Home & Garden Posts

Make Sure your Family is Always Prepared for a Disaster

Natural disasters are a serious problem in many parts of the world and can cause distress, disruption, and in many cases, casualties. If you live in an area prone to such calamities, be prepared to react quickly.

Have a detailed emergency plan in case your city is hit by a hurricane, a blizzard, or an earthquake. It’s also important to have a survival kit with food and medical supplies, and to have a basic understanding of CPR procedures if someone, unfortunately, gets hurt.

Learn more about the different ways to be prepared for a disaster:

Get a Survival Kit

Earthquake Survival Kit

Image via Flickr by Global X

You should have enough supplies to last at least two weeks, as you never know how long you’ll need to survive on your own. So, not only will you need plenty of nonperishable food, but you’ll also need one gallon of water per person day. Make sure you also have batteries, maps, tools, radios, and a week’s supply of medications (think of it as a month-long camping trip).

Create an Emergency Plan

When there’s an emergency plan in place, you just need to focus on following the right steps instead of being clueless about what to do. All your family members need to know the escape routes and meeting points close to your home, and you should also have everybody’s contact information in one place in case someone gets lost.

Learn Life-Saving Skills

Unfortunately, when disaster strikes, even if you’re extremely prepared, someone can still get hurt. So, it’s essential to have at least one member of the family trained in first aid emergencies, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), and AED (automated external defibrillator). These skills can save someone’s life in the event of a cardiac arrest.

Have a Back-Up Generator

Power outages are common in areas plagued by natural disasters. A few hours without electricity isn’t a big problem, but a couple of weeks can be a massive headache. Consider buying a back-up generator to keep your HVAC system working, keep your food fresh in the fridge, and charge electronic devices to keep you informed.

Be Prepared If You’re Not Home

Sometimes, catastrophes can happen when you’re at work, school, or even commuting. In that case, it’s important to know exactly what to do to increase your chances of survival. You should memorize alternate routes to get to a meeting point, have emergency contacts with you, and learn about emergency exit procedures on a train or station platform.

Check Emergency Alerts

If a disaster happens or is about to happen, the government will let the population know as soon as possible. Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems will inform the population via the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), Emergency Alert System (EAS), or the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR). So, have all your devices turned on to learn about what’s going on.

At the end of the day, the only thing you can do against disasters is to be prepared. Don’t leave it to the last minute to have a strategy in place, or it might be too late. When you and your family know exactly what to do, it’s just a matter of following the emergency plan until everything’s back to normal.

3 Tips a Business Can Use for Improving HVAC Efficiency

Business owners have two types of expenses in their companies: static costs like rent that never change and dynamic costs like hourly payroll and materials that fluctuate seasonally. Most companies would prefer their energy bills to be static, but they can dramatically increase over time. If you’ve noticed that your energy bill is chipping into your profits, it could be time for a change. Here are three ways to decrease the energy use in your company while making your employees more comfortable.

Upgrade Your Existing System

Air Conditioning Repairs

Image via Flickr by KOMUnews

HVAC systems typically last between 15 and 20 years before they start to show wear. While some models can last 30 years, they become less efficient over time. This is particularly true in high-use situations like businesses that are located in hot or humid climates.

If your HVAC system was around to see the new millennium, then it could be time to replace it. Systems made in the ’90s have different efficiency standards than the models created today. By upgrading your system to a more efficient model, you can save energy and the environment. An HVAC technician can evaluate your model to determine how much of your energy bill is due to an outdated system and what models you can use to lower your costs.

Choose the Right Unit for Your Business

One of the main problems business owners have is finding an HVAC unit that matches the size of their business. If the unit is too large, then your energy bills will skyrocket because it requires more energy to power. However, if your unit is too small, you could end up running it longer or struggle to push cool air throughout the entire business.

Your local HVAC specialist can recommend the right size unit for your business so you can find the sweet spot between too big and too small. If you suspect your unit is too small, check to see if some rooms get cooler than others. You might need a large model or a ductless air system to cool that room.

Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks and Cleanings

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Scheduling regular maintenance checks can help you spot problems ahead of time and reduce the likelihood of your system breaking. These improvements can also improve efficiency by removing blockages and cleaning out clogged hoses. Instead of waiting years for your HVAC system to get clogged and shut down, you can keep it running efficiently with regular cleanings.

You should also make sure your air ducts are cleaned regularly to improve air flow. This will make it easier for the cool air to travel through your office and improve the indoor air quality in the building. If you have employees who suffer from allergies or are sensitive to dust, this will be a welcome improvement to their work environment.

Don’t wait for your HVAC system to break to make changes to it. By improving its efficiency and performance on a regular basis, you can keep your office at a comfortable temperature all year round and save money at the same time.

 

Importance Of DTI Ratio While Working On Home Mortgage Loans

It does not matter whether you are ready for the mortgage qualification or not, but debt to income ratio always matters a lot. The income’s percentage, which goes for paying the mortgage debts, can always help lenders to figure out bit monthly mortgage payment, which you are able to handle. It is quite important just like your credit score and also like job stability. Lenders make it a point to work extra hard and calculate the said debt to income ratio. For that, they are going to divide monthly debt obligations from gross, income or pretax. Majority of them look for 36% or less than that, however, there are some exceptions available in the market.

Importance Of DTI Ratio While Working On Home Mortgage Loans

Checking on the ratio

The ratio is basically known as DTI in the mortgage industry. It helps in answering the amount, which you can afford for the house. It becomes a great guide for all the mortgage lenders out there, who are willing to find out the amount they can borrow. But, remember that DTI is not the full story as it has some more to it. It helps in leaving out some unavoidable monthly expenses, like utilities, food, health insurance and definitely transportation costs, among other variations. It is mandatory to keep these in mind as you are able to evaluate ability to buy a home.

Importance Of DTI Ratio

How DTI can work?

When it comes to ratio, there are practically two types relating to DTI. The first one is defined as front end ratio, which is also known as household ratio. This is basically the dollar amount relating to expenses of your home. Some examples are property tax, proposed form of monthly mortgage, homeowner’s association fees and even insurance ones. These are collaborated together and finally divided by the gross income on monthly basis. You can visit here to get some more ideas on it.

The second ratio type

Other than the front end ratio, you have back end ratio as another important option under house mortgage industry. This comprises of all forms of debts, which you need to pay on monthly basis. Some examples are student loans, credit cards, car loans and even personal loans. This is added with the proposed expenses of other household. These back end ones are a bit higher and would like to take into account some of the reliable monthly debt related obligations around here. The more you get to know about it, the better options you are about to come across for sure.

The areas matter the most

Mortgage lenders ensure to check both the types of DTI ratios, before working on the home mortgage process. But if you had to compare between front end and back end options, the latter forms major services now. It helps in taking the entire debt load into proper account. Lenders always make it a point to focus more on back end ratio for some conventional mortgages, along with loans, which are offered by online mortgage lenders or banks and not by any government programs. Get to the core of the values, before it gets too late.

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring an HVAC Company

Is your HVAC unit in need of repair? If you’re looking for a company to fix it for you, it’s important to remember that, unfortunately, not all of them are reputable. These companies can do more harm than good, so you should hire the right one for the job. Dishonest companies will try to push unnecessary services like monthly maintenance plans that don’t cover anything or come up with mysterious charges once the job is done.

Sometimes they’re not even real businesses, and if they happen to be uninsured, any damages to your equipment won’t be covered. Learn about the six mistakes to avoid when hiring an HVAC company.

Not Get Everything in Writing

Signing Paperwork

Image via Flickr by danielmoyle

It’s not uncommon for dishonest businesses to add unexpected charges to your bill, take longer than usual, or use more expensive components than previously agreed. Instead of entering into a verbal agreement, have a written contract with the company discussing the length of the project and any materials that will be used.

Not Checking If the Company Is Real

Even in this day and age, there are fraudulent companies that slip through fiscalization and work with no licenses. They pretend to be real businesses and perform services that they don’t have permission to do. Check your local organization to make sure the company is licensed.

