Toxic Black Mold Remediation Tips And Tricks From The Pros

How to Get Rid of Black Mold Naturally

Black mold can be dangerous to your health, mainly causing respiratory issues. But in severe cases and for people with pre-existing health conditions, black mold can lead to pneumonia. When you suspect a mold invasion, you might want to invest in a mold testing kit to see what type of mold spores you’re working with, and call in an expert to help with removal. But in the short-term, here are some natural home remedies (made with things you likely already have on-hand) that will help eradicate mold.

The Tea Tree Oil Solution

Tea tree oil is often used to keep spiders away, but it’s also one of the safer options for getting rid of black mold. It’s a natural fungicide that can work as a cleaning product, and it has the strength to prevent mold spores from coming back.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract is great to have on hand for various healthcare remedies and also cleaning solutions and potions. What makes it good at battling black mold? Its main compounds are polyphenols, known as limonoids, and naringenin, which help when killing bacteria in laundry, cleaning carpet spills (that could lead to mold growth!), and for disinfecting and sterilizing spaces. When the extract is used to fight black mold, the acids continue penetrating growth and prevent mold spores from returning.

Lemon Juice

Although this might not be the strongest weapon against black mold, it’s probably something you have in the kitchen. It’s also totally natural, and who doesn’t like the smell of freshly squeezed lemons? It will definitely smell better than the mildew/mold growing in your shower—but then again, what doesn’t?

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the greats. It’s a safe substance to have around your kids and pets, and it’s also effective at preventing mold and absorbing mildew odors.

Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is an affordable, natural solution to removing black mold. Its antibacterial acidic characteristics are exactly what you need to get the job done. Pour the undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle to apply to the area, or just go for it and pour that vinegar right onto the mold stains. Use a disposable towel and wipe away the mold from the area. If that doesn’t work, grab an old toothbrush and go to town on the problem zone. Allow time for this to dry, and then use a damp towel to wipe the area clean one more time.

 

Easy Ways to Control Your Mold Allergy

The difficulty in finding and identifying mold makes minimizing your exposure to mold spores tricky. But it is important: by minimizing your exposure, you can significantly diminish your symptoms. In fact, many people find that they can reduce or even eliminate their reliance on medication by taking the following steps to remove the mold from their home. The steps are listed below in approximate order of importance. The first two are the easiest and cheapest and are worth trying first.

Use a mold remover to kill visible mold. While mold can occasionally be hard to find, it is often visible to the naked eye. If you can see it, you can get rid of it. A mold removing spray cleaner will easily eliminate the mold.

Follow up with a mold preventer to assure mold does not grow back. Anywhere that mold grew once is probably a place that is conducive to mold growth. After using a mold remover, immediately follow up with a mold preventer to make sure the area stays mold free. Check it periodically, and reapply the mold preventer every once in a while.

Run a HEPA air purifier to capture mold spores that have become airborne. Sometimes it is just not possible to find and eliminate all of the mold in a house with a mold remover. If you have removed all visible mold and your allergies remain bothersome, a HEPA air purifier can be an effective solution. Place the air purifier in the room or rooms where you believe the mold is growing. It will capture 99.9% of all the airborne mold which passes through its filters, both improving the air quality in that room and preventing the mold spores from circulating throughout the rest of the home.

Use a dehumidifier to keep the relative indoor humidity below 50%. Dehumidifiers make an environment inhospitable for mold growth. Mold thrives in moist, humid areas. Eliminating excess moisture can solve a mold problem. If you think you know which room is the source of the mold problem, place the dehumidifier in that room. If you are not sure where the mold is coming from, you can use a whole house humidifier which will link to your central air system.

Install a quality disposable filter in your central air system. A good disposable filter is an effective back-up to an air purifier. It is also the best line of defense against mold spores which enter the home from the outside. Airborne mold spores will eventually circulate through the central air system and can be captured using a highly efficient disposable filter. Because all central air systems require a disposable filter, it makes sense to choose one that is effective at capturing mold spores and other allergens.

Use a filter on your window screens and window air conditioner. Mold can enter the home through open windows. If you cannot identify any likely source of indoor mold, you may be having a reaction to outdoor mold which has entered your home through open windows. To combat the entry of outdoor mold, you can use a filter that captures mold spores so they will not enter through an open window. Also, people who use a window air conditioner can use a filter specially designed to prevent the air conditioner from sucking the mold spores into the home.

 

Molds require two factors to grow indoors:

  • Moisture! This comes from condensation, leaks in pipes or foundations, or any ongoing source of water.
  • A Food Source: Somewhere to grow that provides required nutrients.

Molds particularly like to grow on wallboard, damp wood, fabrics, leather, and paper products. They can also grow on concrete or the dirt on windows or window frames. Food products, particularly vegetables, fruits, and breads provide a good place, also. It spreads by producing spores that can become airborne when disturbed directly or by air currents. These spores end up on surfaces where they grow.

 

HOW TO STOP MOLD GROWTH ON WALLS

  • Prepare the affected walls with the usual white, black or bluish patches of mold on the walls. If it has spread to adjacent areas, such as the carpet or other items, remove these from the walls and salvage whatever you can.
  • Scrub as hard as you can. Use a mixture of one part bleach and three parts water and combine it with some hard scrubbing using a heavy-duty sponge or scrub brush. Let the solution soak in for a few minutes. In even worse cases, you may need to use this bleach mixture with a formulated mold remover. Make sure to wear rubber gloves and a respirator mask for protection and turn on the ventilation fan.
  • Dry the walls completely.

 

Effects of Mold in the Home

Everyone is exposed to mold spores, but they affect each person differently. Those with allergies can suffer effects year-round. These spores can trigger reactions like allergic rhinitis or asthma. They can produce volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s. Besides the unappealing look and smell, mold can trigger allergic reactions such as respiratory irritation, watery eyes, coughing, and headaches. Coughing, wheezing, runny nose or irritated eyes and throat are all signs of a mold allergy. These can also trigger an asthma attack, with symptoms like wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Some strains may also be toxic! This is why we need to address an issue promptly. If you’re wondering how to get rid of mold, you’ve come to the right place!

How To Get Rid Of Ants

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET RID OF ANTS FOR GOOD?

Have you noticed that they seem a lot more active in summer? That’s because they are. Ants have the equivalent of a great work ethic come summertime. And it does make sense – it’s for their own livelihood. Ants must forage and store enough food in the summer months to keep them going through the cooler months. And like any good team member, when they hit a jackpot, they send out the word and an entire ant army comes a running. That’s why there is never just one ant – there are hundreds of them.

How do you keep ants out of your home and kitchen?

You may have noticed that ants love your kitchen and bathroom the most. It makes sense really as these areas have the sustenance they need for life – food and water. Cupboards chock full of tasty treats, floors with dropped food and bathrooms with an abundance of water drops perfect for a thirsty ant. Here’s some simple home remedies to try and combat those ants before they take hold.

Clean as you go

Clean as you go, so no leftover food is left on your kitchen benches. Clean out your cupboards and store food in containers and ziplock bags to prevent things like sugar spilling out and creating a sugary feast for your ant invaders.

Baby powder and coffee granules scare them off

Sprinkle some baby powder across the entry areas that your ants like to travel. They don’t like walking across it so baby powder up those surfaces! May be messy for a while but will do the trick. Coffee granules do the same however this may prove a bit more unsightly!

Pet Food Bowls – make a moat

Often a common party scene for ants as food can sit for longer periods of time as well as linger in the bowl even when licked clean. Simply pop your food bowl into another bowl filled with water – those ants won’t swim!

 

How to get rid of ants

ants are about as common as kookaburras and kangaroos. They play a crucial part in your garden’s ecosystem but inside the house can wreak havoc, finding their way into just about everything. Here we discover the best natural and not-so natural ways to get rid of ants.

Types of ants

home to lots of pests and critters and a plethora of ants, some of the most popular types of ants are:

Carpenter ants

Fire ants

Bull ants

Sugar ants

Black Ants

Argentine ants

Pharaoh ants

Red Ants

Don’t feed ‘em

First things first, if you want ants to stay away permanently don’t leave a buffet of sugary and fatty food out. Keep your home free of crumbs and food scraps and keep as much as you can in sealed containers. This isn’t a foolproof method but it will cut down their numbers inside your home.

Get them at the source

Here’s a simple and natural way to exterminate ants in one go.

