Pool maintenance tips

– Remove the pool cover (not everyone thinks a pool should be covered, and not everyone does, so this particular advice doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone). Fold and store the cover in a clean, dry place.

– Check the pump, skimmer and filter. Make sure all your mechanical equipment is clean and functional. Vacuum the pool if necessary. Newly plastered arizona custom pools should not be vacuumed for several weeks, until the plaster on the bottom and sides hardens.

– Check your test kit. Make sure it’s in good working order. Accuracy is very important to the life span of a pool. That means each season you need to buy new reagents to get accurate readings. Faulty testing-reagents can mean false answers and a costly and wasteful misuse of chemicals.

– Take a sample of the pool water. Use a clean plastic container. Take the sample, about a quart, to a dealer for testing. Almost all swimming pool companies offer this service free of charge.

– Check the chlorine level. Determine the amount of chlorine in the water and write it down. Don’t adjust it yet – wait until a later retest. The ideal amount is 1.0 to 1.5 ppm (parts per million parts of pool water). A reading below 0.6 means you don’t have enough chlorine power; above 3.0 you’ve got too much. You’re wasting chlorine and money.

– Check and adjust total alkalinity. This is the measurement of the alklines in the water. They act as buffering agents, preventing big changes in the pH and avoiding corrosion and staining. In plaster pools, a measurement of 80 to 125 ppm is ideal; in vinyl, painted and fiberglass pools, it should be 125 to 150 ppm.

Total alkalinity should be adjusted before adjusting pH. Pool supply stores sell chemicals to boost or lower total alkalinity.

– Test and adjust the pH. This is the most important pool test.

The pH reading is the degree of acidity or alkalinity of pool water. The correct pH range for plaster pools is 7.4 to 7.6; for non-masonry pools like vinyl, painted and fiberglass, 7.6 is preferable. Frequent pH adjustments may be necessary in a new plaster pool before the plaster cures and settles down.

A low pH indicates over-acidity. This causes chlorine to dissipate fast, and leads to corrosion of pool parts and damage to pool surfaces.

A high pH reduces chlorine’s sanitizing strength. This could result in growth of bacteria and algae, clouding of water and scaling on pool pipes, equipment and surfaces.

– Measure stabilization. This is the amount of stablizer or cyanuric acid in your pool. Ideally it should be about 40 ppm – this prevents sunlight from dissipating chlorine.

– Check calcium hardness. Make sure the calcium hardness is not too low to prevent etching of plaster and corrosion of metal equipment. The desired range in plaster pools is 200-250 ppm. A slightly lower range of 175-225 ppm is needed for all other pools.

– Add a superchlorinator to the pool water to kill any microbes that might be resistant to the ordinary daily treatment. A “burnout” treatment oxidizes water-soluble, non-filterable swimmer wastes and assures comfortable swimming.

– Retest free (usable) chlorine and pH. Adjust if necessary.

Real estate agents open up with tips on open houses

Real estate agents offer the following suggestions for sellers planning open houses and for those coming to open houses to look.

For sellers – Have the house in tip-top shape – clean, repaired, uncluttered and maximally appealing. Ed Anderson of Great Minneapolis Real Estate said the house should look as if it’s just been cleaned professionally and the owners are out of town.

“The house should be made to look as close as possible to a model home,” said Win Naughton of RE/MAX Real Estate Guide in Bloomington.

– Children and pets should be elsewhere so people can concentrate on the property, not activity, Naughton said. “Remove most of the personal stuff” so buyers will look at the house, not the photos or possessions, she said. “Have some fresh flowers, make sure the house is odor-free. Make sure there’s nothing to bar free flow of traffic, and turn on every light. You want the home to look as bright and cheerful as possible.”

– Then leave for the duration. “Definitely, the seller should be gone because the person coming through who’s at all interested will feel very uncomfortable looking in the closets, the cupboards,” Naughton said. “And they won’t ask the questions they really should because they’ll be afraid of offending. . . . People will look in closets to see how big they are. If they don’t look there, they’re not seriously interested, they’re looking for decorating ideas. When we know somebody is interested is they’re getting into the details.”

