Saturday, 22 July 2017

An Insight into Cost-Effective Plumbing Repairs

The plumbing pipes are the blood vessels of your household. If they get clogged or fall into disrepair, everything will go downhill from there. We can all do our part in trying to prevent any sort of damage to the pipes – utilizing stainless steel strainers in the sinks, not clogging your toilet with big chunks of paper, as well as using chemicals that are made to corrode the sediment in your pipes and wash it all away. Those are just some of the known methods that can help your plumbing last longer.

On the other hand, none of us can stop time, and everything that is used often will fall into disrepair sooner or later. We are all trying to save as much money as we can, but once the plumbing goes awry, the repairs won’t come cheap. Fortunately, with some knowledge under your belt, you can get some elbow room when it comes to the finances required for these sorts of fixes, so keep on reading if you want to learn more about cost-effective plumbing repairs.

Plumb it like a pro

One of the first things that come to mind when talking about cost-effective repairs is the do-it-yourself treatment, and sure enough, most of us can do some of the minor fixes (as replacing a shower head, for instance).

If a bigger problem emerges, a cost of such repairs can go from $100 to $250. Most of the plumbers have a call-out fee that ranges from $60 to $100, and if you take a bit of time out of your day to learn how to use a wrench, that could keep some money in your pocket, provided that you really know what you are doing, otherwise you’ll end up paying more than if you called a pro to tackle the issue when it occurred.

If your entire house has fallen into disrepair due to inexpert tackling of plumbing issues, the bills can get astronomical really fast. The worst-case scenario that includes replacing the pipes can get you up to $15000 dollars, which makes expenditures on routine maintenance sound particularly reasonable.

Practical ways to save money

Of course, there are ways to save money even when calling a plumber is necessary. You can focus on functional repairs, which means you’ll spend money on the parts of your pipes that are exposed or damaged and draw the line there. This will end up saving you at least 50% of the worst-case scenario’s price.

You can also replace the plumbing during your home renovations. The pipes will be exposed during the renovation anyways, so why not use the chance to inspect the pipes for potential issues and do the necessary patchwork. This can cost you up to $1000 dollars, which is a bargain considering what it can end up costing in case the pipes start bursting and the drains start clogging.

Routine maintenance

Some of the most common in-home plumbing issues include leaking interior water lines, leaking shut-off valves and blocked or clogged drains. Most of these problems emerge because of wear and tear. Basically, all of these problems can be avoided with routine maintenance.

This is the key thing when it comes to the topic of cost-effectiveness. Routine maintenance might appear to be an extra investment you can easily do without. However, having your plumbing checked and problems prevented before they blow out of proportion is very favorable for your wallet.

If push comes to shove, you’ll need someone to deal with the problem effectively, as these fully licensed specialists for blocked drains from Epping, who boast years of expertise behind them and offer 24/7 emergency services in case you ran into some nasty surprises.  So once the repairs are done, make sure to ask the repairmen if they have routine maintenance included in their services.

When it comes to drainage and pipes, no potential problem should ever be underestimated, because once it hits hard, your entire household is at risk. First of all, the dank odor will not only lower the quality of your life, but it will also come as a hindrance to your neighbors.

On the other hand, clogged drains can affect your household in direct and destructive ways – destroyed walls, ruined floors and furniture are all the extra financial expenditure that goes beyond the price of an entire plumbing repair. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Optimising Your Home for Movie Watching

If you’re a huge cinephile and enjoy not only movies, but the whole viewing experience, then this is the guide for you. Sure, going to the cinema is great, but sometimes you just want to relax at home with a great film and avoid all the fuss of going to the cinema and having to spend endless hours looking for a parking spot and standing in line for tickets. If you want to turn your home into a small movie theatre, here’s what you should know.

Home for Movie Watching

Position your furniture  

Think about your favourite seat at the movie theatre and try to recreate it a home. The best spots are usually somewhere in the middle, so you might want to move your TV or furniture around to achieve that same line of sight.

Comfort is key

You can always get comfortable when watching a movie by yourself, but if you have friends or family over, it can get a bit tricky. You can’t possibly have enough pillows and blankets for everyone, so make it a “bring your own blanket” event. This way everyone will be super cozy.

