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Latest Blog Posts

How to Turn Your Home Into an Eco-Friendly Haven

The home you live in should be safe for both you and the environment. Unfortunately, a lot of the homes built today are the exact opposite. They emit harmful toxinsRead More >

Moving to a New Home: Preparation and Challenges

Before moving to a new home or office, make sure that you have enought time and resources to do so. You should have atleast 8 weeks to prepare for it.Read More >

Different Ways to Protect Your Furniture

Your furniture is as much an investment as your own house is. It is an extension of your home, and is used every single day and therefore prone to wearRead More >

How to Use Natural Elements to Enhance your Store

Natural elements will help create a store that offers an eco-friendly look and feel. Eco-friendly values are becoming increasingly important to customers and consideration of these is important in theRead More >

Useful Tips When You Have Domestic Water Problems

Having domestic water problems can be such a headache and the best way to handle such a situation is by employing the services of a professional plumber. However, it does not mean that there is nothing that you could do to alleviate the situation while waiting for professional assistance. If you find yourself in such a troublesome situation, you can do the following:

  • Turn The Main Water System Off: The first thing that you should in cases of water leaking in random places of the house or from pipes, is to shut down the water system. If you own a house, the valve of the main water system is often located somewhere near the street on the ground. If you are living in an apartment or a condominium, it is best that you get in touch with the land lord since they are often the ones who know the exact location of the main water valve and you will need to ask for their permission to turn the water system for the time being to keep water from leaking. Doing so will keep your water bill from increasing as well.
  • Remove The Water: Removing water is perhaps one of the best things that you could do after you are done turning of the main water valve. Plus, doing so can lessen the damage that this excess water is causing you. However, if you do not have any idea where the water is coming from, it is best that you wait for the plumber to arrive. Using towels, or used cloth are good ways to lessen the water. Using a broom can also help you remove the water.
  • Always Call A Professional: If you had not called a professional plumber yet, then call one right away unless you are an expert when it comes to repairing such water problems in your home. This will save you the trouble of having to deal with the problem as well as the chance of it getting more complicated. Doing so will also spare you from spending more than you should if the damage grows bigger.

Having domestic water problems can be very frustrating but you do not have to sit back idly. Having a bit of knowledge in handling such a situation can be helpful at times.

How to Keep Your Family Safe While Traveling

Heading off for a well-earned vacation with the family is always a fun and exciting time as you look forward to a trip that has been many weeks or months in the planning.

Amongst all the things that you have to remember to do in preparation for your trip, make sure that you set aside a little bit of time to make sure that you pack what you might need in an emergency and also take steps to ensure your house is safe and secure while you are away.

Medical supplies 

If you have a child that needs regular medicines or suffers from allergies then you will already be aware of certain medical supplies that are essential for your journey. In addition to any regular prescriptions that you regularly carry around with you also think about packing some additional medical supplies that could come in useful.

Put together a basic medical kit back that includes items such as bandages, kid’s medicine for headaches or a high temperature and maybe something that could deal with minor cuts or stings if they get into a scrape while you are away.

Protecting your property 

Home Security - Protect Your HomeA property is far more vulnerable when it is empty for a period of time and the last thing that you want to do is spoil a great vacation by finding out there has been a problem while you were away or that you have been burgled.

Consider fitting a monitored home alarm supplied by a company like http://www.homesecuritysystems.com/ so that someone else is watching over your property and possessions while you are away having a good time.

Having an alarm system which is being remotely monitored 24 hours a day means that if there is any sign of an intruder or a fire alarm is activated, the alarm company can arrange for the emergency services to attend and check that everything is ok on your behalf.

Other steps to protect your property 

You can take steps to reduce the risk of an intruder targeting your property while you are away by making sure that you make the house appear to be occupied even when you are away.

Fit some timer devices to some lights around the house and maybe even plug in a radio to one so that there are lights and noise coming from the property at various intervals throughout the day.

Make sure that you cancel any deliveries for when you are away and also tidy up the garden and the garbage so that anyone checking your property out would not suspect from the outside appearance that you are away.

If you are going away in the winter months and the weather is particularly cold, you might want to consider turning off the water supply to the property while you are on vacation as burst pipes frequently seem to happen when the property is empty, meaning that a lot of damage can be caused because no one is there to stop the flow of water.

There are plenty of ways you can ensure that you are family are kept safe while you are traveling and if you make sure that you pack everything you need whilst also taking steps to protect the house too, then you should enjoy a trouble-free vacation and return to a property in the same state as you left it.

