire

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Protect Your Home and Loved Ones from Fire

One of the biggest threats homeowners face, is the threat of a destructive house fire. Not only are fires dangerous and terrifying for you and your family, but they can rack up thousands and thousands of dollars of damage in a very short amount of time. Luckily fires are pretty easy to prevent, but there are some important tips that every homeowner should know to reduce risk as much as possible.

Tips for Preventing Fires

Sometimes fires happen regardless of how careful you are due to something that’s totally out of your control. Poorly installed appliances and natural forces are just a couple of the things that can cause an unexpected house fire, but more often than not fires are easily preventable. Here are some tips that every homeowner should know to protect themselves and their home against a destructive house fire:

  • Make sure all appliances are firmly plugged in to the wall – If plugs are hanging out of the wall, but the prongs are still touching the metal on the inside, this is an incredibly unsafe situation. If something flammable falls down and touches the prongs on the plug it can spark and create a fire. It can also electrocute you or your pets if they touch the exposed prongs.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and garage – This goes double if you have a gas stove. While gas stoves are incredibly convenient and amazing for cooking, you have to be extra careful around the open flame.
  • In the event of an oil fire, NEVER dump water on it, as the water will displace the burning oil, causing it to blow up in your face. In this situation you should always throw a wet towel over the pan or the pot to smother the flames. Even the pressure of a fire extinguisher can cause the flaming oil to splatter, creating a more dangerous situation.
  • If you use your fireplace, get your chimney cleaned every couple of years to avoid build up. Debris that’s left in the flue of your chimney can ignite and cause a fire inside your chimney, which could spread to the rest of the house.
  • Equip your home with a grounded lightning rod – In the unlikely event that your home gets struck by lightning, a lightning rod will “catch” the bolt and direct it into the ground. Without a lightning rod, a lightning strike could ignite wood or siding that’s on your house and spread to cause a fire. It’s not the most likely situation, but it is one you can prepare for.
  • Store any matches or lighters out of the reach of children – This seems like obvious advice, but 43% of structure fires that were started by playing with matches or lighters were started by children under the age of 6.
  • When having a bonfire keep at least one 3-Gallon bucket of water or the hose nearby – This will make your response time much faster in the event that the fire gets out of hand.
  • Clean the bottom of your oven regularly – Usually this isn’t a problem, but if there is stuff crusted onto the bottom of your oven and you have to cook something at a higher temp than normal it can ignite the caked on food and at the very least ruin whatever you’re cooking.
  • Install fire alarms on every level of your home – It’s generally best practice to put them in the highest risk rooms on each floor.

By taking precautions and educating your family on risks, you can greatly reduce the risk of a fire in your home. In the event of a fire make sure to get everyone out as quickly as possible and call 911. Hopefully the fire department will be able to contain the damage to a few rooms. Many times in the case of a kitchen fire, the damage can be kept in the kitchen if dealt with quickly enough.

What to do in the Event of a Fire

Once the danger has passed and the fire department has put out the fire it’s time to figure out what to do next. Fire damage can be very difficult to assess and repair. If you are skilled in construction and woodworking, you may have the necessary skills to fix the damage yourself, but in most cases it’s best to call your local fire damage repair specialists. Most general contractors can take care of fire damage that has been contained, though in some cases if the structural damage is too great it may no longer be safe to reside in your home.

Obviously, fire damage is something that everyone would rather avoid, and by taking these precautions you can cut down your risk of fire quite a bit. In the unfortunate event of a fire, a quick response is the best way to reduce damage. Generally if the damage is contained, a fire damage restoration specialist can have your living space usable again in the space of a couple weeks depending on the level of damage.

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Replacement Window Materials, Considered

Posted by on Mar 8, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Replacement Window Materials, Considered

A window replacement is one of the best ways to make your Raleigh home more stylish, comfortable, efficient, and valuable. The right windows can strengthen the architectural identity of your house, helping to convey both period and style; or they can simply convey your own personal style. Windows can block or trap heat as needed, to keep you comfortable; they can also greatly improve ventilation when you’d like a fresh breeze.

