The Backbone Of The Electrician Industry

Career Guide for Electricians

Electricians install and maintain electrical power systems in homes and businesses. They provide maintenance and repair of existing electrical systems.

Electrician Summary

Job opportunities should be good, especially for those with the broadest range of skills.

Most electricians acquire their skills by completing an apprenticeship program usually lasting 4 years.

About 79 percent of electricians work in the construction industry or are self-employed, but there also will be opportunities for electricians in other industries.

Working as an Electrician

Electricians install and maintain all of the electrical and power systems for our homes, businesses, and factories. They install and maintain the wiring and control equipment through which electricity flows. They also install and maintain electrical equipment and machines in factories and a wide range of other businesses.

Electricians generally focus on either construction or maintenance, although many do both. Electricians specializing in construction primarily install wiring systems into factories, businesses, and new homes. Electricians specializing in maintenance fix and upgrade existing electrical systems and repair electrical equipment. All electricians must follow State and local building codes and the National Electrical Code when performing their work.

Electricians usually start their work by reading blueprints— technical diagrams that show the locations of circuits, outlets, load centers, panel boards, and other equipment. After determining where all the wires and components will go, electricians install and connect the wires to circuit breakers, transformers, outlets, or other components and systems.

 

How to Become an Electrician

Starting a new career can be confusing at times, and perhaps a bit scary. Don’t worry. We are going to show you everything you need to know about how to become an electrician in our complete step guide.

What is the Electrician’s Salary and Wages?

Let me give you a brief run-down of the electrician’s salary and wages. Not only does the electrician enjoy steady and satisfying work, the electrician’s salary and wages are the highest paid of the skilled trades due to the technical knowledge and diverse skills that are required to perform a broad range of tasks. This is good news when learning how to become an electrician.

Apprentice Electrician Wages

The starting wage of an apprentice is usually 40% of a fully trained electrician’s wage. Your pay should increase along with your skills and value to your employer. Electricians in manufacturing, and power generation and transmission, usually have higher wages than those in construction.

Most electricians work full-time, which may include evenings and weekends. Of course, work schedules can change during bad weather or unpredictable delays. On the other hand, during scheduled maintenance or on construction sites with a looming deadline, you can expect to work overtime.

Consider the Electrician Job Description

It can be challenging deciding on a vocation. Without a clear picture of what you’re getting yourself into, you might feel unsettled or indecisive. The first step in learning how to become an electrician is to make sure you understand what the job entails. With this in mind, take an in-depth look into the electrician job description. It will reveal whether or not a career in the electrical career is a good fit for you.

 

Your guide on how to become an electrician

There will always be a need for tradespeople who work with wiring, machines, and other electrical equipment. Electricians keep us powered up, and they possess specialized skills to do work that could be dangerous in the hands of an amateur. If you are considering joining the ranks of these essential professionals, there are several things you need to know about becoming an electrician

What do electricians do?

This seems like a no-brainer: electricians work with electrical equipment. That job description is both accurate and completely inadequate because the term “electrical equipment” includes so much and the work is so varied. Electricians perform repairs, installations, and maintenance. We are probably most used to having electricians visit our homes to install new outlets or repair faulty wiring, but they also perform their work in factories, construction sites, shops, and businesses. They work indoors and out, and the equipment on which they work stretches well beyond household appliances and wiring. Electricians may also decide to specialize in wiring airplanes, ships, cable and data systems.

As for the less-specialized electrician, there are four common types:

Residential wiremen, who install and repair household wiring.

Inside wiremen, who install and repair wiring in non-residential structures, such as factories, arenas, airports, schools, and office buildings.

Outside linemen, who lay the cables that connect power plants to residences and buildings.

Telecommunications electricians, who install television, telephone, and Internet cables.

What skills do electricians have?

Electricians do a lot more than connecting cables from one power source to another. They possess a large quantity of skills, both general and specific to their particular areas of specialization.

General skills include:

Understanding the National Electric Code, which is the regional standard for electrical safety requirements

Problem solving

Electrical safety

Working with tools such as amp meters, digital multimeters, pliers, measuring devices, drills, saws, etc.

Reading blueprints

Plotting the installation of wiring throughout buildings

Locating and replacing faulty wires

Working with circuit breakers and fuses

Locating the energy flow to transformers and circuit breakers

Assessing the work of other electricians

Ensuring that electrical work is up to safety standards

Managing electrical crews

Mentoring apprentices

 

How to hire guide: electricians

All electricians need to be suitably qualified for the work they undertake. Much domestic installation work falls under Part P building regulations, which means it must be certified by your local authority building control. The simplest way to do that, is to ensure the work is carried out by someone who is a Part P registered ‘competent-person’, as that way all the relevant notifications and paperwork will be completed for you.

Part P-registered firms are vetted to ensure their work is up to standard. They have specialist equipment and know the standards required to pass an electrical safety check. If you use an uncertified electrician, you may have to pay your Local Authority building control a fee to inspect the work.

Which? Trusted Traders endorses electricians in your area, checking their business practices, terms and conditions and taking references from previous clients to help take the worry out of choosing a trader. All Which? Trusted Traders endorsed electricians have the necessary qualifications to carry out electrical work in your home.

It’s worth checking whether the electricians on your shortlist are registered with one of the government-approved schemes run by bodies such as National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contractors (NICEIC), ELECSA, NAPIT or others. Contact the scheme directly to check that the electrician is registered. In the event of something going wrong, you’ll receive support from the scheme operator.

The Electrical Safety Council says it is seeing a growing problem with tradespeople such as builders or kitchen fitters subcontracting electrical work to unqualified individuals. Rather than assuming a tradesperson will check an electrician’s background, qualification and registrations, the Electrical Safety Council recommends that you ask to see proof of the electrical contractor’s ability yourself. Any electrician who is reluctant to do so should be avoided.

 

Electrical Installation

The study of a proposed electrical installation requires an adequate understanding of all governing rules and regulations. A list of most common IEC standards is provided. The total power demand can be calculated based on the location and power of each load, together with the knowledge of the operating modes (steady state demand, starting conditions, non simultaneous operation, etc.).

The power and number of sources required to supply the electrical installation is readily obtained, also taking into account local tariff structures, to allow the best choice of connection arrangement to the power-supply network, e.g. at medium voltage or low voltage level.

Standard voltages between 100 V and 1000 V (IEC 60038 Edition 7.0 2009-06)

Note:

* the lower values in the first and second columns are voltages to neutral and the higher values are voltages between phases. When one value only is indicated, it refers to three-wire systems and specifies the voltage between phases. The lower value in the third column is the voltage to neutral and the higher value is the voltage between lines.

* voltages in excess of 230/400 V are intended for heavy industrial applications and large commercial premises.

* concerning supply voltage range, under normal operating conditions, the supply voltage should not differ from the nominal voltage of the system by more than ±10 %.

Note 1: It is recommended that in any one country the ratio between two adjacent nominal voltages should be not less than two.

Note 2: In a normal system of Series I, the highest voltage and the lowest voltage do not differ by more than approximately ±10 % from the nominal voltage of the system. In a normal system of Series II, the highest voltage does not differ by more then +5 % and the lowest voltage by more than -10 % from the nominal voltage of the system.

Regulations

In most countries, electrical installations shall comply with more than one set of regulations, issued by National Authorities or by recognized private bodies. It is essential to take into account these local constraints before starting the design. These regulations may be based on national standards derived from the IEC 60364: Low-voltage electrical installations.

Home Inspection A Question And Answer Guide

Professional Home Inspection Checklist

You’ve made an offer on a home, your offer was accepted, and now you’re in escrow waiting for inspection day. How will you succeed? By crossing items off our thorough home inspection checklist.  With a home inspection checklist by your side, you’ll move into the home of your dreams in no time.

Buying your first home is accompanied by a myriad of emotions. You’re excited because you finally have a place to call your own. You’re nervous to look at your savings account after paying a down payment. You’re exhausted after spending months working with an agent to find the perfect home.

Don’t worry, this rollercoaster of feelings is completely natural and will come to an end soon. The hardest steps are out of the way when all that’s left is an inspection and final walkthrough. And because the inspection process can be demanding, we’ve created an ultimate home inspection checklist to ease your fears and help transition you into the home of your dreams.

What Is A Home Inspection

A home inspection is an examination of a newly purchased property for any potential issues. The process is typically conducted by a professional inspector, who will then provide a full status report on the home. The purpose of a home inspection is to reveal any problem areas before the end of the closing process. This provides both buyer and seller a chance to renegotiate or even walk away from the transaction if necessary.

While it may sound scary, a home inspection is actually one of the best safeguards put in place for homebuyers. In many cases, home inspections do not reveal any surprises at all. But, when they do buyers can communicate with the sellers about a potential fix. Any fixes that are made can be checked over in the final walkthrough. It is absolutely crucial to get a home inspection, even if you have a great feeling about the property. The home inspection process can protect you, and your wallet, from a number of unexpected surprises in the future.

 

Home Inspection: What to Expect and What to Inspect

Inspection day is often one of the most exciting moments of home buying because it’s likely the first chance you have to go inside the home since you made your offer. It’s also usually the last chance you’ll have until a final walkthrough. But more importantly, it’s your opportunity to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to the condition of the home.

