Why You Need Multiple Quotes From a Moving Services Provider

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In today’s economic climate everyone wants to save money when it comes to moving your belongings from one place to another.

This is why using an online comparison site that provides quotations and comparisons from multiple moving companies and removal companies in your area is the only effective way to save some money.

It’s always difficult for an individual to select a reliable and insured mover when you have not done any business with them in the past. Another alternative you have is probably to select a well known removal companies in your county but that comes with a big price.

The bigger moving companies with offices almost everywhere in the country are not the best way to save money when you want to move your belongings. The time it takes you to contact these removal companies before making up your mind with the one you like is a long process and to be honest it’s a very time consuming process.

This is why the only effect way to get multiple quotes for your move is through moving companies’ comparison sites. Some these comparison sites have already done all the hard work for you which you don’t need to worry about any more.

They have lists of small and bigger reliable and insured companies that covers everywhere in UK. Professional and reliable moving services providers through moving comparison sites are the most effective way of getting cheap removal quotes.

Professional reputed moving companies will possess an exceptional safety records not just for their vehicles, but regarding their at-the-job injuries and their capability to move items without damaging them. It’s a wise idea to look over this information while choosing among a selected group of movers. First-class safety records will put your mind at ease; they must have insurance to cover any damages, particularly if you have precious items that are prized possessions of yours. Can you check all these by yourself through a phone call to House Removals in your area?

Using online moving comparison site for your move is absolutely necessary when moving your belongings unless you have a relative doing the same business.

An Introduction to Granite Rocks

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Granites are widely occurring felsic, intrusive and igneous type of rocks. The texture of granite is medium to coarse, rarely with some crystals bigger than the groundmass forming rock which is called as porphyry. Granites are found in different colors like pink, dark gray, green, yellow, red or sometimes even in black and gold depending upon its mineralogy and chemistry. Sometimes Granites occur in circular depressions encircled by a series of hills that are formed by the metamorphic hornfels. Granites are often massive lacking internal structures. They are tough, hard and it has gained widespread use for constructive purposes. 2.75g/cm3 is the average density of granite. If you look at the word ‘granite’, it comes from the Latin word ‘granum’ which is a grain, in reference to its coarse grained constitution.

According to a scientific diagram, Granites are classified for coarse grained plutonic rocks – granitoids and it is named based upon the percentage of quartz, alkali feldspar – sanidine, orthoclase or microcline. Granite like rocks which are silica under saturated might have a feldspathoid such as nepheline. According to modern petrologic, true granite contains both alkali feldspars and plagioclase. When a granitoid lacks or almost lacks plagioclase the rock is said to be alkali granite. If the granitoid carries less than 10% of orthoclase, then it is called tonalite. Amphibole and Pyroxene are common in tonalite. Granites that have both biotite micas and muscovite are called two-mica or binary granite. Typically two-mica granites are low in plagioclase and higher in potassium; A-type or S-type granites. Rhyolite is a volcanic equivalent of plutonic granite.

Presently Earth is the only place Granites are known to form a main part of continental crust. Often granites occur as relatively small, less than 100 km² of stock masses and also in batholiths which are associated with orogenic mountain ranges. Smaller dikes of granite compositions are known as aplites and are often linked with margins of granite intrusions. In some places along with granites, very coarse grained pegmatite masses occur. Granites have been intruded into Earth’s crust during all geologic periods like earthquakes, although most of it has happened in the Precambrian age. Granite rocks are distributed widely throughout the Earth’s continental crust and it is the most abundant basement rocks which underlies the relatively thin sedimentary layer of the continents.

In spite of being fairly common across the globe, the places with the most commercial granite quarries are located in Norway, Sweden – Bohuslän, Finland, Northern Portugal in Chaves, Spain mostly in Galicia and Extremadura, India Brazil and several other countries in southern Africa, such as Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Today granites are widely used in making luxury floors, kitchen tables, office tables, bath rooms and tubs.

If You’re Moving to Beverly Hills, This is What You Should Know

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If you are planning to move to Beverly Hills, CA, you probably know a lot about the area already. Beverly Hills is one the most famous cities in all of the United States, known for its glitz and glamour, expensive stores, fabulous restaurants and beautiful people. It has been popularized by TV series such as Beverly Hills, 90210 and blockbuster movies, such as Pretty Woman. However, maybe there are some facts about this city which you are still unfamiliar with? Let your local Los Angeles moving company help you learn more.

For example, Beverly Hills is home to the largest and most exquisite houses in all of Los Angeles, and even all of America. In 2006 and 2007 the area was the most expensive housing market in the US. However, if you cannot afford a home in Beverly Hills, don’t fret because the majority of residents aren’t actual home owners, but are just renters. Other than the characteristics of the homes, the other feature that draws residents here is the location. Beverly Hills is close to Bel-Air, another posh residential area, the Santa Monica mountains, where nature lovers can hike, and the West Hollywood and Fairfax District, areas filled with nightlife, restaurants, theatres, etc.

Unlike most other areas in the melting pot of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is a predominantly white area. The second largest community in Beverly Hills is composed of Iranian-Americans. Although almost half of the residents of Beverly Hills are married, only a little less than one fourth have children under the age of 18 living with them.

The Lost Iron Furnace

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Pouring over the historic maps that clutter my desk, I noticed a handwritten reference to a manmade monolithic structure that is supposed to lie 10 miles into what is considered to be one of the most remote areas of Pennsylvania. A place devoid of blacktop and where bear, elk and rattlesnakes abound. It’s hard to imagine civilization touching an area that few would think to venture into today; an area of steep mountains and even steeper ravines where one misstep would mean a fall to one’s death; but there it was in black and white a cryptic reference beckoning a would be explorer. It made me wonder, what could be there?

I was not in search of just any town, but four towns that were built in close proximity that became the center of the local coal and iron mining industries in this area of north central Pennsylvania during the mid 19th century. This prosperous community was built by immigrant miners and a unique personality whose life story left behind a legend of wealth, buried treasure and an English mansion that sat out of place atop the mountain in the wilds of Pennsylvania.

Reavelton lies a very distant ten miles into the remote mountains of north central Pennsylvania. The nearest town, Quigley’s Mills; itself just a speck on the map with Lock Haven twenty miles distant being perhaps the closest better known community. I say a distant ten miles because the last ten miles of my trip into this remote area will take another 45 minutes to travel; doubling the time it takes for me to travel the 50 miles from my home. Almost impassible, the trail that leads into this area is as rough and rugged as any that you’d expect to find in the American southwest. In the winter it is impossible to reach this area. Nobody comes here except an occasional hunter. The story of Reavelton has been left for me alone to piece together; to photograph the site and leave a record where one has yet to exist. I enjoy the challenge and solitude of such a place; one that is unspoiled.

I arrive in Beechcreek, originally named Quigley’s Mills two-hundred years ago. It’s a small country town with the atmosphere of Mayberry. Experience has taught me that the best place to learn history is from the older residents of an area, so I head to the corner diner for breakfast. It’s exactly as I expected, hitching post outside, wooden steps leading through the arched Victorian doorway, boarding house still standing next door. The door opens with a creak hitting the bell mounted atop. Old men in overalls and blue haired ladies pause momentarily from their conversations to look at the two strangers who have just entered. The silence is deafening, moments linger but conversations resume as we strategically take our seats nearest to a table with four old men. Black and white photographs of the old town line the walls; they’ll serve as a good ice breaker when I garner the nerve to speak to the gentlemen sitting across from us.

For the moment my observations are on the structure itself, worn wooden floor, tin ceiling, pickle barrel at the end of the dining counter, brass cash register and floor safe in the corner. Just one middle aged woman acting as hostess, waitress, cook and cashier; she takes our order and retires to the kitchen. One of the locals walks behind the counter, picks up the coffee pot and refills the patrons cups… ours included. You can hear the sizzle of the sausage as the smell of a home cooked country breakfast wafts from the kitchen, a true farmer’s breakfast.

Occasional glances are cast our way; maybe because we are strangers, maybe because of my snakeboots, fedora and sidearm. I wait for one of the older gentlemen to make eye contact, it doesn’t take long and it’s my opportunity to strike up a conversation. “Nice place you have here; Beechcreek.” Our conversation turns from small talk to history after I introduce us; setting them at ease. I find that most folks are happy to talk about themselves and to share what they know of their hometown and their great uncle Charlie who lived up the “holler” and worked the mines on the mountain. Our conversation allowed me to fill in some blank spaces in my notes and the folks were be eager to hear about what we would find.

The scenic beauty in this portion of the country is unparalleled; deciduous forests giving way to open meadows, peat bogs and beaver dams followed by lush and dark forests that block out nearly all light; canopied in heavy hemlocks of four foot diameters. The ravages of a wildfire that raged down the mountain in the 1890’s no longer apparent but skepticism extolled by the locals that anything at all would remain of the old towns and their frame dwellings. No one had seen any in a hundred years.

The mountain extends clear down to Beechcreek from its peak 10 miles away. I reach the point where the blacktop ends and turn onto a gravel road that quickly becomes nothing more than a rutted, dirt trail. A goat path as I like to call it. I drive along the narrow trail to an increasing elevation sometimes with cliffs along one side and sharp rocks protruding out of the ground with oil slicks about them, evidence of a misadventure of those less prepared. My companion, new to these explorations comments on the rugged remoteness that one would think no longer exists in our portion of the country. I’m looking ahead through the trees for tell tale signs of past habitation; 90 degree angles, tree lines, domestic vegetation, stone walls; nothing in sight for miles.

In my preplanning I used what is now referred to as remote sensing with Google Earth that showed me that I should be approaching the peak of the mountain where an open field existed. As we cleared a two foot deep mud bog in the trail we entered upon the clearing. I immediately spotted an enormous apple tree on my right and a line of conifers that were too evenly spaced for natures handiwork; most likely the efforts of the forest service after the fire. I said, “we’re here” to the astonishment of my companion. His less skilled eye had not taken in the same sights and he was amazed that without ever having been here before that I was able to put us on location in our first attempt at discovering the towns; others would have driven right by. I pulled from the trail into an area of golden rod and stepped from the truck. On my left fifteen feet into the woods was a stone wall. I walked in the opposite direction toward a patch of lilies an unmistakable domestic planting that I knew would have been around a home. I could see across the road a hole in the ground, probably a well.

Further into the field, there it was, the partially filled foundation of John Reaville’s English styled mansion. I had read that the General, as Reaville was called by his men, divided his time between the construction of the village and the opening of the coal mines. It was recorded that he erected good dwellings for the miners and a grand mansion for himself. It was of English style, large and handsomely finished; the center hall with a winding staircase and mahogany rail and balusters; the rooms large and warmed by deep fireplaces with big chimneys and carved mantels. A wide porch graced the front and it was positioned on an angle facing down the lane so that the Reaville’s might see approaching company. A hitching post was placed at the head of the walk just off of the porch. Out in the yard a white picket fence fronted by lilies, and ivy. A spring house sat off to the right of the lane where the well water was piped into from across Reavelton road.

The very atmosphere of the place was one of comfort, convenience and luxury; or as luxurious as one could get in 1853 with no interior bathrooms, running water nor electricity. It serves to remind me that we take a lot for granted today. Little wonder that it was a curiosity to dwellers of other valleys and attracted many visitors. It appeared out of place in this wilderness. When the Potters, the Ashfields, the Silvars and their friends from New York or Boston came, the mansion was a place of revelry and banquets, and the specially built wine vault in the cellar, always well stocked with the best English liquors and French wines, was most popular.

As I crossed into the field the apple tree once again caught my eye. Over 30 inches in diameter, I can’t recall ever seeing one larger. It was growing right in the center of a second, small “L” shaped foundation. Old to be sure, I figured it must have begun growing shortly after the forest fire. As I headed to the clearing, ruffled grouse flushed from a thorny bush with bright orange berries generally planted as landscaping and just beyond was a large cellar hole consisting of an earthen berm and collapsed foundation stones. I was certain that I had discovered the foundation of John Reaville’s mansion. Over grown and almost completely hidden from view in the tall ferns, I imagined how it must have appeared 150 years ago; the fence along the road, white columns, black bear posed on the front porch; a prank that the General liked to play on guests; I being the most recent. Stone outcroppings were found behind the house; maybe the location of the cave where John hung his venison; another foundation across the road from the house. I sat on a stump as my companion continued his search for relics that would confirm our discovery.

A bit of respite allowed me to reflect upon my surroundings. Pennsylvania history is full of colorful characters; John Reaville not the least among them but his accomplishments in the coal and iron mining industries are as secluded as the town that bears his name in the mountains above Quigley’s Mills along with three others; Rock Cabin, Peacock and Eagleton; each an outgrowth of Reavelton and John Reaville’s efforts while working for the Ashfield Coal Company.

Written records are scarce in my search for information on these ghost towns. They have become true ghosts; only a footnote in history, only a small notation on an historic map; its name no longer mentioned by those living in the area, it has simply ceased to exist.

It’s an incredible feeling when you discover a new place and to know that perhaps for the first time in over 150 years that someone has taken an interest in and resurrected the name of the town and its people that were all but forgotten. The story of Reavilton is the story of John Reaville a singular hard working individual whose legacy left behind stories of these towns that dot our countryside. The towns are the story of families and their struggle as pioneers on a frontier; of the businesses that they built by the sweat of their brow and of other pioneers who later joined in the prosperity creating and building the town upon their vision of a brighter future.

Reavilton is unique in that it was founded in 1853 and almost completely gone by 1878 along with its sisters Rock Cabin, Peacock and Eagleton. It’s a case study in boom to bust industrialization and the influences that spawned the towns, their industry and those that swept it from the forest. It’s a study in legacy and legend that allowed it to be footnoted and not entirely lost to history as homesteads and smaller hamlets might be. While not as old as the sites that we study in classical archaeology the community of Reavilton is old for Pennsylvania and it nevertheless has a complex story to tell about the people who lived here, how they lived and the legacy that they left behind.

John Reaville immigrated from Nottingham, England to America in about 1843 settling in New York and although a coal miner by occupation purchased with most of his savings a sixty-acre farm near Amagansett, Long Island to try his hand at farming. Tired of this endeavor Reaville traveled westward through Pennsylvania to an area where new coal mines were being opened by the Potter and Ashfield Company. Reaville was a tough, hard-working sort of man. He came to seek his fortune, and fell in with the Potter and Ashfield Company. They had a legal problem with one of their eastern mines that amounted to this: If left unattended, the mine could be claimed by someone else. John Reaville was soon on his way to Schuylkill county into the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania where he was required to take up residence inside of the mine that the Potter & Ashfield company had been working illegally and one which the sheriff was trying to foreclose upon if they ever left it unattended for even a day. Reaville lived in near isolation for approximately 8 months inside the mine after which Potter and Ashfileld owned it by adverse possession thus saving them $1,500,000 a handsome sum at that time. As his reward for his service John Reaville was named Superintendant of Mines in the Tangascootac region above Beechcreek, was given a blank check and told to open the coal fields in the mountains in the in the Spring of 1852 where bituminous coal had recently been discovered.

The mines were well under way by 1854, the openings had been driven in well and coal was being brought out encouragingly. Scores of miners, mostly foreigners of that occupation, many with families, were domiciled in the long rows of houses on the property.

Reavilton covered approximately 3600 acres. If we include its sister towns this expands to about ten square miles. Revelton named his town after himself though originally as Reavilville. Peacock was named for the color of the coal, which had a brightly colored sheen to it. Rock Cabin got its name for obvious reasons, and Eagleton after the Bald Eagle area named for the Seneca Indian Chief. Four towns, hundreds of homes, stores, school, coal and iron mines, railroad, sawmill and a monolithic structure; a tremendous iron furnace were built in just a few years.

It was in Eagleton that the first coal mine strike in Pennsylvania occurred, and John Reaville was the man who handled it. Reaville was known to be a tough boss. In 1856, the operation was at the height of profit, and the men banded together to demand more money and better treatment. They went on strike, carrying weapons and threatening to become violent. John Reaville sent a trusted employee into Lock Haven to bring back Sheriff John W. Smith, who returned with a group of twenty armed men. Smith calmed things down and broke the strike in about three days.

Reavilton provided a centralized work place for the early settlers of this region; coal was in great demand and the mountainous region had plenty of it. Reaville’s workforce consisted mostly of English, Scotch and German immigrants. Additional towns sprang up in adjoining areas of natural resources because it meant steady work; albeit hard and the opportunity to earn wages and support a family. Several drifts were opened and the miners climbed into the earth daily by way of four foot tunnels to extract the black rock that was sought by the railroads, manufacturing and iron industry. It was yet to be used for home heating except by the affluent in the large cities. In the country wood was plentiful and cheap and coal was a commodity.

I walked the ground drawing its features on my sketch pad; first the “L” shaped foundation of the mansion, the spring house, well, privy and stables. Then down the trail to the powder house, mine office, miners homes and the mines themselves that are visible today as collapsed audits where you can stand and sight along the ground following large sink holes of the collapsed coal mines themselves. I cautioned my companion not to walk upon the ground between the sink holes that might give way at any moment.

Numerous shafts had been dug all heading in a north-south orientation. I paused to imagine the men with blackened faces digging under the ground, setting powder charges, clearing the mine before the explosion blew loose a few tons of coal and then reentering the shaft, shoring its roof with wooden timbers and shoveling the coal into carts that were then drawn out of the earth by horses up the hillside to narrow gauge rail cars where it would be hauled down the mountain to Lock Haven and loaded onto barges waiting in the recently completed Pennsylvania Canal to be shipped to points further east. I wondered of the dangers; of the mine collapses and of the families that lived here.

Child labor laws were nonexistent at this time; I imagined eight, nine and ten year old boys dripping wet from mine seepage with blackened skin that wouldn’t come clean and sullen eyes peering from the mines; forced labor whose lives didn’t matter while John Reaville was sitting in his English mansion eating oysters and sipping fine wine; the extremes of life.

This I know of Reaville for in the corner of the stone foundation that once supported his extravagant home we found the glass shards of wine and bitters bottles, flow blue china, oyster shells and ceramic pipes. Though nothing is left of the framing, it was two story affair with expansive front porch. We see expensive brick and cut stone littering the ground. There I discovered shards of pottery, the unmistakable green glass of fine French wine bottles and more oyster shells; apparently he was fond of them; an expensive delicacy so far from the ocean.

Speaking with the gentlemen at the diner, I learned that the house was known to have a wine cellar and cave at the rear of the property where meat was hung for aging to produce the best flavor. The Reaville’s had the finest of everything and once entertained a Princess of Spain. While two-hundred feet away the miners lived in small 3-4 room houses built upon pilings, eking out a meager living; dying at a young age. Life was hard for these folks and work was dangerous. As we talked I learned that John enjoyed alcohol and tobacco. When he came to town, drinks were on him at the tavern and he was the life of the party. This was confirmed through the amounts of amber glass marked as bitters procured from the backyard privy along with beautiful shards of expensive pottery and other glassware and more clay tobacco tavern pipes.

Privy excavations are at the top of my list in use to determine the lifestyle of the past occupants of a home; the Reavilton mansion would be no different. A privy usually lies to the rear of a home and downwind. This one displayed evidence of prior digging as the dirt was mounded around its sides mixed with broken glass leaving nothing in context. Fortunately we already knew the age. As I sifted through the dirt it became apparent that bottle hunters had been there some time before as evidenced by the 1970′s Pepsi can recovered at approximately 4 feet deep. Nevertheless they were remiss in their search for only bottles that remained intact after 125 years while I was interested in all else that remained. Glass was scattered across the ground. More broken pottery and glass soon began to emerge and was roughly classified according to the type of glass and color or decoration as we removed it from the hole in the ground. Several iron relics also came to light. Our recoveries allowed us to reconstruct entire pieces of china; two flow blue meat platters with matching dinner plate, white glazed serving dish, tea pot, bitters bottles, delft creamer, earthenware jug, chamber pot, oil lamp globes, clay pipes that were smoked by John himself. It was a veritable bonanza of broken pottery that would provide satisfaction well into the Winter as we cleaned, conserved and reconstructed the life and social atmosphere that existed in Reavilton a hundred years before I was even born. Ever so slowly we coaxed life back into the Reaville’s. They were once again the center of attention; the life of the party.

Back in town industry was expanding, an iron mine was opened on a hillside just above the Tangascootac creek. A furnace was built in the forest along with a water powered sawmill, houses and a school. I was convinced that the monolithic structure referenced on my map had to be an iron furnace so we set in search of it through the forest. Our trail became impassible; 3 foot deep ruts filled with water caused us to abandon our vehicle and proceed on foot. My 1872 map of the area identified a stream as “furnace run”. One thing that I’ve learned is that place names generally coincide with history; so we headed in that direction hiking through the brush and dense undergrowth until coming upon a well worn trail. The hemlock canopy hung heavily overhead causing the forest to appear as if it were dusk. I had no idea of how far the furnace might be or even if it yet existed; often the stones from structures are repurposed in later years. We followed under the canopy of massive hemlocks for a distance to where the valley deepened and the trees nearly blocked out all light. I edged toward a steep incline and standing upon the precipice in order to view the valley I looked up to behold a massive stone structure some 45 feet in height and 30 feet square on the opposite hillside; like an ancient pyramid standing in a rift valley with sunlight streaming down upon it as if heaven sent. The illusion created a remarkable experience as if I alone was meant to find the structure. I prompted my companion to the edge of the cliff but in all its glory he could not see the furnace as it lies camouflaged among the hemlocks, itself having turned green in color. In a few moments he came to understand what my excitement was about.

The furnace stands over 45 feet tall and nearly an equal measure in length and breadth of fitted stone construction held together with iron crossties and wood supports. Four arches, one on each side lead into areas where the molten iron flowed into molds for ingots and hollow wares. A pipe work for air from the bellows is evident. It is a traditional top mount furnace.

We scrambled down the steep hillside and crossing the stream were dwarfed by the huge stone structure as the sunlight broke through the foliage shining down upon the furnace; a sight to behold. Several other foundations lay scattered among the woodlands in support of the smelting operation.

Iron ore, of a good quality exists in the Tangascootac region and in 1857 the Tangascootac Coal Company; the true name of the operation at Reavilton erected a furnace and manufactured iron, but a suspension of operations ensued soon after, as was the case with coal mining, yet sufficient was done to demonstrate the fact that an abundance of ore existed, from which could be made a good quality of iron. I was able to locate remnants of a stockpile of coke and also of limestone adjacent the furnace that were used to produce sufficient heat to smelt the iron. Iron melts at about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit therefore the furnace had to remain in blast 24 hours a day lest it cool down and 2-3 tons of coke would be required to restore it back to temperature. By the middle of the nineteenth century the trend was to use coke instead of charcoal, hot blast instead of cold, steam for power instead of waterwheels and steel shell, fire brick lined stacks instead of stone.

This furnace allows us to see a transition in the technology of the day. Coke was being used however a waterwheel driving a mechanical bellows was yet in operation. Firebrick was used in part but yet with a stone stack surrounded with a sandy clay between the stack and the stone furnace itself. In the early years, the blast was powered by water turning a wheel which in turn either worked a bellows (early furnaces) or pushed pistons in and out of tubes to create the blast of air. I believe that the Reavilton furnace used tube pistons because of the long flat foundations to the right of the furnace just above furnace run. When the use of bellows was discontinued around 1820, two pairs of wooden tubes were used. Each pair consisted of one tube inside another with suitable leather gaskets. As the inner tube of one pair was descending and sucking in air, the inner tube of the other pair was ascending and compressing the air. By means of leather valves the flow of air to a storage tank was regulated. The combination of air being blown into the coke embers created the extreme temperatures necessary to melt the iron ore.

Although actual operations at a blast furnace probably required fifteen to twenty men around the clock, other jobs connected with the furnace, such as cutting wood, hauling the coke and limestone, raising food for the employees and the horses, hauling ore and pig iron, increased the number of workers to between sixty and eighty.

Hard liquor was in great demand by the workmen. It was almost as necessary as food or so it seems. Because most furnaces were built far from towns, adjacent to raw materials and water power, there was little or no opportunity for recreation; and as a result men resorted to drinking as a way to pass their leisure time.

The furnace was built beside a hill having a flat area at the same elevation as the top of the furnace. Materials were taken to this bench for charging into the furnace. A bridge between the top of the stack and the “bench” was used for this purpose. My instinct told me to look under where the bridge would have been to locate samples of the fuel that was being used to fire the furnace. Sure enough, I found the coke and limestone that I was looking for. My companion located a cow bell on the ground nearby although I speculate that it was actually used on a horse or mule that hauled the raw resources.

Just above the furnace we located the ruins of three buildings; most probably bunk houses for the shift workers required to work the furnace ’round the clock. Down a trail toward Tangascootac Creek the audit of the iron mine is located atop the hill with its collapsed shaft running downhill toward the trail. Further downstream were the remains of a water powered sawmill. The area is strewn with iron, slag and cinders. Round pieces of iron reminiscent of meteorites can be found in the area.

Across the valley from whence we came and upon the hill we discovered the foundation of the Iron Masters House. A much larger home than those of the workers yet smaller than General Reaville’s. It was comprised most likely of 6-7 rooms with front and rear doors, glass paned windows and a springhouse to the rear of the home. The iron master was in complete control of the furnace and second only to John Reaville himself. While I have yet to discover the specifics of this individual he no doubt arrived from Europe with expertise in furnace operation.

John Reaville and his wife lived happily and alone in their mansion until he died of heart disease, manifested in a gouty and dropsical condition, on the twenty-second day of August, 1876, at the age of seventy-one and was buried with Masonic Rites.

One year later, less seven days, his wife, Elishaba, aged sixty-seven and a half years, died in the state hospital at Danville, never the same woman after the death of her husband. A white marble shaft, eight and a half feet high, stands by their graves in Highland cemetery at Lock Haven.

After their deaths, the rumor began that Reaville had buried bags of money in the basement of his mansion, under the dirt floor.

Some time afterward a man appeared at the Reaville mansion. It was speculated that he was a hospital employee to whom Mrs. Reaville had divulged her husband’s secret. He stayed in the house alone for days and curious woodsmen passing were chased from the premises. A sullen reply repelled their salutations. Then the man was never seen again. Visitors to the place later found the cellar floor dug up, the wine vault demolished and the foundation stones in many places removed. That the old general had gold hidden when he died his wife naturally enough knew.

The railroad was torn up and the hundreds of buildings left to fall into ruin and decay. Forest fires later consumed all traces of them and today nothing but a few foundation stones and green areas mark where the village once stood and even they are few.

The abandoned furnace which John Reaville built and for which he burned a thousand tons of charcoal needlessly is the only structure of the hundreds erected standing today in the valley which is fast being reclaimed to its original wildness. The moss covered, stone walls on the bank of Furnace run, look not unlike the tower and ruins of an old English castle, now collapsing itself.

5 Advantages Of Hiring Professional Plumbers

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It can be quite stressful when drains clog, pipes break or your toilet overflows. Such times call for the services of a professional plumber as plumbing is not really a Do-It-Yourself kind of thing. Using the services of a bonded, insured and licensed plumber could stop that tiny drip from becoming a major issue when the whole pipe gets broken as you try to turn that pipe wrench.

When you engage the services of a plumber who belongs to the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia, you will be assured that you are dealing with a tradesperson who belongs to a professional and registered organisation. Founded in 1891, this is largest association in the Australian plumbing industry.

Why Engage The Services Of Professionals?

While you may be a sort of jack of all trades, many reasons are there why you ought to trust the experts rather attempt a trial and error thing with your house plumbing.

Let’s now look at several reasons why rather than attempt the plumbing job yourself, it’s better to get in touch with an established and reputable plumbing company.

1. Plumber Service Companies Have Seen Everything

Your local plumbing company has in all probability encountered what you are currently going through. They have previously handled so many similar situations that it won’t take them long to have it all fixed up. Why worry yourself to exhaustion trying to sort things out yourself when a simple call to your residential plumber can have matters sorted out professionally?

Whenever an emergency strikes, sit back and relax as the experts take care of the dirty plumbing work!

2. You Also Get The Best Plumbing Tips

A big advantage of engaging the professionals is that you’ll have the opportunity of talking with them as they do the work. Use the occasion to pick their expert brains on plumbing issues which you have always wanted to know about.

3. Combined Full Services In One Visit

In most cases, a professional plumber would often provide much more than services restricted to plumbing. As you call them for the routine plumbing maintenance on the roof vents, why not also schedule your heating unit maintenance as well? Such joint scheduling of services saves money and time.

4. The Convenience Factor

Your DIY efforts at plumbing repairs ought not to interfere with your daily activities such as family events, outings and relaxation. Your local plumbing company will conveniently schedule such repairs and maintenance to suit your daily activities.

5. They Get To Master Your House

Establishing a solid relationship with a plumbing company really works to your favour over the long haul. For example, before long, they will have known and mastered exactly where all those little things are located. This turns into savings as they won’t take too long for them to rectify the issue troubling you.

As you consider engaging a plumber for keeps, why not visit the Plumbing Trades Employees Union’s website for useful tips about the plumbing trade and those engaged in providing the services.

How Long After Foreclosure Until Eviction?

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In many cases, homeowners, for one reason or another, are unable to save their homes or find a solution that will stop foreclosure. Unfortunately, many simply wait until the last minute, hoping against hope for a mortgage broker who will come through with a new foreclosure loan, only to be left hanging at the end with nothing besides a rejection. In such cases, lenders may be unwilling to continue to postpone a sheriff sale, and the foreclosure victims will find that they must find a new place to live. How long the eviction takes, though, and the state foreclosure laws will determine what a homeowners next steps should be in planning their lives after foreclosure.

In general, the bank will not start the foreclosure process until the homeowners are 3-6 months behind on payments. They can start as soon as you the loan is in default (31 days late), but most lenders will give their clients the time to get caught up and give them the benefit of the doubt, rather than starting foreclosure right away. Mortgage companies know that some people just have a one-month or short-term financial hardship that causes them to fall behind for a short period, but are then able to recover quickly and begin paying the mortgage on time again and avoid foreclosure completely.

Also, if the homeowners are working with the bank for a repayment plan or mortgage modification, they the lender will be much more willing to postpone the foreclosure filing for a few extra months. Once foreclosure starts, costs go way up, so they may be willing to get the homeowners qualified for a workout program before the situation gets out of control. Even without the actual filing of the foreclosure lawsuit, though, late fees and interest will begin to accumulate, so it is in the best interests of the homeowners to begin saving as much money as possible once they fall behind, as well as contact the lender for options to stop foreclosure.

The time period for the actual foreclosure process will vary from state to state, once the paperwork is filed. The house will be sold at sheriff sale, and then the redemption period begins, if one is offered in the state in which the property is located. For example, some states have no redemption period, while others have a one-year redemption period under the state’s foreclosure laws in order for the homeowners to stay in the property and look for some way to save it. Refinancing, selling, or paying the redemption amount in full can all be done while the foreclosure victims continue to live in the property for the length of the redemption period.

After the end of redemption, though, the eviction process will start. Eviction can usually take 2-4 weeks, depending on how quickly the lender starts the process and how quickly the sheriff can come out to the property and conduct the actual physical eviction. Once that happens, though, the homeowners will be set out on the street and the locks will be changed. It will be better to be out by this point than be evicted, of course, but it is also better to find a solution before the situation reaches this point, as well.

Time periods for foreclosure and the eviction process vary wildly from state to state. Some even have the redemption period before the sheriff sale, while most others have a redemption period after the sale. This is why is important for homeowners to gain the foreclosure information necessary to understand how foreclosure works, and how much time they will have to put together a plan designed to stop foreclosure. One of the best places to start researching is the state foreclosure laws, and the best time to start researching is as soon as possible. Waiting too long to learn how foreclosure works and then not putting together a plan to save the home is almost a sure-fire way to end up homeless and evicted.

Tow Bar Specialist

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Trust one of the UK’s top tow bar specialists with all your towbar enquires and fitting needs. Indespension have been at the forefront of towing products for the last 40 years and as a result, we have an extensive knowledge and experience of the biggest brands.

We are able to assist with all your towing requirements whether your vehicle requires a trailer or tow bars. UK customers will be familiar with the fact that all tow bars need to capable of towing any vehicles approved towing weight, but most will be unsure of fitting a towbar themselves. Choosing one of our approved tow bar specialists to fit your chosen product means peace of mind that your tow bar is safe and secure – and even comes with a lifetime guarantee.

As a valued customer of Indespension, once your towbar is installed you will also have a 12-month guarantee on wiring and components and Indespension are happy to service your trailer to ensure its safety. For the best in detachable and standard tow bars, UK based Indespension offers great prices for all vehicles.

Before you choose a tow bar, we always recommend you check with one of our tow bar specialists whether you need to take the B+E Driving Standards Agency test to check your driving once towing a large weight is safe. This test is necessary for vehicles towing excessive weights, although depending on your towbar needs, you may not need to take this additional test.

Indespension are experts in tow bar and trailer needs in the UK. We make sure that our tow bar fitters are securing your cars safety. Fill in our simple online form or ring one of our advisors direct on 0800 720 720 or visit one of our 19 nationwide outlets for all enquires about trailers and tow bars in the UK and take advantage of our industry-leading expertise in our field.

Glossary of Gutter Terms

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Glossary of Gutter Terms

Here are some terms you should be aware of when reading an estimate from a contractor.

Downspout
A pipe that carries rainwater from a roof gutter down to a drain or to the ground.

Drip-Edge Extension
Prevents water from washing over the fascia eventually causing it to rot. If your fascia boards have black streaks on them, that usually means that the drip-edge is failing and the contractor may suggest adding an extension for an additional charge.

Fascia Angle
If there is any fascia board that is angled to follow the roof rafters, there is usually an extra charge.

Fascia Board
The flat horizontal surface right below the edge of a roof.

Fascia Replacement
New gutters need a solid fascia surface upon which to be mounted. If rotted boards need to be replaced, there is a charge per linear feet. Fascia boards narrower than 3″ in width must be built out to provide proper support for hanging your new gutters and require an additional charge per linear feet.

Gauge
The thickness or the gauge of the gutter is very important. Primary aluminum is the thickest and most consistent available. The gauges range from .019 to .032 inches. The optimal thickness is .032 inches so when buying aluminum gutters, insist on primary aluminum, which is the best.

Mitres (Corners)
When a company fabricates the corners onsite using the same material as the rest of the house, the advantage is that there is one seam instead of 3 and it’s a cleaner look overall.

Run Height
The height (in stories) at which each gutter run will be located (1st story, 2nd story etc.). This is used to determine the length of downspout needed.