With this in mind, it pays to research windows before committing to a particular solution.

Different windows offer different strengths. Choosing the right replacement window requires that you consider that you want to get from each window. Is it durability or energy-savings? An unobstructed view of pretty surroundings? Ease of operation? Ability to accommodate tight spaces? As you’ll find, there’s a window that’s suited for nearly any purpose – you just have to find it.

Choosing the Right Window

We’re going to look at the materials from which replacement windows are made. These materials include wood, vinyl, aluminum, and composite; each one has its own strengths and weaknesses:

Wood windows are popular for a variety of reasons. They’re strong, durable, and can be beautiful. Because of their strength, their frames can be slender and graceful. Wood is also versatile, and can be fashioned into a variety of shapes, such as ovals or circles. But wood isn’t perfect. Wood replacement windows are expensive. They require maintenance, such as repainting or staining; they can also decay over time.

Vinyl replacement windows are also very popular. Relative to wood, vinyl is an economical choice; vinyl won’t require refinishing or painting, and will last for years without maintenance. Vinyl windows, however, can’t match the rich look of wood. Vinyl is not as strong as wood, which requires the use of larger, wider frames. Vinyl also offers fewer design solutions; in order to protect against heat-induced warping, vinyl can’t be fashioned into dark colors that absorb heat.

Like wood, aluminum is a strong material. This allows aluminum to be used in slender window frames that widen the view. Aluminum can also be fashioned into any shape. Like vinyl, aluminum requires little in the way of care. But aluminum replacement windows have their drawbacks, too. They are less energy-efficient than their counterparts. Aluminum easily conducts heat, allowing it to escape in the winter and intrude in the summer.

As their name implies, composite windows are made from a mixture of materials. For example, some replacement windows in Raleigh are made from a material that employs both recycled wood and PVC. Like vinyl, these windows are easy-care and durable. Like wood and aluminum, this composite is strong enough to allow for the use of slender frames.

Composite windows also minimize many of the drawbacks of other types of windows. Composite conducts relatively little heat, and is an effective insulator that can save energy. These windows are also available in a full range of shapes and colors. While composite windows are not as economical as vinyl, their versatility has made them an attractive choice to replace older windows.

There are so many things to consider when purchasing replacement windows. Material is just the start. Glass is another important choice, and you’ll need to decide if the greater efficiency of a more expensive glass is a wise choice for you. You’ll also need to consider the ideal function of each window for each part of your home. But these are questions for another article. If you’re shopping for replacement windows in the meantime, take your time and do your research.

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Do You Need a Transmission Rebuild or Replacement?

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do You Need a Transmission Rebuild or Replacement?

Did someone just tell you that your car needs a new or rebuilt transmission? I’m sorry. I know that no one ever wants to hear those words. Because this very complex automotive system takes a lot of time to take apart and install, transmission rebuilds and replacements are very expensive. That said, it definitely pays to know whether you should have a new transmission placed in your car or choose to have the old one rebuilt.

In order to help you decide which choice is best for you, here are the pros and cons of each:

Transmission Rebuilds

Rebuilding a transmission takes a lot of time because it involves removing worn or damaged parts, and replacing them with new or salvaged bands, gaskets, and even moving transmission parts. The complexity of this chore is such that it is recommended by many that you have a transmission specialist handle the job. The specialist will remove it from your vehicle and manually rebuild it; after it’s finished, it will be reinstalled.

One of the benefits of a transmission rebuild is that the parts will be replaced with updated versions that may correct defects or weaknesses in the original design. Even though choosing this method can ensure your transmission will receive the best parts available, it can be difficult finding a quality specialist to do the work. In Richmond, I recommend Aarrow Transmission for quality transmission rebuilds.

Another downside of the transmission rebuild is the time; it can take weeks for the transmission to be completed and you may be without transportation during that period.

Remanufactured Transmissions

Totally new transmissions are often nearly impossible to locate. The reason for this is that new transmissions are often reserved for new car production. Chances are that if you buy one from a dealer, that transmission will probably be one that has been remanufactured. Remanufactured transmissions go through the same kind of parts replacements as their rebuilt counterparts, but the work takes place in specialty factories.