Burnet Realtor Dean Trampe said that people who gripe about something in the house are seriously interested, “because they see themselves coping with it.”

Bob Glancy, a Burnet agent, said that some buyer remarks might offend owners but may be small matters easily handled by the real estate agent.

– Put all valuables away and ask that the agent have a guest register. The agent probably will do this anyway; it’s some protection against theft, although people sometimes give phony names, perhaps so they won’t be called by the agent. Naughton said the National Association of Realtors has suggested agents ask to see driver’s licenses or other identification.

– Put the toilet seat down.

For buyers – If you have signed an exclusive buyer-representation agreement with an agent, and he or she is not with you, tell the agent holding the open house right away. That will set relationships straight and prevent problems later.

Remember that the agent holding the open house represents the seller. Naughton said that even unwitting signs of interest can give the seller extra negotiating power. She recommended going to the house with your agent to avoid giving away advantage. “If you get all excited and disclose things, they’re required to disclose those things to the seller, and that could affect the price you pay.”

– Don’t smoke in the house.

– If you’re a neighbor who’s just curious, go on in. Not all agents may feel the same about this, but they thrive on contacts; neighbors have friends or relatives who might want to buy, and some agents even invite neighbors.

– If you have young children, have them under control.

“Hold your children by the hand,” Naughton said. “Children can be destructive or get into something that the parent doesn’t want them to do. The property is the seller’s.”

– Sign in and take an information sheet. Feel free to ask questions it doesn’t answer.

– Common courtesy is in order, Naughton said. Buyers “have a right to look into anything that’s a structural part of the house: Closets are OK, but medicine cabinets is going too far.” You may be asked to remove your shoes, especially if it’s wet outside, the carpet is light-colored or the floors are especially nice. And while this delicate matter may not be encouraged, Glancy said he’s never refused to let any open-house visitor use the toilet.

Anti-slip rug and non-slip underlays

Rugs that creep – be it over carpet or smooth flooring – are not only unsightly and annoying but they can be dangerous too. Anti-slip rug underlay is the answer, a product which comes in various forms.

Many consumers are quite simply floored by the problem of the creepy crawlies: rugs which just won’t stay put. Slipping, creeping, call it what you will, the answer lies in some sort of anti-slip underlay which is placed between the rug and the floor. There are two basic types: a plastic mesh and a non-woven sheeting.

Jaymart markets Rugger, a non-woven fibrous material which is both fine and light. With a peel-off backing this tacky material is cut to size with scissors and stuck on to the back of the rug. Suitable for use over carpets and smooth floors, it is peelable, ideal for temporary situations. It comes in 30m rolls in 90cm and 150cm widths and in seven mat sizes: 60 by 130cm; 90 by 150cm; 120 by 180cm; 130 by 190cm; 150 by 240cm and 190 by 290cm.

Gates Rubber markets Roberts Palma Allstop and Roberts Allstop Plus, two qualities of compressed polyester fibre. This spring underpadding is coated both sides with a pressure-sensitive adhesive. The product is dry to the touch, has a slightly rubbery texture, and, says Gates, when placed under a rug the grip is phenomenal. Both products are reusable, moth-proof and suitable for use over carpet and smooth flooring. Palma Allstop is 2mm thick and comes in three roll sizes: 60cm, 80cm and 120cm wide, all 50m rolls, and in four rug sizes: 1.60 by 2.30m, 1.90 by 2.90m, 2.40 by 3.40m, and 2.90 by 3.90m. Roberts Palma Allstop Plus is 5mm thick, available in five roll sizes: 60cm, 80cm, 120cm, 185cm and 240cm wide, all 25m rolls, and in four rug sizes: 1.60 by 2.30m, 1.90 by 2.90m, 2.40 by 3.40m, and 2.90 by 3.90m.

Stikatak Rug Anti-Kreep is highly user friendly. It is completely washable and comes with full instructions for use printed on it. It is used over carpet with the name side up, and on smooth floors with the name side down. Available in three widths: 60cm, 90cm and 120cm wide, all 25m rolls.