Run Length
A straight section of gutter mounted against the fascia board. It is measured in linear feet, which measures the same as regular feet.

Seamless Gutter Machine
The chosen gutter material is rolled through the forming machine to create a continuous piece of gutter that is custom sized to your home.

Professional Landscaping Design

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Do you dream of entertaining your friends in the beautiful garden of your home? Are you thinking about renovating your home? Instead of renovating the inside of your house again, why not improve the landscape of your property. Having beautiful flowers, a pool, and maybe a fountain can prove to be more than inviting for your guests, it can also serve as a relaxing lawn for you to escape your worries. Let professional landscape company bring your dreams to life.

There are many varieties to consider when choosing the perfect design of your landscape. A professional landscape design company offers a full range of landscape design consultation services with on site designs. The experts of the landscape designers along with your personal design ideas, professional landscape company can make your dreams come true within the given time with little complications.

Professional landscape design company takes time to understand the environment of your ideal area of installation to clarify your needs. They want to give you the best quality service. You’ll be along the designers each stage as you wish to oversee the development of your perfect landscape.

Trees, shrubs, and other plants are an essential part to your landscape designs. They provide a sense of privacy, arduous smell surrounding your home, and they are a sight to see. Unless you’re a botanist or horticulture expert, you may not know that the flowers you place in your yard attract more than your neighbor’s attention. Different plants can attract some beautiful animals into your garden. The experts also give you advice and train you on the knowledge of the plants blooming cycle. You can easily have a blooming garden all year round.

Professional landscape design company goes to great lengths in the selection of the client’s plants, fences, pavements, etc. Choosing the correct activities for your yard guarantees the proper shade, texture, color, and form of the landscape. Some other varieties to consider are decks, ponds, fence, patios, walks, drainage, and paving. There are specific details that can enhance your lifestyle. The details that the professional put into your project are what truly make them experts.

Quality service comes along a professional landscape company that focuses on your need and to try to measure up to your lifestyle. Renovating or improving your landscape can have a peaceful effect to you and your family. A lovely landscape not only serves as a great spot to entertain your guests, it can also increase the value of your property in the long run.

Plumbing Business – Makes To Focus On Ultimate Goal

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Business Planning For Plumbing Companies:
Every time a person thinks of beginning a new business, there are several hinders in his path. Improper planning is one of those obstacles. Complex and tough software does not solve the problem either. Plumbing has various aspects are these aspects form the very basis of the business plans. These are the fool-proof and tested methods that help in making a business successful. A proper planning is of utmost requirement by any company. Every dimension of a business needs planning. Plumbing business is no different and gets an easy road in accomplishing the goals. Planning also helps in decisions that are profitable to the company in every sense.

Putting down a plumbing business plan is one of the most essential steps when lunching a plumbing trade. It is costly to have someone else inscribe your business plan for you. Therefore, you can seek guidance from a prominent web portals, which would be significantly cheaper and faster method. The website provides important tools and guidelines to establish a successful plumbing business. It explicated the importance of time management, team building, marking leadership and premium how to provide customer services. It is a self-motivated coaching book, which should be evaluated on a regular basis, so as to supervise and assess the performance of your company.

When you think in different ways, plumbing business is the right choice to choose. As it has many benefits linke developing your business in different industries. It is very easy to work and mainly focus on the ultimate goal and take you closer to it.

The Pros of Preparing a Plumbing Business Plan

The Plumbing Business Plan is predominantly meant for the development of your business as it can assist you to:

Decide a time frame by which your business would be commercially feasible.

organize your concepts and explore a planned layout

Simplify your business principle to yourself and correspond it to your partner or staff.

It also allows you to foresee the future growth, and can also help if there are some mistakes.

Define a stratagem for your business, and predominantly your marketing tactic.

Lay down targets and goals, together with sales and monetary targets, so that you can screen your business’ growth on a continuing basis.

There is actually more than just one way to be associated with plumbing profession. You can be a supplier of the plumbing equipments, a business entrepreneur or a vender for tools and gadgets. To start a business, it should always be cleared that you have all the necessary license and registrations done.

Let’s Move to Holmes Chapel in Cheshire!

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Thinking of moving out to Cheshire? Take a look at the village of Holmes Chapel which is a nice area within easy commuting distance of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Holmes Chapel is a village in Cheshire. It’s quite small, the last census measured the population at under 6,000 and it retains an “old fashioned” feel (and I mean that in a positive way) compared to my previous experiences of living in cities and in other towns.

Geographically it is less than a mile from the M6 motorway which means you have easy access to the M6 and the M56 so it’s easy to get to Manchester, Warrington, Crewe, Stoke, Birmingham and obviously many places in between and all around. It’s also on the Crewe to Manchester train line so getting into Manchester is fairly easy as the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. Holmes Chapel station also has a book club and has won lots of awards. Compared to the grim faceless and vandalised train stations you find in most towns and cities, it’s great!

The village has two primary schools, Hermitage and Holmes Chapel Primary both of which have excellent Ofsted and DFES results so it’s a great place to move to find a better state education for your kids. It also has a secondary school and attached sixth form centre which again, is very highly rated by Ofsted and is particularly strong in Science. In other words, if you’re looking to move to somewhere outside of the city so your kids can go to good local schools all the way through then it’s an excellent choice.

Because of the good schools and the good commuting opportunities, Holmes Chapel is relatively expensive compared to some larger more industrialised towns. The cheapest houses I’ve seen in recent months come in at around £160,000 for a fairly small 2 bedroomed terraced house. For a three bedroomed semi or terraced you’d probably be looking ar £170-190k and for a 3 bedroom detached house, over £230k. There are also lots of large 4 bed detached houses in the village which currently sell for anything between £270k and £370k upwards depending on where they are and what they’re like. It is possible to rent as well though, and three bedroom houses seem to be available for around £700 a month upwards.

Holmes Chapel has a lot of older residents because a lot of the housing was built in the 70’s with more in the mid 1980’s and bought as new by people moving into the area to take advantage of the schools, commuting and the general niceness of the environment. Many of these people are now nearing retirement. This means that there is a nice relaxed feel to the place and a stroll to the shops will generally produce many polite smiles, nods and hellos from people you don’t actually know. Again, a very nice and old fashioned attitude that has been sadly lost in many places where people scurry about in fear of being attacked or assaulted.

There is a Youth Club and a Leisure Centre and two private sports and leisure clubs which also provide excellent sporting and social facilities throughout the year. Holmes Chapel also has a library, doctors surgery, a dentist and an opticians alongside a variety of excellent local shops and businesses.

All in all if you are looking for somewhere to commute to Manchester or Warrington from where you can find excellent local schools then Holmes Chapel is a good option and well worth a look.

Top 5 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

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Marketing is important in selling anything and real estate is no exception. Statistics show that 85% – 90% of buyers start their home search online. When your selling a home you want to make sure that you have a strong online presence.

Here are 5 tips to sell your home fast.

1. craigslist.org: Craigslist is the #1 site to post online classified ads. This site gets over 20 billion page views per month and there’s a section where you can post your home for sale. Even if you get 1% of the 20 billion people viewing your home, it’s a great way to get your listing viewed and eventually sold. However, you have to be persistent. There are many people posting their home for sale so you might get knocked down to the bottom of the page by the end of the day.

2. youtube.com: YouTube is the most powerful form of marketing. People are always more attracted to photos, videos, and audio rather than plain text marketing. If you have a flip camera or digital camera with video function take a video tour of your home and post it on YouTube. This is just like making a mini-commercial for marketing the sale of your home.

3. postlets.com: This is a website that you can use to post your property listing if you aren’t using a Realtor to sell your home. If you can’t get your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), this would be the second best option to market your home on the internet the best part is that it’s FREE. One post to this site and your listing will get syndicated to multiple other websites so that you can get maximum exposure for your property online.

4. Signs (Yard sign, open house, etc): This is the most traditional method of marketing. The exposure to number of buyers will be far less than internet buyers but you can target a more specific group of people . Think of it this way, majority of the people that will see your signs are your neighbors. Your neighbors more than likely surround themselves with people of similar status, income, lifestyle, etc. and they may know someone who’s interested in moving into your neighborhood.

5. This might be a little technical, but if you know how to save the “image” of the video you can take that image, upload it into your craigslist posting, and post a link from that image back to your YouTube page. Craigslist doesn’t allow a full video to be posted so this is the next best thing. This will drive more traffic to your craigslist post because once again, people like photos and images much more than plain text and it will make your post much more popular.

None of this will matter if your not persistent. Market consistently and persistently and you’ll be selling your home in no time!

The Advantages of Living in Texas

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When deciding where to move after college or when you are looking for a new job, it is important to consider many factors as you look at different states. Texas, for example, is a great to state to live in today. For starters, the weather is really warm for most of the year. Also, you get great value as far as outdoor work on your home because coatings and scaffolding does not receive as much wear and tear since the weather is nice over the whole year. Thirdly, this state does not have an income tax, so it is much cheaper to live there when it is compared to other states. Finally, many of its big cities have constantly been listed as best places to live in the Recession. For all of these reasons and many more, people should seriously consider this state for a new home. Below are more specifics of the reasons listed above:

1. The weather is pretty gorgeous year round in this state. Some cities, like Houston, do tend to get very humid, but if you do not mind that, then it will most likely not be an issue. Studies have shown that many people get what is known as the “winter blues” because plenty of U.S. cities get very cold and grey over the winter. If you are in an area that does not get too cold, and remains sunny for most of the year, then odds are, you will have a much happier life.

2. Because the weather is warm throughout the year, the normal wear and tear on the outside of your home is a much slower process compared to homes in other states. For example, roofs get damaged when there is a lot of snow in the winter and, even worse, is when the water from snow leaks through your roof and causes water damage inside your home. This problem really does not happen in Texan cities.

3. There is no income tax in the “Lone Star State,” which means living is a lot cheaper than it is in the many other parts of the country. No income tax means that people do not have to pay the state any taxes on the money they make at work. This is what keeps the state economy going.

4. There have been many magazine articles and national rankings done about cities that are the “most Recession proof” or cities that are still seeing some growth during the Recession. Most of the big cities in the “Lone Star State” are on this list. What this means is that there are still jobs to be had in these cities and the housing market has not been hit very hard here. Also, you can get great value for a home in most of these cities because they are still in the growing stage.

There are plenty of other reasons why people should consider this state when they are looking for a job whether it is right out of college or because you have to change jobs.

Different Types of Landscaping Services

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There are many options available to you if you are interested in obtaining landscaping services. You should never make the decision without taking time and careful consideration when choosing a company. You should make enquires at several places to try and get the best deal you can. You can ask your friend or neighbors, search the Internet, or go to one of the two specialized companies mentioned later in this article. With some time and research you can get excellent quality work within your budget.

Some Available Landscaping Services

One of the most popular landscaping companies around is Relms Landscaping Services. This is an extremely well known company that can create and build anything your desire. They can also help you with any landscaping project you need. They are experienced at maintaining gardens and yards, can help with additional plantings, build a pond, or form your own landscaping company. They deal with both residential and commercial landscaping.

Some of the services that Relms offers are landscape lighting installation, irrigation installation and maintenance, lawn/turf management programs, tree/stump removal, perennial cutback, tree/shrub pruning, walls, walks, patios, redesign, island beds, water gardens, foundation plantings and more. Many times landscaping companies can provide ideas that you may not be aware of to make all your space come together into a cohesive unit.

Northwest Landscaping also offers excellent landscaping services. They do an excellent job with maintaining luxurious flowerbeds, shrubs, lawns as well as weeding, fertilizing, planting and mowing. They feel that you should be proud of your lawn just as they are proud of the product that they supply. They are dedicated to creating and maintaining all of their properties to the highest standards. They are known for their unparalleled customer service and have excellent communication with property owners. All of their employees are trained professionals that are well qualified and have excellent experience.

This company has proven their work with over 140 years of experience. Over this time span they have achieved and maintained a respected reputation in the landscaping industry. No matter what services they are providing they are always professional and proactive. Their use of technology, efficient systems and competitive pricing will be sure to leave a lasting impression.

It does not matter which landscaping services company you choose as long as you take enough time to completely consider which company is the best for your landscaping plans. You need to feel comfortable with the landscapers and confident that they will work well with your ideas.

Plumber Vs Plumbing Engineer – What’s the Difference?

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The phrase “plumbing engineer” might just sound like a fancy five-dollar term to use when “plumber” sounds too pedestrian. Like, if your stodgy old eighth-grade English teacher comes to visit, and the toilet breaks, you might say something like, “Alas! It seems as though it may be time to avail myself of some of my local plumbing engineer’s finest handiwork! Forsooth, and such.”

Luckily, your stodgy eighth-grade English teacher didn’t bring your persnickety eleventh-grade science teacher with her, because you’d be wrong.

You call a plumber to fix a broken toilet, repair a leaky pipe or unclog a stubborn drain. Plumbers are a vital component of the professional engineering community, but a plumber just is not the same as a plumbing engineer.

So what is a plumbing engineer, you ask? The easiest way to make the distinction is to think of the plumbing engineer as the guy who designs the system, and the plumber as the guy who maintains it. You’d call Jack the plumbing engineer to map out the hot and cold water system in the new home you’re building; you’d call Joe the plumber to fix it when a gasket wears out.

Plumbing engineering relies on design, planning, creation and implementation. A plumbing engineer draws up a pipe system for a new building or series of buildings, makes sure every pipe connection is solid and every delivery method is efficient. He chooses the right materials to make sure the system lasts for years with minimal maintenance. If you get a top-notch plumbing engineer, you probably won’t need to call the plumber very often.

The Whole Building Design Guide, an expansive web-based information resource for contractors, designers and architects, provides a good working definition of plumbing engineering:

The Plumbing Engineer is involved with systems that overlap into the mechanical, civil, and chemical engineering disciplines. The Plumbing Engineer is in a key position to influence the water efficiency, sustainable site, energy, fire protection, and pollution systems of a facility.

Plumbing engineers are qualified to oversee a wide array of public and private building projects:

  • When a new shopping center needs a stormwater management system, the engineering firm designing the center would hand the job over to a plumbing engineer.
  • A plumbing engineer might work closely with a fire protection engineer to to make sure a new sprinkler system is in good working order.
  • An entire team of plumbing engineers might design a sewer system for a new housing development.

Problems With Portable Storage Pods

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It is no secret that portable storage pods are a very popular storage option for many. Their demand can easily be evidenced by simply looking around in your neighborhood as odds are good you will see or two fairly quickly. The interest in these has risen to the point where they have become a preferred item over other options. However, even with all this interest, they are not without their own problems or issues. Here, we take a look at a few of these issues and what you can do about them.

Storage pods have difficulty in extreme temperatures.

This will be intuitive to many people who recognize that any portable storage will have its limits. In extreme temperatures, these containers suffer in performance. However, they do turn out to do really well in a pretty broad temperature including fairly cold temperatures and very hot temperatures. But if you find that the temperature gets too hot or cold in your area, we suggest that you have the container moved to a climate controlled facility. Most of the container companies have this option and you should take advantage of this option at times when the temperature really goes beyond what these containers are designed for.

Door way opening latch can become blocked.

This can be an issue with some storage pods where the door is unable to be opened because items inside press against the door making it hard to open the container. One of the best ways to guard against this issue is to pack items up to about 85% occupancy. This will help ensure the entrance is not blocked. It also has the added benefit of making it easier to find items in storage because of the extra space.

Some containers have design issues.

One issue for some containers is that they have a raised entrance. This is an issue with only a few pods but it is worth noting. This raised entrance makes it a little harder to load and unload items and there is an increased risk of tripping because of the raised entrance.

Another issue that some containers have is what the container is made of. Some containers are made of plywood which can create an environment where mildew and moisture can become an issue. The best solution in these settings is to opt for other kinds of pods that do not have this issue.

By keeping these different issues of portable storage pods, you should be much better prepared to get the most out of yours.

How To Clean Your Rain Gutters

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Rain gutters protect your house from water damage, but they only do their job when free of clogs. To keep your gutters flowing freely, you need to clean them periodically.

The conventional wisdom says to clean your rain gutters twice a year – once in the fall and once in the spring. In fact, this is the minimum frequency at which you should clean them. If you live in a rainy climate or have trees near your roof, you will need to clean your gutters more often.

Check your gutters once a month during the rainy season to make sure they are clean. In addition to leaves and pine needles, check for small seeds and nuts. If allowed to build up, these can leave a tar-like residue that’s hard to remove.

To clean your gutters you’ll need the right tools, and the most important tool for this job is a steady ladder.

If you have a low roof, a step-ladder may be enough to do the job. Otherwise you will need a stabilized extension ladder. Lean the top of the ladder against your roof and place the bottom on level ground about one quarter of the ladder’s length away from the wall.

Leaning an extension ladder against your gutters can damage them. You can avoid this by using a ladder stay, which is a metal triangle that attaches to the ladder, allowing it to rest safely against a wall and keeping its weight off of your gutters.

Remember never to stand on the top step of your ladder. If your ladder isn’t tall enough for you to comfortably reach your gutters, don’t be a hero, just get a bigger ladder.

Once your ladder is in place, you’ll need a plastic bucket to store debris. Hang the bucket from a ladder step with an S-hook. Don’t be tempted to hang the bucket from your gutters, since the added weight can damage the gutters.

Next you’ll need a tool for scraping leaves and other debris from your gutters. A trowel or garden spade will do the job, but avoid sharp tools that can gouge your gutters. Some hardware stores also sell a specialized “gutter scooper,” which is basically a long-bladed trowel shaped to fit most gutters.

Begin near a downspout and scoop out debris, working your way along the gutters and away from the downspout.

After you have cleaned out the debris, flush the gutters with a garden hose. This is also a good time to check for leaks in your gutter system.

Next, check for clogs in your downspouts. Insert your garden hose into the top of the downspout and turn on the water. Compare the flow from the hose to that washing out of the downspout. A slow flow means you have a clogged downspout.

Unclogging your downspouts is undoubtedly the hardest part of cleaning your gutters. You can try blasting water through the downspout, but this can potentially worsen the clog.

In many cases it’s better to disassemble the downspout. Take out the elbows, which are where clogs usually occur, and clean them with your tools.

Another option is to use a plumber’s snake (sometimes called a plumber’s auger or drain auger). Essentially an auger with a flexible tube, the plumber’s snake lets you bore through the clog. Just be sure to buy a plumber’s snake that’s wide enough for your rain gutters.

Instead of cleaning your own gutters, you can a hire service to do the job for you. The cost depends on the size and height of your house. To clean the gutters on a two-story, 2,000 square-foot home with 180 feet of gutters will cost anywhere from $90 to $200.

Another option is to install gutter screen or gutter covers, which help keep leaves and debris from getting into your gutters. These cost anywhere from $0.50 – $6.00 per foot over gutter, depending on the type of system you buy.

Mike Milliman is founder and partner of GutterSupply.com, the leading manufacturer and distributor of Gutters, Rain Gutter, and related tools and equipment.

Cleaning the Walls – How to Clean Retaining Wall Blocks

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Retaining walls are often meant to be decorative as well as practical, and when they look good, they can add a lot of appeal to your garden or yard. The only problem is that any retaining wall will eventually accumulate dirt, mildew, plant material, and various kinds of gunk that can leave the blocks looking stained and ugly. Luckily, getting the blocks clean again is relatively simple, and with the right tools and some attention to detail, any stained or dirty retaining wall can be returned to its former glory.

Part of what you need to consider, before you try to clean a wall or a few blocks, is that the method that you should use depends on what the wall is made of. If it’s an old stone wall that has stood for decades or longer, or if it is made of prized antique bricks, it’s a very bad idea to go in guns blazing, and ruin the wall by using harsh chemicals or the wrong cleaner. Also, if you go about things in the wrong way, you can drive dirt deeper into the blocks and make the entire job harder. Think carefully before you pull out the pressure washer!

The best place to start, no matter what your retaining wall blocks are made of, is with an ordinary garden hose with a sprayer attachment. (You’ll need the kind that has a reservoir that allows you to add a cleaner to the spray.) Start off by gently spraying down the whole wall, or the blocks that you need to clean. The entire area needs to be soaked, so that when you go to clean out the dirt, there is no wicking action drawing moisture (and dirt) into the blocks or into the wall.

Consider whether or not the wall is in an area where you need to protect the greenery. If you are concerned about runoff from the cleaning process, especially if you are going to use some kind of harsh product to remove stains, then you should consider putting down tarps or plastic drop cloths in order to shield the plants from the worst of the runoff.

Then, these are the basic cleaning options:

* If you are cleaning a stone retaining wall, invest in some professional-grade degreaser, and put it directly into the reservoir in your garden hose sprayer. Soak the entire area to be cleaned, and wait ten to fifteen minutes for the degreaser to work. (The wall will very likely look dirtier than before, as a result.) After waiting, take a power sprayer, and spray down the wall, working from top to bottom and from one side to the other. Keep it up until the wall stops foaming. Then, let it dry.

* If you are cleaning a retaining wall made of bricks or concrete blocks, start off by using some ordinary dish soap in your garden sprayer. Using a dish soap solution and a toothbrush, carefully scrub at stained areas. Spray off the soap with a power sprayer, and let the wall dry.

* If you are cleaning concrete blocks and soap does not remove the stains or dirt, fill your garden sprayer attachment with bleach. (Remember to take appropriate safety precautions, by wearing goggles or safety glasses, and appropriate clothing.) Spray down the wall with bleach, as above; then allow to dry.

* If none of these options work, there is hydrochloric acid. It can be effective in removing stains on some kinds of blocks, but it is too harsh for use on all materials. If you must resort to using hydrochloric acid, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly — or, consider bringing in a professional who can safely work with this kind of hazardous substance.

Ultimately, most dirt and stains on retaining wall blocks are not that difficult to remove, and the average homeowner should be able to do the job. Just remember that you should never start by using a power washer, and that powerful chemicals and cleaners need to be used with an appropriate level of caution.

Plumbing – The Waste System

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In modern plumbing systems, the pipes which carry used water away from baths, basins, WCs, bidets and showers have traps often called U-bends full of water. The water in these traps prevents smells from the sewers getting into the house – in Victorian times, this ‘drain air’ was thought to be directly responsible for a number of diseases. Even if this is not the case, smells from sewers are at least unpleasant. On a WC, the water trap is part of the fitting; in other cases, it is part of the outlet waste pipe.

Single-stack systems
Most houses built since about I960 have a single-stack waste system. The branch pipes from the U-bend traps, attached to baths, basins, WCs and so on in the upper storeys of the house, connect into a single pipe usually 100mm in diameter – called a discharge pipe, soil pipe or soil-stack -which runs vertically down the side of (or through) the house. The top of this pipe should terminate outside the building, not less than 900mm above the top of any opening windows (unless a relief valve is fitted). The bottom is connected directly into the house drainage system – it has no trap in it.

When designing a waste system, care has to be taken to ensure that the water in the traps cannot be sucked out so breaking the seal against smells. This can happen if waste water rushes through the branch pipe leading from the trap (or through other pipes connected to this branch) quickly enough to create suf¬ficient suction to pull the water out of the trap. To guard against unsealing, the top of the soil-stack is left open. It should, however, be fitted with a cage to stop birds nesting in it and stopping up the open end. (Technically, the length of pipe above the highest branch connection to it is called a vent pipe.) In the single-stack waste system, there are other design con¬straints – the slope, length and diameter of branch pipes, the position of their con¬nections to the soil-stack, and the radius of the bend at the foot of the soil-stack all have to be worked out carefully in order to meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.

WCs at ground-floor level may also be connected to the soil-stack but are more usually connected directly to the drain. Other ground-floor waste pipes will prob¬ably discharge into a back-inlet gully or through the grid of an open gully. A gully is basically a water trap with the top open to the air at ground level and an outlet connected to the house drains. The gully should be fitted with a grid to prevent leaves and other things blocking it. The waste pipes enter the gully below the level of the grid but above the level of the water in the gully trap either by simply passing through a hole cut in the top of the grid, or by being connected to an inlet forming part of the gully. When this inlet is at the back of the gully (the front of the grid is where the outlet is) it is called a back-inlet gully; when the inlet is at the side, it is called, not surprisingly, a side-inlet gully.

Extending a single-stack waste system will mean joining into the main soil pipe. This is usually fairly simple, provided the pipe is plastic.

Two-pipe system
Many older houses have a two-pipe waste system with WCs connected into one vertical soil pipe, and other wastes (baths, basin and bidets) connected into a separate vertical waste pipe. This system calls for less careful design of slopes and connections, but the vertical pipes still need to be vented to the air.

An existing two-pipe system can be extended by allowing extra waste pipes from upstairs rooms to discharge into the hopper head and ground-floor wastes to be led to the gully. This is clearly much simpler than having to cut into the side of the vertical soil or waste pipe – particu¬larly a cast-iron one.

In the two-pipe system, the soil pipe is connected directly to the drains, and the waste pipe is connected via a trapped gully, which usually takes the waste pipe from the kitchen sink.

REGULATIONS
Most plumbing and waste work is cov¬ered by regulations designed to ensure that the results of the work are not a danger to health and do not lead to undue consumption, misuse, contamination or waste of water.

Building Regulations
The Building Regulations (and their equivalents in Northern Ireland and Scotland) control the way waste systems are designed. You should give notice of your plans to do anything to the waste system in your house (apart from straightforward repair or replace¬ment). Ask the local authority for infor¬mation about the person to contact-in England and Wales it is the Building Control Officers of your Borough or District Council.

The general requirement of the Regulations is that the systems carrying foul water (WC waste and water which has been used for cooking and wash¬ing) and for carrying rain-water away from the house shall be ‘adequate’. What this means is explained in the Approved Document for part H; most manufacturers of soil/waste equipment give guidance in their literature.

Water By-laws
Because there are differences in the type of water supplied to different areas of the country, each local water supply undertaking can issue its own water by¬laws – though these are normally based on the Model Water By-laws. You should give notice of your plans for certain plumbing work before it is started, including installing a bidet, flushing cistern or a tap for a hose or making a connection to the rising main.

The Water By-laws cover such things as: the size of storage cisterns and the position of inlets, outlets and over¬flows: the provision of stop taps and drain taps; the protection of pipes against frost damage, corrosion and vibration; and, most importantly, the design of the system so that there is no possibility of the supply becoming con¬taminated, particularly by back-siphonage. To make sure that any work complies fully, it is essential to read (and follow) the local water undertak¬ing’s by-laws, which are normally sup¬plied free.

What Is A Removalist?

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If you live in the UK, there’s a fair chance you won’t know what a removalist is. In essence, they’re simply a large removal company using a term that is widely used in the States and Australia. It makes them seem a little more artisan than your regular house movers, but fear not, they mostly do the same thing.

So, what can a removalist do for you? Well, they tend to have two sides to their business: storage and delivery. What’s often not considered with many large removalists is that they can help immensely with corporate issues as well. If you or your company have a large quantity of important documents that need to be kept, they can store them at archive rates, which are usually lower than standard rates. Commonly, the requirements to keep paper records of tax information will force many high body companies to use a service like this from a removalist.

So, what makes a removalist different to a man and van, for example? Mainly it’s the quantity of the services you can get from them. They will offer things like packing, and unpacking services, as well as box rental and packing material rental as well. A high level of insurance is often included, and some of the larger ones will give you a named advisor to reduce the stress that you often find when moving house. They generally tend to be a little more  expensive  than other options, but removalists are, for the most part, a highly rated house moving option.

Granite – Properties and Usage

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Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite has a medium to coarse texture, occasionally with some individual crystals larger than the groundmass forming a rock known as porphyry. Granites can be pink to dark gray or even black, depending on their chemistry and mineralogy. Outcrops of granite tend to form tors, and rounded massifs. Granites sometimes occur in circular depressions surrounded by a range of hills, formed by the metamorphic aureole or hornfels.

Granite is an igneous rock and is formed from magma. Granitic magma has many potential origins but it must intrude other rocks. Most granite intrusions are emplaced at depth within the crust, usually greater than 1.5 kilometers and up to 50 km depth within thick continental crust. The origin of granite is contentious and has led to varied schemes of classification. Classification schemes are regional; there is a French scheme, a British scheme and an American scheme. This confusion arises because the classification schemes define granite by different means. Generally, the ‘alphabet-soup’ classification is used because it classifies based on genesis or origin of the magma.

Ancient Uses of Granites

Granite is nearly always massive (lacking internal structures), hard and tough, and therefore it has gained widespread use as a construction stone. The Red Pyramid of Egypt, named for the light crimson hue of its exposed granite surfaces, is the third largest of Egyptian pyramids. Menkaure’s Pyramid, was constructed of limestone and granite blocks. The Great Pyramid of Giza contains a huge granite sarcophagus fashioned of “Red Aswan Granite.” The mostly ruined Black Pyramid dating from the reign of Amenemhat III once had a polished granite pyramidion or capstone, now on display in the main hall of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Many large Hindu temples in southern India were made of granite. There is a large amount of granite in these structures. They are comparable to the Great Pyramid of Giza

Granites Use in Current age

Granite has been extensively used as a dimension stone and as flooring tiles in public and commercial buildings and monuments. With increasing amounts of acid rain in parts of the world, granite has begun to supplant marble as a monument material, since it is much more durable. Polished granite is also a popular choice for kitchen countertops due to its high durability and aesthetic qualities.

Engineers have traditionally used polished granite surfaces to establish a plane of reference, since they are relatively impervious and inflexible. Sandblasted concrete with a heavy aggregate content has an appearance similar to rough granite, and is often used as a substitute when use of real granite is impractical. Because of the particular rarity of the granite, the best stones can cost as much as US$1,500.

Pacific Bedrock Ltd. specializes in manufacturing and supply of highly finished commercial and residential stone products.

Top 5 Self Storage Chains

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The whole point of self storage is to safely place your belongings in a secure location. It is used by families which have far too many material goods to fit in their home. Self storage is also convenient for families who are moving home and need somewhere to keep their belongings until they are ready to transport them. The traditional small self storage companies are in danger of being pushed out by large chains which have more centers, better facilities and offer better prices. The bottom line is that customers are looking for efficiency and security above friendliness which is why large self storage chains are enjoying record profits. Here are 5 of the best organizations in the business.

5: Sovran Self Storage

Sovran was founded in 1982 and has its headquarters in Buffalo, New York. It is a self-administered and self-managed Real Estate Investment Trust that has more than 1,000 employees. All of its stores carry the name Uncle Bob’s Self Storage. It is one of the largest chains in America with 350 facilities which covers 20 million square feet. It currently serves 160,000 customers in 24 states.

4: U Store It Trust

U Store It Trust was founded in 2004 and is another real estate company which is self managed. It is located in Wayne, Pennsylvania, with thousands of facilities spanning over 25 million square feet. The company recently announced plans to upgrade its facilities but warned that an increase in rent would follow.

3: U-Haul International Inc.

U-Haul International is another major self-storage and moving chain which was founded in 1945. It has a revenue of approximately $4 billion per annum and currently has 18,000 employees. It has the largest coverage of any organization in North America with over 1,000 facilities in all 50 states. Its brand is one of the most recognizable in the United States with the term ‘U-Haul’ used to describe the services of any rental company.

2: Extra Storage Space

Extra Storage Space is a self storage chain with its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was founded in 1977 and has almost 700 facilities with more than 50 million square feet of storage space. Although it does not compare with some of its counterparts in terms of size, it has a reputation for providing the best security of any chain in the nation. The majority of their facilities have a manager on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

1: Public Storage Inc.

Public Storage has its headquarters in Glendale, California, and has been in the public storage business since 1972. At present, it has over 2,100 facilities in the United States with more than 135 million square feet to rent. It also has an interest in PS Business Parks which contains another 21 million square feet. It is one of the world’s largest self storage chains.

These five companies are considered to be among the very best in America when it comes to self storage chains. Smaller organizations will have a difficult time competing with the services offered by these companies, all of which are likely to expand in the near future.

Professional Landscaping Design

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Do you dream of entertaining your friends in the beautiful garden of your home? Are you thinking about renovating your home? Instead of renovating the inside of your house again, why not improve the landscape of your property. Having beautiful flowers, a pool, and maybe a fountain can prove to be more than inviting for your guests, it can also serve as a relaxing lawn for you to escape your worries. Let professional landscape company bring your dreams to life.

There are many varieties to consider when choosing the perfect design of your landscape. A professional landscape design company offers a full range of landscape design consultation services with on site designs. The experts of the landscape designers along with your personal design ideas, professional landscape company can make your dreams come true within the given time with little complications.

Professional landscape design company takes time to understand the environment of your ideal area of installation to clarify your needs. They want to give you the best quality service. You’ll be along the designers each stage as you wish to oversee the development of your perfect landscape.

Trees, shrubs, and other plants are an essential part to your landscape designs. They provide a sense of privacy, arduous smell surrounding your home, and they are a sight to see. Unless you’re a botanist or horticulture expert, you may not know that the flowers you place in your yard attract more than your neighbor’s attention. Different plants can attract some beautiful animals into your garden. The experts also give you advice and train you on the knowledge of the plants blooming cycle. You can easily have a blooming garden all year round.

Professional landscape design company goes to great lengths in the selection of the client’s plants, fences, pavements, etc. Choosing the correct activities for your yard guarantees the proper shade, texture, color, and form of the landscape. Some other varieties to consider are decks, ponds, fence, patios, walks, drainage, and paving. There are specific details that can enhance your lifestyle. The details that the professional put into your project are what truly make them experts.

Quality service comes along a professional landscape company that focuses on your need and to try to measure up to your lifestyle. Renovating or improving your landscape can have a peaceful effect to you and your family. A lovely landscape not only serves as a great spot to entertain your guests, it can also increase the value of your property in the long run.

Necessary Plumbing Services From Plumbing Contractors

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If your toilet is producing a gurgling sound or you have leaking water into your ceiling, then you must understand that you have a plumbing problem at your place. In order to control the situation before it gets worse and dangerously ill you must take immediate actions to handle it. In fact, you must call your plumber immediately to quickly solve your problem, saving you money.

Plumbers can offer the following services:

Drain Cleaning Services

Expert plumbers provide a wide variety of drain clog solutions and sewer line replacement options to fit your specific needs. They utilize high-end plumbing techniques and equipment like sewer snake, camera inspection, etc to solve the problem from its root. A sewer snake is a rooter machine that is specifically used to clean and clear drain lines clogged with food items, grease, sludge and soap. It also helps to eliminate hard roots growing into the sewer line and sewer system that can cause greater damage to your plumbing system.