If you don’t have the time to wait for your transmission to be rebuilt, a new transmission may be the way to go. Just remember that it may have been made a few years back and you might not get the benefit of updated parts that address the latest deficiencies.

Transmission Specialists

Should you rebuild or replace? What it all comes down to is what you are willing to pay and how long you are willing to wait to have your transmission problems go away. It’s safe to say that if you do choose a qualified transmission specialist, it will cost a bit more; the trade-off is that your transmission will probably last longer. On the flip side, having a re-manufactured transmission installed in your vehicle will mean that it’s factory-approved and you’ll have your car back much sooner.

The choice is not simple, but having options allows you to weigh all the pros and cons and come to a decision with which you can live. Consulting with a trusted auto repair technician is the place to begin. If your local repair shop cannot do the work for you, they can recommend a transmission specialist who can. High-quality transmission specialist don’t have to be hard to find, but you may have to be willing to look.

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3 Signs You Need a Professional Carpet Cleaner

Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Signs You Need a Professional Carpet Cleaner

Many people believe that with regular vacuuming, you will never need your carpets professionally cleaned, aside from any major accidents that may happen. This sentiment is unfortunately false and not cleaning your carpets over the long-term could lead to many negative consequences, and even medical issues.

 
I know several good parents who let their children roll around on their carpets that haven’t been cleaned in years, which is incredibly unsanitary. I know they do this not because they’re bad parents, but because they unfortunately just don’t know any better. Considering that allergies and asthma in children are on the rise, we need to do everything we can to prevent this from happening in our homes.

 
In fact, there are several benefits to having your carpets regularly cleaned that you might not have thought of. So, to start off today’s post, let’s go over a few of the benefits of having your carpets professionally cleaned on a regular basis.

  • Cleaning your carpets can eliminate pollutants built up in your carpets. Your carpets act as air filters, which have a positive impact on your living environment precisely because it traps pollutants inside of it, preventing you from breathing those pollutants in. But just like any other “filter”, you need to clean it from time to time to remove the pollutants that have built up over regular use.
  • Regular cleaning can prevent mold growth. As your carpets age, the chance of developing mold is quite high if they’re not regularly cleaned, especially in high-humidity areas.
  • Cleaning can eliminate off odors and smells. Over time carpets will build up an off odor due to their filtering nature, and this can have a negative impact on your living environment if you don’t have them regularly cleaned.

 
Now that we know a few of the benefits of having your carpets cleaned, let’s get to our list of 5 signs that you need a professional carpet cleaner.

1. Your nose or your children’s noses are runny, or you have allergies when you’re around your carpet. This can be a great sign that you have allergens built up in your carpets and it’s time to have them cleaned. We highly recommend Chem-Dry due to their all-natural cleaning solutions, and we always choose All Brite Chem-Dry when we’re in Indianapolis, but we encourage you to look up your local Chem-Dry.
2. Tough stains in your carpets that you can’t get out yourself. Professional carpet cleaners use professional-grade equipment that is far more capable of getting rid of stains that you are. If your elbow grease isn’t enough to get your stains out, give your preferred carpet cleaner a call.
3. You have pets and children that are on your carpet regularly. Pets especially can leave a large amount of dander in your carpets and beyond that, they can track in mud and anything else from outside your home. If you have pets and children, I recommend that you have your carpets cleaned at least every 6 – 10 months.

I hope this article has been informative for those parents who never have their carpets cleaned. Not only can cleaning your carpets improve your living space, but it can have an impact on your children’s health, so my recommendation is to not let cleaning your carpets become a low-priority anymore!

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Importance of Professional Carpet Cleaning

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Importance of Professional Carpet Cleaning

The air circulating in a building has a wide range of airborne particles that can settle on surfaces. These include mold spores, dust, pollen, dust mites, and pet dander among others. When the HVAC system is running, these particles normally become airborne and cause allergies. Some of the symptoms a person may experience when exposed to these allergens include; running nose, watery eyes, hay fever and asthma among others.