Ako is a range of four rug underlays, designed for different situations. For rugs on carpet, Ako Stop is a rayon net with a flocked finish of nylon fibres. Machine washable it comes in five widths: 80cm, 120cm, 160cm, 180cm and 240cm, all 30m rolls. For rugs on polished floors, Ako Super is a pvc coated net in five sizes: 80cm, 120cm, 160cm, 180cm and 240cm wide, all 30m rolls. Ako Top Fleece can be used over carpet and hard flooring. Coated both sides with an acrylic adhesive, this 4mm thick needlepunch fleece comes in rolls: 80cm, 120cm, 160cm, 190cm, and 240cm wide, all 30m rolls and in cut sizes: 80 by 150cm, 120 by 190cm and 160 by 225cm. Ako Elastic is for use on hard floors. In two thicknesses, 2.5mm and 4.5mm, it is claimed to have excellent insulating qualities.

Non-slip underlays

Dycem markets three non-slip rug underlays, all made from coated polyester, which holds rugs in place by friction not adhesive. Miracle-Hold is for use under rugs on carpets, and Hold-Tight for rugs on hard floors. Cushion-Grip, also for rugs on hard floors, is thicker for extra cushioning. Fully washable, Miracle-Hold and Hold-Tight are available in cut sizes: 50 by 110cm, 80 by 140cm, 120 by 170cm and 170 by 260cm; and in 30m rolls in 90cm and 180cm widths. Cushion Grip comes in 20m rolls only, 90cm and 180cm wide.

Anderson Exports, which has specialised in rug anti-creep, anti-slip products for more than 10 years, markets four products. The most popular is Foxi Super Plus, which consists of a printed foam bonded to a ‘fleece’, is sticky on both sides, and is said to be equally effective on carpet and smooth floors. It is available in six pre-pack rug sizes: 70 by 140cm, 90 by 150cm, 140 by 200cm, 170 by 240cm, 200 by 300 cm and 240 by 340cm, and in 25m rolls, 60cm, 92cm, 125cm and 185cm wide. Haltrug is a similar product, aimed at the budget market, available in 35m rolls in the same widths as Foxi, and as cut pieces: 70 by 140cm, 90 by 150cm and 140 by 200cm.

For smooth floors, Anderson markets two products: Stoppy, a polyprop netting coated in latex, and Stargrip a rubber mesh. Both are available 120cm and 180cm wide in 30m rolls.

… and now for something completely different

Neither a fibrous sheeting nor a netting, PozziGrip, manufactured in the UK by Pozzani, is made from a mixture of pvc and polyester. It looks woven but isn’t. MD Steve Malloney says, ‘We’ve tried to get a patent for this product, but have so far been unsuccessful. I can’t tell you exactly what it is made from or the way it is made, as that’s what makes it unique.’

Said to be suitable for use over carpet and smooth floors – though it works best on very smooth surfaces such as marble – it is available in a roll, 30cm wide and 3.6m long.

Tips to cure a roving rug from Centerton Flooring Provider

Place rugs on a level surface to avoid uneven wear.

Vacuum regularly under rugs with loose underlays, but unless you like flying, don’t polish any hard floors underneath.

Don’t use an anti-slip underlay on a new carpet which is still shedding a lot of loose fibres as it will be ineffective.

Most products should be cut one or two inches smaller than the rug. Make sure they are completely flat before putting the rug on top.

Although there is no evidence that they damage the pile, don’t use an anti -slip underlay with a fine silk, old or precious carpet.

Pest control the natural way

See a crawling cockroach and your natural instinct may be to grab a spray can and saturate the roach until all antenna movement ceases.

You sigh, relieved that the encounter is over.

But it really is not, says Bill Ezzo, a professional exterminator.

Dangerous poisons float into the air or remain on the floor and wall, where children and pets can touch them.

Ezzo promotes a safer, natural approach to the bug battle, one that doesn’t start with an aerosol can.

“You have to think like a roach to control them,” said Ezzo, owner of Earth’s Best Pest Management, who took a course at Queens College in New York in which the professor came to class dressed as a roach.

Use a flashlight, get down on your knees, Ezzo said. Go where they go.

Cupboards, kitchen sink pipes, flaps of cereal boxes. “They love the glue,” Ezzo said.