Find the ants nest and using a small spade make a hole in the centre.

Pour boiling water into the hole, repeating until no more ants surface from the nest.

Homemade bait

Finding the ants manor is often easier said than done, so if you can’t find the source you could look at making your own ant trap.

 

How to Keep Ants Out of the House

It is ant season again! As soon as the weather starts to heat up, and particularly after a warm rainy day, ants decide that indoors is a good place to be. Sure, you can kill ants with various home remedies, but are there are lots of other things that you can do to keep ants out of the house?  Fortunately, the answer is YES!

What attracts ants in the first place?

If you want to keep ants out of the house, one of the first things you need to know is what attracts them into the home. Just like any other creature, ants search for food and water, and also a shelter of some sort.

There are many types of ants and not all of them are attracted to the same thing. Generally speaking though, ants like organic matter of some sort of sweetness. That means that anything from kitchen scraps to a spilled bit of honey will bring them inside. Even old cut flowers in water in a dirty vase can attract them.

All it takes is one ant!  If you see a single ant on your counter top and don’t consider it a big problem, think again.  If that guy finds a food supply, he’ll go back to his nest to tell his buddies and you’ll be seeing more of them soon.

As soon as an ant finds a food source, he will carry tiny bits of it back to the nest and mark the trail to the food source with pheromones to show other ants how to find the food supply. Squish that ant in his tracks!

 

WHAT MAKES THESE ANTS SO SUCCESSFUL?

Social organisation is one of the key factors that contributes to the success of ants as invaders. Their advanced social system has gifted them a number of unique ways that enhance survival and success. These benefits includes group protection against predators, organised resource exploitation, aggressive colony defence and buffering against environmental changes.

Colonies have many queens

Typically, an ant colony consists of a single fertilized female (the queen) attended by her daughters, which are sterile female workers.

From time to time, winged (alate) males and females are produced. These males and females normally leave the nest to mate and start new colonies. Invasive ants often have multiple queens per colony (polygyny), which increases reproductive output and leads to larger colony size.

Queen ants are responsible for all reproduction in the colony. The number of queens is an important factor in the problems invasive species cause, because usually the more queens there are, the more workers there are and the worse the problem is.

An extreme example of polygyny is the little fire ant.  In its invaded range, this species can be present in extraordinary densities of more than 220,000,000 individuals per hectare. And as many as 550,000 queens per hectare or 55 queens per square meter!

 

Fire Ant Frequently Asked Questions

What are red imported fire ants? What makes them different

Red imported fire ants or Solenopsis invicta are medium-sized red and black colored ants that build mounds of soft soil. Mounds are rarely larger than 18″ in diameter. In cold, dry areas such as the High Plains

mounds are usually much smaller and harder to detect. When disturbed, fire ants emerge aggressively, crawling up vertical surfaces, biting and stinging “all at once”. Their sting usually leaves a white pustule on the skin. Worker fire ants vary in size from small (1/16 inch) to large (almost ¼ inch) in length. Many native ant species have worker ants that are uniform in size and may vary in body color. Other small to medium-sized ants that build small nests in soil often have central nest openings through which the ants enter and leave whereas fire ants mounds have no central openings.

Harvester ants are much larger and make large bare areas with a single entrance hole to the colony.

Leafcutter ants are also much larger and have a distinctive built-up dense cluster of mounds at the colony’s center called a “town”, and have many entrance holes over a very large area.

Can I tell the difference between fire ants and native ants? How large are fire ants?

Some uncertainty comes from the fact that red imported fire ants vary in size (1/16 to almost 1/4 inch long – see image by S. D. Porter, USDA-ARS), with the largest workers 2 or 3 times larger than the smallest. Red imported fire ants are an exotic invasive species and in many areas

Are You Making Full Use Of Your Accountant

Starting your own accounting business sounds like a lot of work. Why would I want to start an accounting firm?

Starting an accounting firm is like starting any small business – it requires a lot of work. However, industry and consulting firms list accounting firms as one of the single most profitable small businesses a person can start right now.

Here are a few questions to consider when starting a firm:

  • Do you want to be a cog in the machine or own a firm? Frankly, there isn’t a wrong answer to this question, but rather a preference. However, going out on your own comes with one significant benefit: you’re getting the profit from the firm, not just your wages. You go from employee to owner.
  • What’s my business purpose? While perhaps a bit esoteric, defining your business’s purpose is crucial. Why am I doing this? What’s my goal behind this? It’s not just a philosophical exercise. Knowing why you’re starting a firm can help you define your target market, whether it’s helping small businesses, real estate, or another service area.
  • Do you want to be nimble and cutting edge? Small firms tend to be much more agile and have a greater ability to do new things. From adopting new technology to discovering and implementing new software or other efficiency creating tools, running your own firm lets you make the decisions about what makes your business unique—and profitable.
  • Should you start a legal entity? For some, a sole proprietorship won’t require incorporation – especially if the work is centered around less complex tasks such as basic tax preparation. However, there are certain liability protections by becoming an LLC, including limiting risk for your business. Assets become owned by your business and are distinguished from personal assets. When a business is not incorporated, it becomes harder to draw that line and the entire enterprise becomes at risk.

 

Entry Strategy

Most CPAs start an accounting practice using the following entry strategies:

  • Starting from scratch: Starting from ground zero allows you to begin without any legacy issues like old pricing, old software, and past-client service issues. To effectively market your services and price properly, you should enroll in a practice marketing and development program to learn marketing, pricing, selling and practice management. You should also be fluent with QuickBooks, which is how many small businesses manage their bookkeeping function.
  • Part-time practices: Many accountants start picking up clients on the side as a part-time practice. This lowers the risk and enables them to assess whether they might enjoy starting a full-time practice.
  • Finding a partner: This can help expand the services of the firm, so you can cast a wider net. This generally requires chemistry and compromise. While the startup expenses are shared, so are the revenues. We seldom recommend this approach.
  • Buying a practice: This entry approach sounds easier than the other options but has challenges as well. First, the process takes quite a bit of time because there are more buyers than sellers. This enables the seller to be very picky and will generally prefer selling to an existing practitioner. Second, this is the most expensive option. Third, the attrition rate is generally higher than you project.

 

Pricing to Keep Clients Coming Back Again and Again:

It’s basically like a subscription to work. And the monthly fees are all-inclusive:

  • Quickbooks review
  • Monthly statement production
  • Unlimited access for questions
  • Tax planning
  • Business tax return

With this, clients aren’t worried about the big bill coming in the mail. They know exactly what they’re paying and what they get.

 

Draft a business plan.

Writing a business plan is a necessity if you need funding. Lenders will only extend a loan after looking at your business plan. However, writing a business plan is also a great exercise on its own because it forces you to focus on the nuts and bolts of your business. Your plan should have the following parts:[3]

  • Executive summary. Write this last but put it first. It’s a one- or two-page summary of your entire business plan.
  • Company description. Explain your business structure and how it fits into the accounting industry. Also identify your goals or objectives.
  • Products and services. Describe your accounting services and anything that makes you unique.
  • Marketing and sales analysis. You need to identify your competitors and then analyze their business, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. Also create a profile of your ideal client. Consider age, income, education, location, etc.
  • Organization details. If your business is large, you can provide an organization chart of departments and key employees. Also provide background information about your management team.
  • Financial plan. You should project your finances for the next several years. Financial projections are particularly important if you need funding.

 

Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

In most states, it is necessary to obtain an accounting license. Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate an accounting business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Certificate of Occupancy

An accounting business is generally run out of an office. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

If you plan to lease a location:

  • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
  • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to an accounting business.
  • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.

If you plan to purchase or build a location:

  • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
  • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your accounting business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

CPA Certification

In order to provide accounting services, you may need to be certified (a Certified Public Accountant). This certification allows you to perform services that would otherwise be illegal to provide without certification.

Services Contract

Be sure to create a services contract. The contract should make it clear exactly which services you offer, how much you will charge, and what will happen in case of any contingencies–for example, if your client is audited, will you be responsible?

Expert Results When Interior Painting

Interior Painting- Essential Things You Should Know

Painting is one of the best ways to add color to your property. The exterior and interior painting will enhance the overall look of your house. If you are planning to paint the interior of your house, then you need to get in touch with an experienced painting company.