Home inspections don’t just provide you with a list of problems you want to negotiate with the seller to fix or something catastrophic that makes you back out of the deal altogether. It will provide you a detailed report that is something of a “new owner’s manual” for the home. It will include maintenance tips and schedules you should follow.

Finding an inspector

You should hire a licensed, professional inspector to conduct a thorough inspection. How do you choose one? Along with agents, lenders and other home pros, Zillow has lists of inspectors with reviews. You can use the Agent Finder tool to find all kinds of real estate pros, including inspectors. Get recommendations, check their online reviews and study their websites. Get a sample report to make sure what they will produce is thorough. Your agent probably has suggestions but you don’t need to use them.

You will want to be clear on exactly what is and isn’t included in the inspection price. Will they test for lead paint? How about asbestos in the ceiling tiles? Is that part of the basic inspection or will it cost more? The price, though you will pay it, is probably the least of your concerns. Most inspectors are in a similar range of $300-$500 anyway and any fluctuation is a small price to pay for what you will get. Early in the home buying process start researching inspectors and have at least a couple in mind, especially if the market is busy. You’ll need to be sure you can get an inspection scheduled within your contract timeline, so if your first choice isn’t available, you need someone waiting in the wings.

Inspection day

You should plan on being there and your agent should be right there with you the entire time. Chances are the seller’s agent will be there, too to help get any quick answers the inspector might need. Block off the entire morning or afternoon. Home inspections take time and you don’t want to rush through it. During this time, follow along as much as you can. You don’t have to follow the inspector into the crawlspace – they bring protective clothing just for that – but anyplace reasonably accessible, you should go too.

 

A BUYER’S GUIDE TO HOME INSPECTION

homebuyers should skip. Foregoing the home inspection could cost buyers lots of money later. You wouldn’t want to buy a $300,000 house and later discover a huge defect that will cost thousands of dollars to repair. A home inspection is like the doctor’s checkup you get covering major systems and diagnosing problems. Many states require sellers to provide buyers with property condition disclosure forms, but it’s a good idea to hire an independent home inspector.

HOME INSPECTION BASICS

A home inspection is a detailed report prepared by a home inspector about the condition of home systems, deterioration, and recommendations. The inspection could take between 2 and 5 hours and may cost between $250 and $500. Many buyers attend home inspections so they can better understand the issues, ask questions, and learn more about the house and its major systems.

THE WHY OF HOME INSPECTIONS

Buyers often order home inspections to ensure the major systems are in good condition and that there are no serious, expensive defects. Sellers might order a pre-listing inspection to identify major problems that need to be fixed before the house is put on the market. Common in most sales contracts, a home inspection contingency makes a sales conditional upon the outcome of the home inspection report. A home inspection is also a good way to identify repairs to request and to learn about the elements and systems of a house.

ELEMENTS OF A HOME INSPECTION

The home inspector will examine major elements of a house, ensuring proper operation of systems, observing the condition, and noting damage. A typical home inspection report will cover:

The exterior: Roof, driveway, walkways, steps, doors, decks, and siding among other elements.

The structure: Foundation and framing. The inspector determines whether the foundation and framing are sound and the building skeleton can withstand the elements.

The interior: Windows and doors; ceilings, walls, and floors; attic and basement.

Plumbing and electrical systems:

Water supply, heating, and drainage

Service entrance wires, breakers and fuses, and control panels

Heating, cooling, and ventilation/insulation

The inspector may also look for signs that one system has damaged another system such as walls or ceilings. Home inspectors are not specialists, but they may recommend corrective actions. Other types of inspections may be necessary as well, such as a termite inspection and a radon inspection.

 

A Buyer’s Home Inspection Checklist

Make a more confident offer and be better prepared for the home inspection by looking at these parts of your future house during the initial walk-through.

Touring homes can be quite a rush. But while you’re ogling the features you love — like that breakfast nook and those built-in bookshelves — it’s also important to keep an eye out for potential shortcomings.

Buyer home inspection checklist

See something odd while touring your would-be home? It may not be the time to say something, but you’ll want to make a note so you can bring it up during the home inspection. (One easy way to do it: Snap a photo with your phone.)

Pay attention to these common trouble spots:

Exterior: Are the gutters and downspouts properly attached, and do they drain away from the house? What kind of siding is on the home? Is it in good repair?

Roof: Do you see stains, dark spots or even moss? Any missing shingles or tiles? Ask when the roof was last replaced.

Foundation: Do you see any big cracks? Are there trees close to the foundation? Does any part of the ground near the foundation seem soggy, squishy, or sunken?

Windows and doors: Do they open and close easily? Do any seem misaligned? Do you see any signs of moisture around the frames or between the panes?

Smells: Do you notice any unusual scents? (The real estate agent’s cookies baking in the oven don’t count — think odors that might indicate the presence of mold or mildew.)

Attic and basement: Can you see any signs of moisture or water intrusion? If the attic or basement is unfinished, what kind of insulation do you see? Is it in good condition?

Heating and cooling: What systems are in place and are they functional? Look for a serial number or manufacturing date to get a sense of the system’s age. If there’s been a replacement, is the old system still in place? (For example, if the home was converted from oil to propane, is there still an oil tank on the property? An improperly decommissioned fuel tank can be hazardous.)

Plumbing: How’s the water pressure? Do the fixtures work? Any signs of leaks in under-sink cabinets? How old is the hot water heater?

Electrical: Do all light switches work? Are all the outlets grounded? (If you spot any that are two-prong, those are definitely not grounded.) Does the house have an older electrical panel with fuses or a newer one with circuit breakers, or both? Outdated wiring can be a hazard in itself and a hassle to upgrade.

Major appliances: If appliances like the oven, refrigerator, washer or dryer are included with the sale, what’s their condition?

 

Home Inspection Tips to Get Through the ‘Deal Killer’ Phase of Selling Your House

Home inspections have a reputation for being deal killers. In fact, one out of every 20 real estate transactions hits a fatal snag along the way, and nearly a third of the ones that don’t make it to closing fall apart because of issues that turned up during the inspection, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

Although real estate is an appreciating asset, a property’s physical structure naturally deteriorates over time and requires significant upkeep. Although some problems that arise will be apparent—like a burst pipe or deep crack in the driveway—not all of the wear and tear on a home’s inner workings are visible to the naked eye

That’s why when the time comes to sell your house, the inspection could yield surprises even if you’ve kept to a routine home maintenance schedule. It’s a nerve-wracking position to be in as a homeowner, so we’ve asked experts in the field for their top home inspection tips to help sellers prepare mentally and logistically for this step on the road to closing.

Trust your real estate agent to help you navigate home inspection preparations and negotiations.

After you’ve accepted an offer on your house, the buyers of the home will schedule the home inspection within about a 10-day time frame. Depending on how many times you’ve sold a house before, you may have little to no experience preparing for the home inspection and the negotiations that will follow.

Your real estate agent should help you:

Understand the types of home maintenance issues that are common in your area, whether it’s signs of water leakage in a region where every home has a basement, improper electrical wiring in a neighborhood of historic homes, or pest issues in warm climates.

Craft a game plan for any repair requests—to think about whether you have time to hire contractors to fix issues yourself or offer repair credits in the event that problems do arise.

Take the pulse of your real estate market to determine how much leverage you have as the homeowner depending on if you’re in a buyer’s market or seller’s market, and how eager prospective buyers will be to snatch up your house.

Differentiate between minor and major home inspection findings and what constitutes grounds for negotiations (cosmetic repairs versus issues that pose a health or safety threat).

How To Sell Your Accountant Practice For Maximum Value

What does it mean to build a culture of workplace accountability?

Accountability is a common concept, but what does it really mean in the context of your small business? Engagement, responsibility and ownership come to mind, but a workplace culture of accountability has a different feel. When you foster a culture of accountability, your staff works together to find solutions to problems. Your employees deliver results and hold each other responsible for their actions.

When something falls through the cracks, learning from a mistake is infinitely more valuable than blaming the culprit; accountable workplace cultures help foster growth and improvement. If you’ve struggled to create your own positive workplace culture, you can use this model to develop your enterprise’s own ethos.

Start from the top.

Before you can expect an augmented commitment from your existing staff, you should realize that accountability in any organization should start from the top. Leaders, managers, employees and business owners all work together within the same company, and no one group should operate by more or fewer standards. Apply the expectations to all levels in your organization, and make sure you lead by example. As a business owner, you’ll need to own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions in order for your employees to follow in your footsteps.

 

Hire people who will take responsibility.

You need great material from which to build your organization. Therefore, hiring the right people is important. You have probably heard that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Most HR professionals would agree that for hiring, it is important to probe for past behaviors and actions, and their results, to have a better idea of how an employee might perform in similar circumstances.

We suggest looking for people with a history of accountability. What types of roles have they held in the past? Did they seek out leadership positions in school, in personal pursuits or in previous jobs?

Ask interview questions about specific situations where an employee demonstrated accountable behaviors. For instance, ask about a time when, despite planning, the employee failed. Follow up with questions like, What did you learn from the failure? What did you do to resolve or fix the situation? What did you do differently the next time you were confronted with a similar situation?