Then arm yourself with information instead of poisons. Roaches love moist areas. Keep pipes dry by wrapping them in steel wool. Put cereal in plastic containers.

Ezzo gave his tips of natural mesa pest control Monday night at Republic Health Foods on N Dale Mabry Highway. Usually, the store hosts seminars on such topics as protecting yourself from pollution or building up the immune system.

Monday night, it was roaches, ants and fleas.

“Every time they spray my apartment, I feel poisoned,” said Sheila Hunt of Carrollwood. “There must be an alternative.”

Her German shepherd, Butterscotch, once had fleas. Sprays and flea bombs made Hunt only more ill. But boric acid from the laundry aisle of the grocery store got rid of Butterscotch’s itching permanently.

Similar methods may exist for the roaches in her apartment, Hunt thought.

They do, Ezzo told her. Any bug can be controlled naturally, he said. Grain insects in your flour? Put the container in the freezer. The sudden change from hot to cold kills them. Roaches? Get out the vacuum.

“Physically take them out,” he said.

Wasps? Wait for the queen to leave, then pry the nest off with a screwdriver and step on the nest.

Ladybugs can get rid of unwanted insects in the garden. Certain types of nematodes, microscopic worms, also can be used. They’re bought in dry pellets and when attached to a hose pipe come alive and swim into the lawn to kill pesky bugs.

Boric acid seeps into a flea’s ventricles and destroys an enzyme that helps it digest its food. The bug starves to death, Ezzo said.

The remains of a single-cell algae, mined from the sea and sold in a powder form called diatomaceous earth, nicks insects’ exoskeletons and dehydrates them.

These methods are safer for the environment and people, Ezzo said, whose New Port Richey company provides the service throughout the bay area.

“We have to think about what we are doing now,” Anna Gervait said. “Who knows how all those additives will affect us in 20 years.”

How to prevent basement flooding and the proper methods of cleaning up after a flood

Turn downspouts from your eavestroughs away from your house and allow them to drain as far away as possible. Water from downspouts will saturate ground surrounding the foundation and flood the basement as it seeps through weeping tiles.

Weeping tiles are perforated pipes running around base of foundation that collect excess moisture in soil and channel it through Brooklyn sewer pipes to storm sewers. If too much water is seeping into ground near the foundation, it can flood weeping tiles and back up into basement. Improve drainage around your home by building up ground near foundation, sloping away from walls. Install a back-up valve and a sump pump. The back-up valve will still allow water to flow down the basement drain, but will prevent sewer water from backing up the pipe. A sump pump can be installed on the sewer line to pump excess water out of the pipe and into the yard.

Do not install back-up valve without sump pump if there are plumbing outlets in basement. Without a pump to relieve pressure, the backup valve will force sewage through toilets, sinks or showers in basement.

CLEANING UP AFTER THE FLOOD: Check your insurance policy to see if it includes sewer back-up coverage. Contact your agent immediately. Take photographs of the affected area. Perform emergency repairs and remove all items that have been damaged or destroyed, but do not dispose of any damaged goods without your insurance adjustor’s approval. Discard contents of freezers or refrigerators exposed to floodwater. Also discard products in jars, bottles and cans if there are signs of seepage. The city is advising that no major renovations or replacements be made until September, when the flood risk will be lower. Utilities and services: All electrical wiring that was flooded must be inspected by an electrician before it can be turned back on. Winnipeg Hydro or Manitoba Hydro will perform an inspection at no charge. All natural gas appliances should be inspected by experts. Furnaces and appliances: Should be inspected before they are turned on. Using an electrical appliance before it is inspected can burn out the motor or cause an electric shock. All insulated appliances must have soaked insulation removed and replaced. Any appliance used to prepare food should be cleaned and disinfected. If you smell gas in your basement, call the utility immediately. Do not attempt to repair floors until they are completely dried out. Floors can be cleaned with a combination of borax (five to 10 per cent) and a few drops of kerosene. Soaked doors should be laid down flat on ground with doorknobs removed. This will limit warping. Rugs and carpets: Soaked flooring should be removed quickly and allowed to dry to protect against mildew. Thoroughly vacuum and then clean with commercial rug shampoo containing disinfectant. Wood furniture: Should be allowed to dry outside if possible. Upholstered furniture: After brushing mould off surface, wipe upholstery with a sponge soaked in soap suds or 50-50 solution of rubbing alcohol and water.