Do the Preparation

Early preparation is always good for every task you are going to perform, the same is the case with painting. Preparation work will consume a large amount of time when you are painting the interior of your house. You should tape off all the areas for sharp lines, move your furniture and furnishings, do the repairs, fix all the imperfections, remove the things like switch plates and doorknobs, and protect your floors from the splash of paints.

Sheen is Essential

The sheen and finish of your paint are having a major impact on the walls. You can select satin, gloss, and eggshell sheen that you can consider for your house. If you are going to paint high-traffic areas, then you need to choose gloss or satin as they are easy to clean. But remember that the wall imperfection will make it more prominent. In addition to this, matte-like finish such as flat will not be cleaned properly but they hide imperfections better.

Try Some Samples

It is not easy to guess how good or bad your paint looks on the wall? For a few amounts of money, you can purchase sample paints that you can paint on a small area to test out either paint shade looks good or not. This is one of the important things to know before painting a room. With this practice, you will know how the paint color will look on the surface. Keeping all this in mind, you should spend a few dollars instead of spending a huge amount on buying the gallons of paint to find out that color is not looking good on the wall.

Primer is Essential

Prime is one of the important and basic requirements to get the best painting done for your house. If you are planning to add a new color to your walls, then you need to prime your walls well. You can buy a primer and paint as all in one mixture or buy it separately. Primer will add a layer that will allow the paint to adhere better to give a perfect finish.

 

Steps to Prepare a Room for Painting

Interior painting is a great do-it-yourself project that can freshen up a room in no time, but there are risks to going it alone. Amateur paint jobs can be easy to spot because, unlike professional jobs, they leave tell-tale signs of paint spatter, mottled color or missed spots behind. Here are seven steps you should follow before you dip your roller to help you paint like a pro.

Remove Furniture

Professionals don’t stumble over coffee tables and stretch to paint behind the sofa, and neither should you. Remove furniture from the room before you paint to make the job easier and avoid ruining wood and upholstery with spilled or spattered paint. To ensure that your furnishings remain in good enough condition to be brought back into your newly painted room at the end of the project, refrain from just shoving everything into the hallway where it could be damaged or cause accidents. Consider renting a temporary storage container or a storage unit while you work. If there’s an item that just won’t fit through the doorway or is too heavy to move, pull it to the center of the room, away from the walls to be painted, and cover it with plastic to protect it

Protect Flooring

Assuming you want to keep your carpet or hardwood floor in place after you paint the room, protect it before you get to work. A few sheets of newsprint under your roller tray just aren’t sufficient. Use professional-style drop cloths throughout the room instead. Plastic sheeting is cheaper, but it’s easily punctured and can shift under your feet while you work, exposing areas of flooring. A heavy canvas drop cloth or a professional grade butyl-backed cloth protect against spills and also help keep paint from being tracked through the rest of your house if it accidentally gets on the soles of your shoes while you work. (Lots of do-it-yourselfers prefer to paint barefoot so they know when they step in paint.) Butyl-backed cloths have the added bonus of keeping spilled paint from soaking through to the flooring below.

Remove Wall Hangings

Maybe you think you’ll save time by leaving your paintings on the walls and simply painting around them. That’s great, unless a painting shifts a little bit one day in front of company, exposing your cut corner. Cutting in around paintings and clocks is actually more time consuming than removing them, and it risks damaging your décor as well. Plus, you might want to change your wall art before you paint the room again. So, it’s always better to take everything off the wall and paint the entire surface. Again, protect your things so you have something to bring back into your finished room. Use bubble wrap and storage bins to make sure delicate pieces don’t break, and be sure to store them well out of the way. If there is any chance that you might want to reconfigure your pictures and clocks when you re-hang them, remove nails and picture hangers and fill in the holes with spackle before you paint. Be sure to let the spackle dry before you cover it.

Clean the Walls to Be Painted Learn more about cleaning before painting

Why should you clean something you’re just going to paint anyway? Because clean, uniform surfaces will assure you of a smooth, professional-looking result. Dark smudges can show through a coat of paint, and oil or other substances on the wall can change the consistency of the paint being applied. Clean all walls to be painted with a solution of water and mild detergent. For tough stains or smudges, like kitchen grease or soot stains, professionals rely on trisodium phosphate. Mixed with bleach, trisodium phosphate can also remove mildew and mildew stains before you paint. No matter what kind of cleaning solution you use, be sure to rinse the walls thoroughly when you’re finished and leave them plenty of time to dry before you get to work. House painting professionals might even use fans to speed the drying process.

 

BEST WAYS TO TOUCH UP PAINT

Maintaining the rich color and smooth finish of your home’s interior doesn’t mean you have to repaint the whole room to fix the dents, dings, scratches and marks that can, over time, mar your walls’ surfaces.

By using the proper technique and the right color, you can touch up select spots of your wall paint, and keep your walls looking flawless and freshly painted.

Clean the Surface

Before you make repairs, clean the area with a sponge, mild detergent and water. Dirt, grime and dust can build up on the wall’s surface, which can affect paint adhesion when you begin touching it up. Lightly wipe the work area with the soapy sponge and then dry it with a clean towel before proceeding.

Step 2: Make Repairs

Dents, small holes (nail holes, etc.) and deeper scratches can be filled in with spackling compound. Use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper and lightly smooth the surface around the area to be repaired. This will help to remove any fragments or raised portions of the wall. Next, open a container of premixed spackling compound and scoop up a small amount of it with the edge of a putty knife. Use just enough to fill in the hole or crack. Put the compound-covered blade of the putty knife at a 45-degree angle to the wall and spread the compound over the hole or crack in a smooth, feathering motion. Do this until the hole is completely filled in. Scrape away excess compound from the wall with your putty knife with the blade at a 90-degree angle to the wall. Wipe any remaining excess with a damp cloth before it sets. It will take a few hours for the patch to properly set. If the patch is slightly raised from the rest of the surface, lightly sand it again with fine-grit sandpaper.

Step 3: Prime

You must now prime the repaired areas for optimal paint adhesion and color blending. Without primer, the touched-up spot will stand out from the rest of the painted surface. Choose a high-quality, interior latex primer, such as True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer. Use a small or medium-sized paintbrush (depending on the size of the repaired area) to apply a layer of primer over the spot. Try to keep the size of the primed area confined to the dimensions of the repair for best results. Let the primer dry completely, as recommended by the manufacturer’s directions.

 

Best Tips on Choosing the Right Interior Wall Paint Colours

Wondering how you are going to zoom in on the  best interior wall paint colour for your home? Lucky for you, you are in the right place. Interior wall painting can come across as an essential task to many in designing a house. Whether you are painting your house for the first time or wanting to re-paint your house to match the colour trends in the year of 2019, it is important to select the right paint colours for your house.

to help you to find the top interior wall paint colours for home through your house painting process. Previously, we had discussed epic wall decorating ideas to refresh your home. You can pick up a few tips from that as well. Coming back to where we left off, we are here to guide you on choosing the best interior wall paint colours for your home. From analysing the colour options available for preparing a layout for your ideal design, you need to plan it all, which is why it becomes a hard task. Let us see how we can ease the process and make wall painting fun. So, how to choose the right paint colours for your house?

Pick your furniture and decors before picking interior wall paint colours

It is common that you will want to get done with the big things first, but it is important to analyse which method would be easy and yield the best results.

Start with some research on best interior wall paints and designs

What are the trending wall paints? What are the colour combinations that will suit my interiors? These are some of the basic questions that you need to ask yourself.

Keep the wall paint colour neutral and balanced

Understand where you want the focus in a room to be. If you want the maximum focus to be on the walls, then you can go for bold, vibrant colours.

 

Things Your House Painter Wishes You Knew

Painting your house is one of those maintenance projects that most homeowners undertake at some point, whether it’s the outside or the inside. With the exception of hardened DIY-types (you know who you are!), just about all homeowners will hire painters at some point—whether to prepare their home for moving in, or for a sale, or perhaps to kick off a remodel with a new color scheme.

But homeowners tend to get nervous around painters. What if they spatter the new carpeting or shatter the china cabinet window? What if the colors you’ve painstakingly selected don’t work out?

Painting your house is art—let the pros do it

Think of painting as not just a skill, but also an art: You wouldn’t hover behind Michelangelo as he completed the Sistine Chapel, fretting the whole time, would you?

Yes, it’s true that your bathroom wall will never be one of the world’s premiere masterpieces, no matter how skilled your painter, but that doesn’t make back-seat painters any less annoying.

