Read this before you hire an electrician

If there is some electrical work that needs to be done in your home, whether it’s a simple job or something as complex as a new addition, never hesitate to hire an electrician.  You’ll never regret taking the precaution of ensuring the work is done properly right from the get go. The trick is to find a reputable electrician for the job.  There are so many electricians out there, in every city, but not all are created equal.  Anyone can call himself an electrician.  It’s important to ensure you are hiring one who is reputable, licensed, reliable, and affordable. Here are a few tips you can use when hiring an electricianWhittier residents.

Be sure they actually are an electrician
This sounds obvious, but not everyone who performs electrical work is an electrician.  Before you hire anyone, look into the necessary licensing requirements in your area.  You can get that information by calling your local building department.  Armed with that information, you can then verify that any electrician you are considering hiring meets or exceeds those licensing requirements.  Hiring a licensed electrician is absolutely imperative because it is an indication that they have passed a test of their knowledge and understanding of their field, including local building codes.  That knowledge is instrumental in ensuring that you will receive first-rate electrical services each and every time.

Similarly, never hire an electrician who isn’t insured and can provide evidence to prove it.  Ask for paperwork to prove that they have both workers’ compensation coverage and liability insurance.  Why is this important?  Remember that these workers will be entering your home.  If they do not have the proper insurance and they are injured on your property and/or cause damage to your home, you could be liable for covering the costs associated with those incidents. 

If your electrician won’t provide a guaranteed estimate in writing, one that outlines everything that the estimate will cover, don’t hire them.  A reputable electrician will be more than willing to do this, and to walk you through the estimate ensuring you understand each and every aspect of it.  Another note about the estimate:  Always ask whether it includes the cost of pulling permits.  Some electricians will do this themselves and charge you for it later, some will include the cost of the permits in the estimate, and some will expect you to procure the permits yourself.  Be sure you know exactly how your electrician works in this regard so you won’t be in for a surprise later.

You know the expression “You get what you pay for”?  That adage rings true when it comes to contractors such as electricians.  Although a higher price is not necessarily an indication that you will get betterservice (nor is the inverse true) if one of the companies from whom you get an estimate comes in dramatically lower than the others, it could be a red flag.  Why are they so much cheaper?  Find out why before you agree to go with the lowest bidder.  A better strategy is to go with the company whose bid is affordable and whose expertise meet your needs.

How to Decorate Your Home the Ethical Way

If you’re not careful, your decorating project could end up having a big detrimental impact on the environment. But it doesn’t have to be that way - here’s how to decorate your home the ethical way.

Use Recycled Items

There are all kinds of ways in which you can recycle items in your home when coming up with a new design. Firstly, you should make sure you don’t throw things away that can be reused. Keep hold of old bits of wood. That can then be used to create recycled furniture. Strong planks of timber can be turned into a new table. Or an old, broken armchair can be fixed up and repurposed. It’s not such a difficult thing to do if you put your mind to it. And you don’t even have to do the work yourself.

There are lots of businesses and retailers that make an effort to make all of their products out of recycled materials. The retailer Ian Snow uses recycled materials to make new chairs and tables for people. This is something that you simply won’t find if you head to the conventional retailers like Ikea. As long as the furniture is crafted with care by someone who knows what they’re doing, it should be perfectly reliable.

Make the Most of Natural Light

Natural light makes a home feel more open, fresh and alive. That’s why it’s so important to have as much of it coming into your home through windows and skylights as possible. Another reason why you should use as much natural light as possible, is that the alternative is electrical lighting. Let’s face it, the easy option is to ignore natural light and instead install lots of lights and lamps to make the home feel more bright and vibrant. But that’s not a green nor ethical move.

If you use natural light, no electricity or fossil fuels are used in the process; it’s all natural. But if you decide to ignore natural light, you’ll have to use up more man-made energy. That’s very bad news for the environment. So, how can you make the most of natural light in your home? It’s quite simple really. All you need to do is make the windows bigger, make sure nothing obscures them and think about skylights. Of course, you’ll need electrical lights for when it’s dark, but if you have plenty of natural light, you’ll use them less.


Use Plenty of Plants

Plants and flowers make a room feel fresher and more colourful. They bring nature and the outdoors inside your home. But that’s not the only reason for making sure that you have as many plants in your home as possible. They’re also very good for your health and can make you feel more positive when you’re spending time in a room. It’s true, natural things like plants actually have a real impact on us.

They also help to oxygenate the space. So, they could actually improve the air your breathe. And there are no mechanical air filtration systems involved at all! All you need is a few potted plants places around the house. You do need to make sure they’re kept in the right places to get the most from them though. Let them get the sunlight they need and don’t forget to give them water regularly. Indoor plants will just die otherwise.

Buy Items from the Local Area

If you want to be responsible and ethical, support your local retailers and source your design materials and elements from them. There are many reasons why this is the most ethical thing to do. Firstly, you might find some surprises when you buy from independent retailers nearby, rather than buying from a big company. And secondly, the smaller local places tend to be a lot cheaper than the big organisations, so you might save some money too.

The final reason why you should consider buying locally relates to your carbon footprint. You can save a lot of travel time if you have your furniture and other materials transported to your home from a local retailer. If you buy from a company that transports from far away, a lot of fuel will be burnt in delivering that item to you. This is something that not a lot of people think about, but we should be more aware of it.

Use Eco-Friendly Materials

Paints are full of chemicals that are incredibly bad for the environment. The reason most of them smell so strongly is because of those chemicals. The worst of them is known as volatile organic compounds (or VOCs). Instead of using paint brands that fill their product with these chemicals, try eco-friendly paint brands. There are plenty of them out there. It’s not just your paint that can be made more environmentally friendly though.