Lights out

This step might seem simple, but in reality it’s trickier than you think. It’s easy to turn off the lights in the room, but if your friends like to check their phones constantly during the movie night, it can ruin the experience. So, try to make a game out of it. The first person who touches their phone has to serve drinks and snacks for the night.

Home for Movie Watching

Get snacks and drinks

If you want to achieve a complete cinema experience, you must get refreshments. You can equip your home with a snack bar, or if you want an extra authentic atmosphere, get seats with cup holders. Some cinema suppliers even offer home-sized popcorn machines, vending machines and coolers.

Consider the size and the resolution of the screen

Before you invest in a high-definition TV or a home theatre, you might want to think about the perfect resolution for your space. To achieve the optimal viewing experience, you need to sit far enough from the screen so that you don’t see the pixels or need to move your head, but also close enough to see all the details and subtitles. For this, you need a TV that has a good resolution and colors. However, resolution is not everything.  

You should also consider getting the right size screen. If you want to create a real media room, you should get a contemporary home theatre with a projection screen, but if you want to watch movies in your living room, you might want to scale everything down a bit. You should also consider the size of the cabinet or surface that will support your TV.

Enjoy the good sound

Sometimes, the resolution and size of your screen are not everything. Good sound can contribute to your watching experience just as much as the image. You can get a full surround sound setup (which can be a bit costly) or get a good sound bar with a subwoofer. This will immensely improve the sound quality without making a hole in your wallet. Also, feel free to experiment with different positions of your speakers, because every room has unique acoustic properties.

Home for Movie Watching

Pick the right film

If you want to avoid any uncomfortable situations when watching with your family or friends, make sure to pick the appropriate film. Take time to check out the synopsis, reviews and ratings. If there are too many sex scenes or obscenities, it can make everyone uncomfortable and ruin the night.

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on installing a real home theatre or a simple flat screen, these tips will be the key to a memorable viewing experience. Now, invite your friends and press play! 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Painting Your Home for the Market: An Expert’s Guide

Once you’ve set your sights on selling your home, you wish to do everything to make it appealing to potential buyers. Painting the interior is a great way to impress anybody who walks in. By refreshing the rooms with a new coat of paint, you’ll definitely increase the chances of closing the deal at a fair price.

Painting Your Home

Which rooms should you paint?

Identify the priorities and paint them first. It would be best to start with the rooms where the walls are damaged or the paint is chipped. The next in line should be high-traffic rooms, like the kitchen, bathroom and living room. Painting the foyer is essential as it is the starting point for a prospective owner’s tour of the house.

The choice of colours

If you are painting to sell, the market should be your guide. Ask yourself who your potential buyers are. A family with young children will appreciate washable walls, while an elderly couple will love simplicity and classic colours. Remember that a new paintjob doesn’t need to match your own taste, but make the home as universally attractive as possible. By depersonalizing your home, you will make it seem like anyone can live there. According to real estate agents, light warm colours like beige and taupe are considered a safe card for creating an inviting indoor atmosphere.

How much paint should you buy?

After you have settled for a couple of colours, the next step is estimating how much paint you need to buy. Professionals advise to multiply the length of each surface by its height and add another 30% on top. One gallon of paint should be enough for 350 to 400 square feet. One way or another, always buy a bit more so you can use it for touch-ups.

Preparing the rooms

Either remove the furniture from the room or place it at the centre and cover it with canvas or plastic drop cloths. Additionally, place drop cloths on the floor and remove the fixtures like window coverings, switch plates and outlet covers. Protect windowsills, baseboards, door hinges and the ceiling perimeter with a painter’s tape. You can use it on everything else you need to protect. Before you start with painting, make sure all the surfaces are repaired and cleaned properly, as paint won’t adhere well to dirty or uneven areas.

Safety tip: If your home was built before 1978, the chances are that it was decorated with lead-based paints. There are lead-paint testing kits available. Avoid scraping and sanding lead-based paint as it poses a serious health hazard, especially to children and pregnant women.