Prep can take a long time

According to Benson, at least 30% of a good-quality paint job will be prep time. “That’s where less-qualified painters lower their bids. That’s where problems come with paint getting on things it shouldn’t be,” he says

Foolproof Method For Your Garbage Disposal Installation

Things You Should Not Put Down The Garbage Disposal

Let’s be honest, we love our garbage disposals. It’s a quick and sanitary way to dispose of food waste, keeping your trash cans cleaner and lighter — and it helps keep your food waste out of the landfill! Garbage disposals can get overworked between all the food we throw down them, and even the newer models have a simplistic construction that can get overrun. While we all know that you shouldn’t put grease or oil down our drains, there are certain foods that aren’t great for your disposal. These types of foods can cause clogs and overwork the disposal, causing you to have to replace them, which is time consuming and an expense you won’t want to cover if you can avoid it. So, let’s take a look at some things you should avoid putting down your garbage disposal

Coffee Grounds

For a long time there has been a common misconception that putting coffee grounds down your disposal is a great way to help dispose of any odors that might be arising from your sink. However, while the scent of coffee can help mask certain food odors, coffee grounds can actually cause you more harm than help. When coffee grounds are taken out of the filter and thrown down the drain they can turn into a thick, dense paste-like substance that can build up over time and eventually lead to a clogged drain. Instead of throwing coffee grounds down to clear out smells, try thinly sliced citrus rinds.

Pasta

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that pasta expands when it’s soaked in water. And with that thought, it’s best that you don’t put pasta down the garbage disposal. You may think that if it’s being ground up, what’s the issue? Well, even when its ground up, these pieces of pasta will still expand when they’re around water, meaning they can expand over time and take over your disposal. A few noodles won’t hurt anything, but we don’t recommend throwing that entire pasta casserole down your disposal.

Onion Skins

If you’re cooking with onions, the actual vegetable can be put down the drain, but we recommend that you save the skins for the trash can. The problem with onion skins is that they can get stuck on the blades and then act like a net and catch and hold on to other food particles. Not only does this lead to a smelly sink, but it also creates a barrier between the blades, causing them to get jammed up. Save yourself the time and money by just taking a few extra steps to the trash can; it’s a few seconds of effort that can save hours of work or an expensive visit from a plumber.

Pits

Peaches, avocados, and cherries are all some of our favorite foods, but they have extremely hard pits that can dull and break the blades of your disposal. A good rule of thumb is: if you can’t cut it with a knife, you shouldn’t put it down the drain. Don’t panic if you accidentally drop a small pit down the drain, but you won’t want to make it a routine habit

 

Need to get rid of food waste? Here are the best garbage disposals

With most of us spending more time at home and in the kitchen, trash is piling up. A good way to de-funk things is to put less garbage in the can by using a disposal.

Consumer Reports says a good garbage disposal pulverizes your food waste so that you can simply rinse it away. It just finished testing models that should make cleaning up your kitchen a lot easier

In Consumer Reports labs, testers put garbage disposals through rigorous challenges. To assess grinding performance, for example, testers measure equal amounts of bones and vegetable pieces to run through each garbage disposal.

The lower-scoring disposals leave larger scraps that could potentially block your drain. Consumer Reports also test for noise, measuring decibel output while the disposals grind a mix of bones and vegetables.

It earns an Excellent rating for grinding scraps, but it’s louder than other disposals tested. Some people prefer batch-feed disposals because they can’t be turned on until you load the chamber with waste and insert a stopper.

 

GARBAGE DISPOSAL DO’S, DON’TS, ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

At the risk of stating the obvious, a garbage disposal is a device, usually electrically powered, installed under a kitchen sink between the sink’s drain and trap. The disposal unit shreds food waste into pieces small enough—generally <2 mm—to pass through plumbing. About 50% of homes in the US have garbage disposals; food scraps range from 10% to 20% of household waste.

A high quality garbage disposal will love grinding for about 10-12 years, depending on what you put in it and how well you take care of it.  Estimated life also is dependent on the quality of the unit itself.  A good 2/3 HP or 3/4 HP, with lots of stainless steel (particularly the entire grind chamber) is optimal. If you cheap out on a 1/4 HP or 1/3 HP model and overuse it, don’t expect the disposal to last very long.

What NOT to Grind

What NEVER to put in your garbage disposal: asparagus, artichoke leaves, banana skins, celery, chicken bones, coffee filters, cooked rice, egg shells, grease, green onion tops, onion skins, potato peels, shrimp shells, tea bags. Some items damage the appliance (bones), plug the drain piping (banana peels), or load up the local waste water utility.

Dead Disposal?  All May Not Be Lost

Make sure the disposal switch is OFF.

Common Issues and Recommendations

We inspect thousands of garbage disposals every year.  When our inspectors find an issue with a garbage disposal, it’s usually one of the following four:

The garbage disposal is leaking.

The splash guard is missing or deteriorated.

The wire clamp is missing.

The garbage disposal is excessively corroded.

 

What Not To Put in a Garbage Disposal

InSinkErator garbage disposals are designed to handle just about any type of everyday food waste.  But the topic of what not to put in a garbage disposal is alive and well, usually based on myths and old family stories rather than facts.

First things first, never place any type of fats, oils, grease in a garbage disposal, or down a sink drain for that matter.  Those materials collect inside the plumbing pipes and are usually the cause of many plumbing issues.

Household Foodwaste

InSinkErator disposals can quickly and efficiently grind most everyday food wastes, including leftover meats, vegetables and fruits, as well as food preparation waste.  The key to keeping a disposal working properly is to follow the proper operation steps and avoid filling the disposal with too much food waste at one time.

Coffee Grounds and Eggshells

There is often the question of using a disposal for eggshells and coffee grounds.  In fact, neither of these materials is harmful to a disposal, and will pass through it without a problem.  However, problems can arise with household plumbing – especially if it is older, or has not been cleared in some time.

Both coffee grounds and eggshells are sedimentary in nature, if too much is placed in at one time, or if the plumbing is restricted, it can create a clog or a ‘slow drain’ situation.  Too help avoid any problems, feed these materials into the disposer gradually, and utilize a strong flow of cold water to help flush it through the pipes.

 

GARBAGE DISPOSAL DO’S AND DON’TS TIPS

TIPS ON WHAT TO PUT DOWN YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSAL

Below are some tips about what you can put down your garbage disposal, and what should not be put into the garbage disposal and the sanitary sewer system. These tips help protect you and the environment too!

DO’S

Do minimize the use of the garbage disposal. If you are able to compost vegetable waste at your home, you can dispose of material like vegetable peels, cuttings, stems, seeds, and coffee grounds by composting. Composting allows you to convert these waste items into a valuable soil amendment that you can use in your garden

Do dispose of liquid materials in the garbage disposal, if they are not hazardous or made of primarily fats or oils. Do dispose of solid items that cannot be composted in the trash. Do dispose of non-compostable items in the trash, instead of sending them down garbage disposal, where they must go to the Wastewater Treatment Plant and be removed through the water treatment process

DON’TS

Don’t put fats, oil and grease down the drain or in the garbage disposal. These materials (known as FOG) solidify in the sewer and cause blockages and sewer overflows. Materials like bacon grease, oil, and other fats should be poured into an empty metal can and allowed to cool and solidify. Then you can dispose of the can in the trash. If there is a small amount of oil or grease in the pan, you can wipe the pan out with a paper towel to remove the grease before washing. Find out more about FOG and how to prevent backups.

Don’t put hazardous materials, such as paint, unneeded medicine, motor oil, pesticides, solvents, and other cleaners, down the garbage disposal.

New Electric Circuits Installation Services

Everything You Need to Know About GFCI Circuit Breakers

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

A GFCI is a receptacle or circuit breaker and is used to increase safety in areas that are prone to the risk of electric shock. They will trip when current from the GFCI line side does not return through the neutral side. The GFCI measures the current from the line, through a load, and back to the neutral. This current needs to be the same. If current from the line does not return to the neutral (i.e. goes to ground instead), the GFCI will trip (power will be turned off coming out of the GFCI). It takes a mismatch of about 5 mA of current (5 milliamps or .005 A) to trip a GFCI.