Ignoring Customer Reviews

If a friend of yours had a horrible experience with a company, you’d think twice before hiring them, right? You should check all the reviews before contacting a business to repair your cooling and heating equipment. If there are too many bad reviews, it’s a sign you should avoid the company.

Buying an Unnecessary Monthly Maintenance Plan

You don’t need a monthly maintenance plan for your HVAC unit. Reputable companies will check your equipment once a year or when a serious issue takes place. They want to ensure your unit is working efficiently (therefore reducing your energy bill) and most of the time will offer a one-year warranty to guarantee you’re satisfied.

Hiring a Company With No Insurance

Imagine hiring a company for a regular check up, and they end up breaking your HVAC equipment? If the company is uninsured, you’re unlikely to receive any compensation unless you take them to court. If you’d like to avoid a massive headache, insist on checking whether they carry any insurance.

Not Comparing Rates With Other Companies

Unless you live in a small town, there are likely to be a few companies offering HVAC maintenance services. You should research other businesses and check their prices before hiring any services. You can save a lot of money by avoiding a company which would otherwise overcharge you.

At the end of the day, heating and cooling equipment is expensive and needs to be properly cared for. In the same way you wouldn’t lend your car to an inexperienced driver, it’s essential to leave your HVAC unit in professional hands. Just remember to check the companies thoroughly, so you don’t end up hiring a bogus business.

Simple Home Improvement Projects to do with your Kids

A реrfесt home is оnе that provides thе іdеаl environment fоr a fаmіlу tо lеаrn and grоw tоgеthеr. Updating your hоmе wіll іnvоlvе experiences уоu саn ѕhаrе wіth your children, whо саn lend уоu a hеlріng hand durіng the рrосеѕѕ. Nоt оnlу wіll it gіvе thеm a bеttеr рlасе tо lіvе and grоw, uрdаtіng саn аlѕо іnсrеаѕе thе vаluе оf уоur home. Thеу’ll gо оff to college one day, and whеn уоu fіnаllу buy thаt condo on the beach you’ve always drеаmеd оf having, уоu’ll be able tо dо іt wіth the profits you’ve mаdе оff of your fоrmеr hоmе.

Sіmрlе Home Improvement Prоjесtѕ to dо with уоur Kіdѕ

1. A Few Cоаtѕ оf Paint

Whо wоuld hаvе thоught thаt раіnt саn hаvе ѕuсh a profound еffесt? Whеn thе уоung оnеѕ аrе lіttlе, wе give thеm brightly colored wаllѕ with themed trіmѕ аnd borders. Aѕ thеу gеt оldеr, іt’ѕ bеttеr fоr their mаturіtу and thе value оf your hоmе tо switch thеm іntо a mоrе grown-up, neutral соlоrеd rооm. If you have сrауоn оn your wаllѕ аnd ѕсrаtсhеѕ frоm thе fаmіlу dоg, іt dоеѕn’t hurt tо give еvеrуthіng a frеѕh соаt. Juѕt mаkе ѕurе уоu lay dоwn some рlаѕtіс tаrрѕ оn the floor, and уоu can еvеn allow уоur сhіldrеn tо frаmе the baseboards аnd соrnеrѕ.

2. Fixing Up Thе Back Yаrd

Thіѕ іѕ whеrе your сhіldrеn рlау. Thеу’vе рrоbаblу done ѕоmе damage оvеr the уеаrѕ, though it was аll іn gооd fun. Trіm уоur оld trееѕ, or plant ѕоmе nеw оnеѕ. Pісk up thе bіtѕ of brоkеn tоуѕ ѕсаttеrеd thrоughоut thе grass. Lау some paving ѕtоnеѕ, аnd buіld a dесk. Yоur kіdѕ mау nоt bе аblе to hеlр wіth thе ѕtuff that’s lаbоr іntеnѕіvе, but they саn hеlр in thе fоrm оf rаkіng lеаvеѕ and ѕрrеаdіng grass ѕееd.