Priming and painting

Applying a coat of primer isn’t always necessary, but it will make the paint adhere better and last longer. However, if your walls are stained or you are applying a light-coloured paint over dry walls, you should use primer. Use a brush or a roller and apply primer in 6-ft square sections, using a zigzag pattern or overlapping ‘W’ strokes. After the primer has dried, pour your paint in the tray and start applying it in the same way as the primer. Adding premium paint thinner will help the paint apply to surfaces more evenly, and you will prevent bumps from occurring in the painted surfaces.

Safety tip: Open the windows when priming and painting to ensure your working area is well-ventilated.

Metal surfaces

When it comes to metal surfaces (as wrought iron fence, for instance), using quality rust converter or rust protection paint can significantly improve their appearance. As decorative coatings, these solutions help hide unsightly dents, joints and scratches, and can make any imperfect metal surface look brand new.  

Painting Your Home

Cleaning up the mess

When the job is done, fold up the drop cloths and close your paint cans. Dispose of empty paint or thinner cans in a proper way. If warm soapy water isn’t enough for cleaning the brushes and rollers, use turpentine. After your painting tools are clean, make sure they are dried completely before storing them away. Remove painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid stripping any fresh paint. The longer the tape stays on, harder it becomes to remove.

Following this guide, you will be able to paint your home for sale in a matter of days. Your chances to sell will increase dramatically and in the meantime, you will enjoy a freshly decorated interior. 

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Be the Perfect Landlord with These Easy Tips

When it comes to letting a property, this can prove to be an excellent investment and source of income if done properly. If you are considering becoming a landlord, or already one in London, you will still need to make sure that you are up to date with the legal changes. Whether you own a single property to rent or a professional multi-landlord, you have to keep on track with the standard legal requirements and stay in line with the best practices in the industry.

If you are unsure of your legal obligations as a landlord, you can always seek professional advice from local estate agents in your area. If you are a landlord in London, here are some simple tips can help you be the perfect one.

  • Choose an agent that is accredited, such as Fish Need Water. This will help to provide valuable information and protections to you and your tenants.
  • You and your estate agent experts will have to provide new tenants with the various documents at different stages of the process of letting. This has to include Energy Performance Certificate and a current Gas Safety Certificate.
  • Stay up to date with the developments in legislation affecting residential management.
  • Be clear about all the fees that tenants have to pay to you and your estate agents, and stay proactive in making them aware well in advance of a renewal or tenancy, what they may owe.
  • Ensure that you advertise your property in accordance with the law and honestly. Avoid misleading prospective tenants.
  • Provide your tenant with a clear and well-written tenancy agreement. If you are taking a deposit, make sure it is taken in accordance with the local law and that relevant documents are served right on time.
  • Provide your tenants with your contact details, including a telephone number and other details they can use if in case an emergency comes up.
  • Clearly, state in the agreement the party responsible for various bills and make sure that you co-operate with your tenant to ensure they are charged for the usage of the property.
  • Make sure that you upgrade your property, repair necessary areas before a tenant move into their new home.

What to Know Before You Become a Tenant

For most people, buy-to-let is becoming a popular and trendy project to work on and earn some good money. Buyers can purchase a relatively cheaper property, add some upgrades and turn it into a home that tenants could rent with more money. Rental properties for most can be an exciting investment, but that’s not always easy when you are a landlord. Here are some things you as a landlord in London can keep in mind before taking the plunge into the world of “buy-to-let.”

You Need Money to Make More Money

When you get the idea of investing in “buy-to-let” properties, this means you need to invest money to make more. If you don’t have the right amount needed for the start-up capital, the chances are greater that you could end up in a bad situation. If you do not have enough money at the start, then you may not be able to get anywhere with the investment you make. If you have to take some loan, then you are in a riskier situation and will need to focus on paying that amount before making any profit. Before investing in buy-to-let properties, you can save up as much as possible.

Getting All the Money Is Not Possible

When you rent out your house, don’t think ha you can get all the money at once. This isn’t so simple and there are other finances to consider. Renting out a property should be considered as an income, so any profit made has to be taxed.  Make sure that all your financial records are up to date and check whether you are insured correctly or not.

Consider Your Tenants

When you choose a property, depending on the type you invest in, this will attract a certain group or type of tenants. You need to decide what sort of tenants you wish to attract when you finally decide to rent out the property and make purchases based on that in the end. If you decide to buy a terraced home in an area where universities are more common, this will likely attract students. If you choose to buy a small countryside type house or a Victorian type, you will likely attract smaller or elderly families/couples.