Edward Barrington is an insurance agent. He loves to share tips for how to avoid needing the use of insurance on family and consumer blogs.

General Advice In Keeping Things At Home In Order

Organize Your Home

Keeping things at home in order can take so much time especially if you do not have an idea where to start or how to go about them. The tips below will help you get a good head start in organizing the household.

  • Everyone Should Contribute: Nothing is harder than trying to do things at home on your own. Make sure that the other members of the family also help when it comes to arranging stuff at home. It is also important that the family members are responsible when it comes to their mess.
  • Use Wastebaskets: Every room should have a waste basket. Furthermore, the kitchen area should have three different waste baskets accommodating the three kinds of trash; recyclable, biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Keep unused waste baskets under each other where it can easily be found by any family member when they need one or after you throw a waste basket away.
  • Pin Messages On The Refrigerator: This will help get the message among each family member in case you do not get to talk to one another due to time constraints. Of course, personally interacting with the other family members is still important but just in case you need to leave an important message, the refrigerator is a good place to pin the message.
  • Use Toy Baskets: Toy baskets are important in cases wherein you need to keep the toys you pick up in random places of the house conveniently. For outdoor toys, you can buy a weatherproof, bench-style storage box. This will make it easier for you to keep the toys from being left scattered around the household.

It can be hard to find the time to totally keep the house organized but it does not mean that it is impossible. If the family members help each other then it can be accomplished.

Image credit: sxc.hu/profile/zomb_kille

Choosing Between Natural and Synthetic Flooring

Building your dream house not only takes a lot of money and effort. The time devoted into the planning through the construction and completion usually takes months and some even years. The same can be said for renovations which are done when improvement wants to be seen or damaged in some parts of the house needs to be repaired. It is not a mystery as to why people spend so much time thinking through matters about their house as one’s house serves as a representation of its owner; from its outside view to its interior design, to the arrangement of the furniture and even up to its flooring, everything is carefully considered.

Interior Design - Flooring

 As innovations in house building and renovation continue to appear, more and more options on materials are being available in the market. Manufacturers have provided consumers with a variety of products which they claim to be durable, sophisticated, and unique. One area that has significantly shown development is in the floor/tile covering industry. Nowadays, tiles of different shapes, sizes, colors and designs are available. Some of these even try to imitate the natural materials which have been used for floor covering for the past years such as granite, stone, timber and slate. Even so, such products remain what they are—imitations. Though the appearance might appear to be almost similar at first, striking difference could actually be pointed out between natural and synthetic floor coverings in the long run.

First and foremost, natural materials are unique to each other even if, for example, both are granite. These materials have different color, texture and qualities. Even though there are products replicating these, it is clearly impossible to replicate the different hues and textures and sizes. Another good thing in choosing natural materials for floor covering is that it will achieve the purpose of expressing a house’s individuality.

Though it may be tricky to create a harmonious-looking interior through these, when done by an expert, it will definitely upgrade the house to a new level of class and sophistication. Moreover, these materials boast durability and strength and more resistance to damage even for a long time especially if properly maintained, as oppose to synthetic ones which not only has a very limited lifespan but raise environmental concerns as well due to the chemicals used in making it. Lastly, natural materials also exude the charm of imperfection.

Due to its varying shapes, sizes, texture and hues, it gives a home a more natural feel and style. Though there may be some drawbacks in the usage of natural materials such as it is more expensive and harder to maintain, it will definitely set apart the house from the others who use synthetic ones that would definitely not much different from other houses in a neighborhood. It would not even be surprising if more than half in ten houses has the same synthetic floor coverings installed in their houses so choosing stone, granite, slate, bamboo or timber would set apart one’s house from the usual.  When looking for the best bamboo flooring, consider the price and quality.

As such, in building one’s house, every detail is important in order to achieve the look that would not only look good but would also give it the homey feel it should possess. Achieving the style, design and output a person likes take a considerable amount of time, money and decision-making but it is all worth it when the warmth a house should possess exists.

The New Spring Florals And How To Introduce Them Into Your Living Space

Now that spring has sprung, everyone will be looking for ways and means of introducing cheerful colours and the refreshing spirit of the outdoors into their homes. The most basic and supremely effective way to achieve this is to decorate the main spaces as well as all the nooks and crannies with an array of gorgeously coloured flowers, either straight from the garden or else from a local supplier. Interior design is all about maximising possibilities and exploring new and exciting concepts to heighten one’s sense of well-being, harmonising functionality and ambience, and essentially liberating an interior space’s soul, its life force. At this time of the year, flowers are the ideal medium for doing precisely this.