sweeping the garden-Sri Lanka

Our kid loves outdoor and he loves raking leaves too 🙂

3. Mаkе Some Small Bаthrооm Uрdаtеѕ

Hоmе buyers саrе a lot аbоut bаthrооmѕ, and соіnсіdеntаllу, bathrooms take a lоt of dаmаgе оvеr the уеаrѕ. Wіth all that wаtеr everywhere, tile gеtѕ tо thе point whеrе іt’ѕ seen bеttеr dауѕ. Moisture causes wаllрареr and borders tо loosen up. Yоu mау еvеn hаvе ѕоmе реѕkу wаtеr dаmаgе undеr thе ѕіnk. Pаіntіng уоur bаthrооm аnd updating thе tіlе іѕn’t that hаrd tо dо on уоur оwn, аnd іt’ѕ one оf the mоѕt inexpensive improvements уоu can mаkе. Hаvе your сhіldrеn hеlр уоu lау the tіlе. Yоu саn аlwауѕ use a second pair оf hands whіlе you’re соnсеntrаtіng оn mеаѕurеmеntѕ аnd exact рlасеmеnt. If thе water dаmаgе is muсh more than уоu can hаndlе, уоu саn require the аѕѕіѕtаnсе оf a Wаtеr Dаmаgе Rеѕtоrаtіоn Dаllаѕ Tеxаѕ, thеу wіll hеlр уоu fіx thіngѕ uр.

4. Tаkе Cаrе of Your Cаrреt

Simple Home Improvement Projects to do with your Kids

Cаrреt is one оf thе hardest kіndѕ оf flооrіng tо mаіntаіn. It builds uр аllеrgеnѕ, and іt’ѕ susceptible tо ѕtаіnіng. If уоur саrреt іѕ wоrѕе fоr wеаr, it mау bе time tо hall it оut оf thеrе. Whіlе you’re frее tо rерlасе іt wіth whаtеvеr уоu want, уоur mаіn оbjесtіvе іѕ tо gеt аll оf the nasty carpet оut of уоur house. Yоur kіdѕ саn hеlр you rеmоvе thе саrреt, rоll іt uр, аnd drag it tо thе dumрѕtеr.

 

5. Landscape Out Frоnt

Simple Home Improvement Projects to do with your Kids

Your frоnt lawn is thе fіrѕt thіng thаt реорlе ѕее whеn they pull up tо уоur hоuѕе. It’ѕ уоur chance tо make a mеаnіngful іmрrеѕѕіоn. Planting ѕоmе flowers wіll spruce thіngѕ uр a bіt. If you’re fееlіng аmbіtіоuѕ, you can even іnѕtаll a fоuntаіn оr a pond. Kids lоvе playing in thе dіrt. Thеу’ll be hарру to help уоu sow ѕоmе ѕееdѕ оr dig ѕоmе hоlеѕ.

Sіmрlе Home Improvement Prоjесtѕ to dо with уоur Kіdѕ

My kid loves to help me with planting seeds.. 🙂

Cоnсluѕіоn

Whеn it comes to DIY hоmе іmрrоvеmеnt рrоjесtѕ, everyone wіnѕ when іt’ѕ a fаmіlу аffаіr. Your children gеt tо feel аѕ thоugh thеу’rе соntrіbutіng to the wellbeing оf thеіr hоuѕеhоld, аnd with the improvements уоu’rе mаkіng, уоu’rе аlѕо іnсrеаѕіng thе vаluе of your іnvеѕtmеnt.

3 Fun Interior Design Ideas for Creative, Crafty Kids

When you have crafty, creative kids, they want to make an artsy DIY project out of everything. This includes your interior designs and home décor. Therefore, you should allow them to express their creative flow in one, or all, of the following ways. Be sure to show these suggestions to your kids to inspire their inner artists.

Handprints that Dot the Walls

Instead of doing a custom paint job in your kiddos’ bedrooms, opt for a white-wash of the walls. Then invest in non-toxic paints [that easily wash off] in a rainbow of fun colors, like varying shades of blue, red, green, and purple. Have your crafty youngster dip their hands into the paints, then press their handprints to the walls in whatever patterns and locations they want. Let them go crazy with full reign over where they want to dot their bedroom walls. They might even get super-creative and create cool murals with nothing but their fingertips and palms.