 

Common GFCI Location Requirements

  • Unfinished basements
  • Kitchen countertops
  • Laundry, utility, and wet bar within six feet of a sink
  • Boathouses
  • Bathrooms
  • Garages and accessory buildings
  • Outdoors
  • Crawl spaces

Testing and Resetting a GFCI

When the test button is pushed or if the GFCI trips, power is shut off to the GFCI and protected receptacles. Pushing the reset button should restore power to the GFCI and receptacles connected to the GFCI load. If a GFCI has no power going to it (the GFCI line) then the test and reset button will not work. See Troubleshoot GFCI Receptacles. GFCIs should be tested about once a month. If it doesn’t trip when testing (but it has power to the line side), then it will need to be replaced.

 

Generally speaking, GFCI receptacles should be used when:

  • A circuit powers some receptacles that need GFCI protection and some that don’t
  • A receptacle is located far away from the panel box
  • You need few GFCI outlets and don’t want the expense of a high-quality GFCI breaker
  • Circuit breaker GFCIs are used as replacements for standard circuit breakers and provide GFCI protection to all receptacles on that individual circuit. The GFCI breaker can be built into or added onto your electrical panel and is typically a little larger and has its own test and reset buttons.

An entire circuit with a GFCI breaker can be used when:

  • Most or all outlets on a circuit need GFCI protection
  • Some outlet locations lack the space for bulky GFCI receptacles
  • You simply prefer the greater protection of the entire circuit
  • Specialty uses require a GFCI breaker, such as heated swimming pools
  • Operating a GFCI Breaker or Receptacle

 

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)

If you’ve ever heard a buzzing noise when you turn a light switch, that noise is from wiring connections arcing. The arcing generates heat that could break down insulation around the wires, which could lead to an electrical fire. You should definitely look into fixing this issue immediately and install an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) to prevent fire hazards.

ACFI uses advanced electronic technology to sense different arcing conditions. There are different technologies by different AFCI manufacturers to measure arcs but they all do the same thing. According to the NEC, AFCI senses line-to-line, line-to-neutral, and line-to-ground (parallel arcs). They could also sense arcing in series with one of the conductors (series arcs). AFCI protects the branch circuit wiring from arcing faults that could start an electrical fire.

AFCI

Another type or arc fault protection is the Combination AFCI breakers (CAFI), which is the combination of parallel and series arc fault protection. Like other arc fault interrupter, this helps protect against fire hazards from arcing of damaged electrical wiring. Square D is a manufacturer of CAFI breakers which have a white test button on them.

Special AFCI circuit breakers protect outlets and device in the circuit. But you can also install AFCI outlets if your circuit is not protected. The NEC doesn’t require AFCI protection on existing installations. However, if you’re extending or updating your circuit, the NEC requires you to install AFCI protection. AFCI is now mandatory in all circuits feeding living spaces such as kitchens, bedrooms, laundry, etc. It’s a good point to note, though, that not all jurisdiction follow the NEC, in this case it would be good to research if AFCI protection is required in your community.

 

How to Install a Ground Fault Breaker

A ground fault circuit breaker is properly called a ground-fault circuit-interrupter breaker, or simply a GFCI breaker. It installs into a home’s service panel, or breaker box, and provides GFCI protection for the entire branch circuit it serves. This installation is commonly used as an alternative to installing GFCI receptacles (outlets) in specific locations where they are required by the local electrical code. A GFCI breaker installs much like a standard single-pole circuit breaker, but there are some important differences to be aware of. Also, the new GFCI breaker must be the proper type and brand for the service panel.

Safety Warning About Service Panels

Installing a circuit breaker involves working near equipment carrying deadly levels of electrical current. While the main circuit breaker and all of the branch circuits in the service panel will be shut off for the GFCI breaker installation, the incoming conductors from the utility service and the lugs (terminals) where the conductors connect to the panel remain live at all times. Never touch the service lines or the lugs while working in the service panel.

Choosing the Right GFCI Breaker

Service panels and breakers are made by many different manufacturers, and panels and breakers are not universally compatible. When installing a new breaker, the breaker must be compatible with the brand and type of panel you have. Consult the breaker and/or panel manufacturer for recommendations.

The new breaker also must carry the appropriate voltage and amperage ratings for the circuit it will protect. Standard branch circuits are rated for 120 volts and either 15 or 20 amps. Circuits rated for 15 amps usually have 14-gauge wiring but may have 12-gauge wiring; both are permissible. A 15-amp circuit must be protected by a 15-amp breaker. Circuits rated for 20 amps must have 12-gauge or larger circuit wiring and must be protected by a 20-amp breaker. Never use a 20-amp breaker on a 15-amp circuit.

Difference Between Standard and GFCI Breakers

Both standard and GFCI breakers are single-pole breakers that occupy one slot on a service panel and connect to one “hot” circuit wire, usually a black wire. The main difference between the two types of breakers involves the neutral connection. With a standard breaker, the neutral circuit wire (usually white) connects to the neutral bus bar on the service panel; it does not connect to the breaker. With a GFCI breaker, the neutral circuit wire connects to the neutral terminal on the breaker. Most GFCI breakers also have a short, coiled, white neutral wire preinstalled on the breaker; this connects to the neutral bus on the panel.

Note: You must connect the hot circuit wire to the “hot” or “load” terminal on the GFCI breaker and connect the neutral circuit wire to the neutral terminal on the breaker. Mixing these up reverses the polarity of the circuit and may mean the breaker does not provide GFCI protection to the circuit—even if the breaker’s test button works normally.

Shutting Off the Power

The most important step for this project is shutting off the power to the service panel by switching off the main breaker. This turns off the power to the panel’s hot bus bars and to all of the branch circuits. It does not turn off the power to the utility service conductors coming in from the utility meter or the terminal lugs they connect to in the panel.

Natural Eye Care Tips

As COVID-19 Disrupts Education, Ophthalmology Residents Adapt

When Dr. Charles DeBoer, a second-year resident in the USC Department of Ophthalmology, learned that barrier shields meant to protect patients and physicians from COVID-19 droplet transfer were nationally backordered, he spent his own time and personal resources to build PPE customized for ophthalmic exams

“I saw a barrier shield design in the paper, ‘Stepping up infection control measures in ophthalmology during the novel coronavirus outbreak: an experience from Hong Kong (2020)’ and thought the way they implemented infection control made sense,” said Dr. DeBoer. “So I copied it for our clinics and we refined the design.” In collaboration with co-resident Dr. Diana Lee and two attending physicians, Drs. Vivek Patel and Annie Nguyen, Dr. DeBoer created barrier shields out of polycarbonate sheets for slit lamps, the microscopes used to look into patients’ eyes.

In addition, residents are continuously implementing the latest COVID-19 industry responses provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). They are strengthening their history taking skills to learn more about their patients’ health histories, and have increased in-depth provider-to-provider discussions with their fellow residents, fellows, and faculty. Furthermore, residents are learning how to use new technology to provide telehealth services to meet patient needs.

Dr. Hua elaborated that patients often call with eye problems that can be resolved over the phone. Several patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have called with concern that they are developing an eye infection, as well. “In this situation, we ensure that the patient has no vision-threatening issues. We educate and counsel them on supportive care, emphasize the importance of social distancing, and make sure they practice good hygiene. As a result, we minimize exposure for everyone.”

Due to the California Governor’s Executive Order, as well as LA County requirements, clinic volume has been drastically limited to only treating patients with emergency eye conditions. The residency program has taken additional measurements to decrease the likelihood of a COVID-19 infection by having residents rotate in teams at LAC+USC, one week on and one week. In addition, KMC clinics are only seeing urgent patients and all elective surgeries have been canceled. Due to these changes, residents are not rotating in Keck clinics.

 

Helpful Winter Eye Care Tips

When the snow and cold of winter begin to roll in, we often take steps to protect ourselves from the impending cold and flu season. But it may surprise you to know that the cold of winter may have a few potential risks in store for our vision as well.

Dry Air

As outdoor temperatures drop during the winter, the air becomes colder and can no longer hold as much atmospheric water vapor–humidity–as warmer air present during the rest of the year. Cold winter winds are especially dehydrating to our eyes and skin which are comprised mostly of water. When the air is dry, the eye surface—which is 99 percent water—loses moisture content to accelerated evaporation and can become dry, dehydrated and irritated.

Reflected UV Radiation

It’s commonly known that excessive UV exposure from direct sunlight puts us at greater risk for skin cancer and can even lead to cataracts—hence the reason we’re advised to wear sunglasses and sunscreen during long periods of outdoor activity. UV radiation can also be reflected from the snow and while it may not always cause a sunburn, it poses just as great a threat to our vision health.