Alternatively, you could ask about a time when this person chose to honor a commitment or do the right thing despite the fact that that action caused personal hardship. Again, follow up to get specifics. Listen carefully. Does the candidate blame other people, or make excuses, or does he/she take responsibility for the outcomes? Does he make disclosures? Does she focus on the problem or the solutions?

Set clear goals.

The specifics will largely depend on the nature of your business, but the idea is you should empower your staff to make choices that will help your business reach and exceed those goals. When your employees truly own their roles and responsibilities, they can bring their personal expertise to the table and have the freedom to step out of the box to solve problems. Modern, nimble businesses don’t silo departments or reduce an employee’s role to rigidly defined responsibilities. Instead, they encourage their employees to collaborate and operate as owners. Of course, it’s important to reward your staff for their exceptional work and for reaching goals. If you have room in your budget or working capital, it may be even more motivating to establish rewards for reaching those objectives.

 

Provide updates on progress.

People need information to course correct toward their goals.

Feedback can come from customer or employee surveys, ongoing project updates, key listening posts with critical stakeholders, or some combination of these. The most effective form of feedback, however, comes from frequent conversations between managers and employees.

When preparing to provide a progress update, managers should not ask themselves if they have all the data, but instead if they have the right data. Data that are performance orientated so they can speak to the behavior that has allowed the progress.

Overcommunicate when in doubt.

If you’re new to the idea of a culture of accountability, you won’t end up with a well-oiled machine overnight. Getting there will likely result in a learning curve, potential personnel changes or an adjusted workflow. Before you fully develop a system that works for your specific model, you should lean on overcommunication. If you wait until a performance review that’s days or weeks away to provide feedback to an employee, it’s likely too late for that person to adjust their actions for the issue at hand. When at all possible, provide feedback immediately, and not just for negative actions. Reward good behaviors as much as you provide negative feedback.

 

Keys to Promoting Accountability in Your Business

The other key parts of a caring culture include nurturing employees and leaders who are straightforward, thoughtful, and resolute in their approach to the business. All my years of experience in business resonate with that assessment, and allow entrepreneurs to explain to team members what accountability means, and what steps are required to get there:

  • Be willing to proclaim that something needs to be done. We all know of examples where employees and managers see the same problem occur over and over again but never raise a flag about it. You have to care about the business and your workers if you want others to be accountable.
  • Accept personal responsibility for tackling an issue. Apathetic people are quick to point the finger at someone else, or defer by saying “It’s not my job.” Leaders must send the message — and show by exampl — that delivering quality solutions to customers is everyone’s business. People working on problems must be rewarded.
  • Make positive choices or decisions to act. Employees who don’t think they have enough training or sense of the mission will shy away from making big decisions, which is vital for accountability. Make sure your company empowers its employees through positivity and doesn’t allow inertia or negative emotions to creep in.
  • Think deeply about the consequences of each choice. Are you working to get a problem off your back, or are you only serving your ego? Are you creating the best long-term solution for the customer, or are you merely using an expedient? Think before you act.
  • Set high expectations for yourself and your team. When you set your own sights high, you cannot help but inspire others. When you know others are taking their lead from you, it’s easier to stay accountable. Inspired team members will then set their own target higher, and that momentum will lead to better customer experiences and business success.

 

Final thoughts: creating a thoughtful and accountable company culture

Creating accountability in the workplace means creating a culture where everyone is assuming responsibility at work. Achieving this result depends heavily on good communication: if your team is on the same page then a sense of unity will make everyone more comfortable on the job. Truly, accountability is the key to driving a high performance culture.

Veterinarian Listing

Questions to ask your vet during the 1st visit with your puppy

Congratulations on your new puppy! You’re probably enjoying the playtime, snuggles, and getting to know your new pet. As a new pet owner, you’re likely wondering what you’ll need to do to keep your dog healthy and give her or him a long, healthy life. Your job as a pet parent all starts with taking him or her to the vet—and that first visit a crucial one.

Once you’ve chosen a veterinarian you’d like to work with, it’s time to schedule your first appointment. You’ll have plenty of questions to ask your new veterinarian when at this exam. Here are a few you may not have on your radar but should ask.

Your Puppy’s First Exam: What to Ask

You’ll have around 30 minutes with your vet, and you want to be sure you’re not missing anything that you’ll wonder about later. Write down a list of any questions you already have, and consider adding these.

What size will my dog grow to be?

You may be familiar with your breed to some extent, but it’s possible—especially if you’ve adopted from a shelter—that you’re not sure what size your puppy will grow to be. Your vet will be able to help you identify your puppy’s breed if you’re not entirely sure and educate you on breed-specific challenges, healthcare needs, and temperament. Your dog’s breed may determine some of their healthcare requirements, and you’ll want to know about these ahead of time.

When should I spay or neuter?

Every puppy is different, but your veterinarian will be able to give you a ballpark for spaying or neutering. You’ll want to do this before they reach sexual maturity, and your vet can give you any information you want about this procedure.

What kind of vaccinations will my puppy need?

Your vet can tell you a rundown of the vaccinations your puppy will need to stay healthy. Some of the vaccinations have the potential to save your puppy’s life, and others protect them from bothersome diseases such as influenza that dogs can pick up at parks, kennels and other places where your puppy interacts with other dogs.

 

What do we need to do today?

Yes, I know. This seems like an obvious one! You brought your new dog to the vet for a checkup… Duh.  But different dogs need different things! Your dog’s age, breed, lifestyle, and background (whether they came from a shelter, rescue, breeder or friend) has a huge effect on what vaccines, diagnostics and preventatives (more on that below) they need.  Be sure to bring any and all health records your pup came with to help your veterinary team help you. All dogs should be vaccinated for rabies and contagious viruses like distemper and parvovirus, unless  there is a documented medical reason (like vaccine reactions) otherwise.

When do I come back?

Rechecks are so easy to forget, but so important! Even if your furry baby gets a clean bill of health, they may need to come back for booster vaccinations to ensure they are fully protected from contagious diseases.  If any medical issues are discovered, rechecks are a must. If you have the chance, schedule your next appointment before you leave the building.

 

Is my puppy healthy?

Even pups who appear bright-eyed and bushy-tailed can be carrying parasites or concealing another illness beneath the surface. In your first wellness check, your vet should evaluate your puppy for any gastrointestinal, respiratory or skin issues. A fecal test can help to identify any parasites they’ve picked up in their first weeks.

How many times a day should I feed my puppy?

Most puppies need to eat more frequently than older dogs. Find out how many meals a day your vet recommends and get more bang for your buck by feeding out of interactive puzzle toys. Reserve some of your pup’s daily meals to use to reward and encourage desirable behaviors.

What type of food is best for a puppy?

Puppies typically require a different balance of nutrients than older dogs, including higher levels of protein, fat and calories. Providing proper nutrition early on can help your pup to avoid rapid weight gain, skin problems and other health issues.Talk to your vet about what brands or styles of food—kibble, dehydrated foods, canned food, raw food, home-cooked meals—they recommend for a growing pup.

 

Why does my dog scoot?

It’s never a welcome sight, seeing your pup drag its bottom across your pristine carpet. Common in medium to small-sized pooches, it’s mainly triggered by infected or impacted anal sacs. The sacs should empty often, alongside regular bowel movements. When they don’t, issues can arise. Other causes of scooting could be a perianal tumour, or irritation caused by matted hair, parasites or diarrhoea. Always take a scooting pooch to the vet, to safeguard against more serious medical issues.

My dog has a lump – should I be worried?

The sudden discovery of a lump on your beloved pooch can be frightening. It’s important to remember that a lump doesn’t necessarily spell trouble – in fact, many turn out to be fatty lumps, known as lipomas, which are harmless. Lipomas are benign lumps that begin life as fat cells housed in bodily tissue – they don’t tend to cause pooches any pain. They’re more frequent in middle-aged and elderly canines, and often don’t call for removal. If you find a lump on your dog, it’s always best to play it safe and consult a vet. You can never rule out more serious conditions, so your vet may extract a test sample. It’s essential to protect your pooch with quality pet insurance, as in the event of serious illness, the vet bills quickly rack up.

 

What preventatives should we be using?

Preventative medicine is very important in the veterinary world, and it refers to medical care that prevents the spread of disease, rather than treating a disease after it has already become a problem.  The cornerstones of preventative care for dogs are vaccinations and heartworm and parasite prevention.  All dogs should be heartworm tested at least once yearly, and should get heartworm prevention year-round. Most dogs will also need flea prevention, and dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors should also use tick prevention, especially in areas with dangerous tick-borne diseases.  Your veterinarian can help you choose the most cost effective and convenient preventative solutions for you.

When and why should I have my pup “fixed”?

Spaying and and neutering our canine family members is an important way we can keep them safe from disease and control the unwanted pet population. If you’re not familiar, spaying is the removal of female reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus), while neutering is the removal of the testicles. The ideal time to neuter or spay most puppies is 4-6 months, while behavioral issues and risk for mammary cancers can be avoided. However, older pets can avoid issues like infection of the uterus (pyometra, see above) and prostate enlargement if they are sterilized.

Effective Scorpion Control Measures

Scorpions: The definitive guide and how to eliminate them

Scorpions are, by far, one of the bugs most feared by all, not only for their terrifying appearance, but also for how ferocious they can become if they decide to use their sting to defend themselves.