At first, the journey of being a landlord may seem like a great deal to take in, but rest assured that your local agent can give you the best guidance and advice needed to ensure you comply with the law and be the best possible landlord. So, take your time and choose the best East Dulwich estate agents that have years of experience. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Second Floor Addition: The Essentials

The latest trend of building large on small properties is caused by the increase of property prices. However, if you still want to add space to your home without sacrificing your beautiful garden, the only way to go is up. Adding another story can double the useful living space, and your family will love it. Still, there are a few things to consider before getting this remodelling project underway.

Second Floor Addition

Check the legal aspect

Talk to your chosen renovator if local zoning and health regulations interfere with your plans. There are rules and regulations like allowable floor area ratios, lot coverage and those considering the general building contractor (B100) that you need to study before you start designing and building.

Inspect the foundation and structure

As the case might be, your home’s foundation and framing might be designed to support only the weight of the ground and the first floor. Before you decide to increase the load, ask your contractor to examine the foundation and the current supporting structure and see if additional structural reinforcements need to be installed.

Determine the size of addition

You may add a full second story to your home or make just a partial addition, including another bedroom and a few dormers. What you will decide depends on your space needs, budget or both. If your current budget doesn’t cover the full story, and you expect that you will need more space in the future, build the second story area and finish only as much as you can. It is much easier and more affordable to make the structural work all at once and finish the rooms later.

Second Floor Addition

Discuss changes with the designer

When you add a second story to your home, it will unavoidably make changes to the main floor. You will probably move one or more bedrooms upstairs, so you need to plan what to do with the free space. You can even knock down some walls and create a larger space or extend an existing area like the kitchen. And then, there is a question of the added staircase and how it will impact the current arrangement. Ask your designer for advice if you aren’t sure what to do. Aside from adding more space, a second story makes you think about changes in the rest of the house.

Clean the house

Adding a second floor means that the builder will need to literally raise the roof in order to extend the supporting walls. That means that you need to clean out your attic as it will be fully exposed to the elements, dust, debris, etc. Give yourself enough time to sort through these items. If you lack room in your basement or a garage, you can always rent a storage unit during the construction. It will keep your possessions protected with no need to stuff the remainder of the house. On the other hand, this might be a good opportunity to discard a lot of items that would otherwise clutter the added space, too.

Know where you’ll stay

It depends on the scope of work that needs to be done, but parts of your house may not be habitable during the construction phase. Discuss with your renovator how long you will need to be away and find a place to stay. It is also good to know that certain extension builders can even complete the entire project with no need for you to move out or vacate the house.

Second Floor Addition

Upgrading your home with a second story is a major remodelling endeavour, and as such requires careful planning and preparing your home for such a big step. On the other hand, it is the cheapest and the most effective way of providing your family with additional living space.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Domestic Water Filtration System: Things to Know

People like to take matters into their own hands. In spite of that, we’ve relinquished control of our environment to the various corporate and federal structures and, as the development of civilization spins out of control, there’s an understandable longing to return to the old ways – to eat organic food cropped by your own soil-soaked hands and drink out of the nearby well you know you can trust.

Domestic Water Filtration System

The second bit is almost impossible to accomplish today, but water filters have emerged as the second-best thing. After all, there is not much to it – you buy the purifier and attach it to your sink as per instructions, right? There are a few basic things you need to know before you proceed with installation of a domestic filtration system.

Know your basics

To put it simply, domestic water purification is the process of removing harmful chemicals and contaminants from drinking water. There are many ways you can do this but, throughout history, it was mostly done on a large scale.

To this day, entire cities or regions are supplied with filtered water usually from a single water purification plant. However, as our environment becomes more polluted, so does our water, and general populace developed a need to bring the part of the process back home.

Therefore, in the beginning of the 21st century, the business of domestic water filtration systems began to thrive across the world. However, with each region comes its own set of geological and infrastructural parameters that determine the water composition. This brings us to our second subject.

Know your water

Typically, the knowledge of the most widespread contaminant in your area is easy to acquire, since it is usually spread by word of mouth. However, this superficial knowledge is not enough. You can have your water tested independently, by buying a test kit in your local home improvement store and doing it yourself.