Professional plumbers use camera inspection techniques as the best method of plumbing repair. It addresses drainage problems or any type of root growth in your drainage system. This procedure is carried out in order to delicately identify the location and identify the severity of your drain clogging problem. If the problem is dangerous and creating hurdles to the drain system or water flow then, the technician will point these out and develop the best possible solution customized as per the situation and circumstance.

Water Leak

A dripping faucet is the greatest matter of concern for the home owners. It can cause a lot of trouble and can damage property, reducing its overall value. It not only disturbs the plumbing system but also originates the heath issues for the family members. Plumbing experts can spot the leak in a hidden pipe and repair if necessary. By taking the problem at hand they minimize your overall cost of plumbing repair and also make the plumbing system sound by replacing the old fixtures.

So, for reliable plumbing services you must hire an expert that can manage to offer complete residential or commercial plumbing services. Their area of expertise should include all aspects of plumbing for plumbing projects including water, waste, vent, gas, and fixture installation. They must be experienced in adding or repairing water lines or gas lines to your place. In essence, their services must add complete peace of mind and add value to your property.

Why Use Self Storage Facilities?

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There are always occasions when you do not have enough space in your house, office, or business premise to store the material you have got and you wish if you could move some material, which is not going to be needed for quite some times, and store it to some other place safely. This is what self storage services are offering today. The concept has picked the wave and has developed in a full-fledged industry in most of the parts of USA today. Here are some advantages of using self storage services.

Safe, Secure and Clean Storage Space – Due to rapid proliferation, the self storage venues are also facing competition and consequently they all are trying to offer better service than their competitor. This is what providing service users with safe, secure and clean storage facilities in their neighbourhood. Even if you have to carry the stuff a little far from your house, it pays to use the services of a self storage service if it guarantees safety, and security of your belongings.

Adequate Size – Another advantage of using such kind of services is the availability of required size of space units to store your stuff comfortably. These services often have multiple units of different sizes of compartments to meet the size requirement of material. This spares you from the compulsion of paying rent of a large unit for storing rather a small piece. You can store anything ranging from furniture, car, boat, electronic, or just anything. They even offer various sizes of packing boxes to pack small material and store it in a common compartment. In case you are hiring a whole separate compartment, you will get the keys with permission to visit it as and when you want to.

Easy Movement – The services often make provisions so that each storage unit can be accessed through car or any commercial vehicle. Thus material can be driven direct to the unit without requiring download/upload in transit. You can drive the material to exact location of its storage and pick/drop it there easily. This makes it very comfortable for people as they do not have to pick things and carry them manually to parking space.

U-Haul Trucks, Trailers, Equipments – In case you are in need of storing a large size or heavy material such as cars, boats, machineries, or any other heavy goods, the services often provide necessary equipments such as U-haul trucks, trailers and other equipments for easy transportation of the material.

Locks – Once you have stored your stuff in a unit, you need to make sure that you are getting sufficient privileges and security assurance at affordable cost. Many self storage services in the USA are offering disc locks at discounted price to their service users. These disc locks are known for heavy-duty and maximum security.

These all services together make self storage services in USA quite convenient and assuring to the safety and security of your material. But, you should always look for safety and security of the items above vicinity of the self storage units.

Ford F-150 SuperCab Tow Test

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We tested the all-new 2009 Ford F-150 pickup equipped with a three-valve 5.4L V-8 and six-speed auto transmission in Trailer Boats’ March 2009 issue (“Power Packed”), and it was impressive. We found it to offer abundant power, outstanding drivability and firmly planted handling. Months later, however, we got to thinking that it might be interesting to see what this truck could do if it was packing one of the two available smaller 4.6L V-8 engines under its hood. To take the question a step farther, we went “old school” and had one delivered with the two-valve 4.6. Would it perform up to our expectations? Would it burn significantly less fuel? We had a lot of questions. Here’s what we discovered.

MUCH OF THE SAME

For all intents and purposes, you get the same truck when you order it with one of the smaller V-8 engines. It’s based on a fully boxed, hydro formed steel ladder-style frame, a double wishbone short- and long-arm independent front suspension with coil-over shocks with redesigned double ball-joint links for improved handling, and a leaf-spring suspended live rear axle with outboard-mounted shocks for improved roll stability. AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control) systems are integrated into the four-channel, four-wheel ABS brakes to help keep the vehicle under control in skid or body roll scenarios. All 2009 F-150s also come with the new Trailer Sway Control system, which is especially sensitive to yaw-type motions in the truck’s chassis, and can signal sway-dampening measures to the engine and brake system to help bring trailer sway under control. The interior is the same basic design, although the 4×2 STX SuperCab model was far less dressed up than the 5.4-equipped SuperCrew we had before. And certainly the rear seat passengers in the SuperCab will be less comfortable than those who ride in the SuperCrew’s second row of seats. All of the controls, dials and switches are easy to reach and manipulate. In general, visibility around the truck from the driver’s seat is good, although the large headrests on the front seats block the driver’s over-the-left-shoulder view through the driver-side rear passenger door window on the SuperCab model.

SOME DIFFERENCES

As far as capability goes, the 4.6-powered F-150 doesn’t give up too much compared to the 5.4 when it comes to payload and GVWR. With the 4.6, the payload drops only 150 pounds to 1580, and the GVWR goes down just 300 pounds to 6700. The GCWR and tow rating take a pretty good hit, though. The GCWR drops 6000 pounds to 11,100; the maximum trailer weight rating loses 5400 points for a 5800-pound tow rating. Let’s look at this with some perspective, however. How many of you actually tow a trailer boat that weighs 10,000 pounds? Not that many it seems. In fact, our reader survey shows that about 75 percent of Trailer Boats readers tow less than 7000 pounds, and around 55 percent tow less than 5000 pounds. That means the 4.6-powered F-150 we tested is capable of towing the boats owned by more than half of the readers of Trailer Boats. With the 4.6, you don’t get Ford’s new high-tech six-speed transmission. Our tester came with a four-speed OD automatic transmission. Quite frankly, it worked perfectly fine, with crisp, clean shifts and no noticeable gear hunting. You don’t get the higher price, either. The 5.4-equipped F-150 4×4 SuperCrew we tested had a base MSRP of $37,990 and a price as tested of $46,495 (loaded to the gills with extras). The 4.6-equipped and modestly optioned 4×2 SuperCab carried a price as tested of $30,990. Its base MSRP was $26,495. Take the difference and stick it in the bank.

BOTTOM LINE

The numbers tell much of the story. The boats towed during our testing of the two trucks were within 700 pounds of each other. In both towing and non-towing situations, the two-valve 4.6 showed moderate fuel savings in comparison to the 5.4. On flat highway stretches and city driving with the boat in tow, the 4.6 never broke a sweat. It pulled the load from a standing stop with relative ease, and cruised the highway with very little pedal pressure. Only when we hit the hills did the truck begin to show its Achilles’ heel. On mild uphill grades, we shifted down into third gear (turned OD off) and had no trouble. But when the climb got steeper, the transmission had to be dropped down into second gear, and we made the top of the 6 percent Cajon Grade at a 50 mph pace with the engine revving at about 3500 rpm. Overall, the Ford we tested with the 4.6 is a solid performer capable of towing the 5250-pound boat. It has its shortcomings when compared to the 5.4, but this test confirmed what we had already theorized — the 2009 Ford F-150 4×2 powered by the two-valve 4.6L V-8 is a good option to consider when looking for a new tow vehicle. It can handle the trailer boats that most of you have parked in your driveways.

— Stuart Bourdon

How to Clean Gutters

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Gutters and downspouts are designed to guide rainwater off your roof and they are drained away from your house. This prevents flooding in the basement and helps protect your windows, doors, walls, and foundation.

Gutters should be checked and maintained regularly because leaves and debris can clog it up, If it gets clogged up, the gutter will overflow causing damage to your wood and metal. Water can even enter your house through the walls if the gutter isn’t installed properly.

Also, watch out for mosquitoes. If there is any standing water in your gutters, it can become a breeding place for them.

When you’re going to clean your gutter, make sure you have the proper cleaning equipments. Create a checklist so that you won’t forget.

Listed below are the materials that you will be needing:
1. A sturdy ladder – Don’t lean the ladder against the gutter and downspout because you might break or bend it.

2. Wear non-slip shoes or boots, work gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask – This is to protect yourself from any accidents.

3. Get a narrow garden trowel or hand spade – This is used for scooping out the leaves and debris.

4. Large garbage bags – You can tie the garbage bag on the ladder. This is where you will be putting the debris.

5. A garden hose with a spray attachment – Make sure that you have enough water pressure.

6. Bring a gutter sealant – This is used to repair any cracks in the gutter.

7. A plumber’s snake – You will be using this if your downspout is clogged.

Now that you have your materials. Do this step-by-step cleaning instructions.

First, start cleaning at the area near the downspout. Then, scoop out leaves and debris using the narrow garden trowel. Throw the debris in the garbage bag. If there is a solid or caked dirt, wet it down before scooping. When the garbage bag is full, securely tie it then just drop it below.

Second, upon removing all the leaves and debris, clean the gutter with the garden hose. Spray the gutter until no debris can be seen. This is the best time to check if the downspout is clogged. If it is, hose down the downspout to clear any stuck debris. If it doesn’t work, use a plumber’s snake to loosen and remove the debris out.

Third, when hosing the gutter, check for any cracks because water can leak  through it. Use the sealant to repair it. Also, check for any loose screws or see if the gutter is hanging properly. If not, repair it immediately.

If you don’t have time to clean the gutters yourselves, you can call a cleaning company that can do it.

How to Form Odd Shaped Concrete Structures for Your Landscape

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Ever wonder how they made those odd shaped concrete buildings or curves or triangle shapes? It is not a secret and your imagination is about the only limiting factor. Money of course helps for purchasing materials but in many cases used lumber or plywood will do just fine. Be inventive. A cardboard tube from the inside of a carpet roll when cut in half, makes a great sluice or slide form for a fountain or stream. The wood reels left over from an electric cable roll make a great inside form for a circle for a doughnut shaped form. All these things are free for the asking. There are also specialty materials available such as a product called “wiggle board” which can be flexed to achieve nice smooth curves to the faces of the finished concrete. Take a walk through your local big box store with the thought of finding things that can be used to form concrete. You will be amazed at what you find. Empty pails laid sideways in a wall form make perfect port holes or round window openings. Square, round, triangular or just about any shape you can imagine can be found. You can always make your own shapes as well. Lets take a look at how to form a curved wall.

Starting out with a plate on the floor to create the wall shape you want is your first step. You cannot bend a two by four of course so you use a larger piece of lumber and cut the shape (or part of it) from that. If the curve fits on a two by six, lay out the curve and cut it out with a saber saw. If the curve is longer than your board or more than what can fit on a two by six, use a two by eight and so on. Once all the floor pieces are cut, make a duplicate set which will be the top plate of your form work. Lay the pieces out in place and fasten them to footing or floor. The curved wall is now much easier to build. Using standard two by four lumber, place them as close together as possible along the floor plate to create a curved wall. Install your top plate. Using one quarter inch thick Luann plywood, and starting at one end of your form affix the plywood to the studs and then gently bend the plywood around the wall. You may want to coat the plywood with form oil prior to installing it and although this makes the installation a bit messy, it softens the plywood and makes it even easier to bend. Fasten the plywood to every two by four. This adds strength to your form work and keeps the plywood in place as it dries out. Once the face form is complete you can complete the backside of the form and pour your concrete. Odd shapes may be built into the face of the form to provide recess’s in the concrete or holes in the wall and so on.

Free form concrete can be great fun but requires a concrete pump that can shoot a concrete product called gunite or shotcrete. Any shape is possible and is limited only by the pull of gravity. Rebar, foam forms and other items can be used as temporary forms for the concrete until it hardens. In-ground swimming pools are quite often made of gunite which is how they get those great curved wall sections and shapes. It takes a crew to use a gunite pump but once the basics are learned with enough helpers you can use one as well.

Concrete when suspended in air needs some type of reinforcing to help support the weight of the concrete. If you are attempting to do suspended stairs for example, get an engineer to design the rebar layouts for you. Concrete is very heavy and can cause serous injury or worse if a collapse occurs.

Try forming some small architectural elements in your garden and pour them using a bagged redi-mix. Steps, small walls, a pool or pond and then move on to the larger features. You will be amazed at how easy it is to make these great looking features.

Pete Ackerson

Your Friendly Building Inspector

http://www.Wagsys.com

BICES-Building Inspection & Code Enforcement Software system

Plumbing Courses – a Guide to Become a Plumber

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Become a plumber, why not? There has never been a better time to enrol on one of the many plumbing training courses available throughout the UK. There is a general shortage of skilled plumbers in the UK and their skills are in high demand so your earnings potential has never been higher, a fully qualified plumber can earn up to £40,000 per year!

With the availability of purpose built training centres its never been easier to start a course and be on your way to becoming a plumber.

These intensive courses will train you to the level of a fully qualified plumber in as little as 6 weeks, you could actually be working as a self employed plumber when you successfully complete your course, and it does not matter what your previous job experiences are the training instructors will teach you everything you need to start on your new career.

Plumbing courses have little if any entry requirements other than an eagerness to learn your newly chosen career path. The average cost of these courses are between £3000 – £6000 which is a considerable amount but you should consider it an investment in your future and you should easily recoup these costs when you start working as a qualified plumber.

The plumbing courses take you through everything you will need to know to become a fully qualified plumber from the theory of plumbing through to putting what you’ve learned into practise. This process really helps you to quickly absorb what you are being taught, this is the unique way of learning with these intensive plumbing courses.

Plumbing courses are normally Monday to Friday am – 5pm and right from day one you will be learning the jobs that plumbers do day in day out, so when you complete your plumbing training you will be capable of tackling any job that may come your way once your in the workplace.

On successful completion of your plumbing course you will of gained the national recognised City & Guilds(6129) Plumbing Certificate. The next step to becoming fully qualified is to have a practical assessment of the plumbing skills you have learned, this will take place at a place of work by a City & Guilds examiner. If you pass this assessment you will have awarded to you the NVQ Level 2 Plumbing Diploma, you could now consider yourself a fully qualified plumber. (check with your plumbing course provider if they can arrange a place for you to be assessed.)

Moving to Australia – Top Tips For South Africans

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Don’t get lost

GPS’s or SatNavs are becoming very popular as a means of finding your way around when you are driving. They retail from about $200.00. If you have already bought a GPS in South Africa, you can download all the Australia maps for about $100.00. A map book or “Street Directory” costs under $30.00. These are invaluable for getting to know the suburbs and layout of your city, even if you have a GPS. The two most popular ones are Gregorys and UBD, both produced by Universal publishers. “Whereis” and “Google maps” are web based route planners. They are useful when planning a trip to check the distance and how long it will take.

Protect yourself from the sun

Australia has a very high rate of skin cancer. Even with all the warnings a lot of people expose themselves to too much sun in the middle of the day. Primary schools have a “no hat no play” policy for all students. The Cancer Council has a wide range of products to help prevent damage from the sun. You will see a lot of kids wearing rash vests (rashies) on the beach and at swimming pools.

Television

If you bring an older TV from SA it might not work. Although Australia also uses the analogue PAL system, the audio signal is a different frequency so you will get a picture but no sound. TV channels in Australia are also broadcast in a digital signal. (Analogue is to be phased out by the end of 2013). To receive this signal you can buy a digital set top box for about $80, and as long as your TV has an audio and video RCA input you can connect it up. The picture is superior because it is digital: no ghosting or fuzziness. You need a decent aerial on the roof, but most houses and apartments already have one. Most new LCD or Plasma TVs in Australia come with a built in digital tuner but check this if you decide to buy one.

Radio

Your normal FM/AM radio that you bring with will work perfectly. As of August 2009, Digital radio has been launched in the major cities. This means that if you have a digital radio, even the AM stations such as ABC Sydney can be received in digital format, so the quality is much better. They are still expensive, (prices start around $150.00) but prices should start coming down in the short term.

Filling up with petrol

There are no petrol pump attendants in most metropolitan areas, it’s all self-serve. Some smaller towns still have pump attendants. It is a bit daunting at first, but take someone who is experienced the first time you go to fill up. Once you have filled up, remember the number of the pump, go inside to the counter and pay. You can pay with cash or card. There is no price standardisation on petrol. The price fluctuates throughout the week, and in Sydney it is generally cheaper on Tuesdays and early Wednesday mornings. The service stations ( “servo’s”) also have shops similar to those in South Africa where you can buy basic foodstuffs, necessities (like chocolate) and the newspapers. The large supermarket chains like Coles and Woolworths also own about 80% of the petrol stations around Sydney. They have fuel discount offers to encourage you to shop at their grocery stores then buy petrol at their outlets. If you spend more than $30.00 at the Supermarket at any one time, you get a discount voucher which entitles you to a 4c per litre discount when you pay for your petrol. On Tuesdays all around Sydney you will see cars queuing right into the street at Woolworths and Coles/Shell petrol stations, and the independents are almost empty. Don’t get sucked into this mindset. Even if you have a large car like a Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore with a 70 L tank, and even if you were filling up from empty, you would only save 70 x 4c =$2.80. If you fill up twice a month like me, you would only save $5.60 a month! If you drive a large 4×4 with a 100 L tank, you would save $4.00 if you filled up from empty. With a small car and a 45 L tank you would only save $1.80. In my opinion it’s not worth the hassle to queue, I prefer to go to an outlet that is not as busy and pay a bit more.

Water usage

Depending on the level of restrictions, you may or may not be allowed to water your garden with a hand held hose and a trigger type nozzle. In Sydney at the time of writing, level 3 restrictions are in force so hand-held hoses can be used for gardens on specific days before 10 am and after 4pm. Buckets can be used at any time. You can be fined if you are caught watering out of permitted hours. Again, depending on the water restrictions in your area you may be allowed to wash your car with a hose, as long has it has a trigger type nozzle. There are commercial car wash bays where you can wash your car yourself, or the automated kind that is common in South Africa.

Doing your Washing

If you come from a city like Johannesburg where the air is relatively dry, you may find humidity a problem even in Sydney. (Brisbane is much worse, more like Durban). A clothes drying rack and a tumble drier are essential. Products such as “Damp Rid” to be very useful to put in cupboards to absorb any excess moisture and prevent musty smells.

Furniture and appliances

Try to bring all your own furniture, (as long as it is free of wood borers and other pests) but don’t worry too much about small appliances such as toasters, steam irons and kettles. They are relatively cheap because of the strong Australian Dollar, and because many of the appliances are made in China. Appliances made in Italy or Germany cost a bit more. Washing machines, fridges and tumble driers cost a little more but are still good value. The voltage in Australia is the same as in South Africa, but the plugs are different. Bring a few multiplugs with you from SA, then replace the South African style plug on the end of the cable with an Australian one. This way, you can plug your old appliances into the multiplug without having to change all of your plugs at once. When you are more settled in you can start changing the plugs on individual appliances.

Daylight saving

This is a great concept that is observed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory and has been synchronised across these states. Western Australia began a three year trial of daylight saving in December 2006 but in a recent referendum, people of WA (mainly the rural population) voted overwhelmingly against it becoming permanent. Queensland and the Northern Territory do not observe daylight saving. Daylight saving starts on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April. The clocks are advanced one hour in October then put back one hour in April. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but the benefit is that in summer it only gets dark around 8.00 pm, so people can go to the beach after work, play outdoor sport, work in the garden and so on.

Libraries

Most councils have very good public libraries with many resources. Once you register you can access your account online and reserve or renew books. Many libraries have a type of “post box” outside so that you can return books after hours. Most libraries have computers with internet access and some are now “WiFi” enabled so you can bring your own laptop if it has a built in wireless device.

E-tag

Many of the main arterial roads in the major cities have tolls. Most toll roads have done away with manned toll booths: they only have an automatic toll system. It is a very good idea to get an E tag. The device sticks to the inside of your windscreen and is linked to your registration number. You can apply online and the device will be posted to you (Oh…did I mention how reliable and secure Australia Post is?). When you first apply for one, you pay a deposit and an initial “top up”. When the balance drops to a certain value it is topped up from your nominated credit card or current account. In other words when you drive past a toll sensor, your tag beeps and the value of the toll is debited from your account automatically. You get a pdf statement emailed monthly to you.

Very first world!

Tips To Identify Defects in Granite Before Purchasing a Countertop

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Granite is a natural stone and one of the most preferred materials for countertops. The stone looks stylish, sleek and very attractive. Besides, it has commendable strength and resistance against extreme temperature variations. This means that the countertop does not develop cracks if you place a steaming utensil on it. It does not undergo any damage if you place a bag of ice on it either.

Good quality granite is very strong and durable. However, not all granites are the same. There is a wide difference in their quality arising out of the process by which they are cut and polished into the finished product. For instance, a long crack could develop in a stone block when it is blasted out of the mountain. As a result, most of the slabs that are cut out of this damaged block of stone have cracks. Since extracting stone blocks from the mountain is an expensive process, quarry owners do not discard damaged blocks, but sell them at lower costs to factory owners who then use different techniques to camouflage defects. Moreover, granite slabs can also be damaged during transportation or storage.

So, while choosing granite for your countertop is a great idea, you could end up making a poor bargain if you don’t pay attention to the quality of stone. The problem here is that it is very difficult to identify defects in polished stone because manufacturers use several tricks such as application of epoxy adhesives to cover up cracks. For a layman, it is almost impossible to find out whether the stone is of the best quality, unless you know exactly what to look for. Read on below for certain parameters that will tell you that the stone could just be defective.

Cracks

During the polishing process, cracks present in the stone are covered up. So, it is tough to identify cracks on the polished side. In order to identify cracks, the trick is to check the unpolished reverse side of the stone slab. If you look closely, you can make out cracks on the reverse side. This is one of the basic checks that you need to do when shopping for granite bench-tops.

Pattern defects

Good quality granite has uniform colors and patterns. However, colors and patterns are not always even. This happens because of the uneven concentration of certain minerals in the stone. For example, the presence of excess quartz content shows in the form of white patches on the slab. Such stones are of poor quality because quartz makes the stone brittle and it breaks easily. These stones are therefore rejected by good quality slab manufacturers. Polishing process does not entirely cover up this fault. So, when you shop for granite bench-tops, study the surface in order to ensure that the color and patterns on it are even.

Uniformity in thickness

You can easily identify unevenness in the thickness of the slab. Study the side of the slab and look closely all along the edge to see if the thickness is uniform. You should not buy an uneven slab because the slimmer portions become the weak links in the slab and break easily.

Be a smart customer and make the right choice.

Commercial Moving Companies Can Handle Your Relocation Needs for Your Business

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Even though you may have occasionally hired help for your residential relocations, you may find yourself a bit confused if you need to facilitate a move for your business. When you have to run a business and find a way to get things ready for relocation, it can be hard for you to find the time to get things properly situated. That is why you should consider hiring commercial moving companies. They can provide you with the professional help you need while you continue to focus on other important matters.

In order to protect your property during your move, you need to make sure you choose a credible company that provides its clients with the best service possible. Since there are quite a few commercial moving companies around, you need to be very selective about who you trust with your equipment with. Take some time to get familiar with different professional moving services so you can find one that best serves your needs. Get out the yellow pages and go online. Pick out the names and contact information for several providers. Give them a call. Have a pen and some paper handy so you can write own any information you gather.

Commercial moving companies charge their customers several different ways. Even though you may have a set budget in mind, you need to be aware that of whether or not you are going to be charged a flat rate or a per mile and service fee. You don’t want to end up overpaying for services you do or don’t need. One method of fee calculation may be easier on your budget than the other. Get quotes from each company you are interested in. Find out what services are included in those quotes.

Find out if the employees are trained, certified, licensed and bonded. You want to know that your equipment is in capable hands. This will increase the likelihood of your items being handled with care and arriving safe and sound to their new location. It doesn’t matter how professional and skilled the staff are at moving your things, it is a good idea for you to consider purchasing movers insurance for your equipment. Accidents do happen from time to time even though the utmost care was used. To protect your stuff from any damages, invest in a good policy. Many relocation and commercial moving companies offer this kind of protection for a small fee.

Remember, choosing the right commercial moving companies for all of your packing and relocation needs will save you more money ad time than if you were to handle things yourself. You don’t have to worry about your equipment being handled improperly, lost, damaged or broken. Your equipment will be dismantled and put back together professionally and everything will reach its destination without any delays. Make things easier for everyone and keep your business running smoothly by hiring the professionals each and every time.

7 Good Reasons To Hire a Lawn Care Pro to Mow Your Yard

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Lawn mowing is not easy. The blistering sun, biting insects, clouds of dirt and dust and lawn mower fumes can make you want to run inside and hide. Yes, mowing and trimming a yard is a big pain for a variety of reasons, all of them legitimate; but there really is a better way.

You can make the pain go completely away by hiring a lawn care pro, and all for a surprisingly reasonable price. If you have never considered hiring a professional company to mow your grass, you might want to reconsider. Here are seven good reasons to think about it:

  1. It’s not as expensive as you might think. Mowing companies and landscapers in general are very competitive on price. A reputable company will offer a fair bid and work hard to keep your lawn care costs low. Shop around and look for a company that will beat competitor’s prices with the same high level of service.
  2. Consistent and reliable day of service. Barring inclement weather, your service pros will generally arrive on a specific day to mow the grass. For example, lawn mowing in southwest Florida is usually once a week in summer months and every two weeks in cooler months.
  3. Your yard always looks neat and trim. With regularly scheduled mowing, you never wonder how your lawn looks to others. You know it looks good.
  4. Expertise to save you money. A professional lawn care company provides experienced knowledge of plants and vegetation including drought conditions, over-watering, weeds, insect infestations and more. They can deliver landscaping products such as sod, trees, palms, flowers, shrubs, mulch, herbicides and fertilizer, and pass the savings on to you.
  5. Professional lawn mowing is so quick! A team of professionals can service yards swiftly and efficiently. They make quick work of overgrown grass and foliage. Mowing, trimming and leaf blowing are neat and tidy before you know it.
  6. No lawn mower start-up or repair. The best mowing companies have all the right equipment to do the job right. You can put your mower away and never have to touch it again.
  7. The best reason of all: You deserve it. When you consider the modest cost, as well as the quality of service you can expect, hiring a lawn service makes good sense. No sweat, no strain, no pain. Leave the heavy work to the professionals, and you go relax inside with a cold drink.

History and Development of Plumbing As a Profession

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Human civilizations took more than 4500 years to develop contemporary plumbing system. Ancient communities such as Indus Valley civilization and Egyptians started working on the development of copper pipes 4000 years ago.

The concept of pipes played a key role in supplying drinking water and removing waste from a premise. Lack of drainage facilities was a major concern in the past as it spreads fatal diseases. Lack of proper drainage and clean water have taken millions of lives in the past. Even in the 21st Century, most of the population in developing countries do not have access to the basic toilet structure and safe drinking water.

In 1700 BC flush toilet was developed and elaborated by a group of plumbers for the first time. Following the introduction of flush toilets, first drinking water processing system was installed in Massachusetts. The Nineteenth Century witnessed rapid development in this realm. Many fixtures and techniques were introduced which helped shape plumbing a comprehensive and highly technical profession.

With the passage of time, simple pipes system, capable of supplying water and removing waste from a building, has become an inevitable need. As a result, a large plumbing manufacturing industry emerged and people started getting proper training to install sewerage systems for the larger portion of the population. Nowadays a qualified and experienced plumber is a basic need for people living across the world.

Scope and value of plumbing profession

Plumbing profession is on the rise. A continuous rise in the living standards requires more sophisticated bathrooms, fixtures, and water system. People who are studying to be plumbers have great future, especially in cold areas where the temperature drops drastically.

Basic structure of a commonly installed water and sewerage system

Small buildings use a simple concept of water inflow and outflow. The plumbing experts design the overall structure of pipe network, keeping in mind the future needs of a premise. They have to considerately analyze the installation of other systems such as power and gas supply.

An inexperienced plumber should not carry out the installation processes or any other technical activity. A faulty installation of a sewerage system can cause plenty of problems in long-term.

Contractors and builders should consider this fact in order to prevent inconvenience and bad reputation. Supply and drainage must be treated as two different systems so that overlapping can be avoided. The supply of cold and hot water are different in nature. Cold water coming straight from the main source can be used directly. On the other hand, hot water has to flow through the heating system. Every fixture better have a separate valve so that you do not have to stop the main supply line in case of emergency or repair.

Tow Truck Financing

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Tow trucks are used by towing companies and some auto repair companies in order to drag heavy vehicles. Generally tow trucks are more useful in roads. Since the vehicle can help generating more revenues to towing companies, the cost of the vehicle is more. Hence many companies look for tow truck financing.

There are various types of tow trucks which are used for various purposes. Boom tow truck is one among them which has boom winch to pull heavy vehicles that are trapped into ditches or other places where normal tow trucks are not useful. Due to this specialized nature, they are extremely expensive and so the companies need boom tow truck financing.

Hook and chain tow trucks are very useful in transporting vehicles from one place to another in case the vehicle may not be able to transport themselves. For this purpose, the truck has separate hook and chain. This truck is highly useful in case of towing accident vehicles. Due to their cost, many companies look for hook and chain tow truck financing.

Wheel lift tow trucks have a large yoke to support the towing vehicle by touching only the wheel. This truck is useful in towing vehicles without any scratches. Flat bed tow trucks also called roll back tow trucks or slide tow tracks can carry any type of vehicles irrespective of its weight. They offer invaluable service for towing companies. Their comfortable features and sophisticated nature make them highly expensive. Therefore tow truck financing is often desirable.

Quick pick tow trucks also known as integrated tow trucks or repo provide priceless services for legal agencies and repossession companies. They are used to remove the illegally parked vehicles. Since people may get angry while towing their vehicles, it is important to do the work speedily. Quick pick tow trucks provide such fast towing service. Due to their special feature, they are quite pricey. Hence tow truck financing is often preferable to acquire them.

Tow truck generates revenue to many companies. Even if any company uses it for its internal fleet and does not generate any income, the cost of the tow trucks are really high and many companies find it impossible to acquire from their own money. Therefore they need to consider tow truck financing to acquire it.

There are some genuine financing companies that can understand the need of tow trucks and they arrange for fast approval of desired amount to towing companies or some other auto repair companies that want to acquire these trucks. A simple application process is enough to get speedy approval of the amount. They provide financial assistance at low interest rates. Hence the towing companies find it easier to repay the low monthly payments since they are generating much revenue with the help of tow trucks.

Tow truck financing is the best option to acquire the expensive vehicles. A simple online application is enough to get financial help.

Gutters: Cleaning and Maintenance

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There are several types of gutters and they must be cleaned and maintained at a minimum of once a year. If you have a great deal of trees around then it is recommended that you clean them more often. You may consider installing a leaf guard if this is a weekly problem. This can be an excessive problem in places with a lot of storms throughout the year. The basic cleaning technique for all gutters is to clean out any leaves or other debris by hand or using a plastic tool. Then spray out any remaining dirt with a hose.  Remember to use a ladder to perform this task. You should never sit on the rooftop itself in order to clean it out. If using a ladder is out of the question because of physical limitations then you may want to consider purchasing tools to clean your gutters from the ground. One is a power washer. These are a bit pricey but they can be used to clean the entire outside of your home as well as your concrete driveway. These are great as an investment. There are also specialty tools made to perform this task. One is a tool creating specifically for cleaning gutters and the extension allows you to reach up to two stories high.

Copper gutters require you to use gloves when cleaning them out. This is because of the oils in your hands and the discoloration or damage they can cause.  Because they scratch easy, copper gutters require you to use a plastic scoop to clean them out. These types of gutters require you to polish them in order to keep them looking nice. Combine 2 cups each of vinegar, flour and salt. This paste is applied to the surface and wiped clean.

For cast iron gutters, it’s best to keep an eye on the joints and seams. Once these begin to leak you should attach new bolts with clear silicone. If you are unable to reach the joints then you may consider putting flashing tape which has a self-adhesive and can be placed over the inside of the joint.

All other gutter types are very low maintenance but simply need to be cleaned out on a monthly basis. Part of the overall maintenance is to keep the downspouts clear. These are the part attached to the gutter at the roof line and allow the water to flow out and away from the house. In order to clear out any debris from this pipe, you should run water through it. If the water does not flow easily or at all then use a plumber’s snake to loosen the debris. After the debris has been cleared then you can use a garden hose to wash out any remaining sediment. Please note that if the downspout goes underground then you will have to remove the base of it before performing this task. When you replace it back to the original position then you will have to replace the joint with a new one and seal it.

Caring for Your Solar Landscape Lights

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Solar landscape lights have become a popular trend for landscape designers and homeowners. With the popular “go green” campaign, pushed inadvertently by the recent economic crisis, people everywhere are looking for ways to save, no matter how small those ways might be. One of those ways is with solar landscape lights. Instead of garden lighting which would direct light upward and downward, costing more in energy and losing a good portion of the light to the sky, people are utilizing solar landscape lights which recharge in the sun and maintain a charge throughout the night.

There are solar landscape lights in every style and can match any taste. No matter the décor of your landscape, you can find solar lights to match. Above all, it is important that your solar landscape lights are enjoyed whilst illuminating your garden design and creativity. Once you have found the perfect solar landscape lights, the next step is learning how to keep them clean. Since they are outside your solar landscape lights will get dirty quickly especially if they are placed in a landscape bed or garden. If your solar landscape lights are covered in dirt or grime, it will detract from their ability to charge effectively while also detracting from the aesthetic appeal of your lights. It is important to avoid commercial cleaning products because they will damage the solar garden lights. The best way to clean them is to use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away the grime or dirt. Solar garden lights are water resistant, however they are not water proof so the lights should not be immersed in water. The water could get into the electrical conduits inside of the solar garden lights and damage the entire unit.

Another tip in terms of caring for your solar garden lights is to remove them at the end of the season. You do not want to leave them standing in winter seasons when your areas endures freezing temperatures. If the lights are left to freeze and then thaw, the lifespan of the material will be reduced. If they are left in colder temperatures with reduced daylight hours, the lifespan of the battery will decrease. If you want to winterize your lights, clean them with a damp cloth and then turn the switch to off. Remove the batteries from the lights and recharge them in a household battery recharger. You can then place a new battery in your solar garden lights when the spring season arrives, ensuring longer hours of illumination.

When spring time rolls around, it is best to place the solar garden lights in a protected area. Many people consider where they want to place their solar garden lights but they do not first consider the amount of sunlight they will receive during the daylight hours. Since the most common problem with solar garden lights is the lack of sunlight they receive you can avert this issue by ensuring that they are placed in direct sunlight. With this, the batteries should enjoy a one to two year lifespan.