Home Interior

Wildflower groupings

Although it’s true that large floral arrangements and designs can create amazing focal points in any room, the quickest, simplest and easiest way of enlivening a living space through the use of colour is to use smaller blooms arranged in tasteful groupings. As a typical example, take a small bouquet of anemones with bold hues of orange, red and yellow, and set it on a plain wooden table to instantly transform the room with a rustic simplicity and striking contrast that would please Vincent van Gogh.

Alternatively, create groupings of wildflowers and heavenly scented lilac in small glass jars and place them along the windowsills for a touch of countryside cheerfulness and picture-postcard charm. Use a selection of vases of different sizes and designs, but make sure you use the same colour to maximise the impact of the varied blooms. Carefully selected vintage vases can also often bring out the full beauty of flowers.

Containers

A bouquet of tulips at this time of year is always guaranteed to transform a room and brighten it up, and daffodils placed in a glass jar on a windowsill that receives direct sunlight is enough to thrill the Romantic poet in any of us, with the natural light thoroughly bringing out the full brilliance of the flowers. Mason jars and glasses are also useful for keeping small branches in, or for single flowers. This is probably the easiest way of introducing vibrant accent colours to a living space, either positioning them along windowsills or on shelving in the kitchen or study.

Colour combinations

For a sophisticated colour palette that doesn’t hit you straight in the face but rather heightens the spring mood through the use of carefully selected garden elements, try combining purple, white and pastel pink blooms for a more subdued but intimate and subtle effect. Orchids are very good for this, although they tend to require extra care in terms of watering, placement and feeding. For a more soothing effect, concentrate on flowers that have predominantly softer colours such as white and lilac, as even when used in relatively small doses these can transform and soften the ambience of a room.

You could also consider taking a course in flower arrangement, which the ultra-aesthetic Japanese masters of the art recognised long ago as an effective means of bringing out the living spirit of a place in a way that purely inanimate accessories usually fail to accomplish.

Author Bio:

David Bell is a freelance writer and blogs about travel, interior design, online marketing, telecoms and small business solutions. Follow him on Twitter @DavidBellWriter

The Basics of Beautifying Your Barren Lawn

A dull and barren lawn could somehow influence your mood for the day. Just imagine waking up every morning and you’d be welcomed by such an unpleasing sight. Surely, you would feel lifeless as well and you might bring it at work. Seeing greens along with your newly installed driveway gravel is a great idea.

If you’re worried about not having the magical green thumb, then you can make use the majority of your humongous space into a permeable paving and just place some full grown flower beds on the sides or perhaps bushes.

Lawn Beautification

See to it that you already know the things that you want to see in your front and back yard. Each home owner has their own preferences when it comes to garden landscaping and paving. Others would want to walk along fresh and well trimmed grasses while some would want the hard and solid ones placing all the plants on the sides.

You should also familiarize the wind patterns in your place as well as the angle of the rays of the sun. You might want to transform your lawn into a grilling space wherein you host barbeque parties or similar events. If the wind blows hard in that area, then it isn’t a perfect place to grill anything. The rays of the sun would also matter. Make sure that your fully transformed mini-nature-park lawn won’t be receiving the longest sun exposure until it sets because it won’t be suited in the afternoon wherein people would most likely relax and sit outside. Nobody would want to face the sun the entire and get sun burned.

If you don’t how to start the beautification of your yard, start looking at home magazines or perhaps search the internet on unique garden landscapes and from there you will get an idea on how you would like your yard to look like. You consult a professional landscaper or watch do-it-yourself videos if you really want to do it on your own.

How To Hire The Right Moving Company

When relocating a moving company to transfer your company to a new location, it is important to take into consideration several factors. The reputation of the movers is one followed by the price and timeline followed. Research the moving company to know if they are a good match for your needs.

Check with your local Better Business Bureau or other agency that tracks complains of businesses. Stay away from any moving company with negative reports because they are not worth your time or money. Professional movers will have outstanding reports and flawless reputation. This is the moving company you need to use because you only want the best when it comes to relocating your business.

If possible, talk to the mover’s prior customers. The customers will tell the real story about the abilities of the movers. Ask questions regarding the condition of the goods shipped when arrived at the new location, the moving company’s ability to stick to the time frame set for the moving, and any other questions that you feel are important.