There are lots of products and materials that don’t negatively impact on the planet. Stainless steel is a very good product to use in the kitchen, because it is mostly made from other recycled materials. Laminates tend to be good for the environment too, more so than wood. You should check the credentials of the manufacturer before you buy though. If their products are green, they’ll probably make it clear and boast about it on their website.

Think About How You Power the Home

Now that the decoration of your home is almost complete, you need to think about how you’re going to generate the energy needed to power your home. There’s no need to use conventional unclean energy generation companies anymore. You can now easily generate your own energy through renewable and sustainable means. This is something that everyone should be considering, and decorating your home is the perfect time to put the changes into place.

There are two main options for people to choose between. The first is harnessing the wind to create energy via a wind turbine. This is a good option if you live in an area that gets a lot of wind. But it could be better to use solar panels because everyone gets some sun over the house most days! You should then install a battery so that you can store energy and use it whenever you need it.


Simple Things You Can Do To Improve The Exterior Of Your Home

As homeowners, we tend to neglect the outside of our house. We focus on improving the rooms inside because we know, that’s where we’re going to spend most of our time. That’s what we are going to see every day. Before we know it, our garden is a jungle, the window coverings are falling off and our lawn looks like a car scrap yard. Okay maybe this is a little bit of an exaggeration but I bet that description sounded slightly familiar. This is a problem and not just for your own personal benefit. At some point, you probably will be thinking about selling your home and unfortunately first impressions matter. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your interior is if your exterior is awful you won’t be able to sell.  Not to worry though because there are easy fixes. Let’s start with the garden.

Keep It Clean And Tidy

Depending on how far you have let things slide, you may need either the lawn mower or a good trimmer. You need to get your front lawn looking like a lush patch of grass again. To do this cut it as short as possible and trim back the hedges and trees. That will give you a nice open space. If you have been parking cars on your lawn because of adorable kids growing into annoying teenagers, it is going to need repairs. Buy some grass greener and lay it down. Within weeks your garden will be look lush and alive again.

Decorate It

A few decorations around you front garden will make it look just a little bit more unique which is good. You want it to stand out from the rest of the houses on the street and this is easy to do. If you buy some ornaments you can add a few to your front lawn, but they might get stolen. So you could instead, plant some gorgeous colourful flowers around the sides. You may also want to add some shrubbery and a few small rocks to give the place some character.

Bigger ideas include laying down a stepping stone path as well as putting up a new fence. If you are looking at more extensive ideas, try speaking to a professional gardener. They will point you in the right direction and may even complete the job for you, for a fee of course.

Wall Add Ons

You may have a bare wall on your home that is looking rather shabby. If it is by the driveway you could improve it by adding a New Cantilever Car Port and canopy. These are fantastic because the frame protects your car but can be used for other things like an awning or outdoor play area. If you advertise this when selling, you are looking at a huge boost in value.

You may also want to consider fixing a basketball board up as this will make the house look attractive to young families. It doesn’t take any value away from the house for other buyers either. They can simply take it down after the purchase, or you can take it with you when you move.

These simple solutions are perfect for making your home look more attractive as well as adding value. You should consider trying a few, particularly if you are thinking about a future sale.

Does your furnace need some TLC?

Just as you would call a company like ClearviewPlumbing if your toilet wasn’t flushing properly, there are signs and symptoms that your furnace may benefit from a visit from a qualified furnace repair technician, too.  If you’ve never had problems with your furnace before, it can be a challenge to know what signs to look for, however. This article will outline the kinds of common problems that can occur with a furnace and the warning signs to look for.
Most of the time, our furnace hum along in the background of our lives, keeping our homes and families warm and requiring not much attention from us. However, it’s important to know what to listen and look for that may be signalling your furnace’s need for some attention. If you do detect any of these symptoms, it’s important to have the issue addressed right away. Neglecting warnings signs will not make the problem go away.  On the contrary!  Neglecting furnace issues is a sure-fire way to make a small problem into a big problem.

Take note of things like:

Squeaking noises:  If you notice that your furnace is making a noise that sounds a little like it is being powered by legions of mice, it could indicate a problem with the belts inside. Squeaking is a sign of too much friction inside the furnace, which can be serious. Friction causes heat, and heat can cause a fire. If your furnace is squeaky, call in a service technician ASAP.

Not turning on and/or off:

If your furnace won’t turn on or off when you want it to, that is an obvious sign of a problem, although not necessarily a big one. Failure to turn on could signal simply that the breaker has been tripped – an easy thing to fix. If that’s not the issue, however, it could also signal the presence of faulty wiring. The best way to be sure is to call in a professional to track down the source of the problem.

Frequent cycling on and off:

Although it is normal for your furnace to “cut in and out” at regular intervals as it does its job to keep your home at the pre-determined temperature, if you notice that your furnace is cycling more often than it should, there could be an underlying issue. It’s likely that your thermostat needs to be cleaned or that your heat anticipator has been improperly set. Both of these are relatively easy fixes that most homeowners can do on their own.

The smell of burning rubber:

If you smell a strong odour that reminds you of burning rubber, this can be a potentially serious issue. It may even warrant an emergency call to your furnacerepair company and/or the fire department. Like the squeaking sounds, a rubbery smell is usually an indication of the buildup of friction in the system. It doesn’t take long for that friction, when added to the heat present in your furnace, to cause a fire. If you smell a burning rubber smell coming from your furnace, seek help immediately.

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