These animals have become authentic survivors, since they have existed for more than 400 years, adapting to the environment. Thus, it does not matter if it is desert and semi-arid regions, or humid and cold places, scorpions can appear wherever they want and without any problem, making their burrows with total ease.

What are scorpions?

It is about bugs belonging to the family of arachnids, where there are also ticks and spiders. Usually, they are related to desert and semi-arid zones, although their adaptive capacity allows them to be almost everywhere.

Many people confuse them with the classic spiders by the similarity in their appearance, more it is different bugs. The main discrepancy is in the tail of the scorpions, whose sting contains a powerful poison that they use to immobilize their prey and devour it.

Ants, spiders, centipedes, lizards and even small rodents are part of the diet of these peculiar and lethal bichillos. In addition to their tail, they have some hairs that work as sensors and detect the vibrations of their prey.

 

How to Get Rid of Scorpions for Good: The Ultimate Guide

Well, there is some truth to the old myth that the only survivors of a nuclear war would be the lowly cockroach and scorpion (as well as some foods which have a half-life rather than a shelf-life)

They live in the dark, they adore the scorching heat, their skeletal structure is on the outside and they can do yoga much, much better than you ever will: what chance do you have against them? Well, I’m here to give you the breakdown of every single tool, weapon and last hope at your disposal to finally get rid of scorpions for good.

Ruin scorpions’ living habitats

Newsflash: scorpions are living in your yard because they like it there. The conditions are favorable, the food’s good and they don’t have to pay rent for their single bedroom wooden log, or en-suite-construction-bag-left-forgotten-for-months. As soon as you begin to clear up any loose and inviting clutter, trash and disposable material from your yard that could make for a perfectly dingy and dark shelter for scorpions, you’ll begin to see a drop in their numbers.

Destroy scorpions’ food source

Joining up with point number one – by eradicating the elements of your yard that make for good shelter, you’ll disrupt the delicate little eco system that’s formed there. Especially if you get rid of rotten materials which can attract all manner of bug life; a scorpion’s staple diet. Do your best to keep flies and insects to a minimum around and inside your home. With no viable meal ticket available to them, scorpions will begin to look elsewhere for their dinner.

Get rid of leakage

Sticking with the theme of destroying the optimum scorpion environment; you also want to keep moisture to an absolute minimum where possible, both inside and outside the home. It’s no secret that standing water and moisture seepage are huge attractions for all kinds of pests and scorpions are chief among them, especially if you live in an arid climate (where both moisture pockets are few and far between and scorpions are most prolific).

 

Scorpions: The Ultimate Guide

Scorpions are very old creatures going back an estimated 430 million years. They are commonly believed to only be found in deserts, but species of scorpions exist in nearly every habitat including grasslands, forests, savannahs, and caves.

Scorpions have developed a reputation for being particularly dangerous creatures, but out of nearly 1,750 species, only 25 represent a threat to humans. Even among these species, the chance of a fatal scorpion sting is very rare. That being said, stings are painful and no one wants to deal with scorpions around their yards or in their homes. Find out everything you need to know about scorpion behavior and scorpion prevention and control techniques in this ultimate guide.

Scorpion Identification

Scorpions are arachnids that are related to ticks, mites, and spiders. They have eight legs, an elongated body, 2 grasping pincers in the front (known as pedipalps), and a 5-segmented tail that is often seen arching over the back. On the back of its tail is a venomous stinger that is the source of most of the trepidation surrounding scorpions. Scorpions can be many different colors including yellow, blue, reddish-brown, and black.

The size of a scorpion varies by species and can range from under 1 inch up to 9 inches long. Scorpions are unique because they will glow a bluish-green color when exposed to an ultraviolet light source (like a black light). This is because the cuticle contains fluorescent chemicals. UV flashlights will allow you to see them in the dark when they are most active.

Scorpion Behavior

Scorpions are nocturnal creatures. They spend the majority of the day hiding in cool, sheltered locations and will hunt at night. The diet of a scorpion mainly consists of insects and spiders, but may also include other scorpions, lizards, snakes, mice, and other small creatures. They are able to identify and locate their prey by sensing vibrations. They will either use their pincers to capture their prey or their stinger to inject venom to paralyze it.

 

Things I’ve Learned {the hard way} About Scorpions

about three months after we had moved into our current home. I was seven months pregnant with baby number two. Our nearly-two-year-old had woken early on a Saturday morning and I’d gotten up with her to let my husband snooze a little longer. Thinking he would sleep in for another hour at least (and patting myself on the back for taking the early shift), I was surprised when he emerged from our master bedroom just a few minutes later.

In a daze he told me he thought he’d been stung by a scorpion. He had rolled over in bed to go back to sleep and his elbow brushed up against the wall behind our bed (where a headboard would be if we had one). He said he had a funny sensation around his elbow, like a tingling, pins-and-needles numbness that was getting more intense.

Like any good wife, I didn’t believe him for a second and thought he was completely over-reacting. After all, he wasn’t screaming in pain and hadn’t seen anything when he’d looked at the spot on the wall where his elbow had made contact. To rule out the off-chance that he wasn’t insane, we went to investigate. Sure enough, when we pulled the bed away a few inches, a huge bark scorpion was crawling leisurely up the wall, just inches from our pillows.

And then I did what has become commonly known in our family as “Sarah’s scorpion dance” (picture much frenetic arm-waving and foot-stamping). After we had captured the scorpion using a water glass and flushed it down the toilet, I calmly considered our options: 1) Move, 2) Burn down the house, and 3) Move. I don’t normally have major phobias when it comes to bugs and spiders, but a giant deadly arachnid practically IN OUR BED during a season of life when we had a roaming toddler and impending newborn just about put me over the edge.

In the last two years I have learned a lot about scorpions. Although I am not a pest control professional or an entomologist, I have talked to several scorpion experts and experienced more first-hand trial and error than I care to remember

 

Scorpions

Scorpions are nocturnal, predatory animals that feed on a variety of insects, spiders, centipedes, and other scorpions. Large scorpions occasionally feed on vertebrates such as small lizards, snakes, and mice. Most scorpions live in warm, dry climates, and many of the species

IDENTIFICATION

Scorpions are easily distinguished by their crablike appearance, pair of pincers, four pairs of legs, and long, segmented tail ending with an enlarged segment bearing a stinger. Although they have two eyes in the center of the head and usually two to five more along the margin on each side, they don’t see well and depend on touch. When running, they hold their pincers outstretched, and the posterior end of the abdomen is usually curved upward. Scorpions that hide under stones and other objects during the day tend to carry their stinger to one side, whereas burrowing scorpions hold their stinger up over their backs.

The bark scorpion is the only common climbing scorpion and does not normally burrow but usually lives above ground under tree bark and in palm trees and crevices of rocky cliffs. Because it can ascend slump block walls or stucco, this species is the scorpion most likely to enter dwellings. The bark scorpion is attracted to moisture around homes and in the house. It also may be found in stacked lumber or bricks, firewood piles, cellars, and attics. It needs only a crack of 1/16 inch to enter a home.

This scorpion can often be found around homes and in garages. It is a night feeder attracted to water, swimming pools, irrigated areas, or outside lights where food prey such as beetles, cockroaches, crickets, moths, and other insects are attracted as well. During the day it may be found in woodpiles, palm trees, and decorative bark or under loose boards, woodpiles, rocks, or the bark of trees

LIFE CYCLE

Scorpions grow slowly. Depending on the species, they may take 1 to 6 years to reach maturity. On average scorpions may live 3 to 5 years, but some species can live as long as 10 to 15 years. Scorpions have an interesting mating ritual. The male grasps the female’s pincers with his and leads her in a courtship dance that may last for several hours. The exact nature of this courtship dance varies from one species to the next. In general, the male deposits a sperm packet and maneuvers the female over it. The sperm packet is drawn into the female’s genital opening located near the front on the underside of her abdomen. The female stores the sperm packet, and the sperm is later used to fertilize her eggs. After mating, unless he is quick and able to escape, the male is often eaten by the female.

Basic Things You Need To Know About Engine Rebuilding

Is It Worth Putting a Used Engine in A Car?

On the off chance that you locate the correct used engine, it will be fundamentally less expensive than purchasing another motor and it will perform in any case. The cash spared alone is reason enough for buying a pre-owned motor. At the point when a vehicle proprietor gets the news that their motor is down and out for good, it can put an immense measure of weight on his shoulders simply envisioning the weighty measure of cash he should dispense to get the motor supplanted. Some vehicle proprietors may even believe, “What’s the point? Why not simply search for another vehicle?” However, most vehicle proprietors don’t think about the idea of buying a used motor. But the truth is a used engine not only helps in saving your money but also works for several years. So if you ask whether a used engine is worth it , yes it is completely worth it !

There is another advantage as well. Normally people dont have an idea that a used engine also saves environment. Used engines help nature since we are reusing entirely acceptable motors by using them for to the extent that this would be possible before they should be discarded.