Review at least two moving companies. Find out the costs for the moving, the costs for delivering heavy objects inside the new location,  possible delays that may happen, refunds offered if not satisfied with service, and if you need to reserve the time for moving in advance. Plan out the move with all possible factors prior to the time so you can rest easy your company will be moved in the timeframe you need and want.

Before the move, consider the location of the new building. Is it located in any crime area? Is it located in an area that offers good parking or transit for your employees? Is it located in a location where your customers or clients can reach easily? How is the security of the building during off hours and business hours?

The safety and security of the new building is very important to the employees, clients, and business data and information. You do not want to lose the security offered to the employees and clients to save money for operating the business. You need customers to make your business function just as you need employees that feel safe for business operations.

Talk to the local law authorities about the crime rate and any crime reports of the area. This will give you a good idea of the crime associated with the area. Find out if the building has security alarms or security devices to protect the building and employees. The cost is worth the security offered so make the point of knowing the security of the new location.

The visibility of the building is important. Your clients needs to see the building if they are going to come there for business. A hidden building or one that is hard to find from a major street loses business and is open to the risks of crime. Is the new building close to another business? This is important to help the flow of traffic to you business. Make sure you have enough parking to allow for the flow of traffic and customers expected to frequent the business.

Make the new location well worth the move when you research the best moving company, location of the new building is easy to access, and the new building is safe and secure for employees and customers.

This is a guest post provided on behalf of- http://www.officeman.co.uk/

5 Tips for Building an Eco-Friendly House

Nowadays our society as a whole is becoming more and more conscious of the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility. While there are many steps we can take in our daily lives to help reduce our carbon footprint, building an eco-friendly home is one of the major approaches we can use to reduce our demand on global resources throughout our daily lives.

Here are a few basic tips for building a more eco-friendly home.

Use Recycled and Renewable Materials

During planning and construction, give some thought to the materials you’re going to use for the build and consider their impact on the earth’s resources. In order to make your build as environmentally friendly as possible you should aim to use materials that are either recycled or come from a renewable source. Using salvaged bricks, steel or timber is a cheaper and more eco-friendly approach to sourcing construction materials.

Bamboo and cork are great examples of renewable construction materials and are highly cost-effective. Bamboo is resistant to rot, fire, insects and water and can be harvested every 5-7 years, compared with wood from trees that take anywhere from 15-100 years to grow. Cork is a great material for flooring, it’s comfortable, durable, non toxic, resistant to fire and insects, insulates your home and the cork tree actually needs to have its bark harvested regularly or the tree will perish.

Building an Eco-Friendly House

Source Materials Locally

To reduce the carbon footprint of your build, try to source your building resources as locally as possible. This goes for both construction material and labour, of course. This will help boost the local economy and reduce the resources required to transport the materials to the build site. Reducing transportation distances, costs and man hours will also help you to keep costs down.

Solar Power

Solar power is an ideal approach to creating an eco-friendly home and reducing both the carbon footprint of your household and the cost of keeping your home running throughout the year. Solar power helps create an energy efficient house, keeping your electricity bills lower and your demand on energy resources minimal.

An increasing number of houses are installing solar power for heating and electricity, including hot water systems.

Cooling and Heating

Keeping the home cool in summer and warm in winter contributes to a large part of any household’s energy usage. By taking measures to reduce the dependency to electricity for temperature regulation in the home, you can reduce your carbon footprint as well as your electricity bills.

Insulation in the ceiling and walls should be present in every household and helps to regulate the inside temperature of the house. For two storey house plans you should also insulate between levels. Double glazed windows and doors are also highly effective in doing this. Even if you do choose to use air conditioning, insulation and double glazing will both help to greatly reduce the power needed to maintain the desired temperature inside the home.

Planting shade trees around the home is a simple and natural way to shade your home and windows from the sun, keeping the summer heat at a more manageable level.

You might even like to investigate alternative low-energy methods of heating during winter. For example, some homes are equipped with under-floor or in-wall heating that uses hot water, heated and circulated by systems that run off the heat of the home’s fire place.

Lighting

Most Australian building codes now require the use of fluorescent or LED lighting to reduce household energy consumption. When building your home, try to take advantage of the energy efficiency and cost effectiveness of LED lighting. You should only need to change an LED bulb every 25 years or so, and they consume a fraction of the energy required to power a halogen light.