Plumbing – Health and Safety

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It is hard to be a plumber.  Plumbing is not simply the unclogging of a sink or the snaking of a pipe.  A plumber will work with a wide variety of materials and tools in conditions that range from the completely benign to the very dangerous.  Plumbers work very hard to make sure that all of the pipes in the United Kingdom work properly.  It is vital that plumbers both in and out of the United Kingdom take care to be as safe as they possibly can and that they take appropriate measures to make sure that they and the members of their teams are as safe as possible.

Plumbers are at a high risk for health problems.  This is because they are regularly exposed to many different illnesses and infections.  They can contract psittacosis and histoplasmosis from the regular contact they have with animal droppings.  Plumbers also see regular exposure to harmful chemicals and elements like lead and the other chemicals that can be found in the plumbing materials they work with on a regular basis.

Physically, Plumbers have to deal with closed in spaces.  They often have to move in ways that are not comfortable and can cause quite a bit of strain on the muscular and skeletal system.  They sometimes work in highly elevated places and they usually work for extremely long hours. 

These harsh working conditions would be hard for anyone.  Plumbers need to make sure that they take all of the precautions they can take to remain uninjured, healthy and safe.

1.  A Plumber should take the time to familiarize himself with local safety codes.  Knowing the safety codes from memory will ensure that a Plumber will know exactly which precautions to take no matter what situation he faces during his work day.

2.  Plumbers should always have a durable and long lasting ventilation system ready for any job.  Having clean air in ready supply can make many tougher jobs go much more smoothly and will cut down on the risk to the plumbers considerably.

3.  The appropriate clothing: head gear, goggles, masks, footwear”all of these items should be used by Plumbers to keep their bodies protected against the different elements that they will encounter on a job.

4.  The work area should always be clean and free of trash and clutter.  The cleaner and less clutter there is in a Plumbers’ work area, the better able a plumber will be to make sure that his job goes as smoothly as possible.

5.  Plumbers must take breaks to have a rest.  Keeping their bodies rested and healthy will make certain that they are better able to cope with longer projects.

7 Things to Do Before You Move To a New House

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So, you have completed and signed the important documents to move to a new house. But the one thing that might be bothering you is the packing up of your stuff. On top of this, you may have a lot of important things to take care of. Here are our 7 tips that will help you make necessary arrangements and get ready to move.

1. Pack Your Stuff The Smart Way

Don’t just run around to collect your stuff and put it in random boxes. What you need to do is do the packing the smart way, not the hard way. With planning, you can get the packing done more easily. Everything should be done according to a plan. This will save you a lot of time and energy that you can use for unpacking the boxes later on.

2. Use Sturdy Boxes

Instead of using the expensive cardboard boxes, we suggest that you go for sturdy boxes that come with attachable lids. The beauty of these boxes is that they are eco-friendly and cost-effective. You can find them on some online stores as well.

3. Use Wardrobe Boxes

Professional movers can help you take your stuff to the new house in a professional manner. If you have made your mind to hire movers, we suggest that you ask them to use wardrobe boxes for your clothing. This will keep your clothing free of wrinkles and you won’t need to spend one full day to iron your clothing.

4. Switch Services

For switching service, we suggest that you contact your utility service providers. This is important, especially if you are moving into a house that is vacant or newly built. It’s also a good idea to make a maintenance call for reestablishing the service.

5. Record a video

You may have emotional attachment with your home, and leaving this house forever will be a painful decision. To make it a bit easier, you can start a Pinterest board with a list of things that you are going to do in your new house. Moreover, if you have kids, make sure you record a video of them in the home to preserve the moments.

6. Get the Basic Stuff First

If your new house is a few minutes away from your current one, make sure you get your basic stuff over there at least 24 hours ahead of the day of moving. This can make the process of moving a bit easier.

7. Invite Your Neighbors

You can invite them to dinner a day or two ahead of the final day. But if you have interior walls to paint, you can have a graffiti party where you will give markers or paint samples to your guests to scribble notes on the walls. Again, this will preserve the golden memories forever.

So, if you have been looking for some good things to do before you move to your new house, we suggest that you check out the list of things given in this article.

Sugarloaf Mountain – 5 Facts You Didn’t Know

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Sugarloaf Mountain is an eye-catching landmark that overlooks Rio de Janeiro and sits at the entrance to Guanabara Bay in southeastern Brazil. It is called Pao de Acucar in Portuguese, and it’s named for its special form that looks like a classic form of refined sugar used in the 19th century. A tall granite cone having a circular top, it reaches up some 1,299 ft. Here are five fascinating details about this magnificent natural piece of art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

Rock Climbing – Sugar Loaf Mountain is one of the largest and most well-liked urban rock climbing destinations across the world. There are 270 various routes to discover while you climb high above the Atlantic Ocean and Rio de Janeiro. You can go for it yourself, or simply watch other adventurers conquer the iconic mountain.

Neighboring Mountains – It’s not the one special landmark in the region. Its neighbors add to the splendor of the entire peninsula. Morro de Babilonia, or Babylon Mountain and Morro de Urca, or Urca’s mountain are two neighboring all-natural wonders. These two mountains are also available for the public to visit and open to rock climbers as well. Morro de Urca provides a place for youngsters to play as well as a restaurant that serves up great Brazilian dishes.

Hollywood Star – Sugar Loaf Mountain has also been seen in Hollywood blockbusters. The beauty of the area makes it great for the big screen. Pao de Acucar created its debut on screen with the 1942 film “Now, Voyager” with Bette Davis. It has also been featured in a James Bond movie, “Moonraker” in 1979 exactly where one of the scenes took place in a cable car. It has even been referenced one the well-liked cartoon sitcom, “The Simpsons.”

Guanabara Bay – Historic Guanabara Bay stretches in front of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Translated as “the bosom with the sea”, it has been a place for many fortifications built by the colonial government in the 16th century. Guanabara actually has more than 130 islands and is surrounded by beautiful scenery that you are able to see from way above while you tour the mountain.

Amazing Cable Auto Trip – Two cable vehicles take visitors to the summit where they are able take in the stunning views of Rio de Janeiro from the peak which is 1,296 ft high. The cable cars are enclosed by glass panels. As you start to go up to the top, you’ll be able to enjoy the breathtaking views unfolding below you. Since Sugarloaf Mountain sits on a peninsula that stretches into the Atlantic Ocean it offers a distinctive combination of a bustling metropolis, a tranquil bay, as well as a sparkling ocean. You’ll love the view at the top but the ride there will likely be just as pleasant.

Brazil is known for its gorgeous landscape and lively ambiance. Sugarloaf Mountain, overlooking the famous Rio de Janeiro isn’t any exception. Travelers from all over the world are drawn to this gorgeous landmark every year and it continues to become one of one of the most visited locations in Brazil.

Adjuster Licensing in Florida – Become a Florida Insurance Claims Adjuster

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Residents of the State of Florida, and non-residents of states that do not require adjuster licensing, are eligible for the Florida All Lines Independent or Company Adjuster license if:

1. You are 18 years or older;

2. An online application is completed and the $55.00 application fee is paid;

3. You are a US citizen or a legal alien with a work authorization;

4. Fingerprints are submitted at one of the sites authorized by the Florida Department of Financial Services (Out-of-state applicants will receive a fingerprint card from the department for completion);

5. You successfully complete the Accredited Claims Adjuster Designation through the University of Central Florida, or one of the other authorized licensing designations, or you pass the state licensing examination.

Florida also maintains a reciprocal licensing arrangement with the following states.

Alabama – Independent adjusters only

Alaska – Independent adjusters only

Arkansas – Independent adjusters only

Connecticut – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Georgia – Independent and Public adjusters only. (Does not require licensure for Company adjusters)

Idaho – Independent adjusters only

Illinois – Public adjusters only

Kentucky – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Maine – Public and Independent adjusters

Michigan – Public and Independent adjusters

Mississippi – Independent adjusters only

New Mexico – Independent and Company adjusters

North Carolina – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Oklahoma – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Oregon – Public and Independent adjusters

Pennsylvania – Public adjusters

South Carolina – Independent and Company adjusters only

Texas – Independent and Company adjusters

West Virginia – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Washington – Public and Independent adjusters

Wyoming – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Utah – Public and Independent adjusters

States that do not require adjuster licensing include Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

LICENSING DESIGNATION

Florida first approved the Accredited Claims Adjuster designation in 2003. This designation provided the first and original exemption from the state licensing examination. The course became available as a distance learning course through Florida Insurance University in Partnership with the University of Central Florida in 2004. One out of four adjuster licenses in Florida have been approved using the ACA Designation.

Although other providers are now offering claim adjuster designations, over 250 insurance and adjusting companies use the ACA Designation for licensing resident and non-resident adjusters. The ACA Website may be located at http://www.ce.ucf.edu/insurance

The ACA Designation consists of a series of open-book, multiple choice tests and a written assignment. Students will learn to read and research policy questions, identify claim issues and, at the conclusion of the course, will received a University of Central Florida certificate of completion which will excuse them from the state licensing exam.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

Every FL adjuster is required to complete 24 hours of CE every two years to retain licensure. The 24 hours must include state approved courses for 2 hours-Ethics; 10 hours-Law; 12-hours-Optional.

All required courses are located on the UCF website and all work may be completed online at:

http://www.ce.ucf.edu/ASP/insurance

6 Advantages of Hiring the Professional Plumbing Services

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Plumbing is not easy and it is not a kind of work that can be done by just anyone. It involves the repairing and installation of variety of taps, pipes, washers, valves and lots of other things. So, it is very important to hire the professional plumbers because they have the skills and the training which is required to carry out these kind of tasks very effectively.

1. The professional plumbers are able to provide you the quickest service. When you are facing the really big problems then it becomes very crucial to hire a person who is able to fix the problem in a short period of time. For example; if the tap of your sink is leaking too much and the water from your sink is overflowing then you will really have to find a person who can fix your problem immediately.

2. Sometimes the issues may appear very simple. However, in reality they can be very serious and might get more complicated if you try to fix them by yourself. So, it is important to call a professional plumber because they know how to identify and fix the root cause of the various plumbing problems.

3. As we know that the professional plumbers have a good knowledge about each and every part that could be related to their profession. They know the right type of parts that can be used in fixing any kind of issue. Therefore, if any plumbing part is not available in the market then they know that which part can be the best alternate to the original.

4. When you hire a professional plumber then you are able to get some advices about the plumbing system of your home. This will be very useful especially if the network of water pipes of your home is quite old. The expert plumbers are also proficient to give you the different kind of useful opinions about your house.

5. You can also get some advices on the latest parts and products that are available in the market. This will definitely help you to save a lot of money that the old products or fixtures may be costing you. For example, you will get a lot of relief if you install the latest water heater instead of an outdated or old heater which is increasing your electric bills.

6. If you hire an expert professional plumber and you are satisfied with his services then you can call him without any kind of hesitation whenever you face any kind of problem. In other words the professional plumbers are capable to establish a trust and bond by providing their excellent services.

It is very essential to hire the professional plumbing service. But before hiring any plumber do not forget to check the testimonials and referrals that other people have given to the plumber. In this way you will get an idea about the skills and experience of the plumber.

Used tow trucks for sale, Tow trucks for sale, Tow trucks in Massachusetts, Used towing trucks for sale, Wreckers in Massachusetts, Rollback trucks

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Truck Sales has been boosted many times since last 25 years at Lancaster, Massachusetts.  While there are many good shops that have expanded as well as the parts department and service warehouse.  A good  Truck Sales  shop have to  kept up with the demand from the Tow Truck clientele that they service with unmatched customer service and the willingness to go the extra mile when it comes to what a customer wants.

A client can have custom tow truck built on site that can range from installing custom lights and a Jerr-Dan 3 car carrier to installing a wrecker body on a Peterbilt cab with a custom paint job.  The ability to provide the customers exactly what they want is one of the reasons that  Truck Sales shop  feel they have surveyed close to three decades in this industry with amazing success.

Any Truck Sales shop should be proud to solely use Jerr-Dan Towing Trucks.  The Jerr-Dan and used Towed trucks are “designed to surpass all competitors.”  A good Truck Sales shop should have Jerr-Dan both started around the same time. Each company’s mission has to provide American tow truckers the best product on the market for the best price.  Jerr-Dan and or Trucks Sales are “both committed to continually redefining the tow truck industry.”  An ideal Truck Sales is proud partner with leader in the tow truck market presently and for many decades to come.

The towing truck industry offers only a handful of tow truck dealers nationwide.  Of this group, there are only a few tow truck dealers who offer complete customization for their clients, a good Truck sales shop should be proud to be one of the best custom tow truck dealers in the country.  There innovative ideas and decades of experience come together to provide an amazing final product for their clients.  In the past decade alone, many Trucks sales shop has created hundreds of custom tow trucks which are still on the road today. Many clients choose to have their entire fleets customized to coordinate similar paintjobs or lighting.  This creates a presence in their markets that is unmistakable; when a person breaks down on the side of the road, chances they are going to call A+ or call whatever tow truck company that comes to mind.  A custom painted fleet, provides this brand recognition for many of Trucks clients.

When choosing to customize a used towed truck for a fleet, there are many questions to take into account across the board.  What is our budget for each truck? Do want to do one truck per year? Do we want are fleet to match? The answer is yes.  Do they choose to put strobe lights in the headlights? What are negatives have too much lighting?  What are the options available to make my drivers more comfortable when they are on a 24 hour shift?

Good Truck Sales has the answer to all of the above questions and more.  They have the ability to provide answers as well as intuitively analyze your business and suggest ways to make your tow truck company more successful.

Adelaide Gutter Cleaning – Home Maintenance

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Gutter cleaning can be a real pain in the neck especially if you have lots of trees around your home, even if the trees are further away but you live in a high wind area it is easy for your gutters to fill up with leaves and debris. If building and other renovations have been getting done on your home or around your home you can be sure that but and other debris has filled your gutters cause blockages to your guttering system.

When your gutters are full this can cause structural damage to the alignment of the gutters creating situations where water does not flow towards the downpipes even if they are eventually cleaned. To avoid this problem have your gutters regularly cleaned even in the summer time and just before winter.

Blockages in your gutters can create other structural damage to the home itself if left for long periods of time. If the gutter is blocked by debris then water can build up and end up dripping behind the eaves, creating damage to the surrounding ceilings. When gutters are really full then they are also a breeding ground for pests and vermin that can create other problems around the home.

If you chose to clean the gutters yourself make sure you are well prepared with the right equipment and have a sturdy and safe ladder. Often ladders sit in the rain and eventually rust causing damage that can cost you a trip to the local hospital. When climbing ladders always make sure there are no overhanging powerlines above the areas you wish to climb, this can cause electrocution.

Being prepared with the right tools for the job can save you a lot of time and hassles, go to your local hardware store and ask them for the correct tools for gutter cleaning. The quickest way to clean your gutters is with a garden blower in the dry seasons but in the wet seasons the debris is too heavy to just blow off.

Disadvantages of Wide Angle Lenses in Landscape Photography

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Wide angle lenses are a huge part of landscape and seascape photography and are used extensively within the field. They are extremely popular and quite often produce amazing results if used correctly. Just like any lens that is used in landscape and seascape photography it also has some disadvantages and limitations that you need to know about.

One of the big disadvantages of wide angle lenses is that when you are up close to an object, they tend to distort and stretch the subject out of proportion which is not a desirable effect. Unless of course you are actually trying to achieve that effect but most of us as landscape and seascape photographers aren’t after that effect. It’s easy to avoid this effect if you know about it, but if you aren’t aware of it, it can catch you out by surprise.

Another disadvantage of wide angle lenses is that they are prone to vignetting and can often produce photos with soft edges. The entire photo may be sharp except for the edges, again this is an undesirable effect but it’s easy to avoid. Your wide angle lens will be particularly prone to vignetting if you have a thick filter holder on it. You should always try and get a really thin filter holder so as to avoid the vignetting.

The last real disadvantage of a wide angle lens in landscape and seascape photography is that it has a very limited zoom. They are fantastic for taking close up photos of objects but are almost useless when trying to capture objects that are a fair distance away.

The advantages of a wide angle lens far outweigh their disadvantages but as with anything that you buy, you just need to be aware that there are some downsides to them. As with anything as long as you are aware of their limitations you should have absolutely no issues with them. They play an important part in landscape and seascape photography for good reason, they are such an effective lens and can capture so much information.

If you are looking to buy a wide angle lens, you shouldn’t stress out too much about the disadvantages as the advantages far outweigh them. Go for it!

What Does a Moving Company Do?

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A moving company will actually will pack your household goods for you then they load the moving van with your household goods and then deliver them and unload them at your new location. And hopefully they can park as close as they can get to your new location and safely unload your goods with a minimum of steps into your new home.

But they also do other things for you such as using protective coverings like padded movers blankets to protect your home and your items. They may also use stretch wrap around some items to protect them or hold them closed. This way you don’t have to pack up all of the drawers in a chest of drawers that is being moved. They will wrap furniture then tape the blanket around the furniture like an armoire or chest of drawers.

Of course they will inventory your items. They also put coded stickers on each box and item so they can account for each item they moved. Do remember that these small stickers may fall off so some items may not have them on them when they arrive.

A moving company is a service company that is in business because you and other potential customers want to use them to move house. A moving company may also have some ancillary business that are related to its main business purpose like self storage or even long term storage facilities. It may be attached to a freight forwarder business. But generally a removals company will stick to the area of removals be it houses, apartments, condos or offices.

If you cannot move into your new location right away the movers may be able to store your goods for you for a short term if they have their own location or access to a storage facility. Moves don’t always go perfectly smooth so sometimes you have to accept that things happen so if your new place is not quite ready the movers may be able to make this part of the move easier for you by handling the short term storage.

When the movers arrive at your door on moving day they will normally lay floor runners over the carpets and flooring and may place padding around any stair railings or doorways if feasible to protect your home. They will do the same at your new location.

If you have packed your own items, they will look at your boxes and if they look problematic they may have to repack them before they will load them into the van. This is for your own safety because if a carton looks like it might collapse it cannot be safely moved to your new location, especially if other boxes are stacked on top of it in the moving van.

Most larger moving companies use a satellite system to track their moving vans and your possessions much like a GPS does. This is a way to insure your household goods get to the correct destination in a timely manner.

History of Granite and Marble

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Natural stones are rock formations formed by nature. These stones are formed naturally by enormous pressure under the earth. Natural stones were used in decorating and sculpturing right from the moment civilization was born. These natural stones are time tested for their natural beauty. Ancient buildings and monuments made of natural stones during early civilizations still stand erect narrating the beauty and durability of natural stones.

Modern people want to make their home stand out of the rest and they used natural stones for their floors and walls to bring about eternal beauty.

Granite and marble are two main natural stones widely used in the stone industry. These stones are used in constructions as well as in monumental sculpture. Commercially, these stones are mined for use as architectural stones for flooring, cladding, curbing, counter tops and much more to be used at home.

Granite is a widely occurring igneous rock. The texture of granite is generally medium to coarse grains. Porphyritic texture is very common in granite rocks. Various colors of granite stones are widely available and most of the times, granite is available as a massive rock. The beauty of granite is attributed to the deposits like quartz, feldspar, and mica. Consistent granite has same pattern throughout the stone. Variegated granite has various veins forming different patterns that are not easy to match.

It was the ancient Egyptians who quarried granite exclusively for use in various constructions. Most of their monuments were built using granite and limestone. The only remaining ancient wonder, The Great Pyramid of Cheops was built using limestone. The famous Pharaoh which is a symbol of outstanding Egyptian civilization was built with granite blocks. The Egyptians had marvelous sculpting skills and the granite blocks of Pharaoh were sewn in a perfect manner that you can’t slide even a piece of paper between the rocks.

Pure white marble is a metamorphic rock of very pure limestone. Marble is found extensively in various countries like Belgium, France, Great Britain, Greece, India, Spain and Italy. From classical times, pure white marble was considered as the best of its kind. In the beginning, only white marble was considered worthy and colored marble was considered impure. However, this belief was just short-lived because very soon, ancient civilizations appreciated colored marbles too and used colored marbles in various monuments and sculptures even though pure white marble is always regarded high. Freshly quarried marble is easy to sculpture and the stone hardens as it ages.

Ancient Greeks were very much advanced in civilization and they were really fascinated about marble. Finest architecture and sculpting are specialties of Greek architecture and marble has been used in various Greek buildings. Exquisite statues with detailed carvings were made out of marble. Buildings built using Marble lasted for several ages. The Parthenon which was built in 441-437 BC is considered as a symbol of ancient Greek civilization and this scintillating building was built using Pentelicon marble.

The Greek empire extensively used marbles in their constructions. Temple of Artemis is one of the ancient wonders of the world and it consists of 127 marble columns each of which is 5 stories tall. It was the first grand structure made using marble. The magnificent construction was destroyed by various civilizations that took over Greece, but you can still find foundation and a few columns of the wondrous marbles.

When natural stones were widely used in constructing monuments and temples, it was the Greek empire that brought marble to personal use. References to baths and pools lined with marble can be seen in ancient literature. Thassos marble was widely used in bathrooms and this type of marble is still quarried today for commercial uses. Building constructions using marble was popular in India too and the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World was constructed using pure white marble stones.

After the Egyptian and Greek civilizations made some wonders with natural stones of granite and marble, the Roman Empire decided to try its hands on both granite and marble. Many of the roads of the Roman Empire were built using granite. Public baths became popular in Rome and these baths were made of granite. Pantheon in Rome used granite stones for columns and you can see these columns standing tall even today.

Romans loved granite and marble for different reasons. They used granite extensively for constructions because the stone is highly durable and strong. Marble was mainly used for aesthetic reasons because Romans believed marble to be the most beautiful stone. Construction pattern of Egyptians and Greek was different from Romans. While the former civilizations used massive granite and marble stones to build constructions, Romans used bricks and mortar for buildings and then, lined them with marble and granite slabs. It is because of this reason that Romans were able to build marble cities in a short duration.

The renaissance period is a golden period for all types of artwork. Artists and sculptors were interested in using natural stones for their artwork. Quarrying methods were improved by the time and technical use was invented. Innovative and novel users of natural stones increased during the renaissance period. Famous Michelangelo made several beautiful sculptures out of marble. Ornate decorations made using marble and granite were used in decorating churches, temples and other buildings of magnificent nature. Meanwhile, natural stones were carved into decorative pieces for use at home.

It was only during modern times that natural stones were brought close to mankind. Quarrying techniques were improved greatly and there was no need for men to die in quarries dealing with dynamites. Innovative technologies were used in mining natural stones. Also, the world started thinking about eco friendly materials to be used to construct homes. Architects and designers were overly enthusiastic about natural stones that were used in building monuments. In the last decade, people preferred to use more durable, yet stylish materials for constructing homes.

Marble and granite are available in various patterns and colors and it was not easy to find the same pattern of stones. This uniqueness of natural stones made people want for more use of natural stones. In the ancient periods, marble and granite were used for lining and decoration. People trusted durable stones and lay flooring using granite and marble. Apart from their baths, living room, bed room and other rooms in the home had natural stone flooring.

Even though natural stones add exquisite beauty to the home, they are highly porous in nature. Harsh substances can easily damage these natural stones. However, thanks to latest technologies, that it is possible to add more strength to the stones and seal the porous nature so that these stones can be used extensively at homes. It was only during the last few years that countertops made of marble and granite became popular.

Natural and exquisite stones which were only used by kings and emperors are now available for a common man because floor tiles made of natural stones are much more affordable now. Consumers must be very cautious while buying floor tiles and countertops made of marble and granite because natural stones are now made synthetically too. If you prefer aesthetic beauty for your stylish family, always ensure that you buy natural stones that were widely preferred by aristocrats of the past.

14 Free Things To Do In Branson Missouri (And Still Have Fun!)

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In beautiful Branson, Missouri, there are plenty of things to see and do. Even better, there are plenty of FREE things to do in Branson that are fun and interesting for the whole family Branson’s great variety of outdoor fun, unique attractions and interesting history make it the perfect place to discover a great vacation! The FREE activities in Branson make it an even better place to visit, no matter what time of year it is!

The rolling Ozark Mountains make Branson a beautiful, scenic outdoor wonderland Therefore, there are several ways to have fun in Branson that involve the great outdoors Branson’s three gorgeous lakes provide great opportunities for recreation, both exciting and leisurely

  1. Table Rock Lake Dam: This massive engineering structure was completed in 1958 and created Table Rock Lake. Crowds gather to watch the powerful structure hold back the waters of the White River.
  2. Table Rock Lake: The waters of this outdoor wonderland have become a haven for visitors nationwide Take advantage of water activities such as boating, fishing, water-skiing, swimming, scuba diving, hiking and camping
  3. Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery: One of Branson’s most popular tourist sites, the fish hatchery is located below Table Rock Dam The center has several beautiful aquariums showcasing Missouri’s native fish Families love to walk through the fish hatchery and learn more about the world around them Self-guided and conducted tours are available.

  4. Moonshine Beach: Moonshine Beach is a great place to relax with the family. The sandy beach located on Table Rock Lake allows families to swim, sun and enjoy beautiful views.

  5. Table Rock State Park: Located on the shores of Table Rock Lake, the park is ideal water activities and is outfitted with a marina, boat rentals, campsites and picnic areas.

  6. Lake Taneycomo: This downtown Branson lake is a fishing enthusiasts dream! Other activities in and around this like include boating, hiking, scuba diving, and picnicking

    Other FREE outdoor activities in Branson Missouri include incredible scenic views, hiking, camping and wonderful exploration opportunities.

  7. Henning State Forest: This 1,534 acre-park offers spectacular views, nature trails and nature studies There is a naturalist on hand to answer questions and a beautiful scenic lookout area that provides an incredible view of the countryside
  8. Lakeside Wilderness Area: Lakeside provides a great trail that leads to the shores of Lake Taneycomo. A surprising remote area that reveals the gem that is Branson’s beautiful outdoors

    There are more free things to do in Branson Mo too!

  9. Stone Hill Winery: Experience a sparkling tour of wine making on this free tour, which ends with some fine wine tasting Kids receive grape juice.
  10. College of the Ozarks: This picturesque campus is complete with lovely landscaping, fountains and walking paths Visitors will also want to experience the Keeter Center Restaurant, the free tours at Edwards Mill and the Ralph Foster Museum, which houses the area’s best collection of Ozarks history. (Slight fee for museum admission.)

  11. Shopping in Branson: Branson is a great place to shop and it doesn’t cost a thing to look! Explore the many outlet malls and the new addition to the Branson scene, Branson Landing.

  12. Branson Landing: The Landing has a beautiful boardwalk visitors can stroll while enjoying scenic views and the Lake Taneycomo

  13. Historic Downtown Branson: A small-town, charming glimpse into historic Branson This popular area is filled with shops, restaurants and quaint stores filled with treasures

  14. Free Sunday Shows in Branson: Several Branson theaters open their doors Sunday morning for gospel singing and praising

A vacation in Branson Missouri is an experience of a lifetime. Visit today and discover some of Branson’s most enjoyable activities are free, fun and unforgettable!

How To Do Plumbing in a Log Home

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The exquisiteness of a home log makes this type of housing a popular choice for people looking for quaint and comfortable living. Now, because of innovative and easy to build home log kits, it is quite affordable to build a log home. When building a home log, it is important to consider the installation of the plumbing system.

Installing plumbing in a home log is not that much different than installing plumbing in a conventional home. In most cases, the plumbing can be hidden behind the wall cladding and within the floor. A plumber will install and run the pipe system in the walls of log homes that have interior framed walls. For log homes that have all interior walls, the plumber will build a chase-way in a room on the first level. The chase-way is a boxed out area in which the HVAC and plumbing runs through to the second level of the log home.

If a log home is built with completely round log floor joists on the second level, the floor will have to be built up to allow for the electrical and plumbing. This is done by creating a space between the tongue and grove by using taking 2″x6″ boards and standing them on end. Supplementary plumbing is passed through conventional stud walls throughout the log home.

When installing the plumbing, it is much easier and less expensive to keep the bathrooms near each other such as back to back or above one another if it is a two level log home. Galvanized steel pipe is generally used for the line from the well to the pump. As well, polyethylene piping can be used as it is lighter and more flexible. However, you should not use it for the hot water. It is also essential to consider whether the pipes will be exposed to the cold. It is important to make sure the pipes are properly insulated from the cold to avoid freezing of the pipes. The plumbing should also drain easily so that water does not sit in the pipes.

It is important to check with the appropriate authorities regarding the location of the septic tank because consideration for the location will include the type of soil, drainage field, and location of the well. As well, a plumber will have to install of the fixtures and make sure the pipe system is properly installed and functioning properly.

When building a new home logs, it is essential that the plumbing system can properly take water into the home and take wastewater out of the home to be treated. An inadequate plumbing system can disrupt the normal function of the system which includes leaks, backed up sewers, burst pipes, water overflow in the home, and more. When installing a plumbing system in a log home, it is essential that you hire a professional plumber to do the job. A plumber will ensure the plumbing system is installed correctly, identify potential problems, and check the entire system to make sure it is working correctly.

His Most Famous Stained Glass Painting (Garden Landscape & Fountain) – Louis Comfort Tiffany

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Louis Comfort Tiffany or Louis C. Tiffany (February 18, 1848 -January 17, 1933), an American painter and ‘Glass Designer,’ was born in New York. Since very young age, Louis was interested in art and painting and formally learned painting in Paris. Tiffany’s most works had the influence of ‘Art Nouveau’ and ‘Aestheticism.’ Starting as a painter, he got attracted towards glassmaking in 1875 and worked with many glass houses in Brooklyn, until 1878. In 1879, he associated with Samuel Coleman, Candace Wheeler, and Lockwood de Forest to establish the organization Louis Comfort Tiffany & Associated American Artists. His aspiration to focus on glass painting led to the splitting up of the company. He incorporated his first sole ownership, Tiffany Glass Company, on December 01, 1885 that came to be known as Tiffany Studios, in 1902. In the meantime, Tiffany created his most famous glass painting “Garden Landscape & Fountain” (1905-15).

This all time masterpiece, inspired by Byzantine Art, was probably a commission by the Curtis Publishing Company, Philadelphia. Louis’ finest imagination took the painting beyond its conventional creation of a flat decorative work. In this glass painting, measuring 8′ 7 ½” x 9′ 6″ (262.9 cm x 289.6 cm), Louis Comfort stunningly captures the beauty of the nature. “Garden Landscape & Fountain” a Favrile Glass Mosaic artwork carries the natural effect through the Favrile Glass Mosaic that has been cut to diverse shapes to accommodate the view. The painting is a classic example of the usage of colors, which were highly inspired by the nature, i.e. plants, sky, and insects. In the Louis Comfort’s landscape, “Garden Landscape & Fountain,” there are tall slender cypress trees with a multicolored sky above. Two swans carve a rippled pond of shining blue. The presence of a cluster of pink water lilies is also supporting the extraordinary view of the scene.

During 1896-1900, Tiffany created large number of beautiful Favrile Glass, with various pieces attaining mysterious and ‘Impressionistic’ effects. His vital contribution made him the head of the ‘Art Nouveau’ movement. Tiffany’s company was renamed as Tiffany Studios in 1900, after which Louis Comfort Tiffany ventured into lamps, pottery, jewelry, and bibelots. In 1911, he produced another of his best achievements, a gargantuan glass curtain for the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Tiffany founded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation for Art Students at his luxurious and renowned Long Island estate, which in 1946, was sold to provide scholarship funds. Some of Tiffany’s other famous paintings are Stained Glass Window, Favrile Pottery, Laurelton Hall Loggia, View of Oyster Bay, and Autumn Landscape Window. “Garden Landscape & Fountain” is currently displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Moving an Armoire? Let a Professional Mover Show You How It’s Done The RIGHT Way

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Yes your armoire is heavy. If you find yourself having to move it, you will need three things: skill, patience, and knowledge.

Moving an armoire can be accomplished if you take your time and plan. What does planning consist of when moving an armoire? Good old fashion notebook paper and pencil will be a good place to start.

Being a professional mover, I have moved a lot of bulky, awkward, and heavy armoires over the years. I like to start by writing down the measurements of the armoire (L*W*H). Knowing these important measurements will allow you to know if the armoire will fit through the door, and those measurements will allow you to know the best way the armoire will fit onto the moving truck. The last thing you need is to move a heavy armoire and then find out it wont fit. After you measure these dimensions with a measuring tape, write these numbers down on paper so you don’t forget.

After measurements are taken, I pad the armore well to prevent scratches, chipping, and marring from occurring. Professional movers like to use a good thick 8 lb pad for this, but the average do-it-yourself mover can rent moving pads from places like Uhaul to pad their expensive furniture with.

Don’t skimp here! Use plenty of pads to get the job done. A lot of so called professional movers will use inferior padding, or skimp padding all together. The results can be devastating–An expensive armoire destroyed, and a concerned customer mad!

After the pads have been placed on the armoire, use brown movers tape or movers rubber bands to secure the padding to the armoire. Make sure not to get any tape on the armorire itself. Tape can damage wood, so make sure tape is always on top of the padding.

Once the armoire is padded and taped well, it will be time to move it into the moving truck. A heavy armoire should be placed near the front of the truck, so make sure it is one of the first things you load. Keep the weight even, and keep the weight steady so the armoire does not tip over. Two or three strong men will be needed to carefully transport the armore into the truck.

Additional info:

1.Never push or slide your armoire because even on sliders an armoire’s legs can become weak and break.
2.An armoire’s knobs should always be removed – they can snap off easily while transporting.

Variety of Building Materials and Their Uses

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Materials used for the construction of houses, offices and commercial buildings are classified as building materials. The most commonly use materials for construction purposes include cement, stones, rocks, tiles and bricks. Different materials are used according to specific requirements, availability of space and type of structure to be built.

Building Materials Used Before and Now

Building materials used during early years were stone, mud and other materials. Instead of concrete, mud was used to fill the gaps between bricks and stones. Construction was done using crude methods and techniques. Clay, leaves, twigs and so forth were also used by people in the olden days to build houses.

Some of the most frequently used building materials include:

Clay and mud: During the earlier days, clay and mud was the most commonly used material though it was not as strong as the concrete constructions. However, it helped to keep houses cool during summers.

Wood: Another most frequently used material is wood. Down the ages, wood has been used by people to build homes, furniture like tables, desks, chairs and so forth. Wooden homes and cabins are found in many places even today. Depending on the type of wood used, these houses are affected by varying climatic conditions.

Metal: Metals are also among the commonly used building materials. Huge mansions and offices built of metals are strong and last for a life time. Today most of the constructions are done in metal to retain its elegance and strength.