Indoor Air

Dry air isn’t just problematic outside during the cooler months. When we heat our homes during the winter, the cold, dry air from outside is heated up and forced indoors. Warm dry air is even more dehydrating than cool dry air and creates an uncomfortable and dehydrating environment for our eyes and skin. Recirculated indoor air also contains other dehydrating factors such as ambient skin flora and bacteria, in far greater amounts than fresh outdoor air.

Although the cold, dry air of winter may not be ideal for optimal vision health, there are plenty of solutions to keep your eyes clear, comfortable, and healthy, such as:

Keep your eyes moist. Placing houseplants or a humidifier in your home can drastically improve dry indoor air conditions. Moisturizing eye drops can relieve dry eyes as well. Feel free to ask your Vision Source® optometrist which drops would be right for you.

Wear sunglasses in the winter. Choose sunglasses with UV protection to ensure your vision is safe from snow-reflected sunshine.

Consider wearing eyeglasses more frequently than contact lenses. Regular eyeglasses do a better job of protecting your eyes from the cold winter winds and can even help hold heat and moisture close to the eyes.

 

Comprehensive Eye Exam

At Lentz Eye Care in Wichita Kansas and Newton, our optometrist provide thorough eye exams using the latest technology, but we also take time to listen to your needs and explain your options

Routine eye exams include:

Physical eye health exam. The external and internal parts of the eyes are examined using special instruments like a slit lamp biomicroscope, binocular indirect ophthalmoscope and special focusing lenses. Your pupils may be dilated with eye drops for some of these tests.

Refraction. This test determines your eyeglass or contact lens prescription and we perform precise measurement in several different ways to determine the lens formula that will work best for you. Instruments used include computerized autorefractor, phoroptor and retinoscope, but an important part of prescribing lenses is for the doctor to understand how you use your eyes at work and leisure.

Binocular vision testing. We test your eye coordination to be sure your vision is comfortable and that your eyes work well together. This includes an analysis of the eye muscles used for movement, focusing and depth perception. If you have a problem with binocularity, your doctor may correct it with prescription glasses or recommend vision therapy.

Tonometry. This is one of several risk factors for glaucoma that we evaluate. It is a measure of the fluid pressure inside the eye. We offer a couple of ways to do this test: 1) a new generation of air puff test that is very gentle and quiet, 2) Goldmann tonometry, which is a device with a blue light that shines at the eye.

Visual field test. Every comprehensive exam includes a screening of your peripheral vision with a computerized autoperimeter. You click a hand-held button when you see shimmering squares off to the side. It takes about 1.5 minutes per eye and it can help diagnose or rule out neurological disorders of the visual system.

Optos retinal photography. The Optomap scanning laser takes a digital color photograph of the back of your eye. This test is recommended on a routine basis to provide your doctor with a baseline record of the appearance of your retina, internal blood vessels and optic nerve. It is also used to document diseases and anatomical abnormalities and monitor them over time.

Macular Pigment Optical Density. MPOD is a measure of the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. This screening test measures the density of pigment cells in the macula and it is recommended for all patients 18 and over. This test is evaluated along with 10 other AMD risk factors. Patients with a low macular pigment score may take nutritional supplements which will provide protection against macular degeneration and could even restore the pigment layer.

Specular endothelial microscopy. A microscope magnifies the cells thousands of times and the image is captured with a camera. The reason for this exam is to monitor the number, density and quality of endothelial cells that line the back of the cornea. Healthy endothelial cells keep the cornea clear.

 

Eye Health: How to Care For Your Eyes Naturally

From small, practical activities, like looking up a phone number, to life-changing events, like looking into your baby’s eyes for the first time, your eyes play an important role each and every step of the way. Here a few simple ways you can protect and care for them naturally.

Refresh your eyes morning and night

After a night of sleep or a busy day, your eyes will feel less tired and more vibrant when you splash them with water. One of the first things you do upon waking and before going to sleep is to brush your teeth right? So either before, or after brushing your teeth, take a moment to fill your mouth with water and hold it for a few seconds with your eyes closed. This puts a slight pressure from inside to push the eyes outward. Spit the water out. Now splash your eyes and face with slightly warm, or cool water several times. Never use hot or cold water on the eyes.

Remember to relax your eyes

We live amidst a constant stream of information transmitted through cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions. There are movies on airplanes and televisions in taxis. There are touch-screens at the airport to check you in, and touch-screens at the supermarket to check you out. There are apps to check the weather, and GPSs in the car so you don’t get lost. With so much time spent looking at screens, it’s no wonder our eyes feel strained. In fact, there’s even a term for it. CVS. Computer Vision Syndrome

To ease the strain it is important to relax your eyes. Here are some helpful tips:

For every hour spent focusing on the screen, take 10 minutes to take a short walk around the block, or sit by a window and have a glass of water or cup of tea. Relax your eyes by gazing at the horizon, the trees in the distance, or something in nature.

Blink often to renew moisture.

Palm your eyes by rubbing both hands together quickly for several seconds to create a mild heat. Close your eyes and gently place the palms over your eyes for a minute or so. Breathe gently. Repeat 2 or 3 times. If it’s hot outside, or if your eyes are burning and red, instead of rubbing the palms together, run your hands under cool water, dry them, and then gently place them over your closed eyelids.

Adjust your computer screen or seat so that your eyes are slightly higher than the screen, and your gaze is cast ever so slightly downward. This will relieve your neck and face from getting overly stiff.

Exercise your eyes

We give a lot of attention (hopefully!) to making sure our bodies stay strong and flexible, our core muscles don’t weaken, and our hearts stay vital. But how many of us do the same for our eyes? Although doing eye exercises may not keep you from needing glasses, they can help your eyes feel refreshed and vibrant. Here is a simple exercise.

 

Eye Care Tips & Information

We’ve compiled our top eye care tips for you and your loved ones so that you never miss out on special moments. From nutrition to protection, discover expert advice on keeping your eyes healthy through every season of life.

Equip Your Kid to Succeed: Unusual changes in your child’s behavior may be due to changes in their vision. Discover the signs that your loved one needs to see an eye doctor

Eye Care Tips for your Children

Signs Your Kids Might Have Poor Vision: Learn the tell-tale signs that your child might need to see their eye doctor.

Can She See at School?: One in four school-age children have a vision problem – find out if your child does too.

Importance of Eye Exams for Kids: Discover why you should add “eye exam” to your child’s back-to-school list every year.

Why Kids Need Eye Care: Discover the top five reasons why you should bring your child in for an eye exam every year.

Why Your Eye Health Is Vital: When it comes to vision, there’s more than meets the eye. Discover what your eye exam could reveal about your health.

There are ways to help if you know what to look for.

If you have been lucky enough to have never needed eyeglasses or contact lenses in your life, encountering eye problems as you get older can be a bit frustrating. One year Spring is in bloom and the next it might be hard to see leaves on a tree. Difficulty reading or working on a computer is a good indication that your focusing ability may be suffering due to aging eyes Keep reading to learn five of the most common signs that your vision is potentially changing.

You need more light.

A common eye condition is needing more light to see as you age. Brighter lights in your work area or next to your reading chair always have to be on to help make reading and other close-up tasks easier.

Using The Right Equipment For The Window Cleaning

How To Clean Your Windows Like A Professional Window Cleaner

Most professional window cleaners have their own “secret” methods for getting windows sparkling clean. I won’t get thanked by some window cleaners out there for revealing some of their trade secrets, but I thought it would be useful to show you some quick & easy tips on how to clean the windows in your home or office like the professionals do.

A bucket of cold water and a bit of detergent can go a long way towards getting a smudge-free finish when cleaning windows. In fact, what you find with most professional window cleaners is that they don’t polish windows for hours on end as this just ends up leaving streaks which are difficult to remove. Below are some simple ways of ensuring your windows are clean, smudge free and sparkling.

No Need for Harsh, Chemical Detergents

There really is no need to use a chemical based detergent, no matter what promises might be made on the product packaging. Professional window cleaners don’t use harsh chemicals. Not only can they be potentially harmful to the user and the environment, they aren’t particularly effective. In fact most chemical window cleaning products end up leaving visible residues which are almost impossible to remove.

Use Cheap Washing Liquid

All you need to achieve brilliantly clean windows is a bit of washing up liquid and warm water. There’s no need to buy expensive washing up liquid as the cheap stuff will do the job just as well as long as you use just a little bit.