But you do have a potential ally in the fight against allergens: your carpet. Your carpet captures allergens, keeping them out of the air where they can cause you and your family harm. But carpets can’t fight the battle alone; they should be professionally cleaned in order to help keep allergens in check and keep your family safe.

Does it pay to have your carpets professionally cleaned? Let’s take a closer look at the the top four household allergens that can be removed through proper carpet cleaning:

i) Dust Mites

These are microscopic arachnids that thrive in warm and moist conditions. They are invisible to the naked eye, so they are not easy to detect. While they are mainly found on carpets, they can also be found on upholstered furniture and pillows. According to health experts, 9 in 10 people with allergic asthma reactions are sensitive to dust mites. While they may not spread diseases or bite humans, they can cause nasal irritation. The best way to manage your carpet and upholstery between professional cleanings is to use a HEPA vacuum cleaner on a regular basis.

ii) Pet Dander

Pets are always nice to have around and most people have gotten used to cleaning up after their pets. However, pets usually shed a lot of dander that contaminate the house and cause allergies. They can cause serious allergic reactions especially in kids. Since pets love to keep themselves cozy on upholstered furniture and carpets, there’s bound to be a lot of dander in the living room. Regular professional carpet cleaning can help to keep the house virtually free of this allergen; a recent study indicated that this cleaning service removes 98% of allergens from carpets and upholstery.

iii) Pollen

Pollen are tiny, airborne, and one of the most potent allergens found in households. They can get into the house in a variety of ways. For instance, pets and kids can carry them into the house when they come home from school or from the playground. Pollen can also be blown into the house through the windows and open doors. Since you cannot keep pollen completely out of the house, what you need to do is clean the carpet on a regular basis; when you remove pollen from the carpet, you also keep it out of the air. The carpet cleaning service referenced above was also found to remove 89% of airborne bacteria. Remember to also clean the sofa, upholstered furniture and wipe all other surfaces inside the house on a regular basis.

iv) Mold Spores

Mold can be found in every home, though in small amounts. If they find a conducive environment, mold can grow and spread pretty fast. Mold can grow on humid and dark spaces, such as under the kitchen sink and underneath the carpet. If you do not have a UV lamp installed in your HVAC system, you should clean your carpet on a regular basis and keep humidity levels down using a dehumidifier.

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Distinguishing Between Vinyl & Wood Windows

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Distinguishing Between Vinyl & Wood Windows

A window doesn’t just provide a view, but also makes a style statement if its design and placement is well thought-out. Being constantly exposed to the outside world, a window should be built to battle out wind, rain, dust, etc. and last for years. Like everything in life, windows also have their varieties – in terms of theme, materials, size, and so on. If you’re considering replacement windows, we suggest you take a look at vinyl and wooden windows as an option.

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl is the most affordable and common window material since it is made from a synthetic plastic called PVC (polyvinyl chloride). When compared to wood windows, a vinyl window may cost 50 percent less. Vinyl windows have good insulation qualities that help to keep exterior temperatures at bay. Though the color choices of vinyl windows are limited, they seldom require painting.

Vinyl windows arrived during the 1970s to serve as an inexpensive alternative to wood windows that were in favor at the time. At launch, vinyl windows were only available in white. However, starting from the 1990s, vinyl windows have become available in a few other light colors as well. By the way, most white windows you see across the street are probably made out of vinyl.

Vinyl windows are not the most durable solution, but they should last a couple of decades on average. On the plus side, they should require much if any maintenance throughout their lifespans.

If you are considering a vinyl window purchase, look for a single hue window, with the color extending to the frame. Also, the joints should be heat-welded and not brought together with fasteners such as screws. These are ready-to-buy pieces and you can take them along home right after purchase. However, if you’re looking for custom sizes or proportions, the window may take two to six weeks to be manufactured.