Concrete: Concrete is another material which is used for construction purposes. It is a combination of sand, cement, water and gravel. Most of the constructions are done in concrete today. It has become an indispensable part of construction process. It is long lasting and strong compared to mud and wood houses.

Granite: Being one of the hardest materials available for constructing walls, floors and kitchen accessories, this stone has been in use since ancient times. Granite countertops are among the most preferred material for kitchen countertop. Its durability and opulence are the main reasons why it is chosen by most of the people to decorate their homes.

The other advantages of this stone are that it is highly heat resistant and can be cleaned easily. It does not retain any stains and bacteria. Though it is a bit expensive, it is indeed an investment which last for a life time.

Apart from these there are many more building materials used in the modern times like non shrink grouts, multi-wall panel, steel roof drain, crushed stones, wall putty, insulation products and so forth. Brass materials are also used for construction purposes.

Today the business of building materials has flourished with the increase in constructions of houses, factories, industries and offices. New products are available in the online stores at affordable rates. In addition to construction materials you can even find flooring materials which are quite versatile. Marbles, tiles, granite in unimaginable sizes and designs are obtained from the online markets. By logging on to a good website, you can find materials for your new home and office.

Knowing Interesting Facts About Calabasas

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Let your local Calabasas Movers tell you a little about the area you are planning to move to. For example, did you know that the City of Calabasas is home to one of the oldest buildings in LA? That’s right. It is the Leonis Adobe structure which dates back to 1844! Or, are you aware that the city’s Pumpkin Festival, which happens every October, is to honor the name of the city, Calabasas, which is believed to be named after a pumpkin or a squash, from the Spanish word Calabaza?

Calabasas is part of the San Fernando Valley, located just 22 miles away from Downtown Los Angeles. It’s neighboring communities are Woodland Hills, Topanga, Agoura Hills, and the world famous Malibu. Residents of Calabasas love that in the hot, summer days, the weather there is always cooler than in the neighboring cities, like Woodland Hills.

Calabasas has about 25,000 residents, and about 9,000 families. The average age of the Calabasas citizen is 38 years old. Most of its citizens are White, with a large population of Jewish and Persian-Americans. There are also a mix of African-Americans, Asians and Native Americans in the area.

There were 8,350 households out of which 44.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.3% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.3% were non-families. 17.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.14.

If you are interested by this city, and would like to know more, just contact your local Calabasas movers at 800.431.3920.

History and Features of the Cast Iron Mailbox

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The very first cast iron mailboxes were used in Russia in the 19th century. Russia was the first country to provide public post boxes and they started with letter boxes made of wood. However these were lightweight and frequently stolen. In response, Russia introduced the considerably heavier cast iron boxes that could weigh up to 45 kilograms.

The United States postal service began employing mailboxes during the late 1800s. They purchased these mailboxes from the Danville Stove and Manufacturing Company, which was also known as Beaver Stoves. During the turn of the century and the early 1900s one could see post boxes with the Beaver logo around the country.

One of these antique mailboxes is still in use at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Wall mounted letterboxes made of cast iron were also popular for home use during the first half of the twentieth century. Today mailboxes are seeing a resurgence in popularity, both for their sturdiness and their aesthetic qualities. Many neighborhoods have encountered repeated attacks on mailboxes from people driving by wielding baseball.

One response has been to purchase letterboxes that can withstand a hit, such as those made out of cast iron. Besides standing up to brute force, cast iron wall mounted mailboxes can hinder theft. Many have letter slots and hinged lids that lock. As long as the lock is as sturdy as the rest of the mailbox, personal correspondence and the information within is safe from mail theft. Others prefer it for its non-utilitarian features. They are usually black and generally more ornate than a typical mailbox, embossed with designs. In addition, it lasts for years.

So, those looking for antique mail boxes as authentic finishing touches to their period homes should have no trouble finding the right wall mounted letterbox. However, if they have not been properly cared for, these antique boxes will likely be rusty. To restore the mailbox first rub down all surfaces with steel wool to remove the rust. Then wipe down the mailbox to remove any dirt or dust. Finally, dip a cloth in oil or unsalted fat and rub it into the mailbox. This last step prevents rust and adds shine and will need to be repeated periodically.

Benefits of Commercial Plumbing Services

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Commercial plumbing services offered by plumbers are vital to business and industry. A licensed commercial plumber understands that plumbing emergencies can negatively impact a business. Professional plumbers will go to a commercial building quickly and identify and resolve the problem promptly and professionally. Commercial plumbers have the knowledge, tools, equipment, and the expertise to address a commercial plumbing problem and provide the best service for enterprise to resolve the problem in a timely and professional manner.

When a business takes advantage of commercial plumbing services, they will benefit from the following expert plumbing services:

Plumbing Installation Services

Commercial plumbers install all types of plumbing fixtures and parts, including entire plumbing systems. They install such fixtures as sinks, faucets, toilets, sinks, shower heads, hand-free faucets, sir dryers, commercial garbage disposals, low flow toilets, water meters, showers, etc. They also can install water heaters, water filters, automatic shut-off valves, handicap fixtures, and servicing plumbing for rooms such as the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen. They can install complicated pipe networks for small and large business.

Plumbing Pipe Upgrades

Many commercial buildings can have old pipes that are not up to code and make the water taste bad. For healthier water with an improved taste, a plumber can remove and install better plumbing pipes. They can even install and service water pipes that are in difficult to reach areas as many business buildings can have a small crawl space under the building. A plumber knows how to reach these pipes and perform repairs. In addition, a plumber will service gas lines such as detecting a gas leak which can be very dangerous.

Drain and Sewer Line Services

Commercial plumbers can effectively service drains and sewer lines. They can remove clogs, clean drain lines using sophisticated technology, video inspect lines, and remove stubborn material from the lines such as grease, soap, and mineral deposits. Commercial plumbers also service sewer systems where they fix damaged lines, clean sewer lines, clear obstructions, pump septic tanks, and more. They have the expertise to identify problems and repair them in an efficient and timely manner. Commercial plumbers provide extensive sewer system and drain line services to help keep the system operating properly.

Water Heater Services

Commercial plumbers service commercial water heaters. They can perform such services as eliminating hard water, cleaning out hard deposits from the tank and water lines, servicing the heating elements, making sure the temperature is correct, check CO levels, leak detection, replacing corroded parts, check and repair or replace such valves as the emergency shut-off valve, and check the water pressure. A commercial plumber has the expertise to make sure the water heater is working properly. The commercial plumbing system is both complicated, extensive, and fragile which is why it must be handled by a professional. Licensed plumbers offering commercial plumbing services have the expertise and tools to make sure a commercial building is meeting all government codes. Because the plumbing system is essential to a business or industry, it is essential to hire a licensed commercial plumber.

Top Ten Trucks for Towing

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American car buyers have always been fond of large vehicles such as pickups and SUVs. For those who love the off-roads, the pickup is the best choice. The wide range of choices for pickup trucks can often lead to confusion among car buyers. Not only are pickup trucks numerous, they are also offered in different variants. For example, for General Motors pickup, not only do they offer different cab sizes or different lengths of bed but also different suspension settings.

But there are attributes that truck buyers look for in a truck that is instantly obvious – for example the towing capacity of a truck. For serious off-road drivers, a truck’s towing capacity is the measure of how good the truck is in real life off-road driving. Forbes recently ranked ten of the best trucks for towing to help truck buyers chose the right truck.

Coming in at first is the International CXT that is developed by the Navistar International Corporation. The CXT is currently the world’s largest pound and has a very impressive towing capacity of 40,000 pounds. The sheer size of this pickup truck is evidence of how much weight it can tow. While this mammoth of a pickup truck looks like it will pass for a commercial truck, one need not have a commercial license to drive it. Impressively, the tough looking CXT is available with a luxurious interior that is complete with plush leather seats, black walnut trim, and a dropdown DVD system for entertainment. It is, of course, obvious that the CXT offers adequate interior room especially with its rear bench which can be folded down. The CXT has a price tag of $120,000.

Number two on the list is the Ford F-350 Super Duty. The truck’s towing capacity is rated at 19,200 pounds. While significantly smaller than the CXT, the F-350 is the largest of Ford’s Super Duty lineup. Along with the rest of its siblings, the F-Series is the best selling lineup of vehicles in the world for more than 25 years. The F-350 is equipped with features which complements its superb towing ability. The truck uses a special transmission with a gear ratio selection specially designed for towing. A telescoping outside mirror also allows drivers to look around trailers. The F-350 comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $23,525.

Ranking third on the list is the GMC Sierra with a towing capacity of 16,700 pounds. Similar to the Ford F-Series, the Sierra is also a lineup of pickup trucks from General Motors’ GMC brand. The toughest of the family is equipped with a massive 6.6-liter Duramax turbo diesel engine. While the Sierra is known for its power, it also offers a luxurious interior for some of its variants. The Crew Cab Denali version for example is equipped with a Bose luxury seven-speaker system and a DVD player with a seven-inch screen which folds down from the ceiling for the entertainment of backseat occupants. For its power and luxury interior, the GMC Sierra starts at $27,340.

Number four on the list is another truck from General Motors – this time, the Chevrolet Silverado with a towing capacity of 16,700 lbs. The Silverado’s popularity is evident in the fact that it is the best selling vehicle of the Chevy brand. Similar to the Sierra, the most powerful engine in the Silverado’s lineup is the 6.6-liter Duramax turbo diesel engine. True to the Silverado being a close relative of the Sierra, it is also offered with the same Bose sound system and a rear-set DVD entertainment system. The Silverado has a starting price of $24,485.

Ranking number five on the list is the Dodge Ram 3500 with a towing capacity rated at 16,400 pounds. The most powerful engine available for the Ram is the Cummins 5.9-liter turbo diesel engine. The company claims that their Cummins 600 is capable of delivering, as the name implies, 600 lb-ft of torque for superb pulling power. The power of the engine is complemented by its reliability. According to Dodge, the engine needs a major overhaul after 350,000 miles. The power produced by this reliable engine far exceeds that of a car equipped with a K&N cold air intake system. The Dodge Ram 3500 comes with a starting price of $47,605.

Next to the Ram on the list is the smaller sibling of the mighty CXT – the International MXT with a towing capacity of 16,000 pounds. Compared to the CXT, the MXT weighs considerably less at five tons while the CXT weighs 7.25 tons. The MXT features a cleaner exterior styling but still exudes the same aura of power that the CXT has.

Number seven on the list is the redesigned Toyota tundra with a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. The redesign of Toyota’s pickup shows that they are ready to take on the Big Three at their own turf. Since its introduction, car experts have touted the Tundra as an outstanding redesign but needs more in order for it to become a strong contender to the pickups produced by Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.

Ranked eighth in the list is another Asian pickup – the Nissan Titan King Cab with towing capacity of 9,500 pounds. This is another effort by another Asian car manufacturer to be a strong contender in the pickup truck market dominated by the Big Three. The Nissan Titan has a starting price of $23,400.

Number nine in the list is the Cadillac Escalade EXT with a towing capacity of 7,300 pounds. While the Escalade has been known for its luxurious interior its powerful engine is enough to land the Escalade at the ninth spot of the top ten trucks for towing. With a wide array of luxurious features including a Bose sound system and a DVD entertainment, towing has never been more in style. The Escalade EXT comes with a starting price of $54,430.

The number ten spot is occupied by the Hummer H2 SUT with a towing limit of 7,000 pounds. The H2 is currently the leader in Hummer’s lineup and carries on the Hummer tradition of being a superb off-road vehicle with god towing power to boot. The H2 SUT starts at $52,230.

Gutter and Downspout Maintenance – What you Need to Know

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Many people take their rain gutters and downspouts for granted. They see the guttering attached to their home, but they never give them a second thought. That can be a mistake for several reasons that we will take a closer look at in a second, but gutter maintenance is a very important part of your entire homes maintenance.

Without properly installed and functional gutters and downspouts, you can easily find yourself with roof damage or erosion problems in your yard. In many cases this can lead to leaky basements and other problems as well.

Gutter Maintenance
Keeping your rain gutters clean will prevent a lot of potential problems from ever happening. Even if you do not have trees around your home your gutters can still become clogged. Do you have asphalt shingles? If so, the rain slowly causes those tiny pebbles on your shingles to fall off and collect in the guttering.

Eventually these pebbles coming with other dirt and leaves to clog up the gutters. This is why washing out and cleaning your rain gutter is so important. Why? Because of settling.

Gutter Settling
When your gutters are filled with dirt and debris they become heavy, especially when filled with water. Over time this extra weight causes them to be pulled down and unable to drain properly.

Your guttering is sloped at slight angle toward your downspout. So, when that extra weight causes the gutter to sag, the angle is lost and the water simply collects in the channel. Eventually it pulls your guttering away from the roof and causes wood to rot.

How can you tell if your gutters have settled? Well you can watch the corners during the next rain, or you can spray a water hose onto the roof. Watch to see if the corners start leaking. If they do, your gutters are not draining correctly and they need looked at.

As you can see, rain gutter maintenance is important and just by cleaning them out on a regular basis can prevent most future problems from occurring.

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How to Build and Landscape an Aviary

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Tips to Construct Your Own Aviary

If you want to have an aviary, you need to know that there is a special way to build and landscape the aviary according to the kinds of birds you want to keep. Here is some useful information regarding the same.

First of all, what is an aviary? An aviary is a very large bird cage. In fact, an aviary is not even a cage but an entire room where you can keep birds. You need to remember that birds are animals of flight, so they will need a place to perch and a lot of room to fly around. At the same time, you do not want them to fly away.

Building an aviary

Before you can landscape an aviary and keep birds in the aviary, you need to build one and it needs to be built properly. Building an aviary does not necessarily need to be a very difficult task. The things you need to build an aviary and how to build it are listed below.

1. Treated pine logs can be used to build the basic structure of the aviary. The size of the aviary needs to be at least twelve feet by twelve feet and seven feet high. This type of aviary can be used to house all kinds of different exotic birds. To have this aviary outside, however, you need to also pay attention to your climate.

For example, if you live in the warmer climates of the United States, such as Florida or the Desert Southwest, you can keep more exotic birds such as budgerigar parakeets which are better known as budgies. You can also keep parrots and other exotic birds of the like. In the northern climates, an aviary should be built as an extra room since tropical birds cannot handle cold climates. This kind of aviary can also house larger exotic birds, such as peacocks.

2. Chicken wire or glass for the sides. In the warmer climates, you can use just chicken wire to enclose the aviary. In colder climates, glass should be added. You need to have glass panels that you can remove in the summer months.

There are other items to get at your local hardware store to fasten the chicken wire and glass panels.

Landscaping the aviary is something that is different from a general landscaping project. Depending on the size of your aviary, there are several different ways that you can landscape your aviary. If you are building an aviary to breed budgies, you need to keep in mind that budgies like to chew things. This means that budgies will destroy many leafy plants.

Furthermore, you need to make sure the houseplants that you buy for the aviary are not poisonous for the birds. For perches, you should find large pieces of drift wood. The pieces of drift wood should be clean and free of any types of toxic substances that could be harmful to the birds.

Breeding budgies can also be affected by the landscape of your aviary. Budgies are social birds and you need four or five pairs to breed. Furthermore, in the landscape, you need to have little bird houses high up and they should fit with the landscape. Budgies build their nests and lay their eggs in these bird houses. For beautification of the aviary, make the bird houses blend with the plants and other parts of the aviary landscape.

Plants

Plants depend on the kind of birds you are keeping. For example, finches do not necessarily destroy vegetation, so if you want to keep finches, plants can be great. With different birds of the parrot and parakeet family, such as budgies, loris, lorikeets, macaw parrots, and love birds, you need to be ready to replace the plants on a regular basis.

These birds chew and can not only destroy the vegetation in the aviary, but also can destroy their little bird houses if they are made of a weaker material such as wicker or basket material. For these birds, wood is a much better material to build their nesting boxes.

Whatever you do, an aviary needs to have a landscape that is very easy to clean. Birds can be very dirty and usually defecate indiscriminately. This means that you need to design the aviary floor with a type of sand that can absorb the bird droppings and can be changed easily.

Having an aviary can be a great stress reliever. You should design the aviary in such a way where you can sit in the middle of the landscape and enjoy looking at your birds.

5 Funny Moving Stories

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OK, so you are about to move. Did your research on movers. Found a moving company with decent pricing, somewhat decent reviews and bearable BBB rating. Packed most of your stuff. Moving day is coming. Excited?

You might as well be, because you never know what’s waiting for you on the move day!

Some of the funniest stories I’ve heard during my extensive moving business career:

  1. Knock knock! You open the door. Your movers have arrived. Except, they are an exceptional crew consisting of a 65 year old man, an illegal immigrant who doesn’t speak any English as was randomly picked up at a random gas station, and a waitress from your local Waffle House. They all admit this is going to be the first move in their lives. Except the older gentleman who claims to be the crew leader. He believes in himself and his team. This has happened to one of our customers several years ago. He called Milestone Relocation immediately after kicking out (literally) his moving crew down the stairs.
  2. You are moving today. Your movers are unreachable, and obviously they are not here. You move by yourself or hire someone else. Two days later, your movers, the ones that never showed up, call you and tell you that they are going to be a little late because they have a flat tire. Sounds funny? It’s a true story!
  3. Your movers show up on time. Do an extremely good job. One item is left on the truck: your grandma’s ancient clock. A 200 pound clock, which is basically all that has left for her to remember your granddad who passed away several years ago. The move went well, you and your family, including your grandma, are watching how your movers are getting ready to unload the clock off the truck. For the 97th time, you remind your movers to be extremely careful. They nod their heads confirming understanding the importance of this. One of them even says, “Don’t worry, we are professionals!” Your grandma is watching in relieve: after all, the movers did a great job, and they can’t mess up the only item which is left. On the “Don’t worry” words, your grandma almost falls down on her butt: she can’t believe movers are screaming, the clock is falling from 4 feet high, and the ancient glass is all over the place!
  4. “I understand my company charged you more than 3 times above their estimate and refused to unload your items before you pay the full balance in cash. It’s nice you are so understanding. But we work on tip, and if don’t get tipped right now, we will not unload your belongings no matter what the company says.”
  5. “I just came back from jail. I did my 8 year sentence for beating up my wife. Do you really think I care when you threaten me saying you will call the police because I am not unloading your stuff before you tip me?”

These stories are funny until they happen to you. Do not be negligent. Protect yourself by choosing a moving company carefully. Do you research. Google it. Read reviews. Make sure they are licensed. And then, when you help yourself, God will help you too.

Happy moving!

Learning All About Blue Pearl Granite

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Blue pearl granite is a beneficial and useful choice when people want to install granite worktops in their kitchen. Granite is perhaps the second strongest stone in the world and is a popular building material. Blue granites are the rarest and therefore the most expensive of the granites that can be found all across the globe. This granite belongs to this colour family and has a silvery blue shade which makes it beautiful and prized. Norway is from where this particular store is quarried and is distributed throughout the world as a raw material for making tiles as well as countertops.

Exploring The Characteristics of Blue Pearl Granite:

Although a blue colour is indicated by the name of the stone, in actual, the stone is not true blue and looks more metallic or silver blue. People can obtain a sample to check the colour in a proper manner. The stone is comprised of excessive amounts of quartz and mica in the stone and when it is polished, they give the stone a pearlescent sheen which has contributed to its name. White, black, gray and blue grey flecks make up the surface colour of the stone. A tightly flecked pattern of colour can be found in this granite instead of veins of colours which are often seen in many stones.

When people check out a blue pearl granite company, they will find that the colour of this stone can vary from piece to piece and even vary in one single piece. Some slabs have a blue cast while some are closer to silver in terms of shade and tone. Instead of having a tightly packed pattern throughout the surface, this granite might have large sections of black and white concentrated in one area. Slabs of blue pearl might be lighter on one end and darker on the other and may have splashes of black quartz within their surface and can be used for making unique kitchen worktops.

Types of Blue Pearl Granite:

There are several types of blue pearl granite and their price varies according to the type people select. Depending on the location from where it is quarried, the shades of this form of granite can vary. One of the brightest, bluest and expensive stones is the Blue Pearl GT whereas Royal blue has a lighter background and also has deep blue crystals in its surface. A variation which is closer to gray or silver rather than blue is defined as Marina Pearl. Also, instead of a polished surface, it is also possible to find this particular type of stone honed to give a matte finish. The price varies according to your selection.

Because of its special properties, the stone is extremely expensive and therefore not entirely affordable for everyone. People often have to give up this option when designing their worktops. However, they should find a manufacturer who can offer them a reasonable price for it. We are a company that charges a competitive rate and can provide you with all types of blue pearl granite.

Wrought Iron Balusters Vs Wooden Balusters – A Comparison!

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Whether its home decorating or home renovation – the first thing that comes to mind is stairways renovation. Stairways have to be secure else there is always a risk of accident. However, one cannot deny the fact that these stairways also make our home beautiful. So, what are the solutions- what type of balusters will fulfill both the needs? When thinking about this, two types of balusters come to mind- Wrought iron balusters and wooden balusters. I am sure, most of the people reading this must be having wood balusters at their homes. And if you are thinking of home renovation, then there is no better idea than a wrought iron baluster. Here we will compare these balusters with wooden balusters and will also come to know what advantages does iron has over the wood!

Durability- Iron is definitely durable than wood. Wood balusters get decayed over time. They are also susceptible to vermin and termites. Balusters made from wrought iron do not have all these problems. Once installed, they will be there for lifelong. Now comes the question of getting bored of seeing these balusters year after year. That also has a solution. Get them painted in your choice of color after a certain period of time. There is nothing against balusters made from wood if one can afford to change them over short period of times. If not, its better to get iron balusters installed at your stairways.

Ductility- Wrought iron is malleable and can be molded and given any shape. Thus, these balusters are more decorative than wooden balusters. Wood, as is known, can not be molded to give curvy or decorative shapes while the metal can be twisted into intricate and complicated designs. As a result, you have many options with wrought iron balusters and can let your imagination loose when decorating your home.

Easy Availability- Due to the changed interests of home dwellers and decorators, craftsmen are more inclined towards making balusters out of wrought iron. They are hesitant in experimenting with wooden baluster designs. As a result, these iron balusters are available in showrooms and even smaller shops in most of the cities and towns. They are available on Internet too and can be purchased online sitting right at your home.

As far as cost is concerned, it all depends upon the place where you stay and how much of this metal is dealt with there. Depending upon the quality of wrought iron and on the craftsmanship (the more detailed and intricate the designs, more will be cost), it can be both- cheaper or costlier than wooden balusters. You are now the sole authority to decide whether you need wrought iron balusters in place of your old wooden balusters or not?

7 Popcorn Ceiling Removal Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Contractor

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Popcorn ceiling removal is very common these days. So is getting ripped off and scammed by your contractor. There are many good contractors doing great work, but there are also many scam artists and fly by night companies who are only looking to rip you off. Since real estate values across the nation have been depressed, many homeowners are choosing to update their existing home by easy and inexpensive interior renovations like popcorn removal.

Home owners need to ask their popcorn ceiling removal contractor these 7 questions before they hire them for the job. Removing popcorn ceilings is very common these days as many home owners are updating their existing homes. Popcorn ceilings are outdated and many home owners prefer knockdown texture over popcorn. Knockdown texture just looks better and there is a great return on investment because popcorn removal is an affordable improvement which may add incremental value to the home. Before hiring a contractor in the Orlando area, be sure to ask these 7 questions to avoid getting ripped and scammed.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #1 – “Do I need to worry about testing for lead in my house?”

If your home was built before 1978, then the answer is “yes”. If your home was built after 1978, the answer is “no”. According to EPA.gov, “Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.

To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

EPA requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by EPA and that they use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices.” It is important to use Lead Safe Certified contractors for popcorn removal projects.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #2 – “Can I remove my popcorn ceiling by myself and save some money?”

The short answer is “yes”. However, saving a few bucks may turn out to be a major headache in the long run for a few reasons. The first reason is the work will be difficult. You will need special equipment, respirators, eye protection and so on. In most cases, homeowners simply lack the expertise to do the job correctly and it can become very time consuming. Another reason is the work may cause damage to other areas in the house, the furniture, the walls and the floors. It becomes even more difficult if your popcorn ceilings have been painted.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #3 – “Is it more difficult to remove popcorn ceilings which have been painted?”

Removing painted popcorn is more difficult because it is a challenge to penetrate the paint with water to thoroughly wet the material prior to the disturbance. This is another situation where the expertise of a professional contractor can be a major benefit.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #4 – “Will my house be a complete mess after the popcorn ceiling is removed?”

Removing popcorn is inherently a “messy” job if you do it yourself or have a contractor do the job for you. This is why it is important for you to “cover off” the entire area of the work to be done. You will need to cover all vents with plastic, cover all fixtures with plastic and tape, cover all carpets and floors with plastic, and close off any areas you do not want affected by the job. In essence, you need to create a “containment area” for the job. Professional popcorn ceiling removal contractors will leave your house spot less and looking better than when they started.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #5 – “Will I have to move all of my furniture out of the house?”

The answer is “no”. Experts in popcorn removal, residential painting, ceiling repair, and drywall repair are specialists in protecting your belongings. The will “cover off” all of your furniture, TV’s, beds, etc. and protect them from any dust or damage. Most companies will want the homeowner to remove all of their “nick nacks”, pictures, small electronics, etc. before beginning work on the home.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #6 – “How long does it take to remove popcorn ceilings”

As you can imagine, every house is different. It all depends on the size and scope of the work, the condition of the house, the height of the ceilings, and whether or not the rooms where the work is to be done are empty or furnished. Remember, once you have removed the popcorn, you still have to apply knockdown texture and paint it. If you are doing the work yourself, you should plan on a being at it for a few days at the least. Professional popcorn ceiling removal contractors, like Textures by Blue Sky, Inc., can typically complete a 3500 sq. ft. house in one day. Just make sure you choose the right one to work with.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #7 – “How do I know the popcorn ceiling removal contractor I have hired is going to do a good job?”

Do some research. Ask your friends and family if they know a reputable company in the Orlando area. Make sure you use a company that has been in business for at least a few years. It is also important to use a company that is licensed, bonded, and insured. A reputable company will also be registered with the Better Business Bureau, The Florida Ceiling and Wall Contractors Association, and will be “Lead Safe” Certified by the EPA.

Why You Need Trustworthy Plumbing Services

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Regular maintenance is required to maintain your pipes and fixtures in good condition for the smooth and efficient distribution of water and/or gas in your home or office and for the appropriate disposal of sewage. That’s why it is vital to hire a plumbing company to help you. Remember one thing, you should never ignore or postpone any plumbing repairs or maintenance as it may lead to bigger issues in the future. If the plumbing issues are not attended at the proper time, it may lead to the major problem. The majority of people look for the services of a professional plumber when they have an emergency. However, you also require plumbing services for ongoing maintenance on a regular basis to keep you away from bigger repairs; thus, it is prudent to search for a trustworthy plumbing service provider to help you. The water systems are one of the indispensable components that we use regularly on a daily basis even without realising it. Similar to other systems, the water supply system will also begin to cause issues and will require preservation services.

The significance and advantages of hiring plumbing services

The majority of us try to repair plumbing problems on our own, but we often fail to see other main problems that may have caused the problem. This is exactly where you need the assistance of a plumbing service who has trained personnel to clean badly clogged toilets, fix leaking pipes that are concealed in the basement and repair busted pipes that may ruin your furniture.

To work on plumbing jobs, one requires practical skills and sound knowledge that only professional plumbers will have. Professionals will have all the newest tools to repair and solve major plumbing problems with minimal of time and know how to use them efficiently. The services rendered by the professional plumbers are lasting solutions and they aren’t just one-time fixes. The important part is that when you call a plumbing service, they will assist in spotting and fixing the problems from the root-source.

Professional companies provide a range of plumbing services that include attending to burst pipes and water leaks; repairing taps; repairing toilets; hot water heater installation, service, maintenance and repairs; detecting leaks; clearing blocked drains; gas fitting and many more. These companies also render emergency plumbing services at short notices. In case, you ever encounter a plumbing emergency at odd hours, help is just a call away. These professional companies will not only fix the issue but also will offer a detailed report of what may have caused the problem and highlight the hidden elements, which most of us will not even observe.

How to Estimate the Weight of Your Household Goods For Moving

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Moving companies are often wrong when it comes to estimating the weight and value of your household goods shipment. Some estimators do a pretty good job, but there is such high turnover in the industry that you never know how experienced your estimator really is. If you make your contract decision based on price, you may be in for a big surprise when the driver hands you the final bill at your destination.

There are a few simple steps you can take to estimate the weight on your own. Following these steps will keep you in charge of the process and protect your rights in case you need to make a claim.

You want to start by sorting and inventorying your belongings. If this sounds like more work than you want to do, there are companies you can hire to inventory and value the contents of your home. No matter who does your inventory, you need to have an inventory done. Without it, you are at a disadvantage from the start. With it, you have a foundational document that can be used throughout your dealings with the moving companies.

Start by separating the valuable stuff from the ordinary stuff, the heavy stuff from the light stuff, and eliminate anything that the movers won’t be moving. As you go, simply list what you have. The list will help you determine the weight and value of your shipment. The best way to proceed is to start upstairs and work your way down, or start down then up if you prefer. Move around each room in a clockwise direction and write down everything you see. Write down items on the floor first, and then items on the wall, and then items in cabinets. Stay consistent from room to room so you don’t miss anything. Collections can be listed as collections, rather than individual pieces. When you are done with the house, inventory the shed and the garage in the same fashion.

You probably won’t take everything in your house. Items that won’t be moved fall into two categories: things you can’t take, and things you won’t want to take. The things you can’t take include anything that could explode, start a fire, rot, or give off toxic fumes. Such items cannot be transported or placed into storage. These are the items that are most troublesome to deal with. You can’t just throw them in the trash. Call your county department of the environment; they will tell you how to dispose of them. Have a plan for getting rid of these items. You don’t want to leave a bunch of hazardous waste in your house. Realtors frown on that. Makes the house harder to sell. Items you don’t want to take should be donated to charity, sold, or consigned to auction. Have the items picked up before you get your estimates. If it’s not in the house, it won’t contribute to an estimating mistake.

Once you know what you are going to move, there are three approaches to estimating the weight of your shipment. The first way is to take an educated guess. Add up the individual weights of the items on your inventory. For reference, I have provided a downloadable table of household weights on my website. If you are moving an item that is not on my list, find an item of similar heft and use the weight of that item. Remember, you are looking for a god estimate, not an exact number. Add up all the individual items for your total weight.

The second way to estimate the weight of your shipment is to take a wild guess. I’m not kidding; this method actually works. I’m told that the average shipment of household goods will weigh about 40 pounds per item. Remember that some items will be boxes of small goods. Total the number of items on your inventory (including boxes) and multiply by 40. If you have 150 items on your inventory, your weight will be somewhere in the 6,000 pound range. Not impressed with this method? That’s why I call it a wild guess. Still, if your wild guess came in at 6,000 pounds and your estimator gave you an estimate of 3,000 pounds, wouldn’t you want to know why?

The third way is illegal, so use it at your own risk. There are household goods weight calculators online. Most of them are on government owned websites, military and G.S.A.. They are supposed to be for authorized users. If you decide to use one, be sure to read the warnings and use good judgment. I only include this information here because I know that some of you will look online for your weights.

Beware if your estimator wants to give you an estimate based on cubic feet; i.e., how much space your shipment will take up in the truck. This is a useless number for billing purposes, since interstate carriers have to charge you based on weight and distance. Figuring cubic feet is useful, however, in determining whether you will be sharing a truck with another shipper, get a whole truck to yourself, or need two trucks. The chart on my website also lists the sizes of household items in cubic feet.

With your inventory done and your weight figured, the next thing you need to know is how to determine the value of your shipment for insurance purposes. That consideration will be the subject of my next article.

Getting your household gutters cleaned this winter

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The last thing most people want after a heavy down pour is to have to spend a fortune replacing damaged plaster and paint work on ceilings or repair roof tiles. However, it is possible to save ourselves a lot of money simple by understanding the requirements of regular gutter cleaning. Most home owners view gutters as “out of sigh, out of mind” but gutter cleaning is a vital part of any home maintenance routine and should be overlooked or avoided.

Many years ago, homes and building were not fitted with gutters, and designers and old time architects never considered the usefulness of an effective gutters system. However, rooftop drainage was usually achieved by homes and buildings having very steep and large over hanging roofs fitted in such a way that rain water was routed into a specially designed demarcated area.

But the standard for modern day buildings all over the world is an effective guttering system – and it makes good sense. When the heavens open-up and we have a heavy down pour, the water is effectively guided down the roof, into the gutter system and down the downspouts leading the water away from our valuable homes. Most standard homes are usually fitted with downspouts on each corner of the house to ensue water is carried away quickly and with minimum risk of overflowing.

Some people, from an environmental view point prefer having gutters which lead directly into a specially designed water catchment container for later use in the dry months. Separate water catchments systems are not only considered friendlier for our environment but can also have significant savings on house hold water bills.

But, regardless of whether the water is stored or led away through an underground drainage system having a blocked gutter system can be a costly affair. You will have rain water unable to flow to the nearest downpipe which will inevitably overflow and come gushing down your walls, from there it is only a mater of time before it starts to penetrate through your outside brickwork through to the inside of your home. As internal damp and wet patches start to form within your rooms internal paintwork and decorations will rapidly start to deteriorate.

Flooding can happen in a very short period of time depending on the size of the downpour and so another costly exercise is when your gutter system becomes so blocked that rain water starts to soak through your roof tiles, though your attic area and down onto your internal ceilings. Apart from the costs to replace broken tiles internal plaster and paint work on your ceilings may now require some attention.

Whether you get your gutters cleaned out by a professional gutter cleaning service or you choose to do it yourself. In the long run it can only help you avert a pending disaster and save you a considerable amount of money. Most property experts will recommend that you should get your gutter system checked at least once a year, as twigs, roof moss, leaves and dead birds tend to block your gutters after a heavy down pour.

So the next time you see rain water overflowing from your gutter system, take action immediately, and have your gutter cleaned by a competent gutter cleaning company before the internal damage to your home becomes a very expensive affair.