Get Yourself the Right Tools

You don’t need many tools to clean windows, but you must use the right ones if you want to get good results. Here’s the tools you’re going to need to get great looking windows.

 

Take the Pain Out of Window Cleaning

Finally, you can look past winter’s grunge and see the plants poking through in the garden. That is, if you learn how to clean the windows without leaving unsightly streaks and smudges behind. Here are some tips on window cleaning from the experts at Consumer Reports who contributed to our “How to Clean Practically Everything.”

Your supplies. You’ll need two buckets; a sponge; a good-quality rubber squeegee; a clean, lint-free cloth; a chamois cloth; and a commercial cleaning solution or your own. Take down your curtains—it’s a good time to clean them—or loop them over a hanger, out of the way. Clean windows from the top down. Use a slightly damp sponge to apply the window cleaning solution. Wipe across the window with a dampened squeegee blade, then wipe the blade. Follow with a rinse of clean water applied with chamois. Polish off any remaining moisture with the dry cloth.

Start with the window frames. Clean very dirty frames before you start your window cleaning. Vacuum the runners of aluminum window frames and doors, then polish the frames with silicone car polish, which can also be used in channels to help windows slide smoothly. Or lightly oil the channels. Wash painted or vinyl frames with a sponge dipped in warm water and detergent. Rinse with warm, clean water, and towel dry, if necessary.

Then the panes. How often the outsides of windows need cleaning depends on where you live, but the insides usually need cleaning twice a year. Most new double-hung windows have tilting sashes, a handy feature that lets you pivot them inward for easier cleaning. With most, you simply flip a lever to tilt the sash in. But with some, you must pull the sash out of the track.

If you’re painting. Remove new paint spatters with a cloth dipped in water or glass cleaner (for water-based paint) or turpentine (for oil-based paint). Use a single-edged razor to scrape old paint, holding it at an angle to avoid scratching the glass.

 

Tips For Easy, Spotless Window Cleaning

When you think of large office buildings, car dealerships or a plethora of other businesses, the first thing you might visualize are the windows of the building. Windows can make a dramatic visual impact as well as let sunlight in and help a space feel bigger and more open. The benefits of this visual impact can be greatly diminished when your windows are streaked with dirt, grime, and dust. Maintaining the appearance of your business can be made much easier with these helpful window cleaning tips.

Use the Right Products

The best products for cleaning your businesses windows are those that can get the job done without leaving any residue or particles behind. First and foremost, invest in microfiber cloths and avoid using paper towels or tissues. Paper towels can pick up dirt but then, they spread it around to other areas you are cleaning. Instead, use a partially damp microfiber cloth to wipe away smudges and dirt without leaving streaks. These cloths can also be used when dry to wipe away dust.

An effective cleaning solution is also critical to getting your windows to shine. Some glass cleaners use ammonia or alcohol which can leave a film on your windows that attracts dirt and dust. Instead, you can use one part warm water combined with one part white vinegar to get a gentler and equally effective cleaning solution. If you make your own cleaner, be sure to use filtered water. Tap water typically contains hard minerals that can cause streaks. When tap water is put through a filtration or purification system, many of these minerals are pulled out of the water, making it a gentler, less streaky product.

Another useful tool is a professional grade squeegee. These consist of a handle, channel and rubber. The channel holds the rubber in place and can come in varying sizes. The rubber is the part of the squeegee that actually removes the dirt or cleaning solution and will need to be replaced over time. Squeegees are helpful because they are able to evenly clean without damaging the surface of your windows.

Clean at the Right Time of Day

It may not sound like a big deal, but when you clean is almost as important as what you use to clean. Direct sunlight can prevent you from seeing streaks and imperfections in your work. In addition, the heat from the sun can cause your solution to dry quickly leaving stubborn water spots and stains. If you wait until earlier or later in the day, you will be able to more accurately assess any troublespots and leave your windows in tip top shape.

 

SUPER HELPFUL CLEANING TIPS FOR YOUR HOUSE WINDOWS

Cleaning your house windows in Fort Worth can be very tiring and time-consuming. The warm and humid climate may cause your windows to build up slimy and fuzzy dust particles. Moreover, the amalgamation of debris and filth can make your house windows in Forney, rough and dirty.

Old and dirty windows can get stuck, unhinge, or might even fall off from their foundation. If cleaning is overlooked, the moisture on your house windows in Forney, TX, can build up mold growth and water stains. According to research, the inhalation of mold can be very dangerous for your health. The thick layers of mold and debris can spell big trouble for your house windows in Forney.

CHOOSE A CLOUDY DAY

The first thing that must be considered before cleaning your house windows in Forney, is picking the right day for window cleaning. Cold weather makes window cleaning really hard; in fact, it allows bacteria and debris to stick to your house windows in Forney. The chilly wind brings in dust and bacteria that stick to the moisture that is already on the window and formed by the cold temperature.

CLEAN THE CURTAINS

Before cleaning your house windows in Forney, you must remove the curtains and blinds first. Dirty curtains and blinds can make your windows dusty once again. Therefore, it’s important to wash your curtains before the window cleaning process.

AVOID USING HOME REMEDIES

Earlier, people used to clean their house windows by following different home remedies like using a mixture of vinegar and water. This mixture is known to be a good alternative to window cleaning agents.

 

Window Cleaning Tips for Streak-Free Glass

Are your windows overdue for some thorough spring cleaning? Has your full-length bathroom mirror gone a little blurry at the edges? Whether you have family and friends coming over or you’re just finally getting around to a long-neglected chore, mirror and window cleaning takes equal parts elbow grease and know-how to get the job done right.

Achieving streak-free glass doesn’t have to be difficult though. With the right tools and a few tips, you’ll be able to have sparkling windows and shining mirrors in no time.

Do Your Prep Work

Before you break out the glass cleaner, it’s important to do a little prep work first. Although not all glass needs a lot of prep, there are three areas that do: your kitchen, your bathroom, and your outside windows. In the kitchen, grease and dust can accumulate on windows and oven doors which can be a sticky mess.

Choose Effective Cleaners

There are a couple of options available to you for mirror and window cleaners. You have your traditional branded chemical cleaners that you can find at your average grocery store. These are useful because they are specifically designed and marketed as streak-free cleaners. If you tend to avoid chemical cleaners, know that there are many homemade cleaners that you can make with few ingredients.

Commercial Glass Cleaners

Suds are a guaranteed way to create streaked windows. That is why commercial glass cleaners are devoid of suds. Formulated specifically to clean glass, they are a good no-fuss option.

Tips Of Avoiding A Devious Tax Preparation

How to Choose a Tax Preparer for Truckers

Think – Who did your income taxes last year? Did they give you good service? Were you happy with the result? Did they even KNOW trucker taxes?

Over a year ago, the TruckingOffice team made a commitment to go beyond simply providing the very best bookkeeping and record keeping services available. We began a search for the very best in other important services that all professional drivers need, like factoring, insurance and tax services.

 

How to Choose the Right Tax Preparer for Your Finances

If you want your taxes done the right way, it’s a necessary process. These people are responsible for accurately filing your taxes, but they also have access to a lot of personal information. For that reason, trust is the number one factor in this process.

In this post, we’re going to help you choose the right tax professional to get the job done. There are various routes that you can go with this choice, whether it be a tax accountant, an attorney, or an enrolled agent.

Choosing the right one will have implications on your financial situation, which of course, has an impact on your quality of life and the quality of life for those in your household. Let’s find you the right tax professional.

Choosing the Right Tax Preparer

A lot of people hire a tax preparer instead of doing their taxes themselves. However, what most people don’t really think about is that they’re still responsible for any mistakes that occur, not the person that prepares the tax forms

TYPES OF TAX PREPARERS

There are four main types of tax preparers that you’ll be choosing from. They offer different rates and different levels of expertise, so you need to make yourself aware of what each professional is capable of

 

How to Choose An Income Tax Preparer

Seven years ago, Ruby walked into a commercial tax preparation service and walked out thinking she got a sweet deal. She saw advertisements for a $99 special that would cover the cost of preparing her tax forms and would also give her an advance on her return. The preparer estimated what her return would be and gave her more than 50 percent of it up front.

A couple weeks later she returned for the remainder and learned the deal was not so simple. Fees were hidden in her agreement. She ended up paying $340. And she eventually learned that the preparer made tax claims that shouldn’t have been made, which set the IRS on her and slapped her with $2,800 in penalties.