TAKE PROPER PRECAUTIONS: Scrub all skin surfaces that come in contact with floodwater. Salmonella, Shigella and Hepatitis A can be contracted if proper hygiene is not observed.

Real estate experts offer home sellers tips when selecting a listing agent

While there are many factors to consider when selecting a listing agent in today’s market, sellers should carefully choose a real estate agent who is knowledgeable, reputable and will ensure their best interests are safeguarded, according to Buyers Home Warranty Co.

“Determining the agent’s level of expertise and knowledge of market changes is particularly important in this real estate climate,” said Ray Adams, president of Buyers Home Warranty Co. “Lack of knowledge can not only cost real estate agents and their clients the sale, but it can often lead to a lawsuit. That’s why we offer a continuing education course on consumer protection for real estate professionals statewide.”

First of all, sellers should refer to various sources of recommendations when searching for listing agents to interview.

“For example, recommendations by the local chamber of commerce and board of realtors are excellent sources as well as referrals by friends and relatives,” said Jim Paul, broker of Century 21 Paul & Associates in Burbank.

After selecting several real estate agents to interview, what questions should sellers consider asking? Paul listed the following points to discuss when interviewing real estate agents:

— Experience in real estate

— Number of years working full-time in real estate

— Ranking in the company

— Company’s scope of resources available to agents

— Strengths in listing or selling

— Type of continuing education

— Knowledge of changes in the market

— Type of marketing plan, how listing, negotiations and escrow

are handled

— View towards disclosure, inspections and home warranties.

In addition, Paul suggested that sellers select Evergreen Colorado Real Estate agents who recognize the importance of recommending a physical inspection of the property, full disclosure and a home warranty.

“Real estate agents who are looking out for their seller’s best interests should advise them to get a physical inspection of the property up-front, determine any issues that need to be addressed, and then disclose all the facts to potential buyers,” explained Paul.

“Full disclosure of known defects often relieves sellers from liability when disputes erupt. Furthermore, providing a home warranty can protect them from future liability of many unknown defects, or system and appliance failures that arise after the close of escrow,” he added.

Mary Krueger, broker of The Western Group, an independent real estate company with offices throughout the Inland Empire and Anaheim, agrees that anyone hiring a real estate agent should do so in the same manner as hiring an employee.

“Ask for a resume and references, but most important, be sure to check references,” said Krueger. “Sales awards don’t have as much relevance as recommendations from past clients.”

“It’s also important not to necessarily list with the highest bidder,” she continued. “Real estate agents who are realistic about pricing demonstrate they are looking out for their clients’ best interest, since an overpriced home may actually sell for less than those more realistically priced.”

“There’s a trend in today’s market where sellers are negotiating the listing agent’s commission. But sellers should remember the saying, `you get what you pay for,'” cautioned Krueger. “Agents who accept less commission may be more inclined to take short cuts because they’re doing a job for less money.”

Backed by veterans who have been involved with the home warranty industry since its inception in the early 1970s and were responsible for founding the Home Warranty Association of California (HWAC), Buyers Home Warranty Co. is recognized as a leading firm which provides service contracts covering the repair or replacement of major home systems and built-in appliances throughout California.

The company well exceeds statutory requirements set by the California Department of Insurance, maintaining its solid financial position by securing its reserves in cash assets. As a member of the HWAC, Buyers Home Warranty Co. abides by a professional code of ethics and ensures a high standard of practice within the industry.

Tips for home sellers in a bind: know market price, appearance key to success

With the real estate market still a bit sluggish at best, homeowners eager to sell their homes and move up or out of the area are looking to local real estate agents for the best in marketing tips. While fancy gimmicks may entice a few gawkers, the tried-and-true method is what really works: The house that is priced right and is in pristine condition is the house that sells.

Pricing a house properly requires knowledge of the market and of resales in a particular subdivision, information that any real estate agent can easily supply.