UBC’s School of Architecture-Landscape Architecture Environmental Design Program: Review From Within

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Each year, hundreds of students from around the world apply to UBC’s Environmental Design Program, but only 25 are chosen each year. Acceptance is based on academics, diversity of courses taken, strength and bread of portfolio work, quality of written portions of the application, outstanding reference letters and the level of uniqueness that a student may offer to the rest of the accepted team. I was fortunate enough to have been selected to be a part of the ENDS 2013 class and having just completed my first year in the program, I have experienced so much growth, both creatively and personally. I would like to offer this article as a guide to those who are interested in applying to the ENDS program at UBC. As the program is relatively new, the available literature regarding the application process and the program itself is limited. My goal is that I may help to offer an inside look into the program so that potential applicants can get a better sense of whether or not the program is right for them, and to offer helpful information regarding the difficult application process and the dreaded portfolio. For more information about the portfolio portion of the application scroll down.

I would like to start by giving the overall program a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. Students receive top-notch design education from practicing architects who are thus able to offer quality and fresh-from-the-field knowledge. All of the instructors are patient, extremely knowledgable in many creative fields, more than willing to meet outside of class time for extra help, and prepared to challenge each student at a level that is appropriate for their individual skills.

**A note: ENDS does not accept previous degree holders. If you have a degree, unfortunately, you may not transfer in. However if you are interested in an architectural degree, you may want to consider a graduate degree in architecture. UBC has a widely respected school of architecture and if you are creative-minded and if you can show that you are adaptable and prepared to work hard, they have been known to accept applicants coming from nearly every known undergraduate degree.

One thing that the ENDS program boasts of is the diversity of its students. This year in my class we had students from across the globe, each contributing a unique set of skills and point of view to the repertoire of the entire class. Another way in which ENDS ensures that student diversity is maintained by limiting the required prerequisites to 2 courses of university English, 1 course in Physics (or a high school physics grade of 72% or higher), and 2 courses in geography. Then ENDS program is a third-year transfer program, and so apart from the few pre-reqs listed above, the remaining 15 courses that make up years one and two of the applicants university education are entirely up to them. ENDS hopefuls are not only free, but encouraged to take courses that are of interest to them.

**Here I enter a Caution: from day 1 of my university education, I chose to put all my eggs into the ENDS basket. They want diversity and so that I exactly what I did. I took only courses that I was very interested in; calculus, physics, French, painting, sculpture, sustainability… Fortunately for me, I was accepted into the program and it all worked out. However, I had no direction in the courses I was taking, only a little bit of everything and no back-up plan. And so had I not been accepted, I would have had to nearly start over for a degree. ENDS wants diversity and they want you to take courses that you WANT to take, but take that with a grain of salt and diversify at your own risk. Have a back-up possible degree is possible.

At first I was a little sceptical of the minimal pre-requisistes; concerned about how such a group of students coming from such varied backgrounds could come together to learn the same materials. But the diversity and breadth of our collective knowledge has only strengthened the depth of our work, pushed our critical thinking and forced us to challenge each other creatively. Our class collaboration of knowledge and skills has been a beautiful thing. The ENDS instructors have shown us how to learn from each other in order to expand our knowledge base to one from which we have access to 25 minds-worth of information to draw upon, instead of relying on our individual and thus limited knowledge base.

A few weeks in to the school year showed that we were in for a rough ride for the next 7 months. We experienced many sleepless nights, developed serious dependency to coffee and carbs, and the limits of any of our previous experiences of group work were seriously pushed. The closest tangible thing that I can equate the experience to for those who have not been to design school is A&E’s television series Project Runway. There were tears, there was throwing up, desperate calls to loved ones, panic attacks and meltdowns. But in the end, strong relationships were born among the class and good design was produced. The work of each member of our team added to the calibre of the work of the class as a whole. It sounds like a scary ride, but I know that each of us are beyond excited to start it all again for year two. Bring it on!

If you are adaptable, creative, a critical thinker and a team player who is ready to have all of their limits pushed, creatively and personally, then ENDS is the place for you. If you are looking for an easy grade and thrive on competition put yourself ahead of your team instead of collaborating with them, then move along, ENDS will just eat you up and spit you out.

The first year of ENDS is a heavy course load. A regular full-course load is 5 classes, but ENDS requires a the equivalent the work of a sixth being added. However, only four courses are taken at a time because the main studio class which is required for each semester in ENDS has the equivalent in-class time of 3 courses combines. Course include subjects covering architectural history, technology and technique, digital media and representation and thematic analysis. With this combination of studied materials, we have developed not only skills in the fundamentals of architecture, but design in general, graphic design, digital representation of ideas, interior design, and cross-media collaboration.

Students have access to computer labs, wood shop, three laser cutters, a CNC machine and a 3D printer. Macintosh computers are the preferred operating system of approximately 85-90% of the class. The main programs that we use are Vectorworks, Adobe Creative Suite and Rhinoceros.

Vectorworks is a predominantly 2D drafting program that is user-friendly and easy to learn. They also offer a free student version to those who submit proof of enrolment to a post-secondary institution. For this, simply acquire a ‘proof of enrolment’ letter from your school, safe it as a PDF and attach it to your Vectorworks application. Adobe Creative Suite is an expensive package, but well worth the money. It is a quality program that includes almost every program you will need for design school. There is no need to spend the big bucks on the Master or Professional collections. The standard, education version will be more than enough. Make sure to get the discounted educational price as well. Rhinoceros is a 3D modelling program. There is a beta version for mac that is currently available for free. Rhino is a useful tool for creating convincing perspectival renderings and for creating ‘exploded’ drawings of a project. Before coming to class, it would be very useful to be familiar with these programs, and in particular Vectorworks, InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop.

Moving Companies – Alternatives And Financing

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Thus, choosing your moving company is something that can provide a great relief or further problems.

Resorting to a moving company is not the only action you can take. It all depends on the amount of things you have and the distance that separates one property from the other. You may be able to move most of your things by yourself or maybe all with the aid of some friends or family members. But take into consideration the fact that some furniture and appliances are fragile and should better be handled by professionals.

Costs And Alternatives

Hiring a moving company can be expensive. If you have to move especially delicate things like a piano for example, you may even have to hire the services of exclusive moving companies that will charge significantly higher amounts. You can shop around and compare prices but bear in mind that sometimes what is too cheap turns out expensive and the company will be transporting all your belongings which you surely consider valuable in more than one sense.

As explained above, the cost of hiring a moving company will vary according to the amount of things that you need to transport from one property to the other but mainly on the distance that separates both properties. If the type of things you need to move would allow you to transport them yourself provided that you had the transport means, hiring a moving company may not be your only possible solution.

It is also possible to rent a truck or a van where you can (with the aid of friends or relatives) carefully load all your belongings and transport them from your current residence to your new home. Bear in mind though, that you’ll need to fasten and secure everything so nothing gets damaged during the carrying. Using a proper cushion wrapping to reduce the risk of damage is an excellent idea.

Financing: The Simple Solution

Though moving companies can be expensive, you may decide that they are the best choice for you. If that’s the case, the good news is that you can obtain finance to move your belongings. Some moving companies will agree to provide several installments to finance the fees. Even if that’s not the case, you can still resort to other forms of financing in order to obtain the funds to pay the fees altogether.

You have mainly two alternatives: you can pay with credit card and use the ability to finance the balance on your credit card so you can pay as much as possible every month. Or (and this is my preferred solution), take a personal unsecured loan to pay for the whole fees and then repay the loan in the small resulting installments. This last alternative is probably the cheapest one because the interest rates on personal loans are considerably lower than the ones charged by credit card financing.

Tips to Choosing the Best Moving Company

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Like within any industry, the household goods business has its share of rogue companies that have been known to prey on the general public. From denying claims, lost belongings and holding the consumer’s items for “ransom”, reports of abuse by moving companies happen all too often.

The majority of these consumer abuses occur by those movers who are operating under their own authority and are normally not associated with a major van line. These rogue movers will often work under their own generic “van line” name.

Forty million people move each year and the large majority are completed with customer satisfaction by both, van lines and independent movers. These movers also tend with the negative impact placed on them and the industry by the fraudulent companies that take advantage of the consumer.

The major cause for the consumer who gets caught in one of these moving scams often lies with choosing the cheapest priced mover. Economics is certainly understandable, but going with the cheapest price is usually a recipe for disaster. Extensive research and understanding how the moving industry operates, play key factors in choosing the best moving company for your relocation.

With May through October being the busiest time for movers, the peak moving season will soon be approaching and there are steps that consumers can take to increase their chances of obtaining a care-free move:

  • Never hire a moving broker
  • Make sure the moving company has been in business for at least 7-10 years
  • Visit their office to make sure they are who they say they are
  • Never accept an “estimate” over the phone
  • Make sure their trucks show the appropriate markings as required under federal law
  • Check them out with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Check their ICC number against the FMCSA records

These are just a few steps that consumers can take to validate a moving company’s reputation and record particularly when it comes to storing your household goods.

Most moving companies offer storage facilities should you have to store your items until your residence is ready for the move-in process. Moving companies holding the consumer’s belongings in storage for “ransom” have been documented and the FMCSA is now enforcing laws against these type of movers through the Map-21 Act.

Although these type of incidents do occur, it is most often done by independent movers not associated with a major van line. If you must place your belongings in storage, it is recommended to deal only with a major van line that is well-known; not with an independent moving company or a company which operates under its own “van lines” name.

Although many independents can be trusted, the key factor here is for you, the consumer, to have peace of mind. The greatest peace of mind you can have is to place your storage in a storage facility that you have complete control over such as a mini-storage facility.

By utilizing a self-storage facility, you and only you will hold the key and access rights to your belongings. If you are concerned with a possible “ransom” scam by movers, this would alleviate any fears of such an incident occurring.

Through research and investigation and fully understanding the household goods moving process, consumers can avoid becoming the next victim to moving fraud.

Adjuster Licensing in Florida – Become a Florida Insurance Claims Adjuster

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Residents of the State of Florida, and non-residents of states that do not require adjuster licensing, are eligible for the Florida All Lines Independent or Company Adjuster license if:

1. You are 18 years or older;

2. An online application is completed and the $55.00 application fee is paid;

3. You are a US citizen or a legal alien with a work authorization;

4. Fingerprints are submitted at one of the sites authorized by the Florida Department of Financial Services (Out-of-state applicants will receive a fingerprint card from the department for completion);

5. You successfully complete the Accredited Claims Adjuster Designation through the University of Central Florida, or one of the other authorized licensing designations, or you pass the state licensing examination.

Florida also maintains a reciprocal licensing arrangement with the following states.

Alabama – Independent adjusters only

Alaska – Independent adjusters only

Arkansas – Independent adjusters only

Connecticut – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Georgia – Independent and Public adjusters only. (Does not require licensure for Company adjusters)

Idaho – Independent adjusters only

Illinois – Public adjusters only

Kentucky – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Maine – Public and Independent adjusters

Michigan – Public and Independent adjusters

Mississippi – Independent adjusters only

New Mexico – Independent and Company adjusters

North Carolina – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Oklahoma – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Oregon – Public and Independent adjusters

Pennsylvania – Public adjusters

South Carolina – Independent and Company adjusters only

Texas – Independent and Company adjusters

West Virginia – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Washington – Public and Independent adjusters

Wyoming – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Utah – Public and Independent adjusters

States that do not require adjuster licensing include Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

LICENSING DESIGNATION

Florida first approved the Accredited Claims Adjuster designation in 2003. This designation provided the first and original exemption from the state licensing examination. The course became available as a distance learning course through Florida Insurance University in Partnership with the University of Central Florida in 2004. One out of four adjuster licenses in Florida have been approved using the ACA Designation.

Although other providers are now offering claim adjuster designations, over 250 insurance and adjusting companies use the ACA Designation for licensing resident and non-resident adjusters. The ACA Website may be located at http://www.ce.ucf.edu/insurance

The ACA Designation consists of a series of open-book, multiple choice tests and a written assignment. Students will learn to read and research policy questions, identify claim issues and, at the conclusion of the course, will received a University of Central Florida certificate of completion which will excuse them from the state licensing exam.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

Every FL adjuster is required to complete 24 hours of CE every two years to retain licensure. The 24 hours must include state approved courses for 2 hours-Ethics; 10 hours-Law; 12-hours-Optional.

All required courses are located on the UCF website and all work may be completed online at:

http://www.ce.ucf.edu/ASP/insurance

Using Class Codes 0042 and 9102

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Workers’ compensation insurance in Florida and roughly 40 other states, use a classification code system designed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to rate insurance premiums differently for groups of employees. There are roughly 600 class codes, and the two main codes used for employees in the landscaping industry are 0042 and 9102.

I often encounter landscape maintenance businesses that have their employees misclassified and are able to not only receive a 50% reduction on their current insurance premiums, but are also able to file for reimbursements from overpayments on previous workers compensation policies.

These experiences and multiple other questions about how these classification codes may be used together on a policy, have brought to my attention a need to communicate specific information to the landscaping industry about the uses of workers compensation codes 0042 and 9102.

First, let’s start with a brief description of each classification code with quotes from NCCI’s official descriptions:

Class Code 0042 – Applies to employees primarily engaged in planning, clearing, grading, laying of sod, seeding, and planting necessary for landscape installation operations. Planting of trees, shrubs, and flowers are classified to this code along with general gardening activities.

Class Code 9102 – Applies to employees that perform maintenance of lawns, grounds, and gardens. “The maintenance may involve lawn mowing, raking, application of liquid or granular fertilizer, spraying and trimming of shrubs or small trees from the ground, and thatching or aerating. If any one or all of the above operations are performed by a lawn maintenance risk classified to Code 9102, then minor and incidental landscaping operations performed by the same risk, such as the replacement of dead shrubs, the planting of a few flowers, and the placing of rock or brick as edging designs are included under Code 9102. This minor landscaping operation is distinguished from work performed by an insured at a job or location where the primary work at the job or location is landscaping. Since lawn spraying is a maintenance operation, a risk engaged exclusively in work of this nature is classified to Code 9102.”

In Florida, the 2010 rates for theses class codes are 6.36 for code 0042 and 3.49 for code 9102. In the other states, class code 0042 also has a significantly higher rating than class code 9102. For businesses in the landscaping industry, this emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between the two classification codes.

In many states, employees that engage in both landscape installation and landscape maintenance activities can have their corresponding payroll divided between the class codes if proper records are maintained. Consult with your insurance agent for the specific classification rules in your local state. According to the state exception wording under the 9102 class code, Florida landscaping businesses can use class code 0042 and 9102 on their workers’ compensation policy only if those “operations described by these classifications are conducted by separate crews.”

Adjuster Licensing in Florida – Become a Florida Insurance Claims Adjuster

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Residents of the State of Florida, and non-residents of states that do not require adjuster licensing, are eligible for the Florida All Lines Independent or Company Adjuster license if:

1. You are 18 years or older;

2. An online application is completed and the $55.00 application fee is paid;

3. You are a US citizen or a legal alien with a work authorization;

4. Fingerprints are submitted at one of the sites authorized by the Florida Department of Financial Services (Out-of-state applicants will receive a fingerprint card from the department for completion);

5. You successfully complete the Accredited Claims Adjuster Designation through the University of Central Florida, or one of the other authorized licensing designations, or you pass the state licensing examination.

Florida also maintains a reciprocal licensing arrangement with the following states.

Alabama – Independent adjusters only

Alaska – Independent adjusters only

Arkansas – Independent adjusters only

Connecticut – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Georgia – Independent and Public adjusters only. (Does not require licensure for Company adjusters)

Idaho – Independent adjusters only

Illinois – Public adjusters only

Kentucky – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Maine – Public and Independent adjusters

Michigan – Public and Independent adjusters

Mississippi – Independent adjusters only

New Mexico – Independent and Company adjusters

North Carolina – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Oklahoma – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Oregon – Public and Independent adjusters

Pennsylvania – Public adjusters

South Carolina – Independent and Company adjusters only

Texas – Independent and Company adjusters

West Virginia – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Washington – Public and Independent adjusters

Wyoming – Independent, Public, and Company adjusters

Utah – Public and Independent adjusters

States that do not require adjuster licensing include Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

LICENSING DESIGNATION

Florida first approved the Accredited Claims Adjuster designation in 2003. This designation provided the first and original exemption from the state licensing examination. The course became available as a distance learning course through Florida Insurance University in Partnership with the University of Central Florida in 2004. One out of four adjuster licenses in Florida have been approved using the ACA Designation.

Although other providers are now offering claim adjuster designations, over 250 insurance and adjusting companies use the ACA Designation for licensing resident and non-resident adjusters. The ACA Website may be located at http://www.ce.ucf.edu/insurance

The ACA Designation consists of a series of open-book, multiple choice tests and a written assignment. Students will learn to read and research policy questions, identify claim issues and, at the conclusion of the course, will received a University of Central Florida certificate of completion which will excuse them from the state licensing exam.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

Every FL adjuster is required to complete 24 hours of CE every two years to retain licensure. The 24 hours must include state approved courses for 2 hours-Ethics; 10 hours-Law; 12-hours-Optional.

All required courses are located on the UCF website and all work may be completed online at:

http://www.ce.ucf.edu/ASP/insurance

Top 5 Benefits of Hiring Packers and Movers When Relocating

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Relocating is usually full of stress and hassles. A regular homeowner or business owner will not be able to efficiently handle all moving tasks without the help of experienced packers and movers. For most people, the additional expense of hiring professionals is too costly, but if you try to analyze the benefits that you’re going to enjoy, you will think twice before making the final decision.

Safety and security of possession or household goods is of utmost important during relocation. You can’t foresee what’s going to happen during the move, so you might as well hire the professionals to do the job.

Accidents, losses, and theft can happen during the shifting process, but if the moving company offers insurance coverage, you don’t have to worry about anything. Below are the top 5 benefits of hiring packers and movers when relocating:

1. Safety of goods and other personal belongings – This is the foremost advantage. Packers and movers are well-trained and will handle all your possessions with extreme care and will ensure safe delivery at all times.

2. Use of proper packing supplies and techniques – If you pack things on your own, there is a high chance that most of your stuff can get damaged or broken. Professionals make use of packing techniques and quality supplies to prevent potential damages while in transit.

3. A wide range of vehicle transporters, equipment or tools, and carriers – Reputed packers and movers make use of the latest tools or equipment, a wide range of carriers. Some companies also offer vehicle transportation which is ideal for clients that need to transport their cars or precious automobiles to another city or country in good condition.

4. Various services being offered – Most established and experienced moving companies not only handle household relocation but also commercial shifting, shop relocation, office shifting, and many other tasks.

This means that you can avail all the needed services at a reasonable cost. These companies also have a network of connections in different towns, cities, or countries which is an added benefit.

5. Saves times and energy – When you decide to relocate, there are more important things to do aside from packing household goods and items. You can save time and energy by hiring packers and movers because the latter will handle the tough tasks.

You can now focus on other important things that you need to accomplish before the actual moving day.

These are the top 5 benefits of hiring packers and movers when relocating. It may seem very easy to pack, load, unload, and unpack personal possessions during a move. However, when you’re in the ‘real’ situation, it becomes very stressful. There is a way to relocate without the hassles or troubles, and that is to hire professionals.

Used Tow Trucks For Sale For A Towing Business

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Towing business is seeing good times these days. Buying used tow trucks is a good idea as they will be cheaper and this way you don´t need to invest a lot on them. Before you buy one, decide which type you would want to add to your towing company. Make sure you have the requirements in mind before you go looking for them. Since the number of vehicles on the road is increasing day by day, the towing business will see nothing but positive growth.

Before you buy used tow trucks, you should know what different types exist and where each one is useful. The tow trucks fall under three categories. The first one is the oldest and not used much these days. It is called hook and chain. Axel tow trucks use hydraulic hoist to lift the front end and are widely used. Flatbed tow trucks have a back that can be lowered. Vehicles are usually loaded onto the back and moved. Boom tow trucks are generally used to pull the vehicles out of ditches.

When you are buying a used tow truck, get a mechanic to check it and tell you if it is worth buying. He can also check for its mechanical problems as well as safety problems. Buy one that will turn out useful in the city you own the business in. You may want to see the towing capacity before you buy. Additional accessories added to the tow trucks can also be helpful. If these accessories are available on the used truck, it will save you a lot.

Wheel lifts can greatly increase the tow truck´s capacity. When you have a towing business, you will have to see what you will be towing often and buy the trucks accordingly. You should own one for light vehicles and one for the heavy ones. Or you will be wasting a lot of fuel by used the heavy duty tow truck for thing like towing bikes.

A number of good brands like Hummer, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, etc. have been rolling out tow trucks from a long time. All these brands have good vehicles and the spare parts are easily available. So buying used trucks of any of these companies shouldn´t give you any problem. You can also choose of different models and the year of production depending on your budget. Knowing where and for what it was used will give you an idea of how durable the tow truck is.

Even if you don´t have a towing business, tow trucks can also be used to tow trailers, boats, etc. Since it will be put to use only occasionally, a used tow truck is a good bargain. A tow truck can always be rented out when you don´t have any personal use for it so it is never a waste. A complete service after the purchase will make sure the tow truck will work well and increase it life too. Internet is a good place to start looking as most people will advertise their used tow truck on various sites.

Gutter Guards VS. Gutter Cleaning

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Choking of rain gutters can have the rooftop water wash over the walls, windows, and doors, defeating the very purpose they were first installed for. Debris and rotting leaves peeping out of the rooftop gutter is not a very beautiful sight to behold. Hence, cleaning the gutters regularly is necessary. In most parts of the country gutters need to be cleaned at least three times in a year. However, their position and height above the ground make it no ordinary job for a layman. In addition, as time passes by overhanging ledges and rooftops become slippery due to moss and cracking of concrete and wood. It requires workmen and equipment to safely clean all the gutters and spouts on all the floors. Alternatively, installing a gutter guard or gutter cover is an option available to greatly minimize the yearly maintenance required.

Statistics have shown that the number of injuries at home are reported more during the “gutter cleaning” time of the year. These injuries can vary from being minor to fatal. However, with the advent of gutter covers there has been a drastic reduction in such mishaps. Manual cleaning is not restricted to a fixed time of the year. You may have to climb on to such precarious positions even during a thunderstorm because of the leaves, which flew in and blocked your gutters which were squeaky clean earlier in the day.

A gutter guard is always the better option. A gutter guard in general is an accessory for the gutters to prevent falling leaves, accumulation of dust, and other flying debris from entering the gutter system. Some are made of a sheet of metal or PVC with slits at regular intervals. While water flows along the edge into the gutter, the debris jumps over the edge directly to the ground below. Since all the debris fall off the roof, this eliminates the need for regular cleaning. The smooth surface prevents growth of moss and weeds and saves the effort required in plucking them off the concrete or wooden base. Wire strainers may also, be used to prevent large objects like leaves and pine needles from falling into the gutter. Others consist of a screen of small pores, which can be easily installed and removed for maintenance.

Some gutter guards may have clips, which hold on to the gutter edges and can be opened like a hinged door to enable cleaning at a suitable time. Hybrid gutter guards are completely covered by gutter shingles, and have a fine mesh covering to keep out smaller particles of debris. These guards keep out most of the debris, including buds and seeds, leading to almost no need for yearly cleaning. Besides gutter guards maintain the aesthetics of the home compared to an open and rather discoloured gutter system.

The choice of gutter guards depends on the slope of the roof, presence of trees nearby, type of debris that may fall on the roof top and average rainfall and snow experienced all through the year. Cleaning of such gutters can be done at a safe time of the year and without having to put one’s life and limb in danger. A gutter guard will definitely save you the trouble of climbing the rooftop at odd hours and face the worst of the elements.

Creating Your Own Table Top Jurassic Park – A Cheat’s Guide to Making a Prehistoric Landscape

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Building your own Dinosaur Playmat

Creating your own prehistoric habitat for your dinosaur models and toys is quite easy and a lot of fun. With the Summer holidays approaching here is a super dinosaur themed craft idea to help the kids make the most of their free time and perhaps they might even learn something about prehistoric life back in the Age of Reptiles.

We have built a number of dinosaur play mats with young children to help us, we recommend this exercise for children from 5 years and upwards, although Mums, Dads and guardians may have to help when it comes to using scissors and such like. Building your own dinosaur land is an inexpensive and fun thing to do, the whole project can be completed in a few hours (allowing time for paint and glue to dry), and can be built at a fraction of the cost of buying a playmat or similar item from a toy store.

Starting with the Basics – Choosing a Base

First get your base, a solid base is always best as this will help with sticking objects onto it and make a firm platform for the dinosaur models and toys to stand on. Many toy forts and castles are supplied with a square, reinforced cardboard base and these make an ideal foundation for your dinosaur jungle and landscape. A quick visit to a high street charity shop can offer reward the canny shopper with the purchase of a cheap toy fort or castle base for just a few pence. It does not matter if this base is worn or damaged slightly, it will get painted over and have things stuck to it. Anyway dinosaurs were always churning up the ground and damaging the landscape, scientists even have a special word for this when they come across evidence of dinosaur activity in sediments – “dinoturbation”.

Alternatively, if the base from an old toy fort or castle is not available simply re-cycle some cardboard boxes to create the base for your dinosaur land. Take a large cardboard box (one with big sides is preferable), push in the base, so that it falls flat and paint the base green or sandy coloured, depending on the sort of habitat you wish to create.

A Cheat’s Way of Getting the Perfect Base for your Dinosaur Land

To avoid any printing on the cardboard showing through the paint, cover the whole base in strips of paper mache (strips of paper soaked in glue), allow to dry and then paint. To create a cheat’s folding dinosaur land simply take two equally sized boxes and lay them side by side leaving a small gap of about 3cm between them. Cover the whole lot in paper mache, including the join but only lightly in the area of the join. This allows you to build in a “hinge” into your model so the base can be folded up and put away when not needed. To avoid having to paint the model with several coats of paint to remove all trace of any print, simply don’t use printed material for the last layer of paper mache. For example, old photocopy paper (printed on one side only), is ideal for the final layer of paper mache. A lot of dinosaur landscapes have been created by raiding the re-cycle paper box from the office.

Creating your Landscape

Using other strips of newspaper or re-cycled paper you can build up a landscape so there are areas of different gradient on your model. Don’t over do this or there will not be any even ground to put your models on. You can build up some higher ground (suggest you do this on the back area of your model), by layering strips of thick card down on top of each other. Aim to produce raised areas that look a little square in appearance, at least that way you can be sure that dinosaur toys will stand up on them. Once you have landscaped your base you can use poster paints to paint the landscape green or sandy coloured. It is a good idea to paint a small pond towards the front of your model, as we know dinosaurs congregated around waterholes. Once the paint has dried you can add some details to the base by drawing some tufts of ferns and horsetails. Use a fine green marker pen for this, simply draw stick-like plants for the horsetails or simply “v” shapes to represent the ferns.

Dinosaur Landscapes – adding the First Plants

Surprisingly, if you were to travel back in time to the late Cretaceous of North America you would have recognised much of the vegetation. The dinosaurs that you encounter may look incongruous in such familiar woodland surroundings but you would have seen dinosaurs wandering in and out of groves of oak, sycamore, maple and ash trees. Ponds would have been covered in water lilies just like lakes today and you can add some lily pads to your dinosaur pond for that little bit of realism. Take some plain paper or card and colour in a small section with dark green paint or crayon. Then taking some small coins, draw round them to create an array of small circles. Cut them out and cut a nick in each circle, a simple triangular shape would suffice and there you have your lily pads waiting to be stuck to the surface of your pond. Your dinosaur landscape has its first plants, dinosaurs taking a drink at a waterhole with a water lily growing in it – a scene straight out of the late Cretaceous.

Guide to Basement Bathroom Plumbing

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Basement bathroom plumbing work needs considerable skill, experience and care. It is advisable to hire the services of a plumbing contractor for carrying out basement bathroom plumbing work. The existing floor needs to be busted and in the process drainpipes may also get broken if adequate safety measures are not taken up.

Basement bathroom plumbing procedure

Some concrete may need to be removed for installing basement bathroom plumbing system. The fixtures required for setting up basement bathroom plumbing – bathtub, one-piece shower unit etc. may not be easily obtainable. Special effort needs to be made to secure them.

Often, the concrete of the basement needs to be broken. Marks are made on the surface along some demarcations and the concrete is chipped away usually employing a jack hammer. The debris thus obtained has to be cleared and new plumbing pipes are well glued to the original setup. After completion the new setup has to be covered up with concrete.

Another approach to basement bathroom plumbing is installation of a plastic sump beneath the basement floor. A sewage ejector pump or lift pump is used to pump out the waste as the sump becomes full. The pumps have devices to grind solids. In case the pump fails the toilet will not be draining properly.

There may be some houses where the building drain lies below the basement level. So, no pump is needed. A plumber can help in this regard by providing various estimates of drain line locations and plumbing setup plans.

Again, there may be homes where the main drain lies at floor level. To help out in such cases you may build a false floor for the bathroom. Of course your ceiling needs to be high enough in such case. The false floor erection would ensure that the fixtures are higher than the sewer line. This will do away with the necessity of installing a sewage ejector pumping unit.

Basement bathroom plumbing – a special plumbing

Basement bathroom plumbing is a special kind of plumbing setup. Therefore, special care needs to be taken while proceeding with the installation, maintenance and repair or replacement of the basement bathroom plumbing system. If you are contemplating basement bathroom plumbing for your home then you may conveniently hire some competent plumber for helping out.

Key Points to Remember When Choosing Packers and Movers

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Are you shifting to your new home next month? Many of you might need to move to some other city due to job change. A few days ago, my uncle had to shift his office to another place because of frequent theft in his old office area. The very idea of relocating to a new place makes us terrified. We fear how to organize and pack all our belongings on time for a hassle-free movement. Busy couples worry how to manage time and ask for leaves from their boss to pack stuffs. Office shifting or home shifting is not an easy task and requires you to spend a good amount of your precious time and energy. For many it is not their cup of tea to arrange all their valuable goods neatly and then packing them up.

You can cut all your worries and stress by looking for packers and movers operating in your area. These companies have experienced professionals working hard to shift all your belongings from your existing address to a new address. Every city has plenty of packers and movers companies to choose from. However, you should take a wise decision to save your money from getting wasted on a bad company. I have learned from a friend of mine about a company that damaged its customers’ valuable items. The company gave excuses and somehow managed to escape without even paying the money for the damage caused.

What you should look for when hiring packers and movers?

  1. You should not hire a company that is a startup. A novice company will hardly know how to move things properly. The staffs might damage your belongings when shifting the same. Therefore, a wise decision is to hire an experienced packer and mover company.
  2. Read the customer reviews before you hire a company to do your shifting work. If you find a company with too many negative reviews, you better avoid dealing with that company. My suggestion is to choose a company with many good or positive reviews. You can check for reviews on the company’s website and also on other online comment forums and platforms.
  3. Find out whether the company you select is willing to pay you money after an accident. It means if the company, while moving your goods, damage any item on road, then the company will pay you for the damage caused. In this way, you can keep your chosen company accountable for every action it does. Moreover, accidents can happen any time; so if any mishap happens, you can hold the company responsible for paying you compensation for misplacement or breaking of you valuable items.
  4. Talk to your friends and neighbors particular with those who recently shifted to a new place. They will help you get the best and most efficient packers and movers for a trouble-free movement.

Another very important thing to consider is the rate a company is charging from you. You should compare the prices charged by different relocation services offering companies in your area to pick up the most competitive one. Moreover, if you believe, moving your goods will take only 1-2 hours then talk to the company about whether they will charge for the day or for those 1-2 hours. You must hire a company that charges for only the hours they have worked.

How to Choose the Best Packers and Movers?

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Relocation is a headache for many people since it involves a long process of work starting from creating a list of items to packing and moving things safely. You might have many fragile items which on unsafe movement might get damaged. Try to be very careful in this matter. For most first-timers, shifting is a hurdle and confusing task.

If you are in great need to move to a new better and bigger place but is always rejecting the idea since you don’t know where from to start packing things, it is time, you must call a moving company to get help. These are professionals who know how to make shifting easy and trouble-free giving you absolute peace of mind. They have the best men to pack every good properly and then transfer them to your new place. The best moving company will offer insurance and pay you the full amount of goods damaged during movement.

You must select a packer and mover keeping in mind the below mentioned points.

  • Prepare a Checklist

It is a good idea to create a checklist well in advance to have everything well planned and implemented. For example, your checklist must contain questions whose answers you want from the moving companies. You must know beforehand the years of operation of the company, read customer reviews and check their services on all aspects. You can go through your local yellow pages to get a list of movers and packers or ask for referral from your friends and neighbors.

  • Ask for Quotes

It is very important to compare price quotes of different movers. This will help you make the best choice and stay within your budget. It is worthy to remember, a company charging a high rate is not always the best one. So, take a decision carefully after analyzing what type of services you are getting at what prices. You must read every line of the contract paper properly and if possible talk to the customers.

  • Check the Company’s History

Check the track record of a relocation services provider. Other than seeing the website of the company for reviews, visit the popular forums to read positive and negative remarks about the company. You can also ask your peers, colleagues, business partners, neighbors who have hired the packer and mover before on whether the company satisfied them or not.

  • Visit the Office in-person

In spite of you been very busy with your work, it is a good idea to take out some time to visit a moving company’s office. It will give you a clear picture of their work environment, about the team, management, and how they work. You can take the appointment over telephone and then visit their office at a suitable time.

  • Delivery Services of the Mover

You must check the company’s delivery and after delivery process before hiring. It is important to do so to avoid hiring a company that does not deliver goods at your doorstep. A professional movers and packers offer on-time delivery of each packed item to your new place. They can even help to unpack and rearrange things if you so want.

Benefits Of Hiring Professional Packers and Movers

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When you think of household shifting or home relocation to another city, anxiety and tension hit you. You start thinking of the numerous things to pack, put in proper bags, lock, transport to the next destination etc. More than getting excited about your next city and looking forward to joyous moments in the next destination, you are bogged down by worries of mere relocation! Moving to another city does not mean that you just throw stuff in a bag and move out. You have furniture, clothes, crockery, kitchen items, equipments, machines, vehicles, electronics etc. Meticulous packing and handling is of the essence. This activity is not only hard work but also time consuming. You cannot just stop your daily routine for a few weeks and concentrate on packing up things. In fact, the last few weeks before you actually relocate, you are so tied up with other things that dedicating so much time to packing up your house seems like an impossible task.

Packing and moving require time, effort, skill and meticulous operation. This is where professional help comes into the picture and makes your transition safe and smooth. Hiring professional packers and movers is a great idea for people who household shifting. It makes your move hassle free, stress free and well, you can do with one less headache!