Be on the lookout for cash advances or short-term loans. Usually these deals come with interest rates ranging from 70 to 700 percent, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). And they can come with electronic filing fees and application fees.

Make sure you give clear direction about whether or not you want the company to file your taxes. Never sign a document permitting it to do so if you are unsure. And always insist on receiving copies of all documents that you are required to sign or that identify the terms of a transaction, according to DATCP

Make sure the preparer has a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number), which preparers must use on federal tax returns, said Lisa Schiller, a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. The IRS’s website allows consumers to search for those numbers and see the preparer’s expertise.

 

How to file your taxes for free

Last year, Americans spent $11 billion dollars on tax-preparation services. Often, that’s money down the drain. There are several ways to file your taxes for free, whether electronically or even, in some cases, with the help of an expert. Here’s a rundown of your options and how to choose what’s best for you.

“Free File” software

If you earn less than $69,000 a year, you can use what’s known as “Free File” software. Made available through the IRS in tandem with commercial tax preparers like TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxSlayer

Here’s the catch: To ensure you won’t be charged, it’s important to access the software through the IRS’ website. Using the tools through other means, including searching online or using an account you set up for free in a previous year, could shift you into a paid product

Case in point: Last year, ProPublica revealed that Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, concealed its free file product from search engines and pushed low-income taxpayers into a paid version. The company now faces a lawsuit over the alleged scheme. Intuit denies the allegations

“Free File Fillable Forms”

If you earn more than $69,000 per year, you can still file your taxes without paying — you just can’t do it with software. Enter Free File Fillable Forms. This tool is the electronic equivalent of filling out a paper tax return, offering the most common tax forms as PDFs that you can submit electronically.

 

How to Choose a Tax Preparer

It is not uncommon for individuals to shy away from filing their own tax return, whether it is due to time constraints, fear, or a lack of knowledge. However, selecting the best preparer may be a bit challenging if you are unsure of which type best suits your unique situation.

Simple Returns

Individuals who are single with no dependents and possess minimal assets, if any, are the perfect candidates for storefront tax return preparation. However, if you have dependents and are entitled to deductions and credits frequently taken by taxpayers, such as the charitable contributions and medical expenses, it still may not be necessary to hire a Certified Public Accountant if the storefront preparer is knowledgable and experienced with tax situations similar to yours.

Tax Preparation

According to Forbes, will cost you approximately $200 per hour. Therefore, if you desire to soften the blow to your wallet, you should only enlist their services for complex tax situations.

Grey Areas

If you have scrutinized the tax code searching for the answer to a specific tax questions to no avail, it is in your best interest to hire a seasoned professional. Otherwise, cutting corners for the sake of cost-savings may come back to haunt you in the form of penalties resulting from audit findings.

Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, there is a ton of information to consider when preparing your tax return. Often, small oversights or mistakes, such as understated income, could end up costing you big if you are audited by the IRS. On your team also helps with tax planning throughout the year, so you will not be hit with a hefty tax bill when it is time to file your annual return.

How To Prevent & Get Rid Of Silverfish

How to Get Rid of Silverfish Without Chemicals

What are Silverfish?

Lepisma saccharina, or the common silverfish, is a wingless insect that wriggles around when it moves. Silverfish bugs get their name because of its silvery color and strong resemblance to a fish. They rely mostly on carbohydrates to survive that come from starches and natural sugars.

Silverfish and their cousins the firebrats are nocturnal bugs that are usually between a half and one inch in length. They also have two long antennae at the back of their abdomens and have a set of eyes at the front of their bodies.

Firebrats and silverfish are considered to be some of the most damaging insects because of their ability to multiply quickly and destroy property. They will continuously feast on whatever food sources they find in the house and are quick to move around the rest of the house in search of more food.

Over the course of their lifetime, an adult silverfish can have as many as 66 offspring. If you have silverfish in your house, they are likely seeking food, a better environment, or more space to grow their population.

Silverfish find their way into homes through cracks and gaps around doors, windows, and walls, as wells as through foundation cracks. They can even find their way inside on boxes or bags from other infested locations. Once they see a hospitable place, they will likely remain there until you get rid of them.

 

Where do Silverfish Live?

Silverfish prefer dark, damp, moist areas — as do a variety of other household pests. Fortunately, this means that your efforts to get rid of them will also kill off many other bugs in your home, too.

They love the taste of paper and wet wood. You’ll typically find them around books, magazines, cereal boxes, storage boxes, and behind wallpaper, along with damp or rotting window sills or cupboards.

The best places to look for them are:

  • Bathrooms
  • Under sinks
  • Laundry room
  • Basement
  • Closets
  • Attics

 

Home Remedies for Silverfish and Fish Moth

Spread Boric Acid Along the Floor
Boric acid is an excellent weapon against household bugs like silverfish bugs. When ingested, boric acid can cause havoc in the bug’s stomach. The powder can also scratch and dry out the fish moth’s exoskeleton due to its abrasive nature. Spread the boric acid along all corners of the floor and in dark spaces such as the wardrobe and bedroom cabinets. Boric acid doesn’t kill pests immediately so you may not notice any effects until a week has passed.

Boric acid should be used carefully despite being a substance that occurs naturally. All safety precautions (e.g. masks, gloves) should be taken to limit the powder’s exposure to your body. Pet owners and families with young children should use food-grade diatomaceous earth as a safer alternative to boric acid.

Sprinkle Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth has a similar effect to boric acid. To insects, diatomaceous earth can feel like shattered glass due to its microscopic sharp edges. Please make sure you get the food-grade version and not the pool-grade version. Sprinkle a liberal amount of food-grade diatomaceous earth on common silverfish hiding spots, such as bookcases and wardrobes. Be persistent and patient. Re-apply the powder once every few weeks and you should eventually see the silverfish bugs disappear.

Reduce Moisture with a Dehumidifier
Silverfish bugs like to relocate to dark, damp places. You should see an immediate difference after the humidity level is reduced in your home. It’s worthwhile investing in a dehumidifier if you live in an area that has high humidity levels. In some cases, the high humidity may be due to some sort of house maintenance issue, such as a leaking pipe or a leaking roof. Repairing these issues should make a huge difference in the presence of fish moths and other bugs that thrive in high-humidity environments.

Place Cedar Blocks to Repel Silverfish Bugs
Some studies have concluded that cedar can repel pests like silverfish bugs due to the strong aroma that’s given off by the cedar essential oil.

If you don’t mind the scent of cedar then consider placing some cedar blocks in various places around your home, such as the cabinets and windowsills. Cedar hangers may also help keep the silverfish bugs away from your valuable clothes.

Discard Old Newspapers and Cardboard Boxes
Silverfish bugs and fish moths love to feed on starchy paper-based material. Some homeowners have had their valuable books ruined due to a lack of control against the silverfish population. One of the first steps to eliminating silverfish bugs is to discard any unneeded paper materials. This includes old newspaper, cardboard boxes, old magazines, and crumbling wallpaper. You should also try to donate any books that you are no longer going to read. Hoarding will only make it more likely for silverfish bugs to appear in your home.

 

Seal Up Food

You don’t want to pour out a bowl of your favorite cereal just to find it’s swimming with these squirming insects. Penn State recommends sealing dry goods like cereal, pasta, rice, quinoa, flour, sugar, and pet food in sturdy, airtight containers to prevent silverfish from reaching these tempting food sources.

 

Keeping Silverfish Away

I followed up with these steps about six months later. Whilst I still found the odd few Silverfish, it was nothing to what I had found the first time. Also, I had no more damaged items in my wardrobe, which was a relief. Ever since, I make sure to re-do this method once a year and rarely if ever do I find any.

  • Make it a habit to spray some lavender oil around the skirting boards or cupboard doors to refresh the scent and keep those nasties away in between your big cleanings.
  • Try and leave areas as clutter-free as possible.
  • Keep paper to a minimum. If you do need to store it, try using plastic containers that are air-tight. There are a few key things that Silverfish are attracted to, but paper is one of them.

 

Seal Up Food

You don’t want to pour out a bowl of your favorite cereal just to find it’s swimming with these squirming insects. Penn State recommends sealing dry goods like cereal, pasta, rice, quinoa, flour, sugar, and pet food in sturdy, airtight containers to prevent silverfish from reaching these tempting food sources.