Wrapping It Up

The motor is the most fundamental part of any vehicle. Without its ideal working, everything else passes by the wayside. The motor you introduce as a substitution for a wrecked one ought to be dependable, regardless of whether it’s utilized. There are a lot of solid, utilized motors that should be reused and are completely fine given an intensive assessment. On the off chance that you need another motor introduced in your vehicle, first make certain to go to a technician that knows how to examine an engine.

A portion of the things that auto authorities search for in used motors are low mileage and signs of past major issues. They discover what issues may come up, assuming any, and how to fix them before introducing them into another vehicle. Some of the time used engines even accompany warrantees. This can be another approach to guarantee that your acquisition of a pre-owned motor stays ensured for an all-inclusive timeframe.

 

Benefits of replacing your engine instead of buying a new car

No one wants to be put in a situation where they have to decide between replacing their car engine or just buying a new car. This reality happens often, though, so you have to weigh your options. Unfortunately, neither option is cheap, but most of the time it makes sense to replace your engine for many reasons. Here are some of the main benefits of replacing your vehicle’s engine instead of buying a new car.

INSURANCE PREMIUMS WILL NOT RISE

Consider replacing your engine rather than buying a new car.When you buy a new car, chances are your insurance premiums are going to rise. But when you replace the engine of your car, you’ll continue with the same insurance coverage and the vehicle is still considered to be the same age. And you don’t have to add full coverage insurance if you don’t want to.

REGISTRATION FEES WILL REMAIN THE SAME

Newer vehicles in New Jersey often come with higher registration fees, so this is another thing to consider if you’re looking into buying a new vehicle. The increase in these fees many not seem significant, but they can add up over time. Your registration fees will remain the same if you simply replace your car’s engine.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT A CAR PAYMENT

Car payments can be burdensome. While you may just want to wipe your hands clean of your old car and get behind the wheel of a new car, it may make more sense financially to just replace the engine. Once the replacement engine is paid off, you’ll be free of car payments, and this feat will be accomplished much earlier than if you bought a new car.

WARRANTY BENEFITS OF A NEW ENGINE

The warranty for a replacement engine is three years or 100,000 miles. Once it’s installed, you won’t have to worry about it for at least that duration when you get your engine replaced at DeBoer’s Auto.

IT TAKES LESS ENERGY TO REPLACE AN ENGINE

From an environmental perspective, less energy is used to rebuild and replace a car engine compared to building a new car from scratch. So another side benefit of having your engine replaced is to be friendlier to the environment.

 

Things to Consider Before Swapping an Engine:

Wiring

Wiring is always a constant problem for people, no matter what size project they are taking on, but especially in modern engine swaps. Wiring can be very complex and it requires a lot of understanding about amperage, wire gauge, relays, and overall circuits. A perfect example is the electric fan circuit. A lot of people run two wires (power and ground), but the circuit needs to be tied into the cooling system, air conditioning system and the system needs one or two relays.

Cooling Systems

Cooling systems aren’t tricky, but many people just underestimate the volume of work that goes into it. Mechanical fans will work OK with older engines, but today’s engines run hotter and require a lot more cooling. Most people just don’t think about specific functionality of the modern engine they are installing and reinstall the mechanical fan or they hook-up a cheap electric fan that doesn’t have enough flow.

Headers

Most people know or have a good idea that the exhaust manifolds are going to need to be modified. However, it isn’t until the engine is sitting in the engine compartment that they realize how complex the issue can be and people can quickly get in over their heads. Steering linkage, spark plugs and wires can really cause some headache when fabricating a header. By the time most people have a good mental image of how the headers need to lay out, they come to the realization that the tubing is going to hit the frame or body, and have to start from scratch again—a common and costly mistake.

Oil Pans and Pick-Up Tubes

Since most chassis and cross-members are in different locations, oil pan clearances are often a problem. Luckily, with the wide variety of aftermarket oil pans out there, people usually don’t have to build custom pans and pick-up tubes. It takes a little more effort to find exactly the right fit.

Steering

Steering linkage can get tricky when trying to figure out how to navigate past the headers and around everything. In addition to that, many people upgrade their suspension and steering systems at the same time as the engine. With the wide variety of aftermarket components available, sometimes the combination of parts used can require an odd combination of steering linkage.

Air Conditioning

Late-model engines usually have mounting brackets or bosses for air conditioning compressors. While this can make it convenient, the compressors are usually mounted on the lower sections of the engine. This can create problems when trying to get an engine between the frame rails. So, mounting the compressor in a different location is often necessary. In addition to the compressor, a lot of people have problems laying out the system and figuring out where the accumulator/dryer or fixed orifices go.

 

Fluid Reservoirs

One commonly overlooked modification is that in general all of the reservoirs need to be changed. The cooling system isn’t a big deal, but the power steering reservoir can be tricky. Packaging gets really tight and sometimes a remote mount reservoir is needed.

Driveshaft

While a driveshaft doesn’t seem like a big deal, people will sometimes run into problems either measuring the driveshaft or selecting the right yoke or flange. Once in a while, we run into a problem where people don’t tell the drive shaft shop that they put a blower on the car and it has 800 hp. So, they will bend the driveshaft or kick it out the side of the car when they hammer it.

Fuel Systems

Most people know they need larger and higher-quality fuel lines and better filtration. Where they run into problems is selecting the right fuel pump. We usually recommend people try and use a factory-style in-tank pump for their daily driver,” says Meyers. “Frame-mounted high-volume pumps vibrate, run hot and usually aren’t designed for extended driving cycles. So, failure, and cabin noise can be a problem.

 

Dangers of Engine Swapping- What You Need to Know

What happens when you put a more powerful engine into a different set of chassis or smaller car? Sometimes magic happens and you’ve Frankenstein’d your way to a real muscle or supercar. An engine swap is the process of removing a car’s original engine and replacing it with another. This is usually done either because of failure, or to install a different engine, usually one that is bigger and better to make your car more powerful and or economical. Sometimes older engines may have a shortage of spare parts and so a modern replacement may be more easily and cheaply maintained.

Swapping to a diesel engine for improved fuel economy is a long established practice, with modern high efficiency and torque diesel engines this does not necessarily mean a reduction in performance associated with older diesel engine swaps. For the particular application of off-road vehicles the high torque at low speed of turbo diesels combined with good fuel economy makes these conversions particularly effective. Here on shoptalk we wouldn’t promote swapping you engine since it is an easy way to void your coverage but if you are a hobbyist extending the life of your car beyond 10+ years we have compiled a guide to 10 of the top 10 things people commonly forget or underestimate when doing a late-model engine swap.

Steps In Handling Home Remodeling Projects

How to Take Care of Your Neighbors When Remodeling

When planning a remodel, there’s already a ton on your plate — like managing the budget, making seemingly endless design decisions and accepting that a whole team of workers will be traipsing across your property. But it’s also important to think about how the work is going to affect your neighbors. After all, remodeling projects are disruptive even under the best of circumstances. And at worst? Well, you’ve probably heard some horror stories.

It’s worth taking a few extra steps to stay in the good graces of the folks who share fence lines, street parking, smiles and waves from the front porch, and possibly even corn on the cob with you at summer block parties. Consider this guide your blueprint for framing those necessary neighborly conversations so that you can get the remodel you want without stepping on too many toes.

Do Your Homework

Certain projects (like tear downs and additions) may require that you notify neighbors in advance. Your remodeling pro ought to be able to fill you in on the details if that’s the case. Even if it’s not legally necessary, it’s still a good practice to keep neighbors informed if you want to maintain positive relationships in the long term. When you’re getting ready to approach your neighbors with news of your upcoming remodel, the more knowledgeable and prepared you are, the more comfortable they will feel with the project.

Know the answers to these questions before you approach your neighbors:

When will construction start?

How long do you expect construction to last?

What types of equipment will be used on the site?

Will there be extra vehicles, port-a-potties or road closures to consider?

Are your plans in keeping with the character of the neighborhood?

Reach Out in Advance

When you let your neighbors know about your remodeling plans, be prepared for a range of reactions. Some folks might be excited and curious (“We’re thinking of remodeling too! Who are you using?”), while others may be indifferent or even hostile. All these reactions are OK. Just focus on listening attentively and with empathy: Often that’s all it takes to bring the temperature back down. Along with your in-person chat, give your neighbors something in writing that includes the key details discussed and contact information they can use to get in touch with you during the day.

 

Things to Ask Your Contractor Before You Start Your Project

Remodeling or building a new home is a big financial and emotional investment. It can also be a big investment of your time if you want to be closely involved in the decision-making. Knowing what to expect before the project gets started will help you better prepare for the process

What Is Our Schedule?

A schedule is more than just a start and end date. Having a schedule that outlines tasks and timing will give you a big-picture view of sequencing and deadlines for things such as tile and countertops. It will also give you a benchmark so that you know if things are slipping by a day or two.

Who Will Be Here Every Day?

Depending on the size and structure of the company you hire, the answer could vary widely. Many remodelers use a lead carpenter system, where a staff member (sometimes called a superintendent) is responsible for day-to-day work on-site, and often swings a hammer as well. Ask your contractor direct questions about who will be responsible for opening and locking up, who will supervise subcontractors on-site and whom to call on a daily basis with any questions.

How Will You Protect My Property?