Conveniently, in the most parts of the US, you can get a copy of your water quality report from the local water authority. It’s nearly impossible to find filters that can remove all contaminants, so you can use the information from the report to find the type of filter that suits you best.

Know your method

There are many types of water filters on the market. These days, it’s far from uncommon to find jugs with attached water filters on sale in every mall. However, this is a short-term solution, as it can only filter small amounts of water and cartridges have to be changed on a regular basis.

It’s far more convenient, not to mention practical, to install an under-sink water filter system, and it’s a breeze to order one online. They are usually more durable and, since they are concealed under the sink, there is no danger they will stick out as an eyesore in your kitchen.

There’s an additional factor people tend to overlook. In spite of durability, every filter will be spent after a while, so always remember to change it on a regular basis. Now, the time interval varies from filter to filter, but there’s usually a printed information on the packaged, or you can find out more about it from the retailer.

Know that you are safe

Knowledge is everything, and as an honest tax payer, you have every right to be informed and kept up-to-date with the information about the drinking water in your pipes. Thankfully, in the age of the Internet, there are many web pages concerned with the public health and safety that will give you all the supplementary information you might need.

Our body is made up of 70% water, so it’s crucial to make sure it’s as free of all the contaminants as possible before you drink it. Fortunately, domestic water filtration system is now an affordable precaution and one of the best solutions at the moment to keep your mind at ease.  

Monday, 15 May 2017

Affordable Ways to Burglar-Proof Your Home

We all know who Scrooge McDuck is – the famous Donald Duck’s uncle with piles and piles of shiny gold coins he likes to count and dive head-first into. You may not have his limitless riches, but you’ll still want to make sure all of your money and expensive stuff are protected as much as possible. But what to do when you can’t afford the latest alarm systems and other pricy equipment for protecting your home from unlawful entry? With this in mind, we have come up with five ways you can burglar-proof your home, no matter how tight the budget you’re working with is.

Introduce curtains and blinds

It’s no secret that burglars tend to “case” a home before they actually decide to break in. That way, they can determine what kind of goods they can take and whether breaking into your home will pay off. Therefore, a great way to start making your home burglar-unfriendly is to hang curtains or install blinds on each of the windows in your home. If a burglar can’t see into your home, chances are they’ll target another home. Just bear in mind that if you have kids, going for cordless blinds is always recommended.

Install a garage timer

Garage doors are one of the weak spots in home security that many homeowners tend to overlook. Still, after parking your car, you can easily forget to close your garage door and allow a burglar to enter your home in a matter of seconds. This can also easily happen if you have kids and they keep their bikes and other belongings in the garage. But if there’s a garage timer installed, even if you forget to close the garage door, it will close automatically after a preset period of time, leaving no chance for a burglar to come in.

Eliminate potential hiding spots

Your landscape can always serve as a burglar’s hiding spot. That’s why if you want to burglar-proof your home, trimming large bushes and trees is recommended. Also, eliminating the shrubbery around your home is a good idea. Of course, there’s no need to get rid of all the landscaping around your home. If your green thumb is itching to add some plants around your home, you can always go for something thorny. Greenery like this can prevent burglars from attempting to hide, making your home safer.

Deadbolt all of your doors

34% of all the burglars enter through the front door while 24% of them decide to enter through the backdoor. With this being said, making sure all of your doors are as secure as possible is always a good idea. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to do this is to install deadbolts. Just bear in mind that the cheapest deadbolts you come across aren’t guaranteed to keep your home safe. Instead, you should always go for the most quality deadbolts you can find and have professionals, such as this locksmith from Paramatta, install it for you.

Put up fake security signs

Yard signs that say your home is protected are a great way to deter burglars. And the great thing about them is that you can put them up even if you don’t have a security system installed. A lot of burglars won’t take the chance of being caught and will most likely move on to the next potential victim. Fake security signs are cheap and can be found online. It only takes a couple of minutes to stick the signs around your home, meaning that you will protect your home without actually breaking a sweat.

Follow all of the ways mentioned above and you’ll be guaranteed to make your home more burglar-unfriendly. Just remember that you can never do too much when it comes to safety and that’s why you should always keep looking for some new ways you can secure your home.