  • The concept of free lunch is long gone. So, you will have to shell out a few bucks in order to hire these professional movers. But with the right kind of moving agency, the services provided surpass the cost. Your goods will be packed properly. Different things need to be packed differently. They know the difference between packing your bed and packing your precious china bowl. The boxes and containers of professionals are strong and of good quality. So rest assured, your possessions are in safe hands. Whether it is bubble wrap or corrugated containers, they have it all and will use it as and when needed.
  • All of us have packed a bag for a vacation of 10 days and because we just dump stuff in the bag, we forget where things are kept! With professional packers and movers, for safety and security purposes they will count everything and they will label each and every box. So you will know for certain which box contains your favorite painting and which box has cutlery in it. This makes for accurate accountability from both parties.
  • You may have done your research and have faith in the moving agency. But is that enough? Anything can happen during transit – theft, accident, fire etc. Most of the good movers and packers will offer insurance coverage. Work with the moving agency and get a better coverage for your possessions.
  • They not only pack, label, insure and transport the goods for you, but a good deal will also assure you that they will unpack and open all boxes for you at the next destination. Can you imagine unpacking big, unwieldy boxes yourself? Well, professionals service will do it for you.

It takes more than a normal person to carry out home relocation. Some things are best left to professional packers and movers.

History of Clark Fork, and Hope, Idaho

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The Hope/Clark Fork area stretches along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille from the Pack River to the mouth of the Clark Fork River, the major waterways that feed mighty Pend Oreille. Lake Pend Oreille is one of the West’s largest freshwater bodies of water with several islands near the Clark Fork estuary, including the islands off Hope and the Hope Peninsula, Warren, Cottage, Pearl, Eagle, and Memaloose Islands, as well as the Islands at the end of the Clark Fork River, called the Clark Fork Flats, which includes Derr Island. There are three major peninsulas that thrust into the lake: Sunnyside, the Hope Peninsula, and Sagle. Sagle is actually more like an area the lake wraps around, but nonetheless is a major abutting feature of Lake Pend Oreille.

It is important to note that the histories of the two communities are closely tied to one and other. They have a shared past of railroads, mining, and logging, and sportsman activities. More recently, both Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River have been a draw for tourists seeking the mountain/lake lifestyle. In recent years the area has attracted national public attention, being featured on several broadcasts, in articles, and by developers. The most famous golf course in this part of North Idaho, Hidden Lakes, was purchased by Jack Nicklaus, and is slated to open in 2009 as the Idaho Club. However, with the federal and state owning over 70% of the land, growth has been measured.

Glacial Floods and Lake Pend Oreille

The most prominent feature of Hope and Clark Fork, Idaho is Lake Pend Oreille. With 111 mile of coastline and 148 square miles, it is one of North America’s prominent lakes, and the nation’s fifth deepest. Formed by cataclysmic floods when the mile high Ice Age ice dam broke time after time, the features of the land and lakes of Bonner County and Western Montana all the way to the coast in Oregon were formed by these monumental floods. Just one of these deluges was ten times the combined volume of all the rivers on earth, with walls of water moving at super highway speeds. To learn more about the Ice Age Floods visit Ice Age Floods Institute.org

Centuries before white man discovered the region, the Kalispell and other Indian tribes, such as the Flatheads, inhabited North Idaho. Visit North Idaho History The first white men to trade in North Idaho were the intrepid adventurers “Big Finan” McDonald and explorer and “land geographer” David Thompson, who established the first permanent wooden structure in 1809 on the Hope Peninsula, taking advantage of Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River. This trading post, Kullyspell House, is still standing as a stone building on the shores of the lake. Kullyspell House still stands on the Peninsula, Idaho’s most historic home. It sits at the end of Kullyspell Road. As you turn right on David Thompson Road, you will pass several white houses on the left. This grouping of summer homes is the family retreat of the Kienholz family. Ed Kienholz is easily one of our nation’s most famous artists.

The first true transportation the region enjoyed were the steamboats of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, which brought its first engine and hardware from Portland, building the 108-foot Mary Moody in 1866.

As the railroads came into the area, Northern Pacific Railroad built the 150-foot Henry Villard in 1883 to supply the men laying the rails. Steamboats continued to be an integral part of transportation around Lake Pend Oreille until the 1930s. Later in the era, steamboats became popular excursions, much as Pend Oreille Cruises is today, and dignitaries staying at Hotel Hope and other resorts would spend days on the water.

In 1864 Congress granted the Northern Pacific Railroad a charter to build a line from Lake Superior to Puget Sound on a route north of the 45 parallel. In 1872, the Clark Fork Pend Oreille route was chosen. With the railroad came the people who established the towns of Clark Fork and Hope.

Railroads came to prominence in the 1880s, as local construction began on the northern transcontinental line in 1881. Trestle Creek, at more than a mile long, became the line’s longest structure. It was at this time that Hope became the center of railroad activities and the largest city in the county. Along with Chinese Coolies, over 4,000 rough and ready railroad workers lived in a tent city along the Clark Fork River. Railroads brought people, and the lumber industry, which began to service the rails and trains, became the stalwart of the North Idaho economy for the next 100 years.

History of Hope, Idaho

At first Hope was just a stopping point along the railroad, but in 1890, the Northern Pacific moved its division point west from Montana to the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. Hope was incorporated on July 17, 1891. East Hope was incorporated on June 28th 1902. Hope was a busy port in its early days. Steamboats crossed the lake carrying supplies and mail to mining sites around the shore before roads were built. The boats were used to carry supplies up the Clark Fork River to Cabinet Gorge while the railroad was being constructed. The lake had long supported a fishing fleet, bringing in tons of fish every day. The populations were decimated by the introduction of tiny krill. The Federal government added these small shrimp in an attempt to increase fish populations; the experiment had the opposite effect. Recent years have seen a small recovery in fish populations, and now Hope is the center of some fine sports fishing.

Hope began to grow in 1882 when the Northern Pacific came through and in 1900 set its Rock Mountain division point in the hillside village. Incorporated in 1903, the village was named in honor of the veterinarian who tended the construction horses. A wise and kindly man, Dr. Hope was widely respected. Hope was the largest town in the area during the 1880s, achieving prominence as the Rocky Mountain division point on the Northern Pacific line. Engines turned around in the large roundhouse, and the railroad built shops, offices, and a “beanery” there.

The Hotel Jeannot, now known as Hotel Hope, was able to capitalize on this business with its location right above the depot, and with its tunnels providing easy access for passengers to the hotel. Many say that the tunnels were used to entertain the Chinese “coolees,” working on the railroads, who were normally not allowed in the establishments that served the locals and travelers.

In contrast to Hope’s early boom, Sandpoint grew slowly following completion of the railroad. An 1883 visitor found only 300 people in town, and nine years later another traveler reported that “Sandpoint is made up of between three and four dozen rude shacks and perhaps a dozen tents.” The town experienced tremendous growth, however, following the turn of the century.

When the division point moved to Sandpoint, Hope began to decline. Hotel Hope continued to draw people until the 1960s, partly because the picturesque setting of the town beside Lake Pend Oreille attracted many tourists. Some of them prominent: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, Gary Cooper, and Bing Crosby.

The original Hotel Jeannot (Hotel Hope) was a wooden structure which burned down in about 1886. It was then that Joseph M. Jeannot started on his fireproof commercial building, which he shared with his brother Louis. He constructed one section at a time, and added on over the years, finally completing the three-bay, two story hotel in 1898. The rectangular building has two full stories above two separate basement sections. The facade is divided into three approximately equal bays which vary in design and building materials indicating that the hotel was built in sections over a period of years. This theory collaborated by the analysis of the structure during restoration as well as through oral accounts. The first section to be built was the first story of the east bay with its walls of rock-faced random-coursed granite ashlar with beaded joints. Next came the first story of the center bay with its lower facade walls of poured concrete. Following this, or possibly built at the same time, was the red brick second story over the center and east bays. The west bay was the last to be built, either all at once or in two stages. The first floor is of poured concrete with the second floor of red brick.

Various businesses have occupied the building over the years including a saloon, a restaurant, a general store, a meat market, and even a post office. The vaulted meat cooler adjoining the west basement was probably built when Louis ran his general store and meat market in the period from 1895 to 1897. Hotel Hope still stands as a testament to the times.

J. M. Jeannot’s hotel and saloon were not his only business interests. He was also involved in mining and had several claims across Lake Pend Oreille in the area of Green Monarch Mountain. Hope had a large Chinese population which had arrived with the railroad, and Jeannot supposedly took advantage of this source of cheap labor for his mines. According to one of Jeannot’s friends, he allowed these men to use the meat cooler under the hotel as a clubhouse. They gained access to this room through the small tunnel which connected it to the railroad depot, thus bypassing the more obvious entrances. This vault in the hotel is one of the few sites left in Hope which may be connected with the large number of Chinese who used to live in the town.

Jeannot’s mining operations as well as his losses at gambling led to his unstable financial condition which may have been one reason the hotel took ten to twelve years to complete. According to one source, the construction was held up for more than a year when Jeannot lost all of his money in a bet on William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Uncertain finances continued to plague Jeannot and he mortgaged and remortgaged the hotel over the years between 1907 and 1918, eventually losing the building in 1918. A friend paid off the debt in 1920, and ran the hotel until her death in 1968.

Today the era of lumber and trains has been supplanted by tourism and manufacturing in Bonner County, and Hope and Clark Fork have become known as an artist colony. This is in great part due to Ed Kienholz.

Born in 1927 at Fairfield, Washington. He studied at schools and colleges in the Inland Northwest. He first earned his living as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, as the manager of a dance band, as a dealer in secondary cars, a caterer, decorator and vacuum cleaner salesman. In 1953 he moved to Los Angeles.

In 1954 he made his first reliefs in wood. In 1956 he founded the NOW Gallery, and in 1957 the Ferus Gallery with Walter Hopps. In 1961 he completed his first environment Roxy’s, which caused a stir at the documenta “4” exhibition in 1968. His retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1966 provoked the County Board of Supervision to attempt to close the exhibition. The theme of his environments is the vulnerability of the private life of the individual to intervention by the environment and social convention.

In 1972 he met Nancy Reddin in Los Angeles. In 1973 he was guest artist of the German Academmic Exchange Service in Berlin. He moved to Hope with his wife Nancy, and around this time also established himself in Berlin . His most important works during this period were the Volksempfänger (radio receiving apparatus from the National Socialist period in Germany). In 1975 he received a Guggenheim Award.

He died in 1994, but his wife, Nancy Reddin Kienholz continues as a world-renown artist, frequently visiting Hope.

Because of their notoriety, and the astonishing beauty of the area, we now have over 600 artists in our enclave.

The Kienholz couple befriended many wealthy patrons in Berlin, and over the years, two families have also created their own family retreats on the Hope Peninsula. As you turn from David Thompson Road on to Kullyspell Road, the Max Factor group of homes is on your right. These go down to the beginning of the property line for Kullyspell House. The other family is the Groenke family. Klaus Groenke is the managing director and part owner of Trigon Holding GmbH, a Berlin based international real estate company. He is also reported to be a leading share holder in Coca Cola Company, and a regional board member of the Deutsche Bank Berlin/Brandenberg. They built the Groenke Estate, a 150 acre compound at the end of David Thompson Road that becomes Kienholz Road. It is here that a full section of the Berlin Wall stands, encased in lexiglas, graffiti and all intact as it was before its fall. Recently the family sold half the estate, where many multi-million dollar homes have been built or are planned.

Today Hope, Idaho is a tourist and summer lake destination, with numerous artists and eclectic folk. It is a bedroom community to Sandpoint, and is considered by many, with its spectacular lake and mountain views, to be among the most picturesque areas of North Idaho. In fact, many travel magazincalled the journey along the cliffsides from Sandpoint to Hope one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

History of Clark Fork, Idaho

While totally distinct towns, many in North Idaho think of Clark Fork and Hope as one community. In fact, the two share the same Chamber of Commerce website: [http://www.poby.org/]

The City of Clark Fork also became a viable town in the early 1880’s as the construction by the Northern Pacific Railroad continued through the nearby Bitterroot and Cabinet Mountains. This small community has been geared towards mining, logging, sawmills, farming, Forest Service activity, fish hatcheries, dam construction, fur trapping activity, collegiate studies and homes for teens. Also, for most of its history the railroad maintained a station and section crew in Clark Fork. Clark Fork was incorporated 1912. Today the University of Idaho Clark Fork Field Campus is located there.

In the 19th century the Clark Fork Valley, like the shores of Lake Pend Oreille around Hope, was inhabited by the Flathead tribe of Native Americans. It was explored by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the 1806 return trip from the Pacific. The river is named for William Clark. A middle segment of the river in Montana was formerly known as the Missoula River.

Much of Clark Fork’s story over the following years had to do with crossing the river. The bridge fording the Clark Fork River provided one of the only passes to the north, and with the steamboats bringing miners making the arduous journey to the Kootenai gold rush, this was one of the only ways to travel. Before a bridge was built, Clark Fork had a ferry to make the crossing. Early ferries were nothing more than logs lashed together. Later, some records indicate a ferry was operating in 1893, but this was a decade after the Northern Pacific line was put in place, so it is safe to assume there was a brisk business with ferry crossings during construction.

It is important to be reminded that the Cabinet Gorge Dam was not in place then, and reporters at the time wrote in 1916 that “The Clarksfork river handles a volume of water much larger than the Snake river. At times during high water, the flow amounts to as much as 94,000 cubic feet per second. The average width of the river is about 1300 feet. The velocity of the river at certain times is very large, about eight miles an hour. Due to this it is necessarily very hazardous to operate a ferry at Clarksfork at any time and very dangerous and at some times impossible to operate a ferry at all.”

Certainly this ferry crossing created a need and a place for travelers, not only to cross, but at times to rest, restock supplies, and take advantage of the occasional saloon.

Until WWI there was a lot of sawmill activity, then to a lesser degree through the 1950s. Early sawmills include McGillis and Gibbs, Lane and Potter. From the start until the late 1950s, mining operations played an important role in the community’s economy. The Whitedelph mine and mill located near the Spring Creek fish hatchery began operation in 1926 until it closed in 1958. It yielded galena ore assaying principally in silver, lead and zinc. The Lawrence mine was located on Antelope Mountain near Mosquito Creek and near the University of Idaho Clark Fork Field Campus. Area hills and mountains had numerous small mining holes tended by small operations and prospectors.

How to Estimate the Weight of Your Household Goods For Moving

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Moving companies are often wrong when it comes to estimating the weight and value of your household goods shipment. Some estimators do a pretty good job, but there is such high turnover in the industry that you never know how experienced your estimator really is. If you make your contract decision based on price, you may be in for a big surprise when the driver hands you the final bill at your destination.

There are a few simple steps you can take to estimate the weight on your own. Following these steps will keep you in charge of the process and protect your rights in case you need to make a claim.

You want to start by sorting and inventorying your belongings. If this sounds like more work than you want to do, there are companies you can hire to inventory and value the contents of your home. No matter who does your inventory, you need to have an inventory done. Without it, you are at a disadvantage from the start. With it, you have a foundational document that can be used throughout your dealings with the moving companies.

Start by separating the valuable stuff from the ordinary stuff, the heavy stuff from the light stuff, and eliminate anything that the movers won’t be moving. As you go, simply list what you have. The list will help you determine the weight and value of your shipment. The best way to proceed is to start upstairs and work your way down, or start down then up if you prefer. Move around each room in a clockwise direction and write down everything you see. Write down items on the floor first, and then items on the wall, and then items in cabinets. Stay consistent from room to room so you don’t miss anything. Collections can be listed as collections, rather than individual pieces. When you are done with the house, inventory the shed and the garage in the same fashion.

You probably won’t take everything in your house. Items that won’t be moved fall into two categories: things you can’t take, and things you won’t want to take. The things you can’t take include anything that could explode, start a fire, rot, or give off toxic fumes. Such items cannot be transported or placed into storage. These are the items that are most troublesome to deal with. You can’t just throw them in the trash. Call your county department of the environment; they will tell you how to dispose of them. Have a plan for getting rid of these items. You don’t want to leave a bunch of hazardous waste in your house. Realtors frown on that. Makes the house harder to sell. Items you don’t want to take should be donated to charity, sold, or consigned to auction. Have the items picked up before you get your estimates. If it’s not in the house, it won’t contribute to an estimating mistake.

Once you know what you are going to move, there are three approaches to estimating the weight of your shipment. The first way is to take an educated guess. Add up the individual weights of the items on your inventory. For reference, I have provided a downloadable table of household weights on my website. If you are moving an item that is not on my list, find an item of similar heft and use the weight of that item. Remember, you are looking for a god estimate, not an exact number. Add up all the individual items for your total weight.

The second way to estimate the weight of your shipment is to take a wild guess. I’m not kidding; this method actually works. I’m told that the average shipment of household goods will weigh about 40 pounds per item. Remember that some items will be boxes of small goods. Total the number of items on your inventory (including boxes) and multiply by 40. If you have 150 items on your inventory, your weight will be somewhere in the 6,000 pound range. Not impressed with this method? That’s why I call it a wild guess. Still, if your wild guess came in at 6,000 pounds and your estimator gave you an estimate of 3,000 pounds, wouldn’t you want to know why?

The third way is illegal, so use it at your own risk. There are household goods weight calculators online. Most of them are on government owned websites, military and G.S.A.. They are supposed to be for authorized users. If you decide to use one, be sure to read the warnings and use good judgment. I only include this information here because I know that some of you will look online for your weights.

Beware if your estimator wants to give you an estimate based on cubic feet; i.e., how much space your shipment will take up in the truck. This is a useless number for billing purposes, since interstate carriers have to charge you based on weight and distance. Figuring cubic feet is useful, however, in determining whether you will be sharing a truck with another shipper, get a whole truck to yourself, or need two trucks. The chart on my website also lists the sizes of household items in cubic feet.

With your inventory done and your weight figured, the next thing you need to know is how to determine the value of your shipment for insurance purposes. That consideration will be the subject of my next article.

Wrought Iron Balusters Vs Wooden Balusters – A Comparison!

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Whether its home decorating or home renovation – the first thing that comes to mind is stairways renovation. Stairways have to be secure else there is always a risk of accident. However, one cannot deny the fact that these stairways also make our home beautiful. So, what are the solutions- what type of balusters will fulfill both the needs? When thinking about this, two types of balusters come to mind- Wrought iron balusters and wooden balusters. I am sure, most of the people reading this must be having wood balusters at their homes. And if you are thinking of home renovation, then there is no better idea than a wrought iron baluster. Here we will compare these balusters with wooden balusters and will also come to know what advantages does iron has over the wood!

Durability- Iron is definitely durable than wood. Wood balusters get decayed over time. They are also susceptible to vermin and termites. Balusters made from wrought iron do not have all these problems. Once installed, they will be there for lifelong. Now comes the question of getting bored of seeing these balusters year after year. That also has a solution. Get them painted in your choice of color after a certain period of time. There is nothing against balusters made from wood if one can afford to change them over short period of times. If not, its better to get iron balusters installed at your stairways.

Ductility- Wrought iron is malleable and can be molded and given any shape. Thus, these balusters are more decorative than wooden balusters. Wood, as is known, can not be molded to give curvy or decorative shapes while the metal can be twisted into intricate and complicated designs. As a result, you have many options with wrought iron balusters and can let your imagination loose when decorating your home.

Easy Availability- Due to the changed interests of home dwellers and decorators, craftsmen are more inclined towards making balusters out of wrought iron. They are hesitant in experimenting with wooden baluster designs. As a result, these iron balusters are available in showrooms and even smaller shops in most of the cities and towns. They are available on Internet too and can be purchased online sitting right at your home.

As far as cost is concerned, it all depends upon the place where you stay and how much of this metal is dealt with there. Depending upon the quality of wrought iron and on the craftsmanship (the more detailed and intricate the designs, more will be cost), it can be both- cheaper or costlier than wooden balusters. You are now the sole authority to decide whether you need wrought iron balusters in place of your old wooden balusters or not?

7 Popcorn Ceiling Removal Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Contractor

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Popcorn ceiling removal is very common these days. So is getting ripped off and scammed by your contractor. There are many good contractors doing great work, but there are also many scam artists and fly by night companies who are only looking to rip you off. Since real estate values across the nation have been depressed, many homeowners are choosing to update their existing home by easy and inexpensive interior renovations like popcorn removal.

Home owners need to ask their popcorn ceiling removal contractor these 7 questions before they hire them for the job. Removing popcorn ceilings is very common these days as many home owners are updating their existing homes. Popcorn ceilings are outdated and many home owners prefer knockdown texture over popcorn. Knockdown texture just looks better and there is a great return on investment because popcorn removal is an affordable improvement which may add incremental value to the home. Before hiring a contractor in the Orlando area, be sure to ask these 7 questions to avoid getting ripped and scammed.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #1 – “Do I need to worry about testing for lead in my house?”

If your home was built before 1978, then the answer is “yes”. If your home was built after 1978, the answer is “no”. According to EPA.gov, “Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.

To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

EPA requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by EPA and that they use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices.” It is important to use Lead Safe Certified contractors for popcorn removal projects.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #2 – “Can I remove my popcorn ceiling by myself and save some money?”

The short answer is “yes”. However, saving a few bucks may turn out to be a major headache in the long run for a few reasons. The first reason is the work will be difficult. You will need special equipment, respirators, eye protection and so on. In most cases, homeowners simply lack the expertise to do the job correctly and it can become very time consuming. Another reason is the work may cause damage to other areas in the house, the furniture, the walls and the floors. It becomes even more difficult if your popcorn ceilings have been painted.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #3 – “Is it more difficult to remove popcorn ceilings which have been painted?”

Removing painted popcorn is more difficult because it is a challenge to penetrate the paint with water to thoroughly wet the material prior to the disturbance. This is another situation where the expertise of a professional contractor can be a major benefit.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #4 – “Will my house be a complete mess after the popcorn ceiling is removed?”

Removing popcorn is inherently a “messy” job if you do it yourself or have a contractor do the job for you. This is why it is important for you to “cover off” the entire area of the work to be done. You will need to cover all vents with plastic, cover all fixtures with plastic and tape, cover all carpets and floors with plastic, and close off any areas you do not want affected by the job. In essence, you need to create a “containment area” for the job. Professional popcorn ceiling removal contractors will leave your house spot less and looking better than when they started.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #5 – “Will I have to move all of my furniture out of the house?”

The answer is “no”. Experts in popcorn removal, residential painting, ceiling repair, and drywall repair are specialists in protecting your belongings. The will “cover off” all of your furniture, TV’s, beds, etc. and protect them from any dust or damage. Most companies will want the homeowner to remove all of their “nick nacks”, pictures, small electronics, etc. before beginning work on the home.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #6 – “How long does it take to remove popcorn ceilings”

As you can imagine, every house is different. It all depends on the size and scope of the work, the condition of the house, the height of the ceilings, and whether or not the rooms where the work is to be done are empty or furnished. Remember, once you have removed the popcorn, you still have to apply knockdown texture and paint it. If you are doing the work yourself, you should plan on a being at it for a few days at the least. Professional popcorn ceiling removal contractors, like Textures by Blue Sky, Inc., can typically complete a 3500 sq. ft. house in one day. Just make sure you choose the right one to work with.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #7 – “How do I know the popcorn ceiling removal contractor I have hired is going to do a good job?”

Do some research. Ask your friends and family if they know a reputable company in the Orlando area. Make sure you use a company that has been in business for at least a few years. It is also important to use a company that is licensed, bonded, and insured. A reputable company will also be registered with the Better Business Bureau, The Florida Ceiling and Wall Contractors Association, and will be “Lead Safe” Certified by the EPA.

7 Surefire 18th Birthday Ideas – Don’t Waste Your Only 18th!

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So, you’re finally turning 18? Congratulations! You’re almost ready to celebrate in style as a true adult. If you’re reading this you’re probably still asking yourself one thing: WHERE ARE ALL THE REALLY GOOD 18TH BIRTHDAY IDEAS!

I hear your frustration but there is hope. As you continue reading you’re going to discover some of the most popular 18th birthday ideas on the planet so you celebrate your 18th in true style.

18th Idea 1: Hit The Club in Style: Probably the most popular and proven fun thing to do on your 18th is to go to a club. Dancing the night away with your closest friends to some really good music is a sure win for any teen on their 18th. It will provide you with some good times and memories to look back on for years to come. Some think you need to be 21 in order to go clubbing but it isn’t true. There are so many clubs for 18 year olds, you just gotta know where they are.

18th Idea 2: Get a Tattoo or Piercing: Want a really neat way to show the world you’re newfound adult hood? Get a tattoo or piercing! It’s unique, classy and quite trendy. Remember to research your tattooist properly and don’t find the cheapest one around. From the US? Then you’re legal to go ahead without parental consent however it’s always a really good idea to talk it over with them first.

18th Idea 3: Amusement Parks: Hit the amusement parks and ride the scariest roller-coasters. Feel the adrenaline rush as you take to the skies with your closest buddies. It’s definitely a day packed with so much fun that you wont want to leave. If you can, take a weekend break and go to Orlando in Florida. It’s known for its outrageous roller-coaster theme parks and always hot so you can even catch up on a tan.

18th Idea 4: Indoor Skydiving: If the thought of jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet scares you then there is a second option- INDOOR SKYDIVING! Now if you’ve never been then you can be pretty sure that this is an experience you will never forget. It’s just like the real thing only a lot safer and a lot cheaper.

18th Idea 5: Relaxing Spa & Makeover: If you’d rather chill out on your 18th then there’s probably nothing better treating yourself to a relaxing spa & makeover. Wind down put up your feet and just ‘chillax’. You’ll finish feeling brand new, fabulous and ready for the night ahead.

18th Idea 6: Take a Road Trip: Feeling a little spontaneous? Then gas up the car, grab a bunch of your friends and see where the road takes you. It’s may not be the usual typical ideas for 18th birthday but It’s fun because you usually have no real idea what you’ll discover along the way but one things for sure and that is your sure to have as much fun as possible. The great thing about it is no two road trips are ever the same so it’s a completely different experience.

18th Idea 7: Eat out at your favourite Restaurant: This is always a favourite especially if you like your food. It’s a perfect way to spend time with your friends and family and also to share and reflect on those good and even bad times so you look ahead with a positive outlook on life.

Now the thing to remember here is your 18th birthday is a once in a lifetime event and you should really try your best to make it unforgettable, with any budget. I found out the hard way and would hate for you to suffer the same drag that I went through.

So if you’re looking for the ultimate experience then I would urge you to take a look at this online resource that shares with you OVER 100 18th BIRTHDAY IDEAS! It also goes into detail about exactly what you should and shouldn’t do for your 18th birthday, why you always need a plan B and even how to get into clubs for FREE!

Places in Orlando, FL to Rent an Apartment With Bad Credit, Broken Lease and Bankruptcy

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Orlando, Florida is one of the most exotic cities to live. Home to the famous Disneyland world resort and an exceptionally hospitable climate, the city attracts thousands of tourists each year. It is also a great place to live and depending on your housing needs, there are great apartments in Orlando where one can feel right at home. Orlando has great apartments but if one has bad credit, a broken lease or a bankruptcy, one can have a hard time being approved for an apartment. But there are apartments in the following areas which can work with someone with bad credit, a broken lease, a bankruptcy or a felony:

  • Downtown Orlando
  • Ballard
  • Northeast
  • Greater Duwamish
  • Magnolia
  • Delridge
  • Lake Union

Many apartments in Orlando pull applicant’s credit by accessing the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Transunion and Equifax. While this has been deemed controversial, it is a practice that become more common in the last few years. The apartments also use services such as SafeRent to check applicant rental history. Checking an applicant’s rental history unearths broken leases that the applicant may have with previous apartments. Credit issues such as bankruptcies can also cause some problems when renting in Orlando.

Places to rent in Orlando

Renters in Orlando can find apartments in any of the above areas we have mentioned. As we mentioned earlier, many apartments do check applicants rental and credit history. If you have a broken lease, bad credit or a felony, you have two choices:

  • Look for apartments that are willing to give a second chance
  • Look for apartments that do not do rental and credit checks

Second chance apartments in Orlando FL

There are a few ways to find second chance apartments in Orlando. One way is to use apartment locators. Another is to use the Internet. There are a few sites that can unearth some locations within Orlando.

Apartments that do not conduct tenant rental checks

There are some apartments in Orlando which do not conduct rental checks on potential applicants. These are harder to find. One of the best way to find these is to talk to locators but these too cannot guarantee accurate information. The Internet is another helpful source but again you have to know where to look.

Tips to Choosing the Best Moving Company

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Like within any industry, the household goods business has its share of rogue companies that have been known to prey on the general public. From denying claims, lost belongings and holding the consumer’s items for “ransom”, reports of abuse by moving companies happen all too often.

The majority of these consumer abuses occur by those movers who are operating under their own authority and are normally not associated with a major van line. These rogue movers will often work under their own generic “van line” name.

Forty million people move each year and the large majority are completed with customer satisfaction by both, van lines and independent movers. These movers also tend with the negative impact placed on them and the industry by the fraudulent companies that take advantage of the consumer.

The major cause for the consumer who gets caught in one of these moving scams often lies with choosing the cheapest priced mover. Economics is certainly understandable, but going with the cheapest price is usually a recipe for disaster. Extensive research and understanding how the moving industry operates, play key factors in choosing the best moving company for your relocation.

With May through October being the busiest time for movers, the peak moving season will soon be approaching and there are steps that consumers can take to increase their chances of obtaining a care-free move:

  • Never hire a moving broker
  • Make sure the moving company has been in business for at least 7-10 years
  • Visit their office to make sure they are who they say they are
  • Never accept an “estimate” over the phone
  • Make sure their trucks show the appropriate markings as required under federal law
  • Check them out with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Check their ICC number against the FMCSA records

These are just a few steps that consumers can take to validate a moving company’s reputation and record particularly when it comes to storing your household goods.

Most moving companies offer storage facilities should you have to store your items until your residence is ready for the move-in process. Moving companies holding the consumer’s belongings in storage for “ransom” have been documented and the FMCSA is now enforcing laws against these type of movers through the Map-21 Act.

Although these type of incidents do occur, it is most often done by independent movers not associated with a major van line. If you must place your belongings in storage, it is recommended to deal only with a major van line that is well-known; not with an independent moving company or a company which operates under its own “van lines” name.

Although many independents can be trusted, the key factor here is for you, the consumer, to have peace of mind. The greatest peace of mind you can have is to place your storage in a storage facility that you have complete control over such as a mini-storage facility.

By utilizing a self-storage facility, you and only you will hold the key and access rights to your belongings. If you are concerned with a possible “ransom” scam by movers, this would alleviate any fears of such an incident occurring.

Through research and investigation and fully understanding the household goods moving process, consumers can avoid becoming the next victim to moving fraud.

Moving Companies – Alternatives And Financing

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Thus, choosing your moving company is something that can provide a great relief or further problems.

Resorting to a moving company is not the only action you can take. It all depends on the amount of things you have and the distance that separates one property from the other. You may be able to move most of your things by yourself or maybe all with the aid of some friends or family members. But take into consideration the fact that some furniture and appliances are fragile and should better be handled by professionals.

Costs And Alternatives

Hiring a moving company can be expensive. If you have to move especially delicate things like a piano for example, you may even have to hire the services of exclusive moving companies that will charge significantly higher amounts. You can shop around and compare prices but bear in mind that sometimes what is too cheap turns out expensive and the company will be transporting all your belongings which you surely consider valuable in more than one sense.

As explained above, the cost of hiring a moving company will vary according to the amount of things that you need to transport from one property to the other but mainly on the distance that separates both properties. If the type of things you need to move would allow you to transport them yourself provided that you had the transport means, hiring a moving company may not be your only possible solution.

It is also possible to rent a truck or a van where you can (with the aid of friends or relatives) carefully load all your belongings and transport them from your current residence to your new home. Bear in mind though, that you’ll need to fasten and secure everything so nothing gets damaged during the carrying. Using a proper cushion wrapping to reduce the risk of damage is an excellent idea.

Financing: The Simple Solution

Though moving companies can be expensive, you may decide that they are the best choice for you. If that’s the case, the good news is that you can obtain finance to move your belongings. Some moving companies will agree to provide several installments to finance the fees. Even if that’s not the case, you can still resort to other forms of financing in order to obtain the funds to pay the fees altogether.

You have mainly two alternatives: you can pay with credit card and use the ability to finance the balance on your credit card so you can pay as much as possible every month. Or (and this is my preferred solution), take a personal unsecured loan to pay for the whole fees and then repay the loan in the small resulting installments. This last alternative is probably the cheapest one because the interest rates on personal loans are considerably lower than the ones charged by credit card financing.

Top 5 Benefits of Hiring Packers and Movers When Relocating

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Relocating is usually full of stress and hassles. A regular homeowner or business owner will not be able to efficiently handle all moving tasks without the help of experienced packers and movers. For most people, the additional expense of hiring professionals is too costly, but if you try to analyze the benefits that you’re going to enjoy, you will think twice before making the final decision.

Safety and security of possession or household goods is of utmost important during relocation. You can’t foresee what’s going to happen during the move, so you might as well hire the professionals to do the job.

Accidents, losses, and theft can happen during the shifting process, but if the moving company offers insurance coverage, you don’t have to worry about anything. Below are the top 5 benefits of hiring packers and movers when relocating:

1. Safety of goods and other personal belongings – This is the foremost advantage. Packers and movers are well-trained and will handle all your possessions with extreme care and will ensure safe delivery at all times.

2. Use of proper packing supplies and techniques – If you pack things on your own, there is a high chance that most of your stuff can get damaged or broken. Professionals make use of packing techniques and quality supplies to prevent potential damages while in transit.

3. A wide range of vehicle transporters, equipment or tools, and carriers – Reputed packers and movers make use of the latest tools or equipment, a wide range of carriers. Some companies also offer vehicle transportation which is ideal for clients that need to transport their cars or precious automobiles to another city or country in good condition.

4. Various services being offered – Most established and experienced moving companies not only handle household relocation but also commercial shifting, shop relocation, office shifting, and many other tasks.

This means that you can avail all the needed services at a reasonable cost. These companies also have a network of connections in different towns, cities, or countries which is an added benefit.

5. Saves times and energy – When you decide to relocate, there are more important things to do aside from packing household goods and items. You can save time and energy by hiring packers and movers because the latter will handle the tough tasks.

You can now focus on other important things that you need to accomplish before the actual moving day.

These are the top 5 benefits of hiring packers and movers when relocating. It may seem very easy to pack, load, unload, and unpack personal possessions during a move. However, when you’re in the ‘real’ situation, it becomes very stressful. There is a way to relocate without the hassles or troubles, and that is to hire professionals.