This is a conversation best had before demolition, not after you come home and find dust all over the house. There are a number of dust-containment measures that can be taken, and talking about it ahead of time will provide you with a clear idea of how the construction area will be cordoned off from the rest of your home and how you’ll be able to move through your house.

There’s also the issue of stuff — all the books, furniture, drapes, delicate vases and paintings on the wall. It’s helpful to remove them all from the construction zone. This includes anything hung on walls or sitting on shelves in adjacent rooms, since they can shake loose from persistent hammering. If you leave them as-is, it will cost to have them moved and moved again to keep them out of the way, and you risk damage in the process. It’s better to move it all at once and know it’s safe and sound

 

How to Donate or Recycle Home Remodeling Materials

Visit any remodeling project during its demolition phase, and you might think that those piles of broken concrete, asphalt, wood, drywall, brick, metal, glass and more are just junk heaps destined for a landfill. Not so fast.

Many construction and demolition materials can be reused and recycled. And doing so reduces greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the need to produce and manufacture new materials. Recycling home remodeling materials eases strain on local landfills. Who wants those to get any bigger than they have to?

The following is a short guide to donating and finding construction and demolition materials. Every city has different organizations and methods for disposing of and recycling waste, so consider this a jumping-off point.

If you’re working with a general contractor or other remodeling professional, ask him or her about how your old building materials could be reused, recycled, donated or disposed of in an environmentally conscious way. And inquire about how you can reduce excess material waste during construction. If you’re doing the work yourself, there are still plenty of options for getting rid of your construction waste besides putting them in a landfill.

What Building Materials Can Be Reused and Recycled?

First off, it’s good to know what can be reused and salvaged, and what can be recycled. This list is from the U.S. Green Building Council, which recommends trying to reuse or salvage first. Once those options are exhausted, turn to recycling.

 

How to Care for Pets and Children During a Remodel

Living through a remodel is a challenge, as anyone who’s been there can attest — but add kids or pets (or both!) to the mix and things get a whole lot trickier. How do you keep curious, active kids from getting hurt when there’s construction going on at home? What are you supposed to do with an anxious dog who won’t stop barking at the workers? Take a few deep breaths and then read this guide: We’ll tackle those questions and more.

Assign Separate Entrances for Workers and Family

This will help keep construction dust and dirt out of the areas you’re using, but also (and perhaps more important) it will help prevent workers from accidentally leaving tools and supplies sitting around in non-work areas. Choose an entrance for the workers closest to the construction zone to minimize foot traffic through the house, even if this means they use the front door and your family switches to the back, side or garage entrance.

If Hazardous Materials Are Present, Stay Somewhere Else

Any remodel is bound to include some potential hazards — but what we’re talking about here are serious hazards like lead paint, asbestos and mold. If one of these is present in your home, staying elsewhere while that portion of the work is being done is a good idea. If you or one of your children have health concerns like asthma or allergies, you may also wish to stay at the home of a friend or relative, or in a rental, to avoid construction dust.

Designate a Safe Place to Play

There are a lot of places you’ll be telling your kids it’s not OK to play, which makes it all the more important that you find a place where play is allowed. If you’re living within a smaller area of your home during the remodel, this might mean letting the kids “take over” a room usually used for another purpose — like the dining room or den.

Always Keep an Eye on Kids During Construction

As a parent, you know how quickly an active kid can decide to do something unexpected. Even if you usually feel confident leaving the kiddos playing happily for a few minutes while you wash the dishes or answer a call, it’s essential to never leave kids unattended during construction. Since it’s rare that construction workers will be on-site from sunup to sundown every day, try to plan your solo tasks for the hours before and after work is happening. And remember, even when work isn’t going on, your home is effectively still a work site, so it’s a good idea to be extra vigilant about safety.

 

Questions to Ask Before Committing to an Open Floor Plan

Open floor plans are great — they can make a home feel larger and airier, create multifunctional spaces and make it possible to live in a smaller space. But the truth is, they aren’t for everyone. Designers have been reporting that some clients have a hard time with this setup, whether it’s because of TV noise, a desire to hide kitchen messes from view or a need for a quiet place to read or work. Before committing to an open floor plan for the first time, answer the following questions to see if it’s for you.

Do I Want to See All the Public Spaces in My Home All the Time?

Looking at a beautiful and tidy space like this makes it hard to imagine wanting to put up walls. If your home is one where you like to spread out papers for work or projects, where you prefer to let the kitchen cleanup wait until after you’ve enjoyed the meal, or where kids leave lots of toys strewn about, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if looking at that stuff will make you feel compelled to constantly neaten up, an open layout may not be for you.

Is a ‘Not-So-Kitchen-y’ Kitchen for Me?

Within an open floor plan, the kitchen is usually in full view of the dining and living areas. One of the comments I hear most often from designers working within an open plan is that they have designed the kitchen to look “not-so-kitchen-y.” This can mean it has features like open shelving or windows instead of upper cabinets; an island with a waterfall countertop to provide visual separation; storage concentrated on one wall; or appliances camouflaged by panel fronts.

Do you like to keep your herbs, spices, cooking utensils, small appliances and other items out on the countertops? Do you prefer a traditional kitchen look over a sleek camouflaged one? Do you like to leave your kitchen cleanup until after the party is over or gather for meals at the kitchen table in a cozy space? Then consider other layout options in addition to an open floor plan, and imagine your lifestyle in each. Open plans may be popular, but a closed-off kitchen certainly is not a bad thing — you can close the door on the mess and enjoy your time with your family and guests without feeling as if you should be washing pots and pans and putting everything away.

Rug Pads For Hardwood Flooring

How do you remove residue from hardwood floors?

Cleaning can be an essential part of self-care for some people. The feeling of getting something done and the smell of a clean space could send anyone to bliss town. After a long day of cleaning, though, there’s nothing worse than seeing a layer of residue on your supposedly pristine hardwood floors. Your floor may be clean, but you need to take extra steps if you have to remove cleaner residue from wood floors.

Floor Cleaner Residue

Take a mental inventory on every time you’ve cleaned your wood floors. If they’re always sticky or have a layer of residue, technically, you’re not doing anything wrong. It’s the product that you’re using to clean your wood floors. Floor cleaners do make floors clean, but you have to look at what they’re formulated with before you use them. A lot of cleaners contain three main ingredients: water, solvents and surfactant.

The solvents will cut through dirt while the surfactants make it easier to wipe up the dirt. Unfortunately, it’s the surfactants that cause the residue on wood floors. That’s why it’s important not to mix cleaners. Also, you should stick to one cleaner per wash. If you’re noticing that your floor is always sticky, then you may need to dilute your cleaner because of the number of surfactants in the bottle.

Removing Floor Cleaner Residue

If you’re the type of person that likes to make do-it-yourself solutions to clean their house, you may be upset to learn that vinegar is not the best ingredient to use when cleaning wood floors. It can leave marks, as well as eat away at certain types of wood. So, although you could use vinegar to clean your wood floors, you should try to limit the amount you’re using, and how often.

When you’re cleaning hardwood floors, many people think that they’re cleaning the actual wood. You’re actually cleaning the protective layer on the hardwood floor. Vinegar is slightly acidic, so over time, it can break down the finish of your floor. This will leave your floor looking dull over time.

Windex on Wood

If your floors are always getting sticky, try using an ammonia-free glass cleaner on wood like Windex. Ammonia cleans up sticky stains and scuff marks. A lot of people stay away from ammonia because it has a strong chemical smell, so if you hate that smell, try diluting it.

Always make sure that you rinse the Windex on wood, or it will damage your floor over time. When cleaning with Windex on hardwood floors, all you have to do is spray sections and let it sit for two minutes. After it sits, wipe up the dirt. Then, go over the floor one more time with a clean damp cloth to remove the Windex.

Other Residue Removal Hacks

Before you clean your hardwood floors, always sweep or dust mop to get rid of dirt or debris. Don’t soak your floors with a lot of liquid; instead, spray a light mist. You can use a mop, but they leave a lot of water on hardwood floors, so use a microfiber mop instead.

Cloudy Wood Floors

In order to not get cloudy wood floors, prevention is always key. You should always keep maintenance up with the wood floor, as well as stay away from oil soap, wax or wood cleaners that will damage your floor. Also, if you like to use ammonia on your floor, don’t use it often. If you use ammonia every day, it can strip off the finish, as well as warp the wood floors.

 

Why are My Hardwood Floors Hazy?

The most common causes of a hazy or cloudy film on hardwood floors after cleaning are a buildup of floor cleaner, wax buildup, trapped moisture, and bad floor cleaners. All these can make wood floors appear to have a milky, white substance on top of the surface even after cleaning.

Identifying and understanding causes of white haze will help in taking an appropriate removal and restoration method to get it off the wood floor.

I have explained how these distort the shine of your wood floor and how to restore the look below.

Hardwood floors are supposed to have a beauty and luster that bring out the best in your living space. When floors get dull or cloudy, they can be difficult to fix. It’s possible, but without proper knowledge, your efforts to restore the look of your hardwood floors can make matters worse.