Wood Windows

Although wood windows have been around a long time, they are still quite popular among professional window installers and homeowners alike. Wood shares the market with just about equally with vinyl and a few other types of windows, such as aluminum. Wood lends a window strength, beauty and also energy-efficiency. A wood window’s finish can be luxurious, which help to explains why wood windows are comparatively expensive. The high-profile look is even more impressive inside the house, adding to the aesthetics of any space. In fact, the chances of a home attracting potential buyers are greater if its windows are wood.

Another big advantage of wood windows is their variety. These windows come in a range of styles, color, hardware configurations, and grilles; this allows you to find one that perfectly matches your house design. This beauty and elegance doesn’t hamper the window’s life. Typically, a wood window should easily last 50 years. Many companies offer 50-year guarantees that can be transferred from one owner to another. This essentially means if you buy a wood window, you’ll probably never have to install another one in your house, in your lifetime.

Where wood windows are concerned, the biggest negative is expense. In addition to the initial investment, the maintenance can also be costly. Wooden window frames require periodic staining or painting in order to sustain their beauty and protect them from the elements

If you opt to side with the wood, ensure the wood windows you buy are easy to operate – the opening and closing mechanisms should be seamless, and the corners tight-fitting. Also, make sure the exposed wood portions do not have blemishes, and the finger-joints are invisible.

Composite Windows

If you are torn between the strength and beauty of wood, and the lower cost and lesser maintenance of vinyl, composite windows may be a good alternative for you. Composite windows, such as the type offered by Renewal by Andersen, are composed of a blend of wood and a PVC polymer offers several advantages.

Composite windows are stronger than vinyl, which allows elegantly narrow frames to be used. Like vinyl, composite windows can also be maintenance free. Unlike vinyl, composite windows are available in a wide range of colors – including darker shades. Composite can also be used to created curved window frames, unlike vinyl.

Composite windows are also effective insulators – comparable to wood and vinyl, and superior to aluminum. And composite windows offer longer lifespans than vinyl windows do.

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Choosing the Right Senior Care Agency

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Choosing the Right Senior Care Agency

For many, getting their parents to embrace the idea of in-home care is the biggest obstacle. But for others the biggest task is finding the right in-home care provider. With the well-being of your parents in mid, it is important to do some research and make sure you choose a reputable, experienced and caring company. Not all senior care agencies are the same, despite the fact that they must all meet demanding state and Federal standards.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to find good in-home care is to ask friends and family for their recommendations. The Internet is also a good source of reviews and customer comments – both positive and not so positive – and can help you to get a feel for whether a company may be an option or not. Talking to your doctor, social worker or hospital discharge planner can also be beneficial in choosing the right senior care company. Your local Better Business Bureau and department of Aging can tell you whether any complaints have been made against a specific agency.

Once you have narrowed your search down to several in-home care agencies that seem reliable, your next step is to come up with a list of questions to ask them. Ideally, you want to make a point of visiting their offices, as this will also give you some insight into how efficiently the place is run, and the attitude and helpfulness of employees. Although you will probably come up with your own questions, you should ask the agency how long they have been in business, do they have the required bonding, licensing and accreditation, and whether they can provide references as well as written information about their services offered. Ask to see the results of the most recent inspection by an outside agency, if applicable.

There are also several key questions to ask potential caregivers. You should ask what their training consists of, what their credentials are, and whether the agency carries out background checks and drug tests. Some in-home care agencies, such as Seniors Helping Seniors, also evaluate the personalities of potential caregivers. You may also want to find out whether your elderly parent would have a documented care plan, and whether the patient’s changing needs are evaluated regularly by a nurse or therapist. Of course, communication is also important, and you want to be able to communicate with the senior care provider as well as the agency, and to be kept informed and be assured your concerns are immediately addressed. And because it sometimes happens, you need to know what the agency’s policy is if there just isn’t a good connection between the provider and the patient.

Money is an issue too, when in-home care can cost hundreds of dollars each month. Most agencies charge by the hour, so it is worth trying to get an idea of how many hours of care your loved one typically needs in a week, or a month. The insurance situation can be confusing, and you need to be reassured that your insurance will cover the senior care provided, As you want the best possible care and attention for your patient, this is one area where you get what you pay for, and it is worth taking the time to find a well-established, reputable and caring agency,

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