Chalkboard Surfaces for Quick, Creative, Anywhere Doodles

Reserve a portion of your home for a chalkboard surface. Most people put these surfaces on their fridges, which is a great idea for toddlers. But, for older kids, try a bedroom wall that is one big chalkboard surface. Or, pick an area in a hallway. Then invest in traditional chalk, marker chalk, or washable chalk paints that give your kids the creative freedom to doodle anywhere, any time. This is the ultimate crafty DIY fun-board for artsy children. And you will likely get called to look at their creations on a regular basis. Plus, it keeps them busy for hours, so you can get some much-needed housework or lounge time in.

Fun Interior Design Ideas for Creative, Crafty Kids

DIY Wreaths for the Front and Back Doors

Include your children in decorating for seasons and/or the holidays with DIY wreaths for the front and back doors. Let them pick the colors and accents. For instance, if you are helping with a Halloween wreath, suggest black and orange scrunched tulle with plastic bats, plastic spiders, and cool cobwebs tossed in. Or, if you want a season-based wreath, pick out the parts of a season that you both love. For example, spring could be a mix of robin’s egg blue and green with little violets to symbolize the rebirth of nature. Whatever they come up with, hang these wreaths on your doors with pride.

You never know, your allowance of creative freedom could set your kids up to be home remodeling contractors one day. The above-detailed fun, quirky DIY projects are creative and perfect for crafty kids. Plus, each project can inspire your inner muse, thus producing craftier stuff for your creative youngsters to do on a daily basis.

Finding the Best Deals on Children’s Furniture

Finding furniture for the kids is difficult. Each child wants something different, and they share a room; but, apart from this, you have to find the best deal out there. When time comes to buy, these are a few things you can do in order to save on the prices you would otherwise pay for their furniture.

Finding the best deals on children's furniture

Shop with a specialized dealer

Buy from furniture specialists; and, if possible, go with those which sell only children’s furniture. You can find more selection, and you are going to find low prices or discounts on items you need for their room.

Consignment or second hand purchases

When you buy used, whether it is a bed frame, armoire, or other items for the room, you can save a great deal on the price. Always consider this route, especially if you have to furnish an entire room, or multiple rooms, if you have more than one child.

Consider DIY

If you buy furniture which isn’t built, that you have to put together yourself, the prices are far lower than if you buy everything already put together. Sure, it will take some time, and might come with a few headaches, but prices are much lower. Plus, you can spend some time with the kids.

Financing it

If you finance the purchase over a year, many catalogues offer discounts or even interest free periods. Consider comparing catalogues and the items they have online such as pay weekly sofas. You can find great deals, and you don’t have to pay interest, all the while paying the purchase price over a period of time, rather than on the date of the purchase you are making.

Although it will cost you some money there are always ways to save on children’s furniture. These are some of the ways you can go about doing so when you shop on or offline.

How to Find the Best Deal When Hiring a Decorator

If you are ready to modify the home, and change things up a bit, a decorator can help. However, you will pay for the work they do and the assistance they provide. So when the time comes to hire one, these are a few ways to hire the best, without having to pay a high price tag in order to do so.

How to find the best deal when hiring a decorator

Consider their specialisation

Depending on the area of the home you are decorating, the furniture you have, or the type of decor you want to add, some specialists know more than others. And, when you hire a decorator which is dedicated in an area, they typically are going to charge a lower price than a general decorator.

Compare services offered

Sometimes it costs more, but the price is truly less. In many cases you pay a higher price for one decorator, but they offer far more services than a lower priced decorator. So consider what you are actually paying for, as opposed to simply comparing the actual value of the decorating work they are going to provide.

How to find the best deal when hiring a decorator

What do they include?

In addition to the decorating service, consider what they include. For example, are they going to provide the drapery or new window furnishings as a part of the rate they charge? Or do you have to pay for these additional items. Every little bit adds up, so know the costs, and know what “extras” or additional items are offered, so you can truly find the best deal possible.