Identifying the root causes of cloudy or milky-looking hardwood floors can help get you to a proper solution without hours and hours of trial and error:

  • Use of improper cleaners: With a market full of all kinds of wood cleaning products, picking the wrong cleaner gets easier and easier. The types of cleaners that were effective years ago might not have a good effect on modern wood floors. Products like oil soaps, paste wax and furniture polish should be avoided since they are notorious for leaving a hazy, sticky buildup on your floor.
  • Frequently change or rinse cleaning pad: Rinse out microfiber cleaning pad thoroughly or change the pad completely between rooms to avoid dragging a dirty pad throughout the house instead of removing the grime off the floor.
  • Clean kitchen floors last: Usually kitchen floors have the most dirt and grime buildup, so clean them last to avoid carrying that dirt to other floors in the home.
  • Wax buildup: Floors that have a polyurethane finish do not need to be waxed. If waxing a floor that doesn’t need it, the wax will react negatively with the finish and create a cloudy look.
  • Cleaner buildup: When cleaning hardwood floors, less is more. A small application of cleaner on a microfiber mop is all that’s needed to clean your floors. Hazy floors can occur when too much cleaner is used.
  • issues: Water and hardwood floors don’t mix. While water can be used as part of the cleaning process, too much water on a hardwood floor can damage floors and alter its look. Avoid using a string or sponge mop to clean since they don’t do a good job of absorbing water once they’re fully soaked.
  • Improper application of finish: If the finish is applied over a layer of stain, or previous coats of finish aren’t fully dried, the solvent vapors trapped beneath the finish can create this look.

 

How to Remove a Cloudy Haze on Hardwood Floors

Using the appropriate cleaner for your hardwood floors will prevent the buildup of cloudy or milky substances after cleaning. However, if you ready have the white stuff forming, you might want to explore some ways to fix the problem.

Here’s how to remove a cloudy buildup from your hardwood floors:

  • Remove the carpet or the furniture or any item on the cloudy area
  • Fill a bucket with luke-warm water
  • Dip a microfiber cloth in the luke-warm water and wring to leave it just damp.
  • Gently rub and wipe the area with the cloudy film with the damp cloth until it is gone.
  • Pat the area dry with a clean cloth or Re-washable Microfiber Mop Pads.
  • Allow some time to air dry before you return your area rug and furniture in place

 

Use of Mayonnaise

Use olive oil in mayonnaise to leach out water in cases where the cloudy haze is a result of blushing out.

Here is the procedure for using olive oil in mayonnaise.

  • Take the mayonnaise and spread it on the cloudy deposits.
  • Leave it overnight to seep in and replace the water in the cloudy area.
  • Wipe off the mayonnaise in the morning with a dry cloth.

Use of Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaning remains one of the best of removing stain and stubborn dirt and grime on the hardwood floors when uses appropriately. Steam cleaning is capable of getting rid of white haze out of the hardwood floor. It has an added advantage of sanitizing the floor by killing 99% of household germs an even get rid of bug menace on your floor.

Always pick the best steam mop for hardwood floors to avoid floor damage as well as get effective results. Another main benefit is steam uses water but not harsh chemicals thus leaves your floor safe for pets and kids.

However, only use a steam cleaner machine on sealed floors. Take precautions to avoid over steaming one area, failure to which it will damage and leave white spots on your hardwood floor.

 

Tips & Tricks to Polish Hardwood Floors

When it comes to polishing hardwood floors, it’s best to approach the job with a gentle hand. There’s no need to aggressively work the polish into your floors. Let the polish do all the work when applying.

  • Get your floor ready. Remove furniture, dry mop and clean with Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Cleaner.
  • Measure your room and know your square footage. One 32oz bottle of Polish covers 500 sq. ft. You will use one full bottle of Polish for every 500 sq ft.
  • Do not shake the bottle of polish—gently rock it back and forth for 30 seconds to 1 minute to assure a consistent sheen level.
  • Spread a nice even layer of polish across the floor so it can self-level.
  • Let the applicator pad do the work—just guide the puddle of polish back and forth with the wood grain… only fingertip pressure on your mop.
  • Work in small sections on the floor, making sure you don’t trap yourself in a corner!
  • Only Polish floors every 2-4 months, or longer depending on the traffic in your home.

Efficient Interior Painting

What should I look for in painting?

What Is Paint?

Paint is a mixture of four basic ingredients: pigments, resins, solvents, and additives. Pigment is the color, and resin is the binder, or glue. Solvent is the carrier that makes it all liquid and evaporates as the paint dries. Additives provide specific performance characteristics, such as stain-blocking or mold-killing properties.

Cheap paints have a higher percentage of solvents per volume than better pains. As a result, there can be up to 50 percent less pigment and resin in a gallon of cheap paint. This means that most of what you are applying with cheap paint is solvent (water or mineral spirits), which just evaporates, leaving little pigment behind. This is why you have to recoat and recoat up to four times with low-quality paint before enough pigment is left behind to cover the color underneath.

So learn from the pros, who value their time: buy the best paint you can afford and avoid having to paint more than twice. Look for manufacturers with a good reputation, and check the label looking for products containing about 45 percent pigment and resins per volume.

 

Water-Based vs. Oil-Based Types of Paint

All paints basically fall into two solvent categories that define their type: water-based or oil-based. Water-based paint actually has water as a solvent, but just to confuse everyone this paint is most commonly called “latex” even though it does not contain latex. Many water-based paints are made with acrylic and may be called “acrylic latex.” The label “oil-based paint” is equally confusing, because it isn’t actually made with oil; it has a solvent of mineral spirits (also known as paint thinner) or alkyd resin. Alkyd can be thinned with mineral spirits, and latex paint is thinned with water. At the paint store, you’ll be understood if you use the terms latex paint or alkyd or oil-based paint.

 

Expert Advice on How to Look at Paintings

No knowledge needed

Being able to understand paintings is not a skill you either have or you don’t – it’s something anyone can learn. You don’t need detailed knowledge of art history to enjoy an artwork or develop your own taste. You just have to know how to look at art. With a few tips you can get started and become an art enthusiast yourself.

When we look at something, whether this is a work of art or something different, our human brains read it and generate meaning. Different clues make up our understanding of images, often even unconsciously. So when learning to look at art, you basically only have to slow down this process that is already happening in your mind. It only takes three simple yet very effective steps to become conscious about this process.

Step 1: Take a look

This step may sound very obvious, but it actually isn’t. People often don’t take enough time to look at artworks. In museums, visitors spent only an average of 15 seconds in front of a painting. So let’s start with taking some time to notice what you are looking at. Try to pay attention to the size, colours and material of the artwork. What kind of shapes and lines are shown? What is the composition of the painting like? What textures are visible? All these different visual elements were decided deliberately by the artist, and will therefore determine the overall feel and meaning of the work.

Step 2: See what is there

Seeing is not the same thing as looking. Whereas looking is about describing what is in front of you, seeing requires applying meaning to a picture. This is called iconography in art history terms. We see symbols in paintings which we can interpret.

Step 3: Think

The last step is to think about what you have observed. This step is about connecting the first two steps and thinking about possible interpretations. Giving meaning is something relative; it’s not about facts.

The broader context of a painting will help make reading the artwork easier. This context can be found through labels and descriptions. They can help you to place the work in a certain time period and relate it to an artist or movement. Maybe you even already have some knowledge about the subject. With all this information you will be able to put the pieces together in your mind and come up with your own interpretation.

 

Common Characteristics of Good Paintings

Good painters don’t merely recreate what is in front of them. An experienced artist knows how to create a successful painting, no matter what situation or model he or she is presented with or the materials being worked with.

Of course, this often comes after years of practice and experimentation — as well as the development of a unique artistic voice. But there are some basic characteristics that all good paintings have in common. As you are thinking about just how to paint your next composition, keep the following three tips in mind.

  1. A Strong Focal Point

A focal point is not like the big, bold “X” that marks the spot on a treasure map. It can take on any shape and size. It can be bold but it can also be subtle. A dappling of light, a pop of color, an expression or emphatic gesture — any of these can become a focal point in a composition.

Regardless of how it is created, its purpose should be to engage the viewer or act as the culmination of the momentum built in the work.

  1. Layers of Color

When it comes to painting characteristics, color is key to keep in mind. Color makes a painting tranquil or vibrant, dramatic or stark. And, this comes about not only in your color choices but also how you build passages of color over one another or side by side.

Warm and cool colors in a sky create a sense of atmosphere and space more than any one swath of color — no matter how perfectly matched it is to the sky above.

  1. Changes in Direction

In many great paintings, the image is realistically rendered, but brushstrokes are clearly visible. You are aware of how the painting is painted. Think about how the paint application of Jan van Eyck versus Vincent van Gogh perfectly reflects or resonates with what the artists painted.

The way a brush moves paint around makes a statement that should be taken advantage of. You can start by being mindful of your brush’s changes in the direction, literally working on a painting with different strokes and from various angles.

 

Things You Should Give Up to Be a Successful Artist

Give up on the “not enough” mind frame

Successful artists don’t frame things around “not enough.” There is never enough time, not enough money, not enough confidence, not enough of whatever it is at that moment to make or do what you need to do to be a successful artist.