Key Points to Remember When Choosing Packers and Movers

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Are you shifting to your new home next month? Many of you might need to move to some other city due to job change. A few days ago, my uncle had to shift his office to another place because of frequent theft in his old office area. The very idea of relocating to a new place makes us terrified. We fear how to organize and pack all our belongings on time for a hassle-free movement. Busy couples worry how to manage time and ask for leaves from their boss to pack stuffs. Office shifting or home shifting is not an easy task and requires you to spend a good amount of your precious time and energy. For many it is not their cup of tea to arrange all their valuable goods neatly and then packing them up.

You can cut all your worries and stress by looking for packers and movers operating in your area. These companies have experienced professionals working hard to shift all your belongings from your existing address to a new address. Every city has plenty of packers and movers companies to choose from. However, you should take a wise decision to save your money from getting wasted on a bad company. I have learned from a friend of mine about a company that damaged its customers’ valuable items. The company gave excuses and somehow managed to escape without even paying the money for the damage caused.

What you should look for when hiring packers and movers?

  1. You should not hire a company that is a startup. A novice company will hardly know how to move things properly. The staffs might damage your belongings when shifting the same. Therefore, a wise decision is to hire an experienced packer and mover company.
  2. Read the customer reviews before you hire a company to do your shifting work. If you find a company with too many negative reviews, you better avoid dealing with that company. My suggestion is to choose a company with many good or positive reviews. You can check for reviews on the company’s website and also on other online comment forums and platforms.
  3. Find out whether the company you select is willing to pay you money after an accident. It means if the company, while moving your goods, damage any item on road, then the company will pay you for the damage caused. In this way, you can keep your chosen company accountable for every action it does. Moreover, accidents can happen any time; so if any mishap happens, you can hold the company responsible for paying you compensation for misplacement or breaking of you valuable items.
  4. Talk to your friends and neighbors particular with those who recently shifted to a new place. They will help you get the best and most efficient packers and movers for a trouble-free movement.

Another very important thing to consider is the rate a company is charging from you. You should compare the prices charged by different relocation services offering companies in your area to pick up the most competitive one. Moreover, if you believe, moving your goods will take only 1-2 hours then talk to the company about whether they will charge for the day or for those 1-2 hours. You must hire a company that charges for only the hours they have worked.

How to Choose the Best Packers and Movers?

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Relocation is a headache for many people since it involves a long process of work starting from creating a list of items to packing and moving things safely. You might have many fragile items which on unsafe movement might get damaged. Try to be very careful in this matter. For most first-timers, shifting is a hurdle and confusing task.

If you are in great need to move to a new better and bigger place but is always rejecting the idea since you don’t know where from to start packing things, it is time, you must call a moving company to get help. These are professionals who know how to make shifting easy and trouble-free giving you absolute peace of mind. They have the best men to pack every good properly and then transfer them to your new place. The best moving company will offer insurance and pay you the full amount of goods damaged during movement.

You must select a packer and mover keeping in mind the below mentioned points.

  • Prepare a Checklist

It is a good idea to create a checklist well in advance to have everything well planned and implemented. For example, your checklist must contain questions whose answers you want from the moving companies. You must know beforehand the years of operation of the company, read customer reviews and check their services on all aspects. You can go through your local yellow pages to get a list of movers and packers or ask for referral from your friends and neighbors.

  • Ask for Quotes

It is very important to compare price quotes of different movers. This will help you make the best choice and stay within your budget. It is worthy to remember, a company charging a high rate is not always the best one. So, take a decision carefully after analyzing what type of services you are getting at what prices. You must read every line of the contract paper properly and if possible talk to the customers.

  • Check the Company’s History

Check the track record of a relocation services provider. Other than seeing the website of the company for reviews, visit the popular forums to read positive and negative remarks about the company. You can also ask your peers, colleagues, business partners, neighbors who have hired the packer and mover before on whether the company satisfied them or not.

  • Visit the Office in-person

In spite of you been very busy with your work, it is a good idea to take out some time to visit a moving company’s office. It will give you a clear picture of their work environment, about the team, management, and how they work. You can take the appointment over telephone and then visit their office at a suitable time.

  • Delivery Services of the Mover

You must check the company’s delivery and after delivery process before hiring. It is important to do so to avoid hiring a company that does not deliver goods at your doorstep. A professional movers and packers offer on-time delivery of each packed item to your new place. They can even help to unpack and rearrange things if you so want.

Benefits Of Hiring Professional Packers and Movers

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When you think of household shifting or home relocation to another city, anxiety and tension hit you. You start thinking of the numerous things to pack, put in proper bags, lock, transport to the next destination etc. More than getting excited about your next city and looking forward to joyous moments in the next destination, you are bogged down by worries of mere relocation! Moving to another city does not mean that you just throw stuff in a bag and move out. You have furniture, clothes, crockery, kitchen items, equipments, machines, vehicles, electronics etc. Meticulous packing and handling is of the essence. This activity is not only hard work but also time consuming. You cannot just stop your daily routine for a few weeks and concentrate on packing up things. In fact, the last few weeks before you actually relocate, you are so tied up with other things that dedicating so much time to packing up your house seems like an impossible task.

Packing and moving require time, effort, skill and meticulous operation. This is where professional help comes into the picture and makes your transition safe and smooth. Hiring professional packers and movers is a great idea for people who household shifting. It makes your move hassle free, stress free and well, you can do with one less headache!

  • The concept of free lunch is long gone. So, you will have to shell out a few bucks in order to hire these professional movers. But with the right kind of moving agency, the services provided surpass the cost. Your goods will be packed properly. Different things need to be packed differently. They know the difference between packing your bed and packing your precious china bowl. The boxes and containers of professionals are strong and of good quality. So rest assured, your possessions are in safe hands. Whether it is bubble wrap or corrugated containers, they have it all and will use it as and when needed.
  • All of us have packed a bag for a vacation of 10 days and because we just dump stuff in the bag, we forget where things are kept! With professional packers and movers, for safety and security purposes they will count everything and they will label each and every box. So you will know for certain which box contains your favorite painting and which box has cutlery in it. This makes for accurate accountability from both parties.
  • You may have done your research and have faith in the moving agency. But is that enough? Anything can happen during transit – theft, accident, fire etc. Most of the good movers and packers will offer insurance coverage. Work with the moving agency and get a better coverage for your possessions.
  • They not only pack, label, insure and transport the goods for you, but a good deal will also assure you that they will unpack and open all boxes for you at the next destination. Can you imagine unpacking big, unwieldy boxes yourself? Well, professionals service will do it for you.

It takes more than a normal person to carry out home relocation. Some things are best left to professional packers and movers.

The Pros And Cons For a Career As a Plumber

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A plumber is a professional who is responsible for repairing and installing the pipes that are used to carry sewage and water. The majority of plumbers work in the plumbing or air conditioning industry, but nearly 14 percent of plumbers are self-employed*. It is important to note that this profession certainly is not for everyone. Before a person decides whether this profession is right for him, he should weigh the pros and cons. Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of being a plumber:

Pros:

1.) Job opportunities are expected to be plentiful.- The number of jobs in the plumbing industry is expected to grow by 26 percent within the next 10 years*. That is much faster than the national average. There are a growing number of factories and power plants, which is fueling the demand for skilled plumbers.

2.) Great pay- The average salary for a plumber in 2010 was $46,000 per year. However, many plumbers are making over $80,000 per year. The years of experience that a plumber is one of the main factors that determines his pay.

3.) Steady work- There will always be a need for plumbers, which means that people who choose to work in this industry will get to enjoy steady work. Additionally, the uncertain economy does not seem to have any effect on the plumbing industry.

Cons:

1.) Physical demanding- Plumbers are required to spend a great deal of their time carrying heavy pipeline. They also spend most of their day working on their feet. That is why this job may not be right for those who are not in excellent health.

2.) Long, irregular hours- Because a plumbing issue can arise at any time, plumbers may be required to work, long irregular hours. They may even be called into work on their days off to handle after-hour emergencies.

3.) High chance of being injured- Plumbers are at an increased risk for becoming injured while on the job. They can get cut while working with tools. They may also sustain an injury from falling off of a ladder.

Again, people who are interested in joining the plumbing service industry should make sure that take the time to weigh the pros and cons. Plumbers do get to enjoy steady work with great pay. However, this profession is also physically demanding, and it may require that a person work extended hours in the evenings and on weekends.

*(www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm)

Advantages Of Hiring A Professional Plumbing Service

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A good plumbing service company will provide you effective solutions for your residential, commercial or industrial plumbing needs. It is always beneficial if one takes the services of an expert who has an experience of providing quality services to its clients. Plumbing is not something that can be done by just anyone. It is an activity that requires expertise in a number of tasks like installation and repairing of washers, pipes, sinks, toilets, shower, water meters, commercial garbage disposals, valves and other things.

A professional is always looked for as they have proper training and tools to carry any task related to plumbing effectively and efficiently. Small plumbing related issues can be solved by a person himself only, but when one is faced with a big problem, hiring someone who can solve the issue in quick time becomes essential. Some small problems if not taken care at the initial level, become complicated if an expert is not called.

You can also call an emergency plumber when you are looking for an immediate solution to a problem. You can call them anytime without hesitation as they offer round the clock services. A professional plumber will know well the root cause of a problem and will work towards fixing that only. They have all the knowledge related to each and every part and have all the essential equipments to fix a problem.

A professional plumber can also advise regarding the plumbing system installed at home or an office. They can tell you if any part needs to be replaced or anything that is not functioning properly and needs to be fixed.

A professional plumbing service provider company can also tell you about the latest systems available in the market to replace the old and outdated ones. It can save you money that is spent in the maintenance of old systems every time. An experienced, professional and efficient plumbing service will offer you excellent services at affordable costs. They also offer services like cleaning drains and sewer lines and have the technology to get rid of clogs and do away with materials like mineral deposits and grease.

It is important to check the testimonials of a company before hiring them and preference should always be given to quality over money. Experience is always an important consideration when looking for a professional plumber.

The advantages of hiring a professional can be many. They can offer you quick and quality services at affordable prices.

The Importance of Plumbers and Plumbing Services

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Many often do not think much of plumber and plumber services. This is due to many reasons such as the low prestige of the trade or the infrequent need of and contact with the plumber. However, they provide a valuable service to society, allowing us to enjoy the comfort of our environment with a well functioning plumbing system.

While simple leaks in faucets can be address to by homeowners ourselves, leaks or burst in our pipes especially concealed ones often must be left to a professional plumber. With their wealth of knowledge and advance equipments, they can ensure that the affected area is fully repaired so that your home plumbing system is functioning well again.

Besides leaks or bursting, installation of pipes in homes must also be done by a plumber as we will not have the know-how to do so. Without a plumber, we will not have the pleasure of clean running water and enjoy the basic sanitary pleasures we are so used to enjoy today. Imagine how backward we will become without them, having to draw water from wells for our daily usage. Any home owners facing a stubborn clogged drain, choked basin or toilet bowl can testified to the importance of a plumber in their life. Imagine the stink caused by a choked toilet bowl or the situation of not being able to take a shower; one can easily guess how frustrated one can be. A plumber with their variety of useful tools can quickly rectify these problems and ensure everything run smoothly for us again.

What’s more, there may be instances when we drop something valuable or with high sentimental values such as jewellery into our drain. Who else can we turn to help us retrieve these items? Only a plumber will be able to help us do so without making a mess of drainage system. Thus, from the above, you can see the importance of plumber and plumbing services in our daily life. So next time you engage a plumber, remember the valuable service they bring to our society and how they can help us solve problems which we can’t deal with ourselves.

If you ever need plumbers in Singapore to help you, here is one reliable plumber in Singapore I recommend.

Cleaning Your Gutters and Downspouts in Winter

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If you didn’t get the opportunity to clean your gutters and downspouts during the fall, you’ll have to make sure it gets done during the winter months. Waiting until the last leaves fall from the trees may cause you to run late on your exterior maintenance. Before you know it, winter has arrived and your gutters are clogged. Leaves are biggest cause gutter and downspout blockage in the winter months. The added weight of snow and ice can cause damage to the facial boards the gutters are mounted to. Without proper cleaning, they may begin to pull lose from the eaves.

Loose gutters can let snow melt and rain get behind the gutter and eventually rot the wood. It is very important to keep your gutter and downspouts clear of trash and debris that has accumulated over the autumn months. If you were fortunate enough to have cleaned your gutters before the winter season, you can still perform routine cleaning without having to use a ladder. A gooseneck extension that hooks up to a typical garden hose may be all you need to pressure wash the leaves from the gutters and downspouts. The gooseneck extension can telescope out to provide you with an added 8 feet of hose with a pressurized tip to make sure all the loose leaves in the gutter can be cleared.

Preventative measures taken in the fall can help ensure that you gutters remain easy to clean in the winter. An inexpensive way to keep fallen leaves, sticks and debris out of your gutters is to purchase rolls of plastic mesh to cover your gutters. They are very easy to install and can save you from the tedious job of climbing ladders and removing debris from the gutters. A hose with a power nozzle can be used to wash away the leaves and debris that is formed on the plastic mesh screens. This is much easier than digging through your gutter system to remove the buildup.

A leaf blower with a tapered pipe can also be helpful. The powerful air can be used to clean the downspouts and remove any debris that water could not. You can even use a plumbing snake for tougher, more clogged jobs.

Other preventative measures taken in the winter months will need to be done early in the season. These techniques will save you the hassle of having to clean your gutters and downspouts too often. Keeping up with gutter maintenance can be necessary chore, but keeping your gutters covered with a screen and performing routine cleaning will keep your home free from damage.

Keeping the immense weight of fallen leaves, sticks and debris, as well as the weight added by snow and ice, off of your home’s gutter system should be your main concern during the winter season. Take preventative steps to ensure your gutters stay clean and free from excess debris.

Ask the Engineer – "Gutter Covers Vs Cleaning the Gutters?"

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You see ads for gutter protectors every where telling you that you’ll never have to clean gutters again, but before you buy, think twice. In fact don’t think; do research. The cost of gutter protection can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Since most gutter covers are known for poor performance, it might make more sense to contract a gutter cleaning service several times a year for between $75 to $100 or so. And if indeed you can find a reputable insured company that will service you it’s probably the best way to go. Yet, that may be a difficult challenge; and having someone else or you cleaning your gutters may not be the way to go. Why? Answer: There are several reasons:

1. Not all gutter cleaners do a good job. Rosemary paid $75 to have her gutters cleaned and just three days later they overflowed. Did the contractor do a bad job or did enough leaves fall to clog the downspout? Answer: No way to tell.

2. The fellow Joe hired to clean his gutters didn’t have any insurance. Big problem! Unfortunately there was an accident with the ladder and the fellow sued Joe; and Joe went through a nightmare the fellow’s doctors and Joe’s own insurance company.

3. Claire had a company clean her gutters at an advertised price of $75 but ended up paying $350. The company replaced end caps, drop tubes, elbows and charged her an arm and a leg for every additional service.

4. Jim always cleaned his gutters until his ladder slipped and he ended up falling through his living room bay window and ended up in the hospital with a broken pelvis.

Yes, to avoid these issues, it looks like the smart thing to do is install a gutter protector with a promise to solve clogged gutter problems. But buyer be ware. If you choose the wrong product it can also be nightmarish with flooded basements, mildew, mold, soil erosion, and worse yet the be totally dependent on the installing company as you can no longer access your own gutters to clean them.

So let’s do some research. Basically there are six different types of gutter protection devices:

1. Screening devices which are not really recognized as gutter protection devices. Made of wire, metal, or plastic, they work simply with gravity and require routine ladder maintenance.

2. Filters, membranes, and brushes installed in or on existing gutters. Basically they are not any more effective than screens and require routine ladder maintenance.

3. Fin type with rounded front nose and solid flat top. Their advertising graphics lead you to believe that debris is jettisoned off onto the ground when instead in medium-to-high debris areas enough debris sticks to the surface to clog the gutters. Here you have to depend on the installing company for service. See resource box for photos.

4. Flat solid top with rounded front nose and a trough–fin type with trough. Since the basic fin type fails, the next progression was to add a trough. But it doesn’t take a college graduate to see that debris that goes into the trough (basic screening system) will either clog the trough or break down and pass into the gutter and clog it. See resource box for photos.

5. Flipping type gutter or rain dispersal units. These require removing your gutters and installing either a gutter with a hinge that gets flipped or fins (installed horizontal to the fascia board) to disperse the water. They both look viable until you see them work. The rain dispersal unit doesn’t work in slow rain fall and debris lays on top of it blocking it from working. The flip clean gutter requires a rain coat for when the gutter is full of putrid debris. The flip clean gutters are also known to warp rendering them useless.

6. Rounded front nose with vertical louvered water collectors and a flat solid top. Whereas with the fin type of gutter cover that will pass full sized leaves, the louvers discriminate the size of the debris the gutter cover allows into the gutter. This gutter guard is the only rounded nose type that limits the amount of debris or size of debris that can pass into the gutter.

This one system has proved that gutters can stay free flowing in heavy debris conditions for twenty years; and that’s no small feat. The only downside is that in heavy debris conditions debris can accumulate on the louvers and block them off meaning that some kind of maintenance is required.

Whereas most other products require someone to go up a ladder and clean the gutter or the cover, it can easily be done from the ground using a telescopic pole and brush. Because it’s easy to see where cleaning is required, there’s no guessing where to do the brushing. No rain coats are required (as might be with the flip type gutter) to do this simple task as it can actually be done dressed in a suit and tie.

After all, telling someone, who has to clean his gutters several times during the fall, that no maintenance will be required is like asking the him to believe in Santa Claus.

How To Design The Front Yard Landscaping Of Your Dreams

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In this article we’ll discuss some basic concepts of front yard landscaping, and you’ll find them useful if you have lots of experience or are a complete rookie. The key is always to keep it simple, plan and design beforehand and devote time to maintain your yard.

The main idea to keep in mind is to make your design work during all seasons of the year. If you plan ahead so to make it beautiful through the year, it won’t be hard to maintain and your front yard will be interesting as well as varied.

When creating a flowerbed is a good idea to put the highest ones in the back and go down as you move to the front. If you can achieve this, your flowers will catch much more attention, and it will be easier and faster to keep. Combine colors and shapes before planting. You can even combine them so that there are flowers that bloom in different times of the year.

A safe way to make your yard landscaping easy to maintain is to use evergreen plants and trees or shrubs. This will provide a basic layout all year round where to base the rest of your landscaping design. Evergreens are easy to maintain, especially shrubs, and they will make your yard interesting even in winter.

Evergreens are an all time favorite, not only because they are enjoyable during all year, but because they are great to make your front yard private. They are very easy to maintain, and most shrubs can be easily trimmed and shaped.

To keep your yard uniform, plant flowers that bloom at the same time scattered among the yard, in order to avoid nasty empty spaces. You can also add flowers that bloom during all the year. These flowers, called annuals, have the same purpose as evergreens, provide a basic outline for all seasons. Make a nice mix of perennial and annual flowers, looking for balance. Remember that you should avoid having empty areas for a long time.

When designing your yard you must take into account the lines of your house, so to make your yard lines flow smoothly. Don’t overpopulate areas: most of the times, less is more.

A final note: follow your instincts and your personal taste above all. Take note of fashion and trends, but they may become unpopular with time. Your taste and the time you can devote to design and to maintain your front yard are the key to a successful landscaping design.

Granite Kitchen Countertops: Beauty and Value Combined

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Granite’s durability and beautifully vivid patterns are some of the main reasons why this natural material continues to be the most popular choice for kitchen countertops. Granite is also one of the most resilient stones to heat, stains and abrasions, which is why it’s a firm favorite for almost all kitchen surfaces.

A natural stone quarried far below the Earth’s service, the granite kitchen countertop you choose has been over a thousand years in the making – so it will truly stand the test of time! Unlike synthetic imitations, a natural material such as Granite offers unrivalled beauty and uniqueness – no two pieces are ever the same making your kitchen countertop elegantly distinctive.

When selecting a business from which to buy your new granite counters, make sure they are experienced, take pride in their products and offer high quality granite from all over the world. They should also offer installation services and help you find the grade, color and a variety of edging finishes. Granite’s popularity is everlasting and is one that will add significant value to your home.

What to consider when selecting your granite

Color

One of the most distinguishable elements of granite is its diverse color palette. Dependent upon a stone’s mineralogy, the colors typically associated with granite range from muted beiges and rose pinks, classic black-and-whites to saturated reds, rich greens and even multi-colors.

Granite is instantly recognisable by its striking flecked or “pebbled” appearance. Its texture is an unmistakable sign of quality, igniting interior splendour in any home.

Natural sources offer varied appearances and charming characteristics, giving a one-of-a-kind appeal that simply can’t be replicated by a machine, but you can rest assured that top supplier buy and install only the finest grades of granite.

Finish

Granite’s longevity and durability are what make this material an ideal countertop. However there are a number of different finishes available for Granite – all of which will enhance the quality and seal the permanence of your natural stone. These are:

Polished Finish – This finish gives a shiny, mirror-like effect. It intensifies the color and pattern adding even more sparkle to your stone. Polishing reduces Granite’s porosity, which increases its resistance to humidity and chemical substances commonly used in your kitchen. This is an ideal choice for busy families.

Honed – This technique achieves a smooth, non-reflective surface, although it can make your granite more porous so shouldn’t be considered for a countertop that will be used regularly.

Brushed/Antiqued – This treatment gives a textured, slightly worn appearance that is a daring choice, which will add dramatic effect.

Flamed finishes – The act of exposing the granite to extreme heat followed by intense cooling leaves the granite with a highly textured, slip-resistant surface – again a good choice for families.

Durability

Granite is recognised as one of the hardest stones for interior applications. Offering an impenetrable surface, it’s nearly impossible for it to crack, take on abrasions or scratches.

The high resistance to heat makes Granite an ideal surface for a kitchen where cooking appliances and hot cookware will be in use. With or without a finish, Granite’s surface can be easily cleaned to remove bacteria. It’s also extremely tolerable of tea, coffee, citric acid, alcohol and wine.

Granite is almost impossible to stain, but you should ask your countertop vendor about sealants available to improve its resistance to staining. Once you’ve made your choice, be ready to love your granite countertops for many years to come!

Drain, Waste, and Plumbing Vent Systems Explained

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Drain waste and vent piping are the two most important components in plumbing. These are the systems that take water away from your home. Let us examine how do they work.

Drain Waste-Vent System and Gravity

Earlier galvanized caste iron was used in the piping system, but now-a-days PVC piping is generally used. PVC piping is much better than the galvanized caste iron, as the later one clogs much easier. This distribution PVC piping system brings the water to the toilet bowl and the drain waste-vent system takes all the used water and waste away from the home to the sewer or septic system.

The functions of most sewer systems are based on gravity. That is the reason why everything goes down. In this process, the wastewater runs down the drain, enters the waste line, and finally leaves the bowl. Supply lines in the drainage system are fitted at forty or ninety degree angles. This drainage specification goes with the flow and helps the gravity of the sewer system to move the wastewater.

The Venting System
Venting system is a piping system and one of the most important components of drainage. The venting system consists of pipes. You must have noticed several pipes sticking up through the roofs of the houses in your neighborhood. These pipes are the venting system.

This system is also an essential requirement by the building code, as it prevents the water to draw out of the traps that are under sinks. Moreover, the other main function of this system is to allow gases to escape. It also helps wastewater to drain properly by relieving air pressure.

House Trap and Lateral Line
When the plumber ties the waste water pipes into the sewer line, he/she also installs house trap and lateral line. The main function of the house trap is to keep the waste and odors flowing out of the home, while the lateral line ties the house to the municipal sewer line.

This lateral line first goes into a sewer system down the street, and then it collects through a main distribution line, and finally goes to a sewer processing plant.

Air Admittance Vents
Air admittance vents are fitted under the sink. It helps sewer gases from coming out while drawing a bit of air in from under the sink. This way, these vents save money for you by reducing the amount of waste line vent stacks that you run. Moreover, they also help in reducing the possible number of penetrations through the roof.

Other Important Things
 – The sewage lines coming into the house must be higher than where they go to connect to the city sewer line. This is an essential requirement, as we know that the sewage moves by gravity.

 – There must be at least 2%-3% fall in your sewer system. However, it depends on the elevation of your home as well as the elevation of the city, which is the location of the connection.

 – The fall the drain waste-vent system that carries fluids through the sewage system must be at least 0.25 inch per foot.

 – There must be two-degree fall into the main line for the lateral.

Hence, here we see what are the components of a drain waste-vent system, and how do they work.

Factors to Consider Prior To Starting a Landscape Supply Company

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Irrespective of one’s financial status, starting a company or rather business is not a walk in the park. It gets even harder when it is a landscape supply company. Unlike other supply businesses, a landscape supply business is highly profitable. Suffice to say, it is a very lucrative business that requires one to have necessary resources and ample skills to effectively run it.

Therefore – prior to starting such a business – it is imperative for one to understand what needs to be done, when and how to go about the entire process that is involved in the daily running of a landscape business. Being a self descriptive venture, it provides customers with landscaping supplies for the beautification of their gardens and lawns. Listed are factors to consider prior to setting up a landscape supply company.

For starters, structure your business’ entity. Structuring ones business entity is inevitable and crucial at the same time. To be legally allowed to run a landscape business, one can either form a limited liability company; sole proprietorship or better, a corporation. However, the process of establishing a business entity requires the assistance of an attorney or a certified public accountant. Visiting ones secretary of state website to form a limited liability company can also suffice.

Next, obtain a tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS). This is the second and the most fundamental step to starting a landscape company. In order to carefully plan and manage the running of a landscape business, in regards to hiring employees, expanding and effectively building credible business credit; obtaining a tax ID is necessary, if not very important.

For the records, one can easily obtain a tax identification number by calling an IRS representative over the phone. Or – if detailed processes are your thing – you can gladly print form SS-4 from the Internal Revenue Service’s website then physically put it in the mail. Nonetheless, the simplest and easiest way to apply for one is just by visiting the IRS website, period.

Lastly, acquire a license. While this is necessary, it is noteworthy to check first with the secretary of state or local chamber of commerce to determine if a business license is required for the operation of a landscape supply company in your area. Afterward, determine if you want to operate solely the company through an office or online with just a website. Finding suppliers that can sell landscape supplies to customers, establishing a merchant account and creating marketing materials can also be considered at this stage.

Rain Gutter Cleaning – the Gutter Cleaner Wand

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Out of all the exciting things to do around the house, cleaning out your rain gutters is probably the last thing you really want to do. Well, there is a product called the Gutter Cleaner Wand that is designed to help make this job a little easier. But the big question is does it work?

Gutter Cleaner Wand Specs

You can find the Gutter Cleaner Wand online or in some of your larger home improvement stores for around $21-$25.

The wand simply attaches to any garden hose and has a built-in on and off valve. The telescoping wand will go from 41″ all the way up to 68″ to reach your rain gutters and clean them out.

The wand is lightweight and easy to handle which is good since you have to hold it up all the time.

How does the Gutter Cleaner Wand operate?

The Gutter Wand is pretty simple in how it works. You hold it up and place it in your rain gutter channel and the pressure from the wand will clear out the leaves and debris from the eaves trough.

With this gutter cleaning tool you can also use it for cleaning off outside decks and sidewalks in addition to just cleaning rain gutters.

Does it work?

In my experience, I have had mixed results. Yes, it will work for cleaning out leaves, but if you have compacted leaves and other debris, it can be difficult to loosen them and move them out.

The main drawbacks with this gutter cleaning tool that many people have are in how wet you can get in using the Gutter Cleaning Wand because of standing below the roof while using it and the fact it will not work on higher roof gutters. Since it only extends to less than 6 feet it won’t reach the higher gutters on some homes.

All-in-all, I would say it is helpful. It does the job of cleaning rain gutters in most cases and it keeps you down off the ladder which can always be risky.

Cleaning Gutters with a Gutter Cleaning Tool

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House cleaning is a must in order to maintain a healthy household. However, cleaning the outside is just as important as cleaning the inside.  Unfortunately, some outer parts of the house that require regular cleaning can not only get difficult but require special tools as well. Don’t you just wish you could wave your magic wand and everything would be clean?  Well, speed cleaning doesn’t have to be wishful thinking.  Neither does cleaning your gutter effectively and without exerting yourself.

One of the parts of the house that requires special attention and tools is the roof gutter. Once leaves and dirt settle inside it, cleaning it to your satisfaction is close to impossible.

If you live in an area where the trees shed their leaves each autumn, then you are probably familiar with the problem of dead leaves clogging up your gutter. This problem can lead to serious damage right down to the down spout, not to mention the water damage the side of your house can receive if the gutter overflows.

Several gutter cleaning tools are now being sold to help house owners prevent more serious problems with their gutter. You will find tools that look like thongs that help you pick out leaves even in those hard to reach areas in your gutter. You can also use the gutter cleaning tool as a hose extension.  It has a rotary nozzle to work for your convenience. Some products even have additional features such as a plunger.

Manufacturers have made these products so easy to use that everyone can do this with breeze, maybe even your teenagers! They would not have to worry about climbing high ladders just to clean the gutter themselves. These gutter cleaning tools are usually made with adjustable poles so that the gutter can be reached even by those vertically challenged. Gone are the days when you have to do dangerous climbing on the roof and clean with your bare hands, putting your health and probably our life in jeopardy.

Gutter cleaning tools are an easy and safe way to clean your gutter and to maybe even get your teenagers involved in house cleaning!

How Do Tow Truck Companies Work

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A tow truck company is a simple concept.  The main purpose of a tow truck company is to move disabled vehicles at the request of their owners or the owner/administrator of a property.  In urban area or apartment complexes tow truck companies operate to control illegal parking by owners who don’t follow posted regulations or parking rules.  In these cases areas in question have limited space for parking and they reserve the right to allow people to park only if they pay for a space or allow people to park in spaces at certain times.  If either of these rules are violated it is the right of the owner to have the vehicles towed off the premises.  In these cases the owner has contracted in advance with a towing company to service their lots.  The property owner will provide signs to patrons as to how to retain their vehicles once they have been towed.

Towing yards are fortified prisons for vehicles.  The yards are usually gated with bob wire surrounding the property deterring vehicles owners from jumping the fence to get their car back.  The yards also employ automatic fences and state of the art video surveillance to guard against intruders.  At night, guard dogs are release to further deter prowlers from stepping foot on the yards premises. Getting your car back from these yards entails paying a fee.  These fees can be fairly expensive and usually range from the low $50 dollar range to upwards $100 to $200 dollars.  It also depends on the amount of days the tow truck company has your vehicle on their premises.  Most yards charge a storage fee per day.  This could be another $20 to $50 dollars per day.  After a while the fee can become very expensive.  If the car is never retrieved a lien is put on the vehicle by the tow company at the Department Of Motor Vehicles.  If the lien is not paid off the tow company will file with the local courts for ownership of the vehicle.  Once ownership is obtained the cars are either auctioned off or scrapped for spare parts.

Emergency Services is another way that tow truck companies work.  If you vehicle is disabled on the highway and you don’t have a means to remove it or you are just to disoriented to solve the towing issue emergency services will have the car towed for you.  Owners of towing companies contract with operations like AAA and police organizations to tow disabled vehicles off the highway.  Triple A is an organization that participants pay a yearly access fee to be able to have access to emergency vehicle services.  In times of need this organization is very helpful.

City Parking – In big cities the parking authority division employ a number of tow trucks to enforce parking laws enacted within city limits.  These may be as simple as not paying a toll or parking ticket and parking in a no parking zone.  Parking authority will choose to tow your vehicle in exchange for the right to make you pay your tickets in order to get your vehicle back.  If the violation is not paid the vehicle towed will be sold at auction.

Comparison Of Different Types Of Car Tow Dollies

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This article is going to evaluate a couple of things you should consider before you buy a tow dolly. First, you want to consider the warranty. Most manufacturers offer a very limited 1 year warranty on the “assembly” of the tow dolly. That is very vague. Hardly anything can go wrong with the “assembly” of a tow dolly. What really matters is the warranty for moving parts like brakes, bearings, actuators etc. These are the essential moving parts and  actually the only thing that can malfunction or go wrong on a tow dolly. When making the purchase look for a company that offers a 5 year warranty on these parts. That is a good indication to you the high faith they have in their product.

There are no warranties for lights, tires, wheel straps, ratchets. In fact lights and wheel straps are considered to be consumables on a tow dolly. Car Tow Dolly comes in 4 styles. An idler, ( No Brakes ), an Electric Brake System, A Hydraulic Surge Drum Brake System, or a Hydraulic Surge Disc Brake System.

The idler system is frequently assigned for around town use, shuttling small cars from place to place around town. If you are to be traveling it is essential to know that many states require brakes of one type or other on a Car Tow Dolly. Eachyear more states are added to the list. Also, the resale value of a tow dolly with brakes is much higher.

Electric Brake System is better than not having anything. But not the best system. Electric brakes require a Brake Control Box inside your RV. The box has built in sensort technology, and outer adjusting handles. If you are not very knowledgeable in understanding and setting these controls then you probably actually do not have brakes on your Tow Dolly and just don’t know it. In addition to that, if you ever have a brake problem you will have to troubleshoot beginning with the brake control box, the wiring from the brake system back to the trailer plug, then the complete wiring system of the tow dolly. A real burden and quite costly proposition.

A Hydraulic Surge Brake System is the most efficient and trouble free system. It will cost a good bit more, but it is worth it. Nearly all manufacturers use a Hydraulic Surge “DRUM” Brake System. This is in reality a rather old technology. Drum brakes run much hotter, have a propensity towards chucking or abrupt hard braking. Due to the features of a Tow Dolly, Electric and Hydraulic DRUM Brake Systems are very difficult to adjust. The adjusting port is blocked by a spindle plate and one cannot access the adjuster port to adjust the brakes. Some dealers will tell you that tow dollies have brake adjusters. Well that is a play on words. They do have adjusters, but they are manual, not automatic. There are no trailers of any kind with self adjusting brakes. After each single long trip tow dolly brakes need to be adjusted or you just will not have brakes and may never know it. So, the near perfect braking system is a Hydraulic Surge “DISC” Brake System. DISC brakes run much cooler, never need adjusting, they do not chuck or hit hard when activated and they are four times more capable than a DRUM system. The brake pads are in clear sight and effortless to replace with pads obtainable at all auto parts stores.

The perfect tow dolly will also come equipped with maintenance free bearings. Bearings that never need greasing. These are very common on very costly high end equipment trailers but are rarely observed on small trailers. These are just a few considerations prior to making a purchase decision. One should take their time and shop carefully. Go to the manufacturer’s web site and see for yourself how much information they make available to you about their product.