You can find a great decorator for a reasonable price when changing things up around the home. Before you hire a decorator you need to make sure you know the average decorator rates for whatever job you want doing so you can be sure to get the best price. Make sure you consider these factors, and also ask around before you hire a specialist. It will not only cost less when you compare, but results in you hiring the best decorator to help you change things up, and really give your home that kick it needs to look its best.

Making The Most Of Your Back Garden

We all have those jobs and tasks around the house that we keep putting off for another day. The trouble is, when you put these jobs off, it often means that the jobs become bigger, requiring more time and effort to complete them. The garden is one such area that many people put off for as long as they can, but getting a head start on it will mean that you have an extended living area in your home when the sun comes out to shine.

Making The Most Of Your Back Garden

 

Hard Landscaping

 

The addition of flagging or decking to the outside of your home is an excellent way to extend your living area and create the perfect area for BBQ’s or gatherings. Adding this kind of feature to your home can be accomplished by someone with good DIY skills, or you may wish to use the services of a professional landscaper to do the job for you.

 

Adding Storage

 

It is important that you can keep everything organised in your home, which includes the garden. If you do not have a garage, or there is no space available, you will need to find a space to locate all of your tools that you use in the garden such as fork, spade, lawnmower and other such implements. You can find sheds and garden workshops online from many different retailers, and they are available in a variety of sizes, as well as finishes. You may even have enough room to make yourself a small man cave and give yourself a retreat where you can forget about the world for a while.

Making The Most Of Your Back Garden

 

Adding A Bit Of Colour

 

Creating the perfect environment in your garden may need the addition of some colour, and whether you have borders dug full of flowers and plants, or have planters scattered around your garden, adding colour can make the place feel much more inviting. By adding plant life to your garden, you are also making it much more appealing to wildlife, so you will be encouraging animals and insects to visit your garden, giving it a natural feel even in a built up environment.

 

Easy To Maintain

 

One of the best ways to ensure that you create a usable space in your garden that will get plenty of use is to make sure that whatever your do with your garden it is easy to maintain. How easy a job you want will all depend on how much time you have to devote to your garden, and the less green-fingered of us may also consider artificial turf to reduce the maintenance considerably.

 

Plan Ahead And Design Well

 

You may wish to transform your garden yourself, or you may use the services of a professional gardener, whatever you do make sure that you design a garden which suits you, your family, and also your lifestyle. Choose features that you like, and do not worry yourself about what the Jones have down the road. Be creative and look online at websites such as goodhousekeeping.co.uk, which have plenty of excellent tips and ideas for the perfect back garden.

 

 

 

Baskets Made With Love

Whether it’s for a holiday, birthday or another special event, gourmet food gift baskets are an idea if you’re looking for something that’s easy to make and that offers a variety of items for the person receiving the gift. A basket that features the flavors of New England is an idea if the person enjoys rich flavors and likes to prepare everything from pancakes to biscuits. This is a basket that would feature more in the way of honey, jams, molasses and other items of the same kind as these are the things that you’ll likely find if you visit the area. Add a few books with pictures of New England and a few sauces. A beautiful picnic basket would be an idea for containing the items.

Baskets Made With Love

Most people enjoy chocolate of some kind. A basket with Godiva chocolate or another specialty brand would be ideal for a holiday or a birthday. Use a simple basket or container with a ribbon around the side to start with. Then, add larger pieces of chocolate and a few smaller pieces that can be enjoyed on a daily basis. You want to offer a few different flavors of chocolate along with pieces that have fillings, such as coconut or strawberry, to give a large selection depending on what the person enjoys.

For the person who likes to relax after a long day, make a basket with teas, a wine bottle or two and a few items that can be enjoyed while taking a bath. You might want to add bubble bath, bath salts or even a few flower petals that are made from soap. Don’t forget the wine glasses or the mugs to enjoy the beverage. When adding the tea or coffee, think about the flavors that the person likes as you can get a variety from specialty stores and even retail stores that have a larger selection of beverages. You might want to add a few muffin mixes or a lemon or two so that the person can make a nice snack or add a little twist to the drink that is made.

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