Eighty percent of the work involved in selling a house is pricing it right. If you price your house slightly above the market, you are going to eliminate a lot of buyers. If you price it slightly below the market, you are going to create a lot of excitement among Realtors, who will bring more potential buyers to your home. Keeping your price low is the most important element to selling.

While sellers may find it frustrating to realize they could have sold their property at a higher price a few years ago, they need to understand that prices change rapidly.

You have to look at pricing within a 60- to 90-day range, and it doesn’t matter what houses sold for two or three years ago. The summer months could be different from spring or fall, and 2012 could be completely different from 2011. And buyers will be even more aware of current prices than sellers are.

While pricing your home at the right level should appeal to buyers and their real estate agents, another method of generating interest is to offer an above-market commission to the selling agent.

Increasing the commission gives Realtors more of an incentive to bring buyers to your house, since they will earn more money for selling your house than someone else’s. The more traffic you have, the greater chance that you will sell your house.

Another option for sellers is to offer some financing assistance to purchasers.

Sometimes sellers are aware that buyers need a little help getting into a property. Helping a bit with down payment or closing costs can be good incentive for a buyer. Purchasers need to feel they are getting a decent deal, so sellers really need to start out with a reasonable offer and not overinflate their asking price.

Step 2 of the selling equation, after proper pricing, means getting your house into marketable condition.

Finding out the current value of your house means you need to compare it with other houses in your neighborhood in terms of both price and condition. Some homeowners have deferred maintenance on their home and should expect to replace items or accept a lower price than other homes in the area.

But getting a home into good condition does not always require purchasing all new appliances or replacing the roof. It can mean as little as washing the windows and the carpet, doing a few minor repairs and clearing the clutter out of the basement.

You have to qualify the requirement of getting your house in good condition, since a seller will not necessarily get back dollar for dollar what they have spent.

The point is that if your carpet is 20 years old and used up, you need to replace it in order to enhance your house and make it more salable . Homeowners naturally are trying to hold onto every cent they have and spend as little as possible, but if you have lots of equity, it just makes sense to enhance your house to get a better price.

Homeowners are often unaware of the condition of their home and have become so accustomed to its flaws that they don’t notice them. Having a third party, such as a real estate agent, look at your house helps a seller see his property through unbiased eyes.

Sellers need to see their house the way a prospective purchaser would see their house. Many times sellers have only one chance for the buyer to see that house, so they need to make all the necessary repairs and clean the house (or have it professionally cleaned) before it is put on the market.

Real estate agents agree that selling a home requires a lot of work in addition to the basic cleaning.

Buyers are very aware of the approach to a house, and first impressions are very important. So front doors should be cleaned or painted, and shabby storm doors should be replaced. The grass should be cut, windows washed and carpet cleaned. Sellers should have a yard sale or call the Salvation Army and clear out all the clutter before showing the property. They should also turn on all the lights to make the house look brighter.

A home warranty guarantees that appliances and heating systems will be repaired for one year, and they only run $200 to $400. This offers great peace of mind to buyers.

As if cleaning a property and pricing it right weren’t enough, there are a few more things sellers should (and shouldn’t) do to help market their homes.

Whenever a property is listed, sellers should make it available whenever a Realtor wants to show it. Realtors and buyers are often on tight schedules, especially when the buyers are from out of town, and you can’t always bring people back at another time.

When the house is being shown, sellers should restrain themselves from following the orange beach real estate agent and prospective buyers through the house, since buyers are more willing to ask questions and perhaps be more critical when the homeowner is not present.

Children, pets and guests should be kept out of the way as much as possible when potential buyers are in the house.

It’s important that sellers stay out of the way as much as possible, since it is the house that is selling, not the people. It matters much more that buyers like your home than whether they like you.

New Home Buyers Likely To Remodel

When today’s home buyers settle into their houses, they are bringing more than just furniture – they are bringing blueprints for new home additions and alterations.

According to a consumer survey by Professional Builder magazine, 58 percent of tract home buyers expect to be able to build new additions to their just-purchased homes, while 51 percent expect to be able to add or alter doors and atrium windows.