If you’ve ticked all these boxes then you’re already well on your way to an eco-friendly household. There are plenty more ways to reduce your impact on the earth so keep researching and take any steps you can to save energy

4 Ways to Keep Your Conservatory Warm Throughout the Year

During the summer months, a conservatory is amazing – it’s the perfect place to relax in the golden warmth of the sunlight shining through the glass. You can sit there, lean back in your extra comfy recliner, and just admire your garden surroundings as you bask in the June sun. You can even entertain guests in there: a lovely, home cooked dinner as the sun begins to set is a great way to spend your evening.

Classic Conservatory

However, in the cold, grisly months that bridge the old year and the new, your conservatory might become a bit of a no man’s land: the chill in the air comes straight through into your poorly insulated glass house and takes up residence, threatening any intruders with its icy grip.

We are here to tell you how you can fight back against the White Queen! Reclaim your beautifully glazed territory by keeping it warm through winter! Our Heat Guru is here to tell you how:

1. Use Thermally Insulated Glass

One of the easiest ways to ensure that all that lovely warmth remains firmly inside your glass walled haven is to install thermally insulated glass in the roof of your conservatory. You can either do this when you initially build the conservatory (which is, of course, the easier and cheaper method), or you can replace the standard glass at a later date.

Insulated glass is designed to trap as much heat as possible inside the room. Because heat rises, it will escape through the roof first; this is why it’s most important to install the thermally insulated glass up there.

2. Install Under-Floor Heating

If you love walking around on bare feet, under-floor heating is the thing for you. We are willing to bet that your conservatory floor reaches sub-arctic temperatures in the winter months, making it a nightmare for your sockless leg-ends.

The solution is under-floor heating: though it’s not cheap, it’s definitely worth it, as your feet will be in heaven!

3. Get a Conservatory Heater

Now that less heat is escaping through the roof and the floor is nice and cosy underfoot, you may feel like your conservatory is just perfect, but when you’re in the depths of December you may still get a little chilly.

The perfect remedy to this is a simple heater. You can install a proper conservatory heater or go the inexpensive route and get your average plug-in one – the choice is yours! Just flick it on when you’re in need of a quick heat boost.

4. Fit Some Conservatory Blinds

This is the simplest and arguably cheapest solution, so if you haven’t already got some conservatory blinds, now is the time to get them! First and foremost, they look great alongside your conservatory furniture from 2furnish, but they are also fantastic for locking in the warmth.

The blinds are designed so that they fit snugly to the window, which stops the heat from escaping through the gaps. You can even invest in special solar-reflective blinds – these get rid of excess heat in summer but keep it all in during winter!

How Hard Water Can Affect Your Plumbing

Any professional plumber will tell you that hard water can cause major problems with plumbing lines, appliances, and plumbing fixtures. Hard water is loaded with minerals and the calcium and magnesium that it contains leaves your water smelling like rotten eggs and your tubs and sinks stained with rust. It also causes a major build-up of minerals. Even though hard water affects your plumbing, it will not be harmful to your health even though it seems bad. If hard water is present, then your plumbing could be severely damaged by mineral deposits that form. These deposits are also called lime deposits, and they produce a coating that blocks your drains and pipes. Water flow will be incredibly restricted by these deposits, and if you let the problem go too long, then you could end up having to replace all of the lines in your home.

The Effects of Hard Water on Appliances

The bad thing about the minerals in hard water is that they can accumulate in any appliances that use water, such as dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators that have ice makers, hot water dispensers, kettles, and even hot water heaters. Sometimes it is hard to tell that your appliance is being harmed until it is so bad that you have to have repairs made. Hard water can seriously damage your appliances, because it clogs them up. Even though hard water is not associated with major medical problems, it could possibly intensify skin conditions. Most of these problems can be prevented if you install a water softener, but issues can still occur sometimes even if you have a water softener.

Learning How to Tell If You Have Hard Water

If your water is extremely hard, then you will need to call a professional plumber to try to come up with a solution to fix the problem. You will know that it is hard simply by looking at whether or not there is rust present in your sink or tub. You can also tell by looking at your laundry. When you wash a load of clothes, minerals will react with the detergent that you use, and this will create a sticky residue. This residue will get on the fabric of your clothing, and it will cause the fabric to fade, to have an orange tint from the rust, and it will also cause the fabric to be scratchy. A plumber will be able to help.

If you have any further questions about hard or soft water, or any other plumbing related issue, please contact one of our friendly team. They would be more than happy to help. You can find us at: www.ppbs.co.uk

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