Give up comparisons

Here’s the thing about comparisons: you are always going to be better at some things than other people, and worse at other things. Dwelling on either isn’t going to get you anywhere. It can stifle your creativity as an emerging artist to compare yourself to someone who is twenty years into their career, and it can stunt your growth to compare your work to someone who is just starting out. Instead of focusing on how you stack up next to someone else, invest that energy into comparing your recent work with the work you made six months ago, a year ago and five years ago. Have you grown? And where do you want to see yourself six months, a year, and five years in the future? Only compare yourself to yourself.

Give up on making excuses

If you want to be a successful artist, you have to show up. You have to do the work. If you are like any other artist in the world, you probably have said to yourself at one time something along the lines of, “I can’t go to the studio today because I’m too busy/ too heartbroken/ my family needs me too much/ [insert any excuse here.]” And you know what? It feels good to do that. It feels justified and reasonable and like you are doing the right thing for yourself.

How Should I Choose Wedding Photographer

THINGS THIS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER LEARNED AS A BRIDE

As I come down from cloud nine from this amazing weekend, I thought I’d share a more personal blog post that I felt was kind of necessary. This weekend, I married my best friend and had the wedding of my dreams!!  Out of all the weddings I have shot over the years, it was so crazy to finally be the bride.  I’m still reliving the day over and over again, smiling to myself that this really happened.

In other news, it was really eye opening to be on the other side of things for once.  I learned a LOT about what it feels like to be the client, and what it feels like to the bride.  I really wanted to share some of the big things wedding planning taught me and some tips I can offer to current brides to help their day run smoothly.

Communication with your vendors is very important

The one thing that we did have some bumps in the road with, is a couple of mishaps with a couple of our vendors. One thing one that was helpful for us is to arrange a phone call with all of our hired vendors to make sure everyone was on the same page.  This is something that as a client that you shouldn’t feel bad about, as we are working for YOU.  It also did a lot in settling our nerves, knowing that all of our vendors were on the same page.

Do as much as you can as early in advance as you can!

We booked as many vendors as we could within the first couple of months of engagement.  When all the big stuff was taken care of, we took a seat for a bit as we both focused on other things for a few months.  A month before wedding, we realized we needed a lot of little things:  A card box, memory table frames, gifts for our parents, gifts for each other, gifts for our bridal party, escort cards.. the list goes on.  We had thought we had a leg up in the game, but when we realized we had so many little things left to do so close to the wedding, panic mode set in!

Spurge on the things that matter most to you, and budget on the others

Our priority vendor-wise was a couple of things:  An amazing photographer (duh), and our guests having a great time.  With that, we splurged and got a pretty great band which got our friends and family up and dancing, and our photographers were just incredible all day – we felt very comfortable with them and confident that they had everything captured for the day.  Flowers and center pieces?  We tried to go a little cheaper with.  We would rather spend more money on the things that are really important to us, rather than the things that we will never remember and our guests probably won’t notice.

 

Wedding Photography Client Gifts

There are a lot of things that I had to do to take my business from a side gig to full time – there’s no doubt that building a business is hard work, and the hardest part is getting people who actually want to pay for what you do. If I could tell you to focus on one thing and one thing only, I would say focus on the client experience

I like to think of it this way – if you loved the food at a certain restaurant, but the waiters were rude every time you went, and you had a bad experience, how likely are you to come back?

CLIENTS ARE WILLING TO PAY MORE FOR AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE.

Most people would rather go somewhere else, even if the food was more expensive – and that’s how it is with all things! People are willing to pay more for the experience, as long as it’s a good one. And especially if it’s one they won’t get just anywhere. Photos are no different. If you take beautiful photos, but your clients feel awkward and uncomfortable during the shoot, they’ll probably just remember that feeling when they look at the photos

MAKE YOUR CLIENT EXPERIENCE UNIQUE.

The client experience looks different for everybody – some people hang out with their clients or take them on a coffee date occasionally, which is awesome! I don’t personally do this (most of the time), just because I’m often traveling and it’s a little harder for me to maintain those in person connections. I am also more of an introvert, so it doesn’t feel super natural for me to become best friends with everybody. I’ve tried, and I kind of think people can tell when you’re trying too hard, haha. In general, being yourself just works out better.

How I do my wedding photography client gifts.

Back to wedding photography client gifts: I love giving them (it’s definitely my love language), and almost everyone I know loves receiving them. It’s just a cute little way to let your clients know you’re thinking about them, and when they get their gifts they often post them on Instagram stories or rave to their friends.

 

THINGS YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER WANTS YOU TO KNOW

What your wedding photographer wants you to know. It seems simple, right? As wedding photographers, we’re supposed to show up on the date you’ve picked out and photograph it. Easy. Well, that’s not really all there is to it. I like to think of wedding photographers as the glue that holds a wedding day together.

Disclaimer here: I don’t want to discount wedding planners. If you have hired a wedding planner, first off — thank you, and secondly, they would be handling all of the logistics, last minute plans, etc.

Wedding Planners are Wonderful

I mentioned this above, but hiring a wedding planner really does make wedding planning so much easier. You won’t have to keep up with a million different vendor email threads, nor will you have to coordinate every single tiny detail (think about napkins, how they’re placed, what color, etc). There are so many things you don’t think you’ll need to do until you are in the thick of it. If I could go back (my personal advice from being a bride), I would undoubtedly hire a wedding planner

We Can’t Work Magic

Scenario: You’ve been scouring blogs like Style Me Pretty and Magnolia Rouge. You’ve stared at countless outdoor ceremony photos with floral arches underneath large moss-covered trees. You’ve fallen in love with a certain photographer and you HAVE to hire them for your wedding. Your big day rolls around, you have your indoor formal church ceremony in front of the altar, and all is well. A few months pass and you receive your wedding photos. You think: these do NOT look like the work I saw of “said photographer” on the blogs.

Indoor ceremonies and outdoor ceremonies have totally different vibes because they have totally different light. Can indoor ceremonies still be gorgeous and ethereal? Absolutely! Your wedding photographer wants you to know that different light will yield different results. Lack of light will not render beautiful skin or light and airiness like being outside will.

 

The Top Wedding Photographers in the World

You’ve secured an ideal venue and are collaborating with a planner who anticipates your every need—and if they’re worth their salt, they’ll likely refer a photographer from this list. Your decor, dress, flowers, and cake can all look perfect on the day of, but it’s the skillful shooting, expert lighting, thoughtful composition, and fly-on-the-wall discretion that will shape your memories as you look back on your wedding photographs in the years to come.

These are the photographers we recommend when asked and those who we trust to capture the portraits, moments, and details of life’s most sentimental events. Some of them have shot the most exclusive celebrity weddings; others are the go-tos for the It-girl and fashion set. Many of these talents have captured events all over the world—some approaching their work with a documentarian’s eye, while others are all about sheer romance. As for the best of the best, they’re all of the above.

We asked our photographer shortlist to share their points of view, process, expert advice, and more about their signature styles in their own words

The Look: Having shot mostly in film for almost 20 years, I’ve been able to master the soft, organic, and timeless look that classic film provides.

The Approach: It’s not just about taking the best photos—it’s also about how I make the clients feel. This is an experience from the first initial connection to the final deliverables; it all must be consistent and flawless.

 

Must-Have Wedding Day Photography Gear

Those who follow Portrait Session know that I consider myself to be an idiot when it comes to photography gear.  I’m unlike my fellow Improve Photography guys in that I don’t lust over the newest lenses, I don’t nerd out about the latest camera models, and I certainly have no idea what great new treats are soon to be released.  I do, however, have a certain passion for the things that every good wedding photographer should have in their bag, which is why I want to share with you what I believe is the must have wedding day photography gear.  The gear that will allow you to improve the quality of your photographs, and in turn take your business to the next level.

Now, I’m not here to say that you can’t be a wedding photographer if you don’t have all of these things in your bag.  I know that there are successful wedding photographers out there who shoot with old bodies or only 2 lenses.  I’m also not here to say that the gear I have is the best and you should run out and buy everything I own.  I am simply here to share the things that I think are crucial in order to be fully prepared for all of the environments and situations that weddings throw at you.  With these pieces of gear in your bag, I promise you’ll be ready to conquer a wedding day like a pro!

A good bag

There are approximately 72 million camera bags in the world today.  Some are cross body, others are backpacks, and others are roller bags.  Some hold a few lenses and a body, while others hold roughly 84 lenses and 17 bodies.  While much of what I’m saying here is exaggeration, one thing I will not exaggerate about is that every wedding photographer must have a bag that is big enough, strong enough, and safe enough for all of the gear necessary to be a GREAT wedding photographer.

A camera that performs well in low light

It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter extremely crappy light at some point on a wedding day.  Most churches have dull lights that cast a yellow hue on everything in site.  The majority of reception venues are dimly lit spaces with sometimes not even enough ambient light to be able to lock focus (that’s the WORST).  Because of this, it’s absolutely crucial for all wedding photographers to have a camera that will produce beautiful images even in dark situations.

A zoom lens

Going back to that church scenario mentioned above, it is also inevitable that you’ll encounter a church that restricts photographers.  I’d say that in at least half of the church weddings I photograph, I am restricted in some way.  Most often, this restriction is in the form of where I can move during the ceremony.  Some restrictions are more harsh than others, but I have been in some churches where I wasn’t even allowed to move out of the back row!  If I had not had my 70-200 lens, the couple would’ve looked like ants in every single photo!!