“Most people know what they want in a home, such as a bay window in the kitchen. When they find that almost-perfect house, many people are choosing to remodel it into their dream home,” said Randy Iles, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Pella Corporation. “Remodeling projects like these are a lot easier if you have the advice of an experienced professional and know where to look for home improvement products.”

When selecting materials for a remodeling job, home remodelers should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each supplier, according to Iles. “Take your business where you’re comfortable with the sales team’s knowledge, where the product quality is superior, and where the product is backed with professional customer service and an excellent atrium windows warranty,” Iles said.

You can do atrium windows review and a visual inspection of your roof, concentrating especially on the area near the eavestroughs and the peaks. You are looking for a couple of things: If your house is new, check for missing shingles that may have been loosened by winds and also see if ice is building up just above your eavestroughs. This may be a sign they are blocked. If you have large trees beside your house check to see if the branches are hitting the roof.

The windows used in most new homes are far superior in energy efficiency to the original windows in many older homes.

If you have a chimney, get a flashlight and take a good look inside to ensure there are no obstructions or heavy soot buildup. When was the last time you changed the air filter in the furnace? How is the humidifier working ? A quick way to check if you have the appropriate amount of moisture in your home is by looking at your windows – if they are sweating, especially on the bottom third, then your humidifier is probably set for too much moisture. If the windows are condensation- free, are you getting shocks from your carpets? Is your throat dry when you wake up in the morning? You probably need to increase the moisture.

A property purchase by doing the right research

1. RESEARCH your desired location. It is one of the fundamentals of the Hudson WI real estate market that won’t change no matter what technological advances are made in the decades to come. Be prepared to put in a lot of work on building in the right location. Ask yourself the basic questions. Are there good public transport options, does the area have a nice feel to it, is it close to shopping centres and community facilities like a park to stroll around in?

2. THINK about the future. Buying a home is exciting but it is important to be as clinical as possible and factor in some of your future needs. It is hard work for young couples to build up a deposit, and if you are planning a family make sure your property has enough bedrooms to accommodate an expanding brood, so you don’t have to sell and buy again too soon.

3. INVESTIGATE school zones. Hand-in-hand with your research on the right geographical areas as you search for a home is a detailed look at school zones and the quality of schooling available in the area. Things can obviously change at a school but if you aim to send your children to a specific state school, then it pays to check on the borders of the school zone.

4. ASK for pre-approval. To give yourself extra confidence as you search for the right property, talk to your bank and go through the pre-approval process for a loan. It’s usually fairly simple and will give you a clear idea of how much you can afford. In this way you will be able to pinpoint areas that are within your price range.

5. TALK to your financial institution about the right loan for you. There has been a lot of volatility in global financial markets and economic conditions can change quickly. Make sure you examine your options. Crunch the numbers carefully and be conservative in your budgeting so you can comfortably handle repayments whatever comes along.

A safer approach to heights

Falls from heights are the largest cause of serious injuries in the agriculture, construction, manufacturing and service industries, according to the UK Health and Safety Executive.

In light of this fact the European Union has introduced revised health and safety legislation, enforcing new standards and making the provision of appropriate fall protection mandatory.

From this month it is compulsory for all safety equipment used in the EU to carry the new CE mark which guarantees that it meets a rigorous set of quality and performance standards. Companies whose employees work at heights, be they builders, oil rig workers or window cleaners, must ensure that they use safety equipment of the appropriate standard.

The British company BTP  developed Sayfglida, a permanent safety and support system which is installed during the construction of bridges, buildings, etc and remains permanently in place so that they can be maintained and repaired.

The trick with fall arrest systems is to dissipate the energy of a fall through the harness, shock absorber and overhead steel line. This latter spans the whole length of the structure and is computer designed to its dimensions and specifications: it must not be too taut, otherwise a faller would come to a jolting halt, but it must not be too elastic, or the experience would be akin to a bungee jump.

The fall protection harness is designed to spread the energy of the fall over those parts of the body which can best withstand pressure, like the trunk, thighs and shoulders. The shock absorber is a concertina of material which rips open sequentially, absorbing energy as it does so.